Category Archives: la grande ancre

Saturday 18th June 2022 – I WAS THINKING …

“which is always dangerous” – ed … of hitting the road this weekend.

But a temperature of 32°C in an old van without air-conditioning heading off into the wild blue yonder is more than any man can stand and so I eschewed the idea for now.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022In order to underline the situation, I’ll post a couple of photos that I took of the crowds of people swimming in the sea today

You can tell how warm it was just by looking at these photos.

It was quite warm during the night too and I was tossing and turning for much of it. It was really difficult to go off to sleep.

By about 06:45 I’d effectively given up and I was sitting there waiting for the alarm to go off when with about 5 minutes to go I drifted off to sleep again and when the alarm went off I awoke with a start.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Nevertheless I was out of bed as it rang and went off for my medication.

When I’d checked my mails and messages afterwards the first thing that I did was to check the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’d had the insurance through for the van. I remembered distinctly putting the certificate and policy in the container up on the roof rack while I was sorting everything out but it wasn’t there when I went to look for it. I turned the van inside out but still couldn’t find anything. By now we were 6 months into the insurance. I said that I would have to have a duplicate but my brother didn’t think that they would send me one after 6 months if I turned round and said that it was missing. I was just going to say that I’d misplaced it but he didn’t think that that was a good enough excuse for having a duplicate. We had one of our interminable discussions about it. In the end he decided that he would search through Caliburn to see if he couldn’t find the papers. at that point I left him to it. No point in both of us doing the same thing and getting annoyed with both of us doing it

We’re now in a Welsh lesson. A few of us given Welsh lessons on top of this double decker bus. One by one we must have been plucked off and disappeared because further along the programme nothing was heard but Welsh on this bus. The people weemed to be unaware that there was a party of English persons I fell asleep here

Finally it was the World Series of baseball and one of the coaches would be happy having amateur referees in it. That was a crazy thing to do because these World Series games go on for every. In any case his tactics were all wrong and the other teams were exploiting his tactics. The one team that had made it to the final had some depressing tactics of their own, like timewasting and making each play count minutes although they did manage to bottle up the defence of the others and make them run down one corridor. This violent hugging had cost the coach a $25 fine at the last game and was likely to be repeated if he continued.

At some point as well I was with Louise. She had had a long wheelbase Landrover that she had fitted a short cab. She’d sold the long wheelbase cab to someone in the area but he’d died before he could collect it so his executor was trying to haul away the cab. She was a kind of mouse who wouldn’t engage with him because she said that it was this other guy’s, even though he’d died. She had it all laid out in bits where it should go, here and there, everything. She showed me round quite proudly. Her uncle was there as well. He was talking to me about this and that. We were out there and all of a sudden it started to rain a torrential rainstorm. He said that he had to nip over and buy some fish but if I got in his car and sheltered from the rain he would come back when he had his fish and drive me home

The bit about Caliburn’s insurance was interesting. It expires at the end of the month and I had the new paperwork the other day. I’d forgotten all about it completely and dreaming about it reminded me, so I nipped out to put it in Caliburn before I forget it completely.

What I started to do next was to download a load of music. Not sound files but “proper” music because if I do manage to go off on my travels I’ll be taking the Gibson EB3 and the acoustic with me and having a little ja session all of my own.

at some point I had to break off because I needed some bread for lunch. I’m not taking half a loaf out of the freezer.

la grande ancre les bouchots de chausey l'omerta le roc a la mauve 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022So on my way into town I stopped at the viewpoint overlooking the fish processing plant to see who was there this morning.

And we had quite a crowd down there today. From front to back we have La Grande Ancre, Les Bouchots de Chausey, L’Omerta, Le Roc A La Mauve III and a small boat that as far as I know doesn’t have a name.

Plenty of vehicles down on the lower level too, unloading the boats and taking away the catch. It’s always quite a profitable affair and sometimes I’ve seen the tractor and trailer groaning under the weight of shellfish taken off Les Bouchots de Chausey

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There was plenty of activity outside the harbour in the bay too.

This yacht that was sailing past the entrance to the harbour was gorgeous and I quite liked the sails on the smaller one that was following along behind her.

And that wasn’t everything out there either. There were more than enough boats of all types, shapes and sizes sailing around there today ad I could have spent all afternoon there photographing them.

But instead I pushed on down the hill towards the town centre and the supermarket for my baguette.

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Now here’s quite a surprise.

Here we are on a Saturday in summer and there are crowds of people round about, as we have seen already in our photos of the beach, yet for some unknown reason the crew of Marité has decided not to put to sea today.

It’s the kid fo day when I would have expected them to have rounded up hordes of passengers and gone off for a lap around the bay.

As for me, I went off for a lap around to Carrefour where I bought a baguette and a can of cold drink for the climb back up the hill to home.

saturday market place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022On the way back home I wandered back through town past the Place General de Gaulle.

With it being a Saturday morning it’s market day and the open-air market is in full swing. Mind you, there isn’t really anything there that is of interest to me.

The walk up the hill in the heat was agonising as I expected and I enjoyed the stop that I made halfway up when I drank the can of cold drink. That made me feel better.

Back here I made a sandwich for lunch and then carried on with the downloading of the music. I ended up having a play around with Wishbone Ash’s THE BALLAD OF THE BEACON. It’s much easier than you would think.

In the middle of all that, rather regrettably I dozed off for 10 minutes or so. And I was doing so well too.

fishermen in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy Francec Hall photo June 2022As it happens I was rather late going for my afternoon walk today.

Having already looked down onto the beac I wandered off along the path towards the end of the headland, having a look out to sea to see what was happening. Out there in the bay this afternoon was a zodiac with a few people in it.

At first I thought that they might have been fishermen but before I could have a good look at them they started up the engine and cleared off around the headland out of sight.

As for me, I cleared off around the headland too, but at a rather more sedate pace

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There wasn’t anyone on the bench at the cabanon vauban this afternoon so I carried on down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

Over at the ferry terminal across the harbour we had Belle France, the newest of the ferries that go over to the Ile de Chausey. The other two aren’t in port anywhere so I imagine that they are out there at the Ile de Chausey already waiting for the tide.

Still no Victor Hugo either. According to the maritime radar she spent the night at St Helier and left early this evening, presumably to come back here. I’ll get to see her yet!

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Earlier this morning I mentioned that Maritéwas still in port despite it being a summer Saturday today

And she was still there this afternoon too. By the looks of things she hasn’t been out at all today. I know that it’s none of my business but if I were in charge of Marité she’d be out all weekend during the summer, as much as possible.

Most of the fishing boats are also in the harbour too. They don’t go out at weekend either. Even L’Omerta was moored up at the fish processing plant, settling down into the silt. All on her own as well.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Just now I mentioned Victor Hugo being out at St Helier.

Also out at St Helier, according to the maritime radar, is Southern Liner, the freighter that was in port yesterday.

And I can tell you much more about her today. The company that owns her has started a freight service between St Malo and the Channel Islands just recently and as they had a couple of days free they sent the ship over here to see how she would get on in and around the harbour here.

Apparently the plan is that they want to see if there is sufficient demand for another freight service between Granville and the Channel Islands, using small containers rather than loose freight that the other little freighters carry.

This is something that is going to be interesting

Back here I crashed out again for rather longer than I was hoping – so much so that my coffee was stone cold. But I did some more music downloading. There’s still plenty to go at.

Tea was a breaded quorn burger with baked potato and veg, and then I had my notes to write, interrupted by another marathon phone call from Rosemary, hence I’m way later than I intended.

We’ve had a storm and a rainstorm too so that might cool everything down. I hope so because I’ve been in shirtsleeves with z fan going all day and I’m still struggling for breath in this heat.

Monday 13th June 2022 – NOW HERE’S A THING!

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While you admire a couple of photos of various sea-going craft, including what looks like Marité out there in the bay, I’ll tell you about my rather surprising day.

In fact, I seemed to be rather better today. The walk up to the physiotherapist and back again wasn’t quite as bad as it has been of late, and I only crashed out for about 15 minutes today, and that’s rather surprising considering the way that things have been.

Especially when I was up and out of bed this morning at 06:00 ready to work on my radio programme.

Once again today I wasn’t particularly rushed to complete it and it was about 11:30 when I finally finished it. And that was despite stopping for a coffee and also for breakfast sometime later

trawlers yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Although it’s not one of the better programmes from a music point of view, it’s a good one from a technical point of view with some of the nicest joins that I’ve made for a while.

What slowed me down somewhat as well was that for part of the time I was having a chat with Alison on the internet. She had a few exciting pieces of news to impart.

When I’d finished preparing the radio programme i had a listen to one that I’d made several weeks ago that will be broadcast this coming weekend, to make sure that it’s all correct

And while I was listening to it, I was tidying up and sorting out a few files on the computer freeing up a little more space.

There was time for me to have a shower before going to lunnch, to make sure that I was nice and clean and presentable ready to go to the physiotherapist’s.

After lunch I had a listen to the programme that I’d prepared this morning while I was still doing some housekeeping on the computer, and then it was time for me to go out for my appointment.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022As usual, the first thing that I needed to do was to go to make sure that the NIKON 1 J5 was working properly.

That means going to the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the viewpoint overlooking the outer harbour to see what was happening there and take a photograph of it.

As it happens, there was nothing to see today. The tide is quite far out and there is no-one playing “Musical Ships” this afternoon.

But the tractor and trailer are down there on the lower level waiting for the boats to come in later on this afternoon. They will take away the boxes of shellfish although to where I don’t know. I’m not quick enough on my pins these days to break into a run to follow it.

yacht pescadore wavecat express chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Meanwhile I’d heard a racket coming from over in the chantier naval.

It looks as if the portable boat lift has just a yacht out of the harbour earlier today and is presumably waiting for the tide to come in so that they can lower it back in.

And apart from that, there’s no other change in the occupants of the chantier naval. We still have Pescadore and Wavecat Express in there today along with the cabin cruiser and the catamaran that have been in there for a while now.

So with nothing else going on I wandered off down the hill towards the town.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022A little further on I came to the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour where I stopped to see what was happening there.

Marité, the large sailing boat, wasn’t there. We saw her in an earlier photo out there in the Baie de Granville, but there was a pile of freight waiting on the quayside.

That means that we will be going to be having a visit from one of the little Jersey freighters some time soon.

And it might even be Normandy Trader because I saw a photo this morning to suggest that her overhaul is complete and she’s gone back into the water ready to carry on where she left off.

cherry picker Rue de l'Abreuvoir Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There weren’t too many people in the town today – there never are on a Monday as many places are closed.

But what there was was a cherry picker in one of the side streets with a guy in the nacelle doing some maintenance work on one of the buildings.

He had the street coned off to traffic and as I watched, a motorist reversed out of a parking place, flattened a couple of the cones and then drove away. It’s not just pathetic parking that’s an issue around here.

And gritting my teeth, I prepared myself for the long, weary climb up the hill towards the physiotherapist’s.

furniture lift rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And here’s something that I’ve not seen before in France.

We’ve seen plenty of them in Belgium though, haven’t we? A furniture lift being used to help someone move from one of the apartments in the Rue Couraye.

One thing that I have noticed is that many of the stairs in the buildings here are steep and narrow and I must admit that I wouldn’t feel safe, even if I was feeling fit and healthy, carrying heavy loads down the kind of stairs that you find in some of the buildings here.

At the physiotherapist’s she had me doing a few exercises and then 10 minutes on the exercise bike. And things seemed to be a little easier today.

When the session was finished I staggered out into the daylight and down the hill towards the town centre, and then back up to the other side of the hill towards my building.

gerlean rocalamauve l'omerta la grande ancre le styx port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022By now all of the boats are coming into the port one by one to unload their catch.

We can identify several of them – Gerlean, Rocalamauve, L’Omerta, La Grande Ancre and Le Styx are the ones that we can recognise at a glance.

Round about here I bumped into one of my neighbours. She’s the nurse and home help who lives on the floor above and, biting the bullet, I told her that I’m intending to engage her services when I come back from my travels.

Cleaning my apartment is now quite beyond my capabilities and if I don’t do something about it soon, it’ll be too late and I’ll end up living in some kind of squalid circumstances and I need to avoid that at all costs.

car driving the wrong way place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Now here’s something else worthy of note.

Just now I mentioned a motorist squidging a couple of cones down in the Rue Paul Poirier. But up here outside my apartment we have something even more interesting.

You can see quite clearly the “no entry” sign by the gate. This street here is a one-way street but this motorist doesn’t seem to care less about any of that. He’s pushing on regardless.

There’s definitely something wrong with a lot of people when they don’t care less about the rules of the road.

It’s not just cars coming the other way but there are loads of pedestrians around here who are used to cars only coming one way with the flow of traffic and won’t be looking out for vehicles coming in the opposite direction.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Before I went in I went across the car park to have a look down on the beach to see what was happening there.

There weren’t all that many people down there this afternoon. Only a couple of people. There wasn’t anyone else taking advantage of such a nice day which was a surprise.

On the way back here there was another neighbour loitering around so I had a chat with her as well. She’s not doing very well at the moment either. It seems to be quite an epidemic of illness in the building.

Back here I made a strawberry smoothie and came in here to transcribe the dictaphone notes.

I was working behind the bar in this night club. Someone came in asking for a packet of cigarettes. They gave me the little square card with the barcode on and I had to go to the machine. It was hung from the ceiling so I had to climb up onto a couple of tables and 1 or 2 other things and then I’d be lucky if I could reach it. At one of the tables was a girl called Alison whom I knew from school whose surname ought to have been “Raleigh”. She was there with a guy so I was talking to her. The guy was looking at me rather strangely so I said that we knew each other from school and didn’t say too much. She made a few remarks about one or two people whom we knew and she knew in particular. Then I had to reach for this cigarette machine but I couldn’t reach it. It was one of those things that you were only ever going to have one go at reaching because if you overbalance you’ll fall. If you fell you’d need to grab hold of the cigarette machine to stop you falling into a void. I was there tottering away on the edge of this table thinking that I’m never going to reach this machine and get this pack of cigarettes. I had absolutely no confidence that I was ever going to do so. It seemed a strange place for this machine anyway. Everyone was urging me on to go and get this packet of cigarettes but I just couldn’t see how I was going to do it without it all ending in tears. It was all extremely confusing and extremely bad for the morale this kind of dream where I couldn’t even think about getting this pack of cigarettes. All I could think about was stopping myself from falling into the void.

