Category Archives: belle france

Monday 9th May 2022 – HERE’S A SIGHT …

victor hugo belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022…. that I am more than happy to see.

Over there moored at the quayside is Victor Hugo, one of the two ferries that run out to the Channel Islands. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the service from Granville restarted on the 5th of May after a break of over two years (with the exception of one very short week).

There was this worrying feeling that with the end of the gravel boats and the cancellation of the Big Wheel, the ferry to the Channel Islands would be the next thing that this mayor would cancel in his valiant attempt to turn the town into some kind of haven for luxury retirees rather than a working, bustling seaport.

And so I for one am more than pleased to see the service restart.

place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But what comes with one hand goes with the other.

On Saturday I made the remark that the kiddies’ roundabout was back in the Place Charles de Gaulle during the outdoor market. But today, there it was! Gone! And never called me “mother”!

Never mind “musical chairs”. That roundabout is certainly doing the rounds a darn sight quicker than I can keep up with it.

Anyway, last night despite going to bed rather later than I intended, I still managed to be up and about “fairly shortly” after 06:00, beating the second alarm rather comfortably even if I didn’t feel much like it.

After the medication I had two radio programmes to prepare. I’d written the notes while I was in Leuven last week so that saved me some time but even so, it still took an age to complete everything. It wasn’t until 12:35 that both programmes were finished.

There had been a few pauses during the proceedings of course. I felt that I had the kind of thirst that you could photograph so I had several mugs of coffee during the morning, as well as stopping for breakfast.

And then the nurse came round to give me my injection for today.

When it was finished I made myself a big bowl of leek and potato soup. There was a big frozen mass of leeks in the freezer that weren’t doing much and having been brought several packs of hot cross buns last weekend seeing as I had run out, I needed to make some space in the freezer

While that was cooking I went and had a shower and a clean-up. And then filled the washing machine ready for when I go out later. I’m running out of clothes again.

The soup was delicious. Nice and thick and creamy and there’s enough for three days in total. And I’ll have to make some more some other time. The cumin and tarragon in it gave it an additional bite.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Having set the washing machine off on a cycle (a very clever washing machine, mine) I went out for my physiotherapy appointment.

First thing though was to stop at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne where I can look down on what’s going on at the fish processing plant.

And as you might expect, L’Omerta is still tied up there. It looks as if she’s moved in there permanently now. Mind you, the other boat that was there yesterday, Petite Laura, she has moved away. There’s another boat tucked away around the corner but I can’t see who she is.

There were plenty of seagulls floating around down there too, waiting for some shellfish to drop off the quayside.

la granvillaise trawler l'ecume 2 j158 fishing boat valesque le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There was plenty of other excitement going on out there this afternoon.

My attention had been caught by the boat that was over there out at sea. Even though we can’t see her registration number at this distance, my money is on her being G90 – La Granvillaise. The shape of the lasts and the sails, even if they aren’t all unfurled, would seem to indicate that

And there’s still plenty of activity in the chantier naval. From left to right we have an unidentified boat, then L’Ecume II, Valesque, and then another unidentified boat. By the looks of things Le Roc A La Mauve III has finally gone back into the water after all this time.

boules petanque place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022My route into town took me down past the Place Pelley and the Bar Ephemere.

When we came past here on Saturday there wasn’t anyone down there playing boules, which took me by surprise because it seems to be an unstoppable national sport. But they are making up for it today. There are plenty of boulonauts down there right now.

The walk up the hill was strangely difficult today, and I don’t know why that might be. It might have been quite warm outside but nothing else had changed.

And starting today I have a new physiotherapist. She took my X-rays and MRI Scans and then put me through several tests before giving me a few exercises.

At least having all of these different people means that I’m having all kinds of different tests and that can only be a good thing.

ambulance rue couraye rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022On the way home, down at the bottom of the hill there was yet more excitement.

There was an emergency ambulance parked at the corner of the Rue Couraye and the Rue Paul Poirier, complete with blue flashing light. There wasn’t anyone in attendance though and I couldn’t see where they had gone.

On the corner of the Rue Lecampion I had to go to the pharmacy. The nurse this morning asked me to ask them for a container to deposit my discarded needles. He usually takes them away but I imagine that he’s being overloaded right now. I’ve “had the summons” to have my fourth Covid injection (which he’ll be doing next time he passes) and if I’ve been summoned, so has everyone else.

building work rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022If the walk up the hill to the physiotherapist was tough, the walk up the Rue des Juifs back home was even tougher.

There were several occasions where I had to stop to catch my breath, one of which was just by where there was some building work going on. We had a skip lorry with crane and another small lorry in attendance.

It’s one thing that I’ve noticed, that there seems to be more and more renovation work taking place about the town, either rebuilding or renovating existing apartments or building new ones.

It’s quite a boom business now, but I bet that it’s not going to result in many more permanent homes. Holiday accommodation and Air B&B lets seem to be the way that things are going, pricing permanent residents out of the market.

classe decouvert rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Another thing that I’ve mentioned … “quite often” – ed … on these pages is what is called the classe decouverte.

This involves school kids being taken out of their normal environment to experience life elsewhere. And here is one such class, all congregating underneath the tree by the drawbridge into the walled city while someone was telling them all about the French Revolution.

The walled city is quite important because revolutionary forces defended it against counter-revolutionaries in a famous battle during the Revolution.

The conversation sounded quite interesting and I was in half a mind to hang around and hear the end of it but I was gripped by a raging thirst and wanted to go home.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022First though, I had to go down to the wall at the end of the car park to have a look down on the beach to see what is happening down there.

Plenty of people down there sunning themselves on the sand and a couple of people out there on a zodiac. But no-one brave enough to go in the water, which was a surprise because it’s a lovely afternoon right now.

Back here I had a coffee and then listened to the dictaphone to find out where I’ve been during the night. I was starting to shave myself with an electric razor last night but no matter how hard I tried, it hardly made any impact at all. I was there for hours trying to shave my face but there was very little hair coming off. I thought that I was going to be here for hours but I had to do it. Now that I’d started, it would look a mess if I only were to do a bit of it. After about an hour I had a feel of my face. There was still plenty on it in places. There was a knock at the door and a girl came in carrying my breakfast. I was lying on the floor trying to do my face so she didn’t see me at first. Eventually she put down the tray and we had a chat. I offered her some of my breakfast but I was still concerned about this shaving and getting my face done so I could hurry up and go out.

Having listened to the radio programmes that I prepared today, I went for tea. Pie with veg and gravy.

And now that I’ve written my notes I’m off to bed. I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to be on form. But there’s not much danger of that.

Sunday 24th April 2022 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… my walk this afternoon took me around the medieval city walls to see what was happening around there.

And so while you admire the progress that they have been making with the repointing of the medieval city walls in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux and the Rue du Nord, I’ll tell you all about my rather quiet day today.

“Quiet” was definitely the word to use because it didn’t actually start until 11:40 when I finally fell, not without a great deal of difficulty, out of bed.

And even then I wasn’t really in all that much of a mood to do very much for a while.

repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022After brunch I eventually buckled down to work and the first task was to pair up the music of the next radio programme.

That didn’t take too long and then I turned my attention to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

There was a war on. The whole system of supply chains and everything was totally disrupted and nothing was being produced anywhere. One person organised something that churned out tonnes of stuff much quicker than anything else had ever been churned out and was rescuing people from cars (including a girl in a wheelchair whom I know), all kinds of things. It became some kind of by-word on the TV what he was doing but someone actually went behind the scenes afterwards and showed loads of collateral damage that had been done. This was really something that could only be done once because they couldn’t afford the damage that was being committed to the infrastructure and everything in doing it. There was litter and junk abandoned all over the place that couldn’t ever be used again. Barges were just emptied and dumped and didn’t go back for return loads etc.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was also something about a delivery service something like ours … “whose?” – ed … that had all kinds of weird and strange rules about delivery. They were catching people out because of the volume of stuff that they were sending. There was one case where they were sending stuff to be collected by a young family on behalf of a relative but were totally overwhelmed with packets. They had to bring in someone from the company to try to deal with all of these deliveries and deal with all of these children as well in this family who were being disturbed by the continual flow of parcels etc. Again there were parcels dumped all over the place. It was like a runaway juggernaut type of situation with these kids in a pram or pushchair and this guy from the parcel company trying to control them and the parcels, trying to obtain all of the address details changed etc. These two dreams were extremely stressful.

Finally there was a group of soldiers, an informal group who rode into a fort in order to help defend it. They eventually found where the colonel’s office was. He was totally intoxicated rather like the colonel in THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY. He told them to take their place wherever they thought fit. Having had a tour of the walls with the colonel, the guy in charge took a huge lump of bread and some cheese, pickels etc and went back to his men. He started to talk to them about the defence of the city and the battle and shared out the food amongst them.

When I listened to what was on the dictaphone, I was quite surprised. I was convinced that there was much more than this too. I had the feeling that I was awake for much of the night dictating into the dictaphone. I know that in the past I’ve caught myself dictating into my hand instead of the dictaphone and I wonder if I’ve been doing that again.

All of this took me up to the time when I would usually go for walkies around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But as I had made up my mind to go around the walls this afternoon I made a little diversion to have a look over the wall at the end of the car park to see who was down on the bach this afternoon.

Although there was quite a strong wind it was really bright and sunny this afternoon and so there wre quite a few people down there, not that there was an awful lot of beach to be on right now.

No-one actually brave enough to put their feet in the water though. It wasn’t actually that warm. That will probably be for another time later on. There are a couple more Bank Holidays coming up imminently

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While I was out there looking down at the beach I had my roving eye looking around out at sea.

