Category Archives: joly france

Monday 25th April 2022 – THAT WAS A NIGHT …

… that I would much rather forget. I’ve been having a few of these here and there as well just recently.

Although I was in bed last night at 22:30 ready for my 06:00 start, and feeling tired at that as well , by the time that 04:20 came round and I was still awake, I was thoroughly and completely fed up.

Even more surprisingly, when the alarm did go off at 06:00 I was up quite smartly too even if I didn’t feel much like it. And apart from a little wobble here and there just after lunch, I kept on going all day without really crashing out.

And the chances of that happening – well, not happening – are pretty remote as well the way that things have been just recently.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I sat down and attacked the radio programme that needed preparing.

It was all up and running too at 10:45 and that was a surprise considering all of the interruptions that I had today. There was an early morning coffee, followed by breakfast followed by the nurse coming round early yet again to inject me with the Aranesp ready for my trip away at the weekend.

And having had a visit from the nurse, I had to ring up the doctor for an appointment. I need more Aranesp, having used the last lot, and I have to talk to him about my knee. Now that I’ve had the MRI scan and something has been discovered, I need to find out what is going to happen next.

As well as that, I need a blood test. They upped my medication when I was at the hospital just now, and I need to have the results ready for when I return next Thursday.

There were four radio programmes that I needed to verify today. I’m sending off two today because I won’t be here next Monday, and then there was the one that I prepared last week and never had time to verify, and then there was the one that I’d prepared today. And s much of the rest of the day was spent listening to them to make sure that they passed muster.

While that was going on I was working on the photos from the High Arctic in 2019. Right now I’m on board a zodiac in Flexure Bay off the coast of King William Island on my way to investigate a rather large pod of Beluga Whales.

There were several breaks in this task too. Firstly, I went for a shower. Secondly I had lunch and thirdly I went off for my appointment with the physiotherapist.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022First port – if you pardon the expression – of call was the wall overlooking the harbour on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

Our little game of Musical Ships is continuing this afternoon as well. Although the tide is in, L’Omerta is in with it, tied up at the quayside by the Fish Processing Plant. It must be her turn today.

There are two other boats in the photo too. The one in front looks as if it might be some kind of official boat judging by the colour, but I can’t make out the identity of the one behind her Whoever she is, she’s one of the inshore shell-fishing boats.

philcathane joly france yachts port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022The tide is actually quite well in right now and so one or two fishing boats are heading back to harbour.

This one coming in is Philcathane. Parked up at the ferry terminal is one of the Joly France ferries and the small upper deck superstructure makes me think that she’s the newer one of the two.

And there’s someone standing by the crane too, although there doesn’t look like any freight that needs loading aboard.

There are a couple of yachts out there in the bay behind her having a good sail around too, enjoying the nice weather.

repairing roofs rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022My route into town goes down the Rue des Juifs past the three houses that were devastated by the fire the other week.

There’s been a cherry-picker there for a couple of days with a few workmen in the nacelle. They are putting some kind of wooden framework up there to which they will be covering with a tarpaulin or two.

It’s quite important to keep at least the ones either side of the destroyed house covered in order to stop the elements doing even more damage than the fire has already done, but I think that te one in the centre, on which they were working as I went past, is beyond redemption.

The smell from the fire-damaged structure would be enough to put off anyone who might want to repair it, never mind anyone else.

swimming pool cranes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There’s more activity going on in the inner harbour this afternoon.

There are two cranes that work the freight in the harbour and it looks as if they are having a conference this afternoon. And there are a couple of people in attendance too.

On the quayside is another pile of freight, including yet another swimming pool. That can only mean that one of the Jersey freighters will be coming into port quite soon to which it all away.

There wasn’t anything of any interest going on in town this afternoon so I had a pretty uninterrupted trip up the hill towards the physiotherapist.

She gave me an electro-massage on my knee and then had me doing a few exercises.

While I was there I cancelled my appointment for Wednesday as I’m at the doctor’s, and cancelled them for next week too as I’m on my travels again.

redecorated facade rue georges clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022After she threw me out I headed back into town on my way home for my afternoon coffee.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last couple of weeks we’d seen some scaffolding up against a building in the Rue Georges Clemenceau. Today, I noticed that the scaffolding has gone and we can see what they have been doing.

It’s the building down there that has the nice fresh blue edging. They have done a pretty good job of painting it and it looks quite nice now. I wonder when they are going to paint a few more to match.

fishing boat leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On my way up the hill towards home I walked past the port where I noticed one of the fishing boats heading off out to sea.

Unfortunately she’s not one that I recognise and with only having the NIKON 1 J5 with the standard lens, I’m not likely to be able to enlarge it sufficiently to see its registration number.

Her colours are distinctive enough and I’ll certainly remember her if I ever see her again.

Around here while I was looking at the port I fell in with one of my neighbours on her way home and so we walked up the hill together putting the world to rights.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022When we arrived at the building I went over to the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

Firstly, there wasn’t all that much beach to be on. Even so with the nice sunny weather I was expecting to see a few people down there making the most of it.

However, there weren’t all that many people there this afternoon. all I could see were a couple of people loitering around down there.

No-one in the water as far as I could see though. The weather wasn’t all that warm, I suppose.

fishing boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was plenty of activity going on out at sea.

Even with the standard lens on the camera I could see quite a few boats out there in the bay, although I couldn’t see if they were fishing boats or pleasure craft.

But they were clearly busy so I left them to it and came back here where I bumped into yet another neighbour. It’s my day for being sociable today.

Back here I had a coffee and finished listening to the last of the radio programmes, and then I could see what was going on with the dictaphone.

At some point during the night I must have gone to sleep because there was some stuff on there that I had recorded. Three of us had booked rooms at a hotel (and there’s more to this story than meets the eye too). I’d specified a room next to the other two. I turned up at about 08:30. Of course it was far too early to take my room but I thought that there would be a consigne where I could leave the baggage but they were so busy at reception with people checking out and having breakfast that I had to wait around. Eventually someone came to take over from the night desk staff. We began to chat. He discussed my special requirements – I’d listed dozens of special requirements, some of which were quite silly but he went through them with me. We entered the lift but I’d forgotten half the stuff. There was some stuff that I didn’t know that I had to bring but eventually I collected everything together end we entered the lift. We went up to the 2nd floor but they were vacuuming there so we had to go up the the second-and-a-half floor and come down the stairs at the back in order to arrive at the consigne where I could leave my baggage.

And then I was living in Winsford again. There was a woman there with 3 small children, girls. They were round at my place. I was looking after them, taking turns to take them to the bathroom etc. They met Tuppence, my black cat. They were asking questions about her, how old she was. I said that she must be at least 20 now. They thought that that was wonderful. One of them had a cat that usually hid in a drawer. When she went to open the drawer of course it wasn’t there. Outside, between my house and the next-door neighbour’s I’d erected a suspension bridge. It looked absolutely magnificent. Everyone thought that it was great. I had to have the neighbour sign a liability waiver so that if anything happened to the bridge with him on it he wouldn’t sue me for it. We had an inspection of the bridge and in the end he signed the paper.

Tea was a stuffed pepper – there was one lying around – and it was delicious. And now I’m going to have a little relax and then go to bed. I’m totally exhausted and I’m surprised that I’ve kept on going so long. It just goes to show that I can do it when I want, even when I’ve taken one of those night-time pills.

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.

Tuesday 12th April 2022 – IT’S BEEN SOMETHING …

jade 3 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… of a nautical day this afternoon when I was out on my rounds.

So while you admire several photos of the Trawler Jade III out there fishing just offshore in the Baie de Granville (and you can tell that she has a good haul on board from the crowds of seagulls that are flocking around her) I’ll tell you about my less-than-exciting day today.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 it goes without saying that I didn’t actually leave the bed at that moment. Mind you, I did beat the second alarm to my feet, although there wasn’t much in it.

In fact I actually felt like death this morning.

philcathane jade 3 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022So while Jade III and Philcathane cross each other in the bay, I had my medication and then sat down to deal with today’s radio programme that I should have done yesterday.

And although I’d already done half of it previously, it took me much longer than it ought to have done.

At about 09:20 I had a ‘phone call. “You told us on your questionnaire (for my MRI scan tomorrow) that you worked in metal.”
“That’s correct. But I’ve not done any welding since 1997 (when I welded up the exhaust on my old Passat) and only some very rare moments of grinding ever since”
“Nevertheless you need to come here for a brain scan. And bring your prescription with you”

jade 3 trawler speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And so I had to rummage through a pile of paperwork to find the prescription and then Caliburn and I set out for the Radiology Centre.

For a change, I didn’t have to wait too long to have my skull x-rayed but I had to wait for an hour for the results. Consequently I went down the hill to the Leclerc to do a little shopping – like sunflower seed, peppers, mushrooms and some flour.

Back at the Radiology centre they gave me my photos. “We gave you a brain scan” she said “but we found nothing” and that’s the most depressing thing that I’ve heard for quite some considerable time.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Back here I cracked on with the radio programme and it took me almost until lunchtime to finish it off. It really wasn’t a good day.

At least the bread that I had taken out of the freezer was nice and fresh, and that soft Greek vegan cheese that Alison found for me is absolutely delicious. It’s amazingly like fresh mozzarella. I’ll be buying more of that in due course.

Once I’d finished lunch I spent a short while organising some more photos from August 2019 and my trip to the High Arctic. Right now I’m in a zodiac roaring up Dundas Harbour at Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic, trying to out-manoeuvre a polar bear that was there to keep a close eye on a family of seals.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022When I’d gone out earlier this morning it was quite a reasonable day. But this afternoon it had gone really cold and it was raining.

Not the kind of day that I would have expected to have seen anyone down on the beach, but nevertheless there were some people down there this afternoon, and there were some more people coming down the steps from the Rue du Nord to join them.

No-one in the water though, and that wasn’t a surprise at all.

While I was down there I had a look out to sea to see what was happening, and you’ve already seen Jade III and Philcathane out there in the bay having a good trawl around.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was quite a racket going on this afternoon from the work that’s being undertaken on the medieval wall at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

They are pushing on with the pointing over there and they seem to have made it as far as the huge vertical crack and that’s going to take some filling.

But it’s not going to be done right now, with one of the workmen sitting on top of the wall eating his butties or something.

Having dealt with all of that I headed off down the path towards the end of the headland. Despite the rain and the cold weather there were quite a few people walking around on the path this afternoon. I suppose that they have come here for a holiday and don’t have anything else to do.

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022A little earlier I mentioned that it was something of a nautical day today.

You have seen trawlers and yachts and speedboats out there at sea but right now we have a cabin cruiser going past as I walked around the end of the headland. It was moving rather quickly too as if it was on a Mission from God.

As for me, I was on a mission too, which was to find some shelter from this rain. There was no-one sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon, and that was no surprise, and so I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

le roc a la mauve 3 anakena chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022First stop was to see what was going on at the chantier naval this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw it in a long-distance shot from a different viewpoint yesterday so I wanted to see it from this point of view.

Of course, Spirit of Conrad has now gone back into the water but Le Roc à la Mauve III is still there where she has been for quite a while although her paint job is well advanced.

Anakena is there too. We saw her lifted out of the water a couple of weeks ago. There are a couple of people working on her this afternoon despite the rain and with the tourist season about to start, I bet that they are in a hurry.

jade 3 chausiaise joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022In the meantime, Jade III has finished her fishing session is on her way into the harbour, minus the flock of seagulls that accompanied her out in the bay.

Also in the port today, over at the ferry terminal, are Chausiaise, the little freighter that goes over to the Ile de Chausey, and one of the Joly France passenger ferries.

In the background in the port de plaisance we can just about make out the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

There were also several people with nothing better to do in the miserable weather lounging about looking over the sea wall at nothing particular.

le styx lysandre charlevy chant de sirenes catherine philippe port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That’s because all of the activity is taking place on this side, over at the fish processing plant.

From front to back we have Le Styx, Lysandre, Charlevy, an unknown boat, Chant de Sirenes and Catherine Philippe just coming in to tie up.

And there’s quite a crowd over there on the quayside watching the activity. There’s plenty of it going on.

Back here I had a coffee and then, rather regrettably, I fell asleep. So there was half a mug of cold coffee and some in the percolator when I awoke.

and it was freezing cold too. Not even an extra jacket helped so I switched on the portable electric heater for a while.

That was the cue to make a start on listening to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. And I’d been quite far, as it happens.

Last night I met some Russian apologists who were excusing the violence and everything that was taking place but before I didn’t go very far into this before it petered out.

Then there was going to be the World Cup and there the organisers of the Welsh FA were on stage and with a crowd inside. They were drawing out of a glass bowl the names of players who were going to represent Wales. They started off with 30 but were choosing 23. They were pulling out these names of players and they were all players about whom i’ve never heard and I didn’t have a clue who they were or where they played. I had no idea exactly what was going on and why they had even thought about selecting some of these names to be in this pool.

And next I was on a station in Germany watching a Trans-Europe Express pulled by one of the NEZ CASSÉ French locomotives of the 1970s. I don’t know anything about this other than that I was on the station.

We were also going on a coach holiday. A girl whom I knew was coming with me – a really big girl (and I do mean “big”). It wasn’t until we were assembled ready to go that I realised just how big because the two of us sitting in a coach seat would be rather problematic. They were discussing all of the holiday but I wasn’t listening very much because I was too busy making a list of things that I had forgotten, including my raincoat so I was going to have to do some shopping when the coach stopped. They we had to board the coach so I took my suitcase but no-one else was bringing their suitcase. I imagined that there was someone collecting them in the office so I had to walk back to the office with mine, against the flow of traffic to leave my suitcase there and then come back. That probably meant that we wouldn’t get a good seat together on the coach. That really suited me because otherwise I would have had to sit next to her and there wouldn’t have been any room on the seat. But I can’t believe that I was coming away on a holiday and i’d left half of my important stuff behind like I had.
Actually, I can because it wouldn’t be the first time. Most people usually make a list of what they need and pack accordingly. I normally just pack and then when I’m away I make a list of what I’ve forgotten
So we all walked back to the coach. I was one of the last to board. Luckily the girl was sitting right at the front next to someone else which was great for me so I walked a few seats back. There was an empty seat next to a young girl who turned out to be Castor. so “hello Castor after all this time. Isn’t it nice to see you?”. I sat next to her. She was busy trying to pass her headphones to the girl in the seat behind her so that she could listen to the sound for the film that was being shown on the coach. Castor wasn’t talking to me yet. She was telling the girl behind her that she used to get up very early and go for a wander around and then go back to sleep for an hour. That was basically how I existed at that time so I thought to myself that with sitting next to her on this trip I might be able to strike up a good relationship with her, and isn’t that some wishful thinking?