Then there were a few of us walking through this shipyard when all of a sudden we were pounced upon by a group of people. They started to attack and torture us, asking us questions about the ships that we’d seen being built. Wr hadn’t taken very much notice so we weren’t able to say very much. They started to become even more aggressive and the attackes became even more painful as they tried to make us tell them things but we couldn’t really tell them anything because we hadn’t noticed anything while we were walking through the shipyard

I had a cheque for £347 that I had to take to the bank. I handed it over the counter to the cashier but she credited it straight away into my bank account without asking me what I wanted to do with it. A little later in the day I’d run out of money. I realised that I’d only wanted to pay £200 into the account and I wanted the rest as cash so I had to go back to the bank and argue about that they had done with this cheque. Eventually I managed to find the woman whom I’d seen earlier (at least I thought that it was her) and discuss the situation with her before she would then return some of the money that was paid into my account from this cheque

It was while I was finishing it off that I fell asleep but surprisingly it was only for a few minutes.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with rice and veg and now that I’ve typed my notes I’m off to bed. I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to be on form.

And who knows? I might have a better day tomorrow too but one swallow doesn’t make a summer, does it?

Sunday 12th June 2022 – I CAN’T EVEN HAVE …

hang gliders place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022… have a Day of Rest on my Day of Rest, can I?

Sunday is a day when I’m supposed to be having a decent lie-in to catch up with whatever I’ve missed during the week and to tell the truth I would probably still be in bed right now except that I had a rather urgent need to go for a ride on the porcelain horse round about 09:20.

And that killed my lie-in stone-dead, regrettably.

So while you admire a few photos of the various forms of aerial activity that took place around the town this afternoon, I’ll tell you about my rather depressing day today.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022After I’d had my medication this morning I came back here and made a start on work.

What I had to do was to pair off the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. Not that I’ll be doing very much tomorrow, I reckon. If the last few days is anything to go by, I’ll be lucky if I’ll be able to haul myself out of bed at any kind of reasonable time tomorrow.

And then, regrettably, I fell asleep again and that was that. I was still stark out when Ingrid telephoned me and you’ve no idea how difficult it is to hold a conversation with anyone when all you want to do is to sleep.

As a result of the foregoing I had a rather late lunch again.

red powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022After lunch I had a kilo of carrots to peel and blanch ready to freeze and then I had a listen to what had happened during the night on the dictaphone.

I’d been out somewhere and my elder sister had come with me. She was dressed in a pair of thigh-high black leather boots, black trousers and a black jacket. We went to wherever it was and came back. She started to undress in the middle of the room which I thought was a strange thing to do. She told me “you’ve seen all this before” which of course I probably had but not from my sister. It wasn’t the kind of stuff that I was particularly wanting to see. She just peeled herself out of her clothes like peeling a banana. I thought that this was a strange thing to do.

yacht speedboat la grande ancre baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And then we were talking about Jeeps and things. Someone was asked to describe a Jeep. They said that it was like a Land Rover where all the bodywork had been bent backwards and warped because they’ve just been driving through a housing estate somewhere that was being built and had hit a raised manhole. The Land Rover had stuck on it but of course the momentum had caused all the bodywork to twist and warp on it. It had made a real mess of everything.

There was also a teacher bringing a party of schoolchildren over on a catamaran. As he was bringing them in close to port he was going round reminding them not to ask anyone any stupid questions when they docked. I can’t remember how this developed.

yachts cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022and finally there was a story about how a village in Russia had been hit by Bubonic Plague. People had heard all kinds of mysteries going on about this place. They had been issuing jigsaws to people to piece together to try to work out what was the answer. Someone finally completed one and left it in the street completed and cleared off quickly. The village was closed and no-one was allowed in or out and everyone was dying, even the medical staff. The leader of the medical staff there was dead and had the place at the top of the roll of honour of those who had died

There was time for half an hour on the acoustic guitar too before I was ready for going out for my afternoon walk. I don’t want to forget what I’ve spent all this time learning. And while I was at it, I worked out a simple chord structure to CITY OF LIGHTS by RUNRIG.

Strangely enough, I seem to recall a while ago someone saying that he wasn’t going to learn any more new songs but just go with what he’d got at that point. I wonder who that was.

But since that date 26 songs have somehow been added to it, all of which I play at some point or other and of which 15 are on the playlist

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022But anyway that was the cue for me to go off for my walk around the city walls this afternoon.

First stop is, as usual, a look down onto the beach to see what was happening there today. And with it being a really nice afternoon (I ended up in shirt sleeves at some point) there were quite a few people down there today.

Even a few taking to the water too. In fact this had me trying to think of when I was last swimming in the sea and apart from when I fell in when I was up in the High Arctic in 2018, it was when I was in Greece in 2013

Hans and I were actually talking about Greece a while ago and I happened to mention “the last time I was in Athens was with your sister!” That’s the kind of remark that kills a conversation stone-dead, especially when it’s the truth.

repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And while I’m here I thought that I’d have a good look at the repairs to the medieval city wall.

They have been doing some more dismantling. Quite a lot more has been demolished compared to the last time that we were here. It looks as if they are making a thorough job of it all, and quite right too.

Much as I would have liked to, I didn’t go down the steps to look at what was happening at the outside of the wall. And for obvious reasons too. Going down the steps is one thing. Coming back up is something else completely, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

lobster pot buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Instead I wandered off through the arch and along the path outside the walls towards the Plat Gousset.

Offshore in the bay, as well as all of the boats that we have already seen, there were a few more of these buoys with flags on top.

We’ve had this discussion on several occasions, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and I reckon that they indicate where the local fishermen have dropped their lobster pots so they know where to go to pick them up again.

And as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I wonder how they manage to train a lobster to actually go on one.

kite surfer baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022It wasn’t just lobster pots, yachts, cabin cruisers and La Grande Ancre who were out there in the bay either.

The number of hang gliders in the air will give you some kind of indication of how windy it was this afternoon, and there was a kite surfer out there making the most of it too.

We saw a couple of them in the bay on the other side of the headland a couple of days ago but we haven’t see one on this side of the headland for a while. It’s a sure sign that “Sumer is a–cumen in. Lhude sing cucu”, hey?

tidal swimming pool diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There were quite a few people wandering around on the path this afternoon so I had to fight my way through the masses down to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

And they still haven’t fitted the diving platform onto the concrete pillar down there. Summer is going to be here and gone before they get round to doing it at this rate

Plenty of people in the water here though, but then access from the promenade to the beach is much easier than scrambling down the steps in the Rue du Nord.

Despite the renovations to the tidal swimming pool, it’s still not holding water between high tides. I thought that was rather the point of it

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022You can see what I mean by the access to the beach from the promenade.

There are a couple of ramps and a set of steps that are by no means as challenging as those at the Rue du Nord. And that’s why there are crowds of people down there sitting in the sand.

They are out of the wind too thanks to the headland.

The red machine that we saw down there working with a pile of dislodged rocks is still there too. That’s going to be quite an interesting job of work. I wonder what the purpose of it all is. I suppose that I shall find out in due course.

baby seagulls with mother seagull rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Having finished my inspection of the Plat Gousset I wandered off down the Square Maurice Marland to see how the seagulls were doing.

The two chicks that I have been observing were huddled up in some shade this afternoon and I couldn’t take a good photograph so in the end I had to settle with another bunch of chicks, with a very proud mummy standing guard over them

Plenty of sea-going activity in the bay this afternoon but there wasn’t anything exciting going on in the inner harbour this afternoon that we haven’t seen before so I left them to it and wandered off towards home and my strawberry smoothie.

artists fair rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022In the old town this afternoon it’s the Artists’ Fair.

There are plenty of artists in the old town with all kinds of galleries and today was when they were having a sale of unsold work. And frankly I could see why it was unsold because it was either far too overpriced or the quality wasn’t up to all that much.

This modern art, surrealism and impressionism with huge swirls of colours, seems to be all the rage but it’s not something that I like at all. I prefer art to be like a photograph, a faithful representation of a view, with skill and talent.

Something that actually looks like what it’s supposed to be, painted by someone who knows how to paint. But these days I’d be embarrassed to put most of what I see on my wall. I know what I want for my apartment, and I know how much I’m going to pay for it too.

Back here, I crashed out yet again for an hour or so and then I did a pile of Welsh revision, going through some of the stuff that I’d written over the last two weeks.

In between all of this, I had some bread to make. I used the last of the loaf on Friday so I made another pile of dough which I left on one side to proof for a while.

After lunch I’d taken out a lump of pizza dough from the freezer and that had been defrosting. By now that was ready so I kneaded it and rolled it out, putting it on the pizza tray so that that could proof too.

home made bread vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While the bread was baking I assembled my pizza and when the bread was baked I put it in the oven to bake as well.

The bread looks absolutely perfect and the pizza didn’t look too bad either. It tasted quite delicious too and I’ll tell you about the bread tomorrow after I’ve sampled it for lunch.

And talking about tomorrow I took out the next batch of fruit buns from the freezer ready to defrost, and put the carrots in there to freeze for the next couple of weeks.

When I finished tea I washed up a pile of stuff in the kitchen and came in here to write up my notes.

Now I’m off to bed. I have an early start in the morning to prepare a radio programme and I’m not looking forward at all to doing it. I’m really not feeling much like anything at all right now.

Tuesday 7th June 2022 – THIS WAS ANOTHER …

… day that I’d much rather forget, because I’ve spent most of it asleep again.

Surprisingly the day started quite well because I was wide-awake shortly after 07:00 and didn’t have any trouble at all leaving the bed at 07:30 when the alarm went off. But that was as good as it got.

After the medication I came back in here to prepare for my Welsh course, and I promptly fell asleep. And not just for a few minutes either but for over an hour and that was disappointing. Even more disappointing was that Zero didn’t come to watch over me while I was asleep, like she did yesterday.

Eventually I managed to find the strength to prepare for the Welsh lesson, and actually it didn’t go too badly. I was actually surprised with what I could remember and that’s not like me at all.

When the lesson finished I went for a shower and a good scrub up, and I actually smell quite nice for a change.

Lunch was quite late, what with one thing and another, and then fighting off waves of sleep I headed off out.

gerlean port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There was no physiotherapy yesterday because it was a Bank Holiday, but she had offered me a session today.

So on my way out I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was happening down in the port.

And it looks as if we are back playing another game of “musical ships”. L’Omerta isn’t there this afternoon nut in her place today is Gerlean.

There’s another boat moored behind her too but I can’t see who she is from here. Whoever she is, she’s quite small so she can’t be anyone special.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There was plenty of activity going on in the Baie de Mont St Michel this afternoon too.

One of the sailing schools has gone out there and they are all having a really good time, being shepherded around by a couple of zodiacs.

One of these days I’ll be out there with them. I haven’t forgotten that. But I just don’t know when I’m going to find the time what with everything that I have going on right now, physiotherapy, language lessons, hospital appointments and all of that.

But anyway, that’s something to worry about for another time. I headed off down the hill towards the town.

la grande ancre p692 maroni gendarme maritime port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022The other day we saw one of the Gendarme Maritime boats, P692 Maroni, in port.

There’s one moored over there against the wall today as well. Of course I can’t say whether it’s Maroni, but it would be most unlikely to be a different one.

Plenty of smaller boats over there as well, and we can recognise La Grande Ancre amongst them.

The walk up the hill was total agony. It was just like the dark days of last summer when I was at my worst. Just recently I’ve been making it all the way up the hill in one go but today I lost count of how many times I had to stop for breath

She put me through my paces for a while and then we finished off with 10 minutes on the exercise bike. Luckily she didn’t wind it full up otherwise I would never have managed it.

My plan when she threw me out was to go round to Lidl for some shopping but I was honestly in no state whatever to go there today. Instead, I went to the Carrefour across the road for just enough apples and onions to see me through until the weekend.

kiddies roundabout biofood stalls place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Back in the centre of the town the kiddies’ roundabout was still there.

It’s certainly smaller than the pink one that used to come here, about which there was all of that fuss with the mairie.

And with it being Tuesday, it’s the bio market in the Place General de Gaulle and you can see a couple of stalls in the background. But it’s not much of a bio market at all. Last time I looked, there were only two stalls and that’s not going to change significantly anyone’s eating habits.

But the walk back home was pretty awful again with several stops for breath. I’m definitely right out of this.

omerta hera victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022A little earlier we saw Gerlean moored at the quayside by the fish processing plant and you were probably wandering where L’Omerta, who usually lives there, was moored.

She’s actually just there in the inner harbour, just to prove that she can do it at times when she wants to. It’s just a mystery why she doesn’t want to do it all the time.

Also in shot is the trawler Hera on her way back to the quayside after a day out fishing in the bay. And Victor Hugo is there too. One of these days we’ll see her actually taking passengers out to the Channel Islands, although I’m not holding my breath.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Before going into the apartment for a coffee I went to look down onto the beach.

There were just one or two people down there this afternoon, and no-one brave enough to go into the water. It was a nice afternoon, but clearly not that nice.

Back in the apartment I made myself a coffee but before I could drink it, I crashed out. And I was out for 90 minutes too in a really deep sleep.

One of the things that was disappointing about that was that after yesterday, Zero didn’t come to watch over me while I was asleep. That was something that I actually found extremely touching. I’m not used to people being so solicitous about my welfare.

It’s a shame that it never happens in real life. But then again I would take Zero in a dream watching over me rather than anyone whom I know in real life.

While I was drinking my very cold coffee later on I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was a young person, a little person running around creating mayhem in a kitchen somewhere that was doing something for a fair or a fête or something but that’s all that I can remember.