Although there was quite a haze out there and not even the Ile de Chausey was visible, there was plenty of activity just offshore. There was a cabin cruiser and a couple of speedboats for a start, and probably a few other things that I couldn’t make out.

No fishing boats though – they must all be having a day off today.

So I pushed on … “pushed off” – ed … along the path down past where they were repairing the medieval city walls, dodging the English family with the dog who were trying to negotiate the scaffolding.

But the repairs are continuing along the Rue du Nord right now, even though the big crack in the walls where they have been repairing is filling me with some kind of concern.

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022From the Place du Marché aux Chevaux I passed through the arch and along the path underneath the walls where I used to go running all that time ago.

Down at the viewpoint overlooking the beach at the Plat Gousset I stopped to have a look down there to see what was happening.

The summer season hasn’t officially started yet. The promenade cabins haven’t arrived on the Plat Gosset yet and the diving platform on the pillar hasn’t been put back. I imagine that that’s for some other time later on.

The tidal swimming pool is looking nice though, although no-one is taking advantage of that right now either.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022From there I continued on to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Maréchal Foch.

As well as the vertical-axis wind turbine spinning around in the foreground, we had lots of people milling around on the beach and on the Plat Gousset. The fine weather has certainly brought them out in their droves.

Even the seagull that bombed the photograph on the extreme left-hand edge seemed to be enjoying itself too as it prepares to alight on the roof of the casino down there.

seagull nesting rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While we’re on the subject of seagulls … “well, one of us is” – ed … it’s that time of year again.

The town’s gardeners have been out cutting the grass and the seagulls have been collecting it. They’ve built all of their nests on the roofs of the houses and they are now settling down to lay their eggs.

In a couple of weeks we might catch sight of the eggs and then we can watch the seagull chicks slowly growing up. I shall have to make a note to come by this way more often in order to watch the events as they unfold until the chicks are ready to fly away.

planters square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Here in the Square Maurice Marland there have been a few more developments too.

A few years ago they spent a lot of money renovating the square and then the let it run to seed somewhat. At one time just recently it was looking quite shabby.

However, while I’ve not been paying attantion, they have been slowly bringing it back into condition.

These planters are quite new. They certainly weren’t here before. I wonder what we’re going to see planted in them.

marité belle france ch711273 hermes 1 ch651332 hera ch639451 philcathane ch642969 Galapagos sm734551 hermine Bastien Steeven pl626645 Le P'tit Caprice port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Back into town there wasn’t anything happening so I went to have a look at the port.

With having seen no fishing boats out at sea this afternoon I was expecting to see them all in the harbour. And they certainly were there too.

Quite a few whom we have seen before, like Hermes I, Hera, Philcathane and Galapagos but there are a couple there who are strangers. SM734551 is called Hermine Bastien Steeven, the SM telling us that despite her Dutch name, is from Saint Malo, and PL626645 is called Le P’tit Caprice, registered down the coast at Paimpol in Brittany.

Marité and Belle France are in there today too which is a surprise. They ought to be out at sea earning their keep with a couple of loads of tourists.

Back here I had a coffee and then sat down with the guitar. On the playlist earlier, the song ROLL ME AWAY had come round. When I listened closely to it, I reckoned that it was a fairly simple chord progression so I sat down to work it out.

And it works too. So for my next trick I’ll work out a bass line to it.

Regular readers will recall that I said in the past that I won’t add any more songs to my own acoustic playlist set until I can master the ones there, but this particular one has always been a favourite of mine and it has a certain significance.

“Stood alone on a mountain top
Starin’ out at the Great Divide
I could go East, I could go West
It was all up to me to decide”

Doesn’t that remind me of when I was standing up there on the HIGH PLAINS OF WYOMING in 2002?

And what about
“12 hours out of Mackinaw City
Stopped in a bar to have a brew
Met a girl and we had a few drinks
And I told her what I’d decided to do
She looked out the window a long long moment
Then she looked into my eyes
She didn’t have to say a thing
I knew what she was thinkin’
Roll, roll me away
Won’t you roll me away tonight
I too am lost, I feel double-crossed
And I’m sick of what’s wrong and what’s right
We never even said a word
We just walked out and got on that bike
And we rolled
And we rolled clean out of sight
We rolled across the high plains
Deep into the mountains
Felt so good to me
Finally feelin’ free
Somewhere along a high road
The air began to turn cold
She said she missed her home
I headed on alone”
?

And the air certainly was cold where we were at the time that all of this was going on. Yes, one day I really will, I promise you, write about those three missing days on my blog.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Tea tonight was, as usual, a vegan pizza.

After lunch I’d taken out a lump of frozen dough from the freezer and it had been happily defrosting during the afternoon. When I’d finished what I’d needed to do I rolled it out and when it had proofed I assembled it.

After last week’s unsatisfactory attempt when it was overcooked, I turned the oven down slightly today and that produced a much better effort. I didn’t break any teeth this evening.

But I’m off to bed in a minute. An early start and a radio programme to complete. And two to send off – I mustn’t forget that, as I’m not here next week.

Well, in fact I’m not all here at any time but let’s not bog ourselves down in semantics.

Tuesday 19th April 2022 – THINGS ARE MOVING …

cherry picker rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… at the site of the huge fire in the Rue du Midi the other week

On my way down into town for my physiotherapy appointment this afternoon I came across a rather large cherry picker parked in the Rue des Juifs.

With some men up there with a load of building material it looks as if they are starting the repairs to at least one of the houses that was badly damaged in the fire.

Of course, they can’t leave them open to the elements for too long. If the rain sets in there will be more than just the roof than needs replacing.

What else was moving this morning was me – a good few minutes before the first alarm went off as well. Never mind being able to do it when I have to, this just goes to prove that I can do it when I don’t have to as well.

So why can’t I do it all the time? That’s what beats me.

Once I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages I settled down to deal with the slowest radio programme on record – at least since I have been properly organised. It wasn’t finished until after I returned from the physiotherapist and I still haven’t heard it yet to make sure that it’s OK.

And that’s despite the fact that I’d written some of the notes over the weekend as well.

What happened today was that I was plagued by a whole series of interruptions. I was actually making good time, regardless of coffee and breakfast breaks, and then Rosemary rang me. It goes without saying that that threw all of my plans into a cocked hat because we are quite capable of chatting about nothing at all for several hours.

As it happens, Rosemary has a real problem right now, a problem relating to her health, and she needed a shoulder to lean on.

After we had finished I had to dash around and steam-clean the apartment. It’s been a good few weeks since I’ve done that and I have visitors this afternoon so it needs to be something like.

After lunch my visitor arrived. He has plans to set up a ratline bringing Ukrainian refugees from the Polish border to Normandy on the train and we wanted to pick my brains, such as they are

He’s not actually going to find it as easy as it might be because there are a lot of variables in all of this and even knowing the ropes, doing research, having the contacts and the accommodation (because you aren’t going to do it in an 18-hour railway day) I still ended up having to wait around for hours

Moving small groups around is reasonably straightforward, especially if I’m going that way anyway, but he’s talking about doing it with large numbers and that’s completely impractical, especially on the Paris Underground.

My advice was to go to Moldova and hire a coach and a couple of drivers.

No problem with finding accommodation there. Everyone can sleep on the coach as it’s travelling. Two drivers can do a 28-hour shift between them and that’s all you need to come up from Chisinau. I’ve done that a couple of times in the past when the roads and the coaches were nothing like as good as they are now..

After he’d gone I had a shower and cleaned myself up, and then set out for the physiotherapist.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As my appointment is later than usual today, it was round about the right time for me to go and look down onto the beach so I headed off in that direction.

Of course, it’s no longer Bank Holiday so quite a few people are now back at work. Consequently I wasn’t expecting to see all that many people down there on the beach this afternoon.

And I was right too. There couldn’t have been more than a dozen people down there. Mind you, it was extremely windy again, but that’s not usually enough to keep people off the beach when it’s nice and sunny.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Next stop, as usual, is the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was happening down at the port.

The three boats that we saw moored up at the quayside down there yesterday have moved on but there is another, different boat moored down there this afternoon.

And no prizes for guessing who she is either because we’ve seen her down there on dozens of occasions in the past. It is of course L’Omerta, one of the big shell-fishing boats.

The tide is well out so she’s going to be there a few hours yet at least until she can float off elsewhere.

reroofing rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Having taken my photograph I headed off down the hill towards the cherry picker in the Rue des Juifs.

From here, we can see what is going on and why they have the cherry picker. There are a couple of people up there in the nacelle taking roofing material up there onto the roof. The repair work to that house seems to be beginning in earnest.

As for the ruins of the burnt-out one next door, there isn’t really all that much that anyone can do to it. I imagine that they will have to pull it down in the end. The stench of burnt wood would be enough to put off anyone from living in there again.

bar ephemere place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And on that note I carried on down the hill into town.

The last time that we were this way we saw them beginning to set up Chez Maguie, the Bar Ephemère or “temporary bar” that is set up on the corner of the boulodrome for the summer.

It’s pretty much all set up now and I imagine that it will be opening up before too long, although I would have expected it to have been open in time to catch the Easter trade, especially as Easter is so late this year.

Nevertheless, the presence of the Bar Ephemère isn’t putting off the boulonauts. They are still carrying on around all of the other activity down there. It takes more than this to put them off their stride.

road closed rue roger maris Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On my way up the hill towards the physiotherapist I noticed that the Rue Roger Maris was still closed.

What I’ll do will be to go that way home and find out why. There didn’t seem to be too much going on to cause it to be closed for so long the last time I was there.

Today I had a new physiotherapist. She explained the results of my MRI scan and it doesn’t sound as particularly serious as I thought it might have been. Still, we’ll see what the doctor has to say next week.

