Category Archives: old cars

Sunday 27th March 2022 – HOW LONG IS IT …

citroen traction avant 7L porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… since we’ve featured an old car on these pages?

It must be quite a good while so I was quite pleased that one of them went coughing by this afternoon while I was out on my afternoon walk.

It’s a Citroen “Traction Avant” of course and I should know because there’s one of them IN MY BARN IN THE AUVERGNE where it’s been for over 20 years and where, unfortunately it will have to stay.

The car is one of the later models as you can tell by the straight horizontal bumper rather than the curly “whisker” bumper. And if you were to see the rear of the vehicle, you’ll see that it has a propor boot rather than a sloping back with the shape of the spare wheel pressed into it like one of the ones THAT WE SAW at Oradour-sur-Glaine in the Summer 2020.

It’s always interesting to watch these more-modern films of wartime France when these cars were everywhere and spot the later models that have slipped into the action that took place long before they were ever manufactured.

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022But that’s enough of that. While you admire a couple of photos of just some of the dozens of boats that were out at sea this afternoon, I’ll start at the very beginning.

A very good place to start.

As I mentioned yesterday, we had an alarm this morning, which was just as well, especially as the clocks went forward this morning and there was an hour less for sleep today.

In fact, I set three alarms at five-minute intervals and I actually managed to beat the second alarm, which is quite good going these days.

After the medication I made a quick breakfast and then settled down for my Welsh lesson today.

yacht rowing boat cabin cruisers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022It started off quite badly because it took me a while to warm up.

But once I was going, it all went pretty well and by the end of the lesson this afternoon I was talking much more confidently than I ever have done to date. I reckon that this free revision weekend was worth every penny of the price.

We had the usual breaks for coffee and for lunch, and during the lunch break I made a pile of dough for the next batch of pizzas. And as the bases overflow the pizza tray somewhat, I made a batch with 600 grammes instead of 500 grammes and then divided it into four instead of three.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In some respects it was a shame to be indoors today because I reckon that it was the nicest day of the year so far.

And that’s borne out by the crowds of people who were down there on the beach. And even though there wasn’t much beach down there, they all managed to squeeze on there somehow.

No-one in the water as far as I could see, but there were a couple of people down there looking as if they were stripping off ready for a plunge.

You’ve seen a few photos of the boats that were out there too. The sea mist hadn’t gone completely but even so it was nice enough to tempt a pile of Sunday sailors out into the water for a good sail around.

la granvillaise le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And it wasn’t just the private boats that were out there. There was some commercial activity too out in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw la Granvillaise in the chantier naval a couple of weeks ago having an overhaul. Now she’s out there this afternoon with a quite a crowd of tourists having a sail around in the bay.

It’s easy to identify her from this range as she sails past Le Loup. You can see her registration number – G90 – on her sails.

The lifeboat that’s being towed behind doesn’t fill me with much confidence though. I’m sure that they wouldn’t be able to fit all of the passengers on board the lifeboat if they have any issues.

Maybe they have a few rafts on board just in case.

rowing team baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022The car park was packed to capacity with cars and motorbikes just about everywhere.

They had brought crowds of people down to the end of the headland where there were a few things going on to keep them entertained, like these oarsmen going past on their way back to port.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I once had a go at that but I wasn’t much good and I fell into the water. “He must be out of his scull” said a passer-by.

STRAWBERRY MOOSE once wrote me a note to say that he would be going rowing if only he could find a couple of oars. I really must take him up about his spelling.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And believe it or not, I was right about the crowds of people around here this afternoon.

Some of them even managed a grandstand seat, such as these two sitting on the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban looking out to sea.

Plenty of others too walking around on the lower path. It’s actually been a while since I’ve been for a walk down there but I’m not as healthy as I was when I first came here, which is rather depressing. Over the last 12 months my health has deteriorated dramatically.

But that’s enough of that for now. It’s time to be pushing off around the other side of the headland.

kids on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While I was walking along the path towards the port, I noticed a kid climbing up the steps that have been cut into the sea wall there.

What went through my mind was that he must have been jumping in from off the top so I hung around for a while to see if anyone else would follow suit.

But in fact they were all drying themselves off and then slowly, one by one, they drifted away. The tide must now be too far out for them to jump in safely, although I’ve never known a bunch of young boys worry too much about things like that in the past.

Nothing else of any interest anywhere else in the port this afternoon so I came back home, stopping to photograph the old Citroen on the way.

Back here, over the next couple of hours I did more work that I would normally do on a Sunday when there aren’t any Welsh revision classes.

Firstly, I divided up the pizza dough into four, rolled three in oil and put them in the freezer and rolled out the fourth one and put it on the pizza tray.