And then I was on a beach somewhere but it wasn’t a beach it was a snow field. It was like a holiday thing and a meeting and we’d all connected to the internet to try to follow this meeting. I’d managed to make a connection and I could follow it vaguely although it was clicking in and out. There were a few things that needed to be doing here and there and I could follow them vaguely. The girl in charge of it was coming round. She came to me and asked me how I was doing. I showed her that everything seemed to be fine and working after a fashion so she left me to it. People started breaking up and drifting away as it was starting to go dark and cold. I didn’t see much point in being here for very much longer so I was planning on drifting away as well, I reckoned, and seeing what maybe tomorrow might bring or later on that night somewhere else might happen

Tea was a taco roll with rice and veg and then I sat down to type up my notes. I had intended to deal with my Welsh notes for my exam once I’d finished but Rosemary rang to tell me about her trip to the mairie with her Ukrainian refugees in order to start their registration process. That should keep her busy for the next few weeks.

But right now I’m off to bed. An early night because I have a lot to do. Here’s hoping that I can do it without falling asleep. Or if I do, then that Zero will come to watch over me while I’m sleeping.

Friday 27th May 2022 – IT’S NOT BEEN A …

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022 … very good day at all today, which has been rather disappointing.

So while you admire a few photos of all of the various types of water craft that were out and about this afternoon while I was out on my afternoon walk, I’ll tell you all about what went wrong.

And it was in fact when I came back from my afternoon walk, poured myself out a coffee and then came in here to sit down and drink it.

Instead, I crashed out. And crashed out completely too into one of the deepest sleeps that I’ve had for quite some considerable time.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And it wasn’t just for five or ten minutes either.

It was for a whole two hours that I was away with the fairies. So much so that I couldn’t move at all. And this is pretty bad news because if I’m thinking of going off on my travels for a little while at the end of next month, I can’t do with falling asleep in the middle of the afternoon.

That was what put me off going anywhere last year. Imagine me farh’n fahr’n fahr’n up the autobahn in Calburn at 120kph and then suddenly dropping off to sleep without any warning.

It wouldn’t be too bad if I knew that I was going and had time to pull over and stop but how things are at the moment, it’s just as if someone flicks a switch and I go out like a light.

sailing boat ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But anyway, I knew it was going to be a difficult day when I had such a struggle to leave my bed this morning.

I actually made it quite comfortably straight after the first alarm but it took an enormous amount of willpower and I would have given everything I owned to have been able to have crawled back underneath the covers

Mind you, after what I’d said yesterday, Zero put in an appearance last night – the first one of my three female friends to do so for quite some considerable time. So who would actually want to leave the bed when she is wandering around somewhere in the ether? Certainly not me.

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022So after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out what had been happening during the night.

We were all round at my eldest sister’s last night. There were a few people there, Her daughter was there, and so was Zero. The conversation was becoming rather risqué and I noticed that my sister was keeping a tight rein on things making sure that it didn’t get out of hand. While we were clearing up the mess because they had all made quite a mess eating their tea I said to my sister “you were letting it go a bit beyond the pale just now weren’t you?” rather ironically. She asked me about Zero, what was she like. I replied that she’s no shrinking violet to which my sister’s ears pricked up. I said “I don’t mean it quite like that but you know what I mean. Kids are all a lot older than their years these days”. I was putting all this food in the fridge, all half-eaten stuff, a real mess and I can’t think why my sister was wanting to keep it all. It should all have been in the bin but it was all going in this fridge to be kept which I thought was really strange.

Today I’ve been working on “Neighbours” and “Celebrations”, two of these 28 topics that might appear during the exam. We have 28 subjects and our interviewer chooses 5. We have to speak for at least a minute on each of the 5 subjects and he asks a few questions.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds because things like , for example “Celebrations” and “Your Last Holiday” I can talk pretty much about the same thing – that trip I did in 2018 to CLEBERATE THE 200th ANNIVERSARY OF THE VOYAGE OF JAMES ROSS which one day I’ll finish off.

There are quite a few where there is a considerable overlap of subjects.

But then we have to pick a subject and spend a minute asking the interviewer questions about it. And that’s not as easy as it sounds either.

Rosemary rang me up as well. There was something that she forgot to tell me so that led to another long conversation that went on for ages and ages.

hang gliders place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022This afternoon, as usual I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

But I’d hardly put my sooty foot outside the building before I felt the cold hand of doom fall upon me.

In actual fact it was a pair of bird-men of Alcatraz going fluttering by on their Nazguls, making the most of the windy weather. In fact, there must have been at least half a dozen or so of them up in the air here and there dotted along the coastline.

A couple of them were two-seaters, and that reminded me that one of these days I’m intending to go for a run around with one of them, just for the hell of it.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022With the amount of wind that we were having this afternoon I wasn’t expecting to see all that many people down there on the beach this afternoon.

Consequently when I stuck my head over the wall to see what was happening down there, I was surprised to see the crowds. They were certainly out there in numbers this afternoon, although I did notice that no-one was brave enough to go into the water.

And while we are on the subject of crowds, there were crowds on the path up here this afternoon. Whenever there’s a Bank Holiday on a Thursday, many French people also take the Friday off too – faire le pont and they were certainly doing that in spades today.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022The car park at the end of the headland was packed with cars so I had to fight my way through the cars to go down to the end.

No caterpillars today again, but there were plenty of people down there, with several of them loitering around by the bench.

Those of them sitting on the bench were certainly enthralled with all of the maritime displays that were taking place just offshore, and they had plenty to choose from too.

With no fishermen to attract our attention this afternoon I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland.

sm734551 hermine bastien steeven baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Just out there in the bay is a visitor to the port whom we have seen once or twice in the past.

She’s a trawler called Hermine Bastien Steeven and despite her Dutch or Flemish name she’s actually registered across the bay in St Malo as you can tell from her registration number, which begins with “SM”.

It was actually back in April when we first saw her come into port. Things must be rather quiet right now at St Malo.

Meanwhile at the chantier naval there was no change at all in occupancy there today. Still just L’Ecume II and the dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie.

petite laura la grande ancre yann frederic port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Lots of activity at the Fish Processing Plant as I went past this afternoon.

Quite a few of the smaller boats were there this afternoon and while I didn’t recognise them all, the ones that I could identify are, from left to right, Petite Laura, La Grande Ancre and Yann Frederic.

Back here I brought my coffee in here and sat down to drink it, and the next thing that I knew, it was 18:30. that was enough to put the damper on just about everything as far as today went

Tea tonight was an aubergine whatsit with pasta – at least, it should have been, but it turned out to be a curry that had somehow found its way into the wrong bag. Still, it’s all eaten one way or another.

After tea I came back here to listen to my live radio programme only to find that we have had yet another technical issue and the streaming service programme has crashed.

Actually, what I think has happened is that the power cut that we had the other day has interrupted the timer and whoever does the scheduling is on holiday so it hasn’t been reset.

But that’s convinced me that I’m not going to do another live concert. It’s a lot of work, you have no idea how much, but I enjoy it so much and the finished product (when it works) is a real work of art so I don’t mind at all.

And so I want it to reach the widest possible audience and that results in having to do a lot of publicity. And then finishing with egg on my face when it all goes tits-up.

The game is, quite simply, not worth the candle. I can’t deal with the anguish

Wednesday 27th April 2021 – RULE NUMBER 14 …

… of “when you live by the seaside near a fish-processing plant” is “never go out without wearing a hat”.

So guess who forgot to do that today when he took the rubbish out?

And before you ask the obvious question, the answer is “yes, and from a great height too”. The seagulls around here have an accuracy that puts RAF’s Bomber Command to shame

They say that this kind of thing is supposed to bring one good luck, and I certainly could do with some after the last few days.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Today wasn’t any better, so while you admire a few photos of Thora, one of the little Channel Island freighters and her cargo, I’ll tell you haw it did (or didn’t) transpire.

Despite saying that I was going to have an early night last night, it didn’t end up like that at all as for one reason or another, I was rather side-tracked. It was well after midnight by the time that I finally fell into bed.

There was no hope whatsoever of me leaving the bed at 07:30 when the alarm went off. In fact I slept through all three alarms and it was 08:40 when I finally arose from the dead.

Actually, when I finally did leave the bed I felt much better than I had done for quite a while. But it wasn’t to last.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022In fact the morning was rather like yesterday when I crashed out once I’d taken my medicine – because I did the same again today.

And no surprise either that I was right out of it for about an hour and when I came round again, it took yet another while to get going again.

All of this is boding ill for probably the most significant weekend that I will have had in 30 years.

But anyway, I digress … “again” – ed. Once I’d pulled myself together I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

thora leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Last night I started off at my Aunt Mary’s. She was living in Central London right at the top of a huge skyscraper that was 194 metres tall and had 194x194m² of glass in the outside of it, the facade. We were right on top. I’d been to fetch a coffee and was walking back to my desk which was on the top floor. I was having to do it very slowly, very carefully because I was on the verge of having a panic attack about being so high and that’s not like me at all, is it? up there. I was glad that it was foggy and I couldn’t see the ground. She was telling me that she would only go up there id it was misty when she couldn’t see the ground either.

And then I was in Scotland last night watching a football match. The match had ended and there was a crowd of us milling around. I had to use the bathroom. It was New Year’s Eve so I was going to buy a meat pie and chips for a carry-out. The place at the football ground was exceptionally good as I seemed to remember so that was where I was going. I was talking to a few people. We were all discussing different kinds of food, where we could buy it etc. I had my heart set on this pie and chips. It was late at night when this match finished. I said that I wasn’t in any rush because my next train down to the south was at 04:25. I’d have to loiter around Glasgow station until then anyway no matter what time I arrived there. The discussion went on about the trains and the speeds at which they travelled non-stop down to London from Glasgow. Sometimes there would be the police waiting at Euston to catch them for speeding on the road. It was full of all kinds of nostalgia like that. But me looking forward to having a meat pie – can you imagine? A Scottish “bridie”!

Having dealt with all of that I’ve spent most of the rest of the day on the photos from the Canadian High Arctic in 2019. Right now we’ve sailed back up the Rae Strait and are currently in the Barrow Strait waiting for a coastguard to come and rescue one of our passengers who was disabled after an accident on board.

It wasn’t as straightforward as it might have been either. Not the editing, but the merging. I had three cameras on the go at once – the NIKON D500, the NIKON 1 J5 and the one on the telephone.

Well, not all at once, but I was swapping between them all during the course of the journey and with editing and renumbering the photos, the aim was to run all of the photos in consecutive numbers in date and time order regardless of the camera on which I took them.

And then I discovered 5 that I’d forgotten on the NIKON 1 J5, so I had to go back and renumber a huge pile of photos and move the explanatory text around to correspond with the new numbering.

With going out to the doctor’s this afternoon I also had a shower. And cut my hair too. Next time that I have a close encounter with a seagull I won’t have quite so many problems

There were the usual pauses throughout the day for breakfast, coffee, lunch and (very regrettably) another crash-out this afternoon as well. Another good one too and I’m pretty much fed up of all of this. I’ve been in this state for pretty much the last few years, apart from a few months here and there.

Anyway, eventually I set out for the doctor’s to see what he could tell me about my MRI scan.

fishing boats l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As usual, on my way out I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne where I could look down into the port and see what was happening.

The tide is on its way in right now and the fishing boats are coming home to roost. There’s a whole gaggle of them congregating at the wharf by the Fish Processing Plant, jostling for position around L’Omerta who looks as if she’s still there since yesterday.

Unfortunately, at this distance with the NIKON 1 J5 with its standard lens I’m not able to identify any of the other fishing boats down there.

There’s something parked on the lower level underneath the fish processing plant too. I can just about make out something down there but I can’t see what it is.

la grande ancre trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There is a pile of other fishing boats on their way into the harbour too.

By the looks of things the gates into the inner harbour aren’t open so they are having to wait around. And in the background, we have La Grande Ancre moored over by the ferry terminal.

And while we’re on the subject of the ferry terminal … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ve heard on the grapevine that the two Channel Island ferries are in Jersey having a trial run docking at the newt ferry terminal there.

That seems to indicate that it’s definitely “on” then, and they’ll be on their way.

cherry picker rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022From there I wandered off down the hill in the Rue des Juifs towards town.

The cherry-picker is still there today, but its operating arm is folded up so I was keen to see what was happening about that.

In actual fact, there was one of the operators collecting together a huge bundle of wood, presumably to lift back up onto the roof, although they seemed to have finished the roof on the one that was so badly damaged in the fire.

A wooden framework and then a large tarpaulin of some description thrown over the top to keep out the weather.

roofing burnt out houses rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022This is what they have been doing.

They’ve done two of the properties and are now working on the third. That wooden framework on the house on the extreme right looks quite substantial, which it will need to be to withstand some of the storms that we have around here.

The windows are blocked off too, to keep out the weather and also (and much more likely) to keep out the seagulls.

But they won’t be leaving it like that for long, I reckon. It won’t take much of a wind to tear that covering and that won’t be any good.

scrap on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022We saw just now the little freighter Thora all loaded up and on the point of leaving the harbour.

It looks as if she’s brought in a good load with her too. I imagine that she’s dropped off all of this stuff onto the quayside ready for someone to take away.

But you can tell that I’m getting old. 20 years ago I would have been down on the quayside late at night removing the number plates off that van ready to reuse on something else. Foreign plates are like gold-dust in my armoury.

One of these days I’ll write a book about my early life and include a few details about my mis-spent youth but I need to swot up carefully on any Statutes of Limitations and check up a few Extradition Treaties first.

Not for nothing did I go hiding in the mountains of Central France

removing scrap port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there was a pile of junk lying around on the quayside that had been there for several weeks.

There was someone here today moving that lot away too. But it sounded quite metallic to me so maybe it isn’t the remains of the bouchot stakes that they pulled up on teh Ile de Chausey. I was in half a mind to go for a closer look but I noticed the time and had to run for my appointment.

At the doctors, he didn’t say too much about my knee. What he has done is to give me a letter to take to a Sports Therapist whom he knows who might well be able to help. He doesn’t think that surgery is going to be much good.

He reckons that it might be due to age but I told him that he was talking nonsense. My other knee is exactly the same age as this one and there’s nothing wrong with that.

