Category Archives: spirit of conrad

Tuesday 28th September 2021 – “BNP IS PRODUCED BY …

… the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber. The heart releases more BNP and NT-proBNP when the left ventricle is distended from working too hard, as in heart failure.
Levels above 450 ng/L for individuals between 50 and 75 years of age are consistent with heart failure”.

Mine is 514.

Still, with only 60% of the red blood cells that carry around the oxygen, my heart has to beat about 1.67 times faster to move the oxygen around my body. And it’s been doing that now for over 6 years and it can’t keep up that pace for ever.

We’re not quite at the “it’s a waste of time you buying any long-playing records” yet, but I don’t think that it will be far off.

But going to the doctor’s this afternoon did bring about some benefits.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour  Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was out there I walked back via the port to go and ispect these piles of freight on the quayside that we’ve been admiring from a distance over the last few days.

As for what this lot is, it’s very difficult to say. It’s some sort of folded-down equipment that can be unfolded and repositioned. I had a good look around it but I couldn’t see what it might be when it’s unfolded.

It’s pretty heavy and substantial so it’s obviously going to be for something quite serious.

However there were no makers’ labels or anything on it to give me any further information.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021This other pile of freight is however rather more interesting.

It’s galvanised, made in the Czech Rupublic, supplied by a company in France and labelled “Jersey”, so it’s evidently destined for one of the Jersey freighters.

It’s this new-fangled design of corrugated sheeting of the type that it used for roofs or walls but the way that it’s packed on these pallets, it’s something much more substantial, more heavy and more important.

It’s not all just thrown together, one on top of another, like normal corrugated sheeting..

tubes on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was here, I went to have a look at these tubes that had appeared on the quayside by where the Jersey ferries are moored.

Once more, no clue as to what they might be. They are metal, and quite substantial too so they aren’t going to be buried in the ground to carry water or cables or anything like that.

They look to me more like the kind of things that could be used as pillars, but where they are going to use them is another matter entirely. The flanges don’t look to be the type that can be bolted together either.

This is another thing on which I’ll have to keep an eye in the future.

working on electronic equipment buddy m port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was on my way between the different piles of freight I walked past the Irish trawler Buddy M.

There were a couple of guys up there on the roof of the cabin dismantling some of the electronic equipment so I engaged them in conversation. After all, if you want to know any answers, you have to ask the appropriate questions.

She’s put in here from Ireland especially for an engine overhaul and she’s expected to be in port for three or four weeks while it all takes place. In fact, what with one thing and another, we were chatting for quite a while. We had a lot tosay to each other, mostly about Brexit.

But anyway, despite having almost 8 hours sleep last night for the first time, I felt dreadful this morning. I had an awful night again, tossing and turning for much of it and trying really hard to go to sleep.

Although I must have gone to sleep at one point because there was some stuff on the dictaphone. Some teenage boy had led a raid on an amusement park somewhere on the coast and had been quite successful so he was always keeping his eye open for another opportunity. He noticed a few other vehicles lined up there looking as if they were about to raid the place so he raided them and disrupted all of their proceedings. Most of them went away empty-handed or with nothing or were caught. There seemed to be one woman who was really interested in him and he was very interested in her even though she was quite a way older than him.

Later on there was something about me wandering around a shopping precinct. There was a particular shop that I wanted to visit and I ended up going down there just as John Houston was walking back up again, going on about that’s the 3rd time he’s missed it now. He’ll have to wait for another train. I wasn’t sure what he meant ro when I reached the bottom it was 19:00 and they were locking up. Part of it was a butcher’s and part of it was a clothes shop. It was that Sylvester guy who made the sandwiches cleaning up the butcher’s place. everywhere was starting to close down and I couldn’t work out where my sister worked. I ended up with another woman and we ended up doing some kind of field trip exercise, getting everything ready. We’d been disturbed continually by the aeroplanes flying over but suddenly they stopped and we could continue to work. I said something to this woman. Se replied “yes, we put our foot down, didn’t we?”. I replied “yes, we’d better get a move on because once the other groups are finished they’ll be buying them bottles of drink so it will all start up again and be even worse.

When I awoke, I was drenched in sweat again – really drenched. It’s hardly a surprised that it was a bad night.

After the medication I came in here to check my mails and messages and when I’d transcribed my dictaphone notes I went to prepare for my Welsh lesson.

Unfortunately, and to my dismay, I fell asleep while I was trying to revise, and that filled me with dismay again. As I have said before … “on many occasions” – ed … there’s no point in going to bed early, or lying in until late. It makes absolutely no difference to my fatigue.

The Welsh lesson passed quite well. We had two new people starting today so we were 14. It’s becoming rather unwieldly now, but it’s a sign of how popular the Welsh language is becoming.

Usually, these courses are run in colleges and every year they might have 100 students. The course that began in March 2020, the one that I joined, coincided with lockdown and so were held on Zoom.

They had 1038 students that year and so now that colleges are reopened, they are nevertheless continuing on line.

After lunch, with the new printer now printing properly, I printed out the return paper that I received when I registered the faults with the NIKON 1 J5 and its lens, and then packed it in a suitable small cardboard box.

And then I headed for the town.

yacht cherie d'amour le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Autumn is definitely here now after the howling gale (107kph) winds that we had on Monday morning.

It was windy, cloudy, overcast, not a trace of sun anywhere. There’s a yacht out there near Le Loup being pushed along by the wind towards the port.

There was plenty of water in the harbour this afternoon, although the harbour gates were closed. The yellow Cherie d’Amour is over there floating about.

There were a couple of other fishing boats in there too this afternoon so maybe they’ll be heading for the open sea when the tide turns.

crane assembling structure chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There was some kind of excitement down in the chantier naval this afternoon.

It’s clear now why they didn’t seem to be in any rush to fill any of the empty berths in there. We have a very large mobile crane in there that seems to be used to assemble some kind of large metal structure.

Had I had the time, I would have walked down there to the viewpoint that overlooks the chantier naval for a closer look, but I always seem to be running short of time these days. Too much work to do and not enough time to do it.

That’s the story of my life.

council working on pavement rue de juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From there I walked on down the hill towards the town.

In the Rue des Juifs I was intrigued to see some council workmen busy working on the pavement over there. It wasn’t so much the work that intrigued me, but the fact that their van is parked facing the wrong way in a one-way street that is used as a service-bus route

My route towards the doctor’s leads down the Rampe du Monte a Regret so I wasn’t able to find out what the workmen were doing.

But I needn’t have worried too much about the time as the doctor was running late and I would have had plenty of time to find out everything, had I known.

The plan that the doctor has for me is to go and see a heart specialist. There’s one opening an office in the Health centre next week and he reckons that I should go t see his secretary in midweek to make an appointment.

And I need to take my x-rays, my blood test results and, if I’m lucky, my heart examinations results, to the hospital with me when I go.

There was a notice on the Post Office door “closed exceptionally at 16:00 today” and it was 15:58 when I arrived. This isn’t like me at all. usually I’d arrive at 16:02 expecting it to be open until 16:30 as usual, and find it close instead.

It’s twice now that that has happened. It was the same last week at the laboratory, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. What is happening?

But anyway the NIKON 1 J5 is on its way to the repairers and we’ll see what happens about that in due course.

fork lift truck coiling up old steel cable port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back home I went via the port to look at the freight and to see what else is going on down there.

There was a fork lift truck out there wrestling with a mile or two of heavy steel cable. I asked the driver about it and he told me that it’s old rotten cable that’s come off a trawler.

Sure enough, further on down the quayside there was a mile or two of new steel cable, ready to be wound on round the pulleys from which the old cable had been taken.

For a few minutes, I stood and watched him. He was making quite a ballet of coiling it up ready to be taken away.

capo di fora spirit of conrad port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further on down the quayside I stopped to look at the two large yachts.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw them from a distance the other day. The one on the right nearest the pontoon we know all about because she’s Spirit of Conrad. She’s the boat on which we sailed down the Brittany coast last summer.

The other one is called Capo di Fora and she came into port the other day. Despite her Italian-sounding name, she’s actually fling the flag of Belgium. And so, incidentally, is Spirit of Conrad. I keep on meaning to ask her skipper why that should be but it keeps on slipping my mind.

charles marie courrier des iles anakena valeque sagone d'angawelys port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Here’s an exciting collection of boats for you to admire.

The blue and white one far left is of course Charles Marie who we have seen on many occasions. Then we have Anakena, the big beast that was stranded here at the height of the pandemic and which slipped back into port at the end of last week.

Tied up to her is the little Courrier des Iles.

There’s a fishing boat here, Valeque too, but the most interesting boat is the other one, Sagone D’Angawelys. She’s actually a mobile seawater laboratory based at the Laboratoire De Biologie Marine, at Bénouville.

She goes round taking samples of seawater which I suppose is something to do with the fishing industry along the coast.

tide coming in port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The harbour gates were closed so I wcould walk over the pathway on the top and across to the other side.

By now the tide had turned and you can see from the waves here the speed at which the tide comes in when it has a mind to do so.

But then regular readers of this rubbish will have seen the difference of height of the water between high tide and low tide by comparing the photos of Le Loup at the different states of the tide, and of course it only has 6 hours to do it too.

On the wharf by the Fish Processing Plant, everything from the seafood festival has now been cleared away and not a trace remains.

removing marquee rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021It’s not quite like that in the Rue du Port.

The chicane is still there and while the big marquee has been dismantled, the framework is still here ready to be loaded onto the back of a lorry to be taken away.

The climb up the steps of the Escalier des Noires Vaches to the Boulevard des Terreneuviers was total agony. I ached from every bone in my body and had to stop half a dozen times to catch my breath before I reachd the top.

Back here I made myself a coffee and sat down to drink it, but ended up falling asleep again for 20 minutes. As I said earlier, what’s the point of going to bed early and lying in?

Tea was taco rolls and one of these soya desserts. And now I’m going to bed. I’m expecting a phone call in the morning so I need to be up and about. I just hope that it isn’t too early.

Thursday 23rd September 2021 – WHAT A BEAUTIFUL …

montmartin sur mer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… day it was today – at least, the afternoon of it.

The sky was as clear as a bell and you could see for miles, way out to sea and all along the coast too. With the sun now shining brightly, and down at a lower angle, it had lit up the town of Montmartin sur Mer as if it had been in a spotlight on a stage.

And when I blew up the photo, I could even make out some people on the beach, and that’s pretty good going for that kind of distance.

st helier jersey Eric Hall photo September 2021The view was just as good further out to sea as well.

It was another one of those days where not only was Jersey really clear on the horizon 58 kilometres away, we could even make out some of the buildings at St Helier.

The big tower over to the left is very intriguing. It really could be anything – the “Marine Peilstand 1 Tower” which was a German Army artillery ranging point or La Tour de Vinde, a Napoleonic-era Martello tower, or even the tower the name of which I have forgotten that overlooks St Brelade’s Bay.

yacht ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further on around to the west, the Ile de Chausey was looking quite good too.

The colours weren’t as brilliant or as visible as we have seen them on the odd occasion here and there but the little white cottages at the foot of the lighthouse stand out quite clearly against the dark background of the hill on which the lighthouse is situated.

There wasn’t much going on out at sea though this afternoon. There was just a yacht drifting about rather aimlessly and what looks like a motor boat on the extreme right, but that was about everything.

trawler cap frehel brittany coast France Eric Hall photo September 2021Finally, finishing off our arc from north-east to due west, from my vantage point on top of the bunker at the back of the lighthouse the view was even better.

Right out there in the distance, 70 kilometres away, the lighthouse and fort at Cap Frehel were visible with the naked eye this afternoon, never mind with the camera’s zoom lens.

And we could even see the headland around at the end of the next bay, which I think is the Ile de Brehat at the mouth of the River Trieux

There’s a trawler out there as well, and we can even see that it has its nets out this afternoon. That’s what I call a really good day.

But I’m glad that some people had a really good day today because I had an absolutely awful one.

The night wasn’t as early as I was hoping and when the alarm went off at 06:00 I was right out of it, absolutely and completely. And having another feverish sweat as well.

There wasn’t even time to finish checking my mails and messages before I had gone west and I ended up, to my complete and utter dismay, back in bed and under the covers again. Twice in three days, after going for a couple of years without doing so. That’s a sign of how I’m feeling right now.

It was about 10:20 when I finally staggered out of bed and I’m not sure if I wasn’t feeling any worse either. It took me an age to pull myself together.

But once I did, I made an Executive Decision, and for the benefit of any new reader (of which there are more than just a few these days), an Executive Decision is one where if it’s the wrong decision, the person who made it is executed.

And the decision is that I’ve changed the time of the alarm from 06:00 to 07:30 to give myself an extra 90 minutes in bed, until this situation resolves itself one way or another. Just on Mondays will I be having an 06:00 alarm call as I have the radio stuff to do.

Once I’d had a coffee I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I had to go to meet my aunt off the ferry that was coming in at 06:00 so I had to get up early. There was half my family in my apartment and that was uncomfortable for a start. When I set off, I didn’t realise actually where I was going to have to go to meet everyone. I ended up at the shop and was in there when suddenly my mother walked in. There was some discussion with the shopkeeper about tickets to go to meet people, all this kind of thing, tickets to come back from the ferry terminal on the bus to where they were dropped off at his shop. He said “if my aunt comes, she’ll have a ticket and we can all arrange it them”. Then I had my mother and my brother trying to argue with me. I said “look, for the last 20-odd years I’ve lived on my own. I’m not used to all these people”. That led to a few ribald remarks from my brother and one or two other people. As we walked back to my apartment I found myself thinking “I wish there were some other apartments in this building vacant where I could stick them and get them out of my hair”. There was something as well that I’d told one of my sisters about a book about a Chinese disc jockey that summed up quite a lot the way that I’d been feeling. All the way back we had “my sister couldn’t be bothered to read that book” all that kind of thing and it was a most uncomfortable dream.

I was out with TOTGA last night, of all people. I’d been to go to a Conference on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday so I went to the hotel which was near Birmingham and booked myself in for the Tuesday night to start on Wednesday morning. There were another 2 people there booking and they were only booking for the Wednesday night and Thursday on the same course. He asked me why, and I recognised one of them. I knew that he lived fairly locally so I said that I imagined that he would come straight from home for the conference and then come back here for the next two nights. I can’t remember how it went on from there but there was some time to kill so I ended up going for a walk with TOTGA. We were hand-in-hand walking and chatting. She asked where I would like to go but I didn’t really have much of an idea. She said “how about the cinema?”. I’d never been to the new cinema in Crewe so I said “yes, fine”. We walked along Wistaston Road. There was a queue outside the cinema and it slowly started to move. The tickets were £27:00 to go in, so I thought that I’d pay for her but she was renewing her annual subscription so she said that she’d pay. I insisted on paying but the woman at the counter said “you know that hers is £999, don’t you?” I replied “right, in that case I’d better let you pay”. We arranged to meet one lunchtime as well. She asked me where we’d meet so I replied “why not the cinema?”. We agreed that we’d meet on the lunchtime at the cinema. Then there was the case of making a snack. She had bought me a pizza from here once so I thought “right, we’ll have a pizza”. Apparently you made your own. The cheese though was like a spread that you spread over the base of your pizza and put your topping on top which I thought was an extremely strange way of going about things but I started to do that.

