Category Archives: thora

Wednesday 8th June 2022 – THE EXCITEMENT TODAY …

… has really been intense. I took out not one but actually two loads of rubbish to the bins today – one load of general waste and another of the plastic and glass. Can life really be any more exciting that this?

It did actually remind me of the time when I used to go camping, when all the excitement was in tents, but that’s another story completely.

Once again, I was wide-awake for a good while before the alarm went off and I was up quite promptly when it finally did ring.

home made fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022First task after I’d had my medication was to make a big pile of fruit buns as I’d run out.

There’s a pile of brazil nuts ground into a coarse flour, plenty of dried fruit of all descriptions (although I forgot the desiccated coconut), sunflower seeds, a banana and 250 grammes of wholemeal flour.

It ended up making enough dough for 12 fruit buns and they really are delicious – I had one of them for breakfast with my coffee. I seem to have the hang of making them now.

There are enough now in the cake tin to last me until Saturday and the rest are in the freezer ready to be brought out next week.

Not long after I’d finished making the dough and while it was busy proofing, I had a ‘phone call. Apparently my decision to no longer prepare any live concerts is creating waves. Would I go for a coffee with admin on Friday morning?

Apparently it was an “automatic server upgrade” that caused the problem, although who in their right minds would set upgrades on a broadcasting server to “automatic” is beyond my comprehension. You only want it to upgrade when there’s someone there with it supervising.

And “not many people listen to the broadcasts anyway” and “yours wasn’t the only programme to be lost” are not phrases that I would actually use to soothe a troubled breast.

Once I’d dealt with all of those issues and had breakfast, I spent the morning writing about “Clothes” and “When I was a child” as revision for my Welsh exam, playing my acoustic guitar set and then (rather regrettably) crashing out for well over an hour.

As a result I ended up with rather a late lunch again today.

After lunch I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was something about Ukrainian refugees being made welcome wherever they went, a restaurant having these Ukrainian refugees in and giving them a meal free, making sure that they sat in the window where everyone passing by could see them. I can’t remember any more than that

And then I crashed out yet again, for another hour or so. This is becoming far too much of a bad habit that I wish that I could break.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022As a result I was late going out for my afternoon walk again.

Nevertheless I headed off across the car park to see what was happening down on the beach this afternoon. And there wasn’t a soul down there today.

Mind you, you can tell what kind of weather we were having. One look at those waves will tell you that the severe winds that we had for several months earlier in the year are now back with a vengeance.

That’s enough to keep anyone indoors right now. No-one would want to be sunbathing in this storm and I don’t blame them for a moment.

thora baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022The sea was quite rough out in the bay and I did notice something struggling to make headway against the waves.

From this distance I couldn’t make out what it was so I took a photo of it so that I could enhance it when I returned to the apartment with the hope of being able to identify it.

And once I’d blown it up (because I can do things like that despite modern anti-terrorism legislation) I could see that it was the little Jersey freighter Thora battling her way through the waves on her way back to St Helier. She must have come in on the morning tide.

There were only one or two people on the path up here this afternoon – the wind was keeping everyone away from here too – so I had it pretty much to myself as I wandered around on my little circuit.

kite surfing baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There was no-one on the bench at the cabanon vauban which is no surprise because they would have been blown off the end of the headland in this storm.

And so I carried on walking down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port where a couple of kites caught my attention.

As they came into view from behind the harbour wall I could see that they were actually kite-surfers being pulled along by the kites in the wind. They certainly had the right day for it today.

Apart from Thora, they were the only other things out there on the water and that’s not really a surprise either in this weather. You won’t find any of the sailing schools out there on a day like this.

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022But some of the Ile de Chausey ferries must be out and about somewhere this afternoon.

The only one in port is Belle France, the newer one of the three. The two Joly France boats aren’t anywhere around the harbour so they must be over at the island. Good luck to those who are coming back on board in this storm.

In the chantier naval there’s no change in occupant. Still the posh new cabin cruiser and the catamaran and that’s your lot. Things have gone a little quiet down there just now.

But apparently L’Ecume II who was in there being repainted for so long is receiving rave reviews for her new appearance. That’s a good advert for the chantier naval.

omerta ch638749 pescadore port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Meanwhile, over at the fish processing plant, our game of Musical Ships continues.

Gerlean is now no longer there this afternoon but L’Omerta is back again from her sojourn in the inner harbour. And tied up behind her is the little trawler Pescadore.

Back here I had a coffee and then fell asleep yet again for another hour. I think that i’ve spent more time asleep today that I have been awake and that’s a dreadful thought. I telephoned Ingrid too but she was busy and she’ll call me back tomorrow.

Having not done any Welsh revision yesterday I wrote some more notes on “Last Weekend” and “Family and Friends”. And the latter one is not very long. I’ve also had the bass out and worked out a couple of numbers off this playlist that I was sent the other day.

Tea was a burger on a bap with potatoes and veg, and now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed. But I’m wholeheartedly sick of this continual falling asleep. Obviously it wasn’t this medication that was causing it because while things improved for a couple of days I’m back to square one. I think that tomorrow I’ll write to the hospital, tell them about what’s happening and see what they suggest.

Not that I’ll expect too much from them. Their aim is to keep me alive as long as possible regardless of my quality of life. Mine is all about my quality of life and I don’t care about longevity.

Wednesday 25th May 2022 – EVERYONE SAY “AHHH” …

seagull with chicks rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022… as a very proud mummy seagull shows off her brood of baby chicks to the assembled multitudes this afternoon.

Over the last two or three weeks i4ve been keeping a little desultory eye on her and finally today, I noticed that her eggs have hatched and she has her little babies all around her.

If I can count correctly, I reckon that there are three of them and that’s pretty good going for a brood of seagulls. She’s going to have her work cut out for the next couple of months while they learn to fly and to fend for themselves.

Not all that many of them actually survive to maturity and I remember a couple of years ago when we were keeping an eye on one particular nest where all of the offspring died.

This morning I must admit that I was feeling something like death after yet another good sleep. It seems that the deeper I sleep, the harder it is to awaken even if I do have a decent 8 hours-worth.

What I mean is that once more I was awake before the alarm went off but I had a struggle to leave the bed. It’s all something like Jethro Tull and
“Remembering mornings, shillings spent.
Made no sense to leave the bed.
The bad old days, they came and went,
Giving way to fruitful years.”

except that I’m a long way yet from THOSE FRUITFUL YEARS. I’m still at the “Fears of dying, getting old” stage.

Anyway I eventually staggered out of bed and went for my medication, and then I spent much of the day working on a table (the first of many) for my Welsh revision.

Welsh is a strange language. The “5 Ws”, or interrogative questioning words ‘When, where, why, what, who (and how)” take different verbs depending on how they are being used in a sentence.

Part of our exam is to ask questions based on missing words in adverts, for example the time might be missing and we are expected to ask the examiner “what time is the …” so a good working knowledge of these words and when they take either “mae”, “sy” or “ydy” is pretty important.

Tomorrow’s table is going to be verbs. There are four verbs that are used all the time – to go, to go, to have and to come so I’m going to make a table up for all of that as well.

And then there are 28 subjects that we have to revise and we’ll be expected to speak for a minute on five of thm that the examiner will choose. So every day I’m going to pick two and write out 6 sentences for each one.

That will be my revision.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022As usual, I wandered off outside for my afternoon walk at some point during the day.

And for a change I decided that I would go for a walk around the city walls, hence the change in perspective of the photo of the people on the beach.

As fas as I could tell, they were the only people down there this afternoon which wasn’t all that much of a surprise because first of all there wasn’t much beach to be on right now, and secondly, the weather had changed and it was rather cool, grey and overcast.

Certainly not the right kind of weather for being at the peche à pied today.

people in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022While I was here I had a good look out to sea to see what was happening.

Unfortunately, the good weather that we had yesterday has disappeared. It’s fairly hazy and misty out there today so I can’t see all that much this afternoon.

All that I could see were a couple of small boats like this zodiac offshore with a couple of fishermen on board. But they didn’t have the same luck as the guy yesterday whom we saw pulling a tiddler out of the water.

That was something that was really quite surprising. I hope that we don’t have to wait another five years to see someone else catch a fish out there.

repointing medieval city wall rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022A little further along the Rue du Nord I went to have a look at the work that they are doing on the medieval city walls.

They are making some progress on the medieval latrine which is now a public convenience for those out walking around the walls, and they are also having a good rake-out of the walls to clear out all of the old mortar from between the stones.

They are going to have their work cut out to repoint all of that. It’s not the easiest job in the world as I remember from when I repointed the walls of my house in the Auvergne, but it really does look beautiful when it’s completed.

repairing medieval city wall place dy marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Here’s the part of the wall that they have completed already, or, to coin a phrase, “here is one I made earlier”.

Despite all of the complications, including being obliged to erect a “flying scaffolding”, a scaffolding that’s held up from the top and not from the bottom, they have done a really good job of this.

Mind you, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and we’ll see how it’s holding in in 20 years time. Or, at least, you lot will because I won’t be here by then unless a miracle happens.

It always reminds me of the time that a solicitor was looking for me in Brussels.
“Mr Hall! We thought that you had died!”
“Not at all” I replied. “I just smell like it”.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022From the Place du Marche Aux Chevaux I walked off along the path underneath the walls towards the viewpoint overlooking the beach at the Plat Gousset.

Last week I mentioned that that were preparing the tidal swimming pool ready for the summer season, but with the tide being right in of course, we can’t actually see how it looks today.

But whatever they have been doing, they haven’t fitted the diving platform onto the top of the concrete pillar down there. They are usually quite rapid at sorting everything out ready for the tourists. It’s not like them to be dragging their feet.

But the sea is quite wild this afternoon so there wouldn’t have been anyone down ther eusing it anyway.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022A little further on I stopped at the viewpoint overlooking the beach.

You can tell how miserable and depressing the weather is today by the fact that there are so few people down there. And not just on the beach, but also on the promenade. Considering that it’s school half-day, there would normally be quite a few more people down there.

The vertical axis wind turbine was going round quite quickly too. The story is that it was installed to power the lights on the Plat Gousset but I’m not sure whether it’s still working. It’s certainly in the ideal place to catch the wind that goes roaring through that gap.

That’s actually a man-made gap, dug out by the English during the Hundred Years War as part of the defences of the walled city.

bollards rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Yesterday I took a photo of them installing bollards in the Rue Paul Poirier to stop motorists parking on the pavement.

And in the newspaper this morning there were all kinds of people, mainly tradesmen, expressing their discontent with the work that the Council had done.

Apparently they are worried about losing trade if motorists are unable to plough down pedestrians on the pavement and prevent pushchairs and wheelchairs from going by.

So I carried on along the path to see how the seagulls were going, and then headed for home and a hor coffee. It wasn’t smoothie weather this afternoon, not at all.

crane loading thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022After yesterday’s vitis to the port of Normandy Warrior yesterday, we have another visitor in there today.