While he was at it, he gave me a prescription for my Aranesp and another for a blood test tomorrow.

There’s a new assistant in the chemist’s who didn’t understand the procedure about my Aranesp. It’s rather complicated because it doesn’t follow the usual French medical procedure so another assistant and I had to explain it to him.

And while I was there I bought some magnesium tablets. The doctor had noticed that I had a deficiency and thinks that one or two symptoms from which I might be suffering may have something to do with that.

There weren’t any neighbours prowling the streets this afternoon so I had an uneventful walk home

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022as usual, I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

The weather wasn’t as warm as it has been just recently but there were still a few people down there making the most of it, including someone who looks as if he has just come out of the water.

Back here I had a coffee and then backed up this month (so far)’s work onto the little memory stick that I take with me to Leuven. I’ll add the rest of the files in due course before I leave on Friday morning (if I ever get going) and update the portable computer as usual on the train.

Tea tonight was a kind of mixture of the leftover stuffing with kidney beans and tomato sauce with pasta and veg. It wasn’t anything special but I have to finish off the odds and ends of food hanging around before I leave. There’s a sweet potato that needs eating so I’m going to try to make some chips with it in the air fryer and see how they come out.

So now I’m off to bed shortly. I have to find some strength and energy from somewhere ready for the weekend otherwise it will be something of a disappointment. In more ways than one

Friday 22nd April 2022 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… miserable, depressing day today when nothing seemed to go according to plan and I’ve no idea why not either.

Nothing to do with the fact that I was rather later than intended going to bed last night. I ought to ba able to cope with 7.5 hours of sleep. And even so, I managed to haul myself out of bed before the second alarm went off, so that’s progress of some sort, I suppose.

Not that you might think so because it still took me a good while to bring myself into the land of the living and start work today.

First job was to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. And I had actually been with TOTGA for part of it, somewhere in the UK. I was as usual trying to get my hands on her … “no surprise there” – ed. We were having a discussion about a few different things and the topic of acting came up. She said that I’d appeared in a play somewhere but I couldn’t remember where it was. She mentioned something about somewhere in the East Midlands. I remembered then that there had been a play but I had a walk-on minor role in it. I was sure that that wasn’t what she had in mind but it was the only thing that I could recall at the time when I’d actually been in a play.

Later on I was going to be doing some building work or woodwork and I needed some tools. I made out a list of what I wanted and asked Terry about it. Of course he’s not here so the list was passed on to someone else but I didn’t hear anything. Nothing ever changed. Someone else turned up who also knew Terry. We were chatting about the job. I was talking about the mix-up and it turned out that this wasn’t the chap to whom Terry had given the information. Of course we had to start all over again as he was there on the spot but I couldn’t remember what it was that I had ordered. I didn’t have a copy of the list. I was really stranded about ordering the stuff that I needed for this job and not knowing what I wanted.

Somewhere in the middle of this was a girl who was a football referee. We’d all had new facilities on board this ship. There were several ships that were fishing boats but they were quite small. However they all had had new facilities and with this woman being our skipper as well we asked her whether she had private facilities or whether she had to kick the crew out of this one and use the communal ones. She said that because she was an official referee she had her own private facilities. That made us wonder about what happened about the other women skippers in this fleet who weren’t football referees. While we were talking she said that she wanted me and would I be free the next afternoon.? I had one or two things to do but I told her that I could fit her in for what it was that she wanted if she would let me know.

And then we were back in the Middle Ages. There was some old man who was living his life quite rough, impolite, rude, and had incurred the King’s displeasure. The King had sent someone down to arrest him and bring him back. It turned out to be this guy’s son. Theyw ere having some kind of emotional struggle – the son had to take him before the king but he wanted his son to let him go. This went on for quite some time with all kinds of recriminations etc

There was also something about my tax return. I had to complete it but I didn’t have all the papers. I had to find the papers but there was a time limit. I had to apply for nationality but I’d been there 11 years so I had to take 11 steps on this stepping-stone footpath but even then I couldn’t apply because the downward path from there was so steep and there was nowhere to hold on to. It was something that was getting out of hand. And that reminds me that I have my own tax return to do sometime when I come back from my travels.

Actually, part of me is looking forward to my next journey at the end of next week, but part of me isn’t. That’s because there is going to be something of a showdown where something on which I’ve been working for 30 years might come to fruition, if I’m extremely lucky.

On the other hand, it could lead to a major disappointment. And knowing how things usually pan out when I’m involved, that’s more likely the case.

Most of the day I’ve been working on the photos from the High Arctic again and I’ve finally made it, after a couple of years of attempts, to land on Beechey Island.

Just now I’ve been to visit THE THREE GRAVES of members of Sir John Franklin’s doomed expedition to discover the North-West Passage and having had an encounter with a gyrfalcon, I’m now picking my way through some mid-19th Century “Goldners” tin cans towards the remains of “Northumberland House”, the wooden shack that Pullen’s expedition erected in 1852-53 in case any of Franklin’s men should struggle back to Lancaster Sound.

It’s probably all of this that’s making me so depressed at the moment.

A few years ago I had an interesting discussion with a couple of Polar explorers about the Arctic, and I recalled a quote from someone called Judge Malone who had gone to search for the last resting place of his friend Leonidas Hubbard “I never had that feeling before on leaving the wilderness, but this country has exerted a peculiar fascination upon me. I understand what it was now that drew you … on and would not let you turn back”.

Yes, I have the bougeotte again, as they say around here, haven’t I? But there’s little prospect of that happening right now, the way everything is.

At the moment, the only way to deal with the bougeotte is to go for a walk around the headland and after the heady excitement of the last couple of days, even that was a disappointment today with nothing whatever out of the ordinary going on.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022The tape that was tied across the front of the building had gone today so I headed straight for the wall at the end of the car park to have a look down onto the beach.

And with the weather being so nice today, there were crowds of people down there this afternoon making the most of it. But that was no surprise really because the car park was packed with cars this afternoon.

Everyone was hemmed in pretty much close to the cliffs today because the tide hadn’t gone all that far out when I was out having a prowl around. They’ll have a couple of hours now to spread out before it comes back in.

repointing medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But here’s a big surprise!

By the looks of things they have finished all that they intend to do with repairing the medieval city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux and they have now moved the scaffolding further along the wall.

But I don’t like the look of that one little bit. There were a couple of mega-cracks in the wall and they don’t look as if they have done that much towards repairing them. I know when I was repointing my house back 10 years ago I wouldn’t have been very happy leaving any cracks like that in the wall.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While I was there I was also having a good look around out at sea.

Yesterday we saw a couple of fishing boats out on the Baie de Granville and as you can see, there’s one out there this afternoon. And you can tell by his wake that he’s just done a “U-turn” out there in the ocean.

The marker buoys for the lobster pots are still out there too but he’s a long way away from where they are.

And so dodging the crowds this afternoon I headed off down the path towards the lighthouse.

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe ru roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022The car park by the lighthouse was full to so I was expecting there to be crowds down there as well.

And this afternoon we had a couple more people on the bench by the cabanon vauban enjoying the sun. And that’s all that they were doing because there were no boats out there, and no fishermen on the rocks either.

Plenty of people on the lower path too having a stroll around but I wasn’t intending to join them. I’m having issues with the steps, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Instead, I headed off towards the port.

people on sea wall joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And there was quite a crowd over at the ferry terminal as well.

At first I was wondering whether they might have been queuing up to go for a sail on the Joly France ferry that’s over there. But in actual fact I noticed that the crane is working, with a few heavy bags dangling from its hook.

It’s probably a reasonable form of entertainment for the people over there watching the action.

And there will be more action going on over there as of the 5th May (when I am of course away on my travels) because I have it on good authority that the sailings to the Channel Islands are to resume on that date.

We shall see.

cleaning pontoon chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And there’s yet another change of occupant over at the chantier naval.

Le Roc A la Mauve III is still there in what must surely be one of the longest-ever stays that I have ever seen, but she’s now been joined by one of the little harbour pontoons that float around in there.

She’s having a good pressure-washing right now and the guy in charge loos as if he’s having an enormous amount of fun doing it too.

It’s the kind of thing that will keep him out of mischief for a while.

ch714399 l'iris de suse port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And the game of musical ships over at the Fish Processing Plant has taken a new twist today.

Neither Briscard nor L’Omerta is there today. The place is occupied by another inshore shell-fishing boat.

And thanks to her registration number being visible and the index of fishing boats that I found a while ago, I can tell you that she’s called L’Iris de Suse, whatever that is supposed to mean.

So what’s the betting for who will be moored there tomorrow? It’s a toss-up, I reckon, between Titanic and the Mary Celeste.

spirit of conrad charles marie anakena la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But at the moment there are croowds of boats over there in the inner harbour.

There are a few that I don’t recognise but those that I do include Spirit of Conrad, Charles Marie, Anakena and la Grande Ancre.

Back here I had a coffee and then I had a few things to do. It had been a miserable day today with having fought off sleep for much of the morning only to have crashed out completely and definitively for an hour or so before going for a walk..

Nothing is ever going to be done if I don’t get a move on.

Tea was my sausage, beans and chips. And the chips were rather hit-and-miss. I think that I’m not shaking them up enough to move them around in the air fryer half-way through so a few are overcooked and a few others are undercooked. But I’ll keep on persevering.

However, generic French baked Beans are awful. I tried a different lot today and they were just as bad as the last lot. I’ll have to buy the bullet and buy full-price branded stuff.

But that’s tomorrow when I go shopping I reckon. Not that I need much because I’m off on my travels next weekend. Judgement Day is approaching rather rapidly.

Monday 28th March 2022 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what it is with me but having had the news a few weeks ago that Kaatje, my “support worker” (really, my psychiatrist) at Castle Anthrax, is leaving her post at the end of the month, I had the news that Sonia my physiotherapist has decided to leave her post too

It seems to me that they are all sussing me out sooner or later.

Whoever is going to replace Kaatje remains to be seen but I bet that at the physiotherapist’s, they have some retired Bulgarian weightlifter lined up to take over. That is usually about par for the course, isn’t it?

repointing wall rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, in other news, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been keeping an eye on the repairs to the medieval walls, of which there are several miles thereof about the town.

One of the things that they did was to replace the brick capping on top of part of the walls and then leave it unpointed for all of the damp, humidity and frost, whatever else you like to infiltrate.

Anyway, today, they had a bricklaying class out there and to my surprise, they have made a start on repointing the brickwork that they did ever so long ago.

Not that they made much progress this afternoon, so I imagine that they’ll be back over the course of the next few days to complete the task.

scaffolding rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Something else that I mentioned the other day was the scaffolding that they have built over the Rampe du Monte à Regret.

As I was going down the hill I noticed that it was still there so I took a photo of it just for the record. It looks as if it’s going to be there for a few more days yet as they were busy moving the scaffolding around to different parts of the wall.

But anyway, be that as it may, I actually managed to haul myself out of bed just after the alarm went off at 06:00, which surprised me more than it surprised anyone else.

And after the medication, I made a start on the radio programme that I wanted to prepare today.

No records today though, because I was actually working on two at once. Having written the notes for the programme over the last week, I wrote them for the next one this morning and then dictated both one after the other.

There were several interruptions too – for the coffee and for breakfast, and also for the nurse who came round to inject me with my Aranesp ready to go off on my travels.

That prompted me to telephone the doctor for an appointment as I now have run out. That’s for Wednesday morning at 09:30.

Nevertheless, I’ve only prepared the one though. I’ll nibble away at the other here and there over the course of the forthcoming week and see where I end up.

When I finished the programme, I had a listen to it and also to the two that I’m sending off today. Yes. That’s right. I’m not here next week so I need to make sure that my programme will run next week without me.

During the three hours that it took for me to listen to the three programmes I attacked the photos from the High Arctic in 2019. I shifted a good pile of them too and now I’m just arriving at the abandoned RCMP post at Dundas Harbour on Devon island in the Canadian high Arctic.

During a pause here and there, I went and had a shower to clean myself up. I have to look my best for my physiotherapy.

After lunch I carried on with my photos while I listened to the radio programmes and then headed off out.

classe decouverte calean, spartiate, trafalgar, chant de sirenes, black pearl, charlevy fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was going on.

There was plenty of excitement there too this afternoon. All of the trawlers are coming in to unload and I can identify Calean, with Spartiate behind her. Then a couple of unidentified fishing boats with the blue, white and pink Trafalgar behind her.

Just coming in alongside the others is Chant de Sirenes with Black Pearl behind her, and then Charlevy just entering the harbour to the right.

Also on the quayside are several groups of school children.

One of the things that is quite common here in France is what they call the Classe Découverte – the “Discovery Class”.

They take groups of kids away from their natural environment and put them in another one for a week or so in order that they can experience life elsewhere. So what we probably have here is a bunch or two of kids from some inner city schools somewhere who are staying in the Youth Hostel in the town to find out about life in a fishing port.

And with all of the work going on down there with the seafood being unloaded into the vans, they will be learning a lot today.

And I learnt a lot on the way down into the town today. There is a series of steps that I use to test the force in my right knee and I found to my surprise that I could actually haul myself up them today. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do that.

la grande ancre swimming pool freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down in the harbour it looks as if we are going to be having one of the Jersey freighters in port very soon.

One of them has the contract for transporting the swimming pools out to the Channel Islands and with them being expensive items, they won’t want them to be lying around on the quayside for too long.

At least it won’t be going off on board la Grande Ancre. She won’t be taking them but the fact that she’s there in the loading bay means that they will be loading something onto her.

Down into the town I went and then up the hill on my way to the physiotherapists. And the walk wasn’t all that difficult today. Over the last week or so, things seem to have improved from that point of view and I don’t know why.

roofing rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Halfway up the hill I did come to a halt. But not for a breather.

They have been ripping the roof off this building here and they are currently in the process of replacing the woodwork. They certainly seem to have picked the right weather for it at the moment.

At the physiotherapist’s she had me on the couch with her electro-massage thing, followed by five minutes on the cross trainer and then a few exercises. And she showed me an exercise that I can do at home.