I’d been working on repairing an old MkII Ford Consul. We’d had the engine all stripped down in situ and reassembled it. The owner, my father, was not very happy about everything. He saw petrol lying around in cans and he went and took them away. I had to clean all of these parts, and in the end someone went and fetched the petrol back so I cleaned all of the parts of the carburettor and reassembled it. There were still a few bits and pieces left to do including fuelling it up because there was very little petrol left in it but someone had brought a portable bed and gone to sleep right up against the car where the fuel filler was so I couldn’t reach it. In the end my father came back and asked how we were doing. I replied that it was almost done. He made a few remarks about a few bits that were missing, all this kind of thing. I said “it’s not trouble at all, they aren’t really necessary until we find out how the car runs”. We went to start it and it started first time and sounded nice. He got into it and took it for a little drive around the block. He said “yes, this is fine”, then drove off somewhere else. I remember saying “he’s not going to get very far with the few bits that are missing off it and there’s no petrol in it” And he should know about the petrol because ha was the one who stopped us filling it”.

But in the middle of all of my blasted family coming around to annoy me like they do, it must have cheered me up to have had an afternoon or evening out involving a Close Encounter with TOTGA. But in real life she had far too much sense to involve herself with me to that kind of extent.

What with one thing and another I missed out on having lunch, because, even though I didn’t feel like it, I had a task to perform

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of weeks ago I bought a new printer to replace the one that was only printing in blue. I hadn’t installed it yet but this afternoon someone sent me an important communication that I needed to sign and send back, so I had to unpack it and install it.

Although it’s the same make and model as the old one, it’s an upgraded version so it took me a while to figure it out, and when I’d finished installing it, even though it would print, it wouldn’t scan.

Eventually I discovered that despite it being one of these multi-function printers from a major manufacturer, the scanner drivers aren’t included in the installation package, something that left me totally bewildered, so I had to go on-line and hunt them down.

And then I couldn’t make the machine work as I wanted. The control panel is quite complicated but seems to be lacking in functionality. I was surprised that it hadn’t installed a “scan” button on the computer desktop.

So after much binding in the marsh, I eventually discovered that the original “scan” icon for the old printer now points to the new one and once I’d realised that, it was all plain sailing.

All of this made me quite late for my afternoon walk, and when I finally made it outside, I bumped into a neighbour who kept me chatting for half an hour. Not that I had the time to spare, but I can’t spend all my life being totally unsociable with everyone.

While we were chatting, there were all kinds of stuff going on in the air. The powered red hang-glider went by overhead, followed by a couple of Nazguls, a light aeroplane and even the air-sea rescue helicopter, but you can’t interrupt your conversation to take a few pictures. It’s not very polite.

launching site for hang gliders Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One we’d parted company and gone our separate ways, like the Knights in THE HOLY GRAIL? i tried to make amends.

The field from where the Bird-men of Alcatraz take off is right next door to the cemetery, which I always thought was a good idea because if they make a mistake on take-off or landing they won’t have far to go, so I took a random photo to see if I could see anyone.

But they must have come in and untangled themselves from their equipment quite quickly because by the time that I looked, the field was pretty much deserted. The bird-men had flown.

bouchots donville les bains people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Instead, I concentrated myself on what was going on down on the beach this afternoon.

Plenty of beach to be on today of course with the tide being out, but not too many people on it taking advantage of the warm, almost windless afternoon.

Meanwhile, further over at Donville les Bains, they are out there in force at the bouchot beds – the beds where the mussels grow on strings rather than in the sand. You can see the tractors and trailers out there as they harvest today’s catch

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was here, I had a look to see how the repair work on the old medieval city wall at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux was going on

It’s been a while since we’ve had a close look, so I was hoping to see some substantial progress today. But all that I could see was that some white protective sheet had been erected to cover the scaffolding at the far end.

There are however a couple of guys on the scaffolding down at this end working on the wall so if I can get away early on my way to the physiotherapist tomorrow afternoon I’ll go for a closer look and see how they are doing.

jersey trawler Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While all of this was going on, I was having a good look around out at sea.

As I mentioned earlier, Jersey was standing out quite clearly this afternoon. With some digital enhancing we can see plenty of boats out there this afternoon, like the fishing boat over to the right that might even be the same one that we’ve seen in the bay for the last couple of days.

And it’s not all that usual that we see the eastern end of the island so clearly, yet here it is today. I was trying to identify some of the buildings there by reference to an aerial photo, but without very much success.

boats leaving harbour st helier jersey Eric Hall photo September 2021A little further around to the west there’s a really good view of several boats leaving the harbour at St Helier.

The one on the extreme left of the image caught my eye. Blowing up the image as much as I could, I could see that it has some kind of winching gear on the stern, but it looks too big to be a trawler.

However, there was nothing arriving at or leaving the port round about that time that corresponded with a ship of this nature.

And then we have another couple of trawlers heading our way

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy Eric Hall photo September 2021With nothing else going on over here (as if all of this isn’t enough) I went to have a closer look at Cap Fréhel, which I could see with my naked eye today, and then across the lawn and the car pary around to the end of the headland.

In the past, I can’t recall having seen fishing boats working in the strait here between Granville and Cancale over in Brittany, but that all changed fairly recently when we noticed them starting to try to exploit this area. There’s a trawler out there this afternoon trying to see what it can pull up out of the sea bed.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I wonder if this constant search for new fishing grounds is due to the issues over fishing rights further out in the Baie de Granville.

hotels baie de mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned how nice the weather was today and how clear the sky was.

Down at the foot of the Baie de Mont St Michel, while we can’t actually see the Mont until someone removes the Pointe de Carolles and the Cabanon Vauban that sits thereupon, we can see the hotels on the mainland this afternoon.

If you look just slightly to the right of the foot of the Pointe de Carolles you’ll see a few white or light grey buildings. These are where anyone who comes to visit the Mont and stay overnight will usually stay because prices actually on the Mont itself are quite simply out of this world.

And there on the mainland they aren’t really all that much better, I suppose. It’s pretty much a captive audience over there.

l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Meanwhile, it’s “all change” at the chantier naval this afternoon.

As I walked along the path on the top of the cliff towards the port, I could see that things were looking quite different down there this afternoon. And it looks as if there has been a massive clear-out today.

The only boat that is left today is L’Omerta. The other boats that were in there – Hera, Le Pescadore and Catherine-Philippe – have now gone back into the water.

The next question is “who is going to come into the chantier naval to take their place?”.

belle france chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021It’s a lot more normal over at the ferry terminal this afternoon.

The new ferry Belle France and the little freighter Chausiaise are moored over there this afternoon. The two Joly France boats are probably out at sea somewhere. And they’ve closed up the jib of the crane as well, which is good news for the hydraulic seals.

Meanwhile, in other news, there’s some kind of jogging team out there on the quayside going for a run. They’ve turned off and are starting to run along the wall around the port de plaisance.

And I’m intrigues to find out what will happen when they reach the end, because there’s a large gap in the wall. Perhaps it’s the start of a triathlon and they are all going to leap into the sea and swim across.

Back in the past, I took part in a triathlon, but only the once. I was busy doing the water leg when I suddenly thought to myself “this is silly. I’m getting the bike all rusty here”.

marquees chicane rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Over the last few days we’ve seen interesting developments taking place in the Rue du Port.

We have the chicane of course, and the marquee that they erected yesterday. But now a couple more marquees have sprung up on the car park of the Fish Processing Plant. This is all starting to become interesting.

And we can see that Marité is back in town as well. She’s been absent for the last couple of days. Well, in fact, she hasn’t really. She’s been nipping out early on the morning tide for a lap around the Ile de Chausey or over to Cancale and not come back until the evening tide.

Hence my mid-afternoon walk has missed her.

aztec lady capo di fora spirit of conrad mini y port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Meanwhile, In other news, we have a couple of new visitors in the port.

The white yacht on the extreme right next to the blue Aztec Lady is called Capo di Fora. Despite her Italian-sounding name, she’s actually flying the Belgian flag, as, incidentally, her neighbour Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which we went up and down the Brittany coast last summer.

The large grey yacht is called Mini Y, registered in the UK. She’s a “Baltic 85” yacht built in Finland in 2018 of fibre and composite construction and weighs in at just 50 tonnes.

She’s been cruising along the North European coast for the last few days and just recently has been roaming around St Malo and the waters between there and here

Back here in the apartment I had a few things to finish off and then I was just on the point of starting some work when Rosemary called me again.

Once we’d finished, it was long past my tea time so I grabbed an aubergine and kidney-bean whatsit out of the freezer and had that with some pasta. That tasted really nice, and it would have been even nicer had I not dropped the bottle of tabasco sauce in it.

***Note to self – put toilet roll in fridge tonight ***

And now I’m off to bed – going to make the most of my lie-in for the next few days to see if it makes me feel any better. Although I have a feeling that I’ll need more than this to liven me up.

Sunday 15th August 2021 – THE OTHER DAY …

belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… when discussing all of the boats that were out there on the water, I believe that I mentioned how I would love to be out there when the harbour gates are near closing, in order to witness the stampede as the boats all headed back for port.

And sure enough, this afternoon I had my wish, and a lot sooner than I was expecting as well. The tide is advancing quite rapidly and even though this is my usual time to be out, you can see the mad dash for home already.

Belle France is well up there in second place to that cabin cruiser in front, but on the outside there’s a speedboat coming incredibly quickly, making quite a wave as he does so.

boats heading for harbour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound on the pther side of the headland, things are much more advanced.

There are at least five and maybe even more small boats in the photo just here, all dashing for the port de plaisance while they still are able to do so.

Nobody would want to be stranded out in the bay during the night, especially if they have work to go to in the morning.

Not too many people out on the sea wall watching them though. I would have expected this to have been one of the best free entertainments going.

Last night I did without any kind of entertainment – free or otherwise – after the football. At the final whistle I staggered off to bed and that was that.

At 06:19 I was awake but if anyone thinks that I’ll be leaving my bed at that time of day on a Sunday they are mistaken. Even 09:10 is a bit optimistic. 10:40 is much more like it.

Ordinarily I would have said that that was a good sleep but there is tons of stuff on the dictaphone so I must have been quite disturbed (as if I’m not disturbed enough as it it).

I started off at the home of a couple of friends last night, doing a load of moving for them or something like that. I’d gone to her office room to talk to her but she was busy on the phone so I went into his office room kind of thing and he wasn’t there. I thought that I would wait for him to come back and I started listening to music and I thought “He has loads of LPs so I’m sure that he has loads of live cast-offs that would do for a live concert”. There was a box of strawberries and cream by the side of his computer and I was busy eating my way through those and scrolling through his Facebook screen. Suddenly I saw a message that he had sent me about Welsh Premier League football and I could see my reply under there. I thought that I’d better not be confused in this subject comes up again because I’ll be replying as someone else instead of me and reading my own replies. When they did come down they looked so young and it was very hard for me to believe that it was them. I couldn’t believe it. They were talking about everything, about how we don’t need to go out for a meal tonight but we can go for breakfast tomorrow somewhere. I said that my partner (and I couldn’t think of her name) was having to teach this afternoon but I’d been watching “Alfie” and this started off with some guys going to rob the home of a policewoman or something but the robbery had all gone wrong and several policemen in there and there had ended up being a gunfight and all these guys had gone to prison and been sent down for an enormous length of time. The Michael Caine character had to flee the country with his girlfriend and she was telling him all this bad news about everything else that was connected with this but still going wrong. He was pretty powerless where he was to actually do anything about it

This flat (and I wish that I knew which flat is was that I was discussing) is ideal for the kind of thing for a weekend retreat where you can come away from Paris on Friday and be here Friday night, and not have to go back until Sunday night and spend every weekend down by the sea.

A little later I was on my way to a football match and I arrived in Chester and was running late so I had to take a taxi. I went to the local rank but there were only little electric telephone box-type cars so I said to a guy standing near it “is that yours?”. Another guy immediately leapt out of a vehicle and asked “taxi?”. I replied “yes but just give me a minute to make a phone call. Is there a phone handy?”. I had a discount card that I needed to ring up to book. he showed me over to a phone but said “there’s still 12 minutes left on the meter. Where do you want to go? I said “Deva Road” so he replied “come on. We’ll get there before this runs out”. He ushered me into a red Rover V8 and drove me there. We had a bit of a laugh in the snow about how uneconomical his car was, everything. He said that it wasn’t that bad. As I got up the steps to the football ground, I did a bit of shopping and started to walk back. I didn’t go to the game at all if there had been one.

A group of travellers turned up in Palestine, amongst them a three year old boy that was donated by some parent in some emergency but when they got to Palestine they didn’t have a clue as to what they were going to do so they built some kind of meeting centre or something like that to show at least that they weren’t going to waste any time.

Somewhere as well there was a story of two 9-year-old girls who used to go around all these rock festivals and blues festivals filming the events. Their mother would form them into some kind or promotional video. I was there somewhere with a girl and I introduced her to people like John Hite and someone who wrote a lot of songs, Creedence Clearwater Revival (do I mean Bob Hite of Canned Heat?). I said “there you are, you have to meet John Hite and a few others and that’s something to tell your friends, isn’t it?”. She replied “most of my friends wouldn’t even know who people like that are”.

Later I woke up in a panic thinking that it was 16:00 and I had a flight back to Europe in an hour and I had so much to do. I grabbed all of my things and shot off to the airport and then spent quite a lot of time trying to find a place to sit down and sort myself out and pack everything. A couple of people came to join me and we were talking about the lack of seats in this place. The discussion drifted on to airports in North Carolina and the rudimentary facilities there, some experience that I could share with these two people as well.

As well as all of this, someone had asked me to do some tiling for him. I’m not very good at tiling but I went along to have a look. At my place I’d tiled on top of a piece of lino so I found a piece of lino and cut to size and cleaned up but instead of using soap I’d used fat and it made a right mess of everywhere so I had to take it out. There was fat all over the floor so I prepared to mop it up. Then he came in. He hadn’t really twigged on what was going on but he was inspecting it as much as he could and how I knew what was going to be done to the right size so that I’d cut off a piece of lino as a template. He went to look at it. I told him that it was wet so he said “we’d better open it out to dry” so he opened it out on his balcony. He asked me “your insurance liability is up to date, isn’t it?” Unfortunately I didn’t have any and I was beginning to regret having said that I would do this job for him the way that he was going on like this.

After the medication I came back in here to check my mail and then I went off to have a look at the view now that the tide is on its way out.

boats baie de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s the view that greeted me looking out across the Baie de Granville and the English Channel this morning.

After the really wonderful few days that we have had, summer is now apparently over and we are back in winter again.

It’s pretty pointless trying to look for car ferries and sailing ships in that lot just there. It was raining too, the first time for about a week, and that didn’t help matters at all. We could have had Godzilla and the Loch Ness Monster out there this morning and I wouldn’t have seen them.

rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe view down the coast was, if anything, even worse.

We can just about make out the white beach huts on the promenade at the Plat Gousset but our view doesn’t go very much beyond there right now. The Rue du Nord is swathed in raincloud too.

Hopefully the view will be better on the other side of the headland in the lee of the wind. The rain might not have reached there yet.

spirit of conrad aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while we might not have any rain, the view isn’t all that much better, which is a shame.

However Aztec Lady is back in town. She’s the blue boat over there that goes on a few exciting voyages every so often, although the current travel regulations have curtailed much of the more interesting sailings.