We were in Crewe somewhere on the Wistaston Road estate although it was supposed to be somewhere round Pym’s Lane – Minshull New Road area. There were people preparing to go to school. There was a young girl there busy adjusting her cardigan, tying it in a knot at the bottom because it was a warm summer day. There were other people getting into a car to be taken to school because their school was actually on the Middlewich Road. I was walking past all of these people heading down the bacnk but I’m not sure why

Did I dictate the story about the girl who was preparing to go to school adjusting her cardigan as I was walking down the hill where I thought was the Wistaston Green Estate but was somewhere round by Pym’s Lane – Minshull New Road and there were all these people there preparing to go to school as I was walking past them … “yes you did” – ed. What I meant to say was we were now heading back towards the coach. I was one of the last on. Luckily this girl had found someone else by whom to sit, right at the very front seat wedging this person in. That was fine by me. I went back a couple of rows and found an empty seat. It turned out that I was sitting next to Castor so “welcome back Castor”. She was busy passing her headphones to the person in the seat behind her so that person could listen to the sound on the film that was playing on the coach. She was saying that she was a very early riser, awoke in the morning, did a few things and then went back to bed for an hour. That was the kind of thing that suited me because that’s how I behaved. I was hoping that I could have a really good rapport with her during the course of this voyage on this bus.

And I’m surprised that I dreamt the same dream twice a good distance apart and it all sounded almost the same even with the sidelong remarks.

Finally it was the school holidays again so we were back there and I was working on the railway station at Koln or Aachen. A train pulled in and the people started to alight. It turned out that one of the people was a girl whom I knew so I said “hello”. She wondered what I was doing here because she knew me from Brussels. I said that i’d come here to change trains. I asked where her train was going so she told me but that wasn’t really anywhere near the one that I wanted …indistinct…. but there was some detail on it that I could keep.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice and veg. And it was delicious as usual.

And now that I’ve finished my notes, I’m off to bed for a decent sleep.

So Castor came back last night for the first time for ages. She’s been missed while she’s been away. But even so, it it didn’t look as if she was taking much notice of me. I hope that she’ll be back tonight and I can see more of her.

Monday 11th April 2022 – I REALLY SHOULD …

… have put my mortgage on it yesterday because, the way that things were panning out, it was inevitable.

Sure enough, at 08:20 this morning the doorbell rang. “Mr Hall, I’m in the building. May I come and give you your injection?”.

So there I was, hurriedly trying to dress myself while he was banging on the door. After all, I don’t want to give him an inferiority complex.

digging up road rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Something else on which I should have bet my mortgage was “how long will it be before they dig up that brand-new road on which they spent all that money just recently”?

It’s been completed and opened for traffic for just about a couple of months but sure enough, here they are with half of the width coned off and someone hacking away at the surface. It was inevitable, wasn’t it?

Anyway, back to where we ought to be.

Last night I fell into a very cold bed and that was the last that I remember of anything until this perishing ring on the blasted bell this flaming morning.

No-one was more surprised than me to find that there was some stuff on the dictaphone from last night because I didn’t remember a thing about anything So after having taken my medication I sat down and transcribed them.

I started off with something to do with a radio show. I bet that I’ve missed out lots of it. It was that I couldn’t do all of my radio programmes this week and so they had done some kind of message to say that I’d been unwell or injured myself climbing onto a railway station platform or something like that although they didn’t elaborate why I would want to climb onto a railway station platform. There was the inference that it was something to do with refugees or something and they didn’t want anyone to know that I was doing that kind of thing so they had to invent some kind of excuse.

Later on the 4 of us had gone off for another weekend. I can’t remember where it was now. We’d been looking at hotels but because of the budgetary issues we were looking at hotels further out of the city. I’d done some research and I’d come up with 4 that fitted the bill in the same kind of neighbourhood. They were miles from anywhere. We reached the 1st one which was a brand new chain hotel type of thing. Its budget was like €55 per night but they looked at it and decided that it would be far too expensive for us even though I told them that it fitted in with our budget. They still thought that it was far expensive so we went to the next one. To my surprise they only booked 2 rooms. It seemed that the girls were sharing the one and the boys (me and whoever) were sharing another. Across the road was another hotel of a similar type but it was blue. I’d stayed there once the very first time that I’d started out on my travels and thought that it was expensive for what it was supposed to be. They asked about restaurants but there weren’t all that many in the area at all. Nevertheless we booked in. We had to take a table and banqueting stuff out of our room so we carried the headboard out. It was enormously heavy. The guy who was with me carried it first but he almost dropped it so I had to help him. One of the waiters came along. He had a tray and put the coffee machine on it and the sugar in the bowl. It was quite interesting the way he put the sugar in the bowl. He had 2 spoons, 1 with white sugar and 1 with brown and he poured it into the sugar bowl so that it was half-and-half. He put some milk onto the tray. Another woman came in and began to hurry around. She prepared a second sugar bowl and put it on the tray so we made some kind of funny remark about that.

The rest of the morning, once I’d awoken, was to back up the computer – to copy all of the files that I had created or changed on the laptop while I was away and then load them up onto the big machine. There were quite a few of those as well and it took me a while to organise it all.

With what time was left before lunch I went for a shower, and I’ve put back all of the weight that I’ve lost over the last few months despite all of the walking that I did while I was away. I also had to organise the clothes ready for washing, which I’ll be doing while I’m out at the physiotherapist

There have also been several in-depth discussions on the internet too about the events of the last couple of days.

As well as that, although the trip was a success to the extent that everyone reached Granville safely and without losing anything along the way, there were several aspects that needed to be improved. Whatever you do, it’s always a good idea to sit down afterwards to see how things could have been accomplished better.

rocalamauve le styx port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And so on that note I headed off to the physiotherapist for my Monday afternoon session.

As usual I paused at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to check that the NIKON 1 J5 was working and also to see what was happening down there this afternoon.

There were a few fishing boats down there this afternoon. At the front is Roc A La Mauve and at the rear is Le Styx at the rear. I can’t see who the boat in the middle is.

You can see the crane unloading Roc A La Mauve and the pile of boxes full of shellfish on the quayside already unloaded.

trawler chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And as I watched, another trawler came chugging into port

Unfortunately she’s far too far out for me to be able to say with any certainty who she might be but I can see that the seagull over there was having a really good look.

Over there to the left at the ferry terminal is Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs over to the Ile de Chausey.

There’s something over there in front of her too – probably one of the Joly France ferries. It’s holiday time for the next two weeks so I imagine that there must be plenty of custom for a trip out to the island.

marite belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Whoever it was over there at the ferry terminal, it isn’t Belle France.

She’s down there tied up at the quayside in the inner harbour. There can’t be that much trade over to the island today.

But I was more interested in seeing Marité back in port again. She’s been away for the last while or so having her annual overhaul. She can’t be overhauled here in the chantier naval because the portable boat lift over there doesn’t have the lifting capacity to lift her out of the water.

There’s also a swimming pool over there. That means that one of the little Jersey freighters will be coming over in the course of the next few days.

boules bar ephemere place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022One thing that we usually see down on the Place Pelley during the summer is the Bar Ephemère, the temporary café that they erect on the boulodrome.

It’s here already and they are busy unloading it and erecting it all, ready for the Easter rush.

And it’s not disturbing the boules players at all. They are still managing to fit in a few games around all of the goings-on.

One of my friends had asked me to find out if there were any golf courses near here so I went to the Tourist Information Office. That was a waste of time because there were crowds of people in there and of the assistants, two of them were helping one client and all the rest of the assistants were Miltonists.

And in case you wonder what a Miltonist is, there’s a line in Milton’s poem “On His Blindness” that goes “They also serve who only stand and wait”.

road closed rue roger maris Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On my way up the hill in the Rue Couraye I noticed that the Rue Roger Maris was closed off to traffic so I made a mental note to go back that way to find out why.

Not now though. I pushed on to the physiotherapist.

She had me on the couch again with the electro-massage machine and then I had the honour of being the first to have a go on the new electric bicycle. And finally a few kinetic exercises before she threw me out.

Back again on Wednesday for my last session with her before she moves on to her new job. She’s fixing me up for sessions with one of her colleagues.

place des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Who remembers the Place des Docteurs Lanos?

The last time we saw it, it was a huge mess of mud that had been churned up by all of the vehicles that had been on there while they had been using it to store the building materials.

On my way to find out why the Rue Roger Maris was closed, I had a look to see what they had been doing there and as you can see, they have made quite a bit of progress there since I was last down this way.

But as for why the street was closed off, there wasn’t anything evident that I could see, apart from the guy digging up the road around the corner in the Rue du Boscq.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022My route took me back through the town and up the hill in the Rue des Juifs towards home.

Near the top I stopped because there was something interesting going on out in the bay. One of the sailing schools was out again this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve promised that I’ll be out there with them one day soon but the way things are with the physiotherapy, the Welsh lessons, the radio and my trips to Leuven it’s difficult to know when I can fit anything else into my programme.

You can see that most of the fishing boats are now back home too and tied up in the inner harbour.

anakena rocalamauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While I was here I had a look to see what was happening in the chantier naval.

Spirit of Conrad has now gone back into the water. I saw her moored up in the inner harbour. La Roc A La Mauve III is still there though, up on the blocks. How long has she been there now?

Also in there is Anakena. We saw her being lifted out of the water the other day just before I set off on my voyage. She has a programme of voyages out to the North so I imagine that she’s having her annual overhaul too.

One of the places that she’s visiting is Greenland, according to the local newspapers of a while back, so I sent a mail to her owners to see what the plan was because I’m keen to get back to Uummannaq and my little Inuit friend Heidinngauq but they never replied.

That’s the story of my life. People complain about there being a recession but how many times have I sent out mails to enquire about products and never received a reply?

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As has been the case in the past, I can’t go back into the apartment without seeing what was going on down on the beach.

With it being holiday times and reasonably good weather I was expecting to see the crowds down there and I was right as wzll. The place was heaving. No-one actually in the water though.

One thing thatt I did while I was out was to make sure that Caliburn started. We have to go out on Wednesday and with him having stood around for over a fortnight it’s as well to check.

Back here I had a good play on the guitar and then organised my photos from today. I have to stop letting things hang around here for as long as I do. Especially as I may well be off on yet more travels some time soon

And regrettably, I also crashed out for half an hour too.

Tea was a disappointment. It should have been steamed veg with falafel and vegan cheese sauce (now that I have some) but the veg was over-steamed which is quite rare these days with my steamer that doesn’t seem to work as I would like it.

So having written my notes I’m going to hang around for a while and then go to bed. I have a radio programme to do tomorrow seeing as there is no Welsh course tomorrow.

But it’s not going to be a 06:00 start. That I can promise you.

Tuesday 29th March 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

peccavi carteret trawlers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… various photos of various sea-going craft that were out and about on the water this afternoon, I’ll tell you about my somewhat depressing day today.

It couldn’t have got off to a worse start this morning. When the alarm went off at 07:30 I leant out of bed and switched it off. And the next thing that I remember was when it went off again at 08:00.

Although I didn’t go back to sleep at that point, it was … errr … somewhat later when I finally arose from the dead.

After I had taken my medication I came back in here to sit on my chair where I … errr … fell asleep again for 20 minutes.

cabin cruisers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Nevertheless, I awoke in time to prepare for my Welsh lesson today but there was actually no need because we didn’t finish the first lesson last week and we only just about reached the end of it today.

That’s because we spent much more time talking in this lesson and after my weekend course I was feeling much more confident about things. As a result the lesson passed quite well, to my surprise.

There was lunch as well and it seems that I might have miscalculated the bread issue. Even if there’s enough bread left for tomorrow, there won’t be enough for sandwiches on my journey tomorrow and I don’t want to take the bread out of the freezer just for a couple of slices.

What I’ll have to do is to make other plans for lunch on my travels.

ch933900 carteret jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After lunch, having fought off yet more sleep, I had a listen to where I’d been during the night.

I was a famous footballer in the days before I was famous and I’d fixed a car for one of my clubmates, a white 2000E with a black vinyl roof. I had it running really well and everyone came to see it. They stood there and listened to it. Someone noticed the ice in the radiator. I explained that it had only just gone in and it would melt but they all started making fun of this ice that was in there. Just then I was violently sick. This went on for 3 or 4 minutes that I was violently sick. Someone else who had a white 2000E came up, a footballer, and said “come with me. We’re going to the chemist. Apparently it was something to do with what I was eating. It was good for sport and energy but not for my general health. Someone went to fetch his car and beckoned to me get in it but I noticed that one of his rear lights was not working.

belle france joly france black pearl peccavi charlevy port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I was then with a group of people last night in a house somewhere. One person was having trouble with his car so he set off and we followed him. He went down a hill, you could hear his car misfiring from here, and reached the bottom, pulled off and went round the roundabout underneath. It was obvious that he was still having problems. His car managed to go round the roundabout but he ended up in the wrong gear and tried to come back. He was struggling up the hill and an ancient Austin 7 went past. By the time we returned to the house the guy in the Austin 7 had checked the car over, adjusted the points and was giving him a few other suggestions about how he could improve the performance on his car like put a shaft in to connect the gear lever up to the flywheel, one or two other little things like that. They’d made a meal for me but first when I came in the offered me a cup of tea but I asked “what about everyone else for a cup of tea?”. I went to pour some tea for everyone and have mine with my meal in a couple of minutes.

omerta calean chant de sirenes trafalgar pierre de jade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I’d been to see people like those whom I knew from the Wirral and the like. We’d been talking about all meeting up in the States sometime at the end of the summer. Gradually there were just me and one of them left. We were on a petrol station. He was on his Harley Davidson, a gold one. I said goodbye to him and “see you in a couple of months”. He said “what?”. He’d plainly forgotten about this trip about which we’d been talking. I knew really that it wasn’t going to happen so I just thought that I’d mention the trip but without any real hope that it would actually come off. We were looking at all these electric motorcycles including tiny little 33cc ones. I was estimating how much time it would take me to return home on one of those, not because it could travel quickly but obviously it was so uncomfortable that you could never have a comfortable ride on a motorcycle so small as this. We had a look at the 50cc and 75cc ones but they didn’t seem to be all that much better. I set off home and as I walked out of this garage there was a blind spot for the security cameras where I could easily have picked up one of these motorbikes and walked off with it but I decided against it. I set off to walk home, interested to see how many hours it would take me so that I could compare it at some other time with one of these small motorbikes. I didn’t think that it would be any quicker because although you could move quicker, you’d need to spend more time recovering from the uncomfortable position.

Finally I’d been to see Morton playing but they’d been playing somewhere like Hamilton or Motherwell. I walked out of the ground down to the old A74 because the motorway hadn’t been built yet. I started to hitch a lift but there was no-one stopping for me to go home and I ended up in Stirling (don’t ask me how), walking through the town centre of Stirling at night. I thought that I’d better buy a few things to keep me going for the journey because it was a long way. I ended up talking to Louise, discussing changing part of a car. I showed her how to work a power bar backwards so that you didn’t have as long a swing but you could get more power on it. I was still a long way from home and working out how many hours it would take me to actually walk. I arrived at a figure of something like 80 hours if I didn’t have a lift.

person sitting on rock rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022That took me up to the time when I usually go out for my afternoon walk.

As usual, my first port of call was the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down there.

And there wasn’t all that much beach to be on this afternoon but there were rocks a-plenty and there was someone sitting down there like Piffy on … errr … a rock, acting as if she owned it.

There was quite a bit of mist out at sea again but as you have seen, there was plenty of maritime traffic today as well, with all of the fishing boats heading back to port this afternoon.

repointing medieval city walls place du marche au chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022However my mind was elsewhere this afternoon.

