Category Archives: black mamba

Monday 31st January 2022 – WHAT THE H*LL …

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… happened to me this morning?

While you admire a few photos that I took of the sunset this afternoon that illuminated the Baie de Mont St Michel, I’ll surprise you all by telling you that not only was my radio programme finished by 09:15, I was actually listening to it running through.

and that includes having to rewrite and redictate about a third of it because I wasn’t satisfied with what I’d done. And then it needed some further editing too because after I’d re-edited the speech parts that i’d redone, I’d forgotten to shunt the rest of it down the line.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And if you are wondering how come I managed to do it so quickly and so comprehensively, you’ll be even more surprised when I tell you that at 04:34 I was sitting at my desk in here starting work.

Whatever happened during the night I really don’t know but I had something like a reasonable sleep for a few hours and that was that. And it was absolutely impossible for me to go back to sleep.

There wasn’t any point in lying in bed trying and failing to sleep and waiting for the alarm to go off at 06:00 so I arose from the dead and started work.

The earlier I start, the earlier I finish.

But as far as the radio programme went, today was the first time that I’ve actually felt that a series of speeches and introductions went well. I must be improving, which I suppose that I ought to seeing as this was programme 148 that I was preparing.

If I’ve not learnt anything in all this time then there’s something seriously wrong.

After breakfast and after having listened to the programme I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been and, more importantly, who had come with me. There was a whole pile of stuff going on last night about someone who walked out of my life last summer, about how someone was trying to make her husband reduce the price of the house that he had for sale and if necessary sell it to them yard by yard so that they could keep under their budget. She asked them to quite honestly prepare some kind of statement about how their personal wealth had increased and so on over the last 12 months. She was walking home with Phil Lynott and saying how much he contributed towards her childhood. There was tonnes of other stuff as well and she finished by saying that as of the end of the month or the end of the week their address would be “The Turfs” but she didn’t actually say where, “presumably for a very good reason” said the cynic inside me. I dunno about this but there was tons of stuff and I missed most of it

And later Nerina was back again last night after our row on Thursday (was it on Thursday? At least, that’s what I said during the night). We were having a chat about things trying to organise ourselves. We came to the conclusion that we’d been using the car far too much. We thought about the idea of trying to do things differently. We were becoming more organised in the kitchen etc but again the question of the car turned up. I said “how about going somewhere on the bikes?”. Nerina had a bike and I had the bike of Marianne’s. They both needed som adjustment but I said that we could do that and spend some days out on our bikes and see where we went from there. She was coming up with a few reasons why we couldn’t do that but none of those seemed to relate to the point that we would try to see what we could do about the bikes. We could have a go at it. I had the impression that she wasn’t all that keen on the idea of cycling but it seemed to me that if we were to stop using the car to go to work or something it was the obvious answer. Spending half a day trying to organise it to see if it would work would be a good plan. Anyway she was off making something with 3 apples and I was washing up in the kitchen and this conversation was going on and on. I was trying to persuade her to at least have a try about doing it.

Following that I went and had a really good shower and clean-up to prepare for my trip to the physiotherapist, and then I … errr … fell asleep.

It was therefore a rather late lunch and then I headed out for my appointment.

le loup baie de mont st michel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022At the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury I stopped to make sure that the NIKON 1 J5 was working.

The weather today was grey and windy – very windy in fact – and there was more than just a hint of rain in the air as you can tell from the rainstorm that’s out there just offshore from the Pointe de Carolles. We can’t see very much out there in the distance this afternoon.

The tide was well out as you can see. The inner harbour is pretty much dry and Le Loup was slowly rising up out of the waves, just about to be buzzed by a long-distance seagull.

spirit of conrad black mamba charles marie anakena belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, there is quite a full house down there in the harbour.

From left to right insofar as I can identify them, we have Spirit of Conrad with an unidentified yacht next to her. Then the yacht with “154” on her hull is, I think, Black Mamba moored alongside Charles Marie.

to their right is Anakena, then a couple of unidentified fishing boats and finally the new Belle France. But no Aztec Lady. It looks as if she’s headed off to the Arctic already.

As for Anakena, her owners were talking about Greenland not so long ago so I sent them a message to ask about their trips. However, as you might expect, they never replied.

The next person who complains about a recession with get a smack in the mouth.

loading building material chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was walking down the hill towards the port, I could see that the big crane in the loading bay was busy working.

My first thought was that one of the Jersey freighters was in port this afternoon, but in fact it’s Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs out to the Ile de Chausey, that’s receiving attention.