To her left, bow-end on to the camera is Spirit of Conrad, the boat on which we went down the Brittany coast last year. The last time that I’d heard of her, she was over at the Ile de Chausey but I met her skipper yesterday so I assumed that she had come home.

suzanga baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother boat that was on her way home this morning in all of the bad weather is the trawler Suzanga.

She’s the new boat in town, having only recently arrived from the shipbuilders in Turkey, and she’s already out there earning her keep.

That’s several new trawlers that have joined the local fleet since I’ve been living here. It shows that contrary to all expectations, the local ship owners are rather optimistic about the future of the fishing industry here, and that’s always quite a good sign.

Positive thinking seems to be in rather short supply these days among some people.

zodiac port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite the miserable weather, there’s plenty of activity in port this morning which is nice to see.

There were several zodiacs loitering aroind in the neighbourhood, almost as if there was a cruise ship like THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR anchored somewhere offshore.

But the girl who was driving this one came in, went up to the harbour wall, said something to a few people and then turned round and sailed back out again. So what was that all about then?

passengers boarding zodiac port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile I could see the heads of some other people down there and they looked as if they were sitting in a zodiac, but I couldn’t really see because the house roofs were in the way.

It took about 20 minutes for them to decide what they were going to do and I had to wait around all that time because there wasn’t anything else going on that I could see that would occupy my mind.

Eventually they threw a rope to someone on the quayside and they moved away, so that I could see what was going on.

people on board zodiac leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey set off in the tracks of the one that had left earlier.

And I know that my expedition friends would be having heart failure seeing a moving zodiac with people standing up in it as it travels, even if they are hanging on to something.

The way that they pitch and roll and sway in the sea means that they aren’t as stable as they might be with a high centre of gravity when people are standing up. Everyone should be sitting down and luggage goes at their feet to keep the centre of gravity lower still.

By now I was becoming rather wet (as if I wasn’t wet enough before I started) so I headed for home and a nice hot coffee, and then start work on yesterday’s journal entry.

dropping off passengers blocking rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt some point or other during the day I was interrupted by noise from out at the back.

The streets around the old town are closed today as it’s the book fair, and there was a breakdown lorry trying to gain access . The driver had gone off to seek assistance but in the meantime, another car had come past him and then inexplicably stopped, rather selfishly, to let out his passengers while he goes to park the car.

Never mind that the road is narrow enough so that no-one else behind him could go past. That’s clearly unimportant as long as he’s OK.

The selfishness of some people never ceases to amaze me.

Writing my notes was a long and arduous task today, and took much longer than I expected. I even had a rather quick lunch to try to make more time but as you probably realise, something like that seldom seems to work.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis afternoon I went out to have a look at the beach to see what was happening down there.

No afternoon walk seems to be complete without that these days.

The tide has come in quite quickly but there are still plenty of brave souls down there trying out the beach, sitting around and sunbathing.

There didn’t seem to be anyone actually in the water this afternoon but that’s not to say that there weren’t any.

kayaker baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were other people in the water though, but in a different fashion entirely.

Like this kayaker for instance. He must have paddled his canoe quite a long way to end up here, and now he’s going to have to turn round and paddle himself all the way back, and pretty quickly too if he wants to find a slipway or launching pad still in the water.

And is that a fishing rod that he has poking up behind him? It can’t be all that comfortable fishing in a kayak. And where would be put his catch?

great cormorant baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomething else that was out here like piffy on a rock was this strange creature.

It’s actually a Great Cormorant and he’s a long way from home. His breeding colony is probably the one across the bay on one of the small islands facing Cancale. Several of those islands – the uninhabited ones – are know to be breeding grounds.

They were much more widespread than that at one time but predators like foxes and rats have seen off several colonies. In fact there’s a plan for the Ile de Chausey for a mass eradication of non-indigenous predators.

hang glider cemetery Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd when you compare this photo of the one that I took down the coast earlier today, you’ll see a great difference.

Of course, the rain cloud has now passed on to better things and the weather is so much nicer. In addition to that, the Bird-Men of Alcatraz have awoken and they have come here with their Nazgul to have an afternoon’s adventuring.

One of them has just taken off from the field by the cemetery and at the moment he’s fighting to gain control of his Nazgul, after which he’ll be heading this way.

yacht ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere didn’t seem to be all that much going on farther out at sea this afternoon but I did scan the horizon.

At one point I picked up something large and dark out by the Ile de Chausey and although I couldn’t imagine it being anything else other than the sail of a yacht I took a photo to check when I returned home.

Sure enough, it is a yacht although it’s too far out to see if it’s anyone we know. Black Mamba isn’t in port right now but she’s apparently in Cherbourg right now so I doubt that it might be her.

belem english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere is someone else who we might have seen over the last few days out there in the English Channel.

Unfortunately the weather is nothing like as clear as it was yesterday morning for us to give a positive identification but thinking that it might again be the training ship Belem, I made a note of her position.

Sure enough, when I returned, I could check on the historical radar plot and Belem was indeed at that spot round about that time of the afternoon.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was nothing else going on out there of any importance (apart from the mad stampede that you saw earlier) so I pushed on around the headland.

As I crossed over the road, one of the errant Nazgul went swooping by over the top of the old bunker so I stopped to take a photograph of it.

And then I ended up in a mad stampede of my own down the hill chasing after my camera’s lens cap that I had unfortunately dropped.

Luckily I managed to avoid being run down by a car coming up the hill towards me. We both would have had a surprise.

f-gbai ROBIN DR 400-140B pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt this point I was overflown yet again, this time by a mechanical device and I wondered why it had taken them so long to find me.

This is one that we recognise, having seen her many times just recently. She’s the Granville Aero Club’s Robin DR 400-140B F-GBAI going out on an afternoon flight.

She was first picked up on radar at 16:01 (my photo is (adjusted) 16:14) and she did a few laps around the Ile de Chausey and then up and down the coast before disappearing off the radar again near the airfield at 17:50

chausiaise joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was no change in occupant at the chantier naval today so I turned my attention elsewhere.

The ferry that we saw coming over from the Ile de Chausey, I wasn’t sure who she was. But I can tell you who she wasn’t because the older one of the two Joly France boats is sitting there at the quayside already with a load of people on the path just above her as if they have just gone ashore.

And here on the other side is the little freighter Chausiaise. So it can’t be any one of those two. But we’ll find out in a couple of minutes.

belle france entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it didn’t even take that long before we were to find out.

Around the bend, alongside the sea wall and into the harbour came the brand-new Belle France, crammed to the gunwhales with people from the Ile de Chausey.

There were quite a few people on the sea wall by now admiring her as she appeared, and quite rightly too because not only is she a beautiful machine, she’s a sign of faith and optimism that there’s plenty of life left in the port.

And with the uncertain future surrounding the Channel Island ferries and the gravel boats, then this is good news.

man taking photograph car park boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that I have to do before I finish.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my pages are littered with inter alia photos of people taking photos. Today we had a large family group with a photographer who was taking pictures of them, with tripod and all.

This was far too good an opportunity to miss and I had to add a discreet shot of the event to my little collection.

Back here at the apartment I finally finished my notes from yesterday and then I joined up the tracks for the radio programme for tomorrow.

When that was done I attacked my pizza which was delicious. I haven’t made anything else though because I’m off on Tuesday to Leuven.

And now seeing as I’m exhausted, I’m off for an early night ready to start work tomorrow. Radio first of course, and I also have the injection man coming as well. I wonder if that will kickstart me into life for my trip to Leuven.

Tuesday 22nd June 2021 – THERE AREN’T MANY …

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… many photos today. And when you see the weather that we were having, it’s hardly any surprise.

When I went out for my afternoon walk today I was in sou’wester, oilskins and gumboots and had to battle my way along the coastal path in the teeth of a howling gale. Of course I stuck my head over the wall at the end of the car park as you might expect, but as you also might expect, there wasn’t a soul down there this afternoon. The place was totally deserted.

But anyway, back to this morning. I awoke with the alarm at 06:00 and was up and about quite promptly. First thing that I did after the medication was to add all of my secret ingredients to my fruit loaf and give it all a second kneading, shaping, and put in the bread mould.

Back in here I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I started off on board a ship again. We’d gone up to the quayside and the captain said “you’re in for a surprise with all these changes”. Anyway we went aboard and there was some kind of meeting so we went to participate in it. There was this yellow dick running around called Donald. Someone said “right, we’re going to talk about photography. I want you to imagine that you are sticking your head outside your tent in the morning” – something like that and he stuck his head outside the tent and said “we’re going to take a photo of it”. In the meantime this duck had come to me. There was a little 3 year old girl sitting next to me. She saw this and said “ahh, Donald”. I said “no I’m Eric actually”. She started talking to this duck and I has a feeling that there would be lots more of this to come.

Later on I was reporting to a ship at the harbour side and came on board. The captain said something like “things are changing now. You’ll find things the other way round” or whatever. Then he said “the task for today is to work out how you would get from x to y”. Of course this was quite easy because I used to do this thing with taxis and underground trains pushing me around. So I planned a route from the Strand to Underwood Lane without going anywhere near Gordon. he said “that’s maybe OK but what would God say if he came along and saw it” but I supposed that I’d been doing my good story here on the scene and … I fell asleep here

Incidentally, I was surprised by the similarity between the way the two dreams started, and I wonder where I would have ended up in the second dream had I not gone back to sleep.

By the way, when I say “fell asleep” – what I mean is that my speech descends into a slur and I stop talking. And you can tell by my breathing that I’m in a deep sleep. When I dictate these details I’m usually unaware of what I’m doing – it’s an automatic reaction to grab hold of the dictaphone even if to all intents and purposes I’m asleep.

Having done that I put the fruit bread in the oven to bake and, armed with a mug of coffee I attacked the Welsh revision and also took advantage of the possibility of booking myself onto a week’s course at the end of July. There’s so much going on in July now that I’ve actually started a calendar.

When the lesson began I armed myself with my hot chocolate and a slice of fruit bread which was now ready, and attended the lesson. It passed quickly enough, and I only fell asleep once. All in all, it was quite good today. And my fruit bread was perfection. Putting the fruit in at the second mix rather than the first seemed to do the trick.

After lunch and a little clearing up I came in here to do some work but unfortunately I hadn’t gone too far before I crashed out. And it was one of those occasions where I hadn’t realised that I’d been asleep until I awoke.

And that had actually taken me up to walkies time. A look outside this morning had made me fear the worst and nothing had changed at all as the day had progressed so it was the rainwater gear.

spirit of conrad baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’ve already seen the beach and the absence of people thereupon, but that wasn’t much of an indication of what the weather was doing. This photo sums it up quite nicely.

That’s the Spirit of Conrad, the boat on which we went up and down the Brittany coast last year, coming back from the Ile de Chausey. You can see that the wind is catching it beam-on and even with such a small amount of sail, it’s careening right over under the force of the wind.

It’s the kind of weather than makes me glad that I’m on dry (well, not exactly dry in this weather) land right now. I bet that it was really wild out there this afternoon.

unidentified yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I went round the corner at the end of the headland there was another boat battling hard against the headwinds.

It was quite a distance out at sea and so thinking that it might be Black Mamba I took a photo with the aim of cropping it out and blowing it up (the photo, not the boat) when I returned home so that I could have a closer look.

But it’s not Black Mamba unfortunately. It’s another unidentified yacht that’s sailing around in the bay and I’ve no idea where it has come from. There’s no chance of reading her name.

So I pushed on into the gale and headed off down the path to the viewpoint overlooking the port to see what was going on there.

fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallEven though there’s a howling gale out there people still have to eat, and I think that too many people take the fishermen for granted.

They’ve all been out there this morning and now the tide is well in, the larger boats are coming into harbour to unload their catch at the fish processing plant. There are quite a few of them at the quayside with several more in the queue waiting for a space to moor up and unload.

And that’s an indication of what happens when boats are left at the quayside – the room for unloading is smaller and the queue is longer.

With no change in occupant at the chantier navale I headed off for home and my hot coffee to warm me up.

The rest of the afternoon was spent tidying up stuff on the computer and I was so engrossed that I forgot my guitar session. I’ll have to do that tomorrow morning.

Tea was one of those breaded burgers that I bought in Noz ages ago, with baked potato and veg, followed by apple pie. And wasn’t it all delicious? I really enjoyed that. And now I’m off to bed. I’ve had a tiring day and I need my beauty sleep.

As much of it as I can get.

Tuesday 18th May 2021 – I REMEMBER HEARING …

… a story about a destroyer in World War II. It was ordered to join a convoy that was sailing into a battle zone where there were a couple of U-boat wolfpacks. The destroyer signalled “mechanical problems prevent joining convoy” and the convoy commodore signals back “this is not the time for destroyers to be breaking down”.

And this is not the time for me to be breaking down either. The day before I have a long tiring journey to Leuven and I have had a dreadful afternoon. Crashed out on the chair in the office for 2.5 hours, missing guitar practice, missing absolutely everything.

There was even the mug of coffee from after my afternoon walk, half-drunk and freezing cold, as I discovered when I awoke.

This is absolutely no good at all and if I can’t pull myself together soon I’m going to have a real struggle on my hands.

It wasn’t as if I had had a late night last night either. I was in bed by 23:00 And had a decent almost-uninterrupted sleep all the way through until the alarm went off at 06:00. And then, I leapt out of bed with alacrity. Well, almost, but you know what I mean.

After the medication I came along to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. And surprise! Surprise! Having complained the other day about the absence of congenial company on my nocturnal rambles, Miss Stoke-on-Trent put in a welcome appearance.

I’d been working at the house of a former friend of mine and it was time for me to go home. They very kindly made me breakfast which I had and then I got up. While I was organising my things his wife asked “Eric do you have any washing that needs doing?”. I thought “my clothes are a bit dirty” but I asked if it would be ok and she said yes so I went to the van to fetch some clean ones – there are always clean clothes in the van. Our young friend was there and where I’d been sitting was some kind of hair clasp or something. I looked around again and she was sitting there having breakfast. I said to her “have you seen your hair holder, your thing?”. She replied “yes thanks” I said “it’s there with your doll”. She said “yes” and carried on eating. There was something else on the settee so I went over to it and asked if anyone had put anything there about these pearls that they had in a necklace that was there but how nice it was” and Helen Whatshername from the Open University, Scots girl, joined it and really told me off for noticing them which I thought was a strange thing to do.

There was much more to it than this but it deteriorated rapidly after than and as you are probably eating your tea or something right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

Most of the rest of the first part of the morning was spent revising my Welsh and working through the notes for the forthcoming lesson, although I did take 20 minutes off to go for a shower and a good clean-up.

Armed with a mug of hot chocolate (made properly with real chocolate) and a slice of my sourdough fruit bread, I went for my lesson and it passed quite quickly and for a change I didn’t have too much trouble.

Well, I did, but not with the lesson. My laptop hung up in the middle and in the end I had to go and fetch the other laptop and fix it up. It would be nice if I could make the mike function on this big machine work, but that’s a job for again, I reckon, when I upgrade the hard drives.

We finished quite late, as usual and I had some work to do and a letter to write so it was something of a latte lunch today. and then I could go off into town.

boats in port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the street I could look out over the harbour and see what was going on down there this afternoon.

The tide is in so there were plenty of boats bobbing up and down in the harbour right now. And just outside the harbour the sailing school was in full swing with the little boats being led out to sea by the pilot boat. And I haven’t forgotten that I have to contact the sailing school one of these days to find out about when I can go sailing.