This time it’s Thora who has come into port on the afternoon tide. They have already unloaded her and now they are busy loading her up ready for her return trip this afternoon. They don’t hang around long these days.

As you can see, she has quite a cargo to take back this afternoon. Things are looking up for business by the looks of things.

On the way home I had a chat with the newspaper shop owner and then came here for my coffee and, regrettably, to fall asleep again. I’m not doing too well right now but even so, it’s better than it was a week ago.

And it won’t be long before I have the Sports therapist person to see. I wonder what damage he can do to me.

There was the dictaphone to listen to too. There was a young girl who I was actively pursuing, for obvious reasons of course. Her story was that she was in an occupied country and there was someone, a soldier or a civilian, who had gone to ground on her. She had fallen in love with him But he was doing no good there. Sooner or later he was bound to be captured and that would lead to problems for everyone. The easiest way for them to deal with the issues would be for him to escape or evade and reach the UK where he could continue the fight, then come back when the war was over. But it was very hard to try to tell this girl about what was right and proper when she had her heart set on being with him all the time regardless of whatever risks they were running about being together and being caught etc. He would be much better off making a break for the UK and freedom

Tea tonight was a curry made of bits and pieces loitering around in the fridge. And it was quite delicious too. I seem to have the knack of making good curries these days.

So tomorrow I have the physiotherapist, some revision and then there’s plenty of paperwork that needs to be done. I can’t let that slip.

Wednesday 11th May 2022 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

airbus A400m baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022… day I’ve had today.

It’s been one of the worst that I’ve had for quite some considerable time, I’m sad to say. So while you admire a few photos of the flight of Airbus A400M aircraft that flew by overhead I’ll tell you all about my sad, sorry tale.

It’s probably something to do with the fact that the medication that I take before I go to bed must have kicked in. i was out like a light almost as soon as my head hit the pillow and that was that. An earthquake could have occurred and a bomb could have gone off but nothing would have awakened me.

airbus A400m baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022The alarm went off at 07:30 and again at 07:45 and again at 08:00 but like Housman’s “Shropshire Lad” who was “One-and-Twenty”, “no use to talk to me”.

The way I was feeling this morning I wouldn’t even have crawled out of bed for Jenny Agutter and Kate Bush, never mind TOTGA, Castor and Zero. It was 10:25 when I finally summoned up the energy to leave my stinking pit, and I was feeling like death.

It goes without saying that there was nothing at all on the dictaphone, and it’s been a long time since that’s been the case. I really was absolutely out of everything last night. And that’s probably the most disappointing part of everything from last night and this morning.

airbus A400m baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Once I’d had my medication and breakfast I came back in here but I was in no fit state to do any work. I spent the morning vegetating all the way up to lunchtime.

For lunch I had the last helping of the leek and potato soup and it was just as delicious as it was when it was fresh. In fact it was probably better with all of the spices having marinaded in.

Just as I was finishing my soup Rosemary rang me up and we had another lengthy chat. She was keen to know how Paris went because we’d talked about it beforehand, and I was keen to hear about her Ukrainian refugees.

But the bad news is that they haven’t arrived. They’ve been caught in a Covid trap and are currently in isolation somewhere along the route.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022After we finished it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk, even if I didn’t feel at all like it.

First stop was the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach to see what is happening there.

The weather had turned today. It was a lot cooler than it has been so I wasn’t expecting to see many people out there, even if it was school half-day. And there can’t have been more than a dozen people down there this afternoon.

What did catch my eye though was the couple perched up on the rock just to the right of the steps.

suzanga baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Having dealt with all of that I headed off down the path towards the lighthouse.

No Nazguls out there this afternoon but we did have one of the trawlers on her way back in to harbour. She’s Suzanga, the newest of the trawlers in port. We first noticed her coming into port in August last year.

Not very many people on the path either this afternoon. I was pretty much alone out there as I admired the flight of Airbus military aircraft that went flying past out at sea. Far too far out for me to be able to read their serial numbers and not having brought my ‘phone with me, I didn’t have a radar on which to pick them up.

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022My walk took me across the car park to the end but there was no-one today sitting on the bench down by the cabanon vauban this afternoon so I didn’t wait around.

There wasn’t a great deal of activity out at sea either. We’ve seen Suzanga of course and out in the Baie de Mont St Michel there were a couple of yachts having a bit of a sail around the bay. And that really was about it.

At fist I thought that it was a catamaran and I had tio look twice to make sure.

So I set off down the footpath on the other side of the headland heading towards the port to see what was happening down there this afternoon before I went back home for my drink.

repainting l'ecume 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There was a great deal of activity taking place in the chantier naval this afternoon and almost all of it was centred around L’Ecume II.

We’d seen it the other day looking in rather a sorry state but they’ve been hard at work having stripped off much of the perished paintwork and primed it. But there’s plenty to go at and they’ll be there for a little while yet smartening her up.

Dodging the classe decouverte walking in a queue-lieu-lieu, or “single file”, I carried on down the path towards the inner harbour because I’d noticed that away in the distance I’d seen Thora, one of the little Jersey freighters, tied up at the quayside.

thora leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022However as I drew closer, she slipped her moorings and headed off towards the gate and the open sea.

As she passed through the gates I ambushed her with the camera and took a photo as she headed off back to Jersey. I’ve not taken a decent photo of her for quite a while.

There wasn’t a great deal of anything else happening so I ended up back at the apartment where I forgot to make myself a coffee. I really must be slipping. It’s not like me to forget to make myself a coffee.

But I didn’t relax for long because I had things to do. I have to do some work today even if I don’t feel like it at all.

home made fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Having eaten the last of my fruit buns this morning I needed to make some more.

So 250 grammes of flour, some dried fruit, a banana, piles of other stuff (and I forgot the dessicated cocount) all went in there and for a change it all mixed up quite nicely.

When I was satisfied with it I divided it into 9 buns and put them in the oven to bake for 40 minutes. And I do have to say that they look, and smell, delicious.

As for what they taste like, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for me to tell you that. But I do reckon that they will be among the best that I have ever baked.

Tea was veggie balls with steamed veg and vegan cheese sauce and it was delicious. And now I’m going to have another go at going to bed. And hoping for a better morning. I have an appointment with the sports therapist tomorrow so I’d better be up and about quite early for that. No lying about stinking in bed.

Wednesday 27th April 2021 – RULE NUMBER 14 …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 2nd March 2022 – IN WHAT MUST SURELY …

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

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

Whatever he had done yesterday was clearly not good enough.

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

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

We are living in interesting times.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some people don’t realise how lucky they are.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 17th February 2022 – TODAY WAS SOMEWHAT …

… better today than yesterday and at least I manahed to accomplish a couple of things.

Actually it started last night when after I finished writing my notes; I finished off the notes for the radio programme and then in a mad fit of energy I actually dictated them. It can’t be any better than that.

There was something that resembled a reasonable sleep last night. Judging by the times that I dictated the notes of my travels during the night, I must have had a good four hours of uninterrupted sleep.

After that I was off on my travels and I spent a lot of time wandering around. I started off with someone from the Wemsh group, and I wondered when one of them would appear. We’d been doing something or other and a third person whom I know but can’t remember came up to me saying “I saw your note just now back there” but I couldn’t think which note it was at all. I hadn’t written one. We went back into the lounge room and my Welsh friend said something like “right, it’s TV time. There was a programme on there that we usually watch. I had to use the ruler to switch on the TV because it was so high up on the wall. Apparently it was already on – it just needed touching to reactivate it. It tunred out that it was the Wimbledon singles tennis final between Maria Scharapova and someone. He’d written a note or a poem or doggerel about her. The other match that was taking place was the men’s singles final between Boris Johnson and someone else and if that isn’t a nightmare, I don’t know what is. I was surprised about how good Boris Johnson was. he was really making this young guy work his position and for a big man he was a lot quicker on the court than I expected him to be. He had this enormous smash that ended up with him hurtling backwards and hitting the wall at the back. Then he began to pull all kinds of bits and pieces from under his shirt. We realised then that he was wearing some kind of kevlar body armour that had shattered under the impact of him hitting this wall. he was pulling it out bit by bit. When there was a lull in the noise in the stadium I shouted “it’s not a very good advert for kevlar, is it?” and everyone burst into laughter.

Later on I was on my way into work and was at the back end of Tunstall when I saw a motorbike at the side of the road, a Royal Enfield single. I had a good look at it and decided that it was quite nice and carried on to work. Later that day I had to go back out again. 2 girls from the office came with me. One was a girl whom I quite liked. The other one was quite nice but this one was something special. I had my red Cortina and we piled into it. We ended up back in Tunstall again. This bike now had a sign or something on it saying “Series BSA for sale” but it was quite clearly a Royal Enfield. I mentioned that and they said “why don’t you go to see the person and find out?”. I replied “probably because I would be very tempted to buy it”. We found the address so we set off. Soon the houses finished and we were in the open countryside. The second girl said “we’ve been this way before haven’t we?”. The first girl replied “yes. It was that office outing when you went wine-tasting”. I said “yes, and we had a good time at that”. As we drove down this road we were on top of the moors. The wind was really strong, rattling a caravan out in a field. All of a sudden we came to some barbed wire right across the road. We couldn’t go any further, we had to turn round in a farm drive and go back but the bank out of this drive was so steep that the Cortina struggled to make any headway and it was difficult to try to go back out onto the main road again so that we could drive off.

As well as that I was at a school last night with some pupils, actually at a railway station in the underground passage beneath the lines. Someone came down carrying what looked like a solar-powered satellite. They reached the bottom, stopped, had a think, turned round and went back again. I wondered what that was all about. There’s more to it than this but I can’t remember

Finally, someone came out of the library at work bringing something to me. First of all we were having a discussion about some meeting and playing the ‘cello where we had to sit, where we had to stand, how we had to behave. I didn’t understand any of this and I’d never played a ‘cello in my life. I wondered whether I’d misheard or mistranslated. I couldn’t get any of this at all. While I was trying to talk to someone about it, someone came out of the library at work and handed me a kind-of press cutting wrapped in sticky-backed plastic and said that it was very important not to lose it because it means that she can join me. I had a look and it was about Nerina. She’d been awarded either a Doctorate or a Master’s for a dissertation that she had submitted to the University of Québec. Of course I was quite envious because of the Québec connection. I wondered what it was about all of these little privileges she could have so I thought that I’d better go to see the guy who’s in charge of “privileges and immunities” and talk to him aboit it before I posted it on to her wherever she was. At that point I set off to walk home. There were crowds of people on the pavement and a very strong wind and was making very little headway at all. Everone else seemed to be walking okay but it was so strong that it was stopping me going forward. I went over this long railway bridge and had to work out my way home. My way home was going to take me back towards my apartment in Jette but it seemed rather strange because I couldn’t understand anything of what was happening at all with any of this. Nothing seemed to make sense.

When the alarm went off it was something of a struggle to leave the bed but I managed to beat the second alarm all the same.