After she threw me out I staggered (and it was a stagger too) up the hill and round the corner to Lidl for a few supplies. But to my surprise, they don’t sell baked beans at Lidl and I fancied sausage, beans and chips for tea.

scaffolding on crane new building rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back I went past the building work that’s going on at the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo.

They had the Rue Victor Hugo closed off and they were unloading some scaffolding into the bucket that’s attached to the hook of the crane so I loitered around planning to watch them hoist it up.

When they had finished, they lifted it about a foot off the ground and then they all knocked off for a tea break, which seemed to be a rather strange thing to do.

Dodging yet another classe découverte I ended up in the town centre and picked up a few tins of baked beans from Carrefour. Can’t do without my baked beans.

On the way up the hill I bumped into one of my neighbours coming down, so we had a good chat for a while. I’m not usually the sociable type, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but I have to make an effort seeing as I live amongst them.

person in sea beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went back into the apartment I went to see what was happening down on the beach.

Not too many people down there today with it being a school day, but even so one of our intrepid adventurers had taken to the water. So hats off to him today.

Back in here I had a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone. I started off in Russia. I’d been collecting photos of steam trains and I had a couple of books to identify them. There were hundreds abandoned all over the place that I had photographed. But then the Russian authorities – something had happened and they didn’t want me to take any more photos. They made me sit on a bench in a station to wait for a train back home. The train was going to be in ever so many hours and hours’ time. all I had to do to thumb through were these photos and the couple of books that I had. Somehow something had happened and I ended up in some kind of industrial town in Northern England with terraced houses. The kids there were playing a game in the street. Even then, this was being gradually subsumed into this Russia thing where the kids were having to hang around in the street for hours and hours and amuse themselves which is difficult when you are bored, until something happens. It was very much the same scenario as me being in Russia

And then I was at work again. I’d set out to go to work fairly early but I’d gone off to do something else on the way. I arrived just before 10:00 and put my things on my desk and went into the assembly. When we all came out and went to sit at our desks there was a discussion going on about food and bread. Someone had been overcharged for his lunch sandwich etc. I already had my lunch sandwich for today but I had one for Friday which I was going to have for my breakfast because I hadn’t had breakfast yet. A girl with whom I used to work came over and said that someone saw me out at Peruwelz this morning on my way into work and wanted to know why I didn’t arrive until 10:00. We had a chat but I didn’t actually tell her the reason and I was intrigued to know who it was who had seen me. I was in a car a little later. I was driving and she was with me. We were going down this road that I don’t recognise and through a couple of speed limits. We wee chatting about nothing in particular.

I forgot to mention that somewhere in all of this I’d bought a black Rolls-Royce for £3500, a runner apparently. I had to go to pick it up at some point but I had nowhere to leave it. If it was a runner I could park it in the street or even park it in the place outside my building but I don’t know.

Regrettably, but not unexpectedly, I crashed out later. And for an hour too. Having made 90% of my daily activity today with having had a good session on the cross trainer, that’s enough to finish me off for today.

For tea, I fancied sausage beans and chips but one look at the sausages in the fridge told me that it wouldn’t be sausages that I’d be eating today. Instead, I had a burger with my beans and chips and, as I suspected, the beans from Carrefour were appalling. Not even pepper, grated cheese and rosemary could improve the taste.

So now that I’ve written my notes I’ll have half an hour on the guitar and then go to bed. I’ve had a busy day today and I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow. I need to be on form

Wednesday 2nd March 2022 – IN WHAT MUST SURELY …

repairing bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… be a new world record even for these days, the new bike shed didn’t last very long.

Not even 15 hours, because when I came home from the doctor’s this morning, the guy who was there yesterday installing it had returned and was now busy dismantling … “disPERSONing” – ed … it again.

Whatever he had done yesterday was clearly not good enough.

It’s not as if building a bike shed is rocket science so there’s no reason why he would need to take it apart again. But all that I can say is that I’m glad that I didn’t take my bike out of the back of Caliburn last night and park it in there.

There has been other news too today, and this news is equally depressing. At 12:00 midday all over France they tested the nuclear alert sirens, not that there’s anywhere these days to hide if there’s a nuclear attack.

We are living in interesting times.

fete foraine place herel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022So while you admire some photos of the fête foraine, the funfair, let me tell you about where I went during the night.

I was out on the Wirral peninsula last night. I’d been there before and I’d seen all of these kids coming out of school. There was a bus stop by three different schools, judging by the uniforms. I’d seen some kinds in another street, a residential suburban street and I wondered where on earth it might have been. I was looking for the house of a girl I know and her brother. I was wandering around and I only had the street name but I didn’t have the number or the ‘phone number and I didn’t even know exactly where it was so I had to find it on the map on my phone or something. I was walking around and suddenly came across a place in a street that went from north-east to south-west where I might have seen these children congregating but on a closer look it wasn’t actually the same place but pretty similar. Then I bumped into a little boy and a little girl. They were extremely talkative. They asked me what I was doing so I said that I was looking for this street that might have been called Allison Avenue, something like that, She said “oh, that lot of streets” as if she knew where it was. She said “why don’t you go to the end of the street here and look left? You can see all the way down the road to Liverpool from here”. I thought “maybe if I had time, I might but I don’t know where I have to go yet”. I started to quiz this girl but just then 2 other people came past and started to ask her something and she was talking to them. I was holding this girl’s arm by this time and I started to stroke it basically to keep her attention focused on me while she was talking to these 2 people.

fete foraine place herel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And later I was at a football match last night, watching a game sitting in the stand quite quietly. The ground was pretty full and these 2 boys were sitting next to me and started to crowd over onto my seat. They asked me if I was enjoying the game etc. The one in the middle asked “who was the hardest? me or his friend?”. I eplied that I don’t know his friend so I can’t really say. Then a fight erupted between the three of us and it was all extremely depressing kind of thing.

And then I was in my Opel Senator last night, using it as a taxi. I was parked up somewhere in Brussels and some guy who had at one time been a regular passenger in my taxi turned up. He said “we want to borrow your taxi for a moment to have” and about 10 of his friends stormed into it. They wouldn’t leave when I told them to so I went to ‘phone the police but my ‘phone kept on playing up – I couldn’t remember the password or the password was wrong or the ‘phone screen wasn’t working, all kinds of things like this. No matter what I tried I couldn’t make these people leave my car.

fete foraine place herel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Finally, I’d been out with some of my family again. I’d been out on a motorbike but I had my beige Cortina YLO with me. I was in an awful hurry to leave but they were loitering around. I was sitting there drumming my fingers on the table but my motorbike by now I’d actually coupled it up to the Cortina with a A-frame and so I set off on the motorbike pulling the car from Shavington. When I looked behind, the family was following me so I went quite quickly through the S-bends in Gresty, putting the motorbike well down to go round these bends towing the Cortina. I could hear tham say that I must be crazy or something. I arrived in Crewe and ended up in a subway somewhere. I had to cycle (because it was now a bike, that of Marianne’s that I was on) up the hill to the street-level but the gearing was all wrong on this bike. I couldn’t make it up the slope. No matter how fast I pedalled, it wasn’t advancing any. I had to roll back to the bottom of the slope on this bike pulling this car and then play with the gear arrangements on this bike in order to find the correct gear that would see me, the bike and the car back up the hill again and onto the street level so that we could continue.

But as you can see, it wasn’t a very pleasant night last night and in some respects I was glad when I awoke. That was actually quite early and I was out of bed as soon as the alarm went off at 07:30.

After the medication I went off to have a shower and a good clean-up ready to go to the doctor’s.

loading joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I reached the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury, I stopped to check the NIKON 1 J5.

Over at the ferry terminal was one of the Joly France boats, the older one of the two. And they were loading her up with stuff, judging my the crane with its hook dangling down into the forward hold of the boat.

It’s not exactly the best day of the year for a run out to the Ile de Chausey. It’s quite cool and windy and I’m well-wrapped up for a change.

lysandre les bouchots de chausey la grande ancre fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While I was there at the viewpoint I noticed that there was plenty of activity going on down at the fish processing plant.

No prizes for spotting La Grande Ancre. Her silhouette is quite unique and you’ll be able to spot her anywhere.

Whoever is behind her I don’t know, but in front of her is Les Bouchots de Chausey unloading its catch onto the tractor and trailer that takes it away.

And just puling away from the quayside is Lysandre, the St Malo-registered shell-fishing boat that comes into port here every now and again.

marite thora belle france joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There’s quite a lot of activity going on at the quayside in the inner harbour too.

Marité is there of course, but in front of her is Thora, one of the little Jersey freighters that run a regular service over here. Before she came to Jersey, she was a car ferry out in the Shetland Islands.

The other Joly France boat is down there in the foreground, tied up to Belle France. And if I’m not mistaken, Chausiaise is moored up on the other side of her. They can’t have much on today.

At the doctors he gave me my prescription for the Aranesp that pumps me up ready for when I go to Leuven, and also a prescription for an X-Ray on my knee. I’m not sure if I mentioned that the physiotherapist is of the opinion that there has been no improvement to my knee despite 6 months of effort.

“That’s not normal” she had told me, and that’s no surprise because neither am I.

Ther does however seem to have been some kind of communication between him and the hospital, because he also mentioned that counselling is a good idea for me. So God help the person who draws the short straw and has to probe the depths of my subconscious mind.

He has however given me some tablets to take before I go to bed. I’ll try them to see how they go but if it interrupts my nocturnal rambles I shall stop. Quite frankly, what goes on with me during the night is about the only excitement that I have these days.

Plenty of excitement at the chemists though when I took the prescription there. Some French woman was complaining about this that wasn’t right in France and that wasn’t right in France, so I asked her if she would like to swap her French nationality for my British nationality.

Some people don’t realise how lucky they are.

tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back up the hill I noticed to my surprise that Tiberiade was not out of the chantier naval.

It doesn’t look though as if she’s had a complete repaint. There are still plenty of patches of wear on her hull. She doesn’t have her nets on board though either, so she’s not completely ready to go back out to sea.

As for me, I was more than completely ready for my morning coffee and slice of coffee cake. I’d made it all the way up the hill without stopping for breath and I was pretty exhausted. None of these health issues are doing me any good, but you knew that anyway.

repairing bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Goinf past the bike shed I noticed that the guy had gone and taken all of the innards with him.

All I can say is that that didn’t last very long, did it?

Back here I had a coffee and my cake and then attacked the dictaphone notes. As I said earlier, it wasn’t a very happy night by all accounts

After lunch, I was back out again. This time to the physiotherapist. She’s back from her holiday and it’s her birthday today too.

peche a pied port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Once more, I stopped at the viewpoint at the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury to check the camera again.

Right out at the entrance to the harbour there were some people out there wandering around as if they were engaged in the peche à pied.

And as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … with all of the stuff that is probably dropped and churned up by the boats that come in and out of the harbour, that’s the last place that I would look for shellfish.

By the time that I arrived at the physiotherapist’s, I was melting. It had warmed up dramatically and I was in my winter coat. But anyway she used a machine to massage my knee and then to finish off she had me doing a few exercises.

vegan cheese vegan dessert lidl Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After I left the physio I went round to LIDL to pick up a few bits and pieces. With going to Leuven next week I’m not shopping on Saturday.

And here’s an astonishing thing that I haven’t noticed before. Vegan cheese slices – and “English” (presumably Red Leicester) too.

Of course I’ve no idea what they might be like but the vegan deserts aren’t as good as they might be so I’m not too optimistic. However, if no-one buys the stuff they won’t stock any more vegan food so they need some kind of encouragement.

If it melts, it might be good for cheese on toast and there’s only one way to find that out, isn’t there?

new building rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back I had a look again at the new building that was going on at the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo and the Rue St Paul.

They don’t seem to have made a great deal of progress since we saw them last, but the road must be closed for some good purpose that isn’t easily apparent.

At the bottom of the hill is the funfair – the fête foraine – so I went for a wander around there for 10 minutes. It’s not as good as it might be when it’s all lit up but I’m already on 105% of my daily activity and I’m not going out again in the dark.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Back here at the building I can’t go inside until I’ve seen what’s happening down on the beach.

By the time that I came back I was rather later than usual but there was still some beach to be on and there were a few people down there actually on it. They were probably enjoying the warm weather.

Back in here I had a coffee and then I had some work to do. We’re doing a series of programmes on the Ukraine and I spent an hour or so tracking down some Ukrainian rock groups. One of them burst into the limelight thanks to an appearance that they made at a concert in Lviv and I actually managed to track down the concert too

Now I shall have to brush up my Russian because this concert was in pre-independence days and it’s 30 years since my last trip to Eastern Europe.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that years ago I used to work for a coach company that won a contract to take tourists behind the Iron Curtain. As I fancied the job as driver, I found a local woman who spoke Russian and she taught me the basics, most of which I have forgotten.

While I was at it I also came across a friend of a friend of a friend who has a daughter in the Ukraine and I’ve been trying to set up an interview for the radio. But that’s not easy, as you can imagine.

Another thing that I did was to bash out a few more photos from my trip to the High Arctic in 2019. Where has this energy come from?

Tea tonight was a potato and mushroom curry, and then I came back in here to write up my notes – and to make a long ‘phone call to Florida. My network of contacts stretches throughout the world and it’s just as well, with all of this going on.

Tuesday 1st March 2022 – DYDD GWYL DEWI HAPUS …

… to all of my readers. It was quite appropriate that we had a Welsh lesson today.

But anyway, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here.

bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that ON 7th FEBRUARY I drew your attention to some kind of work that was taking place at the side of the road just outside here.

And this is what they were doing there. It’s taken them a whole three weeks to come back and finish the work but when they started this morning, it didn’t take them too long to finish.

On my way home I discovered that it’s actually a cycle shelter. Not that there are all that many cycles around here that need sheltering.

However, I’m surprised to note that there’s no electric power point there. Electric bicycles are all the rage these days and there will be more and more on the streets in due course. They will need charging at some point, of course, and a bicycle shelter would be the right place to do it.