While I was looking down onto the beach, I could also see that there was plenty of activity going on this afternoon on the medieval city walls over at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

There were several people scrambling over the scaffolding, doing some pointing on the wall over there. And there’s plenty of it that needs to be done as well, but over the last couple of weeks since they seem to have made rapid progress.

They may well not be there for much longer, but then again I have said things like that before and been confounded.

storm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022One thing is sure though, and that it that they may well not be there for much longer this afternoon.

Over at the Ile de Chausey is one of the most wicked storms that I’ve seen for quite a while and while, for a change, the wind isn’t all that strong, it won’t be too long before it’s upon us.

That’s really the cue for me to get a move on. I’ve no idea how long it’ll take for the storm to arrive but I don’t want to be caught out and about in it.

But at least I won’t be alone because there were several other people out and about. But I bet that they won’t be out and about for long.

people sitting on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Nevertheless, there will be several people who will end up being taken by surprise by the rainstorm, if it does actually arrive.

Down here on the bench by the cabanon vauban, you can’t see over the top of the cliff and beyond the lighthouse and so the couple sitting down here won’t have any idea of what’s lurking out at sea. And it’s not exactly a place from where you can run easily, with all of the steps and the muddy path.

But then I suppose that they can always shelter inside the cabanon if necessary.

Leaving them to it, I headed off down the path on top of the headland towards the port to see what was going on there.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You’ve seen all of the fishing boats lined up waiting, either to unload at the fish processing plant or for the gates to the inner harbour to open.

But I was more intrigued to see what was happening with Chausiaise. She’s currently moored at the pontoon where many of the fishing boats tie up so they aren’t going to be too pleased to see her there.

And she has her crane extended too so there’s something going on with her right now.

Back home I made myself a coffee and then made another start on the photos from the High Arctic in 2019.

Right now we’re anchored off Devon Island and I’m stuck – there’s a hill there by the old RCMP post at Dundas Harbour where there’s a memorial monument. And I know the name of this hill – it’s named after a sailor on Belcher’s expdition of 1852 but can I think of his name?

To try to think, I had a good spell on the guitar but it didn’t work and even now, as I’m about to go to bed I still can’t think of his name.

Tea was a left-over curry which was delicious and then I came in here to write up my notes. And I had an interruption as well. I seem to be in great demand just recently and I don’t understand why because it’s not the usual state of affairs as far as I am concerned.

But all of that is for another time. I’m going to have a quiet play on the guitar and then I’m off to bed. I have the doctor in the morning and the physiotherapist in the afternoon. And then on Thursday I’m off on my travels again.

There’s no holding me back right now.

Saturday 26th March 2022 – IN SOMETHING OF A …

…. major surprise, the first day of my Welsh revision course actually passed quite well and I’ve no idea why either because as usual we were launched straight into the deep end.

crane ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In something else of a major surprise, I actually caught the crane at the ferry terminal working this morning.

With having my Welsh lesson starting at 10:30 I had to nip into town early for my special bread for lunch and the mushrooms for the pizza. And there as I approached the corner of the street the crane was busily swinging something about.

Of course, at this kind of distance and as far as I was away from the outer wall it’s impossible to see what it was that they were moving around. And the sun shining right into the lens of the camera didn’t help matters at all.

person swimming in sea rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And that’s not all either.

When I went out for my afternoon walk I went as usual to look down at what was happening on the beach and out at sea. And despite the weather I really was surprised to see someone actually in the water this afternoon.

That’s what I call “courage”.

But I’m getting ahead of myself yet again today.

When the alarm went off this morning it was yet another struggle to leave my stinking pit for the real world. Nevertheless, I beat the second alarm clock. Not by much, I have to say, but enough.

After breakfast there was plenty of time to transcribe the dictaphone notes.

The Germans were busy executing a load of prisoners whom they had caught last night, hanging them in groups of so many. After they had done several groups, they decided that they would call it a night for the moment, just as they got to one particular woman. They were all there having a little party I suppose. This woman was sleeping on what was a large bed, the type that you would fit probably a dozen people on. One of the women who was there involved in the executions was with a guy. They were busy eating green apples. They asked this woman if she wanted one but she said no. It created problems with her stomach so they carried on with what they were doing while she was there trying to sleep with all this noise. her hands were tied so she couldn’t do very much. When everyone went off to sleep she tried to free her hands but she wasn’t able to do it. Next morning the hangings started again and she was in the first batch of them to go to meet their maker. Interestingly, where this was all taking place was somewhere round by the corner of Alton Street and Walthall Street in Crewe.

And later we were babysitting a small child for someone. I can’t remember who I was with now but it was male. It might have been my brother. We were babysitting in my house. This woman turned up unexpectedly to take the boy away. It was her grandmother on his mother’s side. She had a friend with her. They walked into my house and had a look around. She said to her partner “just remember before you say anything about the condition of their house, it’s their house”. She said that with one of those long pointed looks down her nose. I thought “you ungrateful cow”. I was just about to tell her what I thought of her when she grabbed the child and left so I chased after her but she had gone. Just then my mother in law turned up with her other daughter in law, her brother’s wife, for measuring our house. We had a tape measure and someone asked to know the length of it so I said that it was 20 metres. They insisted that it was 10 but I could see quite clearly that it was 20. I told the story of this woman coming in. My mother-in-law said “yes, quite” as if she clearly agreed with the first woman. I thought “all these miserable people here . I can’t even live my life quietly on my own without having all of these attacks from all kinds of different people. What made it worse was there I was out of the goodness of my heart looking after this little child and all I received was a heap of abuse, which sounds about pretty much par for the course the way things are these days.

And that’s not all of what happened last. But trust me – you really don’t want to know about the bits that are missing, especially if you are eating your tea right now.

There was also an extremely bad-tempered reply to the e-mail that I wrote last night. Which went basically “I’m not paid to do …” a task that he actually volunteered to do without any prompting, and “ohh, that’s different” – the standard sort of reply that you receive when you mention something that they haven’t considered.

And plenty of other bells and whistles besides

“Ohh, that’s different” – like when the subject crops up about the footballer who is accused of cruelty after kicking his cat and you ask his critics if they’ve just eaten a meal containing the flesh of some animal that someone has actually killed.

crane ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022So climbing down from my soapbox, I headed off into town this morning nice and early just as the shops were opening.

And there at the viewpoint at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne I watched them playing about with the crane but by the time that I arrived at a good viewing position whatever it was that they were moving had gone out of sight.

There were problems going down into town too. There are some steps that go down from the Rue des Juifs to the Place Pelley and someone has erected a scaffolding across them, as I discovered when I was half-way down.

market place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022At the Carrefour I bought a special baguette and a punnet of mushrooms and headed for home.

Although it’s early, the market was in full swing. The barbecue on the right, burning its charcoal, was in full operation. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that two years or so ago the Maire at the time tried to stop him burning charcoal, but he fought the case and won.

The walk back up the hill to home was surprisingly easy. Not only did I not stop for breath, I actually made it up to the top at something like a reasonable speed as well.

That’s not like me these days either, is it?

At 10:30 our lesson began and I was actually already connected up. But not for long. The laptop that I use for Zoom crashed and it took me about 15 minutes for it to fire up again and reconnect.

We’re 15 students in this class, all from South Wales apart from me so I’m confusing them all by saying “efo” instead of “gyda”, “rwan” instead of “nawr”, “dwâd” instead of “dod” and so on which isn’t very helpful. I don’t know why they insist on putting me in a South Walian revision group when my learning provider is registered as Coleg Cambria, which is based in Wrexham in North-East Wales.

We had two coffee breaks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and a lunch hour of course. And to my surprise I managed not to fall asleep either.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As soon as it finished I legged it off outside, rather later than usual, but never mind.

Earlier on, I mentioned that it was a beautiful afternoon. And you can tell that by the crowds of people down there on the beach.

This lot is sitting at the foot of the steps that lead up to the Rue du Nord. And there were dozens of other little groups like this one scattered around all over the place as well, enjoying every minute of the weather.

Including the woman, who we saw earlier up to her waist and beyond in the water. Perhaps I ought to mention that despite the crowds down there, she was the only one who had taken the plunge. It wasn’t that warm.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You’ve seen the crowds on the beach already. Now look at the crowds on the path on top of the cliff.

My route to the lighthouse was dogged by hordes of people pushing pushchairs, walking dogs, holding children and all of that kind of thing. The beautiful weather has brought them out in their droves this afternoon.

And the reason why everyone seems to be on land at the moment is because if you look at the background of the photo you can see that we have the sea mist back again..

There won’t be much sightseeing being done on the water this afternoon.

fishermen in boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022However this photo represents something else completely.

There were a couple of boats that I could actually see and even though the bright sunlight was shining directly into the camera and reflecting off just about everywhere else, I still had a go at it.

These two boats were actually full of fishermen – you can tell by the silhouette of their fishing rods – but what caught my eye was how close they were together, like the two trawlers the other day and there were some strange antics going on aboard.

There are some strange things happening out at sea these days.

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And whatever it was that they were doing, they had an audience watching them.

Down on the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon we had another group of people enjoying the sun and whatever the spectacle was out there with those two boats.

And no dog – or polar bear – to disturb the peace either today.

But I have things to do, places to go, people to see, so I headed off towards the port on the path on the other side of the headland to see what was happening over there.

cabin cruisers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was no change whatever either in the chantier naval or over at the ferry terminal since we last looked.

But there was some water in the inner harbour and there was a small cabin cruiser on its way into port. Presumably the larger one is waiting for a bit more water to come in.

Back here there was football on the Internet. Haverfordwest County v Connah’s Quay Nomads.

And what a match this was. The first shot on target was on 32 minutes and the second shot on target was at 51 minutes. We had a brief flurry of action for 5 minutes immediately after than and then it was “as you were”.

The final score was 0-0 and believe me – both sides were lucky to get nil. After the exciting game we had last Friday night, this was a considerable let-down.

Tea was a burger on a bap, and then I came in here to write up my notes.

Having done that, I’ll have a play on the guitar and then go to bed. No lie-in tomorrow either. I’ve set the alarm as I have Day Two of my Welsh revision weekend. I suppose that if you throw enough of it at a wall, some of it might stick.

Friday 25th March 2022 – AS YOU MIGHT …

… expect, today has been nothing like as productive as yesterday was.

But, quite rarely, the problem was nothing to do with a lack of effort on my part – more on the part of someone else who shall be nameless who had me running around on the internet for three hours for what eventually turned out to be no good purpose.

There have been problems with these people in the past over “certain issues” and a little over two years ago I vowed that that time would be the very last … etc etc.

However I relented over the passage of time and subsequently, over the past few months particularly, I’ve been given the run-around over a couple of issues that have caused me to sigh with dismay but today – well, I dunno.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m living on borrowed time and every hour that I waste is an hour that I won’t ever have back again.

On top of that, the doctors have told me to do everything that I possibly can to avoid stressing myself out. It’s only my heart keeping going that’s keeping me going and it’s showing signs of strain, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. But once I stress myself out to such an extent that my heart is affected, I’ve had it.

It’s simply that I can’t afford the stress. There used to be a time when I thrived on stress – never mind your “Management By Objective” – my motto was “Management By Crisis” and it usually worked. But I can’t do it now.

What was even worse was that for the first time since I can’t remember when, I had a good sleep last night. There wasn’t much on the dictaphone at all.

Well, in fact there was, but one entry was the carbon copy of one over two hours earlier, so whether I simply dictated the same dream twice with a lengthy gap in between or whether in fact i dreamt it twice, well, we’ll never know.

We started off last night at the family pile in Davenport Avenue and there was something going on in the garden. it involved a pile of fruit that everyone was eating. I wasn’t down there with them but there was something about I had to fetch more fruit so I went back into the kitchen and found the fruit but it was all black and rotten and sweating and there were mice eating it etc. I had to chase off what I could. In the end the only thing that was any good was a banana, and that wasn’t any good either but I picked it up. One of the cats – or both of the cats – were in there and there was something the matter with him and they were all covered in some kind of black substance like some of the fruit was so I suhered them out of the room where the fruit was. One of them wanted to go upstairs and I wasn’t going to let it go like that so I picked it up. It wasn’t very happy and it was filthy but I took it in my arms and put it outside

And then I dictated it again.

Later on we were in Germany last night at a town fair. We were running it and helping these German people set up their stall. They were selling tools like spanners and dies and taps, etc. Then it seemed that I had forgotten to formally open the event so I had to formally open it with a speech but when I started to translate it into French everyone shouted “shush”. They weren’t interested apparently in hearing it in French so I went to the office and used the PA system to announce it instead, all over the fair. At the end of the night these German people were packing up. I asked them how they had done and they told me that they had sold over 3 million Marks of stuff. I asked if that was Deutsche marks or Reichmarks. We helped them get together but by now it was pretty late so I said that I could run them to the nearest metro station but they suggested that I run them to Blythe Bridge and the main-line railway station there. I thought “yes, I’d do that” but then it turned out that there was a problem with the lines and a lot of the small local stations had closed so for them to return home to Birmingham was going to be extremely difficult.

There was also somewhere where I was heading off somewhere for a job interview in Vienna. I reached the Underground but my ticket wouldn’t read in the machine to let me into the station. I tried it in 3 or 4 different machines and eventually I managed to make it work. Then I couldn’t find the line that I wanted to take me to where this interview was and even worse, I couldn’t remember which was the Metro station where I had to alight to go to this interview. I was being totally disorganised yet again.

Leaving the bed was once more a struggle but I did manage to beat the second alarm.

fruit bread home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After the medication the first task that needed doing was to bake a pile of bread – fruit bread as well as normal bread.

The normal bread tastes as good as it looks, because I had it for lunch but the fruit bread didn’t do so well.

Firstly, I forgot to brush it with milk and dust it with sugar, which doesn’t help matters, and secondly, I forgot it in the oven and it ended up being baked for 10 minutes longer than it should have been.

Still, it’ll be eaten before too long. And it’ll probably taste just as good as it ought to do. Anyway, the odd culinary disaster here and there is par for the course.

Much of the rest of the day, when I was allowed to, I was going through the photos from the Canadian High Arctic. Right now I’m in Quernbiter Fjord among a pod of narwhals. There were some exciting moments on that day.

As usual there were several other more routine interruptions, such as a coffee break, breakfast (with the last of the old fruit bread) and lunch (with the first of the new normal bread).

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland, and the first port of call was the wall at the end of the car park.

Despite the fact that it was another beautiful day today, sun shining, quite warm and all of that, therre weren’t all that many people down there this afternoon. Certainly not like yesterday when we had hordes of people down there.

But whether or not there was anything going on out at sea, that was something else completely because the sea mist that we had a few days ago has closed in and I could see very little this afternoon.

So instead I wandered off down the path towards the headland to see what might be happening

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I arrived at the headland, I thought that I might have been in luck.

A couple of people sitting on the bench (minus dog, or polar bear, or whatever it was) by the cabanon vauban looking as if something exciting was happening gave me a ray of optimism but I reckon that the excitement going on down there had nothing whatever to do with anything out at sea.

And in any case, the visibility in that direction wasn’t any better as it was as I was walking down the path.