As for my treatment, she gave my knee a massage with the electric machine and then had me doing a few exercises.

rue roger maris rue du boscq place des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Having been thrown out until next Monday, I headed off to find out what was happening in the Rue Roger Maris.

And what I could see was “nothing at all”. There doesn’t seem to be any reason why the road should be closed.

However what I could see was that they had been putting sets of studs in the road, presumably to mark out a pedestrian crossing of some description. But that’s all completed now anyway so the road ought to be open.

There wasn’t anything of any interest going on in the town centre so I pushed on up the hill.

marité belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On the way up the hill towards home I stopped for a look down into the harbour.

Marité is down there, back from her overhaul. But I’m surprised to see that she’s not out working this afternoon. There are plenty of people around and so there’s a marketing opportunity that’s being missed here.

Not that it surprises me. I’ve made several remarks in the past about the staff who run the operation who seem to be much more interested in chatting amongst themselves rather than dealing with customer enquiries.

Belle France, the new Ile de Chausey ferry, is down there too. The other two boats are missing though, presumably running out to the Ile de Chausey.

government boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was something else that caught my eye while I was looking around the port.

Over there on the right is a boat that I haven’t seen before. She’s in the colours of the French Government so she’s presumably an official boat but I’ve no idea what she’s doing in the harbour.

And in the background there’s a mechanical digger doing some work. That’s something that has escaped my notice until this afternoon. I’ve not seen anything about that anywhere either.

But while we’re on the subject of the port and the redevelopment, the story that I mentioned yesterday of the Big Wheel not coming to the town is creating all kinds of controversy and I expect that there will be much more to say about that in the near future.

trawlers fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Another thing that I noticed was what I thought was some kind of strange phenomenon on one of the trawlers just down there.

At first I thought that it was a trick of the light, some kind of prismatic effect creating all kinds of arrays of colour, but a closer examination revealed that it’s just a collection of plastic boxes.

The chute and pipework at the side of the trawler by the way is an ice chute. The trawlers fill their holds with ice before they leave and that helps keep the catch fresh until they return to port.

Back here I had a coffee and listened to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

it started off with something about Ukrainian people coming to Shavington for shelter, all loaded up with all kinds of fishing equipment but I can’t remember any more about it than this

And then there was a prison break organised for a town in Mexico with some young boy in soldier’s uniform who had gone to see a bandit chief about smuggling 3 revolvers into the local prison so that they could escape. 3 American women came into town and ended up working at some kind of job in town where they could watch everything and keep an eye on the prison break. They set up the town so that there were all kinds of weapons like machetes and daggers deposited in certain strategic places so that if these guys escaped but lost their guns could grab hold of some kind of weapon to defend themselves as they tried to make their way out of town.

Later on I was browsing through a newspaper and came across an advert for a Suzuki GS550 4-cylinder for sale for £1000. It said “ex-Shearings” on it so I was rather tempted by that. My brother rang up the garage in London and yes, they still had one. He said that it was a 1987 model so I took over the phone and had a talk to them about it. It had had new shock absorbers all round and a few other bits and pieces so I said that if I paid £100 deposit could they keep it for the weekend and I could come down and listen to it. If it was making any strange noises I could have my money back otherwise I’d pay the balance. They agreed to that so I gave them my details where they could send their details. Then I spoke to my friend from the Wirral and asked if he fancied a trip down to London on Saturday. He said that he had something to do but he could do it early in the morning then we could go down to pick it up. One of the young girls there said that we had to take 2 cars because she didn’t want to see a motorbike so I had to sit by her and ask her what was the matter with motorbikes, why she didn’t want to see one and what problems she had etc.

Finally I was in Virlet last night. There were quite a few of us round at my house including my brother. He was spending all his time tormenting the next-door neighbour’s dog. In the end I told him off and told him to leave the dog alone. The next-door neighbour came out with his dog and a couple of people who were there and we all started to go for a walk. They came round to where we were standing and had a little discussion. Then we went off for this walk having something of a chat. We ended up back at my house. A little girl who was with us and one with them went and sat next to each other and started to play. The guy asked questions about my tomato plants that I had growing. A girl with me borrrowed my pen and wrote out a note for him. It all started to become reasonably friendly. I thought that this doesn’t sound like my normal neighbours to me. I wonder what’s the matter with them.

And I wish that my brother would clear off. It’s rather annoying having my family hanging around like this. I ran away from home 50 years ago this summer in order to put as much distance as possible between me and the rest of them and I really can’t do with them keeping on coming back like this to haunt me during the night when there are many more people, like Castor, zero and TOTGA for example whom I would much rather see.

As I have said before … “and on several occasions too” – ed … I don’t mind Nerina putting in an appearance every now and again. After all, I did quite happily invite her to share my life, for better or for worse, and I would much rather have her about than quite a few people I could name.

Tea was the stuffed pepper that I should have had last night – well, in actual fact it was one that I found from the previous week that I had forgotten but found when I was vacuuming out the vegetable trays. Still, it was just as delicious. I put a bit more chili powder in it and that gave it something more of a kick.

Tomorrow I have my travel arrangements to make. I’m going a few days earlier, for reasons that will become clear in due course.

But if fortune smiles upon me which I hope that it will, something for which I have been hoping for the last 30 years will surely come to pass, and there might even need to be a name-change somewhere along the line.

Monday 11th April 2022 – I REALLY SHOULD …

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, back to where we ought to be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not now though. I pushed on to the physiotherapist.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 29th March 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There’s no holding me back right now.

Monday 14th March 2022 – THERE HAS BEEN …

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

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

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

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

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

How disappointing is that?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 4th March 2022 – I’M NOT CONVINCED …

… about these pills that I’m supposed to be taking before I go to bed.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While you admire a photo of the crowds of people on the beach this afternoon, what with going to bed early last night I took one of them. And I fell asleep quite quickly.

It didn’t stop me from going off on a few nocturnal travels though, some of which were quite incomprehensible. At the very beginning there was something very amazing about 3 little shopping bags that were like boats floating on the water. People were using them to take things to places but it was really confused I can’t remember anything about it apart from that.

Later on we were with Nerina round at the home of someone from the Welsh group. We were just talking around etc and we suddenly had to leave. She had made this big pile of sandwiches and so she gave us some of them, salad and hummus sandwiches. We ended up taking them and left. Just as we were going she said something like “don’t forget to bring back some of that gorgeous cake when you come back”. Nerina and I bumped into someone else and told them the story of the sandwiches and cake which they thought was funny. Nerina asked “what time should we go back?”. I didn’t know so she said ‘how about 14:45 and we can have a siesta before we go back in the afternoon?”. On the was back was a very narrow lane which was very difficult for 2 vehicles to negotiate. I was driving down and someone came round the corner in an old C15 van. He saw me coming but pushed on regardless. We had to do some incredible negotiation so that he could go past but in the end he dropped into a ditch and couldn’t extricate himself. I couldn’t stay where I was – I had to go on further but in the meantime someone else came and instead of waiting where it was safe he pushed on as well. I said to the second guy “what a stupid thing to do, trying to pass here with these ditches. It was much safer to pass back there where you’ve just come from.

And later on, I was in a gym. There was a set of weights , the bar and weights, that were in a ramp. I was underneath it ad I was having to lift up this ramp with this set of weights, hold it above my head and then lower it down. As far as I knew I went off and I was doing that

At some other point I was in hospital having my treatment but they weren’t giving me my infusion, they were examining me all over and they pushed this huge, enormous needle like a knitting needle into my arm and I had a panic attack. Everyone else started to laugh. I thought that that was most unprofessional and most unpleasant and I was really annoyed and angry by this. They didn’t seem to take my worries seriously – it was all a big joke and I was so annoyed. The woman came round with the trolley with sandwiches on it but there were no sandwiches on it for me and that made me even more annoyed. I disconnected myself, went outside to my motorbike and went for a ride. I ended up on the A51 that leads out of Nantwich towards Chester. As I was going up the hill towards the canal this absolutely enormous monster aeroplane flew overhead. I couldn’t find my camera so I stopped to rummage through my affairs by which time this aeroplane had flown away by the time that I found my camera. I was having a friendly chat with a little kid who was having some grief from his parents for something or other. As I was putting away my stuff a woman came up to me and said “if you need your washing doing let me know”. I couldn’t work out what she meant. I had to ask her 3 or 4 times for an explanation. It turned out that I was parked in the entrance to a hotel and she thought that I was staying there. I explained what was happening and the doorkeeper for the hotel came over to talk to me. he told me that I was lucky that I wasn’t dragged in and had to pay for a meal or something. I said that he probably noticed that I was polite and courteous to this woman. He replied “yes, that’s why you didn’t have any trouble. We were also impressed about how you were talking to that child”. I had to wait for someone to finish their ‘phone call before I could go into the ‘phone box to make myself ready. I put my things in the top box of the motorbike but it wouldn’t close. I had to spend some time on it to make it close. I then went to kickstart to motorcycle but the piston stuck in the barrel so that it wouldn’t kickstart. I thought “this is another one of those days that really isn’t my day, isn’t it?”.

Finally there were 3 young girls and I’ve no idea who they were, wandering around somewhere in this town. They had a bottle of spirits with them. They were having a crafty drink of these spirits as they were going around but something went wrong, one of them disappeared and the other 2 made a quick getaway. They carried on walking away from this town drinking these spirits. They caught up with the third girl. Then this scene drifted to the 3rd girl waking up. She could remember what happened up to that point where they’d met up but the rest was a complete blank. She couldn’t understand it. She’d never had a lot of drink before. One of her friends who had awoken came to join her and they were trying to dress. It looked extremely funny watching them having to swap socks, swap shoes because they couldn’t remember whose was whose and they were in a completely intoxicated state and well out of everything. They finally were ready and I had to take them somewhere. I had to fiddle with my camera to find out where I was and get my camera at the end of the reel, I suppose. My sister was with me. She suggested “that’s where you are isn’t it?”. I replied “no, I’m roling the film round the other way”. Eventually I could reach the starting place so that we could all prepare to leave.