A few hundred volts of electricity and a recharge would do me some good right now because this morning I fell asleep again after the alarm had gone off at 07:30 and it was the 08:00 alarm that finally awoke me

After the medication and checking my messages I transcribed the dictaphone notes because despite the lengthy sleep that I had had, I hadn’t gone far during the night. The three things that they should be checking in this thesis is boys v girls, the battle of the sexes, the bayonet of the Ents as they march to sacrifice and the third thing is how their behaviour interacts with each other that might lead to any particular death. That was a response to a person in a dream who was wanting help about three different parts to his thesis

There was something about one of these tasks about a baby that had crawled into the top of a cage to try to eat their food and the dog and everyone stoofd around watching it.

And whatever all of that was supposed to mean, I really have no idea at all. But once again, After the frenzied nights of a few weeks ago, yet another night without any of my favourite characters appearing. I suppose that they are as exhausted as I am after what has been going on during the night.

For an hour or so I prepared for my Welsh lesson and I could have done more had I not … errr … relaxed for a few minutes. But at least the lesson passed quite happily this morning, just for a change.

After lunch I spent the rest of the day bringing the blog up-to-date, at least, as far as the recent past goes. All of the posts FROM 7th FEBRUARY. And what was so disappointing about all of this was that despite the amount of stuff that needed updating, there were only two appearances of my favourite characters.

It seems as if i’m losing my touch.

installing bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was also the afternoon walk as usual.

And first thing that I noticed was the pick-up and trailer outside busy with the erection of this shelter. At first I thought that it was a bus shelter, but the local buses don’t come past here and in any case it’s on the wrong side of the road.

But anyway, as I said earlier, I found out later that it was a bicycle shelter, otherwise known as a bike shed, behind which all kinds of things went on when we were at school. So I’m wondering what we might find going on behind here, especially just after school chucking-out time.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022So leaving the bike shed on its own in the hands of the workmen, I went across the car park to look down on the beach.

And in contrast to how things have been over the last few days, the beach was deserted. There wasn’t a soul down there at all, despite the fact that there was plenty of beach to be on right now as the tide is still on its way in..

And that no-one is down there this afternoon is no surprise because the rain was teeming down and if I had had any sense I wouldn’t have been out there at all either.

la grande ancre trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I was also casting my eyes out to sea to see what was happening there.

There was a heavy sea mist, thanks to the rain, so I couldn’t see much but there were two fishing boats emerging from the gloom on their way in towards the harbour.

One of them is immediately recognisable. The one on the right is of course La Grande Ancre, a boat with a very low freeboard that is often used for transporting freight here and there, and also used for fishing purposes.

The other boat is one that, unfortunately, I can’t identify and she’s too far away for me to read her registration number. One thing is sure, and that it’s not the new Suzanga.

flooded footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw the local council with a lorry-load of gravel repairing the footpath where it usually floods.

And you will recall that I asked the question as to whether they would carry on and deal with the other parts of the path that need repair. Well, anyway, here’s your answer.

They must have cleared off home when they’d finished yesterday and as you can see,didn’t come back today. The heavy rainstorm that we are having right now has flooded the path in several other places that, I imagine, will stay like this as long as it keeps on raining.

Only doing half a job sounds like the way that i’m working right now.

la grande ancre baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I saw La Grande Ancre out at sea a few minutes ago it looked as if there was something interesting on her deck and it excited my curiosity.

As she drew nearer to the headland I took another photo of her so that I could have a closer look at her cargo when I returned home.

It looks as if she’s loaded up with some of these wire crates that they use for stacking sacks of shellfish, and there are a few shellfish boxes on board too which look as if they are quite full.

By now, the rain was coming down quite heavily and I’m slowly becoming soaked to the skin. I wasn’t going to hang around too long out here. My hot coffee was calling me.

tiberiade le roc a la mauve 3 suzanga la grande ancre joly france trawler yacht chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With the poor weather, I was in such a rush that I didn’t look down at the cabanon vauban. Instead, I carried on along the path.

There’s a change in occupancy in the chantier naval. One of the two yachts has gone back into the water today, but all of the other craft were still in there.

the outer harbour is crowded with fishing boats right now, even though it will be a while before they open the gates to the inner harbour.

Apart from La Grande Ancre, whose silhouette is easily recognisable, there’s no possibility of identifying anyone else down there. The rain is coming down so heavily that it’s impossible to see clearlu.

Making a quick stop to photograph the bike shed, I came back in here for a coffee and to dry out.

And then to continue updating the journal entries. And what surprised me with this task is that I actually managed to finish it. And it’s been a long time since I’ve completed a task, isn’t it? I even found the time to book my next trip to Leuven.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with the left-over stuffing from yesterday, and it really was quite nice. Tomorrow will be a left-over curry, I reckon, mainly with mushrooms as I have plenty of those. I might even fry some chips in my new air fryer later in the week.

Bedtime now. My physiotherapist is back from holiday tomorrow afternoon, and I also have to see the doctor tomorrow morning. So I must remember to take with me the form that I need him to sign.

Wednesday 16th February 2022 – THERE’S A TIME …

repairing fishing nets port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… for fishing, and a time for repairing the nets.

And right now, it looks as if the time has come to do some repairing.

With no trawler in attendance it’s not possible to say with any conviction whose nets they might be, but with Tiberiade still out of the water up on the blocks in the chantier naval, it would be a fair assumption to suggest that the nets might belong to her.

There is also a time for working and a time for falling asleep and regrettably, I have done rather more of the latter than the former today. So much for my “… hoping for a better day tomorrow” of yesterday.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I said “One of these days I’ll have the kind of day where everything goes well and I manage to do plenty of work” but that certainly wasn’t today.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 I’m afraid to say that I turned over and went back to sleep. And i’m even more afraid to say that when the second went of at 08:00 it was ditto. It was 08:35 when I finally surfaced. And had I not needed to go for a ride on the porcelain horse I would probably still be in bed now.

That meant that there was plenty of time for me to go off on a few rambles during the night. I was out with a girl last night but I can’t remember who it was unfortunately. We’d been out somewhere and come back to my house before I was due to take her home. The question of food came up and I knew that there were some beefburgers in the freezer so I suggested that we had those. Whoever it was who was there went into the kitchen to find them but all that she could produce was an empty box. Someone had had the beefburgers. Of course I knew instinctively who this was so there was some kind of shouting and everything like that with my brother. He seemed to think that it was very very funny. I grabbed hold of him by the collar of his tee shirt, punched him in the stomach, pulled his head towards me and told him exactly what I thought of him. I let go of his tee shirt so that his head sprung back with a resounding “thump” as it hit the wall. Of course I was embarrassed by this and ashamed about the confrontation in front of this girl. She was pretty fed up as I could tell. In the end she decided that she didn’t want anything to eat so I thought that I’d better take her home.

But then again, with a family member coming between me and a nice young lady of the opposite sex is a reasonably regular occurrence on my voyages.

And resorting to violence against my family even in a dream. If violence is the answer it must have been a pretty stupid question and there were plenty of stupid questions about my family right enough back in the olden days.

On the subject of my family, my father and I had gone to watch Crewe Alex play – not that anyone would want to given the results of their last half-dozen matches. We left my place in Jette and went all the way across the top of Brussels and ended up somewhere down towards Woluwe, that area. We went into the stadium and the teams were there being presented to whoever it was. We watched the match but in the room where we were sitting there was one of these old pot-bellied wrought-iron stoves. There was a woman like one of the three witches burning paper so I was adding piles of paper to it as well. I was adding the paper and taping it to the side of the stove with masking tape until it burned. Then I would tape another piece on. It was far more interesting than the football. When the match finished my father was ready to go home but I was still burning this paper. I was getting down to the end of the roll of masking tape so I told him that I’d be ready in a minute. These women then came along doing something else. I put a metal damper of some kind on this stove that made it roar. These women were ever so alarmed when it roared but it burnt a lot of the ashes. Then I took it off and said to my father that we can go. One of these women pointed to three chairs that turned up in this room and asked if we could take them back and put them where they had come from to help them tidy up.

At a later time I’d been out with Liz and we’d been to a strange town where there was a pedestrian centre, but it was something like somewhere out or rural Spain. We walked through this pedestrian area and down through the fields at the end to end up on a cliff path. We were walking around there looking at the sea. Somehow I ended up back at another house where there was someone with a big pile of cars. I was gradually going through them looking at things that needed doing, changing and replacing what I could. There was a place across the road that had a big pile of old cars and every now and again he would tell me to take a piece off one of those. One vehicle that he had was a D-reg CF van that needed a new rear light. I told him that so he told me to go to a different scrapyard somewhere. I had a strange four-wheeled bicycle thing and set off but I took the wrong turning somewhere and ended up in this pedestrian precinct again. This time there were crowds of people around so I had to weave my way through the crowds. At some point there was someone making some kind of sand design that was going right across the path on which I needed to be. I did a bunny-hop over it. I ended up at the start of these fields again. A woman was there calling her child and two boys came running out of the field. I was stopped on the edge of this field sitting there thinking. It looked so familiar because I’d been here with Liz but I really don’t know how I’m going to find this scrapyard from here. I’d never been this way to it and I can’t remember now whether I’d be able to find my way back to where I’d taken the wrong turn and whether I’d recognise which was the correct one again.

After the medication I made a start on the radio programme that I wanted to do but I am nowhere ever near finishing it. There was an interruption for breakfast of course and then Rosemary rang me up for one of our marathon chats.

And we would probably still be chatting now except that there are certain things that, never mind how rich, powerful and famous you might be, it’s not possible to have anyone else do for you.

gully emptier place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was organising breakfast I had a look out of the window to see what was going on.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday afternoon we saw the gully emptier just finishing emptying a gully in the street. Today it’s back, in the courtyard between the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs and the Council Offices, emptying the gully just there.

And here’s an idea. I ought to start a lottery, guessing where we’ll find the gully-emptier tomorrow.

Later on I went for a shower so that I’d smell nice and clean for my physiotherapy session. And I’ve lost 800 grammes since Monday lunchtime, which just goes to show that there’s a problem with my bathroom scales.

As a result of everything so far, it was a rather late lunch. And that reminded me that I have some baking to do tomorrow. I’ve no bread and no fruit buns left either

outer harbour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Eventually I wandered off outside for my walk to the physiotherapist.

As usual I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to test the NIKON 1 J5. Not that there was anything particular to photograph because the tide was well out.

On the way down the hill are the four steps that I use to test how my knee is feeling. They are quite high and there is no handrail so I have to pull myself up with whatever strength I have in the knee.

On Monday I couldn’t manage anything at all but today was rather better. It’s still a long way from anything reasonable though and it’s depressing me.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022The other day I mentioned that we might be expecting the arrival of one of the little Jersey freighters.

Because of the swimming pool on the quayside I was expecting to see Normandy Trader but in actual fact today it’s Thora who has come into town. We haven’t seen her for a while.

The walk through the town and up the hill was quite uneventful. And at the physiotherapist’s she spent the first 20 minutes massaging my patella, which she can do any time she likes.

She seems to think that it’s ligament trouble that’s causing my problem and suggests that I need to speak to my doctor. I have to see him soon to load up with more Aranesp so I’ll talk to him then

And having to have injections to stimulate the blood cells sufficiently to enable me to have the strength to go to Leuven – what kind of state is that to be in?

After the physiotherapist’s I went to LIDL to do some shopping. Supplies are rather low right now with not having been to the shops for a couple of weeks. There was chocolate-flavoured soya drink on spcial offer so it was a shame that I was on foot. I could only carry away one of those.

building apartments rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022On the way back from the shops I passed by the building site on the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo and the Rue St Paul where they are building that block of apartments.

They seem to have advanced quite rapidly over the last couple of weeks. However they have been at it long enough. I seem to recall that the crane arrived here just before the summer holidays last year

Down the hill I went and then back up the hill struggling under the load of shopping that I had. And to think that a year ago I would quite happily walk back from LIDL with three times the weight of the stuff that I had today.

Halfway up the hill I bumped into one of my neighbours and we had a chat for five minutes or so about nothing particular. I have to be sociable, even if I don’t feel much like it.

la grande ancre l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Down in the harbour the fishing boats were coming in to unload after their day out at sea.

A couple of them we can identify quite easily. The one in the foreground busily unloading is of course La Grande Ancre and behind her in her usual place is L’Omerta.

Also down there are a few of the larger ones clustered around the harbour gates waiting for them to open with the tide. And one of the Joly France ferries is over there at the ferry terminal too

By now it was raining and so I didn’t want to hang around. A nice hot mug of coffee would do me good

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022However, of course I can’t go into the apartment without looking to see what’s happening down on the beach.

Not much beach, and no-one down there on it. Everyone has much more sense than I have abviously.

Back in the apartment I made myself a coffee and came into the office to sit down while I waited for it to percolate. When I awoke later the coffee machine had timed out and the coffee was cold. I must have been out for quite some time.

So one of these days I might actually finish my radio programme.

For tea tonight I nearly made another mess. There were some mushrooms that needed eating so I resolved to make a curry with the leftovers in the fridge and heave them in.

So I set about making the curry and I was halfway through before I realised that I’d forgotten the mushrooms. It’s a good job that I remembered just in time.

It’s bedtime now and I can’t say that I’m sorry. I’m exhausted. I just can’t seem to make any progress right now and i’ve no idea why. I’m seriously wondering if there’s something in the medication that i’m taking that’s slowing me down like this.

But I dunno and I don’t know if I’ll ever get to find out.

Saturday 29th January – YESTERDAY, I REMEMBER …

… wondering who would be waiting for me when I went to sleep last night.

Much to my surprise, and yours too probably, because things don’t normally happen like this, it was none other than Zero.

She hung around for a while, but nothing like long enough, and eventually evaporated into the night.

What’s surprising about that is that usually when I’m transcribing the dictaphone notes I have some kind of very vague recollection in the back of my mind of what went on and typing it out brings it back. But I have no memory whatever of her being there, except what was on the dictaphone.

So that was rather a waste of a visit, wasn’t it? Her being there and me having no recollection of it.

vegan food with eggs and milk noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022This is something else that’s quite surprising.

It was in Noz and advertised as a vegan pancake mix. I was tempted to try it until I noticed the instructions.