But not right now. I have things to do in town so I headed off down the street. I cast my eye on the pointing on the wall at the head of the Rampe du Monte à Regret and noticed that they hadn’t advanced any further than when I last noticed.

And the workmen and apprentices weren’t there either. They don’t seem to be all that keen on completing the job, which is a bit of a shame. I could have had this job finished all on my own right now.

bar ephemere place pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever there is plenty of action on the Place Pleville where all of the layabouts play boules instead of doing an honest day’s work.

Summer is definitely acumen in and lhude sing seagull because the bar ephemere, the temporary bar, has arrived. It’s an old shipping container that has been transformed into a temporary bar and by the looks of things it’s just been dropped off in its usual temporary summer home.

You can see the owners talking out the benches and tables from the inside of the container and setting them up ready to receive their clients.

The post office was my next port of call where I dropped off the letter that I needed to send and then wandered off to the bank for my appointment.

And I didn’t understand why they had called me in for a chat because there wasn’t anything that needed doing or needed signing. It seemed to me that the bank clerk just wanted a chat.

He got that, all right, and I managed to deal with a little issue here and there that needed doing, although they don’t seem all that interested in pushing on to the next level which is a bit of a surprise. That’s the problem with these little provincial banks and it’s one of the reasons why I keep my accounts open in Brussels.

Next stop was the public library where at long last I was able to find a map of the town in the early 1950s. Although the tacot, or “rattletrap”, the old narrow-gauge railway network had been ripped up by then, there was still evidence of the earthworks so I could at least trace its course, but only to the town boundary.

It seems that I shall have to cast my net wider if I’m to find out more about it.

articles on quayside awaiting transport port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving left the library I wandered off down to the port to see what was happening down there these days with all of the changes going on.

And there is some activity going on in the loading bay as supplies of wood and so on and a couple of tractors are now parked up. It looks as if Normandy Trader or Thora, the two little Jersey freighters, are expected in the port soon enough to take them away.

But there is still no news on what is happening with the shellfish of the Jersey Seafarers’ Co-operative. That looks as if it’s well and truly blocked from being landed here in the port.

When Normandy Trader came into port the other day – minus the shellfish – she was met with a couple of jeers and catcalls but that was about it. I imagine that had she come in with the shellfish, the reception would have been a darn sight warmer.

seats on granville jersey ferry covered up port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThese are the seats on board Granviile, the newer of the two boats that (in theory at least) provide the ferry service from here to Jersey. As you can see, they are all covered up to protect them from deterioration from the sun.

There was some kind of fitter on board doing something so I engaged him in conversation. Apart from a period of about a week last summer, they haven’t run out since March last year at the start of the pandemic. I asked the fitter if there were any plans to restart the ferry soon and he replied “maybe at the start of July. We’ll have to see”.

They know about as much as I do about the future of the ferry service from here. I hope that they set it up and are allowed to start running again. It’s good for the town of course to bring people here from abroad. They spend their money here and provide employment, and you can’t have too much of any of that.

spirit of conrad black mamba port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust a little further along the quayside Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which I went down the Brittany coast last summer, is moored. She has Black Mamba tied up behind her and an unidentified boat that I didn’t recognise tied up at her side.

Pierre, her owner, was there and we had a chat. He has 3 trips organised all the way down the coast as far as Ouessant and my ears pricked up at that. I made further enquiries but it turns out that the first trip is going on Friday when I am in Leuven, the second clashes with my Welsh exam, and the third one clashes with my next trip to Leuven.

Not much luck there for me, so I asked him to keep me in mind for his next series of trips. I’m keen to get away for a week or two and a trip on a yacht will do me a world of good, I reckon.

victor hugo black mamba aztec lady anakena port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that I was hoping to do was to speak to the owners of Anakena to find out more about the boat and what her plans are for the future.

She’s moored here of course, where she has been for well over a year (apart from her sojourn in the chantier navale recently) and with Aztec Lady to keep her company. She was on her way to the Far North when she was held up in here when everywhere closed their ports to visitors and I was hoping to find out when – and where – she’ll be going.

However, rather like the Marie Celeste, she was completely deserted. There was no-one about at all so that was rather a pointless visit. She’ll be in good company here with Victor Hugo and Granville, the two Channel Island ferries in the background keeping her company as well.

And so I crossed over the top of the closed harbour gates to the other side and climbed up the steps to the top road, the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

fishing boat l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd there’s yet another fishing boat left at the quayside at the Fish Processing Plant to settle in the silt as the tide goes out.

She’s L’Omerta, one of the larger fishing boats that collects the shellfish. And I’m interested in whatever story there might be in her name. L’Omerta isn’t just Silence in Italian, it’s the name of the Oath of Silence that members of the Mafia take when they are recruited into the Society.

And another thing that interests me, as regular readers of this rubbish might recall, is why the boats are left to go high and dry at the fish processing plant instead of being moored in the main harbour or moored somewhere else out of the way.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that I needed to do of course was to go and check on the beach near the Rue du Nord to see how things were going down there.

And so when I arrived back at my building I went down to the end of the car park to look over the wall.

It had been a warm day today, the first really warm day that we had had, so it was hardly a surprise to see people actually settling down to soak up the sun. A day like today has been a long time coming.

A couple of my neighbours were up there on the car park talking so I joined in and had an exchange of pleasantries while I was about it. I’m not the sociable type as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but I can’t ignore my neighbours too much.

fishing boat english channel baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was also a fishing boat out there too, trawling away in the Baie de Granville in the gap between the Pointe du Roc and the Ile de Chausey. They are a lot more active in the local area these days, given the situation further out in the bay.

Back here in the apartment I made myself a mug of coffee and brought it in here to do some work, but the next thing that I remember is that it was 19:20. and it was another one of these occasions when I didn’t even remember going to sleep.

Anyway, girding up my loins, I made myself pasta and veg with a burger, one of the pile that I need to finish off. There a couple of dozen or so of those in the fridge that I’m going to have to eat sometime, not to mention the pile that are in the freezer.

When I come back from Leuven I’m going to have to go through everything and see what I have and what I need to make to keep the supplies going.

But not right now. I’m going off to bed. I’ve had a hard day and a bad evening and I’m off to Leuven in the morning. I haven’t even printed my rail tickets yet and I have to do that pretty quickly

Monday 17th May 2021 – MY SOURDOUGH …

sourdough fermenting place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… seems to be enjoying itself right now.

Yesterday I forgot to mention that I’d fed the sourdough and the ginger beer mix. And sure enough this morning when I went into the kitchen I discovered that it had fermented so well that it had erupted and overflowed the bottle in which I keep it.

That’s what I call a good sourdough mix.

What else was good about the day was that I managed to leave my bed at the first alarm which, seeing that I didn’t go to bed until 00:30. And for a change I had a peaceful night

After the medication I armed myself with a mug of coffee and sat down to deal with a few radio shows. I needed three concerts in order to bring myself up-to-date and in a fit of marvellous concentration I managed to do all three.

The second one was an absolute swine to do and I really had to struggle with that. And then I needed over 4 minutes of speech in order to fill out the hours’ worth of programmes and that was a struggle to keep it interesting for that length of time.

The third one was much more straightforward and luckily it only needed 34 seconds of speech. That’s not really enough but there was no other way of doing it without cropping out some of what I consider to be crucial tracks. After all, it’s my programme and I get to choose the tracks that I like.

This all took me up to a very late lunch but that didn’t matter because I was determined to complete all three before I knocked off. And of course there had been the pause for hot chocolate (made properly with real chocolate of course) and sourdough fruit bread for breakfast.

After lunch I came in here to do some work but I do have to say at at some point I crashed out. And it was another one of those crashings-out where I didn’t realise that I had done so until I awoke. I’ve been having a few of those just lately and it’s disconcerting.

As a result I ended up going for a late walk this afternoon. And that wasn’t a bad thing because earlier it had been raining quite heavily, but now it had stopped.

“Gone back to fetch some more” I mused.

people on beach storm waves rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe were also having another session of very high winds as you can tell by looking at the whitecaps in this photo.

As usual I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to stick my head over to see what was happening on the beach. And being rather late today, the tide was leaving us with rather less beach than it would otherwise have done had I been out at my normal time.

But despite the miserable weather it was otherwise quite sunny and I suppose that if you could find a spot out of the wind in which to settle it would have been a very nice day. But I was too busy hanging onto my hat in the howling gale to notice.

Instead I headed off down the path along the top of the cliffs towards the end of the headland.

trawlers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith all of the issues just recently, the local fishing boats seem to be spending more time closer to home rather than farther out in the English Channel.

We have a couple of trawlers out there just off the headland and slightly to the north. One is clearly visible and there’s a second behind it obscured by the haze and mist and what looks like an approaching rain cloud. I hope that I’m back at home when it finally hits land.

There were a couple of trawlers out in the Baie de Mont St Michel as I discovered when I went round to the end of the headland but they were even more obscured in the weather than the ones here so I didn’t photograph them. Instead I pushed off along the path on the other side of the headland and along to the port.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale I noticed that the place hadn’t remained empty for long.

Today there’s one of the smaller fishing boats that’s come up onto the blocks here presumably to have some work undertaken while the fishing season for certain types of shellfish has paused. And if we’re lucky we might even see a few more of them up here being overhauled.

And in the background over at the ferry terminal, Chausiais is moored up, resting on her bottom as the tide is going out quite rapidly. There doesn’t seem to be anything going on out at the Ile de Chausey this afternoon that would require her attention.

And not mine either. I carried on home before the rain came upon me.

spirit of conrad charles marie black mamba anakena aztec lady la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s a change of occupancy amongts the larger yachts too.

Aztec Lady whom we last heard of at St Cast le Guildo has returned and she’s moored up alongside Anakena and to the right of Vlack Mamba and Charles-Marie. But the big yacht that has been there for ages next to Spirit of Conrad has now left port.

At least though now by the process of elimination I’m able to identify her. She’s called Capo di Fora, registered in Belgium the same as Spirit of Conrad and Anakena. And if you want to know where she is, she’s swapped station with Aztec Lady and is now in the bay just off St Cast le Guildo.

It’s a small world, isn’t it?

Back here, rather late, I had some fun working out the bass line to another one of the songs on this playlist and then I went for tea. Burger on a bap tonight with baked potatoes, followed by chocolate sponge with that soya coconut dessert stuff. I’m really feeding myself quite well.

So now I’m off to bed. Welsh lesson in the morning and the exam date is approaching. High time that I did some revision and got on with some work as well. I really do have to knuckle down.

Tuesday 11th May 2021 – LE STYX …

trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… didn’t stay long in the chantier navale then.

When we walked past there yesterday we saw her still suspended in the cradle of the portable boat lift despite the fact that the tide must have gone out a good while earlier, so I wondered if she was actually destined to be finding a berth up here, but apparently not.

When I walked past this afternoon, there she was, gone! And never called me mother! Her stay up there must have been remarkably rapid – just quick enough for them to repair whatever it was that might have been the issue, and then back to sea she went.

My stay in bed was rather rapid last night too. I ended up having yet another late night, late nights that I can well do without, but nevertheless I managed to haul myself out of bed at the first alarm.

After the medication I came back in here to start revising my Welsh but I had a great deal of difficulty keeping awake. Not even a coffee could revive me so in the end, I went and had a nice hot shower in the hope that it would liven me up. And afterwards, I came back in here and promptly crashed out.

So much for that idea.

The Welsh that we are learning is now coming thick and fast. We’ve made a start on the subjunctive and conditional tenses which should be exciting seeing as I am still finding it hard to come to terms with the present tense of “to be”.

My brain, such as it is, has gone to pieces … “you’ve only just noticed?” – ed … and my memory has disappeared completely.

We actually finished on time today, the first time for about forever, but I nipped off into the office to attend to one or two matters, one of which involved the Welsh Parliament, and I was so engrossed that I missed lunch. No-one was more surprised than me when I glanced at my watch and saw that it was 15:30.

Grabbing a handful of crackers, I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed for the door.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown to the end of the car park went I as usual these days, to look over the wall and down onto the beach to see what was happening there.

The tide is now quite far out so there was plenty of beach for people to be on, but there were very few people out there this afternoon. It’s fairly warm out here (although I have known it warmer at this time of the year) and nice, bright and sunny, but the wind is back and it was blowing quite strongly.

As far as I can tell, we only seem to have had a handful of days so far this year when there has been very little wind. I’ve never known a year like it from that point of view. I know that we are living in one of the windiest corners of Europe but even so, there are limits and what we have experienced so far this year has gone beyond them in my opinion.

trawler english channel baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou can tell just how windy it is by looking at the whitecaps on the waves out there in the English Channel.

This is one of the trawlers that is currently working the English Channel between the Pointe du Roc and the Ile de Chausey and it really was working it too because I watched it turn round at the end of its run and go back the way it had come.

There were several out there again today having a go at seeing what they could find. They seem to be putting a lot of effort into working that stretch of indisputably-French water over there and not heading for a confrontation with the Jersey authorities right now.

But like most people, I’m taking rather a vicarious pleasure in thinking about what they might do next.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s not just in the Baie de Granville where the fishing boats are working right now.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last few weeks we’ve seen them hard at work in the Baie de Mont St Michel too. There are two fishing boats that we can see quite clearly in this photo but if we peer into the gloom and haze in the background we can see several more out there over by the Brittany coast.

Having watched them for a few minutes I pushed off along the path on the other side of the headland to go and have a look at what was happening in the chantier navale and we have seen that it’s pretty quiet in there this afternoon, so I carried on home for my hot coffee

spirit of conrad charles marie aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back I paused for a moment to have a look to see if Aztec Lady was still in here at her berth.

Sure enough, she’s over there dead ahead doubled up to Anakena who also spend a considerable amount of time in the chantier navale just now. Immediately to their left draped in some kind of canvas is Charles Marie and to her left, sideways on is the other big yacht that was in there for a while.

To her left is Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which I went down the coast of Brittany last summer. I wonder where she will be going this year, if she will be going anywhere at all with all of this virus going around.

Back here I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. The Welsh Parliament was under attack last night from some kind of aerial creature. We formed some kind of group, me and a few other people too to form it and we defended our corner of the coastline and sank a few of these missile things and so on, and we had a party to celebrate what we were doing but someone pointed that there was another one on its way. It seemed that we hadn’t got to the root of the problem at all and killing something of course means that a few others will arise in its place. I was thinking that this was pretty strange, something like a South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive bus to be involved in a fight like this here in North Wales on the coast

Later on there was some kind of war game going on involving ships but I don’t remember too much of it. Later on I was talking to one of the guys, someone whom I knew in Stoke on Trent. he was telling me about a car he had for sale and I was trying to bu it from him but he wouldn’t tell me how much. It was a MkV Cortina. We had this back-and-to for about half an hour and he even brought his old man to have a play at this game “well he wants to buy my car but I don’t know if I want to sell it yet. What’s he asking for it? What’s he offering?” and so on. Then we came to the headlines “the car had run for the 1st time in 30 years” so I thought “it’s not going to be a road-going car but I’ll go and see it”. The car was kept in a fridge and I looked inside. It was a Vauxhall Carlton, the old type, B-registered 1984. I tried to fight my way in to the fridge to get to it but found that all the doors had been locked and the key had been left inside, and the parking light was on. It was an estate. I thought “how the hell am I going to get in here? I could scramble through and it won’t have been the first time that that I’d done that but for some reason I was feeling all claustrophobic and didn’t really fancy the idea of getting inside the fridge and crawling all over everything like that in order to get this car to start.