After the medication, the first job to do was to make the bread as I’d run out.

home made bread fruit bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022In fact I’d run out of all kinds of bread, normal as well as fruit bread. And realising that there isn’t a lot of room in my oven, I couldn’t make fruit buns so it had to be a fruit loaf instead.

The bread dough was one of the best that I’ve made so far, and for some reason that I don’t understand, the fruit loaf went together really nicely. I’ve not had one quite like this at all.

While they were baking I took out the glass and plastic rubbish to the bins outside, such is the exciting life that I live these days that I feel the need to write about it.

The ordinary bread was very delicious, exactly how it ought to be. As for the fruit bread, I’ll tell you about that tomorrow. But what I can tell you that half of the normal bread and half of the fruit bread have gone into the freezer. I can’t seem to get them to last more than three or four days and I suppose that that shows how fresh and natural the ingredients are.

Most of the rest of the day has been spent in some kind of desultory fashion finishing off the radio programme. And it took much longer that it ought to have done for the simple reason that I forgot to dictate some of the text.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As well as lunch, there was also a break for my afternoon walk around the headland.

As usual I went off down to the end of the car park to have a look at what was happening on the beach.

There were actually a few people walking around on the beach this afternoon – one in the middle of the beach and a family over at the foot of the steps.

And they had a nice day for it too. It was warm again for the time of year and it was quite sunny too. Just the right kind of day to go for a look at the sea.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022usually I go and look out to the sea as well but today I was rather distracted.

We’ve seen them working on the medieval city walls over at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux for the last few months and now they seem to have moved around the corner of the wall.

We can see that the protective netting has extended round to there so that would seem to indicate that the workmen have reached as far as there now.

There were several large and deep cracks in the wall just there so they will be quite a while working on that part.

And that reminds me of the time that a nasty crack appeared on the wall of 10 Downing Street, but workmen painted over it before Boris Johnson could read it.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Despite the nice weather there weren’t too many people out and about on the path so I had it pretty much to my self.

Out at sea though, when I finally managed to focus myself on what was going on out there I could see that there were whole fleets of fishing boats out there heading back into the harbour.

The tide was still a fair way out so I don’t imagine that the harbour gates will be open yet so they will be all queueing up outside.

At the end of the headland there was a family peering into the old bunker and another one looking at the monument to the missing sailors, but that was about the lot so I carried on towards the harbour.

yacht tiberiade le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Down at the chantier naval there’s been a change of occupancy yet again.

Le Roc A La Mauve III is still down there of course, with her paintwork a long way from being completed, and as for Tiberiade, her sanding down is still going on and her paintwork is a long way from even starting.

And we now have another boat in there too – a yacht without a mast. And the yellow prop on which she is sitting, I haven’t seen that one before.

While I was there I took the opportunity to have a good look at the stern of Tiberiade and sure enough, there are no fishing nets on board her that I can see.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022From the chantier naval I carried on down the path towards the inner harbour.

Yesterday we saw Thora moored at the loading bay and today she is still moored up there. I don’t think that she’s been out and back again in the time available.

While I was writing out these notes I had a look on the shipping radar. Thora doesn’t have an AIS detector so I can’t see where she is, but I did notice that Normandy Trader has now come into port.

That means that tomorrow when we go out for our walk we’ll probably find that the swimming pool that is on the quayside will have gone too.

ch932880 Calean sm735890 lysandre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022A little earlier I mentioned that the tide was quite well out and so the fishing boats will be queueing up to come into port.

The little channel that they dredged out at the side of the fish processing plant a couple of years ago is filling rapidly and some of the smaller boats with a lighter draught are already there.

There are two that I can identify. CH932880 is called Calean and SM735890 is called Lysandre– The SM tells us that she is registered in St Malo.

As for the other two, I can’t tell who they are.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Over the past weekor two we’ve seen Joly France, Belle France and Chausiaise moored together down at the bottom end of the harbour.

Today though we can see that Chausiaise has now moved and she’s tied up where the two Channel Island ferries usually tie up. Those two are still in Cherbourg, presumably being overhauled ready to go back into service.

On the subject of going back, I went back home for my hot coffee, half of which I forgot (I didn’t fall asleep, by the way) and finished off listening to the radio programme that I’d prepared during the day. And after all that, it’s come out quite well.

Tea was something of a disaster. I really fancied some chips seeing as I didn’t have any in Belgium, and as the microwave fryer doesn’t work so well, I tried doing them in the oven. And they took about an hour and a half to do.

What I’ll have to do next time is to see if cooking them for five minutes in the microwave first will make any difference, or else buy some proper oven chips.

So today was a little better, for which I am grateful. If I show the same daily improvement over the next few days then by this time next year I might actually finish something off.

Perhaps a good night’s sleep will do me good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 1st December 2021 – ONCE AGAIN I HAVEN’T …

… done anything like as much today as I had wanted to.

There have been a variety of reasons for this – not the least being that I had yet another dreadful night, wide-awake at 05:20 and lying there waiting for the alarm to ring at 07:30. I tell you – I’m thoroughly sick of all of this.

As you might expect, it took a good few minutes for me to summon up the energy to leave my bed this morning and then I was pretty much wasted for the rest of the day.

After the medication I had a shower to clean myself up and bang on time Laurent came round for me. We went off to meet Thierry and then the three of us went off to meet Father Christmas and his blasted elves.

As I thought, the interview turned out to fall rather flat. I could understand the logic (whether I agreed with it or not) of submitting the questions in advance, I totally disagreed with the idea of “suggested replies”.

Children have a really fertile imagination and they need to be encouraged to develop it. And sometimes they can come up with some fascinating responses. But having them blindly reading off a script is a pretty dismal activity and it destroys the spontaneity of it all.

Having them all sitting around a table was another bad idea too because it’s always the more powerful ones who are heard. I would have interviewed them one by one where the kids could have responded without any peer pressure and chosen the pick of the answers.

In other words, this affair was micro-managed to an overwhelming degree and Laurent and I were quite disappointed about how it turned out. What had given us the idea for this was that two years ago wandering around the streets one night we had come across Father Christmas and subjected him to an off-the cuff interview. That was a resounding success.

While I was there I took a few photos of Father Christmas and his elves but I can’t publish them of course.

Back here Laurent came in for a coffee and we had a good chat about a few things, and made a few plans for the future.

After he left I went outside to wipe the rust-proofing liquid off the wheels and dry them, but painting them was out of the question. There was a howling gale again and it was sleeting.

Lunch was late again and afterwards I had the morning’s photos to edit and send off. They’ll choose one to illustrate our programme when it’s ready to broadcast.

trawler thora arriving at port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Once I’d finished that it was time for me to go off for my physiotherapy session.

The wind was if anything rather worse than it had been earlier and it was rather difficult to walk.

And I wasn’t the only one having difficulty moving around either. There was a trawler out at sea battling with the storm to come into port and behind her, Thora was being thrown about by the elements.

When I took this photo she was actually being blown sideways by the wind and was coming into port rather like a crab.

pointing wall Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Down at the wall at the Rampe du Monte à Regret the pointing of the wall was proceeding apace.

Mind you, I’m not sure what was happening there earlier. On our way back from Father Christmas there was an ambulance and a police car parked up at the side.

The personnel of the vehicles seemed to be quite interested in what was going on down below but as I wasn’t driving and as we had other things to do, I couldn’t go over and have a look.

If it’s anything interesting or important, it’ll be in the local paper in the morning.

Halfway up the hill towards the physiotherapist’s, I had to stop. Not because I was out of breath but because we suddenly had another torrential downpour. I had to nip into a doorway and put on my rain jacket.

It reminded me of how Superman and all of these other superheroes used to dash into telephone boxes and emerge seconds later with their underpants on outside their trousers. Where do they go to change now with the rise of mobile ‘phones and the demise of telephone boxes?

And then of course, there was my brother. He was often seen with his underpants on outside his trousers, but that was less to do with any superhero status and more to do with the fact that he didn’t have both paddles in the water.

No tilting platform today. There was the usual 5 minutes on the cross trainer and then a load of kinetic exercises that somehow took their toll of me.

She had me once more walking along this narrow beam and throwing a ball about. She was impressed with my reflexes co-ordination but as I have said before, my previous life as a goalkeeper and wicket-keeper had a lot to do with that.

father christmas decorations Place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021On the way home I came via the Place General de Gaulle.

On the way up to the physiotherapist’s I’d seen a few council workmen on up on ladders working on the trees and I was interested to see what they had been doing with them.

By the time that I returned, the workmen had gone but I noticed that some of the trees were now festooned with decorations. And if you ask me my opinion, it’s all a load of balls.

christmas decorations rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of years ago Strawberry Moose reckoned that the Christmas decorations in the Rue Paul Poirier WERE ALL BALLS too.

THis year though, there’s been a change, and not before time either. This year we have the street lined with artificial “Christmas Trees”.

Now what was I saying a few days ago about them recycling the same old decorations year after year and wishing that they would make a change?

Clearly, a great many people are very interested in the contents of my pages and pay them a great deal of attention.

La Bavolette Ii thora marité belle france joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021A short while ago we saw Thora having a bit of a struggle to make it into port.

Well she finally arrived, as you can see in this photo, moored up at the loading bay in front of Marité, with Belle France and the newer Joly France ferry – the one with the smaller upper-deck superstructure, moored alongside her.

The little trawler in the background is an interesting boat. She’s called La Bavolette II – at least, for the moment. And I mean that too because in the past she’s been known by several different names.

She was built in 1982 out of wood and displaces 40 tonnes

philcathane l'ecume II port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021This trawler is much more interesting though.

Not Philcathane, of course – not that she isn’t interesting in herself but she hasn’t had the adventures that the other one in the photo has had.

You can tell by her registration number – beginning with “J” – that she’s a Boat from Jersey and how long is it since we’ve seen a boat from the Channel Islands here in port with all of the shenanigans that are going on right now?

There’s a great deal of talk about illegal fishing right now and this trawler – she’s called L’Ecume II by the way, can tell you an awful lot about that because on two occasions about which I know, her crew has been in the dock and emerged with their pockets far lighter than they were when they went in.

And not only that, 18 months ago she found herself stuck on a sandbank because her helmsman had fallen asleep at the wheel.

In other words, she’s quite a well-known boat, for one reason or another.

storm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021However I wasn’t going to hang around and admire her for too long.

As you can see, out in the Baie de Mont St Michel there was quite a storm brewing up and the gale-force wind was blowing it my way.

As a result, I wasn’t going to hang around. I was going to head for home and a hot mug of coffee, and make plans about what I was going to do for the rest of the week. I actually have a day at home without any interruptions at all – but just you watch all that change.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Before I went in I went to have a look at the beach

And that was rather a waste of time because there wasn’t any beach to look at today. The tide was right in now and the water was at the foot of the cliffs. All I had for my pains was a good battering by the wind.

Back here I had my coffee and sat down to try to do some work.