And so I called it a day and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On this side of the path I was rather more lucky with maritime activity.

One of the yacht schools was out this afternoon, with a big bunch of pupils sailing around in the bay. It’s always the case – at the start of the year there are dozens of them sailing around (although you can only see a few of them). But by the time we reach the end of the season, the numbers have fallen off dramatically.

And just to reassure you, I haven’t forgotten that I’m supposed to be making enquiries. But right now I’m more preoccupied with my Welsh exam in early summer and all of the (free) revision courses that go with it.

Sailing is for some other time – but I will do it.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the photograph just now, you might have caught a little glimpse of Chausiaise moored at the front of the queue at the ferry terminal.

Behind her, in apparently the same place as she was yesterday, is the older of the two Joly France ferries that go out to the Ile de Chausey.

But what had caught my eye was the little boat that was moored behind her. And when I looked closer, there were actually two – a little shell-fishing boat that presumably came in too late to moor on a mooring chain, and one of the little port runabouts is moored alongside.

And the builders’ material is still over there by the crane. That’s not moved either.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, in other news, a couple of things have moved from here by the Fish Processing Plant.

Yesterday we saw L’Omerta and Jade III moored over at the wharf over there but today they have gone.

Jade III is out in the bay fishing, according to her AIS signal, but as for L’Omerta, her AIS signal tells me that she’s moored in the harbour at Les Sables d’Orlonne where she hasn’t moved since April 2019 so we can forget about that.

On the way home, I didn’t even notice if anyone was parked by the Porte St Jean. I just came in for my coffee.

After a good session on the guitar this evening I started another task that I’ve been putting off for quite a while.

For the photos, I keep a monthly index but it always occurred to me that I ought to make one master index that would make searching for things so much easier without trying to remember when or where I was at the time.

So I settled down and made a start. That’s another job that isn’t going to be as easy as it might be either, due to all kinds of complicated reasons.

For tea, I added a small tin of kidney beans and some tomato sauce to the left-over stuffing and had that with some pasta and veg. I’ve had nicer meals than that, I suppose.

But one task that I had to undertake was to dismantle … “disPERSONtle” – ed … the sink waste pipe as some paper that had slipped down there. That’s a messy job and I hate it, for not the least reason being that I have to empty the cupboard underneath and there’s far too much stuff in there as it is.

So now I’ve written up my notes and done another little task that needed attention (more of which anon) I’m going to have a little 10-minute relax and then go to bed. My Welsh weekend starts at 10:30 and I need to nip into town beforehand for a couple of things, like the mushrooms for the pizza.

So what will my Welsh course bring me this weekend? And I hope that I’m in the mood to profit from it.

Thursday 24th March 2022 – I HAVE BEEN …

… so busy today that I’ve only just realised that, as I’ve sat down to write up my notes, I’ve forgotten to transcribe the dictaphone notes.

And “so busy”? It’s been a long time since I’ve said that, isn’t it? Too early to go crowing though. One swallow doesn’t make a summer.

It didn’t actually start out very well though. When the alarm went off at 07:30 I turned over and went back to sleep yet again. It was at 07:50 when I sat bolt-upright and another minute or two before I fell out of bed.

At least I beat the alarm at 08:00 which was good news.

After breakfast and having made sure that the 3-column page was working correctly (thanks, Grahame) I carried on mounting the … gulp … 184 photos of that group that I saw back at the end of October.

And then came the acid test – would a web page work with three columns of all of these photos?

The short answer to that was “no”. And trying to find an error in 940 lines of code is not easy.

Eventually, I found not one, and not two, but three errors where either I’d missed out a line, missed out a tag or put in a tag somewhere other than where it’s supposed to go.

Eventually, it worked out and I split the page into four to make it more manageable.

So, does it work? JUDGE FOR YOURSELF.

As you might expect, in the semi-darkness and depressing lighting, many of the photos didn’t work out as well as they might have done under other conditions, and in fact some of them never even staggered onto the pages. But a few of them AREN’T TOO BAD.

That took me most of the day to do all that, but to be fair, there were several interruptions like a coffee break, breakfast, and stuff like that.

And lunch of course. And as I was quietly reading a report on a disappeared ocean liner which I was eating my lunchtime butties, I suddenly noticed the time. 13:22.

“Blimmin’ ‘eck!” I cried. “My Welsh revision lesson starts in 8 minutes”.

And despite my pessimism yesterday, that could have gone much worse than it did as well. It shows up how much I don’t know, of course, but at least I managed to struggle through two hours of it without making myself look stupid.

Mind you, I can do that often enough under normal circumstances without practising for it or speaking another language..

As soon as the lesson was over (for it was for two hours and over-run by rather a lot) I cleared off for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022First stop was, as usual, the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach and see what’s happening.

The weather today was gorgeous and I actually could have gone out without a jacket had I so desired. And it certainly brought out the crowds this afternoon.

There’s probably a dozen people in this shot alone, including the person coming down the steps from the Rue du Nord. And any other shot of the beach this afternoon would probably have shown a similar number of people.

Meanwhile, out at sea, I couldn’t see anything at all. And that wasn’t the fault of the weather because it really was nice out there as well.

men working on medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was however quite a racket coming from over where they are repairing the medieval city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

That prompted me to take a photo of it from over here and I was actually lucky enough to photograph a couple of the guys who are working there, just to prove that there is actually some work being undertaken there.

And then, joining the throngs of people on the path, I headed off down towards the lighthouse in the hope that I might see something of interest going on – but with no success. There didn’t seem to be anything out-of-the-ordinary happening today.

people on bench with dog cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With no-one playing around on the gun barrel at the lighthouse this afternoon I walked off across the car park and down to the end of the headland.

Today, we have yet more people sitting down on the bench by the cabanon vauban looking out at sea at absolutely nothing at all.

And I wondered what it was that was lying down underneath the bench. At first glance I thought that it might have been a polar bear but not even climate change could produce anything like that around here. It turned out to be a long-haired white dog of some variety or other.

So instead I wandered off along the path on the other side of the headland to spy out the land around there.

spirit of conrad le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And after the frenzied activity of the last few days or so, it’s all gone quiet in the chantier naval.

The only boats still in there are Spirit of Conrad and the little Le Roc A La Mauve III. And by the looks of things, the latter won’t be in there for much longer and as I mentioned the other day, Pierre the skipper is keen for the former to go back into the water some time rather soon.

After all, he has plenty of work booked for the summer and after what he has suffered over the last two years with almost everything being cancelled, I’m sure that the sooner he’s back out there earning money, the better for all concerned.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, over there at the ferry terminal is one of the Joly France ferries.

That’s the older one, I reckon. And you can tell that from the stern. The newer one of the two has a step in it. As well as that, the upper-deck superstructure on the older one is larger, although of course you can’t tell that until the two of them are side-by-side.

But it’s interesting in that if one of them is going to be moving and the other one not, it’s always this one that’s on the move, not the other. I would have expected the owners to alternate them so that they have an equal amount of use.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In front of Joly France is Chausiaise, the little freighter that they own that runs out to the Ile de Chausey.

It seems that they have plenty of work for her at the moment because usually she’s tied up in the inner harbour after the occasional trip here and there. Leaving her out here means that she must be off on another trip out sometime soon.

That might explain the sacks of builders’ material that we saw by the crane in the previous photo.

Pretty soon though, they are going to have to start thinking about some other arrangement. If they really are going to restart the ferries to the Channel Islands, as is suggested, they can’t be leaving ships moored up for too long at the ferry terminal.

l'omerta jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back home I came across L’Omerta again, moored in the silt underneath the fish processing plant.

At one time she practically lived there. She spent day after day tied up without moving, and then we didn’t see her for a while. But now she’s made a comeback.

And interestingly, Jade III is behind her, also settled down on the silt. We saw her yesterday tied up in the inner harbour while almost everyone else was out at sea. But today she’s made it as far as the outer tidal harbour before she stopped and tied up again.

There’s something strange happening here and I wish that I knew what it was.

Back home, having ignored the glaziers’ van parked by the Porte St Jean, I made myself a coffee and finished off what I’d been doing with those web pages.

After a good half-hour on the guitar I spent some time editing a few more photos from the High Arctic 2019 and the dog that I saw earlier must have been a premonition because I ended up editing a few photos of a polar bear and her cub that I encountered on Baffin Island while we were wandering around in Buchan Gulf.

Tea tonight should have been taco rolls with the left-over stuffing from Monday but one look at the tacos convinced me that maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. They ended up being filed under “CS”.

But not to worry. Having worked out the other week what those mystery pies were and found that they were savoury vegan pies, I had the last remaining one with potatoes, veg and a nice thick gravy.

Thoroughly delicious.

So what about that then?

During a previous existence when I was travelling for months around Canada every year I was churning out tons of stuff that found its way onto a web page. But somehow, having been swept away in a tide of whatever it was that swept me away, I’ve done very little of what has been important.

So four in a day is something of an achievement. But as I said earlier, doing it on just one day is no big deal. Margaret Thatcher once said something like “anyone can do a good day’s work when they feel like it. But doing a good day’s work when you don’t feel like it is something else completely”.

Over the last few years i’ve had far too many days when I haven’t felt like it. So let’s see what tomorrow brings. There aren’t (officially, anyway) any distractions but something will probably turn up and knock me out of my stride.

And, on a final note, with 40 minutes to spare before bedtime, I transcribed the dictaphone notes. This was something to do with the Lord of Darkness and somehow there was a technique how you could make a car like you would make a crèpe – pour liquid over a hot surface and make some kind of metal. They had made an experimental version for one group of people from the afterlife. Now they were working on their masterpiece. The Lord of Darkness had appeared with his entourage and took his place inside his car. The first car was vibrating a little and there was a danger that the power would run out so they asked the Lord of Darkness how they would deal with it. he replied that you could fit another element of a battery in there because they were several 2-volt cells and you would put another several cells in there to keep it at 12 volt and increase the amperage so that the amperage would probably match what was in his car

And then I’d ordered some LPs from Amazon. They turned up on a van at something silly like 06:00. Someone had a look to see and they were due to be delivered between 07:00 and 11:00 but it made no difference because they were here and we were here. But he couldn’t put the albums in the box in which they were supposed to arrive. There was a plastic box with lid that had to be assembled to put these albums in but for some unknown reason they wouldn’t go in and the box wouldn’t assemble and stay together. He was there for ages trying to fix this. In the end he asked if I would object if he didn’t leave the box but took it back with him. I thought that if I did object, I’d be here for hours trying to assemble it so he may as well take it and go back on his round. He asked which way to go so I replied “go out of our drive, turn right to the end of the road, turn left down to the end of the road and turn right and you’re heading towards the M6. Someone else who was there started to try to give him some really complicated directions. I thought that delivery and van drivers don’t need complicated directions. They keep it simple so there’s less chance of becoming lost. being lost is losing money for them

Later on I was with two other people last night. One of them was my little Inuit girl from Uummannaq. But she hadn’t half put on weight. She had her little sister with her who was about 3 probably. We were doing something, the 3 of us and then it was time to go. The two of them, my friend and the other person who was with me went to sit in the front of the car. I took the little girl and went to put her in the back. One thing that she liked was to be covered up by something so I took a piece of paper, a sheet of a newspaper to cover her up but she already had one and was covered up in it. She was rather cross that I was going to cover her up with 2 things. I had to fold up this piece and put it away. The other 2 wondered what was happening because of the little girl being cross but I explained and that was that.

Finally I was at an auction sale last night. They were selling things like tins of Pemmican and so on. One was from something like 1758 and another was a few years later all the way through to 1933. It looks very much as if someone had raided some explorers’ caches either in the Arctic or the Antarctic or Northern Canada. They were spending a considerable amount of time discussing the provenance of this stuff. I was hoping that they’d hurry up and start the sale

Where as all of this energy and motivation come from just now? Whatever is going on with me?

Wednesday 23rd March 2022 – A FUNNY THING …

workman suspended on rope rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022 … happened on the way to the for … errr … Physiotherapist’s this afternoon.

There I was walking quietly along the Rue Couraye and suddenly a man dropped down out of the sky right in front of me.

At least, that’s what I thought, but on a closer inspection after he had picked up the paintbrush or whatever it was that he had dropped and was hoisted back up, I could see that he was on a rope.

Cleaning or painting the facade of the building here, I reckon, or doing something of a similar nature.

But fancy a safety harness. When I retiled my roof in the Auvergne I was perched about 50 feet up on a roof holding on with my feet as I nailed down the slates.

And another funny thing that happened was that I walked all the way up the hill in the Rue Couraye to the physiotherapist’s without feeling any agony and it’s been months and months since that’s happened. So what’s going on here?

There was a lot going on last night though. I was in bed early and, for a change, out like a light. Another struggle to raise myself from the dead, and after I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages, I could listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been.

At first, I was at an interview with STRAWBERRY MOOSE on the radio. The presenter was an extremely dominant and aggressive type of personality who basically shouted at the crowd to make everyone settle down and listen to his story. It was certainly a new departure in radio to hear the way that this programme was being presented. I thought that maybe I could take a lesson from this when I’m presenting some other radio programme some time in the future. It was certainly different, telling everyone to “shut up and listen” and “he’s come all this way to give you this story and the least you can do is pay attention”. it was all quite aggressive

Later, I was at work in the office and the ‘phone rang. I had to bring the Escort estate into Brussels. They were selling it so I had to hunt through my drawers for all of the paperwork for it but I couldn’t find anything. There was nothing at all. The boss had said “make sure that you bring the paperwork because we don’t want to have to come up to your place to look for it”. There I was, looking for ages through my drawers and I couldn’t find it anywhere but then 2 people came in and heard that I was going into Brussels so could they come with me? They hopped in and I thought that i’d better go anyway otherwise I’ll be here all day and I still won’t have the paperwork. Off I set to drive. After I’d gone a few miles I found that I actually had the paperwork in my hand. Of course someone must have had the paperwork to have taken the Escort to be valued. I had that as I was driving. I ended up coming in from the direction of Oostende. I radioed in that I was there and asked where I had to go. They said “the Garage de France”. I asked where that was and they replied that it was near the Gare de Ouest. I didn’t have a clue where the Gare de Ouest was. As I came closer to the office I dropped off these 2 people and stuck my head inside a café. She knew where the place was and she told me but the directions that she gave me didn’t make any sense. Then she said the name of a square where it was. I thought to myself “I wish that I’d brought my GPS in out of my own car and stuck it in the Escort to take it there. I could have solved this problem in 5 minutes had I done that”.

And then I was back in work again. I don’t know if I’d dictated the story of the Ford Escort estate being sold but later I was back in the office. I had a pile of paperwork that I’d picked up on the way in that needed to be sorted. I took it into the office and one of the chauffeurs came up to me and said in one of these high-pitched little baby voices “what’s little Eric got there?”. So I replied “some paperwork”. He asked “what’s little Eric going to be doing with it?” and I replied “nothing whatsoever”. This conversation was on the verge of getting out of hand. In the end the boss came along so as I was in earshot I said to Jef (it’s here, it has a date-stamp on it, it’s been received, it’s been registered, so why don’t you clear off?” or something like that. The boss came over, looked at the papers, took them off me and put them out for sorting. There was no chair at my desk but there were several other chairs dotted around with files on them so I went to take the files off one so I could have a chair to sit. Someone else said “there’s a spare chair up here” but I replied “this one down here will do me”.