Back in the bedroom I dealt with the dictaphone notes from last night. This first one was a dream something like Peter Frampton who had had a big hit and had ended up saving 3 or 4 of his songs. He had someone write a song for him. It was an unusual type of person whom you wouldn’t associate with rock songs. When he went to meet this person there was so much pressure on him that he was running, and jumped from about 30 feet away and slid on his stomach through the street to this guy. He ended up breaking his spine and had to go into rehabilitation. That enabled the guy to write a song for him and a few others. he went on from there to be a success. It was someone like Peter Frampton, a one-hit wonder who burst out into the mainstream after someone wrote a successful song for him

My father had died last night. We (whoever “we” were) ended up going to the funeral which would be a surprise. Back at the house afterwards there were one or two of his things in which I was interested. I asked who was administering the estate. Someone gave me the name of whoever it was, as it happens the same person who had administered my aunt’s estate and with whom I’d had all that trouble 6 months ago. I eventually managed to find my way out of the house to go to see him. The first thing that happened was that he was really upset that I still had my hat on. Then he told me to make a list of the things that I’d taken but of course I hadn’t taken anything. Then he told me to go along and help hand out the coffee and tea etc. Basically he didn’t seem to be all that interested at all in talking to me or letting me tell him what it was that I was hoping to be able to take away.

And then I was with a girl last night. She was working in a pub. The postman came and brought her something and she immediately burst into tears and asked if she could go to work somewhere else instead of the public rooms. Eventually I managed to track her down and she showed me a telegram. Her aunt who was her only living relative had died. I don’t know what happened after that but I had to have my appendix out and she had to have some kind of operation. In Nantwich how this worked was that they had mobile surgical labs. These were parked up near the church in Churchyardside outside the market. They drove the two of us there because she needed something too. We were going to have our operations in 2 surgical labs one parked behind the other. They drove us there in ambulances and we had to get to the corner of the road and then turn left instead of right into the Crofts and do a U-turn and come up behind. I’d go first and be put in the surgical lab and my ambulance would move away. Then the other surgical lab would pull up behind then the ambulance with the girl would pull up behind and they’d put her in her surgical lab. I was in mine. They were talking away and I was trying to go to sleep but I didn’t drop off. I could hear things going on. After a while someone put a pad of cotton wool over my face and dropped some ether on it. When I came round I was in the surgical lab and they asked me how I was and what I could feel. I said that I could feel some heat like something burning on the right side of my lower abdomen like where they would take out the appendix but they didn’t elaborate on what iy actually was and I didn’t want to know either.

And I’m impressed that I can give coherent directions even when I’m fast asleep.

Finally I was around Chester. I was just wandering around and had to go to wash my hands, and found that the toilets there had become unisex so I could only wash my hands and not the rest of me. I was out there in Foregate wandering around when I saw a boy from school but I kept out of his way and let him walk by. Later on there were some schoolboys who had hijacked a lorry-load of whisky. They were busy stacking it in 3 or 4 cars that they had. They were having all kinds of arguments about people who had disappeared with the odd bottle here and there. Just as they were loaded up a police car arrived so they shot off, right into a column of policemen setting out on their beats and scattered them. A couple of police cars gave chase but they adopted a manoeuvre of dodging down a side street when no-one was looking and coming back up the next one. Of course the police who didn’t see them go down the side street when down the next one so they passed each other at 180°. Then another car came and turned round. It was obviously looking for them but they happened to notice that there were a couple of crates of whisky in this. They thought that this was another couple of crates that they’d lost, that someone had stolen. Having given the police cars the slip they set off. They ended up being stuck in a mountain pass somewhere because the police had a couple of observation parked on the other side of the pass to watch all the cars that came past. They wondered how they were going to do this. They had the idea that they would send one car out with a couple of girls in it and a radio. They would be able to see whether any other police cars followed that particular car. That way they’d know whether they were suspected of actually being hidden up in this mountain.

Having done all that I paired up the music for the next radio programme that I would normally have done this morning.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was the pizza to deal with too.

That had risen nicely while I’d been working so I assembled it and when it was made and the oven was hot I put it in to bake.

For some reason, it wasn’t as good as the last few have been and I don’t know why. Mind you, it was certainly better than the first few that I made before I grasped the technique.

Now that i’ve finished my notes, I’m off to bed, even though it’s quite early. I didn’t have my usual long lie-in today and there’s an early start in the morning – even earlier than usual due to the change in the hour.

It’ll probably take me a good few weeks to adjust to the change but if I don’t start now I never will, will I?

Saturday 19th March 2022 – AFTER ALL …

old car communal rooms place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… of the excitement yesterday at the Communal Rooms, red carpet and all, it kept on going today.