Checking my messages there was a mail from my Welsh course telling me what ingredients I need for the Christmas Cake I’ll be baking on-line on Friday evening. Treacle isn’t available here so I ended up asking Liz for advice on a replacement and chatting to her for quite a while.

For some reason, tea was quite an effort tonight. I’m experiencing brain-fade – not quite as bad as the nonsense I was churning up last night – but I couldn’t think of what to have for tea. I’d really run aground.

In the end I settled for a burger and pasta. That was the best that I could do.

Right now, although I haven’t crashed out today, I’m thoroughly exhausted so I’m off to bed where I hope that I’ll sleep until I awaken.

But not much hope of that, I’m afraid. All of this is really depressing me.

Wednesday 3rd November 2021 – I HAVE HAD …

… a proposal of marriage today.

And the worst thing about it is that I’m not sure exactly how serious it was.

On the way back from the physiotherapist I met one of my neighbours heading down the hill. We had a chat about the current situation in the town, one thing led to another and she asked me “do you have your French nationality yet?”?
“No I don’t” I replied. “Just my Carte de Séjour. Nationality is a long, complicated process”.
“We’ll have to marry and then it will take much less time” she continued.

And so in the best traditions of the (News of the Screws), I “made my excuses and left”.

But the regular readers of this rubbish needn’t worry. Since I’ve been ill and I’ve had all of these bits cut out of me, I’m no use to anyone. Not even to myself.

It’s all very well discussing people like Percy Penguin, TOTGA, Miss Stoke on Trent, Castor and all of the others but they’ll all be perfectly safe with me these days.

Particularly after the night that I had last night. I was in bed really early – not long after 22:00 when I went to bed, planning on having a really good sleep all the way through to 07:30 but it wasn’t to be.

And so I’ve decided that in the future I’ll mention my good nights rather than my bad ones. It’ll save more time.

So staggering out of bed I went for my medication and then came back in here to check my mails and messages.

Plenty of mails too about my radio project and I stirred the pot by sending out a pile more. That led to the odd ‘phone call or two and so most of my day evaporated before my very eyes.

While I was dealing with the radio stuff, I uploaded the recording from last night on our visit. Two microphones means two mono tracks, with one “major” sound channel and one “minor” sound track. I’ve run them together and created a stereo track which doesn’t really give the effect that I wanted but I’m a novice with this machine and I have a lot to learn as yet.

Some time during the course of the day I had a look at the photos from Saturday night. I’ve edited 27 so far and I’m surprised at how good one or two of them are.

During the night I travelled miles. I started off having to make declarations of imports to the Customs and Excise people at Newcastle upon Tyne. My first ones weren’t very good – not very-well completed but by the time that I came round to the second ones and subsequently I had it all down to a T and was busy , doing it quite well and I was quite pleased with that.

Later, I was in Chester and I can’t remember what I was doing there now. I had this really ancient 1920s motorbike with me. We’d gone to the station to meet someone and it turned out to be an old woman. I was there with a friend of mine who was on an old motorbike too. When we met this old woman we then had to go out of Chester. I lost my way all round the station complex. I couldn’t remember where everything was because Chester had been so modernised. In the end we made our way to Northgate Street more by luck than judgement. This old woman was lagging behind because we were setting quite a pace. In the end she was talking about going for a cup of tea so we found this olde-worlde café place and went in there. I left my motorbike outside but he took his in. There were probably 7 or 8 other old motorbikes from that era in there as well. Now we had acquired 2 children, a girl about 6 and a little boy. I went and sat down where my friend and this woman went to order the coffee or whatever.

Later still I was working in an office and I’d been up to the canteen at about 10:45 to ask for a coffee. The woman said that she would make one and bring it down. By the time that it was 15:15 it hadn’t come so I went back up to find out what was happening. When I went in there I asked and she replied that she wasn’t going to make one for me. There were several other people there, one or two who were also drinking coffee so I asked why she wasn’t going to make one for me when she’d obviously made one for other people. One or two of the people tried to get me to leave but I wasn’t leaving under any circumstances and it all developed into something rather unpleasant. She still refused to make me a coffee even though everyone else who had asked had been given one

trawlers ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021It was such a beautiful afternoon when I set out for the physiotherapist so I headed over to see what was happening in the bay.

And for a change this afternoon, there was quite a lot. The Iles de Chausey looked really nice in this strange sunlight and we could see plenty of fishing boats out there looking as if they were heading for home.

On the horizon though was something big and white. One of the ferries going from St Malo to Portsmouth, I expect. I made a mental note to check it when I returned but I forgot.

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was quite a bit of activity looking the other way too.

Down in the bottom of the Baie de Granville between Donville les Bains and Bréhal Plage there were quite a few boats out and about this afternoon – some yachts and a cabin cruiser, as well as a few others that didn’t make it into the photo.

But not that I was going to hang around to count them. I have things to do and other fish to be frying.

One of the things that I mentioned that I would do was to go and see what was happening in the old town with all of the rebuilding that seems to be taking place.

repairing medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Regular readers of this rubbis will recall that we have noticed a big hole in the medieval city walls near to where they are working in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux so I wanted to check up on that.

And the hole isn’t there any more – or, at least, if part of it still is, it won’t be there much longer.

The stone masons have now reached the hole and they are busy patching it up, with a handy shield up above their head to prevent anything dropped over the wall from hitting them.

repairing medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And there is actually a big danger of things being dropped down on their heads from up above.

Another worker has been raking out the loose mortar between the stones, so presumably that’s going to be the next bit that will be repointed once they have finished below.

And you can see why the men down below have erected a roof when you see where the guy up above has left his electric drill. That will make quite a dent in someone’s skull if it’s dropped 20 feet.

repairing medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021When we were here last time, they had dismantled part of the wall in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

Now it looks as if they have begun to reassemble it and with the fresh pointing it looks quite nice. When they refit the large stones on top, it will be a really good job.

But what will be the next job to tackle? There’s the one further along towards the viewpoint at the Plat Gousset that has been fenced off for as long as I’ve been living here at least, then then there’s the bit in the car park by my building.

But the smart money is on the Square Potel and the signs are up there already.

repairing rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another thing that we saw a couple of weeks ago was all the hieroglyphycs that had appeared on the road surface in the Rue St Michel.

They had been working in the Rue Cambernon close by, but now they have finished. They have gone on up the Rue St Michel and by the looks of things they are quite well advanced there.

But this road surface is dreadful. In the medieval city everywhere else is cobbled stone – except here. They can’t complain about people not keeping to the “epoch” in their own private renovations if they aren’t going to do the same with the official ones.

thora loading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Meanwhile, down in the harbour, I see that we have a visitor.

Thora, one of the two little Jersey freighter, is in port today and by the looks of things she has quite a huge load on board. You can tell that by how deep she’s sitting in the water.

It looks as if there are some vehicles on the deck too, but I’ll go for a look on the way back. I want to have a chat with the skipper anyway.

erecting christmas decorations avenue leclerc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Once more, I made it all the way up to the hill to the physiotherapist without stopping for breath.

There was however one stop, and that was almost near the top as well. You can tell that we are in November and the tourist season is over, because now they are putting up the Christmas decorations.

And this year, I hope that they are going to use their imagination and do something different than they have done over the past couple of years. They have been very samey, except that there seem to be fewer and fewer things to erect.

The physiotherapist had me doing kinetic exercises for my half-hour session and it does seem to be doing me some good. I can tell that by the fact that I seem to be moving about a little easier than I did when I first started. Not by very much, but it does take time.

working on abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home, I went to see how the major roadwork project is doing down in the Parc Du Val Ès Fleurs.

They are making some kind of progress where the old railway line used to be. It’s all graded and they have fitted the drainage system and the electric conduit.

It looks as if it’s All Systems Go there, but I doubt if it will be finished for when I need to go to Leuven in a couple of weeks time. I might have to wait a little longer for that but it will be a much easier way to walk once it’s finished.

workmen installing play equipment parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Remember the hardstanding that we have seen in the Parc Du Val Ès Fleurs in the past?

There are a couple of workmen down there doing something with it all today. I shall have to go for a closer look.

But there are still plenty of the concrete reinforcement matting sheets down there – if anything, more than there were last time. It looks as if we are going to be in for a serious amount of concreting which will be a shame. This much concrete must be bad for the environment.

workmen installing play equipment parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021So down at the bottom of the steps I could have a closer look at their doings.

In the absence of any indication I asked them what was the purpose of they were doing. “It’s for the sport” replied one of them.

And so it looks as if I might not need the physiotherapist at all once they have finished what they are doing. I can come and do my exercises down here. But they will need much more equipment than just this, that’s for sure, if they want the town to improve its fitness.

square des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There wasn’t much else that I could see happening on the trackbed of the abandoned railwy so I cleared off down the road towards the quagmire that is the Square des Docteurs Lanos.

And quagmire is certainly the word. It’s raining on and off at the moment and over there is just a morass or sea of mud. Nothing much has changed there over the last 10 days or so, except that we now have some concrete drain boxes dropped over there.

And do you notice in the bottom corner the concrete strip that they have placed across the road? It looks as if we are going to be having a sea of concrete all the way up to the end of the abandoned railway line at this rate, hence all of the reinforcement matting.

roadworks rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021That’s certainly what it’s looking like in the Rue du Boscq.

The concrete strip that we saw them pouring the other day has now expanded widthways to three times its size, for what purpose I really don’t know.

Ohh! For a long line of trees that should have been planted every 30 feet along there to bring some shade and greenery to people walking about in the summer.

On the other side of the road they have left the half-a-dozen trees that were growing there previously, and that looks as if it’s going to be our lot for now.

digger moving road roller rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But the excitement here isn’t quite over yet.

There’s a road-roller that has been stuck on the concrete and can’t drop off the end so they summoned up one of the diggers on the site.

He picked it up without too much effort and dropped it back onto the roadway where the driver drove it away. and then the digger picked up what looked like a generator and then cleared off down to the far end of the roadworks.

children's roundabout place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And as if in sympathy, I cleared off down the far end of the roadworks too.

The kiddies’ roundabout that we saw them installing the other day is still here. It’s planned to be here until 7th November but it may be on its way sooner than that.

Apparently it’s larger than it’s supposed to be, according to the plans that were submitted to the local council, and it’s forcing people to step into the roadway. The council is none-too-happy about it and there’s some kind of proceedings going on right now about the issue.

vans and builders material thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On our way out to the physiotherapist, we saw Thora moored at the loading bay and I mentioned that I’d go over for a chat.

However as I arrived, she was just casting off ready to go. And I was right about the vehicles that she was carrying. 2 vans with Dutch number plates heading off towards the Channel Islands along with about 40 large sacks of stone.

Obviously it’s too late to speak to her skipper to I shouted a message to him as he peered through his window. Whether he heard me or not is another thing completely.

thora leaving normandy trader arriving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021The reason for the rapid departure of Thora is that the loading bay is wanted by someone else.

As she disappears off into the sunset, right in behind comes Normandy Trader. I didn’t think that they would be able to fit all of the freight on the quayside into Thora.