When the alarm went off it was a real struggle for me to leave my bed. I finally managed to struggle out just before the second alarm but it didn’t do me too good because after my medication I came back in here to start work but instead I crashed right out.

10:10 when I finally awoke – for the first time – and I fell asleep a second time early in the afternoon too. I’m not quite sure what these pills are supposed to do but I don’t think that they are supposed to do that.

After transcribing the dictaphone notes, I performed the back-up on the computer that I should have done a couple of days ago on the First of the month. And then copied onto the portable USB drive that’s on my door key the files that need backing up onto the portable computer that I take with me to Leuven

All of that took me up to lunchtime. And with having finished the half of loaf that wasn’t in the freezer, I made lunch with some taco rolls. No sense in defrosting half a loaf for today that will then stand idle until Monday.

This afternoon the first thing that I had to do was to bring up-do-date the database that I keep for my radio programmes. The events of the last week or so have meant that some of the radio shows have had to be shuffled around, a few new ones inserted, all that kind of thing, that have led to several changes.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I went outside for my afternoon walk around the headland.

We’ve already seen a photo of the crowds of people down on the beach, and here’s a few more. And one or two of them look as if they might be brave souls who have actually been for a walk into the sea.

It’s not exactly the kind of weather for the sea today. It was overcast and quite windy but, as seems to be the thing these days, it’s not as cold as it might be for this time of year. We haven’t had a winter at all this year. Just two days of frost and that’s all.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And, as usual, I was also looking out at sea to see what was going on there.

In the distance was something or other so I walked all the way down to the end of the headland to take a photo that I could enhance when I returned home and have a look at what it might be.

It’s actually a trawler out there in the bay. The tide is too far out right now for the gates to the inner harbour to be opened in the very near future so it’s probably working out there. They are popping up in all kinds of strange places these days.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Whether the pople down on the beach at the Rue du Nord were engaged in the peche à pied I couldn’t really say.

But this lot down here on the rocks at the end of the headland are certainly having a go. These people here are just a few of the hordes who were down there this afternoon, armed with all of the equipment necessary.

There wasn’t anyone at the cabanon vauban this afternoon – presumably the lure of the peche à pied was too much for them – so I carried on around the path towards the port on the other side of the headland.

courrier des iles, le roc a la mauve 3 la granvillaise charles marie spirit of conrad les bouchots de chausey chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And at the chantier naval there’s even more excitement this afternoon.

We now have a couple more boats in there – boats that we all know quite well because we’ve seen them quite often during the summer.

G90 is of course easy to identify. She’s La Granvillaise. And then the blue and white boat next to Spirit of Conrad is Charles Marie. Both of these boats do charter trips around the bay during the season.

The ferry terminal is empty this afternoon. Both the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou and the Ile de Chausey ferry Joly France have cleared off.

belle france joly france chausiaise marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As for where Joly France might be, she isn’t moored in the inner harbour.

Her younger sister is down there on the left with Belle France and Chausiaise. Joly France is probably out somewhere running a trip to the Ile de Chausey.

Marité is down there too. She hasn’t moved for a while but I imagine that she’ll be off on her travels quite soon. She’ll need her certificate to carry passengers and as the portable boat lift isn’t strong enough to lift her ut of the water she has to go off elsewhere where she can be lifted out of the water.

removing vegetation medieval city walls rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022A little further on along the path I could see in the distance that there was some work going on on the medieval city walls in the Rue des Juifs.

When I was on my way to town the other day I noticed that there were “no parking” signs down there. And what they are doing is attacking the vegetation that’s been growing up the walls.

If the roots penetrate the mortar they will chisel it out and make the walls unstable, which is why they have to keep on removing it.

Back here I had a coffee and then pushed on with another pile of photos from my trip to the High Arctic in 2019. I’m now at Qikiqtarjuaq – Broughton Island – off the coast of Canada in he Davis Strait.

And I’m not sure why we called there when there was an abandoned whaling station just 50 miles up the coast from here that would have been far more interesting for me.

There was a quick tea tonight because there was football on the internet later – YNS v Y Fflint. TNS won 2-1 as you might expect but it might have been a different story had Y Fflint’s goalkeeper and their attackers been on better form. They certainly had the chances.

While I was watching the game I was talking to Rosemary. She had rung me up on the telephone and there was a lot of things to discuss, given the state of the world right now.

And now I’m off to bed. It’s late but nevertheless I’ll take a pill tonight and see what happens. I hope that I have a better morning tomorrow than I did today.

Wednesday 2nd March 2022 – IN WHAT MUST SURELY …

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

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

Whatever he had done yesterday was clearly not good enough.

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

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

We are living in interesting times.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some people don’t realise how lucky they are.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 14th February 2022 – HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY …

… to everyone who has not been wished a Happy Valentine’s Day by anyone else today. I didn’t even have a Valentine’s wish from any of my virtual travelling companions either which was rather depressing. You can rest assured that I wished all of them a Happy Valentine.

It’s the only available female company that I can find these days. Times are definitely hard.

What a state to be in, hey?

Last night although I was tired, I couldn’t go to sleep and it wasn’t until about midnight or thereabouts that I finally crawled into bed.

And there I stayed until about 09:30. I’d been awake for an hour or so before that and I couldn’t go back to sleep so in the end I crawled back out again. So much for my idea of staying in bed until I awoke.

Well, I suppose that I actually did really, but that wasn’t quite what I meant.

After the medication I spent much of the morning slowly working through the notes of where I’d been during the night. I was giving a language course last night on board a ship. One person was going to come along and join in. He hadn’t taken part in any of the others. I knew that someone had put a few notes about pronouns into the mailbox of the class so when the class assembled I rummaged through the mails, folders and files, everything that was there. I found this paper and gave it to him. I said that he needed to give it back to me after the class because I had to write it out properly, photocopy it and give it to everyone. Someone said “you are a one, aren’t you? Giving him a note that’s going to have to make him work down it sideways”. I rounded on them and said “I don’t really know if you understand how much I have to do for you and I’m busy co-ordinating all of this, busy writing a play for the office, busy with 4 or 5 other different things that I had on the go. And of course I have my normal work to do as well. If anyone would like to do any of this for me I’d be more than grateful for whatever assistance I could get”.

And later on we were in the USA heading north into Mexico, don’t ask me how, scrambling over the fields etc. We were saying that with the USA at war we would find the countryside so much emptier when we cross the border. We set off and scrambled through these rocks in these fields and when we came to a main road we had to hide behind a fence or wall until a car went past. Then another came past, travelling quite quickly through these bends but on its correct side of the road. Another car came the other way doing the same thing but this one was slightly over on the other side of the road. It hit the first car and spun it round. The driver of the second car tried to drive away but the one in the first car rammed him so that he couldn’t go. We ran over there to see what was happening and the driver of the car was someone we knew. I challenged him about trying to drive off. He said “you did the same thing once didn’t you?”. I replied that I hadn’t but what did that have to do with anything anyway. A big argument developed between the two of us. He finally calmed down so I went over to the Spanish guy in the other car to see what he was going to do now

There was a dance taking place in the town. A whole group of us went, mainly people like the friends of a girl whom I once knew in the Auvergne, dressed in a hippy-type of trendy clothes etc. I was just in my usual outfit but that brought a fit of derision from some people but I didn’t care – I was comfortable. Someone else turned up in a suit but he was mocked and told to go home and change. There was a big discussion about labels being worn on your clothes etc. Gradually the crowd built up and more and more strange people were coming. There was a girl tied to a post in the town centre. I asked her what was going on. She replied that it was some kind of joke. I asked if she saw the funny side of it and she replied “yes” so I left her to it. It was a really, really strange gathering, all kinds of old hippy-type vehicles, vans and so on around there. Whilst I didn’t mind everything like that and it’s a really good idea to go out once in a while it wasn’t my usual way of enjoying myself but I thought that I’d give it a go, see what happens and see who I met.

There was some French village and the Germans had been. They had set up a machine gun post and killed quite a few of the villagers. There was no doubt that they would come back again so we were busy making sure that there was nothing with which they could set up their post and generally disrupt what we could so that they wouldn’t have an easy time of it. Sure enough they came, engaged in a looting party keen to grab hold of what they could. Someone took a fancy to a kind-of desktop lathe. He was wrenching at it, trying to pull it off its stand, everything like that so in the end I went over there and showed him how to dismantle it, making sure that I drained out all of the oil so that it wouldn’t work. Then I gave him a huge mouthful about how incompetent he was, going to wreck everything and he had no idea. His commandant was standing by so I made a few remarks to the commandant about his methods as well. I just made life extremely unpleasant for this particular German soldier.

So none of my special visitors last night to wish me a Happy Valentine.

There was time for a shower and a weigh-in before lunch. My TRAVERSÉE DE PARIS, even without Bourvil to carry my suitcase, didn’t result in any loss of weight.

Now it seems that I have grounded out. 9 kilos over the weight that I was when I was swanning around the States of North-West USA and how I wish that I could be at that weight again. But I wouldn’t see that again even if someone were to lend me a telescope.

After lunch it was time to go tot he physiotherapist and see what she was going to do to me today.

trawler naabsa port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022

So as usual I stopped at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to test the camera, and there was an ideal subkect over there against the far wall.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen this trawler on several occasions but woe is me! Her name has slipped right off the tip of my tongue.