It looks as if she’s preparing for a run out to the island, but I can’t think what they will be doing with all of that building equipment on the island.

But that was enough excitement for now. I have an appointment and I’ll be late if I’m not careful. I need to get a move on.

installing kiddies roundabout Place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It’s coming up to school half-term, as this photo will tell us.

Carnaval is cancelled yet again this year but we are having the kiddies’ roundabout at least, to keep the brats entertained.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there was some dispute about the roundabout that usually comes here – it was oversize and obstructing the pavement so there was some talk of revoking its licence or making it go somewhere else.

The owner intended to lodge an appeal against any decision that the council might make, but it looks as if some kind of compromise has been reached because he’s setting up in his usual place, just across the road from the Mairie.

The walk up the hill was agony. I made it up without stopping but I knew all about every inch of the way. And I spent most of my session doing kinetic exercises

My neighbour was there too and he offered me a lift home, but I decided to walk.

street lights trees rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way home I went via the back of the town centre to see what was happening at the Rue du Boscq.

If you look closely, you’ll see that we now have some trees planted all the way down on the right-hand side of the concrete walkway. But it still doesn’t look like it does on the artist’s impression, but then again these things never do. They only produce these drawings to hoodwink the gullible public.

As for the grey columns, they look as if they might be streetlights. And I’ll probably get to find out next week when I wander off to Leuven – unless it’s light at that time of the morning. They days are lengthening rapidly.

new brickwork rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022A few weeks ago I posted a photo of the new bricks that they had put on top of the wall on the Rue des Juifs after they had finished pointing it.

At the time I remember remarking that they’ll be back quite soon to point the brickwork and I’d forgotten all about them until this afternoon.

Well, anyway, they have been back and they have actually repointed one of the gaps. But they haven’t bothered with the rest. It’s true that we don’t have any really cold weather like they might elsewhere, but if they don’t point the bricks quite soon and the frost gets in, then it would have been a waste of time sticking the brickwork on top.

les bouchots de chausey tiberiade coelacanthe marite skyjack port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022In a few weeks time Marité will be going for her annual inspection prior to the start of the tourist season at Easter.

It looks like they are carrying out a few repairs to her masts and rigging, and they’ve even involved a skyjack in the repair procedure.

Over in the background to the left, the boat that I couldn’t identify yesterday is Les Bouchots de Chausey and to the right we have the two big trawlers Coelacanthe and Tiberiade.

In the background on the quayside there are a couple of people working on some fishing nets. As they say, “there’s a time for fishing, and a time for mending the nets”.

chausiaise joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On our way out to the physiotherapist’s, we saw the big crane loading up Chausiaise with a pile of building material.

The harbour gates are still closed so she won’t be going anywhere right now, but she’s moved away from the loading bay and she’s now moored up alongside one of the Joly France ferries that go to the Ile de Chausey.

She’s the newer one of the two sisters, as we can tell by the fact that she had a much smaller upper-deck superstructure. The older one is presumably moored out at the ferry terminal, where she has been for several days now.

lifeboat helicopter baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Excuse the blurred photo here but I had to take it in rather a hurry and the NIKON 1 J5 isn’t as reactive as the bigger Nikons.

Out there in the bay I’d noticed the lifeboat, the Notre Dame de Cap Lihou, out there in the bay heading off out to sea. And as I watched, the air-sea rescue helicopter flew by overhead, went out to the lifeboat and did a couple of laps around.

Once they had co-ordinated themselves, off they set out to sea, followed by a couple of seagulls. Whatever is going on out there, doubtless there will be some kind of report in the local paper if it’s anything important.

It’s a shame that the photo didn’t turn out very well.

belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was busy dealing with the helicopter and the lifeboat, another boat roared into life down in the harbour.

It looks as if it’s the turn of Belle France to go for a little wander around. But she can’t be going far because right now the harbour gates are closed so the best that she could do is a quick lap around the inner harbour.

However, I had a quick lap of my own to make so I didn’t want to hang around to see what she was up to. I was tired, cold and fed up and needed a hot coffee to warm me up so I headed on up the hill towards home sweet home.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But not before I’d seen what was going on down on the beach this afternoon.

It wasn’t easy to take this shot either because there was a howling gale blowing out here and I was having trouble trying to keep my feet. So whether or not there was any beach for anyone to be on, I didn’t actually expect to see anyone on it so I wasn’t disappointed.

Back here I made myself a coffee and came in here to carry on with my work. And when I awoke, the coffee was still there, untouched, and stone-cold. It doesn’t stay warm if it’s left for almost two hours.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper, and having had a hot chocolate and written my notes I’m off to bed.