When I went into the dining room to make a coffee, an unearthly rattle told le that there was something exciting about to happen. And sure enough, an ancient car from the 1920s limped into the courtyard.

Furthermore, there was some high-ranking communal official waiting there to receive them, as you can tell from the tricolour sash worn by the person standing at the top of the steps on the right.

All that was missing in fact was the red carpet and the cameraman and that was something of a disappointment.

Incidentally, there was nothing in the news yesterday about the purpose of the red carpet. Not that I thought that there would

people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Also extremely interesting today was the big crowd of people down on the beach.

It has to be said that it was a lovely day but even so, it’s a long time since I’ve seen so many folk down there. even Rover was having a good time.

That’s more than I’ve had today because you’re going to have to suffer another long moan and whinge as I talk about my day today.

Once more, I struggled to leave the bed when the alarm went off. I nearly missed the second alarm too.

But after breakfast I went for a shower and put the bedding in the washing machine to wash, and then headed off to the shops.

Noz didn’t have much – just a few varieties of alcohol-free beer that I like so I bought a few packs. Now I think that I have more in stock than they do.

There wasn’t anything special in LeClerc either, but it still ended up being expensive, mainly because they had coffee on special offer so I bought a pile of it. I seem to be going through it quite rapidly.

suzanga spirit of conrad chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back, seeing as I had no frozen food in danger of melting, I went to the chantier naval for a close look at the trawler that was in there.

It’s actually Suzanga, the new trawler that arrived here last August. It was interesting to have a closer look at her because this is the first time that we’ve seen her out of the water.

In the background of course is a bit of Spirit of Conrad. She’s been here for a week or two now being prepared for her summer season.

Back here I hung the washing up to dry and made myself a coffee. Then there was a disaster. I’ve eaten the last of the magnificent coffee cake that I made for my birthday. How sad is that?

Settling down with my coffee I transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night. I was on my holidays going south. I was in some kind of vehicle. I came to some sort of tunnel that we had to go through. It was very narrow and very low so there were traffic lights where you have to stop to wait for your turn before you could go forward. I stopped but someone pulled up alongside me on the outside which was strange. Someone in a black suit and black hat rather like an Orthodox Jew came along and tried to sell me a bottle of spirits, absinthe or something like that. I said “no” but he insisted so I told him that I didn’t drink. Then he started to offer me all kinds of other things. While he was doing this, the lights changed and a whole load of people went past into the tunnel. I couldn’t shake off this guy or the car that was parked alongside me on the outside. I was in a left-hand drive vehicle but for some reason I was driving on the left. I went through this tunnel. By now I was on foot pulling my suitcase and my computer bag and other bits and pieces. I came out into a room in a large town where this tunnel ended. There were all these people there who had gone past earlier, loads of nuns and kids and so on. I had to renew my travel permit which I did. I went outside but dropped everything. I found to my surprise that as well as a magnifying glass I was carrying an extremely large sharp knife so I was trying to pick up all these little things like the knife and the magnifying glass and put them in my pocket while I was walking with my suitcase but that wasn’t easy and I was making a great mess of it.

Later on, a group of people from Runcorn were coach operators. The have a company called I-Coaches. They were running out of money so they decided that they would do a few hold-ups to try to bring some money in. They were not particularly successful. The guy who was leading them, his 3 friends were criticising him. In the end one of them said that he would lead the next one. Just then someone came down the hill in a car so they flagged him down. When he stopped, he was eating an orange. The guy who was now in charge pulled out a gun and shot him. Of course this led to all kinds of arguments between the 4 and they split up. 2 went one way and 2 somewhere else. We were back in Runcorn town centre and what was then happening was that there was a police cordon or something and the 4 people there in their groups of 2 suddenly noticed the town was being filled with police. There was a coach involved in it but I don’t know where this fitted in. The two, including the guy who had committed the murder tried to slip through the cordon but the police closed right in on them. The other 2 were there watching knowing that it was going to be their turn next to be pulled up. In court it was a woman in a wheelchair who was prosecuting them, the first lawyer in a wheelchair in the Uk

And then I was at work last night. I had a meal. We all ended up going for this meal, a huge group of us for a formal dinner. I was sat on a table with someone and we were discussing a report that had been prepared. There were 3 groups mentioned and the guy who was on my table was trying to work out who to send them to. He thought that 2 of these names were relevant because of their connection but the third one wasn’t. I said “if that’s what you think, send them there”. But he wanted this lengthy discussion and I was sure that we would arrive at the same conclusion no matter how long we spent talking about it. Then the waiter came round with some of the starters which was thin-sliced cold beef. I explained to him that I was a vegan so he took my plate away and it looked then as if I wasn’t going to have anything to eat. When everyone had finished their starter they started to mill around. I bumped into a colleague of mine and we ended up in a small group chatting. he explained about how when I was in a bad mood I’d drive to Nantwich and just sit and meditate. I wondered how he knew that. Then the waiter came round again putting a bottle of beer at everyone’s table for them to drink. Before I could stop him he disappeared. Knowing what had happened with the starter I knew full well that if I complained about the beer he’d just take it away and not leave me anything so I gave it to my colleague for him to drink.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I promised you some excitement today. And I lived up to my promise as well! At LeClerc they had carrots at €0:79 a kilo so I had bought a kilo. After I’d finished the dictaphone notes I went into the kitchen, diced them, blanched them and put them into the freezer to freeze.