But there she is in a NAABSA (Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground) position – or, at least, she must have been earlier – by the steps where the crew can go up and come down again. I suppose that she was late in earlier and missed the opening time for the harbour gates.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Further on down the hill in the Rue des Juifs I stopped to see what was happening in the inner harbour.

Down there on the quayside is a pile of freight. There’s a load of freight that I can’t recognise, stacked up on racks over there, and there’s also a swimming pool.

That would seem to tell me that Normandy Trader is coming in quite soon to pick it up. I know that they have the contract for delivering the swimming pools.

It won’t be the Normandy Warrior, her sister ship, because she’s currently aground in the Channel Islands, having something of a refit.

chausiaise belle france joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Not long before I went away I posted a photo of Chausiaise, Belle France and the newer of the two Joly France boats tied up together at the quayside.

By the looks of things, they haven’t moved since we saw them last. They are still down there. Presumably the older Joly France boat is out somewhere at sea because she wasn’t tied up at the ferry terminal as far as I could see.

Just by here is a ramp of four steps and that’s where I test my knee to see how it’s doing, trying to climb up these steps. And there’s been a deterioration over the last 12 days or so. Not enough power in my right knee to lift myself up even one of the steps.

Climbing up the hill to the physiotherapist’s by the railway station without my luggage was much easier and I did it in one go. And most of the time she spent massaging my patella and she found a spot that hurt when she touched it – something that I hadn’t felt before.

Well, when I say that, after I broke my knee as a teenager it hurt really badly whenever anyone touched it anywhere and that lasted for a couple of years and I had to give up playing football for a while. But it slowly eased off and after a few years it stopped hurting.

Anyway, she’s asked me to take in my medical reports on Wednesday so she can see. She can’t prescribe any medication or anything but she can make recommendations and I have to see my doctor in a week or two’s time to have some more Aranesp.

That’s another thing that gets on my wick as well. Having to have a booster injection so I have the strength to go to the hospital.

On the way home I called in at the Carrefour and picked up some mushrooms and a pepper. I fancy a stuffed pepper for tea and the rest of the mushrooms will come in handy for a curry in midweek.

kiddies roundabout Place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022You can tell that it’s still half-term somewhere in France right now.

The kiddies’ roundabout is still in place in the town centre. having had a closer look at it, I’m sure that it’s a lot smaller than it used to be when the Mairie became so excited about it.

The argument was that it was blocking the pavement and forcing pedestrians to walk in the road around it where they were at risk of being squidged by a passing bus or something.

With the cancellation of Carnaval this year, this is really the only vestige of anything that can be called “entertainment” right now in the town and that’s depressing in itself.

chant de sirenes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And so I trudged my weary way up the hill towards home and a nice hot coffee.

The tide had come in a lot further than it had earlier when I was on my way out and the first of the fishing boats has now come in and is waiting for the harbour gates to open.

You can tell which one this is because of the mermaid painted on her bow. She’s Chante de Sirenes – “Song of the Mermaids”.

Over to the left is another one but I can’t tell which one she is from here. And the one that we saw earlier is still over there against the wall and is now well afloat.

There were one or two more further out but I wasn’t going to wait for them. I wanted to go home.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022On the way back I went to have a look at the beach to see what was happening down there.

Not very much beach and I couldn’t see anyone down there making use of it. Hardly surprising because it was trying its best to rain while I was out there and I think that most people had more sense than being out there.

Back here I had a nice hot coffee and then regrettably I dozed off and that was that

Later on I went and made tea. Stuffed pepper with rice. And it was delicious as usual. I seem to have the knack pretty well these days about making those.

The plan was to go to bed early and have a decent sleep before my Welsh lesson tomorrow but I ended up repairing someone’s computer over the internet and that was certainly interesting.

But now that the “client” has entered into the BIOS and knows what to do, I’m going to bed. It always takes me a couple of days to recover from my journey and yesterday’s trip was more fraught than usual.

And then I have a radio programme to prepare. I can see it being really busy this week. So nothing new there then.

Saturday 5th February 2022 – WE’VE HAD A …

F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… hive of activity out here today, with tons of stuff going on throughout the day and I’ve no idea why.

It’s a Saturday morning and I’m walking to the shops in the town, so it’s no surprise that I stumbled across the helicopter on my way out this morning.

Regular readers of this rubbish will certainly remember what happened last time I walked into town on a Saturday morning and had a close encounter with the aforementioned. That’s something that I won’t forget in a hurry, and I’m sure that you won’t either.

assembly place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It wasn’t just the helicopter either.

There was a group of people, some of whom in military dress uniform and carrying flags, congregating by a wall just here.

Something else that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that I actually live in an old military barracks so seeing soldiers and ex-soldiers loitering around is something to which I’m accustomed.

But anyway, I digress. let’s go back to the very beginning and see if I can last out until the end.

Now here’s a surprise.

When I awoke this morning, it was 07:26 – 4 minutes before the alarm. And so in something of a wild fit of bravado, I hauled myself out of bed just before the alarm went off. And that’s not something that happens every day, is it?

Actually, it was too good an opportunity to miss and it will give me something to crow about until I hit the next disaster.

After the medication I checked the messages etc and then listened to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was an army disputing the succession to the French throne or something. Someone who governed the centre had taken the initiative but had ended up being invaded by an army from somewhere else, a Duke, and they had had a airly inconclusive confrontation somewhere already at the south of Paris but now they were shaping up for a really important fight that would decide the future of the country, with an invasion or whatever it was. On eof the guys was facing them anyway. They were all organising their armies for this conclusive battle in order to square up and have a proper one this time.

A little later last night I was with TOTGA. The two of us were planning on going on holiday. There was a big meeting taking place about various trips going so we went along to listen to them. They asked if there were any questions. Someone asked “how do you go from Manchester to the airport?” – basic questions like that that people either know the answer to or they look on Google or something. In the end these questions were becoming rather simple. It suddenly came out that the guy was travelling from Stoke-on-Trent. I asked him if he lived there to which he replied “yes” so I told him to give me his ‘phone number and I’d ring him and he could ask me what he liked etc and I’d be able to tell him perhaps a lot better than he’d hear it in the middle of this meeting where he was getting on everyone’s nerves. There was a lot more to it than this but I can’t remember now.

And later again I was with Keith Emerson and Brian Davison of The Nice. I can’t remember very much about this except that Keith Emerson was knocked off his motorbike by a lorry at a roundabout. I can’t even remember whether he was hurt or not.

I did finally end up on board a ship last night. There were quite a few of us, but no-one we knew. It started off watched a TV programme about these boats that go down to the Antarctic with people on but there was no cabin accommodation or anything – you slept on deck so when there was a storm it was quite problematic. I remember thinking that I’ll tell Rosemary all about this and see if she wants to go. It wasn’t before long that I was on board one heading south. First, it started off that we were in London somewhere and had gone for a meal. There wasn’t a big choice of vegan or vegetarian restaurants. The one that we found was passable, I thought, nothing particular to write home about. A couple of other people were extremely disappointed about it and made something of a fuss to the waitress about what they considered to be the poor food and quality. She came over to me afterwards and asked if I wanted anything else. I was nice about the situation so she said that she would bring me a bowl of chips. By this time I was on the deck of this ship and after waiting many, many, many minutes a bowl of chips appeared so I ate them then went for a wander off around. I ended up below deck where a guy appeared with a bowl of chips. He said “I’ve been looking for you. Here are your chips” so I wondered whose chips they were that I’d eaten just now. He asked if they were OK. They were cold but I wasn’t really all that bothered so I ended up with a second bowl of cold salty chips while I was on board this ship heading south to the Antarctic in all kinds of weather.

To finish off I had to go to the Post Office to post a package. It was a lump of dough and by the time I reached the Post Office it was all soggy and wet. I was sure that the clerk was going to refuse it but she put it in a plastic bag for me. The address label was all manky and wet but she said “I’ll manage”. I went back off to work on board a ship. Someone asked if I had my work with me – my University stuff so I replied “no” thinking that they would just give me a course book to read. Instead, they gave me the entire unit stuff, videos, everything. They asked if that was OK and I replied “well basically it’s OK but I don’t know how on earth I’ll manage to carry all this back afterwards.

F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022By the time that I’d finished typing out all of that I was ready to go into town.

There had been a racket going on outside for a few minutes but I hadn’t paid too much attention to it, but as soon as I walked out of the front door of this building I was immediately confronted by the air-sea rescue helicopter.

He was hovering around down behind the College Malraux so I decided to head that way into town to see what was going on. You never know …

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022One of the first things that I did once outside, and I’ve no idea why, was to go and have a look at the beach.

However, I may as well have saved the energy. The tide is all the way in right now so there was no beach for anyone to be on right now.

You can though see what I mean about people being down there when the tide is on its way in. It comes in quite quickly and goes all the way to the foot of the cliffs. That means that there is no-where for anyone to shelter.

Being cut off from the foot of the steps can cause all kinds of problems.

joly france ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As usual, I’m also having a look around out to sea, one of the reasons being that occasionally we catch a glimpse of one of the massive super-ferries leaving St Malo for the UK.

Today though we couldn’t see one, but we did see a ferry of another type.

On her way out to the Ile de Chausey this morning was one of the Joly France ferries, taking advantage of the nice weather. And we can tell that it’s the older one of the two even at this distance because there is no “step” in the stern.

You can see how nice the weather is this morning too. We can see all of the colours on the island and the while houses stand out quite clearly against the rocks.

F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 emergency services pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … Pointe du Roc, the helicopter is still perched on the big bunker here.