You probably have too, if you’ve clicked on the image to see it full-size. To make it, you need to stir in “eggs and milk”. Some vegan food product, isn’t it?

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m not an ethical vegan (although I may as well be these days) but a vegan for health reasons. My pancreas failed 30-odd years ago so I can’t digest animal fats.

I was given a choice of four ways of controlling it –

  • taking daily injections to stimulate it (but I’d lose my professional driving licences like my HGV licence, my PSV licence, my taxi licence and all of that, and that was my living in those days)
  • by a transplant (but back in those days it was very much in its infancy and the success rate wasn’t very high)
  • do nothing (and risk an attack and possible death)
  • by diet, cutting out animal fats completely.

The choice was pretty much obvious, so I need to be very careful about what I eat.

And eating stuff that needs eggs and milk is not part of the plan obviously.

Today wasn’t actually part of anyone’s plan because it’s been awful. And I thought that with the last week or so, I was over all of this.

Leaving the bed wasn’t all that difficult even if it was something of s short night compared to what it should have been, and neither was the medication and the shower that I had afterwards.

Then Caliburn and I hit the streets for a tour of the shops – the first time since early December that w’ve had a complete tour.

Noz had piles of things, including that alcohol-free beer that I like, so I stocked up with quite a pile of stuff. No rolling pin to replace the one that I broke ages ago and have been struggling with ever since, no cake tin and no pizza plate either (I’m fed up of my pizza overflowing my plate).

micro creche near noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Centrakor – and the first time that I’ve been in there for an age – came up with a good heavy-duty rolling pin but nothing else.

But while I was there I went for a closer look at the building that they’ve been erecting at the back of Noz and Centrakor. It now seems to be complete, and it looks as i it’s going to be some kind of crèche.

And a crèche is not something that happens between two cars in Knightsbridge either.

At Leclerc the fuel tanker doing a delivery was just coupling up to leave after doing a refuelling. That meant that there was no-one there and my timing was perfect because as it pulled away I pulled on right behind and had the first load of diesel.

First time I’ve fuelled up since April last year by the way. I’m going nowhere these days, am I? In many senses of the word..

At Leclerc I ended up with one of those expensive 7-inch cake tins that I mentioned last time. If I’m going to be baking cake I need the correct tin rather than trying to make do with an oversize pyrex bowl

Lots of other stuff too, and so in the end it was a rather expensive morning out. But at least the pantry is full for the next while and I’ll be able to eat.

Back here I put away the frozen stuff (they had some of those breaded soya fillets in Noz and I managed to squeeze them into the freezer somehow), made a coffee, came back in here and … errr … crashed out.

Properly crashed out too. I was gone for ages and ended up with a late lunch.

Back here afterwards I felt like nothing on earth. I tried to have a go at coupling up the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing, on the grounds that doing something – anything – is better than doing nothing at all, but I ended up right out of it yet again. It was an awful afternoon.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022As a result of the foregoing it was rather later than usual when I went out for my afternoon walk. Mind you, I was lucky that I went out at all because I don’t recall ever feeling less like it.

First stop was the beach of course so I dragged myself with a considerable amount of reluctance over to the wall at the end of the car park.

Not much beach, which is no real surprise because I’m about 45 minutes later than usual, and I couldn’t see anyone down there today. But once again, it was fairly warm for the time of year (although I’m back to being absolutely freezing again) so I was surprised that the place looked so empty.

Not many people about at all this afternoon.

ile de chausey storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022This quite possibly might have something to do with it.

Out in the bay there was a rainstorm brewing and judging by the direction in which the wind was blowing, it was heading my way.

Not that there was much wind to worry about this afternoon. We seem to be in the middle of a quiet spell from that point of view, in sharp contrast to what we had several weeks ago.

And we did have some rain too. When I went out to the shops this morning it was raining. So it looks as if the clouds have gone back out to sea to fetch some more.

There were a few more people wandering around up by the lighthouse so I kept well clear – I don’t want to catch what they all seem to have – and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland.

There wasn’t anything going on just offshore, or in the outer harbour or the chantier naval either so I carried on.

crane philcathane la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The big crane is still over there, along with la Grande Ancre, Philcathane and another boat that I can’t identify.

However I can tell you more about the machine that the crane came to lift. It was an electrically-powered piling rig and weighed in at 50 tonnes.

It was Normandy Trader that took her away – she apparently has engines that are 100hp more powerful than her sister Normandy Warrior.

Back here I had a coffee, managed not to fall asleep, and then finished off the music for Monday. Then I turned my attention to the dictaphone.

Zero, of course, I have already mentioned. But later I was with a woman and her daughter last night, aged about 6 or 7 like Laurence and Roxanne. We’d gone to visit IKEA – they’d never been before. We had to park on the car park and that was an art in itself as it was extremely busy. Then I had to go and change my clothes because I was in some kind of oily wotk clothes. My office was on the top floor so I rang up to say that I would send someone up to say that I was coming up for some clothes but no-one had any clothes ready for me or anything. There was a huge row about that to start with which didn’t make the rest of the day go well. When we’d all been to the bathroom we went into IKEA, the 3 of us. The little girl had a play on the kiddies’ playground and we bumped into one of my friends from Montréal and had a chat, then carried on wandering around. Then we stopped for coffee. For some reason we didn’t take our coffee together. I had a machine that they had to listen to music so I went to sit somewhere else. The other 2 were sitting somewhere else so I went to join them but the music was disturbing everyone there so I had to turn off the music. The little girl was sulking and said “I’d be happier staying in Crewe” to which her mother said “of course you wouldn’t”. To cheer her up we went and found the kiddies’ toy things and she had a play around on those again. There was lots more to it than this but I can’t remember it now or anything else which is a shame.

Later on I stepped right back into this dream where I was earlier after I’d gone back to sleep. We ended up back in a room. I’d been out somewhere. My brother and 2 other people were there. After about 10 minutes I suddenly thought “where’s this woman and her daughter (and by now, it was my friend from Montréal who was the mother)? They’ve wandered off somewhere”. I thought that I was supposed to be with them so I rang her up on her ‘phone. She said that she was at some exhibition of money-making. I siad “oh, I’d better come and join you”. She replied “it’s only going to be on until 15:00”. She gave me the address . I replied “I don’t know how long it will be until I reach you but I’ll be there”. The other 2 didn’t want to go for some reason and it was just my brother who came with me. I started to look on a map to find this address and I suddenly realised that it was right in the vicinity of where we were standing. I had a very good idea of where it is, Rue des Deux Canals so we shot off outside. There was all kinds of stuff. It was difficult to cross the road because there were all lorries and cars. We went off down one road and came to a turning. I had to stop to check the phone to find the correct address but I couldn’t find the map. While I was doing that my brother said “Reg has been sent to prison again”. I asjed “what for this time?”. “Because he refused to climb over a wall and tie up his boat” and started to read details of the indictment to me while I was busy trying to find this street. It was all becoming a really confusing mess – even more so with my family becoming involved yet again.

There was some more too but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap. I’d bought a couple of those nice burgers that I like and I had a few baps left over. That was quite a nice tea again and I do have to say that it might be simple food but I do eat well.

Bed-time now, and a lie-in tomorrow as it’s Sunday. I deserve it too because despite feelig better than I did, it’s not been an easy week.

In fact I’m not having a very easy time and I don’t know what to do about that. As Bob Dylan sang in TANGLED UP IN BLUE, “the only thing I knew for sure was to keep on keeping on”.

But I’m not doing that all that well these days.

But “I wondered if she’s changed at all – if her hair was still red”. Now who does that remind me of? And will she be meeting me again tonight?

Friday 28th January 2022 – I FOUND OUT …

inside bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… something about the gun whose mount they uncovered when they cleaned out the abandoned bunker the other day.

Thanks to a friendly neighbourhood press release, the gun that was mounted on the mounting that you can see in the foreground just behind the wire grill was a naval-type 105mm gun.

That will probably mean that it’s the SKC/32 rather than a derivative of the 88mm flakartillerie gun, and was the secondary armament on several of the larger German ships and also the primary artillery on many of the earlier generations of World-War II U-boats (but not, surprisingly, the Class VII which still used the 75mm gun).

chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022What I didn’t find out though was the name of the boat that was in the chantier naval at the side of Gerlean.

That’s because when I looked this afternoon, there she was! Gone! And never called me “mother”!.

Surprisingly, Gerlean had gone too. She’s been in there for quite a while but it looks as if she’s gone back into the water.

And what wouldn’t I have given to have gone back to bed this morning? I know that 07:30 isn’t as early as I used to get up in the good old days when I was feeling better, but it’s still far too flaming early for me these days.

After the medication I came back in here and sat on the chair. And while it would be wrong to say that I fell asleep again, I may well have done for all the work that I was doing.

A strong mug of coffee and a fruit bun at breakfast time did something to revive me and so I tackled the dictaphone notes. I was playing football last night with a couple of teams of girls. There was some confusion going on about the score because one team had had to play either with a woman short or out of position etc. No allowance had been made for that and they thought that that was rather unfair. On my way home I said goodbye. One of the girls who looked like my niece’s youngest daughter – it might have been her – had a tiny long-necked dragon-type of insect thing that she was training. She was training it by either giving it or withholding food. We all thought that it was pretty amazing but thinking on it was the kind of thing that you can do if you are using food as a tuition method. I said goodbye to them all and went outside. I was sleeping in a hedge like in Vine Tree Avenue in Shavington but it was freezing and I thought that I’m not looking forward to sleeping outside tonight in this.

Later on there was something about vehicles in the rush hour, someone driving some kind of I dunno maybe a stolen car but the authorities were already there and there were two vehicles of theirs being in plain clothes that were following this vehicle with these outlaws in it to try to find out what they were doing and where they were going and what their plan was.

And yet in the Magistrates’ Court (whatever this is all about I really don’t know) there was someone being dragged around by his collar lying on his back along the floor. I’ve no idea why and I’ve no idea what it relates to

There was also something about a car and caravan, one of these big North American caravan things. There was traffic stopped or slowing down to let a pedestrian walk across the road. This car and trailer didn’t see it until very late and swerved off the road having to drive in through all of the trees and smashed up while this pedestrian was slowly making its way across to the other side of the road

Finally, Nerina and I were working on VBH, one of my old yellow Cortinas. She was getting together all of the bits and pieces and I was busy adding them on etc. She was becoming very frustrated saying “you’ve no idea how long it’s taking me to get all of this stuff together”. I replied “yes, I can imagine, but it’s not taking me any less time to do all of the work. While we were doing that we were talking about the invasion of Normandy, how there were still one or two hold-out towns of Germans on the coast. We were discussing how quickly it would take them to close the gap. We didn’t think that it would take them long – a bus would do that trip in 3 or 4 minutes. We were talking about that. Just then a couple appeared in a white Ford Transit, people whom we knew who worked on the radio. They stopped and said “hello” and said that they were going off somewhere but they would come back to give us a hand. Off they went. Nerina brought me a dish of pea soup and I spilt most of it down me, on the carpet, on the rug and made quite a mess. I said “not to worry. I’ll change my clothes and put everything in the wash, including the rug etc. Then this couple came back. It hadn’t taken them long. They stopped a little further down the road, got out and went to talk to a couple of other people whome they must have known who were about 100 yards away from us, found some chairs and sat down and made themselves comfortable. We thought “they aren’t going to be coming along helping us, are they?”. Nerina said something like “it’s not surprising that his nickname is “the King” is it?”. I went off to find some clean clothes but in my bedroom all of my furniture had been moved around. I asked my brother what was going on. He wouldn’t give me a straight answer. I finally found my chest of drawers and went to take a clean tee-shirt. he said “you have bed bugs in there” so I opened it and had a sniff and thought “no, there are no bed bugs in here. What’s he talking about?”. We had this really ferocious argument about him changing everything around in the room without talking to me about it.

And I do wish that my family would clear of and leave me alone when I’m in the middle of a nocturnal ramble. It really is quite depressing when they keep on butting in. I don’t mind Nerina – after all, I chose her to come into my life for better or for worse and after a few of the women whom I subsequently encountered, I came to the conclusion that she wasn’t the person that I imagined her to be – but the others I can do without.

For lunch I finished off the half-loaf that I had out. The other half still in the freezer can wait until Monday before I take it out. It went in almost as soon as it was cooked so I hope that it will be nice and fresh.

After lunch I attacked the files for the radio project. One lot went fine with no issues but the second on, that it quite long and the third one, they are presenting me with quite a problem. There was a lot of background noise and I forgot to record some ambience so I had to invent some, and that wasn’t easy.

And then, there’s a difference in tone between what we recorded on the day and what we recorded here in my apartment. There’s much more resonance in the original one because it was recorded in a public hall with different acoustics so I’ve spent most of the afternoon experimenting with echo settings and changing the tone.

That’s a long, hard job and it’s going to take me a while to have it how I want it, if I can manage it at all. If not, I’ll have to “invent” something else.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

First port of call was at the wall at the end of the car park overlooking the beach to see what was going on down there this afternoon.

Not that there was very much beach for anyone to be on, because the tide is quite well in.There’s still some room for some people to go for a walk if they so choose, but there was no-one down there.

It wasn’t a bad day, actually. There was very little wind compared to what we usually have and it was fairly warm for the time of year too. Not the kind of weather to keep me indoors anyway.

strange lighting effects baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022We were however having some strange lighting effects out at sea.

Somewhere over there is the Brittany coast, although you would never guess if I hadn’t told you. There’s some sun shining through a gap in the clouds higer up, but we have some kind of sea mist just offshore and fairly low down.

You can even see some kind of demarcation line in the bay which the mist reaches, and it all looks particularly weird.

What the horizontal lines represent between the mist and the sunlight represent is something else that I can’t understand either. I wish that I’d paid more attention to Miss Coxon’s Meteorology lessons 50-odd years ago.

The guy from the council has finished his work with the concrete pad for the new flagpole so I pushed on to check the bunker before continuing my walk around the headland.

le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Gerlean and the other boat next to her may well have cleared off, but the third boat is there so I concentrated on trying to identify her.