Writing my notes was not easy because despite all of the sleep that I’ve had today I’m still quite exhausted. I’ve been struggling to keep awake.

It’s my Welsh lesson tomorrow and I want to be on form, and so I need to have a better night’s sleep tonight than I did last night. I must admit that I’m ready for it, but then again, so I was yesterday and look how that turned out.

Friday 3rd September 2021 – JUST LOOK AT …

flowery plant swamped with butterflies avenue de la gare Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… this beautiful flowering shrub.

The flowers are a long cylindrical shape of a mauve colour with a beautiful smell that reminds me immediately of the Mediterranean. There is an enormous row of these shrubs all the way down the side of the Avenue de la Gare.

But it’s not the shrubs or the flowers themselves that are particularly interesting – although they are, of course. The fact is that the plant was absolutely swamped in butterflies. I don’t think that I have ever seen so many butterflies in one place in my whole life.

But anyway, I digress, of course … “yet again” – ed

last night I ended up in bed at some time like a reasonable time, for once, but it didn’t seem to do me any good because I awoke at 05:35 and that defeats the whole point of going to bed early.

Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone too. There was a big blazing row going on in the master’s room about something or other and I couldn’t hear what it was and I couldn’t understand it. Anyway I had to make my usual ‘phone call to my girlfriend’s mother so I could speak to my girlfriend. I’d asked the operator to connect me but there was “no-one known of this name”. I had a look in the telephone directory and there wasn’t either I asked “may I borrow the post then I can check the directory to see if it’s a mis-spelling, but I knew it wasn’t because I’d rung it before”. She replied “no, I might need this”. Failing to understand why, I asked her to give me my insurance details because the information would be there somewhere. By the time this row had subsided so I went to see the matron. The office secretary was in there and we bumped into each other in the room and had a surprise. I asked for permission to ring up the mother. The woman replied “yes”. The secretary started to come out with all these facetious off-the-cuff comments about me and this woman. I said nothing for about half an hour and they were still going on. I said “how would you like it if all of them and me came and invaded your country?” and it all went rather downhill from there.

Incidentally, “the mother” and “my girlfriend” starred in one of my more recent rambles a couple of weeks ago. Nice to see them back so soon.

Later on I was with Nerina. I’d been away for 5 years on a business course and I’d come back to my old job and I found it very limited and restricting after everything that I’d done. Nerina suggested that I should move somewhere where my competences would be much better realised. I asked “how do you fancy working and living in London?”. She said that she didn’t. I replied “well, there’s your answer, isn’t it?”. I went on to say “it’s a shame because if you were working in London you would be promoted within a week and probably running the office within a year, there’s that much of a high turnover of staff down there”. We had a laugh and generally just fooled about a bit and

There was some other stuff too but seeing as you are probably eating your tea right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

After the medication and checking the messages etc I went and made my fruit bread for the next week or so. And I don’t know what has happened here but this one has turned out to be a right dismal effort. Probably the worst that I have ever made. But it’ll be eaten all the same, I suppose.

That took me up to breakfast and afterwards I made a start on transcribing the dictaphone notes – in case you haven’t already guessed. I did the ones from last night and now I’ve made a start on the arrears from the last couple of weeks.

By the time that I had finished there are only … gulp … 17 files left to transcribe so at the rate at which I seem to be working, that will take another couple of years.

It might have even ended up with fewer than that, except that I … errr … fell asleep in the middle of it all.

After lunch I had a shower and a tidy-up and then headed off for the physiotherapist.

black mamba charlevy la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Down in the harbour, the gates were open so there was some activity going on down there, more of which later.

But first, this photo features three of our old friends. The big dark blue yacht in the background to the left is Black Mamba. The grey, white and turquoise boat to the right is La Grande Ancre, a boat that seems to be connected to the shellfisheries out on the Ile de Chausey.

The trawler in the middle needs no introduction to anyone because we spent all summer looking at her up on blocks in the chantier naval. She is of course Charlevy, now back at work after her overhaul.

For a change, the walk up the hill wasn’t too gruesome. I had to stop a couple of times to catch my breath, more than Wednesday but nothing like as many times as my nadir when I was on my way to Leuven just now.

He had me doing all kinds of exercises on this moving platform thing and then another session on the cross-trainer. And I managed to improve my personal best by a good 20 seconds.

abandoned railway line to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back, passing by those gorgeous flowers, I went down to where the old railway line to the harbour crosses the road.

There’s an ongoing programme about them pulling up the railway lines to make a pedestrian footpath so I wanted to see how they were progressing.