Not only is it surrounded by aircrew and rescue personnel, there’s an ambulance and several police cars in attendance. It looks as if there’s something serious going on.

Everyone seemed to be quite busy so I didn’t go over to interrupt them to find out what was going on. I’ll have to wait until tomorrow and see what’s in the newspaper, or else wait for Sue Grey to finish her report.

yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022So leaving them to their own devices I wandered off down the steps to the path below.

There wasn’t anyone else down here at the cabanon vauban, but if there had been, they would have seen this yacht heading out to sea from the port de plaisance.

He, and the couple of others who were following him out, were having a nice day for it. There was plenty of sunshine, and enough wind to push them along nicely, although not too much to make it unpleasant.

My walk down into town was quite lonely. I went practically all the way without seeing another soul. I’ve no idea where everyone was.

chausiaise belle france joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022They certainly weren’t all out at sea because apart from the one Joly France boat that we saw, everyone else was here at the suayside.

From left to right of course we have Chausiaise, the little freighter that goes out to the Ile de Chausey and, occasionally, to the Channel Islands as we saw the other day. And then the two other ferries.

In the middle is the very new Belle France that first showed her face in the port last year to help out with the summer traffic, and then to her right the newer of the two Joly France boats.

The other Joly France boat is of course on her way out to the Ile de Chausey.

concrete reinforcement matting double glazed windows port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was here I had a look at the freight waiting on the quayside.

As well as those red plastic objects that we saw from a distance, we have some concrete reinforcement matting and a pile of double-glazed windows. They’ll need to be tied down correctly on their way across to Jersey just in case the wind gets up.

At Carrefour I bought my mushrooms, some specialty bread and a few other bits and pieces, and then had a wander back through the town centre on my way home. There wasn’t anything going on down there that caught my attention. In fact, I must have been in something or a daze.

assembly place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Earlier on I posted a photo of an assembly of people here in the Place d’Armes in the courtyard of one of the other buildings.

Back here I stuck my head and the camera out of the window to take a photo and to see if I could hear what they were talking about.

From what I could gather, it was something to do with a handful of soldiers from one of the regiments based here who somewhere in North Africa held of an attack of several hundred “Arabs” (that was the phrase that the presenter used) over a period of several days.

It was in my mind to go out later this afternoon and see if the plaque on the wall behind him made any reference to the incident but I forgot. I’m not much good as a reporter, am I?

And while we’re on the subject, two things have occurred today in this respect.

  1. A journalist in the Grauniad this morning made a huge deal about going to SEE THE “DISAPPEARING HIGHWAY” IN NORTH CAROLINA. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have done that trip, THE FIRST IN 2005 and THE SECOND IN 2017 to compare the differences so we beat this “scoop by the Grauniad by four and a half years.
  2. A French railway magazine of some description is to feature a series of articles highlighting the destruction, if not devastation, of the railway network in the Auvergne and their editorial team has found an article THAT I WROTE BACK IN 2008 that is relevant to their series, and has asked if they may include it in their magazine. It goes without saying … shameless self-publicist that I am.

Anyway, back here I had a coffee and something to eat to take me up to lunch while I sorted out a few things that needed doing – like preparing news articles for publication and that kind of thing.

After lunch I came here to carry on work but, regrettably, I couldn’t keep going. It wasn’t the same kind of crashing-out that it has been here and there just recently, but for all the good that I did, it may as well have been.

What’s even more depressing is reading back through all of the stuff that I wrote al those years ago and wishing that somehow, somewhere I could summon up the enthusiasm and energy to do it all again with the tons of stuff that’s built up over the years that hasn’t been touched.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It was even difficult to summon up the energy and enthusiasm to go out for my afternoon walk. and I’m not sure why I wanted to go, having been out this morning for a good walk around.

Having been over to the beach this morning, only to find that there was no beach to go over to, I went again this afternoon at my usual time to see the lie of the land.

Plenty of beach down there right now of course, and plenty of people down there making the most of it. Several dozen at least.

And that’s not a surprise because it was actually such a nice afternoon. Not much wind, a nice blue sky. What more could any man require?

Except maybe TOTGA, Castor and Zero to share it with me of course. And then I wouldn’t know which way to turn, although I’m sure that I’d soon figure it out.

people on beach bouchots donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It wasn’t just down on the beach at the Rue du Nord where there were crowds either.

Out at Donville les bains they seemed to be just as busy. The bouchot stakes were exposed with the tide being so low so n the distance we could see the harvesting teams out there.

They would have to be careful too as there were crowds of people milling around on the beach, getting under the wheels of the tractors and the like.

For the benefit of our new readers, a serendipitous discovery made years and years ago was that shellfish were found growing on some anchor ropes. When they were sampled they were found to have an excellent taste with none of the grittiness that you associate with shellfish grown in the sand.

And so a business has sprung up here in the bay in various locations where stakes are planted in the sea with ropes slung between them for these shellfish, called bouchots to grow.

repairing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022For a change, this afternoon I decided to go for a walk around the walls seeing as it’s been a few weeks since I went that way.

From somewhere I summoned up the energy to go down the steps to look at the hole in the wall to see what they had done with that. And by the looks of things, they are well on their way to finishing it.

It’s taken an enormous pile of stones, that don’t seem to match the rest of the stonework and that’s rather sad. I don’t think much of the concrete lintel either. When I was fitting concrete lintels in stone walls I’d set them back a few inches and find some nice flat stone to face them with to make it all look more traditional.

repairing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Up on top it’s looking something of a mess too.

They actually took that wall down to ground level and rebuilt it but at the moment it doesn’t look anything like it ought to do. Maybe when they repoint it, it’ll look much better but you can’t really see it very well with the scaffolding and the fencing in the way.

From there I followed the crowds (because crowds there were a-plenty) along the path underneath the walls. One of my neighbours was there too so we had a chat for five minutes and put the world to rights.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2202/22020044.html”>red autogyro baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was there, I was overflown by another light aeroplane from the airfield.

Today it’s the red powered hang-glider that’s going past. And he has a passenger too by the looks of things. Been for a spin around thr bay to take a few photos probably, and one of these days I’ll have to get out and do the same.

But not right now as I have too much to do. I carried on with my walk around the walls, far too close to the madding crowd for my comfort.

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022On place that I wanted to visit was the Rue St Michel to eat some humble … “you?” – ed … pie.

Having complained bitterly about the state in which they left the surface, they came back a couple of weeks later and put the stone setts down to make it look much more like medieval.

They don’t have the curves sorted though. Medieval stone paving has nice symmetriical curves in it that looks really beautiful but they haven’t been able to recapture that here. It’s probably another one of these medieval skills that’s long-been lost, or else they won’t spend the money and the time in doing it correctly.

red autogyro baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Walking back along the walls, the red powered hang-glider went past again.

By the looks of things, while I’ve been out he’s been back home, swapped passengers and come back out again. He must be keeping busy and that has to be good for business.

Having forgotten to look at the plaque as I said that I would, I came back home for my coffee and to attack another sound file to select the broadcastable bits. And it’s not easy, for various reasons.

But anyway, there’s just one sound file to select and then I can get off and assemble things for broadcasting.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper, seeing as there was a rather sad-looking pepper left and I’m off to Leuven on Wednesday. And now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed.

Having had TOTGA visit me last night, I wonder who’ll pull the short straw tonight. I ought to promote a lottery, oughtn’t I?

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.

Sunday 19th December 2021 – HERE WE GO!

Just as I was about to sit down and begin to write up my notes Rosemary telephoned me.

We ended up with one of our marathon chats as usual and with an 06:00 start in the morning to a really busy day, I’m not going to stay up and write them out now.

Instead, I’m going off to bed and I’ll write up my notes when I have the time, whenever that might be. Eventually, I did manage to complete them, and here we go …

joly france aztec lady chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Meanwhile, back in the chantier naval, it looks as if things are back to normal.

Not only is the portable boat lift back to where it belongs, we actually have a client in there already.

She is of course the Aztec Lady who is now in port for a service. She’s off on her travels (Covid permitting) at the end of January for a cruise all around the north coast of Norway and Spitzbergen with all kinds of various sideshows, so I imagine that they are making her ready for her voyage.

But isn’t it nice to see the chantier naval back in operation?

Something else that it was nice to see was my bed last night. Even though I was totally exhausted by my journey it was still after 02:00 when I finally managed to struggle into bed, and I still wasn’t tired enough to go to sleep.

Eventually however I managed to drop off but it was a night that I spent mainly tossing and turning and trying to settle down.

By the time 09:00 came round I was already awake but as you might expect, there was no danger whatever of me leaving my bed at a time like that. In fact, it was much more like 11:00 when I finally saw the light of day and that’s much more like it on a Sunday morning, especially after the couple of weeks that I’ve just had.

Having had my medication and checked my mails and messages, the next task was to pair off the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be doing. And that took me nicely up to lunchtime – well, breakfast anyway.

After the break, my first task was to make the dough for my next batch of pizza. 500 grammes of flour equates to three decent-sized pizza bases so I usually make that amount – one for today and two in the freezer.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021While all of that was busy festering I headed out for my afternoon walk.

It was bright and sunny, as you can tell from part of this photo. The beach itself was in deep shadow because the sun is now quite low down in the sky and has gone behind the College Malraux.

It’s hardly surprising therefore that there wasn’t anyone down there this afternoon going for a walk. There were a few people out at the far end of the Plat Gousset, but they were having the sun down there so that probably explains it.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Out at sea, there was quite a bit going on, as I noticed when I had a good look around.

One of the trawlers from out of the port is on its way back to the harbour after a day’s hard fishing out at sea. Unfortunately I can’t read the registration number from here and I can’t recall the colour scheme so I’m not able to say who it is.