At another point I was with one of these American folk singers, someone like Gene Clark, and we were being chased in a car down some kind of road. We turned off up the side down some kind of farm track and were being chased down there but I swerved off the road into a farm gateway and the other car went roaring past. We prepared to drive back where we’d come but another car came the other way. We’d been talking about these huge plants that were growing all over the placen one-eyed I-can’t-remember-the phrase-now but it was in a song by the Byrds, “My Back Pages”. This car came the other way and I asked “is that one of these?” and I said the name. He replied “probably” so we waited until it went. We thought that if he could go all the way through then so could we so I set out to follow it. He said “let’s forget about these plants for now and head off”, something that made me feel rather disappointed

Finally, we’d gone to a big village hall-kind of dance, the whole family, tribe. Our mother had taken us. She was, surprisingly, a big Afro-Caribbean woman. When the dancing took place she danced in a most uninhibited way. It had absolutely no interest for me whatsoever so I was just moping around at the back of the hall. eventually I went over to my mother and said that we really must have to go very soon. She asked the time and I replied “20:20”. For some reason we were due to go at 20:30 anyway. She started to collect everything together. She said that she first came to one of these dances when she was 15 and everyone was shocked and scandalised but even people like James Brown had stuck their head in to see what was happening. I hadn’t really any idea of what to say because I knew how my mother was with her imagination.

Yes, my mother had a very fertile imagination, as we came to realise as we grew older. She lived in her own little world that only rarely had any connection with the rest of the world in which everyone else lived.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I mentioned that I’d had a problem with a three-column website on which I was working. It didn’t take me long to discover the missing tag (or, should I say, the tag that was in the wrong place) and once I’d done that, I finished it off.

You can see it ON-LINE now. The content isn’t inspiring but it was only a test run for a few other purposes that will become clearer over the course of time.

It’s been checked in C-Cleaner, Waterfox and Tor but if someone has access to an Apple-based machine, if you could check it to see that it does what it’s supposed to, I’d be grateful.

Having dealt with that task, the next task was one about which I’d forgotten. At the end of October last year I’d been to see a rock group called “Reload”. I took … gulp … 184 photos and I’d made a start on editing them but as usual, I’d been side-tracked.

This morning though, I sat down and worked my way right through the lot and they are all now edited. I’m now onto mounting them (I’m kinky like that) and they will be on-line in die course.

That will be the acid test of my three-column photo layout – trying to make it work with all of these.

There were several breaks of course – breakfast being one of them with my lovely fruit bread, and then a shower and a good clean-up.

And while I was at it, I did my Dave Crosby impression. In fact I went one better and actually did cut my hair. Probably because I didn’t have the ‘flu for Christmas.

After lunch I headed out for the physiotherapist.

van car porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And we’ve had a change here at the Porte St Jean.

The large lorry and trailer with the digger perched thereupon are not there this afternoon. Instead the place has been taken by a glazier’s van.

In fact that has been there or thereabouts in one of the parking spaces for the past couple of days but today it seems that the driver has taken advantage of the absence of the lorry to move even closer.

In fact, I would have thought that he could have passed underneath the arch. There looks to be enough room.

On the left-hand edge you can see some advertising boards that have been erected. It’s soon to be election time here and they put up these boards for the candidates to attach their posters.

jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne, I stopped to check the camera – even though I’d checked it just a minute before.

There’s no-one about in the outer harbour and most of the fishing boats in the inner harbour seem to be out at sea. The only one that seems to be in there today is Jade III and I wonder why she hasn’t gone out.

Also absent, as they have been for quite a while, are Victor Hugo and Granville, the two Channel Island ferries. If service is indeed starting up in April, they need to finish their overhauls quickly and make their way back here to be ready to go.

freight on quayside bouchot stakes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down on the quayside, all of the freight that was there has now gone.

Normandy Trader, one of the little Jersey freighters, came in the other day and whisked it all off to the Channel Islands but there’s another pile that is slowly appearing down there ready for the next voyage.

And you can see all of the old stakes from the bouchot farms on the Ile de Chausey down there to the left of the right-hand crane. That was a good weekend’s work to pull up all of those and replace them.

Whoever is going to take those away will have some work on his hands too.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, down in the bottom corner, there’s been quite a lot happening by the looks of things.

There’s only one boat down there today, and that’s the newer of the two Joly France boats, the one with the smaller superstructure on the upper deck.

We saw Chausiaise out at the ferry terminal yesterday, but Belle France is also missing today. She and the older of the two Joly France boats must be keeping busy running out to the islands today.

And the mystery of why they all had their cranes out the other day is as yet unresolved. I’ve not seen anything at all about it.

reroofing rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022A week or so ago I posted a photo of a cherry-picker that looked as if it had lifted some scaffolding up onto a flat roof in the Rue Lecampion.

Over the past few days I’d been keeping a quiet eye on it but today there has been some rapid progress since I last saw it. They’ve removed the tiles from an adjacent pitched roof and replaced all of the woodwork

That was quite quick. It’s not like the typical worker whom we’ve encountered these days.

Carefully dodging workmen dropping out of the sky, I sailed up the Rue Couraye rather more rapidly than just recently for my appointment with the physiotherapist.

She had a good look at my x-rays but told me that there was nothing evident that she could see about why I’m having this trouble with my knee. And that’s bad news as far as I’m concerned because how can anyone fix the problem if they can’t see t?

It’s just like my heart issue, where there’s no obvious problem that anyone can see. I’m not making it all up, I know that.

Anyway she gave me an electromassage, put me on the bike thing for 5 minutes and gave me a few exercises.

After she threw me out, I went to Lidl. I’m out of tomatoes and cucumber as well as a couple of other things. And there’s no big shop at the weekend because I’m on a course and anyway, I’m off on my travels on Thursday next week.

new building rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way home I went past the new house that is being built on the corner of the Rue St Paul and Rue Victor Hugo.

When I arrived the builders were busy chasing away a couple of kids who were pleying in the building, but apart from that there doesn’t seem to have been a great deal going on. I suppose that they will finish it one day.

My route led me through the town and up the hill towards home but I hadn’t gone far up the hill when a neighbour came past in his car. He offered me a lift, which was nice of him I did have a fair bit of stuff to carry.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Back in here I put some coffee on to brew and then picked up the big NIKON D500 to go outside.

Across the car park went I towards the beach to see what was happening there. The tide was well out and with the weather being so nice, there were plenty of people down there making the most of it. Of course, here in France, there’s no school on Wednesday afternoon.

While I was here, I had a look out to sea to see if there were any fishing boats working out here today. There was something right out beyond the Ile de Chausey that I couldn’t see, but that was really my lot. There wasn’t anything else happening out at sea that I could see.

55-qj aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Ther emight have been nothing going on out at sea but there was something having a go at the Thunderclap Newman impression of “Something In The Air”.

And don’t ask me what it is because its number, 55-QJ, is one of those that isn’t in the series of numbers to which I have access. And it goes without saying that she hasn’t filed a flight plan and wasn’t picked up on radar either.

Back here I had my coffee and then had half an hour or so on the guitar before I carried on with mounting the photos of the concert that I attended.

Tea was a curry with the left-over stuff in the fridge. I’ve not forgotten that I have some stuffing left from Monday, but I fancied a curry tonight. I’ll have the stuffing in a taco roll tomorrow.

So as well as that, I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow. In the afternoon too, not the evening as I thought. I wonder what kind of catastrophe this will be.

Monday 21st March 2022 – IT’S A GOOD JOB …

… that I had the alarm set to remind me about my visit to the physiotherapist. When it went off at 14:30 I was crashed out fast asleep on my chair in here.

That’s probably because I had quite a hectic morning.

Instead of the usual early night on Sunday, I wasn’t tired so I did some work on the text for the radio programme. So when I finally did go to bed and the alarm went off later at 06:00 it was rather a struggle to leave the bed.

But once I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages I could carry on with the radio programme. By 09:55 it was all prepared, up and running but I’m not claiming it as a record because of the time that I spent on it last night.

But while I was listening to it and to the one that I was sending off for this weekend, in a mad fit of enthusiasm I wrote all of the notes for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing next week.

Whatever has come over me, working like this?

With no coffee cake left for breakfast, I fetched the fruit bread from the freezer and that had been defrosting. It was quite delicious of course, but not really a patch on the coffee cake.

After I’d finished the notes for the next radio programme I worked on a few photos from the High Arctic in 2019. Progress is slow with them, but at least it’s progress of a sort.

The bread had finished too on Friday but there was half a loaf in the freezer so I brought that out and it had been defrosting. It was nice and fresh, the bit that I sliced for lunch.

When I finished I came back in here to carry on with my photos but that was when I crashed out. But when the alarm went off, I had a very quick shower and clean-up before setting off for the physiotherapist.

lorry trailer digger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I set out for my walk, I didn’t manage to go very far before I stopped to take a photograph.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen this lorry on several occasions, parked up on the pavement outside the Porte St Jean that leads into the walled town.

He has his trailer attached to the rear and on it is the digger. It seems that they won’t pass under the arch and even if they did, they wouldn’t be able to manoeuvre it around the narrow streets.

They probably drop off the digger and it goes into the walled town under its own steam – or diesel.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I go out for a walk in this direction I usually stop here to try out the camera to make sure that it works.

This is the viewpoint on the outer walls at the junction of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and it overlooks the outer harbour and the fish processing plant.

The tide is well out so there aren’t any fishing boats loitering around down there. But there are plenty of vans parked there waiting for the shell-fishing boats to come back in on the high tide this afternoon

There were quite a few people milling around here this afternoon and that was a surprise because it’s not on the usual tourist track.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022From there I wandered off down towards the town centre on my way to the physiotherapist.

For the last couple of days we’ve seen a big pile of freight on the quayside waiting to be picked up by one of the Jersey freighters. It’s still there this afternoon – or, at least, there’s some freight down there but whether it’s the same freight or not I really don’t know.

And still no Marité either. She’s taking her time in Cherbourg having her annual overhaul. It’s a good job that Easter is late this year otherwise she might be having problems.

cranes in operation joly france chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022But here’s some excitement down at the side of the harbour where the Joly France boats are moored.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen some strange things around here in the past but this is one of the strangest.

One of the Joly France ferries and Chausiaise, the little freighter, have their on-board cranes extended and Joly France seems to have made a fine catch – a couple of wheel rims filled with concrete.

By the looks of things, it seems that Joly France is going to pass the wheels over to Chausiaise but as for why, I have no idea.

resurfacing abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Thee wasn’t much at all happening in the town centre, but I noticed that they seemed to have made some considerable advance in what they were doing

They are in the process of tarring over the path, old rails included, and laying stone chippings on the top. This is going to make a pleasant change to how the road surface used to be.

The walk up the hill to the physiotherapist was not as difficult as it has been earlier in the year and I arrived with 10 minutes to spare.

She had me on the couch for 10 minutes while she used her electro-massaging thing on my knee, and then we spent the rest of the time doing some exercises. And she’s asked me to bring my x-rays with me on Wednesday so that she can look at them.

The walk down the hill towards the town centre in the beautiful sunny weather was wonderful and if I had remembered to bring my wallet with me I might have even gone for a vegan ice cream.

Ahh well!

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As I walked back up the Rue des Juifs towards home, I noticed that events have unfolded down in the inner harbour.

Having seen Chausiaise playing about with her crane a little earlier, she’s now moored over at the loading bay so I wonder what she’s up to now and what those wheel had to do with it all.

And all of those things that we saw on the quayside yesterday and some of which we can see on the extreme right of this photo? They are the old bouchot stakes from the Ile de Chausey that are in the process of being pulled up and replaced with newer equipment.

lorry passing under porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Leaving them all to it, I carried walking up the hill towards home.

Earlier I said that the lorries that come here are unable to pass under the arch into the old town. But this one clearly managed to because it’s on its way out – or, at least, trying to.

There’s almost nothing in the way of clearance either side and you can see the guy on the extreme left who is giving instructions to the driver.

And he needs it too. I’ve no idea how long he might have been there before I arrived but he advanced and reversed three times while I was watching before he was satisfied that he could come out without damaging the archway.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And so before I went back in, I went to have my usual look down on the beach to see what was going on.

With the day being so beautiful I was expecting to see crowds of people down there on the beach this afternoon, especially as there was plenty of beach to be on with the tide being out.

And as we can see, there are quite a few people down there this afternoon taking advantage of the beach and the weather. And I do have to say that if I had been feeling up to it, I would have been down there with them.

Back here, I made myself a coffee and then sat down to transcribe the dictaphone notes, especially as I could actually decipher them today.

I was on my way to Winsford last night, going down the Pyms Lane area of Crewe and out that way. As I passed through the end of the Leighton Park Estate I came across all these canvas tents strung from trees. I stopped and looked in, and there were families with young children living in there. I started to talk to these people as I was interested in finding out their names and who was living in here as I was absolutely outraged by the condition in which the people were living in the 21st Century in the UK. Listening to people’s stories about the pressure under which they were living and the little babies who were there, new-borns, etc was really distressing. It was a really terrible thing to have to see and hear etc.

And this one, I started dictating it without the dictaphone. I had to go off to Wardle, somewhere like that. One of my drivers had left a car here, a MkV Cortina so I went in that. When I came back, I said that we were disposing of all of our cars and having MkVs because this was so comfortable and so good to have been in. Then I had to go off with work and ended up in an office where someone showed me all these jobs that were kept in these binders so I ended up on the desk facing her leafing my way through all of these files

Finally, we’d been to somewhere, I dunno. There were 4 of us and at times there had been 5. The 5th was a girl whom I happened to quite like and I would have liked her to have been with us much more often than the few minutes that she was there. Later we were round at my father’s house. It was getting on towards the end of November and with Halloween coming up on the Saturday he decided he decided that he was going to go away for a few days. That meant that we would be at a loose end so I was thinking that maybe I’d go to Colwyn Bay or Abergele for a few days, find a boarding house or something. We went in and my father’s partner was serving breakfast but there was none for me. She said “I didn’t realise that you wanted any” but everyone else was eating. There were all kinds of crystal glasses of all kinds on it but everyone seemed to have taken the wrong glass, I couldn’t find one for me. I filled mine up with water but it ended up that it was someone else’s milk that I had. We then started to talk about the fun that we’d had with the water bottles this weekend, sometimes there were 4 and then 5 of us and we’d all ended up with the wrong water bottle.

Liz was on line as well and so for the first time for quite a while we had a lengthy chat which made a very nice change.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with rice, which was even more delicious than usual and I don’t know why that would be. And there’s enough left to make a taco roll tomorrow and having been left overnight to marinade, it will be even better.

This evening I’ve been dealing with a knotty little problem. There was something afoot that might have involved me but some railway engineering in the UK has put an end to all of that. That’s not going to happen now.

But don’t worry – I had no plans to return to the UK.

Tomorrow is the first day of my third year of Welsh. And I’m no more confident than I was 12 months ago. This teflon brain, to which nothing seems to stick, is annoying me intensely but I have to push on regardless.