Now how exciting is that?

Actually, it must really have been something because after lunch I came back in here, sat down and promptly crashed out. I’d gone for a good hour too, right out of it. Probably the deepest sleep that I’ve had for several weeks too and there I was, thinking that i’d gone past this stage.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Anyway, I managed to pull myself together and stagger off outside for my afternoon walk around the headland.

As I mentioned earlier, there were crowds of people out on the beach this afternoon. There really were too, as you can tell from this photo.

There was plenty of beach to be on too, with the tide being well out, and it was quite a nice, warm day for the time of year.

Nothing going on out at sea that I could see though. There was quite a thick sea-mist despite the wind and everything was obscured. Visibility was only a couple of miles out to sea.

f-guko Grob G120A baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Nothing going on out at sea but just like Thunderclap newman, there was something in the air.

This is a new aeroplane for us – the first time that we’ve seen her. She’s F-GUKO, a Grob G120A. That’s a type of aeroplane about which I know very little, except that it’s a type used by the Royal Canadian Air Force and a few other air forces as a basic trainer.

She took off from Granville airfield at 16:07, flew north for a while and then headed south to Avranches where she landed at about 16:43.

Her previous recorded flight was yesterday, so seeing as I took the photo of her at 15:59, this must have been an unrecorded flight below the level of the radar.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Several people on the path on top of the cliffs too so I had to dodge the crowds as I walked down to the end.

Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the mouth of the harbour, was looking quite nice this afternoon framed by the trees and the signboard.

You can tell how high the tide comes in from this photo. We’ve seen the water well up to the higher of the two red rings when we’ve had a very high tide.

You can also see how thick the sea mist is today. You can make out the Pointe de Carolles in the background but that’s about it. You can’t see any further than that.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With the tide being so far out today, there’s plenty of scope for the pèche à pied.

The people in this group have all come very well-equipped with all kinds of stuff that they will need for a successful afternoon. They all have a couple of buckets each.

But it was the guy in the fluorescent orange waterproof gear that caught my eye. He’ll stand out from the crowd on any beach dressed like that.

He rather reminded me of a press release that we received from the Paris police when I worked for a major holiday company in the UK in the late 80s –
“The policeman who stands in the middle of the Place d’Etoile directing traffic will from now on be illuminated to make sure that motorists don’t miss him in the dark”.

It was round about here that I had an encounter with a couple of tourists.
“Can you see the Ile de Chausey and Jersey from here?”.

So I pointed out to them the Ile de Chausey that you could just about see through the mist and I explained that in this fog, seeing Jersey, at a distance of 58 kms from where we were standing, would be pretty much impossible. I did however indicate the direction, in case they are about some other time when the fog has lifted.

le roc a la mauve 3 suzanga spirit of conrad chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche harbour Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Having dealt with the tourists I headed off down the path towards the port.

Earlier in the day we’d been in the chantier naval where we had seen Suganza and Spirit of Conrad. They are of course still in there, as is Le Roc A La Mauve III with its shiny coat of white polyeurethane paint.

She’ll be ready to go back into the water quite soon, I reckon. But then again, regular readers of this rubbish will recall what happens when I make predictions like that.

One thing that has gone though is Joly France. She was moored over at the ferry terminal yesterday but she’s not there now. The ground’s all flat.

It’s not really the right kind of day for a trip out to the Ile de Chausey and certainly not if you are going sightseeing, but if the service is advertised, they have to go. It’s a Saturday and the seasonal occupiers of the houses will gradually be turning up.

objects on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On my way home, I noticed this huge pile of equipment by the side of the crane in the bay where the gravel boats used to tie up.

Despite enlarging and enhancing the photo, I’ve still not been able to work out what it all is. Ordinarily I would have gone down for a closer look to satisfy my curiosity but it’s been a good 12 months since I’ve been well enough for a quick jaunt like that.

Back here there was a nice surprise. The postwoman has been. And so not only do I have my new course-book for the third year of my Welsh course, I have the new dictaphone too. I can’t wait to try that out.