But it seems that they started from the side of the road where I’m standing and have made their way downhill to the port. Uphill towards the main line is still in place – for now.

But as for me, I’m going downhill – in many senses of the word. But right now, I’m following the old line down past the Parc des Val Es Fleurs towards the port and home.

It was something of a struggle to come back up the hill to home but not as much of a struggle as it has been just recently

l'arc en ciel le coelacanthe port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Nevertheless I was glad to reach the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, where I could stop and take a break.

The trawler that is just coming into port here, the black and white one with blue coachlines, is a new one for these pages. She’s called L’Arc En Ciel – “Rainbow” – and I know nothing whatever about her at the moment.

The one to the right, moored up at the fish procession plant needs no introduction. Turquoise and white with gold coachlines means that it can only be one of two boats, and the wings at the side of the bridge tells me that she’s Le Coelacanthe, one of the larger trawlers in the port.

fishing boat victor hugo granville port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There was plenty of other activity going on in the port today too, which is no surprise seeing as the harbour gates are now open.

Put-put-puttering her way into harbour this afternoon is another one of the boats that is used in the shellfish. I’m never very good at remembering the names of those boats so I’ve no idea who this is.

In the background are the two Channel Islands ferries Victor Hugo and Granville. Apart from a couple of days last summer, they haven’t turned a propeller since last March (except when they were ejected from the harbour while it was being dredged) and the prospect of the service recommencing is looking bleaker by the day.

classe découvert fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The poor kids have only been back at school for a couple of days but they are hard at it already.

The Classe Découverte – “Class of Discovery” – is quite popular here in France and they are always out and about, sometimes travelling hundreds of miles and staying in hostelsin order to undertake activities outside the classroom.

This group of kids is visiting the Fish Processing plant with their teacher, presumably to have a good look around.

And did I ever tell you that I found out what the pipes and tubes are for? There’s a huge ice-making machine in the plant and before the fishing boats go out to sea they fil their holds with ice to keep their catch cool and fresh until they return home.

yellow autogyro place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021I continued on my way home from the port and as I came out into the Place d’Armes I was overflown.

It wasn’t the first time today, but with the NIKON D3000 it’s not very easy to take photos so far out or so high up and to see the results clearly, but there’s no mistake here.

It’s the yellow autogyro that we have seen on several occasions in the past. He’s rattling by overhead with a passenger on board and one of these days I’m going to make sure that I’m taken up there for a good look around from a few hundred feet. It’ll be an interesting and exciting adventure.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Of course, it goes without saying that I’m heading over to have a peek down over the wall onto the beach to see what is going on down below.

Plenty of people down below on the beach. Even with the holidaymakers gone, everyone back at work and the kids back at school, there are still some people who can find some time to be down there

It even looks as if there have been some folk in the water too. Not me though. It might be nice out there today, but it’s not that nice. For me, if the water isn’t at 37°C then I’m not interested in going near it.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was out there ontop of the wall looking down on the beach, I was also having a good look around offshore as well.

There was nothing really of any importance. No trawlers, car ferries, Jersey freighters or anything. Just this little yacht quietly tacking too and fro across the bay, taking his time.

However he can’t afford to take too much time because the harbour gates will close before long and then he’ll be out in the cold, quite literally, until the early hours of the morning before he can return home

It was now my moment to return home too so I went and prepared a coffee. And then, rather sadly but not too unexpectedly, I fell asleep for a while.

Would you believe – despite racking my brains for about half an hour, I’ve forgotten what I had for tea. And this is pretty much par for the course. I can remember everything that happened 50 or 60 years ago, but ask me why I have just come into the kitchen. It’s a sign of age.

But now that I’ve finally after all this time finished my notes, I’m off to bed. I’ve had enough of today and there’s shopping to do tomorrow.

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, Zero 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. Zero 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.

Thursday 6th May 2021 – OUR HEROES …

trawlers returning from st helier channel islands baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… returned from the port of St Helier this afternoon as I was out on my afternoon walk around the headland.

It all seems to happen here during the small hours of the morning because at about 03:00 this morning as soon as the harbour gates opened, almost the entire fishing fleet left the port en masse like a ferret up a trouser leg and set sail to St Helier in Jersey where, arriving at first light, they blockaded the port, hemming in the ferry to St Malo and the oil boat that brings the fuel over to the island.

It seems that the Royal Navy’s two gunboats, HMS Tamar and HMS Severn, were totally powerless to stop them. Do much for this “Britannia Rules The Waves” nonsense. There were also 3 French military vessels, including Geranium with whom I had a run-in last summer, out there too to make sure that there was fair play.

trawlers returning from st helier channel islands baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn case you are wondering what this is all about, let me first mention that it’s nothing whatever to do with Brexit, due to the rather prosaic reason that the Channel Islands were never in the EU.