There were other things that I needed to do but regrettably, I crashed out yet again and ended up missing my guitar practice as a result and no-one was more dismayed than me.

falafel chips salad place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I went for tea. falafel, chips and salad. All of it was made with my own fair hands.

The falafel was some of the stuff that came from LIDL and I do have to say that it was the nicest that I’ve ever had in France. The chips were cut from potatoes and “fried” in the microwave fryer that my niece Rachel let me have when I was in Canada in 2019.

The microwave fryer isn’t as efficient as it was in her microwave. Mine is less powerful so it takes much longer to work. And in any case it’s too small so I have to take out the rotating plate and put an upturned ramekin dish over the top of the rotator and drop the fryer on that.

It’s not ideal, but at least it works on the odd occasion when I need it.

chocolate sponge chocolate sauce place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut as for the pudding, what can I say?

It was absolutely delicious, to such an extent that I was amazed. The chocolate sponge is the lightest that I have ever tasted and the chocolate sauce worked out really well. I shall be making much more of this, and on a regular basis too if only I could prevent the sponge from being so crumbly. I wish that I knew what the secret was.

So having done all that, and reasonably early too, I think that I’m going to go to bed. An early night will do me good after all of my efforts just now. Anyone would think that after the weekend I would have had more than enough sleep just recently, but it doesn’t seem like it.

Tuesday 4th May 2021 – HAPPY STAR WARS DAY!

May the fourth be with you!

It was certainly with me today because I have had one of my better days today. Noy only have I not crashed out today I’ve actually felt quite energetic today and it’s been a very long time since I’ve been able to say that, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Mind you, that’s not to say that it was a lively start to the morning. It was something of a desperate stagger to my feet when the first alarm went off and that’s hardly a surprise. A gale sprang up at about 02:00 and a tin can down in the street spent what seemed like a couple of hours being blown back and to.

But I very slowly improved as the morning went on. I spent a lot of time going through my Welsh and then I had the lesson.

At first the lesson was pretty depressing as I couldn’t seem to remember even the basics of the course and I’m not sure why. But it improved dramatically as the course went on and I surprised myself, and probably the tutor too, during a comprehension exercise. She told us that it was difficult but nevertheless I had the highest marks in the class.

It’s all this watching the football in Welsh that does it, I reckon.

As usual, we overran so it was a rather late lunch yet again and this afternoon I had quite a few things to do on the computer So much so that I haven’t looked at the photos or transcribed the dictaphone notes, of which there are more than just a few, for the last few days.

But I do know now why all of those people were streaming out of the Fish Processing Plant yesterday AND YOU CAN READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE.

As usual this afternoon I went out for my post-prandial perambulation around the peninsula.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst stop was the wall at the end of the car park where I could look down onto the beach to see what was happening this afternoon.

There was even less of the beach today than yesterday for anything to be going on. And even fewer people for it to be going on to. In fact I couldn’t see a soul down there this afternoon.

But that’s hardly surprising because the temperature has fallen dramatically from how it has been over the last couple of days. And while the wind has dropped from how it was through the night, it was still quite blustery out there and I imagine tha everyone has been blown back into their little shelter today.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was over there at the end of the car park I had a look out to sea to see what I could see. There was definitely something of some description sailing about so I kept an eye on it as I walked down the path towards the end of the headland.

Standing on the little butte at the back of the lighthouse I took a photo of it with the intention of blowing it up – the photo, not the object – when I returned to the apartment later on after my walk. And having done that, I can see that it’s one of the larger trawler-type of fishing boats.

From this range I couldn’t see which one it was unfortunately. There were a couple of others out there in the bay too but they were likewise too far away to identify today.

waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I walked across the car park I had seen the waves breaking on the harbour wall with quite some force and so I went for a closer look.

Even here in the shade of the wind there were very very few people walking around and a couple of people whom I’d seen over the last few days sitting on camping chairs on the lawn above the viewpoint overlooking the harbour had taken shelter behind a handy hedge.

While I was here at the viewpoint I had a quick look down at the chantier navale and there was no change in there. Still just the fishing boat and long-term resident Aztec Lady and no-one else. And so I turned my attention to the waves and the harbour wall.

waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey aren’t exactly crashing down with the same kind of force as they did earlier in the year when we saw the spray streaming over the top of the wall, but the tide is still fairly far out as yet.

But there really was a rolling sea with the waves being nice and thick, and that’s hardly a surprise. Although we had for several hours quite a storm during the night it was nothing to what they had had elsewhere .

It must have been quite a powerful storm out at sea to churn up waves like this. Remember that there is no land mass between this point and the North American continent so there is plenty of room for the wind to whip up a powerful sea.

car going the wrong way up rue st pierre Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow here’s something extremely interesting that s worth noting.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in the Rue St Pierre is the street that leads up to the entrance of the College Malraux, the local High School. We are usually troubled by pathetic parking in this street and it’s so endemic that I’ve given up mentioning it.

But today at school chucking-out time we have something completely different. The Rue St Pierre is a one-way street and while this car is only going one way, it’s going the wrong way as you can tell from the no-entry sign on the extreme right of the image and I don’t know what to say about that.

spirit of conrad black mamba anakena port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s something else that I’m not syre what I can say about it.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that just recently we saw Anakena in the chantier navale for quite some considerable time until last Thursday morning when she was released back into the water and moor up in the inner harbour.

And there she has stayed. After all of that work I was expecting her to have put to sea and continued on the journey that she aborted as a result of the Covid pandemic but apparently not. She’s still in here with Black Mamba to her right and Spirit of Conrad sideways-on against the pontoon.

On my way home I walk down another one-way street outside the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs and would you believe that there was another car going down that street in the wrong direction too. I really don’t know what’s happening to disciline on the roads around here.

Later on I had my hour on the guitars which I quite enjoyed and then nipped off for a quick evening meal. A curry out of the freezer followed by some jam roly-poly. And then we had the football tonight. Barry Town v Connah’s Quay Nomads.

And this evening I was watching a completely different match to the one the referee was watching. He waved away two penalty appeals that I would have given without a moment’s hesitation and later in the game gave a penalty when I thought that the defender had clearly won the ball fairly.

Connah’s Quay would have been 2-0 up at half-time had I been refereeing but instead after about 65 minutes Barry Town took the lead through an extremely soft goal. 10 minutes later we had this mystifying penalty award that drew the Nomads level and then from the kick-off Connah’s Quay intercepted the ball, went upfield and scored a second.

And that was how it ended – 2-1 to the Nomads and they stay top of the table. It wasn’t an exciting match or a skilful exhibition of technique and the Nomads will have to do something rather different and better than this if they hope to progress in Europe.

Anyway now I’m off to bed, much later than I intended. And tomorrow I have work to do, and plenty of it too. Part of this was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night last night. I had been getting married last night and all these thousands and thousands of people turned up. All my family, and people whom I didn’t even know, nieces, nephews, cousins, all of this. They turned up in their droves. I thought “they haven’t spoke to me in 25 years and here they all are, swarming up for a free meal” that sort of thing. A friend of mine was there, giving a speech about my taxi business, how successful it had been and how I was right doing what I did with old bangers rather than buying all these new Mercs and BMWs that everyone was turning up in today when they could be bothered to turn up. He was coming out with all of this speech which was quite embarrassing me because my taxi company was never like that, organised and disciplined, all that sort of thing, the cars well-maintained and so on. it was all embarrassing.
Then it turned into a football match. We were attacking up the hill and my defence was at the bottom of the slope. 3 or 4 of my cousins or nephews or nieces were hanging around my goal, young girls so I expected all kinds of stuff to be happening. It was total and utter chaos. It ended up in a siege. We were in the Navy now but like pirates and everything. We were laying siege to all these quarters belonging to these people. One of them was John Pertwee. He’d barricaded himself in a room and we were trying everything to get him out but not even our explosive would go off. he was quite happily coming and going but we couldn’t actually get into the building to chase him. I was thinking all these plans about actually getting some real dynamite and blowing the front off his building so we could all get in. All total chaos.

Later on I was back on this island again and I’ve forgotten now. it was to do with playing football and we were playing really well but losing, which was the story of our season so far. Played well but not had very much luck. I was waiting for the price of fruit and vegetables to drop to step out my team with it in the hope that it would do better. I was watching these football manoeuvres break down. They started to substitute a couple of these girls. I thought “that’s going to make things easier for us” but the subs were even better than the ones who came off. This was an easy match and we should have won it at a mile but we were struggling to make any headway.

There was more to it than this but I shall spare you the gory details as you are probably eating your meal right now.

Thursday 8th April 2021 – TODAY, I’VE HAD …

trawler yacht english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… another one of those nautical days that we have every so often.

There has been so much traffic on the waters today that I’ve really been spoilt for choice when it came to taking photos because I could have taken 100 and still not done justice to everything that was going on out there at sea this afternoon.

When I went out there this afternoon for my little walk around the headland I was overwhelmed by the amount of nautical traffic that was bobbing up and down on the high seas, from the smallest plank-boarders to some of the larger trawlers and freighters that hang around the port.

marite unloading normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it wasn’t just out at sea that we were having all of this excitement.

It was pretty busy in the harbour this morning too. One of or favourite boats, the little Jersey Freighter Normandy Trader has come into port on the overnight tide. She’s now tied up underneath the crane at the loading bay while the personnel of the Chamber of Commerce make ready to unload her.

You can see all of the material on the quayside already. I reckon that this is the load that she has to take back with her to St Helier. And you can see how busy she is with all of that load. No wonder her owners are talking about buying a larger boat

vna pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it’s not just at sea and in the port that we are extremely busy. Thee was quite a lot going on in the air today too.

The bright sunny weather has certainly brought out the aeroplanes this afternoon, like this one that overflew me as I walked my weary way around the headland. I’ve no idea what it is because I couldn’t see the registration properly. I can see the last three letters – VNA – of its registration.

Although I checked, there was nothing of that registration that had taken off from or landed at Granville Airport this afternoon. It’s probably frustrating me deliberately by not filing a flight plan so people like me can’t identify it.

fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you admire the picture of the busy port this afternoon with the crowds of boats queueing up and the portable boat lift now tackling Lys Noir, I’ll tell you about my busy morning.

It was rather a late night, although not as late as it has been once or twice, so I was able to leap out of bed with alacrity when the alarm went off.

After the medication I attacked the dictaphone notes for the last couple of days seeing as I missed out on doing it yesterday. And if you now look at yesterday’s entry, you’ll see that that is now up-to-date with the entries for yesterday now incorporated. Now that those were out of the way I could turn my attention to last night’s travel.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSome people came round to my house, including an old friend of mine so I invited a girl to come along as well. I made all of the arrangements but just at the last moment when I was getting ready to receive my visitors I had a ‘phone call to say that this girl was having to go into work so she wouldn’t be able to come. I had a little morning’s entertainment with these people and just strode out and the followed me. They went their separate ways. I just happened to be walking past their house when a car pulled up and these 3 girls got out. 1 of them said “so-and-so will run you home” referring to her youngest sister. “She knows the trick about the car”. They parked up but then they saw me walking past and asked “Eric, are you coming in?”. I walked up the path towards the door to join them.

having dome that I turned my attention to the photos from August 2019 on my North American Adventure and managed a few of those before it was time for me to go off for my shower.

And having done that, I wandered off out on my way to the shops for my mid-week shopping trip.

pointing rampe de monte à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route took me past the top of the Rampe du Monte à Regret where they are using the poor state of the medieval wall as a training ground for young apprentices.

And sure enough, there were about half a dozen there, a few of whom were females, something that is always nice to see. All of them with their trowels and mortar boards doing a nice rightward lead along all of the cracks. It brought back many happy memories of when I was POINTING THE WALLS AT MY HOUSE all those years ago.

having watched them for a while I pushed on … “pushed off” – ed … down the steps and on into the town.

roundabout place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it looks as if they are getting ready for the summer season, such as it might be this year, in the town.

The other day when we were around the town we saw the candyfloss and sweet stand that had arrived in the town and was now parked up hear the harbour. Today I noticed that the kiddies’ roundabout has arrived and has now been set up in the Place Charles de Gaulle ready to entertain them for the next few months.

My next port of call was LIDL for the midweek session of my weekly shopping. I didn’t want all that much from there so I ended up with quite a light load. So not to waste the trip I stocked up with some soya milk and some tomato sauce because I can always use that sort of thing and I never seem to have enough.

roadworks road closed rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back home I had to go along the Rue Paul Poirier, and that wasn’t as easy as it might have been.

There were roadworks in the street today and it was closed to all traffic. Not for pedestrians though so I could make my way along there and while I was it it, I could see what they were trying to do.

They had half of the road dug up near the junction with the Rue Etoupefour but as for why, I didn’t have any idea. They were digging a small trench and one of the guys was relaying the cobbles where there is the 5-minute waiting spot, cutting a few of them with his stone cutter to make them fit into their spaces. I suppose we’ll have to wait for a few days after they have cleared off in order to see what they have been doing.

roadworks rue etoupefour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the other end of the street, having pushed my way through the roadworks, I crossed over the road and started to go up the Rue des Juifs where I glanced down at the junction of the Place des Corsaires and the Rue Etoupefour.

There was a man down there with some of the cobbles pulled up, chipping away at them. I’m sure that it can’t be a coincidence with people working like this at both ends of the street . They must be doing some kind of work in common so I suppose we’ll find our about that in due course too.

Anyway I carried on up the Rue des Juifs with my light load hardly impeding me at all. I wasn’t going to say that I ran up the street but it was a good climb up there with hardly a pause for breath.

unloading normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was an occasion to call for a pause halfway up the hill because there was something of interest going on at the docks.

One thing that I’ve noticed is that each of the Jersey freighters, Thora and Normandy Trader has started to carry a couple of small sealed containers, presumably with private freight, and this morning they were unloading one of them from the deck of Normandy Trader and putting it on the quayside ready to be taken away.

That was all of the excitement for the morning. I wandered off home for my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread and to continue with my photo editing.

Unfortunately I didn’t manage to do too many because I crashed out on my chair. And crashed out completely too. I must have been out for about an hour and a half altogether. As a result I had a very late lunch.

After lunch, seeing as it was a nice sunny day with very little wind I went and attacked Caliburn’s door.

Trying to take off the door card was a contortionist’s delight and it took me an absolute age to free it off just so far that I could put my hand inside the door skin. And as for where the spring clip that holds on the window winder went, I have absolutely no idea.

Being able to put my hand inside the door skin was one thing. To actually open the door was something else and my hands ended up black and blue with cuts and bruises but with a great amount of force and inconvenience I finally managed spring the catch and open the door.

With the door open I could re-attach the bits that had fallen off and do the necessary adjustments and now the door will open from the outside as well as the inside. But I’m not putting the door card back on until I’m sure that it works.

seagull place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out there working, I was not alone.

Yesterday we saw the seagull on the windowsill of one of the apartments on the other side of the building. And this time the bird is waiting at the correct window – the one where there is the plastic bird model on the inside. And you only have to look at the state of the window to see how often it is that the bird calls there.