And so I’ll probably not go off on a voyage tonight, simply out of spite.

This afternoon I’ve had another good session on the guitar, and then I edited some more photos of my trip to the High Arctic in 2019. Right now we’re in the Davis Strait on our way north-west to Lancaster Sound.

There were plenty of really good subjects for photography such as THIS ONE but as you might expect, they were all either early in the morning or late at night when the light is poor, and so when you are on board a moving ship in a lively current, the results are … errr … questionable.

Tea was a couple of those small breaded quornburgers with potatoes and vegetables, all cooked in vegan margarine. And as usual, it was delicious.

But I’m almost running out of those now and I don’t know what I’ll do when they are finished because I haven’t seen any in Noz for ages. I used to buy them in Belgium years ago, and so I suppose that next time that I’m in Leuven I’ll have to go out on the prowl and cast my net further.

Bedtime now, much later than usual as I’ve had a quiet relaxing evening. A nice lie-in followed by a good breakfast with plenty of strong coffee. Hopefully that will set me up for the week but whether it will or not remains to be seen.

Only 11 more days than I’m off on my travels.

Thursday 18th November 2021 – JUST A FEW …

… brief notes because even though it’s not yet 21:00 I’m off to bed. I’ve had a very long an exhausting day and I’ve already crashed out once.

What didn’t help was that I didn’t have much sleep last night. And it wasn’t just a case of tossing and turning, I was off on a few voyages too I was in Bolton last night. I’d gone to see a friend and had ended up at some crossroads not too far from his place. There was something that I had to do and that meant doing it in the college so I walked from the crossroads down the hill turning left down this steep hill through these roadworks and was nearly knocked over by a few bicycles, all this kind of thing. I ended up in Bolton town centre which was a seaport. There were loads of ships around and this huge festival taking place. I had a rough idea where the college was but I hadn’t seen any signs to it. When I reached the town centre I turned left to follow the river with all these fishing boats, even a little toy fishing boat with kids on it pretending to fish. There was a huge display of like artificial city walls with castles, fires and people running around waving a strange red and gold flag. I came to a street that was written in Basque. It said “street of the high college” which I imagined was the road that I wanted. It said “to the south college” also written in Basque even though this was at the north end of the town. I thought that I would go that way. On the way down I’d passed this area where they had loads of garden sheds installed and they were renting these out £48:00 per month for people to use as storage. I thought that that was a good idea for me if I go back, to rent a storage place there and I’d have everything that I needed at my disposal. According to my dictaphone Id walked 15 minutes and 47 seconds before I’d seen this sign to go to the college but it seemed like an awful lot longer than that. And what I couldn’t really understand was that I was so close to seeing Zero again but I turned away instead.

Later on I’d received a message to go to a scrapyard somewhere in the North Midlands in connection with my insurance company. I was in the Opel Senator. I arrived there and someone gave me the precise details of how to park – put the steering wheel at 111° then 1° the other way then 111° the other way. I ended up alongside a compound. While I was waiting a guy came over and opened the door to say something to me and some other guy came along and hobbled in. He said that he was going to Harwood in Essex. Then I realised what this was all about. I was part of some group that would take people to wherever they were going if it was on the way of a journey that you were actually doing. You would basically register your journey and someone would come along and add themselves in. This guy had been in a car crash and his car had been taken here after the crash on the motorway. Because I was going somewhere down south they had patched his journey in with mine and I was to take him home

Leaving the bed was rather difficult an it took me longer than usual to shake a leg. And after checking the mails and medication I selected the music for one of my future radio programmes before heading off to the hospital.

alfa romeo guiletta spyder tiensestraat leuven Belgium photo November 2021How long is it since we’ve seen an old car on these pages?

At one time we used to see them quite regularly but we haven’t seen one for a while, so when this Alfa Romeo Guiletta Spyder went past me in the Tiensestraat I had to take a photo of it.

It’s a shame that the photo has come out blurred but the car came upon me just as I walked around the corner and I didn’t have any time to prepare the camera. In fact, I was lucky that I had the camera to hand.

crane herbert hooverlaan leuven Belgium photo November 2021A little further on down the Tiensestraat I came into the Herbert Hooverplein.

Lifting equipment seems to be all the rage these days. We saw a cherry-picker yesterday in the Martelarenplein as we arrived, and this morning there’s a crane here on the corner of the Tiensestraat and the Herbert Hooverplein.

Mind you, I can’t think what they would be lifting around here that would need a crane of this size to lift it. It’s an impressive piece of machinery. However the lorry in the background with the scaffolding might give us a clue as to what is happening here.

interior of old shop rector de somerplein leuven Belgium photo November 2021There have been quite a few changes of occupancy in the Rector de Somerplein just recently, and there looks like there might be another one in the offing.