Brains do tend to seize up if they aren’t used and so I have to do what I can to keep it working and I can’t really think of what else to do with it. And so I may as well push on.

A good night’s sleep will probably do me some good. It can’t do any harm.

But here’s SOMETHING INTERESTING that I was reading today. I could quite easily identify several points in this article, especially the part about “psychedelic dreams”.

And I certainly don’t panic, unless I’m in hot pursuit of TOTGA, Castor and/or Zero and there’s a chance that they will escape my evil clutches.

Friday 18th March 2022 – AFTER ALL …

filming at civic rooms place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… the excitement of yesterday, there’s been even more today.

Unfortunately not quite of the same calibre, but nevertheless it beats the monotony. Especially when they lay down a red carpet at the Communal Rooms at the back of my apartment and set up a film camera to film whatever was going to make use of it.

Whatever or whoever it was, though, I’m not able to say. I had to go out to the Post Office before it closed and so I missed it.

If we’re lucky, there will be something in the newspapers tomorrow, but I’m not all that hopeful. There wasn’t a word about what the Dassault Falcon was doing yesterday.

fire brigade rue des juifs burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022At that wasn’t everything either.

This afternoon it looked as if it was the local Fire Brigade’s annual outing. There they were, complete with vehicles, standing around and chatting, looking up at the ruins of the houses that were devastated in the fire.

While we’re on the subject of “devastated” … “well, one of us is” – ed … I was pretty devastated this morning.

It ended up being a much later night than I was expecting or hoping, and when the alarm went off at 07:30 I switched it off and … err .. went back to sleep. But it wasn’t as bad as yesterday. I managed to make it out of bed a good few minutes before the second alarm.

Not all that much on the dictaphone through the night either. I must have had something of a decent sleep. I was out somewhere last night on the road that runs between Newcastle and Shrewsbury. I don’t know where I’d been but I ended up down some kind of side road somewhere. I stopped and I’d had a piece of cake and a coffee, standing in the middle of this farm track drinking it and eating the cake while the farmer was driving around in his tractor somewhere. Something had gone wrong but I can’t remember what it was. I looked at the time and I thought “God! I only have 20 minutes to get to work!”. I thought that I’d never reach work on time at all from here because I’m on foot. I put down my mug and plate down in the middle of this track and walked down to the main road thinking that I’d hitch a lift. I walked back towards the road junction that would take me to Crewe which was 4 miles away. First of all a bunch of school kids went past, then an old Austin A40 Somerset followed by an old BMC lorry. I then found myself in this village As I walked through this village I thought that I’d never seen such a village. I didn’t know that there was a village like this on this road and I know it so well. By now I was in Caliburn and. There was some road work in the town centre. Everything was being dug up. There were rocks being cut up with a disc cutter. They were even dynamiting small small rocks. I was just driving over everything, machinery, the lot in Caliburn. Some guy was even putting his feet against the glass windows to stop them vibrating when the dynamite went off.. There was this really sharp U-bend by an expensive estate agent’s. I thought that things were becoming really bad. Some woman went past and said “you’re going to be terribly late for work. It’s 2 days running for me that I’ve had to call in with car problems”. I was back in Caliburn again and came across an auto-electrician. I drove into his workshop. I had to straighten a carpet. A guy came over so I asked him to go to listen to the starter while I turned the engine so he could see if there was a problem with the starter.

Later on I was out near Tarporley in a small village … “Tiverton;” – ed. I bumped into a girl whom I knew but I can’t remember who she was. She had curly ginger hair and I don’t know a girl like that in real life. She was telling me about a family whom I knew who lived by the traffic lights at the Rising Sun. She was saying that they’d all cashed in their chips, sold up and moved on. I asked if she knew where they had gone. She told me of a couple of them but there was one whom she didn’t know. She mentioned his name and I knew the name. He’d gone to Toronto. She said “yes, I remember now. He’s bought a racehorse”. I looked surprised and asked “what’s he doing with a racehorse?”. She didn’t actually know. In the end she said something like “if you’re going to take a chance on buying an unknown racehorse for £1:00 or something you’d buy it from a member of your own family rather than from a complete stranger” but she couldn’t see the purpose of this racehorse. I asked her if it was identical to any others that he owned because there’s always the old “run a slower identical horse in a few races to build up a bad reputation then switch the real one in for an important race once the other one has a bad name”. She said “no, it’s not at all like (she mentioned the name of another horse)” so I thought that perhaps it might be an identical horse or something where in this case this one might be slower. I was about to ask her the question when the alarm went off.

After the medication and transcribing the dictaphone notes, I spent most of the rest of the morning working on the photos from the High Arctic in August 2019. We’re now back on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR after our little walk around Qikiqtarjuaq.

That was where Dennis Minty and I bumped into a local Royal Canadian Mounted Police “Mountie” who gave us a lift in his pickup up to the top of a mountain on the island where we took some superb photos which you will see in due course.

After lunch I had a letter to write. It’s the reply to one that’s been hanging around here for quite a few months and someone somewhere is probably wondering if I’ve died.

“Snail mail” has all but died out for personal purposes but I still have the odd (and I use the term advisedly) technophobe friend who writes letters. Unfortunately, just like me, she has had a hand injury and so I have a great deal of difficulty reading her writing just like people have difficulty in reading mine, and it’s not easy to decipher it.

But anyway, it was eventually ready and in a mad fit of enthusiasm which has sprung up from heaven alone knows where, I actually set off to post it.

joly france ferry terminal 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 check the camera and see what was happening down below.

As you can see, the tide is right out at the moment. It’ll be a while before it’s back in today. But there doesn’t seem to be anyone taking advantage of it and going for a bit of the peche à pied.

And if there’s anything going on at the Ile de Chausey this afternoon, they aren’t doing it aboard the Joly France ferries.

There’s one moored up over there at the ferry terminal in the NAABSA (Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground) position, and the other two are moored up in the inner harbour along with Chausiaise

charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As well as the Ile de Chausey boats in the inner harbour, there’s plenty of other stuff too.

One of the boats here is Charles Marie. We’ve been keeping an eye on her over the last couple of weeks while she was being serviced in the chantier naval but now she must be ready for the sea.

There was a trawler parked in the chantier naval where she was, but I couldn’t see who she was. I’ll go for a wander out that way tomorrow and find out more about her.

And by the looks of things, La Granvillaise wasn’t there either. She must have gone back into the water but she isn’t around in the harbour so I wonder where she’s gone.

There are tons of the containers in which they stack the sacks of shellfish over there on the quayside. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many.

road works abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Dodging the pompiers who were having their meeting on the pavement, I carried on down the hill to the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

The freight was still there but what caught my eye was the lorry and the digger over there on the track of the old abandoned railway.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw them working on the far end of that track in the town centre. They seem to have made rapid progress.

Down in the town I made rapid progress to the Post Office to post my letter. And then I went off to the Credit Agricole. I’ve received a cheque in respect of my Belgian State Pension but I dont now why. Anyway it has to be paid in to my account.

Now what can I do with €60:45? Spend! Spend! Spend! I suppose.

road works abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Walking back into the town centre on my way home I had a quick peek down where the old abandoned railway ran to see how they were doing.

And by the looks of things, they don’t seem to be doing a great deal. They have a compactor down there (which was more than they had on the 1800 miles of the TRANS LABRADOR HIGHWAY IN 2010 but the road surface doesn’t look much different than it did before they started.

And I’m half-expecting one of those boys to end up like an Austin Powers henchman if he isn’t careful. I suppose that the other boy there would refer to his friend as his “flatmate”.

I’ll get my coat.

So having dome my tasks for the day I set off up the hill for home, feeling rather pleased that I’d actually finished a couple of tasks.

Maybe it is these pills that are giving me energy, I dunno, but sometimes I really think that they could give you absolutely anything, tell you what the imaginary effects will be, and then you psyche yourself up to believe them.

kite surfers people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went back inside I went to see what was happening down on the beach outside my building.

Today was a really glorious May day today, really warm, but with a strong wind. And so while there were no Nazguls about, there were a couple of people down there kitesurfing. And having a really good time doing it by the looks of things.

Plenty of people walking around on the beach too having a good time. I don’t know where they have all come from.

One of my neighbours was outside the building too, soaking up the rays. he and I had a good chat before I came in for a coffee.

Later on, I had another session on the guitar. I seem to have rekindled my enthusiasm, having done very little since I fell into this depression several months ago. I quite enjoyed it too, although i’m dismayed at how much of my technique I’ve lost.

Tea was a quick falafel from out of the freezer with pasta and veg because there was football on the internet. Y Bala v Penybont in the first of the Welsh Cup Semi-finals.

And for a match then ended 0-0, this was probably one of the best and most exciting that I’ve seen in a long while. Both teams have star players but they managed to checkmate each other at every turn as the game roared from end to end for the whole 90 minutes. It’s a shame that there aren’t more games like this.

So bedtime now. I’m shopping tomorrow and then I’m going to try to do some exciting stuff. What, I’m not quite sure yet.

Who knows? I might do something wild, like take more rubbish out to the bins.

Thursday 17th March 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… several photos of the excitement that we had out there in the Baie de Granville this afternoon, let me tell you about the somewhat less-than-exciting day that I had today.

It started off rather badly when I switched off the alarm at 07:30 and … errr … went back to sleep. I awoke with a start at 07:59 and I just about managed to put my feet on the floor as the 08:00 repeat went off.

Mind you, it’s my own fault. I did say that I was planning to have an early night but I picked up the guitar for a quick strum and that, dear reader, was that.

Somehow, from out of nowhere, I managed to start to transcribe the dictaphone notes. That was the first thing that I did once I’d taken my medicine.

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022They were collecting goods for refugees again. I was wandering around trying to find a place where I could set up to co-ordinate the relief and find an office. That means finding a house where there was someone and finding a lorry and driver, all that kind of thing. I could do some driving myself but for some reason no matter where I walked there was always something getting in the way. There was even some moment where all of this became extremely violent but I can’t remember very much about all of this particular part of a dream etc. Just walking past these lorries and not being able to go into a house and the feeling of violence that was going on with this as well

Again, I was doing something else for refugees and I was absolutely tired out completely so I went to bed. When I awoke halfway through my sleep I noticed that halfway through the head of the bed were things like bottled from old-age pensioners and messages from old women. I thought that they had donated but they hadn’t donated. Instead, there were all kind sof things like bottles of spirits and (… I fell asleep here …) so when I awoke all those bottles were empty. Obviously someone had left them there to incriminate me or frighten me or something like that but it wasn’t going to work. I was going to carry on.

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There were four of us who had been out working for the local council in a lorry. We had been doing all kinds of things, cleaning up places and so on. But tempers between the two drivers were becoming really frayed. One was working inside the cab of the vehicle so the other grabbed a can of spray paint and aimed the spray at him from the other side of the window. The first guy instinctively ducked and banged his head which made the other guy laugh. But now we couldn’t see out of the windscreen. We had to go back to the depot. I’d warned this guy not to use the spray can but he wouldn’t listen so I said that when we arrive at the depot there will be quite a row about this. He said “so you should” because he’d sprayed something like “vegans rule OK” and they’ll all think that it’s me. I was totally disgusted. The fourth guy decided that he was going to go home so we all decided that we would take the lorry back. The fourth guy was only a young apprentice so I told him that I hoped that he wouldn’t really get into any kind of trouble at all over this. I hoped that I wouldn’t either and maybe we would see each other again but this was a terrible note some kind of day’s work, trying to drive home in this lorry when we can’t see out of the windscreen because of the paint etc. I felt dismayed that these 2 guys, after I’d told them about losing their temper between themselves had gone and done this kind of thing that would land us all in all kinds of trouble

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022We’d had some kind of family meeting. My brother was there and so were some others. I suddenly noticed the time. I only had something like 45 minutes to go home, change and reach the airport before my flight on holiday departed. When the meeting came to an end I had to dash out quite quickly, picked up my suit and thought that I’d find a hedge behind which I could change while I’m on my travels. I picked up my things and overtook them as they were wending their way home. I found what looked like a likely place. Now there was only something like 40 minutes to my flight. Just as I was about to go behind the hedge to change into my suit I suddenly realised that I didn’t have my suitcase. That was at my brother’s shop. Of course he’d now locked up and gone straight home. I would have to go there first but I wouldn’t have time and if he hasn’t gone straight home I’m never have my suitcase. It looked to me rather regrettably that I wasn’t going to be leaving on this holiday to the Far East.

An East German bank had a large sum of gold on hand. A group of people set out from the UK to try to rob it. They had to work out all kinds of things such as guards tea-breaks, changes of shift and everything so that they could pass frontiers without very much inspection etc. When they arrived at the bank they raided the vehicle that was carrying it only to find that it was empty. It turned out that what had happened was that the bank had put it on deposit with a bank back in the UK to use as collateral for some kind of financial deal that was taking place. There they were in the middle of the street with a double-decker bus full of their own men, raided this place. They had some of their own men tied up as decoys etc. Now they were arguing about what they were going to do next. Were they going back to the UK to raid this British bank or would they try to raid somewhere else in East Germany or were they just going to abandon the whole thing and go home?

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022So, once more, none of my favourite young ladies came to visit me, although I did have a very strong feeling that TOTGA was around somewhere last night and I was surprised to hear nothing about her on the dictaphone this morning.

The rest of the day has been spent, such as it was during all of the other interruptions, in catching up with the outstanding entries from when I was in Leuven. I’d just done some basic rough notes at the time but now they are complete.

As for the interruptions, we had coffee, and breakfast, and lunch, and taking out a huge pile of rubbish. I’m having a good sort-out here and all kinds of stuff that I’ve been keeping for no good reason have gone the Way of the West.

A few phone calls and booking a few hotels for a little journey I’ll be making were also a few tasks that I also accomplished today.

Another thing that I’ve been doing is to have a think about rearranging the kitchen. In the back of Caliburn are the cupboards that I bought ages ago that will replace the stuff that I’m using as an island. But I’m planning on doing something about a wall unit so that I can have a proper oven.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And then there was of course the afternoon walk.

And I hardly had time to step out of the front door when I felt the cold hand of doom on my shoulder.

It’s that time of year again. The sun is out and there’s quite a wind so it’s brought out the Birdmen of Alcatraz in numbers. One of them flew past on his Nazgul as I went outside.

He was followed by several of his mates as well. Not quite the Nine Riders but it was pretty much almost. Legolas would have had a few easy targets this afternoon.

people entering water beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And once he was out of the way I could wander across to the end of the car park to see what was going on there.

A reasonable amount of beach there this afternoon and there were several people down there on it.

Even this intrepid pair of pedestrians looking as if they are going full-tilt headlong into the water.

As I said just now, it’s a nice sunny day. But it’s not that nice. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the only water that interests me from a bathing point of view is water at 37°C

When we were out in the High Arctic in 2019 Castor asked me if I would like to jump into the sea with her.

“I can’t” I replied. “I have a catheter in my chest”

Someone who had overheard the conversation asked me later “Had you not had the catheter, what would you have done?”