There’s a separate treaty, the Treaty of the Bay of Granville, that has been in force since 1843 that controls fishing rights out here and the Channel Islanders, doubtless inspired by the British Government, have seized the opportunity of Brexit to unilaterally revoke the Treaty.

In negotiations earlier this year, which I briefly mentioned a while back, they gave the right for French fishing boats already fishing in the bay to continue to do so. Suddenly, on Friday afternoon, they asked the boats to provide proof of their entitlement by Monday morning. And then they promptly closed their office for the weekend.

Some of the boats are owned by fleets where there is office staff and the like who can easily access the information. But the smaller boats and one-man bands don’t have the staff and their records are held at the Fish Processing Plant down the hill – whose offices were closed from Friday late afternoon until Monday morning so the information couldn’t be obtained before the deadline.

Of course, a deadline to provide all of this information with zero working days’ notice is unrealistic, if not impossible. Most neutral commentators see it as nothing more than a deliberate provocation whereas cynics like me would draw attention to the flagging election campaign of the Tory Party and the massaging of the Prime Minister’s ego.

But be that as it may, we aren’t here to discuss politics I was awake at 06:00 and up and about a couple of minutes later. After the medication I finally caught up with the dictaphone notes so I can tell you where I went during the night. I was near Hunter Avenue in Gresty and there was a big American car parked up there. I’d had a lot of problems crossing the road from where the Mucky Bridge was on the Cheshire Cheese corner. I just couldn’t get to grips with waiting for traffic to come, I don’t know why. In the end all of the traffic stopped and let me pass. They did it twice as well. As I got to Hunter Avenue there was this big American car there. This guy was speaking to someone on the telephone trying to find out about a position as a taxi driver with his own vehicle. He obviously had a quote from someone so he said “yes” and they sent hi something that he printed out on his ‘phone – an insurance certificate. I asked him about it. He said that it cost him $15:00 a year for Private Hire endorsement on his licence which I thought was astonishing. With that, he can get going. He said that he could do a couple of jobs I asked ” every few days?” and he replied “no, at weekend”. Anyway so we had a bit of a chat about that. There was one of his competitors nearby who was doing the same thing so this was obviously paying its way, I thought to myself. Maybe I ought to get a car and do some taxi driving again these days. There was a lot more to it than this but I can’t remember now and I wish I knew what the rest of this dream was. Unfortunately several bad attacks of cramp totally disrupted my sleeping arrangements and I’m fed up of that as well.

After a shower I headed off to the shops in the pouring rain. It really was a wicked morning and had it not been for the fact that the shops will not be open on Saturday, I wouldn’t have gone out.

repointing wall rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last 6 months or so we’ve been following the very slow progress of the students who have been practising on the pointing of the stone walls at the Rampe du Monte à Regret.

Of course, they aren’t likely to be there today in this kind of weather so I could have a good look at what they have been doing And what I can say is that a blind man would be pleased to see it.

Of course, when I pointed the stone walls on my house back in the Auvergne I had a lot to learn, and a lot to learn quickly too, but I was extremely satisfied with the results that I obtained and I reckon that I did a very good job of it.

scaffolding rampe du monte à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I was going down the steps, I noticed that they had moved the scaffolding further down the slope to carry on down the other side of the wall.

And I’ll tell you something for nothing, and that is that I don’t fancy the idea of climbing up and working on that scaffolding the way that it is. I wonder if they were in the process of re-erecting it and hadn’t finished it when the rain drove them all away.

LIDL was packed today. There were crowds in there. I couldn’t buy everything that I needed as they didn’t have it in stock, but I did what I could, especially as there are no shops on Saturday. In fact I had to go round a second time as I had forgotten the mushrooms.

It had been difficult for me to go up the hill to LIDL for some reason – I really wasn’t in any kind of form today, and coming back, loaded as I was with everything that I had bought, made it even worse and I had to stop several times to rest on the way back.

Having put the frozen food (they had more of the falafel) into the freezer I made myself a hot chocolate and my sourdough and then came in here. I was so tired that I wasn’t able to do any work but at least I managed not to fall asleep.

After lunch I made a start on the photos from August 2019 and then went out for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I went to the wall at the end of the car park to look over and down onto the beach to see who is about.

Not that there was any beach for people to be out on, and the miserable weather combined to ensure that no-one would be down there this afternoon. It may well have been that it had stopped raining right now but it was freezing cold out there this afternoon and I’ve gone back to being cold again – really cold, just like I was a few days ago.