Anyway I let it wander off towards the port while I carried on with my walk along the top of the cliffs towards the lighthouse.

man relaxing in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021With life being so stressful these days it’s nice to be able to get away from it all and relax in the peace and quiet.

Here’s someone who is doing his best to make the most of whatever relaxing moments he can find. Out there in the bay in his zodiac he’s hardly likely to be bothered by what is – or isn’t – going on around him.

At first I thought that he might be a fisherman but on a closer look, I couldn’t see any fishing tackle in his boat. He’s just sitting there with his feet up on a pontoon taking it easy. And how I envy him.

aeroplane 35ma pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021While I was walking arounf admiring the man relaxing in his boat, I was busily being overflown by a light aeroplane.

It’s not one of the larger ones that we can trace in any kind of database that I have found so far. It is in fact 35MA, one of the light aeroplanes that hang around the airfield and which we see every now and again.

They aren’t the kind that file a flight plan or are picked up on radar so unfortunately I can’t tell you anything about it except that one day I’ll wander over to the airfield and have a look for myself.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021We’ve already seen one trawler heading back into port. And now we have another one.

It’s quite busy outside right now with the fishing boats and that’s a surprise because they usually have a day off on a Sunday. But I suppose that with it coming up to Christmas they have a lot of work to do.

Oysters are quite the delicacy here and it’s one of the things that always appears on the plate on Christmas Day.

But leaving that aside for the moment I carried on with my walk around the headland.

woman sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There wasn’t anyone sitting down on the bench at the Pointe du Roc by the cabanon vauban today which is quite a surprise these days.

However, nearby, there was a woman sitting on another bench at the side of the lower path. She seems to be quite comfortable there, checking the messages on her phone and missing all of the glorious scenery and the trawlers going past on the way back to the port.

From there I continued on my way along the path towards the port. I wanted to see what was happening in the chantier naval now that everything was back up and running normally.

boats unloading fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021having taken a photo of the outer harbour, I turned my attention to what was happening at the fish processing plant.

It was bound to be busy, I reckoned, because there were plenty of trawlers were out and about this afternoon. And I wasn’t wrong either because while there wasn’t much in the way of water, it was still deep enough for the smaller inshore shell-fishing boats to tie up.

Of the boats over there I recognise L’Omerta and Gerlean of course as we see them quite frequently and they are quite distinctive but I can’t identify any of the other ones from here.

stenaca belle france joly france chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And while we saw one of the Joly France boats over at the ferry terminal, the others are moored up today in the inner harbour.

The newer one of the two Joly France boats is instantly recognisable by the step in the stern. On the left is Belle France and on the right is Chausiaise. The trawler that is in front of them is Stenaca by the way.

From there, I headed off back home, ready for my hot coffee. And there were plenty of other things to do as well.

Earlier on, I’d made some dough for my pizzas. It had risen quite nicely so I split it into 3 portions and put two in the freezer. The third one, I kneaded, rolled out and put into the pizza tray to let it do its stuff.

While the pizza dough was proofing, I had a listen to the dictaphone. There were the details of last night’s voyages to transcribe.

There had been some kind of event that my brother had been to. he had taken his girlfriend and they were both fairly young. He’d been doing something first and he’d gone with his parents or her parents or something and had been sitting in the back of a load bed of a P100 pickup. When they arrived at this event afterwards he said that they had never been questioned about their ages going in there because when they arrived he was actually in the load bed giving his girlfriend quite a smoochy kiss so they just waved them in. But there was something in the legislation about statues or plaques or medals about something to do with boys and girls, about there had to be a statue or something about the relationship between a boy and a girl but I can’t remember what that was.

I was driving with my German friend in Germany. Somehow I’d ended up with the 2 kittens, Sooty and Sweep. They were really enjoying themselves at his house. It’s funny how he’s ended up with both Doreen’s kittens. he said that they had a really good home there, they play around, they go outside, they come with us to the bar etc. He said that the ginger one is a bit nasty sometimes though but that’s all that I remember of this long dream that I had with him

And later I was in an old car. I was staying somewhere and my brother was there. I’d been somewhere and on the way back I was driving extremely quickly. I reached a road junction where I had to give way. There were a couple of cars not too far away but I pulled out in front of them anyway and set off quite rapidly down the main road. There were a few really bad bends in this main road and just as I reached one bad bend a car from the 1930s came round the other way, failed to negotiate it and went into the ditch. I put my foot on the brakes and the car stopped dead. I almost hit the windscreen. The guy behind the wheel said that he was OK so I carried on driving, still quite quickly. The road went through the grounds of a chateau with quite a few zigzags in it. I went round all these zigzags ready to come out but somehow one of these cars had gone in front of me. When he stopped at the gates to be let out he said “old cars can go round these chicanes like you did but these modern ones can”t”. The idea was to reach home because my brother had had a motorbike and I’d never seen it. I wanted to know what it was. He was talking about “they’re going to fit anti-freeze in it ready for the winter, everything”. It seemed to me that wherever it had gone for an overhaul or a service or whatever they wer eplenning on keeping it for months when we would have a chance to look at it.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021When the pizza dough had risen enough, I went and assembled my pizza, and then bunged it in the oven to bake.

It was another one that looked absolutely delicious, and tasted just as good as it looked. I seem to have grasped the knack of making them these days, although I would do even better with a better oven. I must sort one out one of these days.

Having eaten my pizza, I wrote up my notes for today. And now I’m ready for bed. There’s an early start in the morning of course with me having a radio programme to prepare for tomorrw and I want to be at my best. Although the possibility of that happening any time soon is rather remote.

Wednesday 8th December 2021 – I WAS RIGHT …

replacing cobbles rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… when I said the other day that maybe I was being rather too hasty with my vituperative comments about the surface of the Rue St Michel

Those big bags that we saw on the back of that pick-up yesterday were actually full of cobbles and then are all now dumped on the corner in the Rue de Cambernon. But several have actually made it up to the far end of the street.

If you look carefully at this photograph you’ll see that a pile of them have even been laid and the work is slowly progressing down the hill towards where I’m standing.

Mind you, it’ll take them a good few days to reach this end of the street. And then, I suppose, someone else will come along and dig it up for some other purpose.

After last night’s antics I needed someone to come along and dig me up out of bed when the alarm went off because firstly I was in bed late, not being tired earlier, and then I was awake after just about 4 hours of sleep and couldn’t go back to sleep until, as usual, about 5 minutes before the alarm went off.

Consequently I was staggering around for a good few minutes trying to gather my wits once I finally made it out of bed.

Once I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages I went and edited the sound-file from Sunday morning. It was a mess as I expected, with pops and bangs everywhere, but I’ve managed to trim well over 40 minutes of sound down to half that – and there’s plenty more to go as well.

However I need to send it off to Laurent for a listen and for him to dictate some supplementary questions.

A propos of absolutely nothing, two of the interviewees started to talk about the Erasmus scheme and the ending of mutual recognition of qualifications and that will make a pretty good interview all on its own so I cut it out and filed it separately.

All of that took me right up to 18:20 this evening, but it was a job well-done.

There were the usual interruptions of course, one of which was for breakfast, and another was for a shower. And having weighed myself again, I’m down to my lowest weight since it piled back on after I stopped running. Those were the days, hey?

With a late lunch as well today, it was almost time to go straight out for my walk to the physiotherapist’s.

repairing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Seeing as I was a few minutes early today, I went to have a look at the repairs to the medieval city wall at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

First thing that I noticed was that they hadn’t re-erected the shelter that was blown down by Storm Arwen, the shelter that they have over their heads when they are pointing the wall, to stop objects from above falling on their heads.

But then by the looks of things, the pointing has hardly advanced at all since we saw it last. Mind you, they have had other things to worry about, like gale-force winds and the like. And this afternoon’s wind was nothing to be ashamed of either.

You have already seen the photo of the Rue St Michel so I pushed on and walked over the drawbridge into the Rue des Juifs.

marité chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021The other day we saw a photo of all of the Ile de Chausey boats moored up in the inner harbour.

However today, there has been some shuffling around of the fleet. The Joly France ferry that was over on the far side of the harbour has now disappeared completely.

Chausiaise has also moved, but not as far. She’s now in front of Marité in the loading bay underneath the crane but I don’t think that all of that freight just there is for her.

As for the other two boats, they are still tied up here against the quayside right underneath where I’m standing.

site of christmas market place pelley le pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There’s quite a lot of activity going on down below too on the Place Pleville de Pelley.

That’s where the bar ephemère hangs out during the summer and is used as the boulodrome for the rest of the time, but today they are setting up some little wooden cabins there.

We’re going to be having a Christmas Fair, so I’m told, and that looks as if it’s it. It doesn’t look particularly impressive though.

Given half a chance I’d be in Aachen or Köln next weekend at a real Christmas Fair, but I’m going nowhere unnecessary while there’s all of this going on.

On the way up the hill I stopped at the Carrefour and bought a bunch of bananas. I’m running low on them and I can’t survive at all without bananas.

At the physiotherapist’s, she had me on the cross trainer again for 5 minutes and then more kinetic exercises, including throwing this ball about again. Today though, I don’t know what happened but I wasn’t feeling anything like as well as I have done this last couple of weeks – and that was nothing much to write home about was it?

ambulance rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021As I stepped out of the physiotherapist’s, I was overtaken by an ambulance going down the hill at some speed.

There must be some kind of emergency somewhere for him to be driving like that with all of his lights flashing.

Having taken a photo I pushed on down the hill where I bumped into “Father Christmas” coming out of a shop. We had quite a chat about our interview the other day and he was quite impressed with how well it came out.