It was sheer luck that I’d arrived at this moment because I wanted to speak to Normandy Trader‘s skipper too. But he had a considerable amount of work on the go, quite obviously, so I didn’t want to get in his way. I’ll catch him another time.

normandy trader unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But doesn’t Normandy Trader look nice in her new livery?

Her captain was telling me that he was fed up of everything being blue and so while she was out of the water the other week he’s had a lot of her painted red.

They started to unload her almost immediately so I stood and watched from a good viewpoint. And the unloading didn’t take long because, as you might expect with all of this going on, the Jersey Fishermen’s Co-operative isn’t sending any shellfish over to Granville right now.

rainstorm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little earlier I mentioned that it was raining on and off as I walked home.

As you can see, out there in the baie de Mont St Michel and on the Brittany coast they were having it much worse than I hwas having it right now. That looks like one impressive rainstorm that is cascading down over there.

The wind wasn’t blowing it in my direction but I didn’t want to hang around. Nevertheless it was round about here that I had my proposal of marriage.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little further on I bumped into another neighbour out for a run so we had a little chat and then I carried on along my way.

Before going inside, I went to look at what was happening down on the beach. And the fact is that there wasn’t any beach for anything to be happening on right now. The tide is well in.

A few minutes earlier while I was walking home Rosemary telephoned me. So back here I made myself a coffee and phoned her back for another one of our long chats.

Hence I am, us usual these days, running hours later than planned.

later on, I was out again. I seem to be in great demand today as well because I was invited to a soirée in the building. It’s not like me to be popular, is it? I took myself off upstairs but I only stayed for an hour or so. I just don’t have the time (or the inclination) to be nice and friendly for such a long time.

Back down here I had pasta and a burger for tea, and now I’ve written up my notes I’m going to bed.

While I was out I took over 20 photos. But you won’t get to see them until later because with running late, I haven’t processed them and in any case, I’m whacked.

Somehow (and I don’t know how) I’m managing not to fall asleep during the day as I did in the summer but at the end of the day I’m wasted, particularly when I’ve had a bad night. A good night will do me the world of good, although I don’t know when, if ever, I’ll have one.

Thursday 21st October 2021 – NO CAUSE FOR A LLAMA

Laurent feeds the llamas Nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Here is Laurent feeding one of the llamas at Nicorps.

We were out late last night radioing. The project that I have on the go at the moment involves interviewing several people and one of my subjects is a llama farmer.

Our radio interview wasn’t about the llamas – that’s for another time – but we did so much talking that we ran out of time and will have to meet again. It’s hard to keep people focused on the matter at hand but it’s their show, not mine.

What i’m wondering about is how I’m going to edit all of this down to about 10 minutes-worth of chat.

But meanwhile, in other news, I had yet another bad night and I’m becoming fed up of these, that’s for sure.

Anyway, after the medication I sat down and attacked the days tasks that I’d written down on my list. And much to my surprise, by the time that Laurent came to call for me at 18:00 with the exception of scanning 3 receipts that I couldn’t find.

And when I say that I couldn’t find them, I knew where they were. It was just a case of putting my hand on them

One task that I hadn’t noted down was to bake today’s bread. I’d completely forgotten about it and it wasn’t until 11:00 that I remembered. As a result, today’s lunch was rather late but the bread, hot from the oven, was delicious with my home-made hummus and salad.

There was of course the afternoon walk, but an afternoon walk with a difference today. One of the tasks on my list was to write a letter that I’d been putting off, for various reasons, for quite some time.

Naturally, there’s no point in writing a letter if I’m not going to post it so I set off into town and the Post Office.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021First stop was the wall at the end of the car park overlooking the beach.

The howling gale that we had had yesterday afternoon and through the night (which was probably why I had had a bad night) had subsided somewhat but you could see the effect that it had had by the ripples in the sand on the beach.

There were still a few vestiges of the storm, such as the whitecaps on the waves as they come in onto the beach out there. And there were a few people who had gone there for the experience and someone who had actually put his feet in the water.

hole in wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Just for a change I went around the walls on my way into town, in order to check how the work was advancing in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

From the top of the steps that go down onto the beach I could see how they were getting on with the hole in the wall. And the answer to that question was that they haven’t been getting on at all. The hole is still there.

However, the leaves have fallen off the trees since WE LAST SAW IT so we can have a better view of the work that needs to be done, and it’s not going to be the work of five minutes.

stones demolished from wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The reason why they haven’t attempted to fill up the hole in the wall is because they are rather busy right now elsewhere.

In the Place du Marché aux Chevaux they have demolished part of the wall as we can see and are slowly reassmbling it, and that is going to keep them out of mischief for quite a while, as I well know.

There was a workman wandering around there so I tried to engage him in conversation but he wasn’t the talkative tyoe at akk and I couldn’t obtain much information from him, which was a pity.

stones demolished from wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The outer part of the wall has been finished as far as they can go but viewed from this angle, there is still plenty to do

Peering through the scaffolding we can see the extent of the work that needs to be done. These walls are quite thick so there’s much more work than you might think. When I built my stone walls, I just had an outer and an inner layer of stones and the centre was lightweight concrete, but it looks as if they are going to be doing it properly.

And it’s a good job that that had all of that water weighing down the scaffolding because otherwise, after Storm Aurora had gone past last night, there wouldn’t have been any scaffolding left.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021My route towards the town takes me along the path underneath the city walls and round to the viewpoint overlooking the beach at the Plat Gousset.

There were a few people down there too this afternoon enjoying the sun, but I’ve no idea what the two people on the right of the image were doing and what the one on the extreme right was wearing.

There are some steps at the end of the path that lead down to the Place Marechal Foch and that was the way that I went into town – down there and along the Rue Couraye.

There was no-one else waiting at the postage machines so I didn’t hang around in the post office so that was a quick visit, and the letter is now on its way. I could go home in peace with another task accomplished.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The walk back up the hill wasn’t as easy as it had been yesterday and I had to stop a couple of times for breath.

At one of my stops overlooking the port I could see that Thora was still tied up in port. That gave me a couple of ideas, more of which anon.

Back here I was pretty warm so I made myself a cold drink for a change and then carried on with the scanning of my medical receipts. I have a lot of money tied up in those and I need to send them off to my health assurance people before they become timed out.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too that needed transcribing. There were 4 of us at a concert. A guy, two girls who we’d met and I were chatting about Woodstock and how it had changed our lives when we were adolescents. This chap went on for quite a while. My friend was quite keen on one of these girls which I didn’t mind because I thought the other one was quite nice. She was talking as if she had the air of being older than she looked so I was intrigued to find out how old she was. Right up near the end my friend said “I’ll have to take (the other girl) home”. I thought “we’ll have to go”. The second girl looked at her watch and said “I suppose I’d better be thinking about going as well”. I said “I’ll drive you if you like”. She replied “actually I’ve come in my car”. I said “that’s a silly idea, isn’t it? I can’t run you home if you’ve come in your car”.

There was something else about living in a house, a group of us. We had 4 cats but 2 of them had gone and we were with 2. Someone came back with a pure white kitten. It looked rather young to me to be away from its mother but it seemed to manage OK. We introduced the other 2 cats to it but they weren’t particularly impressed. I had to go outside to do something. A young boy in the house had the cat and was throwing it up in the air and making it land on its feet. I told him not to do that because the cat hadn’t grown or developed and that could damage it. He said in that case you shouldn’t hold it upside down and tickle iit either. I said that that was something completely different because you aren’t putting any strain on the legs but he was chuntering away and grumbling about it so I didn’t say any more.

When Laurent came to pick me up we headed off towards Nicorps but down in the port we saw that Thora was still there, so we took a diversion down there to talk to her skipper.

We had a little chat and he agreed to be interviewed one of these days for my series of radio programmes. He’ll prepare a resumé when he returns to Jersey and e-mail it to me so that I can translate it into French and pass it to an interviewer.

After that we went off to Nicorps where Samantha and Lee were waiting for us. They had cooked a beautiful meal for us, vegan of course, and I presented them with a bottle of wine. Not that I drink it myself of course, but one has to be sociable and grateful for the efforts of others.

And that reminds me – I must stock up my wine cellar, which is looking rather bleak right now.

The interview went well, but there was so much of it that it will need careful editing. Laurent is currently listening to it and making notes about what needs to be cut, what needs to be added in, and then I’ll do the rest.

It was quite late by the time that I returned home and then Liz wanted a chat, so it was extremely late when I finally crawled off to bed. I can’t be doing with too many late nights like this. I’m having enough trouble as it is.

But on the subject of tomorrow, it’s my 100th rock music programme with the radio station so I’m celebrating by having a music festival. Starting at 21:00 CET (20:00 UK time, 15:00 Toronto time) there will be 12 hours of live music, featuring 12 groups and musicians, each one having a one-hour spot.

You’ll find it on LE BOUQUET GRANVILLAIS and because it’s free, it’s not to be missed under any circumstances.

Wednesday 20th October 2021 – I WAS LUCKY …

trawlers entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021 … this afternoon, finally managing to take the photo that I’d been trying to take for the last I don’t know how long.

As I was walking back up the hill in the Rue des Juifs towards home after my physiotherapy appointment, the gates to the inner harbour opened quite dramatically.

That was the cue for all of the fishing boats that were lined up outside in the outer harbour to surge forward and fight their way in to be first to tie up at the fish processing plant.

trawlers entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As you can see, there are dozens of them that go out from here almost every day.

And what goes out has to come back, of course, unless it’s called Bugaled Breizh, but that’s another, much sadder story for another time and place.

We can recognise a couple of the trawlers in this photo. On the extreme right looking as if she’s trying to leave is Cap Pilar and at the back of the queue is Coelacanthe, one of the biggest fishing boats in the port.

And one of these days I’m going to have to go through my notes and make an illustrated database of the boats in here so that I can identify them more easily.

marite chausiaise thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And it wasn’t just Cap Pilar that looked as if she was leaving port.

Chausiaise had been tied up in the loading bay underneath the crane and as I watched, the crew cast off the ropes and reversed away from the quayside.

She’s not going to be heading out for a while because there was quite a queue of traffic waiting to come in, as we have already seen. And it’s not really a good time of day to be going anywhere because by the time that she reaches the Ile de Chausey it’ll be almost dark and the tide will be turning.

Talking of turning … “well, one of us is” – ed … I was doing a lot of that in bed last night. It wasn’t particularly early when I went to bed but nevertheless by 03:20 I was wide awake and from then until 07:30 there was only a few minutes sleep here and there.

When the alarm finally did go off, it was all that I could do to raise myself from the dead.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I knuckled down to attend to the work on the list that I had created yesterday. And to my surprise (and to yours as well, no doubt) I breezed my way through it, and a few other things that I had forgotten to add onto the list as well.

That was what I call a productive day, and it’s high time that I had one of those.

There was the usual pause for breakfast and for lunch, and after lunch I had a shower before carrying on with the work.