There wasn’t anyone else around on the footpath up here on top of the cliffs either. And that was just as well because there wasn’t all that much room to move around there because everywhere was quite flooded because of the rain that we had had this morning.

commodore clipper baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallUp on the butte at the back of the lighthouse I could look out towards the sea to see if I could see the ferry that had by now set out to St Malo from St Helier.

Of course, at this range, it’s not possible to say with any certainty but if you look at the island in the centre of this photograph here, you’ll see something large on the horizon next to it. If I had to say that something out there was a small Ro-Ro ferry (because there was one out there somewhere), I’d probably be happy with identifying that as a likely target..

There were still plenty of fishing boats heading my way but I didn’t wait around for them. Otherwise I would have ended up feeling like Brian Hanrahan (and I’ve no idea where i would find him this afternoon) and “I’m not allowed to tell you how many there were, but I counted them all out and I counted them all back”.

black mamba baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been walking over to the butte, I’d seen a familiar black sail in the sunset out on the other side of the headland.

As a result I wandered off along the path and across the carpark and from the top by the old bunker there was an excellent view out to sea in the bay. Of course it’s our old friend Black Mamba who has been moored up in the harbour for the last couple of weeks now having gone off for a run around in the bay. It’s not really the best kind of day for a sail.

While I was out there, Rosemary rang me up so I promised to call her back when I returned to the apartment. That was the cue to set off home before it started to rain again.

bad parking boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA couple of days ago I mentioned that I’d given up commenting on cases of bad parking, and so it goes without saying that I would stumble on something extraordinary almost immediately, like this in the Boulevard Vaufleury.

Here’s a van and trailer belonging to a garden maintenance company working on someone’s garden this afternoon. It’s parked on the wrong side of the road on a main bus route at school chucking-out time when there are service buses going in one direction and school buses going in the other direction. And there’s a huge parking space free just 10 yards further on where it can park on the correct side of the road without obstructing the traffic.

There are a couple of kids waiting for the bus at the bus stop but they can’t see the bus coming and the bus can’t see them because the van is in the way.

This is a recipe for a disaster if ever I saw one.

Back at the apartment, armed with a coffee I rang Rosemary back and we had a very long chat yet again. Consequently I’ve done almost nothing yet again today.

There was the guitar practice of course, and then tea. Stuffed peppers with rice and veg followed by apple turnover and home-made custard.

And having done that, I’m off to bed. I’m not going to hang around tonight. I’m tired, cold and fed up so a nice long warm-up in bed will do me good. After last night I’ll have one of these sleeping tablets so there might not be a dictaphone entry tomorrow.

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.

Sunday 18th April 2021 – SEEING AS IT’S …

… been a good few days since I’ve had a really good whinge about tourists and holidaymakers, I just thought that I’d let you all have a reminder than I’m still alive and kicking.

Someone once asked me why I was so bad-tempered in my old age and I replied that half of the population over the age of 65 were nothing but bad-tempered old men.
“Why can’t you be like the other half?” they asked.
“Because they are bad-tempered old women!” I retorted.

people playing boules petanque place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo returning to our moutons as they say around here, here’s another bunch of boulers out here having a bit of a play just outside my building.

No sign of any social distancing, and not a single facemask anywhere to be seen. And that explains the 29,344 infections today despite us having been in quarantine for as long as I can remember.

Last night I was hoping to be in bed for as long as I can remember too, but it wasn’t to be. It took me an age to go off to sleep and when I did, I awoke three or four times during the night, two or three times with a bad attack of cramp.

And when I awoke at about 08:30 it was impossible for me to go back to sleep. Even so, it wasn’t until about 10:15 when I finally left my bed.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. And it was something of a disappointment. I started off back home as a kid in Vine Tree Avenue and there was something exciting and adventurous going on but I can’t remember what it was. As soon as I awoke it all disappeared immediately out of my head and I was totally disappointed by that

Later on there was a rock group with a record out rather like THE FACE BEHIND THE MASK and the musicians where two who I didn’t get, one whose name I missed and someone called Keith Carvell. Those two continued the group avec (!!) a couple of other people into Fleetwood Mac with a couple of other people and recorded a song which was playing in my dreams which I can’t remember now. These 4 people were this Fleetwood Mac-type group and 2 of them left leaving the other 2 behind to carry it on and the 2 who left went on to other things outside the music industry.