In the end, they didn’t do a bad job of it but it could have been ohhhh! So much better and I feel that an opportunity has been let slip here.

cherry picker fixing wreath to town hall place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There was more excitement going on when I arrived at the town centre.

There’s one of the Council’s cherry-pickers down there in the Place General de Gaulle and the gus in the nacelle are erecting some kind of Christmas wreath on the wall of the Mairie.

Not that I have any idea why they would be wanting to do that because putting it as high up as they seem to be doing, it’s not as if many people are going to notice it up there.

empty port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021By now we were having a really heavy hailstorm so I wrapped my rain jacket tighter around me and carried on through the town and up the hill.

The part of the port where the fishing boats tie up was strangely deserted this afternoon. Almost every boat was out at sea, and in this weather too. They must be expecting a bumper harvest this evening when they all come back on the tide.

When you think about it, it’s quite a heroic endeavour being a fisherman and since the demise of coal-mining in the West, it’s probably one of the most dangerous occupations going. On the other side of the Cotentin Peninsula a trawler with four people on board was lost at sea two nights ago.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Despite the lousy weather right now, I went over to have my customary look at the beach.

As I expected, there was no-one down there at all right now. People have far more sense than to be out and about in all of this.

Back here I made myself a nice hot coffee and then carried on with editing this sound file. I was glad when I finished it too – at least this particular bit. There will be plenty more work to be done on it, and on the other sound files too that relate to this project.

And who knows? Maybe even one of my colleagues might contribute something to this project, but I’m not holding my breath.

Tea was the rest of last night’s curry and left-over curry is even more delicious the next day when all of the spices have marinaded deeper into the food.

So that’s enough for today. I’m off to bed. For the next two days I’m staying at home with no plans anywhere. So that’s the cue for Caliburn’s bits and pieces to be delivered to the parcels centre and for his new tyres to arrive, isn’t it?

Monday 6th December 2021 – THE PECHE À PIED

jullouville baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… has taken on a whole new significance today, judging by the news that’s currently doing the rounds.

A couple of people who were over there at Jullouville looking among the rocks for crabs came across an old boot instead. And in it were the remains of a human foot.

There are of course all kinds of wrecks out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel – fishing boats, aircraft, pleasure craft and so on – and many people have been lost there, especially during the fighting in June and July 1944.

What has quite possibly happened is that Storm Arwen has disturbed an old wreck that still has human remains on board and the boot has floated free.

But it seems that from now on, when one is mentioning the peche à pied one will have to specify to which pied one is actually referring.

This morning at 06:00 when the alarm went off I had a struggle to take to my feet. But once the medication had been taken and the mails and messages checked, I cracked on with the two radio programmes that I needed to prepare, with the aid of a mug of strong coffee.

It took me much longer than I reckoned too, knocking off as finished at 13:15, but that was having had quite a chat on the internet with Liz who was on line.

What else didn’t help was that I couldn’t find a suitable ending-track for my Christmas programme. In the end I had to find one that would do, stretch out the speech that went with it and lengthen a few pauses and in the end it fitted quite nicely.

As for the other radio programme on which I was working went together quite happily

After lunch I had a quick clean-up and then headed off to the physiotherapist.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Outside it was grey and miserable and threatening rain.

On the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard des Terreneuviers I could look down on the fish processing plant. There weren’t any boats down there of course – the tide is well-out right now – but there is a refrigerated lorry and several freezer vans parked down there.

There must be plenty of fishing boats out at sea right now and they will be due back on the early evening tide, when the vehicles down there will take away the catch.

Yesterday while we were out on our travels we noticed that there were no longer any boats moored up at the ferry terminal in the tidal harbour.

joly france belle france chausiaise victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021They have all now come into the inner harbour so that would seem to indicate that they have no plans to go to sea in the immediate future.

The three that are moored together in the foreground are the brand-new Belle France nearest the quayside, with the newer of the two Joly France ferries, the one with the smaller upper-deck superstructure next to her. On the outside is the little freighter Chausiaise.

Over at the back on the right are the two Channel island ferries – Victor Hugo on the outside and Granville on the inside moored against the quayside.

repointing wall Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Further on down the road I had a look at what was going on with the pointing at the Rampe du Monte à Regret.

They seem to be making good progress with it, but my attention was drawn to the two guys on the scaffold – the one in the red jacket and the other in the fluorescent jacket.

Judging by the way that they are standing around doing very little and pretending to inspect the work, they look very much like site managers to me.

With the steps being closed off I had to walk down the Rue des Juifs and go through the town that way to my appointment

Today she had me do five minutes on the cross trainer and the rest of the time was spent doing kinetic exercises. And I’m dismayed at how much I seem to have been affected by whatever it is that is going on with my body right now.

Much of my co-ordination and balance has gone completely and I don’t have the power in my knees to stand up from a sitting position without using my hands.

Anyway, after half an hour she threw me out and judging by the state of the pavement I’d just missed a torrential downpour..

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2112/21120044.html”>christmas decorations rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021On the way up to the physiotherapist I’d noticed that the decorations in the Rue Couraye have … errr … evolved.

We now have candy-striped pillars placed over all of the bollards on the edge of the kerb. They have signs on them indicating the nature of the shops alongside.

Dark though it was right now, the Christmas lights weren’t yet illuminated. I can see that i’m going to have to come down later in the evening one night and see how they look, in the hope that they are better than they have been in previous years.

For some reason, I don’t seem to have the same enthusiasm that I had in previous years.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Halfway up the Rue des Juifs I stopped at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

Not because I was out of breath and not because of anything that was going on in the port either but there was another beautiful sunset out there in the Baie de Granville. This was far too good to miss. It really was quite impressive.

Before I set out earlier I put a can of energy drink into my bag with the idea that if I needed it I could drink it on the way home but I totally forgot about it. I might not be feeling enthusiastic but at least I’m feeling a little more fit than I was three months ago.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Before going back into my building I went over to have a look down onto the beach.

There’s plenty of beach down there just now, but there wasn’t anyone down there on it. That’s not really a surprise because it was quite windy, going dark and threatening rain.

Back in the apartment I had a nice hot coffee and then transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night. I’d had quite a busy night by the looks of things. and there was plenty to transcribe.

There were quite a few entries from the last few days too but you’ll have to wait for tomorrow to read those.

Anyway, last night I was at the cinema. I’d gone to see some rock concert or other that was taking place there. I mentioned to someone that I was going and he said that his younger sister was going as well. I turned up at this cinema and took a seat. When I looked round, there was a young girl there waving at me. I said “hello”. I thought to myself “is this that girl?” because when I looked around again there was another girl waving at me who looked pretty much identical. I couldn’t work out who was who and I couldn’t remember her name. As usual I was tying myself up in a knot about “should I go and sit next to her and so on? What if it was the wrong girl?”. The usual kind of confused state that I find myself in at times. Then the lights went out and we had the immediate “get your hand off my leg” comment that used to go around the cinemas in Crewe in those days when the lights went off, which always of course caused a lot of laughter. When I looked around though, both the girls had disappeared off somewhere. Here was yet another situation that I’d let slip through my fingers because I was being far too indecisive. The story of my life, isn’t it?

And I wish that I knew who the girl was too. Although seeing as I let her slip through my fingers like that, maybe it’s better that I don’t know, to avoid any disappointment.

Later on I was going out that night and I needed a new jacket to wear to make myself look smart (it’ll take more than a jacket to do that of course) so I went off to a shop that I normally use. I’d had a look round on the upper floors at a few different kinds of things but no jackets. I’d taken off my jacket and hung it on a peg while I was doing that. I then went downstairs to look at the men’s clothing. There were lots of other interesting things down there as well. When I arrived downstairs there was only the men’s clothing section open. The rest was all closed off as if they were remodelling the shop. They were busy hanging clothes onto hooks from behind the blanking-off thing that they were doing. There was a TV there with a load of men there watching the TV. I thought that they had probably been dumped by their wives who had then gone off to do the shopping somewhere else. Before I could look for a jacket I awoke.

Later still Nerina and I had had an argument in Germany somewhere on holiday and she had stormed off. I was walking the streets – it was 00:30 – wondering whether I should go back to the hotel room. As I was walking down the street a car pulled up. A man got out with a little girl about 7 or 8. She walked past me and said “here’s your computer mouse. I got on my bed and it fell off so I put it on the floor and here it is”. I took my computer mouse and was still wondering what to do. Somewhere somehow it turned out that Nerina had gone and my car had gone as well. I was stranded in Germany. I ended up with something like a Bella estate that I had managed to find. I was with that car and with Linda from Portugal (and here’s someone from a very distant past making her debut in my nocturnal rambles) but I’m not sure at all about where this bit with the Bella estate fitted in. I was in Stoke on Trent by this time

Finally I was having to negotiate my passage through the country that had formerly ruled the place where I live. I suspected that it wasn’t going to be easy. We set off and reached the border. I’d built some kind of big snowball or snowman and behind it were hiding several other men. I was discussing with them the plan that we’d go as far as the border and maybe go across. There would be a lot of bloodshed. They asked “what after that?”. I replied “I don’t know after that”.

The early start and the exercise at the physiotherapist’s had worn me out today and what with my early start on Sunday, I ended up drifting away for 20 minutes or so. That was rather a disappointment because I’ve been trying to avoid that for the last couple of months.

Tea was taco rolls with the left-over stuffing from Saturday evening lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans. And it’s even more delicious after marinading for a couple of days.

But now I’m off to bed. It’s early but I’m exhausted and I have my Welsh lesson tomorrow. There can’t be many left now before we break for Christmas. With my cookery lesson on Friday I have plenty of notes to review tomorrow so I need to be at my best.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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