There’s another shop-cum-office premises here that has been looking rather shabby over the past couple of years and as I walked past today it looks as if someone is finally doing something about it.

They are busy ripping out the ceiling at the back but that’s all that I could see and there was no notice or anything on the door to hint at what was going on. So I’ll have to keep my eye open on this place and see how things develop.

site of marquee brusselsestraat leuven Belgium photo November 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last time that we were here there was some kind of marquee at the back of the velodrome on the site of St Pieter’s Hospital.

That has gone the way of the west right now and the place is almost empty. They have even taken away the potted palm trees that were there.

However, the guy who is there looks as if he’s doing something quite interesting although I can’t see what it is from here and I didn’t want to go over there and disturb him.

demolition site brusselsestraat leuven Belgium photo November 2021On the other side of the velodrome I couldn’t see much that has been removed since I was here last.

Not enough to create that extremely large pile of rubble though. And I seem to remember as well that there was a huge hole there too, so there’s more in that rubble than meets the eye.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen the site plans for this area. It’s all going to be apartments, shops and a small park, so maybe the rubble is for use in the building programme that might be under way soon.

medieval tower demolition site brusselsestraat leuven Belgium photo November 2021While I’m here, I had to go and look at the old medieval tower.

Prior to the demolition of the hospital here I had no idea that this tower existed. Behind me alongside the river is 100 metres or so of city wall of this are and we’ve seen a few scattered bits and pieces here and there, but I thought that that was that.

At least they have done something to protect the tower from damage from all of the building work that’s being undertaken here and who knows? They might even restore it. It’ll be interesting trying to find the matching stone.

house building zongang leuven Belgium photo November 2021Another thing that regulr readers of this rubbish will recall seeing is the building that’s taking place in the Kapucijnenvoer that’s backing onto the Zongang.

There was a beautiful building that was uncovered when the previous building on that site was demolished and I’ve commented in the past that building a building of this type is going to make that nice little building really dark.

As you can see, I’m not wrong either. And as the sun sinks even lover in the sky it’s going to be even darker. There are building regulations in many countries about heights of buildings relating to widths of streets and I’m intrigued to know what the position is in Belgium.

But that’s fir another day. I pushed on towards the hospital.

roadworks monseigneur van waeyenberghlaan leuven Belgium photo November 2021Up at the top of the Monseigneur Van Waeyenberghlaan they were busy digging up the grass verge.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that several months ago we saw them digging up the verge just here and laying a pile of cables, so I wonder what has caused them to dig it up again.

When I arrived at the hospital, first port of call was the cardiologist. He ran exactly the same series of tests that I’d had in France a few weeks ago. And when he’d finished I could stagger off to the day centre for my usual treatment.

In the middle of that they called me back down to the cardiology department so I had to be uncoupled from my machine and go off on the Great Trek downstairs. After waiting for a while they gave me an electrography scan, just like I’d had at the cardiologist’s in France. And surprise, surprise. The results were the same too.

THe net result of all of this is that they are going to consider the results and see me in 4 weeks time when I’m next back for my treatment.

Back in the day centre they had an extreme amount of difficulty restarting the machine that pumps the plasma into me and as a result it was long past 18:00 when I finished there.

Having picked up my medication at the chemist’s (and doing my best to cut down on my medication I’m now up to 13 tablets each day) I headed off into town.

site of marquee velodrome brusselsestraat leuven Belgium photo November 2021A little earlier, we’d seen a man messing about at the back of the Velodrome in the Brusselsestraat.

Of course, it’s dark now when I came back this way and they have installed some form of lighting in the area. I wonder if he was actually connecting it up to the mains electricity just now.

It’s not exactly what I would call “artistic” but I suppose that it’s better than nothing. It’s just a shame that it’s lighting up a bed of compressed rubble but I don’t imagine that they will be doing much to it as there will be some permanent redevelopment here in due course.

christmas lights brusselsestraat leuven Belgium photo November 2021Back in the Brusselsestraat, going up the hill towards the Town Centre, they’ve installed the Christmas lights and they are now switched on.

Unfortunately they are the same as last year’s lights, and the year before, and so on und so weiter. It’s not just Granville that is lacking in imagination when they come to light up the town.

As you might expect, at this time of the evening my favourite supermarket was closed. I shall have to go elsewhere to buy my food for tea tonight and tomorrow. It’s a shame that I wasn’t able to make it to the big supermarket yesterday afternoon.

town hall grote markt leuven Belgium photo November 2021In the Grote Markt the Town Hall is all lit up again.

Usually, the colours of the lights change all the way through the ranges of blue and red, but as I watched the lights didn’t change colour at all. Maybe it will be different in a couple of days when everything is installed and working correctly.