Listening to the dictaphone some time later, there was plenty of stuff to transcribe. I must have had an exciting night. I was working for the radio and trying to find people to interview for this radio programme. I was in an old Plaxton Elite coach parked up somewhere in the Wirral. All these people were getting on and off it as we were near one of these burger van things. People asked me what I was doing so I explained that I was looking for people who had experience of Brexit good and bad and wanted to talk about it. They asked in which direction I was going so I said “north”, so quite a few stayed on. I was going north and came to a road junction. Someone said that if you go left here there’s a centre down there where there will be plenty of people and I’ll be bound to find someone there. I went to the left and came across a low bridge. There was nowhere for me to turn round, the road was so narrow and so built up on either side that I couldn’t get a swing round to turn the coach round at all under any circumstances.

Later on I’d forgotten to fill the water container for the house at Virlet. It was late at night and dark and I had to set out and do it. Nerina wasn’t very happy. When I went out I remembered that I hadn’t fought my way into the room where the water tap is. She was annoyed about that. In the end I fought my way round to the top of the barn and went in. The fridge in there was working really hard and making a lot of noise. I went downstairs and out, and found that I could in fact get into the water room. I’d left the light on in there from the last time I’d been there. I went in and there was a bat that was flying around, diving into my hair and everything. There were thousands of little flies. I fetched the water container out of there and managed to struggle my way outside. The bat came out with me and flew off. So did all these insects.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021When it was time to leave the apartment for my physiotherapy I went down to look at the beach.

Peering over the wall I could see that there was quite a bit of beach this afternoon – after all, it is my more usual time of going out compared to yesterday.

This time though there wasn’t anyone on it at all and that’s no surprise because it was blowing a howling gale and it was trying its best to rain. Not the right kind of day to be out at all unless one had to.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further on down the hill on my way into town I could see that there was a boat moored up in the loading bay underneath the crane.

As I drew closer (but it wasn’t a good likeness of closer because I’m useless at drawing) I could see that it was Thora, one of the little Jersey freighters, who was in there. She must have come in on the morning tide

Another thing that took me by surprise was that I made it all the way up the hill to the physiotherapist without stopping for breath. That’s something that I haven’t done for months and I was so impressed with that.

Today she had me doing movements and exercises and they seemed to be better for me than the tilting platform. I was certainly aching more than I did before and, getting ahead of myself here, I was up the 25 steps to my apartment much easier than I have been of late.

old sfr shop rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021But on the way home, I could see the first casualty of the mobile phone wars that are going on throughout the world right now.

That shop over there used to be, until the weekend, the SFR shop and I’m not surprised that that has bitten the dust. Regular readers of this rubbish going back 7 or 8 years or so ago will remember the dispute that I had with them.

By now it was raining fairly heavily so I didn’t want to hang around too long. I came back a different way home yet again but there was nothing of any interest to see or to photograph.

bouchots de chausey avenue de la liberation Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Well, that’s not actually true.

Quite by accident as I was crossing over the Avenue de la Liberation, I saw a tractor heading my way and I recognised it immediately so I prepared the NIKON D500.

Sure enough, it’s the tracor and trailer that unload the Bouchots de Chausey and we saw them yesterday hard at it. Had I been able to run, I would have followed it to find out where it is going, but I’m long past that kind of thing these days.

joly france entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021A little earlier I showed you a couple of photos of the fishing boats coming back into harbour.

After they had all passed by, one of the Joly France ferries reversed out of her berth at the ferry terminal and followed the fishing boats into the inner harbour.

What I liked about this photo was that I also captured two blue and white fishing boats racing neck and neck towards the harbour. I had to wait a couple of minutes to have all three boats in exactly the right position but it was worth it.

trawler cap pilar meaving port de Granville harbour in a storm Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Another photo that you saw earlier was the one with Cap Pilar waiting for the traffic to subside as if she intended to go out to sea.

Sure enough, once there was a gap in the traffic, off she went and was immediately engulfed in the storm that was now raging out at sea. She disappeared into several waves that swept over her bows and my hat goes off to everyone who puts to sea in this kind of weather.

Back here I had a much needed coffee and that warmed me up somewhat. And there wasn’t time to do very much because it was quite late when I returned.

There were some mushrooms that were on the verge of looking quite dubious so I made a potato and mushroom curry with them and wasn’t that delicious.

And just as I put down my fork, Rosemary rang me – perfect time again – and we had another one of our endless, rambling conversations, hence I’m running quite late.

But now, later than I was hoping, I’m off to bed and after my dreadful night last night I hope that this one is better. I’m interviewing tomorrow so I need to be on form.

Wednesday 29th September 2021 – WITH REGARD TO …

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… that big pile of freight that we’ve been seeing on the quayside just recently, a nice freshly-painted Thora sailed into port this morning.

As you can see, all of the red equipment that was down there on the quayside has disappeared, presumably onto the deck of Thora. Also on there is the little blue shipping container that was on the quayside for a few days, and what looks like a shrink-wrapped speedboat.

The galvanised sheets are still on the quayside. There’s clearly no room to fit them on board so I imagine that they are waiting for Normandy Trader to finish her paint job at St Malo.

Last night, just for a change, I had a better night’s sleep. Still tossing and turning around of course and drifting in and out of consciousness but at least it felt better. Especially after an absence of far too long, Castor was somewhere about in my nocturnal ramblings.

A photo of Castor suddenly appeared on my social network timeline. She’d obviously been away and this was her parents – you could see their reflection in this glass window taking a photo of her now that she’d come back from somewhere, with some kind of comment underneath it. I typed a message underneath, basically ‘welcome home. It’s really good to travel away, see new people, make new friends, but it’s really nice to come back home”. I posted my comment but the situation moved round from there somehow and we ended up talking about my house in Gainsborough Road. The bottom end of the garden was now a vegetable garden and where I used to compost all of the lawn cuttings, everything, they had gone so I was posting messages about “regular readers of this rubbish will note that there’s something missing from this garden. What is it?”. this kind of thing and I don’t know how we got there from being with Castor.

But it’s really good to see Castor back on my nocturnal voyages again, even if it is only a photograph. What do I have to do to have a real appearance?

Later on, I was in Virlet last night and a group of us had gone up there. Someone had taken some of us in his car and we were working away doing all bits and pieces. I was on the ground floor and there were some people in the attic doing some work. When it was time to go most of them came down but one woman didn’t. The guy who took us told us that she had used the wrong size of bore in one of the pieces of wood. I couldn’t see why she was so upset so I went to look. A couple of other people came as well. They had been working putting nails or screws or hooks into a piece of wood. She was telling me about this piece of wood. It was actually one of the friends of Liz Ayers whom I only ever met twice, of all people. I told her that it wasn’t any matter. The shutters were looking really good. I’d varnished them the last time that I was there but I hadn’t seen them since they were dry. We talked about them for a bit. The guy who had taken some of us there went into the cupboard there and pulled out the file and went to write down his mileage so that he’d be reimbursed. 1 or 2 of the other people asked what about them? Shouldn’t they be reimbursed as well? I replied “everyone put your mileage down. Go on – it doesn’t make any difference to me.

Later still I was in my Escort van and I’d gone for a drive. I ended up somewhere near the seaside on the south coast. By this time I was running out of diesel. I’d been running on ceramic diesel (whatever that might be) and I couldn’t find a ceramic diesel petrol station anywhere. In the end I found one that had fuel in so we filled up with fuel and it came to just over £40:00. I managed to root around and find the cash. I drove into town and ended up with a few people from the radio. We were wandering round this building that looked quite impressive. It was brand-new. I wondered what it was going to be. We walked into a room at the end. There were quite a few people in there obviously testing it out for sound. I walked up to the top and could see immediately that it was a Court. I said my bit “The Jury has heard the evidence and now we await the verdict”. Everyone looked at me of course. Then I noticed that the Judge sitting at his bench couldn’t see the first couple of front rows where the press was sitting and 1 or 2 other people. I pointed this out but everyone said that it didn’t matter. I said “the press can still be in contempt of court as well and the judge has to observe them”. We had a good look round and it came to be time to go. We ended up with a huge pile of stuff that was on trolleys that somehow had to fit into my Escort van so we had to decide on a way to go back to the van. Some people though that it was quickest to go one certain way but it was all loose gravel. I thought that we would never get the trolleys down here. One of them tried but all of his stuff started to fall off so we decided to look for another way. He said something like “how am I going to get back home with all of this?”. I said “don’t worry. It’s all going in the van”.

After the medication I had a few things to do and then Rosemary called me. She’d seen a message that I’d posted last night and sent me a message to ask if she could speak to me today.

Her husband had had a lot of heart issues and after his series of operations he managed to survive another 15 years before succumbing so she urged me not to give up hope, which was quite nice of her.

Of course, my issues are somewhat different but it’s very nice to see some solidarity amongst British people. Since the days of “Every man for himself” that began in the 1980s, solidarity went right out of the window in the UK and that’s the one thing that I miss the most and one of the (many) reasons why I left.

As a result not only did I miss my morning coffee, I missed my breakfast too and I was almost late for lunch. I just can’t believe where the time goes.

After lunch I had a shower and a general clean up. And my weight, that had been slowly increasing over the last week or so, is now back down almost to where it was 2 weeks ago.

Still 5 kg to go before I reach my target weight and 10kg to go before reach my ideal weight but I have a feeling that I’m not going ever to get back to the heady days of Winter 2019. But at least it’s not ballooning out of control as it did three or four years ago.

At least, not for the moment. But if everyone wants me to slow down, not go for walks and all of that kind of thing, it’s a distinct possibility, although everything might be overtaken by events.

yacht zodiac baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Outside, although the sun was shining, the wind was blowing quite strongly.

Not quite the gale-force winds of earlier in the week but strong enough to make this yacht struggle as it tried to tack in towards the port de plaisance, with some men in a zodiac as spectators.

From the viewpoint on the corner in the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne I walked on down the Rue des Juifs where I noticed Thora at the loading bay so I stopped to photograph her and the load that she had on deck.

The walk through the town and up the hill to the physiotherapist wasn’t quite as bad as it has been just recently and I’ve no idea why. I only had to stop three times to catch my breath instead of the usual nine of ten.

The physiotherapist was running late so he put me in the room by myself, showed me hoswto work the tilting platform thigs and let me run through a whole series of exercises all on my own while he caught up with some previous patient.

There was no-one around when the exercises finished so I let myself out and headed for home. I was going to stop at the supermarket for a cold drink to help me back up the hill in the Rue des Juifs but Bane of Britain had forgotten to bring his money, hadn’t he?

la grande ancre buddy m men working with fishing nets port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back up the hill I had to stop several times to catch my breath.

One of the places where I stopped was at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour where I was interested to see what was going on. The trawler Buddy M was still there as I expected, but she was now joined by La Grande Ancre.