Her registration number is pretty much out of sight and I can’t decipher it, and we have her name written in some of this stupid illegible font on the wind deflector above the cabin.

Doing the best that I can, I think that she’s called Le Roc A La Mauve III, and that’s not impossible because according to the Companies Register there’s a company based down the road in Donville les Bains called “Le Roc A La Mauve” and which is described as “sea farmers”.

gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022and as for where Gerlean is, look no further.

It sounded to me as if there was a lot of noise coming from the chantier naval and what was happening was that the portable boat lift was busy lowering Gerlean back into the water.

And once in there, she cleared off across the harbour and out to sea. Probably for sea trials, I reckon, after her repairs. It’s not very likely that she’ll make straight for the fishing grounds after having been dropped back into the water after all of this time.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, at the ferry terminal, we have one of the Joly France boats moored up.

It’s the older one, by the looks of things, without the step in the stern. They do still run out to the Ile de Chausey in winter but nothing like as regularly as in the summer.

And hang onto your hats, because we might be seeing some other boats over there. My understanding is that the Channel Island ferries have been sold to a new owner and service is due to restart in late April.

Mind you, we’ve all heard that before. Let’s hope that for this time, it really is true.

la grande ancre mobile crane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back home for my coffee I had a look in the inner harbour to see what was going on.

The big mobile crane has now been folded up and the machinery that came on the lorry that it unloaded has also gone. Apparently one of the Jersey freighter, either Normandy Trader or Normandy Warrior, came in earlier today to pick it up and take it away.

Back here I had my coffee and then carried on with this sound file editing which is going to take me quite a while and then nipped into the kitchen for a quick tea. More veg and baked potatoes with an ancient breaded soya fillet that I found, simply to make more space so that I could file away the rest of the carrots.

And thzn football. Y Bala v Y Drenewydd. Much more skilful than earlier in the week and Bala won by the only goal. But it was something of a midfield battle and the strikers didn’t have much of a look-in. And of course Drenewydd’s defeat gave TNS an opportunity to go even farther ahead.

They are well out on top, Cefn Druids are well adrift in the basement, but the other 10 places are really up for grabs with no-one stamping their authority on the League.

But now it’s bed-time. And I wonder who’ll be coming walkies with me during the night. After the delightful company that I had a few days ago, Castor, TOTGA and Zero, I shudder to think who’ll be out there waiting for me to appear tonight.

Friday 3rd December 2021 – JUST A QUICK …

… few lines because I’ve been busy this afternoon and this evening and now I’m absolutely exhausted.

Most of that though is due to the fact that I had yet another dreadful night, but we won’t go into that right now because you’re probably as fed up about these as I am.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I went through the two recipes that I have and made a list of the shopping that I need to do. And then I nipped out to Biocoop for some molasses.

As I was on my way to Noz in the driving rainstorm the tyre fitter rang me up. My tyres hadn’t arrived so my appointment was cancelled. Nevertheless I went to Noz where they had some really nice alcohol-free beer that will be just the thing for the Christmas period.

At LeClerc I bought what I could but the range of French cooking accessories falls a lot short. No glacé cherries, no candied peel, nothing like that at all. And even worse, no essence of alcohol-free brandy in which to soak my fruit.

Back home later I had a coffee and spent the rest of the day trawling through my record collection for Christmas rock songs. In the end I managed to pull out about 15 or so and then I remixed them and began to write out the text for the radio programme for Christmas Day.

sea fog beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021During the course of the afternoon I went out for my walk although I don’t know why because the weather was just as foul as it had been earlier.

It wasn’t just the rain that was annoying either. There was a thick sea-fog and the view was no more than a few hundred yards.

But that was enough visibility for me to say that there was no-one down there this afternoon, and that wasn’t a surprise. I was the only one stupid enough to be out there in this weather this afternoon.

tiberiade baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021That isn’t actually quite correct.

There were some other people out there this afternoon, but they were out there of necessity, not through choice. As I peered out through the gloom a trawler came into view out of a low cloud.

The brief glance that I had seemed to indicate that it might be Tiberiade, one of the larger trawlers that operate out of the port. People still have to eat, regardless of the weather, and as long as they need to eat, the fishermen will still need to go out in all kinds of conditions.

lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Having taken what photos I could, I went off on my walk along the headland.

From the path at the back of the running track I could just about make out the lighthouse and semaphore down at the far end of the Pointe du Roc.

Although it’s only mid-afternoon, the lights on part of the equipment were already lit. Not that they would do much good because I doubt if you can see tham at any appreciable difference in this fog.

With no-one to disturb me, I carried on down to the end of the path and across the car park at the end.

mushroom pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Nothing going on out at sea (that I could see anyway) and no-one sitting on the bench down below, which was no surprise either.

There was however this gorgeous mushroom growing on the bank and it reminded me of that beautiful mushroom soup that Nerina made for me once many years ago.
“That’s absolutely beautiful” I exclaimed. “Where did you find this recipe?”
“In an Agatha Christie murder story” she replied.

la grande ancre les bouchots de chausey omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021It wasn’t just Tiberiade who had been out there braving the conditions this afternoon.

By the looks of things several others had been trying their luck and were unloading at the fish processing plant.

We can, I suppose, rule out L’Omerta because as far as I can tell she seems to live over there permanently now. But on the extreme left we have La Grande Ancre who pulled away from the quayside almost as soon as I took the photo, and next to her is, I think, Les Bouchots de Chausey .

As for the third boat, the blue and white one, I don’t recognise her at all.

After all of this miserable weather than I had encountered, I was glad to be home. I made myself a nice hot coffee and several plans for the future.

Later on I cleared the decks and prepared everything for the baking session. And I actually knew someone else who was attending the demonstration – my very first tutor from 18 months ago.

The demonstration was quite straightforward although my oven is quite a disappointment at this kind of thing. It took about twice as long as the recommended cooking time, and it would have been even better if I’d bought food-quality bicarbonate of soda rather than general-purpose quality.

treacle banana cake place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021So here’s the finished product. Not quite as crumbly as the previous versions have been but I suspect that the almond-flour and flax seeds might have contributed to that.

It’s supposed to be iced but I’m not sure how a treacle cake would taste with icing on it. I don’t think that marzipan would be a good idea either.

After the demonstration I grabbed a quick tea and then watched the football – Bala Town v TNS. As expected is was all one-way traffic and the score of 4-1 to TNS was not an exaggeration.

It’s not that Bala are a bad side. They have most of the team that was there last season but the quality of the league has increased dramatically.

TNS were always quicker and better and played some nice football. Bala played some nice stuff too on occasion but it was far too little and far too late.

Anyway, now I’m off to bed, and I’m going to try a little experiment. I’ll tell yuo all about it tomorrow if it works.

Sunday 17th October 2021 – I WAS ONLY …

ile de chausey yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021… half-right about last night.

While you admire a couple of photos of maritime activity today, I can tell you all about it

It was almost 03:00 (in fact 02:50) when I finally fell into bed this morning but as for the “sleep through until tomorrow afternoon” bit, I was wide awake at 09:25.

There was no possibility of going back to sleep either and by 10:00 I was up and about and taking my medication.

Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone from overnight. I was with a friend from school and his sister, a girl on whom I had quite a crush at school and who has appeared in my nocturnal rambles on a few memorable occasions in the past. There was something going on about jeans that was happening or had happened in Shavington and she hadn’t seen us. I said that if I’d known that it was going to be in Shavington I’d have been there to see her (but I didn’t add those last three words on when I spoke to her). The conversation rolled on from there and she started to measure me for jeans. She couldn’t understand what was going on with my lower legs so she rolled up my trousers and saw my elasticated stockings and bandages and all the other kinds of paraphernalia and burst into tears. I took her into my arms to console her and said ‘you can understand why it is that I have said that I have had to give up so much of my activities just recently because of all this but don’t worry. I’m still here” – some consoling words like that. But that was a situation that I found extremely touching and I wish that things like that would have happened to me in real life instead of all of the fighting with which I had to contend back in those days. Some emotion expressed to my benefit would have been a wonderful thing for me, but I must stop trying to look backwards because that ship sailed a long, long time ago.

There was a girl called Marie Uriah, whoever she was when she was at home, if she ever was. I thought that something had happened to her as she was being treated by the doctors. When the doctors’ surgery split up her case was retained here for some unknown reason. She was a girl rather similar to Castor by the way. In the meantime we were=we were tidying out the garage. We’d had three cars in there. We’d been using one and then another then instead of the second we decided to use the 3rd and then the 2nd instead of the first. That meant swapping a load of stuff around. We’d been house-decorating and rebuilding it. We had tons of cheap plastic and copper piping so I was sorting that ut and putting it into the eaves of the garage. Nerina came home and asked what we were doing so I explained it to her. At first she couldn’t see why I was keeping all of this stuff but when we explained that we were going to need this for future she seemed to agree with it. We had a chat about things that we were planning to do so she said that she wanted to see this and this and this, and she wanted to see the file on this Marie Uriah and her National Insurance number. Another night sweat.

There was something to do with ice-skating rinks last night and I’d been asked to give evidence. Someone asked me in how many cases I’d given evidence to which I replied “probably 70-odd”. They asked why I considered myself to be an expert so I replied that I didn’t but everyone else did. There was much more to it than this but I just can’t remember now.

boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021With it being a Sunday I had a very quiet morning, not doing very much at all except vegetating.

After all, the journey home yesterday takes a lot out of me I had to recover my strength after my exertions, although that new route that I tried wasn’t half as exerting as the regular route.

Later on though, I finally galvanised myself into action and paired off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow.

And while I’m on the subject, I need to have a look round and see what Christmas songs I have for my programme that will be broadcast on Christmas Day

After lunch I had a pile of photos to sort through from my trip to Leuven. These are all now edited and when I transcribe the piles of dictaphone notes that accumulated, I’ll go back and edit the relevant entries.

No sooner do I catch up one lot of outstanding stuff, I fall behind with another. What upset everything was of course my having to go to the hospital on Thursday morning.

When I went to take out some dough for this evening’s pizza, I discovered that there wasn’t any. I must have used up the last lot last Sunday. As a consequence I had to prepare another batch and it didn’t turn out too badly.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021It’s been a long time since I’ve been out for a walk around the headland, what with being off on my travels, so I was keen to be out there again.

There wasn’t very much beach out there this afternoon. The tide is well in right now, as I discovered as I peered over the wall.

There were plenty of people down there as well taking advantage of what beach there was, and even some of them brave enough to go out into the water up to their waists. Braver people than I am, I have to say. You wouldn’t catch me in there quite like that.

yachts baie de granville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021It was a really nice afternoon out there, considering that it’s mid-October.

Quite sunny, not too much wind at all, the kind of weather that brings the people out in their hordes. And even out on the water too, as you have already seen. A couple of yachts, a couple of speedboats, a cabin cruiser or two. The bay was full of them.

And people over there on the beach by the airfield as well enjoying themselves in the sun, although I’m not sure about the tractors out there disturbing the peace.

film camera crew lorries place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021On the car park, the workmen’s compound that was there has long-gone but it seems that we now have other activity there.

Part of the car park has been cordoned off with a couple of rows of cones, and in that section, there are several lorries and trailers that are parked there.

There were the usual “no waiting” notices scattered about, and so I went for a closer look. Apparently that area is reserved for “film crews making a film”. It looks as if once again, the town is going to be the scene of another cinematographic epic.

It’s happening quite regularly these days.

fishermen in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Fighting my way through the masses this afternoon I headed off down the path towards the lighthouse.

As well as all of the other boats that we have seen already, there was a zodiac a way out offshore with a group of people therein.

Enlarging the photo when I returned home, I could see that they were fishermen having a go at whatever they would catch which, while I was watching, wasn’t anything at all.

There was on aerial activity this afternoon. Not even one Birdman of Alcatraz, so I wandered off around the end of the headland.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down the path and across the car park, I came to the very end of the headland.

Down at the bench near the cabanon vauban there was quite a crowd and I thought to myself that if they all intend to sit on the bench, they must be very close friends. But the perch of the guy on the extreme right looked rather precarious to mr.

It was here that I was buttonholed by a passer-by who asked me if it is possible to see the Mont St Michel from here.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we can see the hotels on the mainland from down by the bench, but not the Mont St Michel itself because the Pointe de Carolles is in the way.

yachts les epiettes chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021It’s been a long time since I’ve had a good look in the chantier naval so I was keen to see how things were developing.

My trip down the path on the south side of the headland brought me to the viewpoint overlooking the yard where I was disappointed to see that there was no change in there from before I went away.

The big yacht is still in there, as is the little Government boat Les Epiettes. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have seen a couple of trawlers in there as well? I’m missing the overcrowding in the yard.

la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Not very much happening over at the ferry terminal this afternoon, but there was something happening over at the Fish Processing Plant.

Just pulling away from the wharf over there was La Grande Ancre with quite a load of shellfish boxes on board, so it looks as if she’s off to try her hand herself at bringing a pile of shellfish back home.

Talking of “back home”, I wasn’t going to hang about too long. I could do with going back home and having a nice, hot mug of coffee. It might be warm out here this afternoon, but a mug of hot coffee is always welcome.

philcathane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Passing the inner harbour, I looked down to see what was happening in the inner harbour.

To my surprise, the dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie is no longer in there, and neither are the tubes that were floating about on the water. It’s all been happening while I’ve been away, hasn’t it?

Back here, I made myself a coffee and came in here to sit down for a few minutes. And later on I made a start at unpacking my suitcase from my trip. That was a good idea that was, taking the larger suitcase.

Later on, I went to assemble my pizza.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021No fresh mushrooms unfortunately so I had to make do with tinned ones. I’d drained them earlier and while the oven was heating up, I put them in the oven to dry out.

As for the pizza itself, it really was delicious. Not the best that I have ever made but it was certainly pretty good.

Now that I’ve written my notes, I’m going to have a quiet relax for a while and then go to bed. I’m up early in the morning because I have a radio programme to prepare and I need to be on form for that.

And I mustn’t forget – there’s shopping to do tomorrow when I finish or there will be nothing to go on my butties at lunchtime.