But anyway, I went off inside to put away my tools and then came back outside to go for my afternoon walk in the sunshine.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe first thing to do was to go to the wall at the end of the car park to look over the wall to see what was going on down on the beach today.

The tide is quite well in this afternoon so thee wasn’t all that much beach to be on today but even so, there was still enough room for a few people to wander about. These two people were having a pile of fun leaping about from rock to rock down there and they will probably keep on doing it until the tide comes in and cuts off their only means of retreat.

There was no retreat for me today. I was continuing my walk along the path on top of the cliffs. And despite the really nice weather there was hardly anyone else about so I had the place pretty much to myself

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier I mentioned that there was quite a lot going on in the air and I mentioned the light aeroplane that flew by overhead.

We also had another regular visitor going past me overhead this afternoon someone whom we haven’t seen for quite some time. It’s the old yellow autogyro that we’ve seen in the past on several occasions. We saw a different one, a reddy-orange one, fly past us the other day and it made me wonder when we would be seeing this one again.

She was flying quite high over my head too, much higher than normal and he had a passenger too so they presumably are on one of these sightseeing trips that she does every now and again

The French have a saying jamais deux sans trois – “never two without a third”, and that applied to the aircraft that I saw today.

EC-MVE Airbus A320-232 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn fact they may well have said “thirty-third” because there were so many in the sky this afternoon. Today’s choice of aircraft is an Airbus A320-232 that’s operated by Vueling Airlines, a Spanish low-cost airline and is operating their flight VY7826 /VLG7826 which is the 15:00 from Barcelona heading to Gatwick Airport.

Her registration number is EC-MVE and airframe number 8130 which means that she was built about three or so years ago and supplied new to the airline which means that she was supplied new to the airline in February 2018.

She wet past me over head at about 25,000 feet and 388 knots and had already started her descent down to the Gatwick flight path as I was watching her

chausiais yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have spent a great deal of time discussing Chausiais, the little freighter or barge that runs the freight between the Ile de Chausey and the mainland.

She’s usually been tied up at the ferry port or in the inner harbour but today I’ve actually been lucky enough to catch her on her travels, coming back from the ile de Chausey.

She’s down there now manoeuvring her way between a couple of yachts as she returns to the port after her little run out. I suppose that with all of the tourists and second-home owners being here fleeing the lockdown in Paris, she has plenty of work to do, ferrying the supplies out there to the island.

fishing boats waiting for port de Granville harbour to open Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the end of the headland I followed the rail of yachts Chausiais and all of the fishing boats towards the harbour.

The harbour gates into the inner harbour aren’t open as yet but the time can’t be that far off because the queue of trawlers around them waiting to go in was quite oppressive. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many loitering around the harbour gates. Chausiais had quite a struggle to fight her way into her berth.

Earlier on we saw the portable boat lift wrapping her slings around lys noir but I didn’t hang around long enough to see what they were going to be doing with her. Instead, I carried on along the path.

spirit of conrad charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was walking around on the path above the harbour I’d noticed a sail being erected in the inner harbour. And earlier while I’d been fixing Caliburn’s door, I’d seen my neighbour Pierre who owns Spirit of Conrad in his working clothes leap into his car and drive off.

Putting 2 and 2 together, I assumed that it must be Spirit of Conrad that was having her sail hoisted, and it seems that I was quite right. It looks as if she’s being prepared for the sea again so I wonder where she might be going this time. We had fun on her when we were down the Brittany coast last summer.

Back at the apartment I had a coffee and then finished off the day’s photos from August 2019. I’m now on the Bozeman Trail at the site of the worst humiliation of the US Army at the hands of the native Americans prior to the battle of Little Big Horn where Colonel Fetterman and his entire troop of 79 soldiers and four civilian scouts were cut down by Red Cloud and his Sioux warriors.

Before guitar practice there was time for a little bit of the Central Europe trip and then I absorbed myself in music. And I didn’t really enjoy it al that much tonight. My heart wasn’t in it for some reason and I couldn’t really get going.

Tea was taco rolls and rice and veg, followed by some of my jam roly-poly and coconut dessert.

Tomorrow is going to be a Welsh revision day, I reckon, ready for the restart of my courses. I’m becoming far too rusty. I could do with an early night but I’m not going to get it today, that’s for sure. It’s late so I’m going straight to be. And I’m hoping to have pleasant dreams despite my new evening medicine which somehow has the effect of tranquilising me.

Monday 29th March 2021 – THE FIRST DAY …

… back at work after my trips to Leuven is always difficult. And today was no exception.

people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you admire a few of the photos of my trip around the headland this afternoon, I’ll tell you all about it.

At least this morning I managed to rise almost immediately after the first alarm went off. First task was to set the oven off and while it was heating up, I had the medication. After the medication I put the sourdough fruit loaf dough into the oven and set the timer for 80 minutes.

Back in the office I made a start on the radio programme. And that kept me busy for most of the morning. Much more busy than it ought to have done because I was expecting this to be a quick one, seeing as I’d already chosen the tracks and paired them.

home made sourdough fruit loaf place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt first I was doing well and when I stopped for my breakfast of hot chocolate and nice warm sourdough fruit bread (which was absolutely delicious by the way) I was well ahead of where I usually am.

It all fell apart at the end because I miscalculated the final track. I ended up being a minute over which was a shame because the final track was absolutely perfect for what I wanted and fitted the programme perfectly.

But in the text that I write and record, there is quite a lot that is able to be edited out without spoiling the rhythm or the meaning, but a whole minute-worth is taking things to extremes. It took me quite a while to trim it down into the one-hour slot and I was really struggling but in the end it managed to fit.

The advantage of this is that I have a pile of stuff that I’ve cut out that I can save to use again and as a result, in theory it should take much less time to write out the stuff in the future.

boat english channel ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen it was finally finished I had a listen to the programme and also the one that will be broadcast this coming weekend. And they both are pretty good, so I sent off this week’s programme.

The rest of the morning was spent dealing with the photos from July 2019. That’s another pile out of the way and I’m now down to a mere 8 remaining for the month.

Where I am now is at the site where Chief Big Foot (Spotted Elk) was captured by the American Cavalry on 28th December 1890. And the rest of the story is History. I visited the site of the Massacre at Wounded Knee that took place the day after Big Foot was captured and believe me, it’s a very sad place.

peche à pied grand maree baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter lunch I made a start on the arrears from my trip around Central Europe in the summer of 2020.

That’s a job that seems to be rather like the cleaning of the Augean stables was supposed to be – a never-ending task, especially as there are no rivers Alpheus and Peneus close by to help me.

By the time that it came to knocking off I was in the town of Becov nad Teplou in the Czech Republic admiring an old Czech Tatra Lorry and I still have a long way to go to Karlovy Vary.

I’m hoping that with a bit of luck I might actually finish it this week if I put my foot down, and then I can press on and start to deal with the week when I was on board the Spirit of Conrad down the Brittany Coast. I might have had more luck had I not crashed out for half an hour on my chair.

There was the usual break of course to go out for my afternoon walk.

ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe weather was absolutely beautiful as you can tell by the photos that you have seen so far.

As well as that the tide was quite far out and this is when the view of the Ile de Chausey is at its most beautiful. You can see the big beach out there that we walked on when we were there with Spirit of Conrad. At very low tide there is a kind of lagoon in between the islands over there and that was where we anchored to sleep for the night.

There are a great deal of sunken rocks around the islands with the pillars and warning lights upon them and today, with the tide being so low, they are all clearly visible today

Crowds of people out there this afternoon so I had to fight my way through the crowds down the path on top of the cliffs.

le loup bay de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route took me down to the lawn by the lighthouse and the Semaphore post. From there, there was a beautiful view of Le Loup, the light that sits on top of the rock at the harbour entrance

The two trees here made such a beautiful frame to the image that it was crying out for a photograph. When you see it like this, it’s hard to believe that when the tide is right in at the highest tide the column un which the light sits is almost submerged by the water. As I’ve said before … “and you’ll say again” – ed … we have the highest tides in Europe just here.

And looking at the tree on the right just here, you can understand Bob Dylan’s “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”, do you?

object floating in the sea pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the lawn by the lighthouse I walked across the car park and went down to the end of the headland. And there I saw a strange object bobbing up and down in the water.

It was very difficult to say what it was from this point of view. I took a photo of it so that I could crop it and enlarge it when I returned home, but having done so, I’m still none the wiser. It could be a marker for a lobster pot, although I wouldn’t have expected one to be this close to land, or it might ne a 25-litre oil drum washed overboard from a passing boat, or almost anything.

Having taken my photograph I walked off along the path on top of the cliffs on the other side of the headland.

mechanical digger peche à pied grand maree baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis was something that took me completely by surprise.

With it being the lowest tide of the year today – the famous Grande Marée – and also a holiday and lockdown period that has brought the crowds of people down from Paris there were crowds of people out there today practising the peche à pied and scratching around amongst the rocks for shellfish.

But the surprising thing was the mechanical digger thing that was out there with them. Once they start using mechanical equipment for the peche à pied that will be the end of a tradition.

Actually, it’s me being facetious. I’m sure that he’s doing something totally unconnected with the peche à pied

mechanical digger laying pipes baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt may well be that he’s doing something that’s connected to this little task out there.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of weeks ago we saw a pile of pipes on the quayside and I was wondering what they are for. No need to wonder any more because they are all out there, being laid by a group of men, taking advantage of the very low tide.

It beats me what they are doing with all of those though. I’ve no idea what they would be doing that would require a pipeline to be lad on the beach out there. It’s not likely to be a sewer outfall or anything like that because of Health and Safety or Environmental Issues. I shall have to enquire.

spirit of conrad hermes 1 lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the chantier navale there’s yet another change of occupier there.

That motor boat Freddy Land has now disappeared, presumably gone back in the water. We still have Spirit of Conrad, Aztec Lady, Hermes 1 and Lys Noi down there on the blocks. And it was certainly a hive of activity down there this afternoon with a few vans and a load of workmen buzzing around working away

Nothing at all going on over at the ferry port right now. All of the boats have moved, either into the inner harbour or else they are out running over to the Ile de Chausey.

digger laying mooring wires port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here’s something else that’s interesting going on in the harbour this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen these diggers working away in the port a few weeks ago and I wondered what they were up to.

Now I know the answer to this question. There is €6,000,000 made available to a few of the ports around here to improve their facilities. Here in Granville, they have received some of the money to install three more mooring lines to make more anchoring facilities for smaller boats.

It’s just a shame that they hadn’t had the money to do this when they were working on the facilities two or so years ago.

Back here I had a coffee and worked on my arrears from Central Europe up until guitar time, something that was quite enjoyable.

And for tea it was a curry out of the freezer with veg and boiled potatoes. Followed by my delicious apple crumble.

Eventually I managed to listen to the dictaphone too to see where I’d been on my travels. I was driving one of G&B’s old Fords last night, taking the kids to college. One was sitting behind me chatting away saying that Brian didn’t like me and that I talked too much, loads of things like that. I said that I used to work for Europe’s largest coach company until it went bankrupt and I’d driven coaches as far east as Russia, places like that. I have loads of experience and I’m happy to share it with Brian but he doesn’t seem to want to learn or listen. The conversation continued. We weren’t going fast and 2 students alighted to walk in front of the coach. We came to a place where a tree was overhanging so I had to move out into the middle of the road so I had to ask these students to come back in. One of them was John Ashby so he came over to chat. He asked if I was still living on my farm. I told him of my health issues and that I was living in this apartment. He asked “do you have an owl?”. I replied “no”. He said “well you ought to have an owl. I’ll have a friend of mine make one”. We started to have a little chat but we didn’t get far as we came to the yard. The first thing that I noticed was that the drive had been moved. I was half-way up the old drive before I realised. I had to do a dramtic turn-round to get into the new drive. There was a kind of bracket-type of thing with 6 rather large upturned bolts welded to it lying on the path there . I said to the sentry who was busy looking at it “don’t worry. I’ll move it”. I got down, picked it up and threw it out of the way and drove the coach into the yard before he got off. By now it had become a motor bike. I noticed that the front tyre was low so John and I had a scavenge around the workshop to try to find a compressor that I knew was there. We found half of it – someone had dismantled it and left it in pieces. Some of the pieces were missing. We also talked about the cutlery and plates. One of the students had already asked me why things were a bit different on board the coach. I said that I hadn’t really noticed. John told me that all the crockery and cutlery had been changed and he asked me why. I said that I didn’t know. “All I know is that I have a key to the yard, a key to the office and a key to the coach. Brian just rings me up and asks me when he needs any work doing”.

But John Ashby – there’s a blast from the past. Someone who was struck off my friends list at school in 1971 when he stole my girlfriend at the time and about whom I haven’t thought for a single minute ever since. What’s he doing making a debut appearance and sticking his nose into my nocturnal ramblings?

Now though I’m off to bed, later than usual. I’m exhausted despite my sleep this afternoon. I can’t wait to get into bed.

Sunday 28th March 2021 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… the photos of the crowds of people out and about in thr glorious sunshine this afternoon, I can tell you about my rather quiet day today.

It started off as we mean to go on with me not rising from my stinking pit until 11:05 according to my fitbit, only to find out that it was in fact 12:05 because the clocks had altered this morning.

After breakfast I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night, because despite the fact that I’d taken that pill before I went to bed, I’d been out and about during the night and there were some notes about it on the dictaphone that needed to be transcribed.

yacht english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallI’d been to buy a motor bike at Webster’s at Crewe. They told me to come back on Friday and they would have a Honda 50 for me. I went back on Friday evening and as I walked into the shop the guy was selling it to someone else. I was really annoyed by that and I made my annoyance known. He said “don’t you worry. We have something ideal for you”. He took me into the back and there was this ancient Suzuki 250 painted red. I thought “this is a scrambler type of configuration, not very comfortable and I didn’t fancy that. There was another 50cc scooter but it was the type that was renowned for being uncomfortable and I didn’t want that either”. He said “we have a Ford Transit like your old one. It needs some work doing to it, the wheel bearings and a few things”. I took it home and noticed that a few of the exhaust parts were in the back of it. I did the rear wheel bearings and went to assemble the exhaust but found that it was bits of a VW exhaust and didn’t fit at all. That’s why half of it was in the back. I was pretty annoyed and ended up taking it back to the garage. I was going to tell them what I thought of them. There was much more to this dream than this but I can’t remember.

speedboat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on a plane took off from somewhere and the radio was stuttering. It didn’t gain height and all of a sudden it crashed right in front of the sentry box where I was on duty. I summoned help and ran over to this ‘plane to see what had happened. I don’t remember any more of this except that I ended up in a load of trouble. For some reason my superior officer was very unhappy with me and bawled me out for something but I can’t remember what it was. I did notice that in the report that I’d submitted, the second sentence started with 2 capital letters instead of the usual 1. But I can’t remember very much of this at all.

First task today, despite it being Sunday and a Day of Rest, was to synchronise the big computer with the one that I took with me to Leuven. I’d done some work on various files while I was away so they needed to be copied back and to over-write the ones on the big computer.

Of course, if I were to have my files stored on a cloud, there wouldn’t be any need to do that. But I don’t want my files stored anywhere where I couldn’t access them regularly or, more importantly, where other people can access them.

Having done that I made a start on the baking activity.