The supermarket down the road is more expensive than the ones that I usually use, but at least it’s open so I can at least buy some food for tea. There’s not much choice either so I’m going to have to make do with falafel tonight and tomorrow

Now I’ve finished tea, I’m off to bed. It’s miles walking around one of the largest hospitals in the world and I’m up to 140% of my daily activity. No wonder I’m exhausted.

Here’s hoping for a good night’s sleep and that I’ll be fighting fit in the morning.

Wednesday 6th October 2021 – I NOTICED …

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021… something very interesting this afternoon when I went out for my afternoon walk.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we are keeping a lose eye on the repairing of the medieval city walls round by the Place du Marché aux Chevaux, but I don’t think that I would have missed this.

Either they are intending to do a very throrough job of it or else they have had a calamity, because part of the wall down at the base looks as if it has collapsed and has left a gaping hole.

This is going to cause someone some rather difficult problems.

children's amusements Square Maurice Marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021What else is going to be causeing someone else some severe problems is whatever is going on in the Square Maurice Marland.

When we had the previous Maire there was an anonymous blog (not one of mine, I hasten to add) doing the rounds criticising her for the state of the Square here

She wasn’t re-elected, which was probably the aim of the blog, but since we have had the new incumbent, not only has the Square deteriorated further, most of the kiddies’ amusements that were fenced off from use a few weeks ago have now been removed completely.

So there have certainly been several changes under the new Maire, but I wonder what our anonymous blogger is making of them all.

Last night I went to bed early with the intention of having a really decent sleep right the way through until 07:30, but as you might expect, that never happened.

I was tossing and turning for much of the night and having a couple of these severe night sweats that I need to record. And there were nocturnal voyages a-plenty too.

I started off by going on holiday with Nerina. We were going somewhere down to the south coast and we boarded a plane, one of these small 24-seater things. It took off and we were there in the queue talking about preparing to leave etc. The planes in this queue were going out one by one. Then we took off and ended up flying north from Crewe doing a big circle round over where Wardle Airfield is. I pointed out where my grandparents used to live (and they did, too). I asked her if she had ever met them. She said not, that Wardle didn’t ring any bells with her at all. She asked about a couple of buildings that were there, weren’t they something to do with the Women’s Institute? I replied that they were the original buildings from the airfield.

Later on, I can’t remember how it went but Nerina was living with someone else in squalid circumstances worse than ever I lived in the Auvergne. She had a few people round and was bottling some kind of milky drink so I gave her a hand and ended up bottling a banana smoothie for someone. I had to fill it with water. In the meantime she was inside the house talking to Claude and his wife, whatever her name was. I didn’t really want to go in to see them so I kept outside but I could hear the conversation. In the end something drew me in so I went in. They were both still in bed. They were also living in poor circumstances, not as poor as Nerina. She was getting on really well with them and I was just exchanging pleasantries, if you like, trying not to get too involved.

There was also something about me and a brand-new house that I’d owned somewhere, a 2-bedroomed house. The bedrooms were really small but I can’t remember anything particular about that.

Finally, I’d been out somewhere and not come back until late. I had to go into work so I’d gone to bed. It was my house in Winsford but that new house that I mentioned. Then I had to go out again to see Hans. He was talking about something. I explained that I’d only got in at 06:00 but I had to go to work so I wasn’t doing anything. I drove back home thinking that I was going to have another day off but then I thought that my time records were in such a state that I couldn’t do that kind of thing. It was another one of these “thinking about retiring from work” dreams that occur regularly.

On the way back from Hans’s house I was walking down the road at the back of Wardle Airfield towards my house. For some reason I couldn’t keep my feet and kept on falling over. A guy came out of a side road in a car, the guy who had the farm at the back of me at Les Guis, He asked me If I’d received his package but I couldn’t understand what he meant so I saif that I would check. I ended up back at my house and Claude and his wife were there. he handed me a package and I opened it. It was full of old tools so I had to think what these were. He said “that’s a good deal that you got for that battery”. I suddenly realised that Claude had given me a battery and I’d given it to that farmer, so I’ll go through these tools later and give a few of them to Claude that he might need.

This is a total of four or five different voyages, and not only were they so real that I was totally convinced that they were happening, I seemed to have been stepping in and out of dreams at various points and stepping right back into them round about where I left off, not once, but several times.

And then, of course, we have the recurring dream about me being in a mess at work and so planning to resign.

It’s all very eerie, this.

So after the medication, checking my messages and mails and the like, much of the day has been spent dealing with the radio project that I have in hand.

There is a huge pile of notes that I’ve written for distribution, I’ve spent some time on the phone with the co-ordinator and I’ve also been sending mails and making telephone calls to contacts.