There was a third thing too that somehow wasn’t recorded, but when I awoke I had this feeling going around in my head about a young girl whose mother had died and her father was suspected of killing her, and as a result she had been left alone to bring up her younger brother. What’s even more strange is that I can actually see her now exactly as I did when I awoke. She looked about 12, a little on the thin side with a small round face with long straight dark brown hair and small round John Lennon glasses. In fact the absolute image of a girl whom I met once in London one summer who by coincidence had the same family name as my own.

First thing that I did after the medication and the dictaphone was to make so dough for another loaf. There’s not much of last week’s loaf left and that’s going to be my lunch so I want another loaf for the next couple of days and for my sandwiches for the road on Wednesday.

And while I was at it I fed the sourdough and the ginger beer mother solution.

The rest of the day has been spent editing the photos from August 2019 in a very leisurely fashion, although most of the time has been spent trying to track down the site of a photo that I took in Upper Wyoming. Of course, when I dictated “a dirt road”, I didn’t realise until today that I had a choice of four dirt roads in the immediate vicinity – and not one of them seems to resemble the photo that I took.

It would ordinarily be easy to identify it by looking at the dashcam images but they are on the memory stick that’s in the pocket of my jacket which, the last time that I saw it, was hanging up on a hook in a hotel room in Calgary in September 2019.

But anyway, I’ve left the site of the battles of the Powder River in 1865 and now I’m following the site of the retreat of General Connor towards Fort Reno. But tomorrow there is going to be a deviation as I shall be coming into the territory of the Johnson County Wars of 1891-92.

There was a break for my usual afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I want across the car park to have a look over the wall down onto the beach to see what was happening.

There wasn’t a great deal of beach to be on but nevertheless the crowds somehow managed it this afternoon. In just this snip of a photo there are about a dozen people featuring on it. The whole beach was like that.

Up here on the cliff there was a wicked wind whirling about and it was quite cold but out of the wind and in the sun it was really quite nice and warm. But there weren’t all that many places out of the wind and in the sun up here.

And the wind didn’t have the effect of keeping down the crowds. It was extremely busy up here and there were endless streams of people moving along the path, masks or no masks.

seabirds people on coastal path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEven down on the coastal path at the foot of the cliffs there were crowds of people.

At the end of the path by the lighthouse I’d wandered off across the lawn and the car park and down to the end of the headland. There was nothing going on out at sea in the bay today. It seems that the frenzy of activity that had taken place in there last week has now ground to a halt. Maybe they have all knocked off the fishing for the weekend.

And that will explain all of the people walking – or in some cases sitting – around the paths this weekend. Had this been during the week, they would all have been out in their trawlers reaping the harvest of the sea.

It’ll also explain the seabirds riding the wavs down there too. With no boats out there fishing today, they have no-one on which to go and prey.

From there I went off along the path on top of the cliffs to the other side of the headland.

fishing boats aground port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw a couple of the fishing boats tied up at the Fish Processing Plant and left to the mercy of the tides.

They are still there today and so that presumably means that they have been left there for all of the weekend. It beats me why they haven’t gone into the inner harbour to be tied up at one of the new pontoons that were installed at great expense two years ago.

The cynic inside me suggests that the great expense of installing the new pontoons has led to a great increase in the mooring fees.

At the chantier navale there was no change in occupancy so I didn’t take a photo of it today.

black mamba charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I walked past the inner harbour I had a glance down – and look who’s back in there!

The yacht Black Mamba burst dramatically onto the scene a while ago, made quite a spectacle of herself and then disappeared just as dramatically. Rather like the Russian ballet, where the dancers some Russian on, go Russian around madly and then go Russian off again near the end.

But anyway here she is again, having crept into the harbour quite recently. I wonder if we will be seeing her strutting her stuff around in the bay over the forthcoming weeks.

Behind her is the yacht Charles Marie who we saw up in the chantier navale for quite a while just recently having her bottom scraped and a general overhaul.

crumbling wall Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s something that caught my eye this afternoon, and it’s something that we’ve seen before, as regular readers of this rubbish might recall.

There’s a pile of stones and moss that have fallen onto the pavement and the edge of the road. And if we look up on the wall of the block of flats here, you’ll notice a shaling of the stonework. To think that at one time I was contemplating buying an apartment in that building. I’m rather glad that I didn’t, with all of that going on.

Back here I kneaded the bread a second time, put it in the mould and then covered it up with a damp tea towel again, leaving it to proof again for another hour or so while I made myself a nice coffee.

After an hour or so I switched on the oven and when it was warm, bunged the bread in. And having kneaded the lump of dough that I’d taken out of the freezer this morning I rolled it out and put it in the pizza tray.