First task was to make one of my sourdough bread things. I’m not very good with the sourdough as regular readers of this rubbish will recall and it doesn’t rise as much as it should. But adding to it a banana, some ground brazil nuts and a pile of dried and desiccated fruit, it makes a kind of soggy moist fruit cake, a slice of which makes a really delicious and nutritious breakfast with my hot chocolate.

Having set that off I turned my attention to the normal bread. A pile of wholemeal flour, water, salt, yeast, sugar and water and as well as that, several handfuls of sunflower seeds. The yeast and sugar added to the warm water and left to fester, and once it has begun to ferment I could add it to the flour and salt, and mix it all in.

While I was doing that I was talking to Liz on the internet and feeding the sourdough and the ginger while I was at it.

When it was all sitting there festering I went out side for my afternoon walk.

people playing boules place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were crowds and crowds of people wandering around outside this afternoon, including these people here who are playing petanque.

And this is what annoys me intensely because as you can see, not one of these people is wearing a face mask. Never having seen these people before, it’s my betting that they are tourists and if they have come from a Covid-infested area they could be spreading the virus around amongst everyone around here, despite everything that we are trying to do around here to keep the area virus-free.

It beats me, what these people do not understand about the virus and how it spreads after all of this time that we have been suffering. It’s people like this that are responsible to the raging epidemic that is going on at the moment and they should be brought to account.

people taking footpath under city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallCrowds of people surging around everywhere this afternoon, as you can see over there in this photo.

That is the footpath underneath the walls, along which I used to run in the evenings when we were allowed out at night. But I wouldn’t show myself up by running along there in broad daylight with all of those people around. I have my pride.

But returning to our moutons as they say around here, you can see where the medieval walls are fenced off from the public because of their crumbling state. I have seen in the Council’s budget a reference to the repair of part of the walls and I hope that this part is to be included. It’s been fenced off since before I came to Granville.

hole in headland pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s something that’s extremely exciting and which had happened while I was away in Leuven.

As usual, my route took me along the footpath on top of the headland and down to the lawn near the lighthouse and semaphore post, and on the lawn I stumbled across this.

It seems that a mysterious hole has appeared in the lawn. It’s about 20 cms in diameter and goes down to quite a depth. It seems unlikely to be any kind of natural formation so it’s possible that we are going to be seeing some kind of human activity around here in early course.

That’s something for me to keep at the back of my mind for the future.

f-giki robin dr 400 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was observing the hole in the ground, I was overflown by another light aeroplane. It was even quite busy in the air today.

This aeroplane is a Robin DR-400, serial number 1931, registration number F-GIKI and it’s owned by the Granville Aero Club. It’s one of their machines that is used for teaching flying and also teaching navigation, and hasn’t that given me an idea?

As for where it’s going, I can’t say because it hasn’t filed a flight plan and by the time that I returned to my apartment it must have landed because it wasn’t shown on the flight radar.

From there I walked across the car park and down to the headland where I saw the yacht with the wind turbine at the stern whose photo you saw earlier. And then I wandered off along the path on top of the headland overlooking the port.

spirit of conrad hermes 1 lys noir freddy land aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt goes without saying that I was interested in what was going on down in the chantier navale.

From the viewpoint there I could see down into the yard and I noticed that there was no change in occupancy there. We have Spirit of Conrad, Hermes I, Lys Noir, Freddy Land and Aztec Lady but that’s about it. No-one left and no-one else came while I was away in Leuven.

There’s no-one down there working on them so they can’t be in a dreadful rush to leave here and go back into the water. Not that they could go back into the water right now because as you can see, the tide is right out just now.

And there’s nothing going on at the ferry port either. On the way down to the station I’d noticed that there was an excursion to the Ile de Chausey advertised for today so probably both of the Joly France boats are out there with their passengers.

chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere seems to be plenty of activity down at the loading bay in the inner harbour. Chausiais is moored up there underneath the loading crane.

The boat behind it is interesting too. It’s shrink-wrapped so it’s possibly a new boat, and it’s looking as if it’s waiting there for a lift to other parts. We’ll have to see who comes along to pick her up.

From the harbour I went on home and partook of what was left of my orange ginger beer – no coffee today because it’s quite warm outside. And it was delicious too. Despite its volatile nature and explosive capability, I’ll make some more – but this time I’ll try some stronger bottles rather than the IKEA ones that couldn’t last the pace.

Back here I carried on with my cooking.

First thing to do was to prepare an apple crumble. Because I have only a small oven I made it in two smaller dishes that I could stack one on top of the other.

While I was doing that I’d switched on the oven and when the crumble was ready I bunged that and the bread in there.

Next was to roll out the pizza pastry that I’d taken out of the freezer first thing. And having greased the pizza tray I put the pizza base in and folded the overhanging edges back into the tray. Then I left to fester for an hour.

Later on I assembled the pizza and when the bread and crumble were cooked I took them out and put the pizza in.

During the various pauses I’ve been working on the photos from July 2019. Another pile has bitten the dust and there are just 38 left for that month. I’m now approaching Wounded Knee in South Dakota.

vegan pizza home made bread vegan apple crumble place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere are the finished products. Don’t they look delicious?

The pizza tasted really delicious and it would have been even better had I remembered to turn up the oven again after I’d removed the bread. I’ve no idea what the crumble is like because being full after my pizza, I didn’t have a dessert.

Now that I’ve written my notes I’m off to bed. There’s a radio programme that needs doing tomorrow and that’s the first thing to be done. But there’s also the sourdough to be baked so that it’s ready for my mid-morning break and so I’ll have to put that into the oven as soon as I wake up.

Here’s hoping that I have a good cramp-free sleep.

Monday 22nd March 2021 – I WAS RIGHT …

cabanon de guet tourists pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… about all of the tourists having arrived here in Granville. The place was crawling with them this afternoon.

There was this couple sitting on the bench at the end of the headland by the watchman’s old cabin and they were just any one of any number of them that I could have photographed today, all lying around disporting themselves in the sun.

It beats me, it really does, what goes through the heads of some people in situations like this. What don’t they understand about a pandemic? How many more people have to die before they get the message?

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m one of the last people to advocate the presence of soldiers on the streets but in a situation like this I would have the military out at each boundary checking people’s right to travel. The military might not be good for much, but this is the kind of thing that’s important.

This morning I was out of bed just after the first alarm and after the medication I made a start on the radio programme. I was right that I wouldn’t finish it by 11:15 but starting from scratch as I did and finishing by 12:15, that was pretty good going and I was happy with that, especially as I had my usual break for hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread.

And once it was finished and I’d heard it, I crashed out on the armchair in the office and as a result I was late for my lunch yet again.

This afternoon I Had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was in Crewe last night and going to meet Esi. I’d already met her a couple of times around here and there and this time I walked up Earle Street and turned round the corner into Market Street and had the sun full in my eyes so I couldn’t see a thing. There was someone I knew standing on the left so I said “hi” to her but I couldn’t see who the other people were with her. It wasn’t until I’d gone past that I thought that the possibility might be that one of them was TOTGA. As I walked into the Square I heard someone shout my name. It was a boy’s voice, sounded like one of my classmates from school. I turned round but couldn’t see anything. There were some people loading a lorry and trailer with all kinds of mannequins to put into a new shop that was opening next to where the old cinema used to be. I carried on walking past the Bus Station and came to some waste land. I walked all over this waste land round the back of the bus station and the back end of the houses at the top end of Victoria Street but suddenly realised that I was miles away from where I was going to meet Esi so I set off to walk back. I remember at one point having a conversation but I only got 3 or 4 words out before I realised that I was too tired to say the rest.

Having done that I made another start on the photos from July 2019 and made good progress. I’m now down the james River somewhere near the border between North Dakota and South Dakota. There’s only about another 170 to do before they are all completed for the month of July 2019. Only 3 months or so to go after that. The big question is “will I finish all of this, or will all of this finish me?”.

There was the usual pause to go out for my walk this afternoon.

beach rue du nord plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been working away the sun had been streaming in through the window so I was hoping that the day would be better than yesterday, and I wasn’t to be disappointed.

There was some mist about as you can see in the photo and there was plenty of cloud around too but at least it was an awful lot lighter than it was yesterday. It was cold but not all that windy and that’s the first time for ages that I haven’t been blown away.

No-one down on the beach wandering around, so it seemed but there were plenty of other people up here on the path on top of the cliffs and I had to thread my way through the crowds on the path and reclining on the lawn by the lighthouse.

gorse bushes pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the headland there wasn’t anything going on except for the tourists of course but the vegetation was looking quite good today.

The trees are starting to sprout their leaves right now and the gorse bushes are in full bloom giving us a lovely carpet of yellow flowers down there by the bottom footpath and on the cliffs lower down.

But there was nothing going on out at sea and the Brittany coast wasn’t all that clear so I pushed on along the path and across the road where I was nearly flattened by someone in a minibus – something that doubtless filled you all with a great deal of dismay.

hermes 1 ready to be put back into water chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was all kinds of excitement going on at the chantier navale this afternoon as you can see. It looks as if we are about to have another change of occupant in there.

The portable boat lift has moved from its parking place and is now hovering about over the trawler Hermes 1. In the absence of any other indication, it looks as if she is preparing to be put back into the water at the next high tide. I waited there for a good few minutes to see if anything was going to develop but nothing seemed to be moving and they weren’t in any rush to do anything.

The other boats are still there – Spirit of Conrad, Lys Noir, Freddy Land and, out of shot, Aztec Lady. But things are starting to become interesting down there right now.

joly france fishing boat ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomething else that’s been going on right now is the parking of fishing boats by the Fish Processing Plant and letting them go aground when the tide was out.

The tide wasn’t out far enough today to see whether there would be any there today, but one thing that I noticed is that there now is a fishing boat that seems to be tied up over by the ferry port next to Joly France. Why this is happening is beyond my comprehension but the cynic in me suggests that they must have increased the mooring charged in the inner harbour.

With nothing else going on down there I headed for home and my mug of hot coffee, and continued with the photos until it was guitar time, although a little crash-out yet again didn’t help matters very much.

Tea tonight was a lentil and tofu pie with vegetables followed by apple pie and ice cream. I’m trying to empty the freezer a little as I’m running out of room in there.

Welsh tomorrow so I’m off to bed early. I need to be on form. And then it’s printing out papers and packing ready for the road on Wednesday.

Friday 19th March 2021 – AFTER ALL OF THE …

home made ginger beer orange kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… excitement last night, I rounded up the surviving bottles and put them in a plastic box on top of the fridge in the bathroom where they won’t cause too much damage in the future if a similar eventuality were to arise.

But making the orange ginger beer is back on again, I reckon, because I don’t think that it was that which caused the problems.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’ve been using an assortment of various bottles here, mostly recycled lemonade bottles and the like as well as a few rather dodgy cheap bottles.

But I also have three new, expensive bottles that I bought from IKEA. Two are used as water containers and the third was a spare. That was pressed into service to hold the ginger beer and, unbelievably, it was that one that blew up. The recycled ones and the dodgy cheap ones are keeping going.

That was something of a surprise.

What else which was a surprise was that despite tempting fate last night, I did manage to crawl out of bed just after the first alarm. And after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

There was a huge murder mystery going on last night with about 20 suspects. There was a detective giving the final denouément right at the very end, going through each person in turn explaining why he would have done it and and finally saying that they didn’t because … and coming up with some reason. This went on for ever and I can’t remember it at all. At the end I was with a woman, someone whom I knew and I can’t think who it was now. We were discussing the radio system. We had half a dozen different aerials, half a dozen different things and we were all switching between the aerials automatically. We would expect a few problems with the automation and I was thinking about having the whole thing redone so that it would still be automatic but I could manually control the aerials so that I knew which aerial was transmitting what. And again this is another thing about which I remember very little.

After the dictaphone notes I made a start on the photos from Greenland. Another pile of those have bitten the dust now and I’m sitting on the deck of THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR watching them unload the zodiacs that will take us to the shore where buses will take up to the airport at Kangerlussuaq. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I had to break off my Transatlantic voyage here because the ship had been chartered by a bunch of North American schoolkids and being from Europe, I didn’t have a valid police check record. I had to come back 3 weeks later when the ship returned so that I could board her and continue my journey across the Atlantic to the Canadian mainland.

By now it was light so I prepared to do battle with the living room, making myself some hot chocolate and cutting myself a slice of fruit sourdough bread. But just at that moment Rosemary rang with a problem and we ended up having a brief chat. One hour and three minutes to be precise.

The damage in the living room is not as extensive as I thought. One of the windows in the nice unit in the living room has been peppered with shrapnel that has made its marks upon the glass, and the TV screen that I use as a computer monitor has taken a bashing too.

The carpet is in the bath. I’ve scrubbed it, used soap on it, scrubbed it again and rinsed it thoroughly. Now it’s in there drying off. And it’ll have another go tomorrow afternoon after my shower. All of the ginger beer that wasn’t in the tray as soaked into the carpet. There wasn’t much anywhere else.

Tons of broken glass about the place and I’ve brushed up as much as I could. But anyone who comes here now will have to be careful where they sit. We all know what happened to the captain of the Good Ship Venus.

The floor has been washed and it will have another washing tomorrow. And I’ll wash down the furniture etc as well tomorrow.

But some good did come out of all of this. The mechanical stopper of the broken bottle was intact and it had obviously proved its worth by resisting the explosion. So I swapped it over onto one of the cheap bottles and now that makes a really good seal. So all was not lost.

Another task that I had to perform was to speak to a certain young Canadian girl whom I know to acquaint her with the news that I’d received from Rachel yesterday because I imagined that in the confusion she would have been left out. We had quite a chat for 15-20 minutes about the events of yesterday and also about lots of other stuff too.

By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd for something of a change just recently, we were having a really nice day today.

The weather was cool and windy but there was a bright blue sky and for once there wasn’t any fog or haze. The tide was quite far out and there were several people down there on the beach and amongst the rocks making the most of the nice afternoon.

One thing that I have noticed – or, maybe, it’s more correct to say that I haven’t noticed, is that there haven’t been any bird-men around for quite a while. Where they leap off the cliffs is just over there to the right near the cemetery – something that probably means that if they make a mistake on take-off they don’t have far to go.

But to be serious … “for once” – ed … I wonder what’s happened that means that they haven’t been taking to the air just recently.

jersey channel islands english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith the weather being so much better today I had a good peer out to sea to see if I could seee Jersy on the horizon today.

And sure enough, with a GOOD LONG LENS and plenty of enhancement back at the apartment later, I was able just about to pick out the island. Not as clearly as I have done in the past, but the fact that we can see it at all today 58kms away shows you just what an improvement that we have had.

Not like in the Auvergne, apparently. Rosemary told me that she awoke this morning to a couple of inches of snow.

Just one or two people around today, so I had the place pretty much to myself. I pushed on along the path, across the lawn and across the car park down to the end of the headland.

seafarers memorial le loup jullouville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe Memorial to the Missing Seafarers is still there – not that that’s any surprise – but you can actually see it today, which is something.

Yesterday we struggled to see much further beyond Le Loup, the light that sits on top of the rock just outside the harbour entrance, but today with it being clear, we can see the town of Jullouville quite easily across the bay, and right to the water tower on the ridge at the back of the town.

On top of the ridge just to the right of the right-hand flagpole is that mystery tower. I haven’t forgotten that one of these days I intend to go and see what it is

With nothing going on out in the bay across to the Brittany coast I pushed of along the footpath at the top of the cliff.

spirit of conrad hermes 1 lys noir freddy land chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown in the chantier navale we have yet more movement and change of occupancy.