“I’d have thought of another excuse”. Sea water at -0.5°C might be interesting for some but not for me. Not even Castor could drag me in to water at that temperature.

trawlers returning to port de Granville harbour baie de granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I was having a good look around out at sea.

There was probably about a dozen trawlers heading back into port right now. The viewing conditions were absolutely perfect today and I could see for miles out to sea. There have been days just recently when I wouldn’t have seen anything at all quite like this.

The tide isn’t far enough in to open the harbour gates right now but I imagine that it might be by the time that they all arrive in the outer harbour. They won’t have to wait long, I reckon.

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You’ve seen plenty of photos already of the Dassault Falcon 50M that was flying around in large circles out in the bay.

This is the type of jet that started the genocide in Rwanda when the one carrying the Rwandan and Burundian Presidents was shot down at Kigali, but this particular one here is one of the 8 Falcon 50M machines owned by the French Navy and used for maritime surveillance.

So what’s it doing here? It certainly had a great deal of interest in what was happening out at sea and was circling around the bay for quite some time

We’ll probably have to wait until tomorrow to find out.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, this was quite an interesting situation.

There were two trawlers here outside the outer harbour waiting for more tide to come in and they seemed to have stopped to have a chat.

It’s not often that you see them as close as this in the open sea and I was wondering if maybe one of the had wanted to borrow a cup of sugar from the other

However, when you see two lots of extremely strange activity taking place in more-or-less the same place, like the Falcon circling around and these two trawlers, you have to wonder if the two events are somehow connected.

joly france sm735890 lysandre ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022We’ve seen the larger trawlers loitering around outside the harbour waiting for the tide, but there’s enough water in there already for the smaller ones.

Coming a-chugging into port is Lysandre, the little shell-fishing boat that is registered in St Malo but now just recently seems to have taken up residence here in Granville.

There’s one of the little port runabouts out there too, heading towards the Joly France ferry that’s moored up at the Ferry terminal.

There must be something exciting going on over there too because there’s a small crowd up on the harbour wall having a good look.

le roc a la mauve 3 la granvillaise charles marie spirit of conrad chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Whatever excitement that might have been going on in the chantier naval is well and truly over now

The unidentified yacht that we’ve been seeing in there for the last few weeks has now disappeared.

We’re now just left with Le Roc A La Mauve III nearest the camera, and then La Granvillaise and Charles-Marie.

Finally Spirit of Conrad on which we sailed down the Brittany coast nearly 2 years ago. A few days ago I was talking to her skipper. She’s off on a circumnavigation of the UK quite soon but I have desisted.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Yesterday I mentioned the freight that was on the quayside.

It’s still there today, and it’s not alone either. Another pile of stuff has come to join it And by the looks of things, there’s a third lot that’s just arrived on the lorry that’s parked behind it.

Back here I finished off my journal entries and then had an hour or so on the guitar. I seem to be much more relaxed than I have been just recently.

Tea was one of those meat turnovers with potatoes and gravy and it was really delicious too

For a change, I ate earlier than usual because I wanted to do my notes and have an early night but as you might expect, Rosemary rang me up for another one of our marathon chats. Consequently it’s much later than I would have liked it to be.

Tomorrow I have a letter to write. I hate writing letters at the best of times and this one has been loitering around for a few months.

Monday 14th March 2022 – THERE HAS BEEN …

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… some rather bad news about the fire in the house in the Rue du Midi on Saturday evening.

Yesterday evening, the firemen finally worked their way through the rubble to the ground floor where they found the missing person. And as you might expect, they found him far too late to be of any use.

It’s a rather sombre note on which to start today’s journal entry, but I suppose that there are times when sombre notes will creep in to everything at some time or other. There but for the grace of God go we.

Wherever I went on my travels last night is something else completely. For the first time since I don’t know when, one of my young ladies put in an appearance – Zero, as it happens.

And do you know what? I can’t remember why she was there or what we did.

How disappointing is that?

Anyway, I’m sure that you are all dying to know about where I went last night

I started off at a well-known square in Paris – I can’t remember which one – and it had some kind of weird fence and turnstile arrangements to control the flow of pedestrians but that’s all that I remember about this.

And later I was with Zero , for the first time for years, and her father last night and I can’t remember very much of what it actually involved (and isn’t that a disaster?) with them, but it led to me thinking about going to buy a motorbike so maybe I could take Zero around on the back of it. I went into a shop in Hungerford Road Crewe that used to be an old Co-op but was now selling motorbikes. They had a couple of Kawasaki 414 bikes in there for sale but they were more expensive than I was planning to pay although they looked quite nice. I thought that maybe something like that would be quite interesting. I had a good look around their shop but they didn’t really have very much at all. They had a few cars outside of course but it was the motorbikes that were interesting me more because I could go into Stoke on Trent on a motorbike, leave it to be serviced, overhauled and MoT’d while I was at work during the day, that kind of thing and probably Zero would enjoy going for a ride around on the back of a motorbike every now and again but there was nothing there that I liked.

There was something else as well. I was leaving work so I wandered off down the maze of corridors following the yellow arrows and yellow tape as I usually did. At one point I took a turn and found that the yellow arrow didn’t actually go that way which surprised me because I was pretty sure that it was the route that I took all the time I went back and followed the yellow arrow and suddenly found myself in a completely different security room. There was no way out. There were all kinds of security guys in there doing things. In the end I turned round and found another door that took me out. I could see that I was in a completely different place outside than where I would normally be when I was leaving the building. There were a few other people whom I knew around there as well so I went over for a chat and told them about the changes. They couldn’t understand what was happening either. Some girl came along and joined in. She was saying that she was now one of those people whose salary was a secret but she didn’t agree with that because it creates distrust amongst all the other employees. Someone else turned up with 3 daughters. She was talking to 2 daughters about giving their names to someone else and preparing for Christmas but for one daughter it was too late that they didn’t have any of what it was they didn’t have. They didn’t say. Then a couple of others turned up. One of them had had a dramatic cut in the salary that he was receiving as a Life Insurance broker so he was trying to chivvy up all of his friends and contacts to do something about increasing their insurance cover so he could receive a higher commission to offset his decrease in salary.

In fact, all told it was rather a bad night, and for many reasons too. I was tossing and turning around in bed for much of it and that’s guaranteed to set me off on the wrong foot.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 it was a struggle to leave the bed but I did manage – only just – to leave the bed before the second alarm.

The radio programme was the task for this morning and despite a couple of breaks for coffee, breakfast and so on, by 10:45 it was finished. And in a major departure from usual procedure, I’ve reused a song that I first used 18 months ago, simply for the reason that it seemed to fit so well with what I was doing.

“I have been around the world looking for that woman-girl who knows love can endure. And it always will”. And in my case, it endured for all of three days, didn’t it?

There were several phone calls – some of them long-distance – that I had to make and that took me all the way up to lunchtime. And the net result of all of those phone calls was … errr … nothing.

After lunch I had a shower, set the washing machine off on its cycle (a clever washing machine, mine) and then went out for my physiotherapy session.

chant de sirenes joly france belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Of course, the first port of call when I’m on my way to town is to check the camera at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne where the viewpoint overlooks the Fish Processing Plant.

The tide is on its way in right now – not far enough for the gates to open to let the larger boats into the inner harbour, but far enough for the boats with a lighter draught to pull up at the quay here to unload.

The Chante des Sirènes is easily identifiable with its mermaid painted on the side in a kind of green stripe.

Moored up at the ferry terminal in the background are Belle France and one of the Joly France boats.

repairing roof rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down in the town I walked along the Rue Lecampion towards the centre.

There’s something going on with the roof of one of the houses here. There’s a cherry-picker and a couple of guys doing something with the roof and a scaffolding.

Leaving them to it, I wandered off up the road and to the physiotherapist. And I don’t know why, but I haven’t climbed up the Rue Couraye as easily as I did this afternoon for quite a long time.

The physiotherapist had me on the couch and massaged my knee with her machine, and then had me doing some exercises.

And to my surprise, it was my left knee, not my right knee, that was hurting by the time that I had finished.

On my way home I called in at the Carrefour to buy something to drink. I had a thirst that you could photograph.

cable laying rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the town centre we had some more excitement.

There were some guys laying a cable in the duct under the street. The had the manhole cover up and had surrounded the hole with cones. And so an elderly woman in a black car drove over the cover and almost ended up in the hole.

And then she had the nerve to bawl out the crew. Some people really are unbelievable. I shan’t repeat on here what the crew replied to the woman. My journal is intended for all of the family, not just the over-18s.

place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Another thing that noticed was that the kiddies’ roundabout has now gone.

The carnival season is now over here and all of the fairground rides have packed up and gone off to their next engagement wherever that might be and we’ll be back with peace and quiet again until Easter when there will be more crowds descending on the town.

Bringing more cases of the virus with them, no doubt. This kind of thing really depresses me, especially as I don’t have the means to fight it.

fire engines rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I was up in the Rue des Juifs on my way into town the fire brigade was still there clearing up.

While I was in the town centre, they came through presumably on their way back to base. And it was extremely interesting watching them trying their best to negotiate the hole in the road.

And once they had gone, it was the turn of the school buses and that was even more interesting. The manhole covers and several cones took a right battering and there was what can best be described as “a frank exchange of views” between the drivers and the cabling crew.

repair facade rue georges clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While all of that was going on, I left them to it and wandered off down the Rue Paul Poirier.

The other day we saw them with a scaffolding outside one of the buildings in the Rue Georges Clemenceau and it had been intriguing me as to what they might be doing.

When I’d seen the carpenter’s van outside, I imagined that it might have been a roofing job but it actually looks as if they are working on the facade of the building. It could do with a good rendering and a new coat of paint.

ch933900 carteret port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the earlier photo of the boats in the harbour, I don’t know if you noticed a fishing boat that we haven’t seen before.

She was moored in the inner harbour with her crew working on the nets when I came back, and I could see her registration number from here.

It’s CH933900 – a number from this coast – and it’s so new that it’s not in the register that I have. But I was able to track her down from “other sources” and she’s called Carteret. She sails out of … errr … Barneville-Carteret.

She’s only 9 months old apparently and was built to replace a previous boat that was destroyed in a fire.

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back, I could have a closer look at the burnt-out house now that the fire engines and the crowds have gone.

It’s not just the house and the one to the right of it that have been affected, the one to the left has been badly-affected too. You can see that much of the roof there has been burnt away too.

This is an appalling thing to have happened. Apart from the loss of life which is a tragedy, the loss and damage is considerable and there are many people in these three houses who have been badly affected.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went home, I went to look at the beach to see what was happening.

The tide is now well in and there’s not much beach down there to be on. It’s no surprise that I couldn’t see anyone wandering about.

As I was looking down there, one of my neighbours pulled up in her car. She’s had some bad news from her doctor about her health and she told me all about it. Of course I sympathised, but there isn’t much that I could do.

Back here I made a coffee, hung out the washing and then came here to spend an hour on the photos from the High Arctic in 2019.

Talking about that, it made me all nostalgic and it reminded me of a poem about which Alison and I had chatted the other day

“Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?


That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again. “

Poetry at school was mainly awful with all of these depressing war poets and all of that. The only bright spark amongst all of that which we learnt was A E Housman and “A Shropshire Lad” is one of my favourite works.

Had I been born 5 miles away from my actual place of birth, I would have been a Shropshire Lad myself.

But seriously, when Housman said “The happy highways where I went and cannot come again. “, I don’t think that he had Covid and World War in mind. We won’t be going anywhere for a while yet.

In another mad fit of excitement I took out about half a ton of paper to the waste bin and then spent half an hour playing guitar. The first time that I enjoyed myself with the guitar since the summer. These pills must be working somehow.

Tea was a curry of leftovers and then I had to fight the good fight on the Internet. A discussion group of which I’m a member has become a very contentious place since War broke out and the Moderator was overwhelmed. She called for another volunteer and so I responded.

And tonight I’ve been dealing with a flame war – just like the “Good Old Days” on “First Class” – pulling warring factions apart, sending a couple of people to the naughty corner and … errr … “saying goodbye” to a couple of them. I’m surprised that I had time to write up my notes.

But now that they are done, much later than usual, I’m off to bed. I’ve a Welsh lesson tomorrow and I need to be on form.

Sunday 13th March 2022 – GONE!

la bavolette 2 philcathane chausiaise joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And never called me “Mother”!

A short while ago I mentioned that I expected Marité to put to sea quite soon to find a port with some heavy lifting tackle that could lift her out of the water so that she could be examined for her passenger-carrying licence.

And so here she isn’t. In actual fact, according to my marine radar, she’s in Cherbourg. And that’s a new departure for her. usually she goes around to somewhere around the southern coast of Brittany

Instead, you’ll have to make do with views of La Bavolette II, Philcathane, Chausiaise and Joly France.

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Something else that has gone, and which is no laughing matter, is one of the houses in the Rue du Midi.

Yesterday evening it caught fire and it has been totally destroyed. There has also been considerable damage to the adjoining houses too and the situation just there isn’t at all healthy.

The smell of burning is appalling and my hat goes off to the fire crews who were still in attendance this afternoon clearing away the debris. All of the roads in the area are blocked off right now.

There is talk that one of the inhabitants of one of the houses is missing and I don’t know how the situation has developed since I last heard anything.

Last night, I was in bed round about midnight and finally staggered out of bed at 10:45. Not that it was a good night’s sleep either because I was off on a considerable amount of travels during the night.

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While you look at a couple more photos of the disaster, I’ll tell you where I went.

I started off picking a team at football for a primary school football match. It turned out to be extremely one-sided with one team winning 6-1. I took some good photos of a couple of the goals and wrote a little piece about it for the local newspaper. The team that had won had a couple of boys in it wo were only 10 as well instead of the usual 11 years old of a primary school football team but even so they were still far too good for the other team that was playing

And then there was a meeting going on at my place discussing photos. It had to take place on the quiet although I don’t know why. I didn’t want anyone to know exactly what was happening about it so everyone was being extremely discreet. In the middle 2 men walked in. They went round to the head of the bed and leant on it. They asked “where’s your car?”. I replied “you’re leaning on it” because it was parked right at the back of the head of the bed. They had a quick look round and there it was. They wanted to know where I’d been, who I’d seen and who I’d met. Of course I could only give them examples of one or two days because I’d been away. I was trying to think who it was that I was supposed to have met and why. I tried to make them give me at least a clue but they wouldn’t at all. I was completely flummoxed. I didn’t want them to know about these photos that we were discussing and I just couldn’t think of what could possibly be of any interest to them with the 3 or 4 people who might have been round at my house over the last week when I’ve been here and not in Leuven.