Yesterday, I’d seen a fork-lift truck wrestling with some old steel cable, coiling it up to be taken away. Today there were some fishermen down there spreading out a very large fishing net with the aim of, I suppose, attaching it to the new steel cable that was also down there yesterday.

man fishing with net place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While we’re on the subject of fishing nets … “well, one of us is” – ed … here’s something interesting going on down at the water’s edge.

When I reached my building, instead of going inside I went over to see what was going on down on the beach, and this was what caught my eye.

We’ve seen him – or someone very much like him – before messing about in the water with a fishing net. And while the view from up here isn’t the best he doesn’t look as if he’s caught anything either despite the net – apart from several strands of seaweed.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And then I carried on with what I had been aiming to do when I came over here.

Down on the beach there were actually a couple of people who looked as if they had actually been in the water for a swim. Well, good luck to them. It didn’t seem that warm this afternoon and in any case there was quite a wind that would be enough to cool anyone’s ardour.

Back in here I had my first coffee of the day, and then opened the letter that I received from the Hospital. Having galvanised them into action by telling them last time that my local doctor was leading from the front, they’ve now arranged a series of tests for me when I go there next time.

Of course, if they find something, then at least I’ll be in the right place for someone to be able to do something about it. But I’ll still take all of my papers from here with me too, and submerge them with paperwork.

Time goes quickly when you are enjoying yourself, and in no time at all it was time for tea. A burger with pasta and veg, followed by a soya dessert. Nothing special, but still very nice.

And tonight I’ve actually finished everything quite early so I’m going to make myself a drink. I think I’ve earned it. I have a day in at home tomorrow but a radio meeting tomorrow night. And i’m going to drive there, I’m afraid. I’d love to walk but I’m just not up to it right now.

Wednesday 8th September 2021 – I HAVE HAD …

… a nightmare this afternoon after I came home from the physiotherapist – a real nightmare

new fishing boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But more about that anon. Let’s first say “hello” to the New Kid On The Block.

If that boat had been in and around the harbour previously, I would have been sure to have noticed it with its pretty distinctive, if not garish colour scheme.

She seems to be fitted out as an inshore fishing boat, the kind that fishes for shellfish, and she’s local to some extent in that her registration number begins with “CH” indicating that she’s registered in Cherbourg, so she obviously belongs somewhere up the coast here.

She’s not easy to miss so I’ll have to keep my eye open to see if she hangs around for a bit.

Anyway, this morning I didn’t hang around at all. As soon as the alarm went off I fell out of bed and went to take my medication.

Once that was out of the way I finished off the computer that I’d been repairing. While I was writing up my notes last night I was thinking of a way round accessing the files on the old hard drive that was locked in “administrator only” mode and because it was in a caddy, there was no way of entering the admin password.

Well there is, actually, if you think about it and it’s not for nothing that I have 32GB of RAM these days in the big desktop machine. Mind you, I was there until almost 01:00 doing it this morning fighting my way in but by the time that I’d finished everything was now on an external drive.

So this morning it was a case of loading it back up and performing a compare with the directory names. These days Windows writes its own and is no respecter of case so I had to make sure that the names on the external drive corresponded with the names that Windows created, otherwise that would have caused more problems.

Once that was all finally done, I could turn my attention to last night’s voyages. One of our number was due home at about 19:00 from her work in Stockport so about 18:30 mother started to fill the oven and warm it up ready to start cooking and baking the bread. The oven was on and everything was in there but she didn’t show up. We wondered where she’d got to – she’d left no messages or rung any of us to say that she was going to be late. We were puzzled as to where she was. It was getting close to Christmas and we had all of out Christmas shopping to do, all that kind of thing and we couldn’t really afford to be wasting several hours here and there while someone goes off gallivanting and we have work to do. One of the people in this house was a little girl probably about 8 or 9 or something. There was a game on the market, like a multilingual game about being in charge of a fire engine. Part of the publicity was about a house that was burning down. I’d already seen this game once in English but the publicity that we saw just now was being displayed in Welsh. Then she said that she was going to be visiting Aberhonddu and I was impressed that I said that in my sleep rather than the English “Brecon”. I thought that it was strange that I’d heard nothing about that so I asked how she was going. She said that they were going by aeroplane which I thought was a really weird way for a school trip to be setting off like that with schools so strapped for cash.

Another large pile of arrears disappeared too and now there are only 5 of them.

The rest of the morning was spent looking through my collection of photos from 2006-07-08 for 9 or 10 significant ones that currently have a very important meaning. I eventually found them too, after a great deal of difficulty too

After lunch I had a quick shower and then headed out for my physiotherapy.

delivery van transshipping porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Just out at the back here we have yet another delivery that can’t make it through the Porte St Jean into the old walled town.

It’s not for me to say anything … “not that that’s ever stopped you in the past” – ed … but this is a local delivery from a local company, and so I thought that they might be aware of the difficulties of delivering to the old town.

They don’t really need a vehicle of that size to deliver their domestic appliances ao surely a smaller one that can pass underneath the walls would have been a better bet.

peche a pied port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Out in the Baie de Mont St Michel the tide is well out this afternoon, so we have some people out there at the pêche à pied.

Not that the pêche à pied is anything that interests me over-much but were it to do so, I wouldn’t be doing it just there right at the entrance to the harbour where the boats pass by directly overhead.

What is interesting about this photo is that back in the early part of the year we saw the big earth-moving machines down there digging out the sandbank that forms to the right in the harbour mouth. It didn’t take too long for it to come back again, did it?

thora unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was walking on down the Rue des Juifs I could see a familiar antenna sticking up and visible from above the walls, so I went to the viewpoint overlooking the port for a good look.

Sure enough, our old friend Thora is back in town this afternoon. And a very clean and spruced-up Thora too. When she first came into port a few years ago she was looking beautiful but the weather and the sea had taken a dreadful toll of her.

But now at least on the superstructure above the waterline, she’s looking really tidy with a fresh coat of paint. I wonder if they’ll take her out of the water at some point and paint below the waterline.

unloading vehicles from thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By the time that I arrived at the viewpoint, it looked as if I’d missed the exciting bit.

The big crane was just lifting its jib up and away from the lorry down there, so it looks as if Thora has brought into port that motorhome and trailer that are on the back of the lorry.

It’s quite possible that this has been the repatriation of a broken-down motorhome and the freight and transport charges via St Malo have made them think about another way of bringing it home to France from the Channel Islands.

roadworks diversion rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From the port I headed off up the Rue Couraye toward the physiotherapist.

Near the top I stumbled across another diversion in the street. Roadworks in the Rue du Boscq by the looks of things so I shall go that way and check them out on my way home.

At the physiotherapist’s I was put through my paces with a different collection of exercises today. He’s certainly making me work in there and I hope that it’s going to be doing me some good. I need to be much better than this if I want to do any good in the future.

roadworks uprooting railway line rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back, I went down to the Rue du Boscq to see what was happening.

To the immediate left where these concrete pipes have been dropped, that was where the old railway line down to the port used to run. They’ve ripped that out as far as down here now by the looks of things.

Then there’s the street itself. The surface has been ripped out and is probably going to be resurfaced in the near future, with new drains (hence the concrete pipes).

Somewhere underneath all of this is a little river that flows down to the port. Wouldn’t it be nice if they were to remove the culverting and open it up. But there’s little chance of that.

uprooting railway line boulevard louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021That photo was taken to the left at the bottom of the hill. This is the photo taken looking to the right.

You can see the railway lines embedded in the road but further on, they’ve been ripped up. This was the part of the line that we saw them dismantling from the other end when we were off on our way to leuven one morning.

It’s really a shame to see the railway pulled out like this. It really marks the end of an era, signifying that the port is no longer important enough to warrant a railway connection. All of the seafood goes by road now, and we’ve seen the refrigerated lorries at the Fish Processing Plant.

It’s not really encouraging when you consider the drive for carbon neutrality.

On the way back to home I dropped into an estate agent’s. There’s a project to convert an old bank building into apartments and the sign has been on there for as long as I’ve been living here. I went to ask what was the latest state of play and, basically, we’re no further on that we were 4.5 years ago at all.

bouchot beds donville les bains people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The climb back up the hill was a little easier so while I was here I went to look at the beach to see what was happening.

There had been a terrific thunderstorm and rainstorm this morning that had soaked everything in sight so even though the storm had long gone, I was surprised to see so many people on the beach as there were.

With the tide being way out right now, the bouchot beds out at Donville are well out of the water. And they stretch for miles too. You can see the tractors and trailers out there harvesting the crop while they are clear of the water.

Back here my problems really began when I returned. I had my banana smoothie and came in here to drink it. Instead I fell asleep for another 90-minute marathon and I could have well-done without this afternoon.

And then disaster struck. All of the cheap seats on the train to Leuven and back have gone – in fact my favourite train, the 7:17 back, is fully booked up and there’s no seat at all. There’s no room at my favourite bolt-hole either so I’ve had to shack up at an Ibis Budget.

That’s not the worst of it either. My credit card isn’t recognised by my card reader – it will only recognise the previous card. But that is blocked of course because the more recent one has replaced it. And then my Belgian Visa Debit card won’t work for some reason either.

In the end I had to pay with my French Mastercard and I’m not at all happy about that. All in all, I’ve had a disaster today as far as all of that goes.

Tea was pasta and a vegan burger and still no dessert (I’ve lost 100 grammes since Monday) so I’ve come back in here to write up my notes and then have an early night. My appointment at the doctor’s is … gulp … 08:30 and I’m not looking forward at all to that. Not at all.

Wednesday 1st September 2021 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… I’ve had a much better day today. In fact, I’ve been feeling somewhat sprightly today and it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that, hasn’t it?

With going straight to bed last night right after the football, I went straight to sleep and that’s exactly how I stayed until the alarm went off at 06:00.

More stuff on the dictaphone too. I was going to work in Brussels and it was really early – 06:00. I arrived at work which was the triangular building on the corner of the roundabout near where I used to work. I couldn’t find put which door to go in. I eventually found one, but it was the wrong one. It took me to all kinds of areas that I didn’t know. In the end I found myself back on the street on the other side and managed to get in. We were talking about cars and we’d just bought a new Austin Ambassador. We should have bought an Opel Ascona estate just to do casual running about but we decided against that in the end. I had my car keyrings on my private keyring and my private keys on the office keyring. Some woman came into the office looking for my car key, picked up the keyring with my private keys on it and walked off. I had to chase after her. When I reached her office it was empty. I thought “how am I going to go home now that she has my car keys? In any case, I’d been away from the office for so long that I couldn’t even remember where my car was parked

There are about 30 other files on there right now and I hope that my new keyboard comes tomorrow because this one is driving me bananas. There’s no NUMLOK the N only works when it feels like it, the CTRL sticks and the backspace eraser has problems all of its own.

Trying to do anything with this keyboard is taking about 10 times longer than it should.

After checking my mails and messages I sat down to write up yesterday’s notes ad was promptly interrupted by a whole series of phone calls from Estate Agents, restaurants, wrong numbers and Rosemary who wanted another marathon chat.

As well as that, there was an exciting debate going on in an internet chat room that took up a lot of time.