Spirit of Conrad, Aztec Lady, Lys Noir, Hermes 1 and Freddy Land are still there, but the trawler Charlevy has gone back into the water. On the morning tide, apparently. So there’s now room for someone else to come in and join the (af)fray.

There might be room for more boats very soon too because the whole place was quite a hive of activity today. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many people down there working on the boats, from private owners in private cars to specialist companies with sign-written vans.

The racket that they were making was quite unbearable. It looks as if everyone is making ready quite rapidly in anticipation of an ease in the lockdown. That’s what I call optimism.

naabsa fishing boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile we haven’t seen to many hang-gliders just recently, we have been seeing a lot of fishing boats abandoned to the tide at the jetty by the Fish Processing Plant.

It beats me as to why. We went for months, if not years, without seeing a one except for special reasons but this last few weeks we see them on a regular basis. Clearly something is up.

My time was also up so I headed off home where I bumped into one of my neighbours and we had quite a chat. And then I came up for my hot coffee.

There was no guitar practice tonight. I can catch up with that another time. But when I returned I attacked that page of my notes from my trip around Central Europe on which I’ve made very little progress just recently, and found that I was advancing quite rapidly. I decided therefore to stick at it until I finished it because I was fed up of it hanging around.

Round about 20:00 I finally finished it and now IT’S ON LINE at long last. I hope that it won’t take me long to finish off this exercise, although there is a page on which I’ve been stuck for a while and I don’t know what I’m going to do about that one.

Tea was taco rolls and rice. I wasn’t very hungry and half of it finished in the bin. No pudding either.

So after the exertions of yesterday and today and having already crashed out for half an hour (and instead of fighting it, I allowed myself to be carried away) I’m off to bed for a good sleep.

No shopping tomorrow. Instead I’ll catch up with the guitar and practice that I missed and wash the living room again.

There’s football tomorrow afternoon and I mustn’t miss that either.

And then I need to slowly thing about going to Leuven. Wednesday, that is. I wonder what they will tell me this time.

Wednesday 17th March 2021 – HAVING SAID YESTERDAY …

… that I was going to give up this fortune-telling lark because I couldn’t see any future in it, I’ve changed my mind and I’m now back in business.

spirit of conrad hermes 1 lys noir charlevy freddy land aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago when the charter yachts started to arrive in the chantier navale for overhaul, I said that I wouldn’t be surprised if we were to see Spirit of Conrad – the boat on which we went down the Brittany coast in the early summer – in there next.

Well, people, guess what?

That’s right. Over there on the far side where Charles Marie had been moored for the last few weeks, she seems to have gone back into the water and Spirit of Conrad is now there in her place.

There’s another pleasure craft in there today too. Nearest the camera is a small boat called Freddy Land about which I know nothing at all.

But there you are. How about that for a prediction?

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing about which I complained quite voiciferously the other day was the speed at which they seem to be repairing the roof on the College Malraux across from where I live.

It seems that they must have heard me, or else they are regular readers of this rubbish that I write, because they have put on a spurt that has taken le quite by surprise and in just 48 hours they’ve almost finished the part that they had stripped off

They can obviously do it when they really try, so I wonder what holds them up during the periods when they don’t seem to be making any progress at all

Nothing held me up this morning, I have to say. Once more I leapt out of bed with alacrity at the sound of the first alarm … “well, something like that, anyway” – ed … and went off for my medication.

Afterwards I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was a girls’ school that was undergoing a considerable amount of reorganisation and at the parents’ Annual General Meeting quite a few proposals were taken, one of which went against the advice of the headmistress, was to reorganise the year 7.5. That was voted on and the reorganisation was agreed. I pressed “refresh” to reload the document on my computer but my computer crashed so I had to switch it on again and reload the document so that I could read it. It came up OK this time but just then I had a bad attack of cramp (yet again and this is making me feel totally fed up) and awoke.

First task after I’d organised myself was to deal with the booking for my trip to Leuven next week. I’m going on Wednesday, coming back on Saturday, all at the usual time and hoping that I’m not going to be held up like I was last week. I can’t do with this waiting around killing time.

Interestingly, if you thought that the rail-fare was cheap last time, it was even cheaper this time. That can only be good news and it’s not as if I couldn’t do with it. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that it’s been a long time since I’ve had any.

Next thing was to have another go at the back-up drive and another pile of stuff has bitten the dust. But very little free space saved. We’ve reached the point, as I explained a few days ago, where the bulk of the big stuff has been done. It’s all little stuff now, 50kb here and there, that kind of thing.

After lunch, I was in great demand so it seemed. Both Rosemary and Ingrid rang me up for a chat – Rosemary twice in fact. But now that I’ve invented a hands-free kit for the phone I was able to take full advantage of the pause by working on the photos from Greenland and I did a huge bundle of those while I was chatting.

harvesting bouchots - the mussels on strings - Donville les Bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe weather outside was another day of mist and fog.

Nothing like as bad as it was the other day of course. The harvesters of Bouchots – the mussels that grow on strings – were out there in force as you can see, over at Donville les Bains near the holiday camp where I nearly ended up staying. The tide is well out just now so they have plenty of room to move about.

Regular readers of this rubbish might recall that I’ve mentioned the Bouchots before. This was a serendipitous discovery where someone left some ropes out in the sea for some kind of purpose and when he came back a while later he found the m all covered in mussels.

The advantage of mussels grown on strings and not on the sand is that they don’t have sand in them so they don’t taste gritty.

Just one or two people wandering around out there this afternoon as I walked down the path and onto the lawn at the end.

memorial to the resistance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe Monument to the Resistance Fighters of World War II was looking particularly attractive this afternoon so I took a photo of it.

The branches of that tree across the car park fitted nicely into the arms of the Cross of Lorraine and Le Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour – fitted nicely into the upright.

It’s a shame though that for some reason or other they didn’t treat the metal before they installed it. I’m not sure if a metal plaque streaked with rust was part of the plan at all because it does really look depressing and it will only become worse.

Out in the bay there was nothing at all happening so I walked off down the path to look at the port and the chantier navale.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe chantier navale we’ve already seen, but there was some activity in the wet harbour too.

Our old friend Thora was in there in the unloading bay and there was plenty of other things going on with those two large lorries over there and the tons of stuff piled up on the quayside.

With nothing else going on, I headed back for home and my hot coffee, and I spent the remainder of the afternoon dealing with a day when I was in Central Europe. I seem to be stuck on this day right now and I wish that I could advance.

The guitar practice was enjoyable. I spent my bass guitar session playing a bass solo to “Jumping Jack Flash” just to see how it sounded, and it was pretty impressive. With the acoustic guitar I was having some fun with ELO’s “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” and “Don’t Bring Me Down”.

Tea was a stuffed pepper followed by apple pie and then I came back in here to write up my notes. Now it’s bed time – an early night because tomorrow I’m off to St Lô and the Prefecture to have my fingerprints taken for my new carte d’identité. Things are slowly ticking over here and we might slowly reach a conclusion. And not before time.

On the way back, I’ll take advantage of the big shops there and see if I can’t lay in some stocks of stuff that I can’t get so easily around here.

Saturday 14th November 2020 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… the way things have been recently, I actually managed to beat the third alarm this morning.

Well, sort-of anyway. I was sitting on the edge of the bed with my feet on the floor waiting for the world to stop spinning round before I stood up.

Mind you,with not having gone to bed until almost 01:00 this morning I did realise that it was going to be a very long day.

There was a sale onlast night and there were one or two things that I wanted so after I’d finished writing my notes I went to make my purchases.

Only to find that Paypal now has this weird system like my French bank does, that in order to make a purchase they will send a numerical code to your phone number for you to enter into a box on the vendor’s website. It’s a system that has never troubled me previously with Paypal so I’ve never had occasion to use it. So when I didn’t receive the text message I found to my dismay that it had been sent to my old number in Virlet which has of course been out of commission for well over 4 years.

Now you can change your ‘phone number, but only if you log in. And to log in, you need the four-figure number that they send to your phone. Which is still in the Auvergne.

The next step is to send Paypal a message. But to do that you need to log into your account, for which you need the four-figure number.

There is of course the option to telephone them, for which you don’t need to log in. But you can only call them between 09:00 and 19:30 Mondays to Fridays.

In the end, having exhausted ever other avenue, I created a new Paypal account, which was not easy, and thanked my stars that there was a one-hour time difference between here and the UK and for having an on-line access to my bank statements.

It just goes to prove a point doesn’t it? If something is going to go wrong, it’s going to go wrong with me.

With what little sleep I had, I still found time to wander off.I was in Nantwich last night. I had a little house there in Welsh Row that used to be an old shop at one time. I had all kinds of various friends and acquaintances. Two of them were people like Walter Billington used to be. They had been to visit me and I’d shown them out but I’d suddenly discovered them back in my house again searching for something. I went to grab them both but one got away. The other one I managed to grab hold of him and got him in an arm lock and stuck his head under a cold tap to cool him down, and phoned the police. It was a sergeant who knew me so I explained exactly what had gone on and where I was. He asked me “are you drowning someone?” I replied “yes”. In the end a black policewoman turned up outside in a Ford Anglia panda car so I dragged this guy downstairs, not caring if he was bumping along the floor or anything, let her in and told her the story. She made him sit in a corner while we went through the kind of things that he might have been looking at.

After the meds and transcribing the dictaphone notes I found some time to do some work on the outstanding blog entries, which makes a change. And then I went for a shower. At least my weight has stabilised – albeit at 100 grammes over one of my target weights. It’s not gone up any but it hasn’t gone down either.

And then I set off for the shops, in a howling gale. And I bumped into the itinerant who is still sleeping rough. I urged him to go to the Mairie to seek help, but he says that he will be OK. I’m not too sure about that but I’ve learnt from bitter experience, as I’m sure you have too, that trying to persuade people to do things, even if you think that it’s in their best interests, quite often rebounds.

replacing shop front rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that when we were on our way to the shops the other day we saw some workmen busily starting to rip out the front of the cafe on the corner in the Rue Paul Poirier.

In just two days, they seem to have really gone to town with it, for not only have they completely ripped it out, they’ve erected a temporary facade around it to protect the building while they set about installing a new shop front.

It would be nice to think that they would replace it with something nice and aesthetically pleasing rather than something that is simply utilitarian. We can always live in hope, I suppose. It’s better than dying in despair.

replacing shop front rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallTalking of utilitarian, this is what I was talking about.

Regular readers of this rubbish will call that we saw a similar temporary structure across the front of a shop in the Rue Couraye when we were out picking up our rail tickets the other day. That’s all been swept away and we’ve been left with this.

But whatever you might say about “utilitarian”, it’s a vast improvement on the cheap and dated 1960s aluminium shop front that was here before.

However there’s a singular lack of imagination around here because there have been three or four new shop fronts in the town since I’ve been living here and they all look like this. Here’s hoping that the one they are doing in the Rue Paul Poirier will be a little more individual.

No figs at the fruit and veg shop, La Halle Gourmande, and none at the Health Shop, La Vie Claire either. It’s the end of the season. So I asked the guy there what I should use in my kefir instead of figs and he gave me a bizarre look and said “dried figs” – the look being the kind of look that means “why aren’t you using dried figs to start with?”.

At LIDL they had a packet of dried figs and they had tons of other stuff too. But I was limited by what I could carry away. It’s a long walk home and the final climb is long and steep. I wish that they would hurry up and fix Caliburn.

Back here I put away the frozen food and one or two other things, made myself a hot chocolate and grabbed a slice of my banana bread, and then came in here to do some work. I was doing all right too up to a certain point, and then the next thing that I remember was that it was 13:45. 90 minutes I’d been out for, I reckon.

It took me a while to come round to my senses and then I ended up with a very late lunch.

That confused all of my timing and I was running well behind after that.

rainstorm english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on in the afternoon I took myself off for a walk around the headland in the gale force wind that was blowing out there.

Although it was dry at the moment, there was plenty of rain about and the strong winds were blowing it all about at a ridiculous speed. The clouds were so thick and heavy that we were having some really unusual lighting effects in the sky like this one across the bay over the Brittany coast.

And with the wind, everything was changing so rapidly too. I’d go to take a photo of a particularly impressive scene and by the time that the camera had focused it had changed considerably.

different colours tidal settlement baie de mont st michel pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnoher thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we mentioned the other day is the phenomenon of different colours in the sea – this layering effect that we see every now and again.

There was another beautiful example this afternoon in the sea just off the Pointe du Roc. I’d struggled around the headland in the wind but when I saw this I considered it to be worth the effort.

We’ve seen plenty of photos of this point when the tide has been out and there’s nothing on what is at the moment the sea bed to cause this dramatic change in colouring. It’s not even the effect of the clouds obscuring the sun either because you can see what the weather is like.

victor hugo spirit of conrad aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith there being no-one about I had a little run down to the viewpoint overlooking the port and then had a slow walk the rest of the way home.

It didn’t turn out to be all that slow though because the rain that had been loitering around just offshore came in and got me and I ended up having to run for it. Not before I’d taken a nice photo of the harbour with the two Channel Islands ferries, Victor Hugo and Granville down there along with Spirit of Conrad and Aztec Lady.

The harbour gates can’t have long opened because we can see the trail of sediment flowing into the harbour from outside. It’s quite a dramatic contrast when you see it in this context.

Back here I played with a few photos, chatted on the internet with Rosemary and then it was time for the football. TNS v Barry Town.

And regrettably, Apart from the first 5 minutes, Barry didn’t start to play until there was 15 minutes to go by which they were already 2-0 down. They pulled back a goal pretty quickly but it was too little far too late.

One thing that I noticed though was that the Barry defenders were giving the attackers of TNS far too much time and space instead of closing them down. With the space that TNS was being gifteg, it’s no surprise that they were running the defence ragged and they really ought to have had a couple more, including what I considered to be a stonewall penalty.

But I really do wonder what Kayne McLaggon had to do to be awarded a free kick in his favour. The TNS central defenders were kicking lumps out of him and when he fell over the outstretched leg of a defender (no penalty, and quite right too) he was booked for diving, which was probably the most extraordinary decision that I noticed.

Tea at half time was out of a tin, followed by another slice of defrosted apple pie.

rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd then I went out walkies on my evening circuit.

As it happens, I didn’t go far. It was much later than usual, there’s a curfew too and the gale is still howling away like mad but I needed the exercise. The Rue du Nord was looking quite pretty in the streetlights and as that’s one of the bits that I run, I set off down there, to the surprise of a couple of small dogs and their owners.

At least it’s in the shelter out of the wind so that it didn’t bother me too much. I could run down there quite comfortably until I reach the incline, which brings me to a shuddering halt.

place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s an alleyway that cuts through there and leads to the Place Cambernon so I nipped down there instead of going all the way around the walls.

And it looks as if the Christmas decorations fairy has paid here a visit too. They might not be illuminated yet but they have certainly been installed. This is looking quite good, I reckon.

But the Place Cambernon isn’t. The bar La Rafale and the restaurant La Contremarche are closed. The place is like a ghost town. But then again, it would be even more of a ghost town if everyone caught the virus and died. I cleared off too, back home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow is a day of rest but I have carrots to freeze, bread to bake and pizza dough to make. My work is never completed, is it?