When that had proofed I assembled the pizza and when the bread was cooked, the pizza went into the oven to cook.

home-made bread vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here are the finished products. A vegan pizza and a nice loaf of wholemeal bread with sunflower seeds. The pizza was as usual delicious and I’ll tell you all about the bread tomorrow.

Now I’ve Written my notes I’m off to bed. Nice and early too for a change and I’m quite looking forward to it too. I’m radioing tomorrow of course and then I have a load of scanning and printing to do ready for my trip to Leuven on Wednesday.

It’s surprising just how quickly these four weeks come round. It hardly seems like I’m back home before I have to turn round and go back again.

At least it breaks the monotony of it all, although if I didn’t have this illness life wouldn’t be so monotonous, would it?

Friday 28th August 2020 – THERE WEREN’T …

high tide plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hall… too many people on the beach today when I went out for my afternoon walk.

And that’s hardly surprising – and for several reasons too.

Firstly, the tide was well in, as you can see. In fact it wasn’t far off being high tide – although I suspect that the tide was on its way out just now.

Secondly, the weather was pretty miserable too. There was a very high wind, it was cold and there were occasional rain showers. I actually had a jacket on when I went outside and I can’t say that it was unnecessary.

This morning though was another miserable morning. The alarms, although I heard them, didn’t raise me from my bed. It was about 07:15 when I finally arose.

Nothing on the dictaphone either, although I have a vague memory of being somewhere in Portugal with a dog during the night. And if that’s as ever likely.

This morning, with a great deal of effort, I managed to complete the radio programme that I had been preparing. And that was more difficult than it might seem as well because the timings were all miles out and I had to improvise.

Unbelievably, that took me up to lunchtime. And seeing as I had forgotten to bake any bread this morning I had to make do with taco rolls. It’s a good job that I have a stock of those.

This afternoon I’ve spent working on the photos from my trip around Europe. Not that I’ve gone very far with those because firstly I had my route into the Czech Republic all wrong and I had to spend an hour or two going over one of these satellite imaging sites to see if I could identify anything.

Once I’d done that, I managed to trace and old abandoned building that I had seen. Once I’d identified it I was able to do some research about it and in the end I managed to find (in Czech) some information about it.

Czech was not a language that I learnt – they didn’t join the EU until after I had left – so I ended up having to teach myself a little Czech vocabulary in order to work out what it was that I was reading.

Mind you, it took me long enough.

yachts english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallIn between all of this I braved the weather to go out for my afternoon walk.

There was plenty of wind, as I said earlier, but it’s an ill-wind that doesn’t blow anyone any good because there were certainly plenty of people taking advantage of it.

Not only did we have the yacht schools out there today, there was probably a dozen or so of them performing some kind of nautical danse macabre out at sea in the English Channel.

trees with blankets on trunks square maurice marland granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom the rue du Nord I carried on to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset to watch the high tide, and then I walked around to the Square Maurice Marland to see what was going on there.

Not a lot, as it happened, but it was amusing to see what was going on with some of the trees there.

There was no indication at all to suggest what was the purpose of these woollen wrappings around the trunks. It beats me – after all, it’s not as if it is winter yet – but there must be some kind of purpose to it all.

black mamba baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallWe’ve seen plenty of yachts out in the English Channel, but there were also quite a few on the other side of the headland in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Regular readers of this rubbish will have seen this one before. It’s Black Mamba and she put in an appearance a few weeks before I went off on my travels on Spirit of Conrad.

She’s been hanging around now ever since, and one of these days I shall have to go along and chat to the skipper to find out some more about the vessel.

old cars jaguar xj s granville manche normandy france eric hallHow long is it since we’ve had an old car on these pages?

Round by the Eglise Notre Dame I saw this vehicle parked up. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen several old jaguars around the town, but we’ve not seen anything as rare as this old Jaguar XJ-S

It’s difficult to tell whether this is a Mark I or a Mark III. The side repeaters on the Mark III are different but on the Mark I it didn’t have them.

That makes me think that it’s a mark I with aftermarket repeaters, but that’s just a wild guess. Whatever it is, it’s certainly interesting.

Back here I carried on with my photos and then stopped for tea. There was some stuffing left from my pepper so I lengthened it with some kidney beans and had more taco rolls, followed by apple crumble

My evening walk was completely uneventful. There was no-one about in this wicked wind and there was nothing whatever going on. The only excitement was that there were still seven boats in the chantier navale.

Shopping tomorrow so i’m having an early night – I hope. And I need it too because I’m exhausted. Here’s hoping that tomorrow will be somewhat better.