And so with all of that it was rather a late lunch yet again.

Once lunch was out of the way I had a shower and a general clean-up and the headed for town.

thora marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Down in the harbour there was a lot going on this afternoon.

Down there at the quayside in the loading bay is Thora, one of the two little Jersey freighters. Now that the Festival of Sailing Ships is over and the dockside has bee cleared, the freighters can come in and unload

In the meantime there’s something strange going on. She has one of her sails unfurled and I’ve no idea why.

And I don’t know which one either. In actual fact I’m pretty useless about sails. When the skipper of the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR told me that the sail was a mizzen, I told him that we had better find aother one.

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And still in port today, a couple of days after her announced departure, is the Galeon Andalucia.

She’ll be putting down roots if she stays here much longer.

My walk up to the physiotherapist was somehow easier today. I only stopped twice to catch my breath going up the hill and that’s a sign of progress. I can’t remember how many dozen it was when I was on my way to Leuven.

He had me on his machine today for the whole half-hour doing all kinds of manoeuvres and I was glad to stop. But if it hurts me, then it’s doing me good.

On the way back home I stopped at the Carrefour down the hill. no point in going to LIDL just for a lettuce when they were only €0.99 in there. And I bought a can of energy drink for the climb back up the hill.

trawler returning to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By the time that I’d returned to the port, the harbour gates were’t far off closing.

That’s the signal for all of the trawlers out at sea to turn round and run for home, just as this one is doing.

I can see the green and gold strips on her hull so she is either Coelacanthe or Tiberiade. It’s not possible to tell which one she is at this distance looking into the sun and I only have the NIKON D3000 camera with the 15-110 lens.


This one doesn’t need any introduction though because we’ve seen quite a lot of her just recently.

Even if we can’t read her name painted on the wind deflector above the windscreen, we can tell from her colour scheme that she’s Monaco du Nord II.

She spent several happy weeks in the chantier naval a short while ago and regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen her there in several of the photos that I took.

She’s one of the first to come into port this afternoon and she’s going over to the Fish Processing Plant to unload her catch.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Meanwhile, also in port this afternoon is the little Chausey freighter Chausiaise.

And I DO mean “in port” too because she’s actually in the inner harbour, not moored up at the ferry terminal.

That seems to indicate to me that her main work is now finished for the season and she’ll only be going out on the odd occasion from now on.

My work is almost finished – at least, my walk is. I’m going to head off home for a banana smoothie (I’ve finished the strawberry stuff)

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But not until I’ve checked out the beach and seen what’s happening there this afternoon.

Still a few people out there braving what is left of the beach now that the tide is well in. And while I couldn’t see any swimmers out there today, the woman wearing a bikini walking back from the water is pretty suggestive, I suppose.

Back here in the apartment I made a series of phone calls that took me right round in a big circle and ended up back where I started. Yes, we have a new candidate for “Worst Estate Agent In The World’ today.

Tea was a curry of all bits and pieces left hanging around, and it tasted delicious.

After that, I came in here to type my notes but I was side-tracked and it’s now 02:11.

But the good news is that the keyboard that I drowned in coffee the other day – I now have it fixed and working. At least now I can type like I’m supposed to and I’ll have a lie-in tomorrow. I have a little visit to make in the late morning.

Wednesday 4th August 2021 – I HATE COMPUTERS!

For most of the day, and still continuing even now as I speak, I’ve been rebuilding my big desktop computer

And generally speaking, it’s working fine and many of the faults that existed before I took it to bits have been corrected. And with 32GB of RAM instead of 8GB, it bounces along quite quickly.

What has been an issue has been that of the hard drives. It previously had 3 hard drives, a solid-state drive of 256GB that is the system drive and two standard hard drives, one of 1TB and the other of 4TB, which are for data. The 1TB drive is the working drive and the other one is the back-up drive.

It now has a 1TB SSD and two standard hard drives of 4TB each.

According to the destructions, one just plugs them in to where they ought to go, and the computer works out for itself which one goes there. So now what I have is that the computer boots up off the new 4TB drive, has created two partitions on the Solid State drive and won’t recognise the previous 4TB drive, even though I can feel it moving around.

This new “plug and play” system isn’t working as it should right now. It was much easier in the old days when hard drives had jumpers where you set for yourself the bootable order.

What I can see me doing is to disconnect everything and connect up the Solid State Drive and load up the operating system to there before I add the other two drives.

But at the moment, having some USB 3.0 ports and a wi-fi instead of an ethernet cable is already something.

This morning I could have done with an ethernet cable to help me out of bed. Last night, having struggled throughout the day with tiredness and going worse and worse as the evening drew on, I ended up crashing out in bed at 22:30 in eager anticipation of a really good sleep.

And so if I ever get my hands on whoever it was who was shouting underneath by bedroom window at 03:20 this morning, they’ll be on a liquid diet with a straw for the next few weeks. You can’t imagine how I was feeling at that particular moment.

But at 06:00 I staggered out of bed and went off for my medication. And back here afterwards having sorted out the post, I finished off the journal entry from yesterday.

While I was making breakfast (and my fruit bread has died a death as well now) I started on what was the laborious task of backing-up of the big computer and that took a couple of hours to do. But once that was done, I made a start on the dismantling and reassembly.

And there isn’t all that much of these modern systems of assembly that I like either. It seems that they have tried absolutely everything and gone to great length to avoid the use of screws and it’s certainly not an improvement.

There were the usual breaks for lunch and coffee and then I went out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst port of call was the wall overlooking the beach so I could see what was happening down below.

And of course, having followed the comings and goings of the tide over the last couple of weeks, we’ll know that there wasn’t all that much beach for anyone to be on today. However there were enough people trying to grab their own little corner so that they could sit in the … well, cloud if the truth be known.

And there were even some people braving the sea. And that demanded some kind of courage that not many other people might have. Certainly not me.

microlight powered hang glider ulm pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here we go again. I haven’t set foot out of my front door for more that 30 seconds before I heard the distant drone of a Nazgul heading my way.

Sure enough, overflown once more a couple of seconds later by one of these powered hang-glider things. And today we have the yellow one rather than the red one. It feels rather like an episode from Play School.

He roared over my head at a height of about 500 feet and soared off into the distance. I felt like joining him – soaring off into the distance I mean, but I have other fish to fry right now.

la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving dealt with the issue of land and air, all that remains now is to turn our attention to the sea.

Having seen La Granvillaise sailing past offshore for the last few days, it’s almost inevitable that she’s going to be out here again this afternoon, isn’t it?

And just one look at her will tell you exactly what the rest of the weather is like this afternoon. There’s quite a wind that’s blowing from the north and the ship was heeling over at an angle of about 15°. I bet that those on board were loving it.

marite baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s not all that was out there either today.

Remember yesterday when we saw two ferries one after the other come sailing around the headland? Well today we have two sailing ships. We’ve already seem La Granvillaise and now coming around the headland in her wake is Marité.

At the moment she’s being buzzed by a few people in a zodiac and I don’t think that that will make them very popular with the ship’s commander.

And going back to what I was saying just now, look at how the yacht to the left is canting over in the wind.

fishing boat belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while we were discussing sailing ships just now, I happened to drop into the discussion the question of the ferries that ply their way out to the Ile de Chausey and back.

And almost directly on cue, into camera range comes one of them on her way back from the island. She’s too far out for me to be able to identify her but judging by the speed at which she’s approaching the headland, I bet that she’s the new Belle France.

If that inshore fishing boat isn’t careful, she’s going to be run down by the ferry if the ferry doesn’t look where it’s going.

And right now, I’m going. Off down the past and across the car park at the end of the headland.

joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomethign was moving down on the other side of the headland – I could tell that by seeing some kind of aerial or mast going past under the cliffs.

As I came around the corner, the ship came round the corner in the other direction at the same time, and it’s the older one of the Joly France boats. She has quite a crowd of people on board too.

It would surprise me if they were going out to the island at this late hour of the afternoon, so they are probably just going for a lap or two around the bay to pass the time. And I only just had time to take a photo of her before she disappeared out of sight behind the coastguard building.

marite baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now, Marité had done a loop around the entrance to the bay and ina figure S shape was now heading out for sea.

As for where she’s going, I really don’t know but she can’t be going far because the harbour gates won’t be open for too long and she’s not the easiest ship to manoeuvre through the gates and park up at the quayside.

But here’s a thing. Look on the extreme right-hand edge of the image near the top. You’ll see thatthere’s the outline of another sailing ship there. I wonder who she is and what she’s doing around here in the bay.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut that’s a question for another time. i’m pushing off around the headland on the path on the other side to see what’s happening there.

It’s evidently busy at the ferry terminal this afternoon with all of the comings and goings of the various ferries. So much so that Chausiaise has been evicted from her berth and has to moor up against the wall by the harbour gates.

That’s her spec for loading up, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and her hold is open too so I imagine that she’s about to be taking on a load of freight for the island, unless she’s just unloaded.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut in the meantime I’m focused on what’s happening beyond the harbour wall.

The yachting schools are out there again but they haven’t managed to make it back out into open water as they had the other day. Instead they are sticking vlose to shore.

These ones are being shepherded back into calmer water by a couple of pilot boats. All of the others are in there already.

And you can see the yellow buoy in th =e background? That’s the limit of the patrolled beach at the Plage d’Hacqueville, whenever the beaches aren’t closed to the public by the Préfet or the mayor.

belle france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now, the ferry boat that I’d seen out in the Baie de Granville was coming round the headland.

And it’s exactly as I was expecting when I saw the speed at which she was approaching. She’s definitely Belle France as you can see. And she has quite a crowd on board whom she has brought back from the Ile de Chausey.

So while she was manouevring her was into the harbour, I was looking at the chantier naval to check on the occupants. But there was no change in there. Still the same boats from yesterday. I wandered off home intead.

f-gbai ROBIN DR 400-140B pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as I was heading back towards the apartment I was overflown once more.

This time it’s one of our regular visitors, F-GBAI, one of the Robin DR 400-140B aircrafts from the Aero Club de Granville. She’s used for navigation and flight training, but is available for local flying.

It was at 16:46 that she took off, did a few laps around just offshore and then headed off south-south west where at 18:44 she disappeared off the radar near Dinan Trelivan Airport

High time that I was disappearing off the radar too.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut not before I’d checked out the situation in the inner harbour.

Yesterday we saw all of the freight piled up on the quayside waiting for a lift out to the Channel Islands and sure enough, in port this afternoon is Thora, the smaller one of the two boats. And these days I’m lucky to catch her given the speed of the turnround here.

Back at the apartment I had a coffee and carried on with my work, suddenly realising that I’d forgotten to index the music files before taking the disk our.

That’s taken me all night to do it despite a pause for tea – falafel and pasta followed by one of my desserts that I made yesterday.

But now despite the fact that it’s not all finished, i’m switching off and going to bed. And hoping that no-one wakes me up at some stupid hour of the morning.