There were some people wandering around the building, a couple probably in their 50s. They were having a look round and suddenly they stuck their head through my window in my apartment. I walked up to them and said “you don’t look through the window of someone else’s apartment” so they blushed and stammered. They started to ask me a few questions about the apartment. They seemed to be nice people so I invited them in and while I was working at whatever it was that I was doing , just then Tuppence came into the living room and to my surprise she allowed herself to be picked up and stroked. Then Sweep (Tuppence was my cat from years ago and Sweep was one of the kittens that Nerina and I had) came in and the woman did the same to her, picked her up and started to stroke her so I said “it looks as if you are stopping here”. They asked about the empty flat and had another look around mine. I gave them certain information but didn’t mention the price because that’s a personal thing

fire engine rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I started off interviewing Brian Jones for the radio. He turned out to be someone whom I liked very much. I admired his sense of humour, his wit and his outlook on life after leaving the Stones. Eventually I became his driver and we became a very good team together. Gradually he evolved into Stuart Jones … “do you mean Mick Jones?” – ed … of The Clash – I can’t remember who exactly. he was talking about all of the solo concerts that he was doing etc. he was someone who was very simple and straightforward and would play gigs with just a couple of people at small venues – he didn’t need to make a name for himself. He played at a Clash reunion and burst into tears at the end after playing a couple of solo songs of the Clash. Then there was a story about a song that he had heard. Someone sent him a song to hear. After he went home I went round to a museum where I knew someone who was working who knew about this song. Instead I ended up in an aero engine place and I asked about a certain type of aero engine. When I mentioned a German name they said that I couldn’t see it because it was under development, which surprised me so I went back again and asked for this German guy. They couldn’t find him so I went into the engine secretary. They told me that I was out somewhere in the vicinity but I couldn’t get to see him. I tried to find out where so that I could follow him round but I couldn’t manage to do it.

And then I was in a remake of that British comedy film that had McDonald Hobley in it and there was an Indian or an Arab. It was the one with the magic carpet in it and was out in the British Empire in India or Africa with Spike Milligan and Jim Dale and a few other people. It was a surreal film with the idea of people going back to their regiment to spy on the situation and development in the Middle East somewhere. It was all extremely surreal and someone who was excluded from the meeting tried to sneak in but was set on by people with scimitars and all that kind of thing. In the middle of the meeting they all had to stop for tea and because they were British they had to stop for breakfast because it was now breakfast on British hours, all that kind of total surreal comedy type of stuff that took place.

That film started off with the Americans refusing to deal with the British because the British were using substandard Russian scrap steel in their steel fabrication in the Middle East, simply allowing Russian lorries loaded with scrap onto the plant to go straight into the smelter and tip instead of tipping outside the smelter and sorting the stuff so the Americans had no reliance on the metal that the British were producing because of the substandard quality of the scrap. That film was called something like “A Miracle Called Yes” or “A Miracle Called Vest” dated 1964

So in this film there were several of us. There was me, a major, a couple of woman and a young girl had made it so far somewhere in the Straits of Gibraltar where we were holed up in a cave. The young girl seemed to have fallen for the major and this was bound to create problems because the major was drinking and was most unreliable. I had to radio a report so we had to wait there until just before dawn when we’d be picked up and taken away. They sent a boat to pick up the major to take him to the camp where he would be court-martialled. This led to quite a scene between this young girl and the major. I had to order her to stay put while I took him down to get on this boat. I was told that I had to stand by at 04:00 when there would be a radio call to summon us to a meeting by radio. In the meantime we’d have to stay there and make the best of whatever we could until we were sent for. One of the older women who was there was well-aware of the situation and realised what kind of complication all this is going to do and will jeopardise our whole mission just because this major couldn’t keep his hands off the bottle and the women.

And then we were back in the war again last night, defending Nantwich. For some unknown reason the attack was coming from the North. We’d dug in and we had a pile of old anti-tank weapons and were busy shooting up tanks as they came towards us. At one stage ammunition was running low but we managed to find a couple of captured ones and a box of 50 rockets so we were able to equip ourselves and hold out again for another while, brewing up tanks as they came towards us. We thought that there was no reason why we couldn’t hold out for ever here because the infantry was very reluctant to come and engage us while we were busy knocking out all of their tanks

Finally, my mother was looking after the twins again. We had a look and she was receiving almost £160 per week for looking after the 2 of them. It wasn’t easy because there were 2 enforcement notices on them, one on each one. One had killed a man and I don’t know what the enforcement order was for the other. It was extremely difficult and time-consuming to look after them both. Somewhere in this my brother was working in a shop that was having a lot of trouble because someone was off sick. I’d gone in there, wearing 2 pairs of socks so I took off 1 pair. I’d been helping them out and I asked if they needed me to come in tomorrow but they replied that they would be OK. They did ask if I could help them out by paying my brother’s wages for them until they were straight. That would be a good help so I decided that I would go round the next day. I came out of the Co-op which was where the old Ritz Cinema used to be and worked my way down Market Street, out and around the front into Victoria Street where his shop was but I couldn’t remember which door it was that one went into to enter the shop. Later on, I was working on a trailer. He came over to me and said ‘have you ever wondered what the girls do when they are watching us and we aren’t noticing?”. “No” I replied so he started to tell me some kind of story about our youngest sister but he didn’t get very far into it.

After the medication I came back in here and paired up the music for the next radio programme on which I’ll be working. And I do have to say that some of the joins are excellent. And so they should be, given all the practice that I’ve had.

After lunch, I started to transcribe the dictaphone notes and as you can imagine, that took most of the afternoon. Mind you, I did have a pause for half an hour or so while I mixed up some dough for the bread for next week. And it seemed to mix quite nicely too.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was the usual pause for my afternoon walk to stretch my legs.

The different perspective of the photo of the beach this afternoon will tell you that instead of going around the headland, I went for a walk around the medieval city walls

There wasn’t very much beach to be on this afternoon. The tide is well in right now but there was still enough beach for someone to take his dogs for a good play around down there.

And there were other people down there too but they were out of shot.

yachts cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And as usual, I was having a good look around out at sea this afternoon too.

No big ships out there right now but instead we had a couple of yachts and a cabin cruiser having some kind of danse macabre out there in the Baie de Granville.

Although it was cloudy and overcast, the view was quite good and although you can’t see it in this shot, the island of Jersey was quite clearly visible, although not clear enough to distinguish the individual buildings.

storm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022“Cloudy and overcast” I said just now.

And there were several storms brewing out at sea. The Ile de Chausey is quite clear this afternoon, but just to the west of it is quite a menacing black storm building up and heading this way. And in actual fact, while I was out a few minutes later, it arrived.

The little cabin cruiser out there in the bay probably received it first before I did, and I bet that the crew knew all about it as well.

And so I cleared off down the path towards the walls.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As we wander off along the walls we come to the place where for the last few months they have been carrying out repairs.

What with my state of health being as it is, I didn’t feel up like going down to the lower level of the steps. Instead I stopped at the top of the steps to take a photo of what they had done so far.

We can see a little better today than we did the last time that we were here and we can see that they have a considerable way to go before they are going to be finished at this end of the wall. And the two huge cracks are going to take some repairing if they are going to hold up.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When we were here a few months ago we noticed that they had actually demolished the wall right down to street level.

They have now built it up to the height that it was before and by the looks of things the job that they have done isn’t too bad although at the moment the pointing is somewhat hit-and-miss.

By the pile of stones here they still have some work to do, so it’s going to be interesting to see how it will look here when they have finally finished it off.

And the five tonnes of water in the containers on the scaffolding have done the job of holding the scaffolding down in all of the storms that we have had.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Here on the outside of the walls, we can see the join where the rebuilt wall meets the repointed wall lower down.

It might not be aesthetically pleasing how they have done it, but it’s a vast improvement on how it was before they started and it might even hold up.

And so I headed off through the arch and down the path underneath the walls to continue on my walk, dodging the piles of cyclists who were disturbing the peace and upsetting all of the pedestrians and who think that the path belongs to them.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down at the end of the path here is a viewpoint that overlooks the beach and the promenade at the Plat Gousset.

Surprisingly there weren’t too many people down there this afternoon. Although it was quite cloudy and threatening rain, it was quite warm again for the time of year and no reason at all why people shouldn’t be going for a stroll.

However, as we saw in an earlier photo, they were all in the Rue des Juifs looking up at the burnt-out house on the walls.

On the way back home I passed the guy who takes his cat for a walk and we had a chat, and then I went to inspect the damage for myself.

bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall yesterday that I said that I would take a photo of the bike shed when I see a bicycle in it.

They also know that pathetic parking is a regular feature of these pages, and here we have two for the price of one – a bicycle parked in the bike shed and a car that has decided that it would like to park there too regardless of the fact that the space is presumably reserved for bicycles.

A little earlier, I mentioned about cyclists thinking that they own the place. Well, car owners can have their moments too, can’t they?

Back here, I gave the bread another kneading and put it in its mould. And then rolled out the lump of dough that i’d taken out of the freezer earlier and had now defrosted.

That went into the pizza tray to proof for a while.

vegan pizza home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022later on, I put the bread dough into the oven and then assembled my pizza ready to bake it when the bread was finished.

And here are the finished results. The bread is baked to perfection by the looks of things and the pizza was one of the best that I have ever made, even though I forgot to put the olives on, as I discovered later.

After I’d eaten the pizza I tidied up and came back in here to finish my notes. Now that they are finished, I’m going to bed shortly. I have an early start in the morning and a radio programme to make.

The nurse should be coming to inject me too and I have my physiotherapy session in the afternoon too. It doesn’t take long for the cycle of activity to start up again.

Monday 7th March 2022 – IT WAS A …

… very different experience today at my physiotherapy session. She put four electric pads around my knee, coupled them up to some kind of electric machine and then spent 20 minutes putting electric shocks through my knee.

When the machine wasn’t pulsing, it was as if someone was tapping the surround of my kneecap with a small hammer. And when the current was going through it, it was as if some kind of retired Bulgarian weightlifter was squeezing my leg in a downward direction.

But anyway, more of that later.

Last night I actually had the first decent sleep that I’ve had for quite some time. I was in bed by 22:15 and there was one file on the dictaphone at 23:17 and a second at 05:12 and that was about that until the alarm went off at 06:00.

So where did I go during the night?

The night started off by me getting on a train in Central Europe, a steam train. I was trying to syphon some lemon juice from one empty container to another. I looked out of the window and there was a woman having a row with what looked like an old border guard in an old border guard uniform. The woman with me and I went down to see what was happening. He was trying to detain her but as this wasn’t the border here he had no authority so we simply told this woman to come on board and ignore him. He became quite agitated at this and threatened to arrest us all but he had no authority to do that. We took no notice and in the end the woman with me broke the hold that the man had on this other woman. She could board but my lady-friend was subjected to some rough treatment from this guy so I went over there. It ended up that he let go of her and the 3 of us boarded. As the train was heading away I went to find out where everyone was sitting. I found my friend but the other person, she was now a pair of twins whom I knew from years and years ago. They were sitting somewhere else. Being of African descent they were quite obvious in this 3rd class carriage. The woman and I sat not too far away from them. I wandered over to where one of the twins was. She was asleep but when I was very close to her she awoke so I made some kind of gesture that I hoped no-one else noticed that the two of them should come and sit by the two of us and discuss what our next move was going to be. We certainly couldn’t say that we were inconspicuous with what had happened boarding the train.

And later I was with someone last night who might have been a girl with whom I worked 40 years ago. We’d bumped into each other quite by accident and she told me that she was working out at the back of Chester. She mentioned the place and I said “yes, I know it well there. It’s by the Little Chef, isn’t it?”. She replied that it was further on down from the Little Chef closer towards Shelton Bar … “he means John Summers Steelworks at Shotton” – ed. I mentioned that it must be near somewhere else but she replied that that was in the other direction. I thought that I’d better shut up otherwise I’d make more of a fool of myself than I’m doing at the moment. Of course that’s an area that i used to know years ago all around there. We started to talk about this and that and I asked her how she was going to work. She replied that she was going by train. I thought that the railway line there had been closed years ago but apparently not. They had reopened it with new stations and there was a new station that had opened that very day right where we were. That was where she was heading to catch the train. We set off to walk to the station and quite by surprise I found myself holding her hand and we were having a very friendly boy-girl chat about next-to-nothing. When we reached the station there was a train just pulling in so she let go and ran for it but the train didn’t stop. It pushed on right through the station. I arrived on the platform just behind her. We asked someone and they said “the train you want is the 17:17 which is in a minute’s time. That was a non-stop through train, that one. Her train pulled in and she boarded, and I did as well for no particular reason other than to go with her to her particular station.

After the medication I started the radio programme that I wanted to do today and it took me much longer than it ought to have done, simply because there were so many interruptions of all sorts. Have you ever tried to explain to someone with no braincells the difference between cost-of-living increases and price increases?

No wonder the UK is in such a mess.

After lunch I had a shower and a good clean up and then I left for my physiotherapy appointment.

joly france 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 on the way out to test the camera.

The tide wasn’t very far in at all this afternoon so there wasn’t anyone out and about down there. As usual these days, one of the Joly France boats is over there at the ferry terminal waiting for her next trip to the Ile de Chausey, whenever that might be.

The walk down into town was rather difficult today. There’s a ramp of four steps halfway down the hill where I can test my right knee to see if there’s the strength in it to lift me up.

And today, there was no force whatsoever. I had to climb the steps with the left leg leading and the right leg limping along behind instead of climbing up normally with alternate legs leading.

digging up rue saintonge Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down in the Rue Lecampion, I noticed that in one of the side streets … “Rue Saintonge” – ed … they had closed off the street and were busy digging up the surface.

It doesn’t look as if it’s a cable-laying job as there’s no trench there and no cables either. It looks as if they are just digging a hole there.

In the town centre I went to the Post Office. I’d written two letter earlier and they needed posting. Not that anything will necessarily come from them but nothing will anyway if I don’t post them.

Up the hill I went to the physiotherapist. It was quite agonising but I managed it without having to stop for breath. I’m not so sure that going to the railway station on Wednesday is going to be any better.

decorating mairie place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back down into town I noticed that there were things going on at the Mairie.

We were all across the road from there showing our support for Ukraine, but I hadn’t noticed the blue and white banner that was attached to the balcony and I was surprised that I had missed it.

And there’s a cherry-picker out there too with a couple of people sticking up posters for something else. I’ll have to wander past there when they’ve all gone and take a closer look at what’s happening.

erecting scaffolding rue georges clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There’s something happening in the Rue Georges Clemenceau down at the end of the Rue Paul Poirier.

There are several buildings that have changed hands down there just recently and this afternoon they’ve been erecting scaffolding up around one of them.

Parked over there too is a carpenter’s van so it looks as if the building over there is going to be having a new roof within the next few weeks or so.

The walk up the Rue des Juifs towards home wasn’t as easy as it has been for this last couple of weeks. I wasn’t feeling too good over the weekend and it seems to have continued into today. I hope that it picks up before Wednesday. I don’t want to be going to Leuven like this.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went into the apartment for a coffee I went to have a look over the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

There was plenty of beach to be down on as well today, but only a couple of people down there on it. It seems that everyone has gone back to work or back to school now, and that will be that until Easter when we’ll have the crowds back again.

After I’d had my coffee I transcribed the dictaphone notes and then did a little tidying up. Not for any good purpose because it looks as if the Nurse has forgotten to come round today to give me my injection for Wednesday.

Tea tonight was a curry made of all kinds of bits and pieces hanging around in the fridge. And there’s enough left over for tea tomorrow as well. At least the fridge will be fairly empty when I go to Leuven.

But right now I’m off to bed. It might be early but I’m exhausted. Tomorrow is my Welsh lesson and I need to be on form for that. I’ve been rather flagging over the last few weeks as far as that goes.