What happens from here on is anyone’s guess but several people at the radio seem to be quite enthusiastic, and quite well-placed to push things forward.

We had the usual breaks – coffee, breakfast, lunch, and then the afternoon walk of course.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021You’re probably wondering why the photo of the beach looks different today from how it has been over the last few weeks.

You’ve probably guessed from the photos at the beginning that I haven’t gone around the headland this afternoon. Instead, I’m walking around the walls.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on Monday we saw several things that seemed to be going on within the walls that piqued our interest and I mentioned that I would go round one day and check up.

peche a pied beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021In fact there were quite a few people down there on the beach this afternoon

The weather was quite nice and we’re getting to the stage of having some really low tides right now, so most of the people down there in this photo and in the previous one seemed to be engaged in the pêche à pied, scavenging about amongst the rocks for shellfish.

And it looks as if the two people in this photo have made quite a substantial haul. There are limits to what one can take away from the beach, and I bet that they can’t be far off it.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2110/21100044.html”>fishing boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There’s other fishing going on down there too.

As usual I was having a good look around out at sea and although there were none of the trawlers (or any other type of boat) out there in the bay this afternoon, there were two fishing boats way out off the headland.

Luckily the sea is quite a lot calmer than it was yesterday so they can have a better working day today. I really felt sorry for those in peril on the sea yesterday in that storm.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The most interesting (from my point of vies) part of the walk around the walls is the repair work that’s going on here in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

They’ve had this scaffolding – this magnificent work of art – up here for a few weeks now and they are slowly advancing up the hill, making good progress with the pointing as they do so.

But having seen the wind that we had yesterday, you can understand why they have it weighted down with 5 tonnes of water. It wouldn’t mast very long in the winds that we have without something to hold it down, and 5 pallet tanks fulll of water is a good place to start.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The last time that we looked over the wall, we saw them working about 6 or 8 feet below the top of the wall.

Today, we can see that they have practically worked their way up to the top at this end, and doubtlessly they’ll be working their way downhill to the end as time goes on.

It was round here that I was overwhelmed by a horde of brats.

There’s no school on Wednesday afternoons but there are plenty of activities for children whose parents have to work.

A bunch of 4 girls aged about 9-11 came swarming around me asking me if I’d noticed something. It turns out that they are one team of orienteers who were having a competition this afternoon around the old town, and were looking for a marker.

It’s a little-known fact that when I was 16 or 17, I competed in the North-West Schools orienteering championships, so I had a little chat with the kids for a minute or two.

Believe it or not, I actually like children round about that age. I think that they get a very raw deal from adults and have a lot to say for themselves, if only someone would listen to them.

There was also someone from the tourist board taking photos, and we had a little chat as well.

peche a pied medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021From the Place du Marché aux Chevaus I went along the path underneath the walls.

Once more, plenty of people on the beach, including all those round by the Plat Gouseet in the medieval fish trap hunting for shellfish buried in the sand.

That’s not really the purpose of the fish trap. In medieval times, and even today if someone were to bother to maintain it correctly, it would retain water after the tide has done out, and which would slowly filter out between the gaps in the rocks.

This would leave a supply of fish behind, trapped by the stone walls, and the average medieval fishwife would wade in there and pull them out with her bare hands.

repair work plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The Plat Gousset has now been cleared of beach huts, as I mentioned last time.

And that’s probably just as well after the storms that we’ve just had. Instead of lifting them up with a crane, they could have moved them with a brush and shovel.

But there’s some kind of repair work going on down there at that blue and white building. I wonder if that’s anything to do with the storms that we have just had.

It actually looks quite peaceful and pleasant down there this afternoon. I bet that it wasn’t like that just now.

Anyway, I cleared off down the Square Maurice Marland, looking at the state (or otherwise) of the kiddies’ amusements as I passed.

tubes and pipes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, I had a good peer to see what was going on.

Regular readers of this rubbish will remember that yesterday, they hard started to put into the water the tubes that had been on the quayside for a week or two.

Today, by the looks of things, they seem to have put in all of them that I could see. It’s all looking very interesting and so I wonder what the next step is going to be.

And, furthermore, is the dredger that is in the chantier naval going to be playing any part in it all?

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was there, I had a look at the quayside underneath the crane to see what was happening there.

Those galvanised sheets are still on the quayside, and they have now been joined by a few of these sacks of builders’ materials.

This would seem to indicate that we are going to be having one of the Jersey freighters in very soon.

And I’ll be surprised if it’s Normandy Trader because at the last update that I had, the skipper and his mate were somewhere between Lands End and John O’Groats on their bikes.

That reminds me of the famous record-breaking woman cyclist Br Barbara Moore who would either walk or cycle between Lands End and John O’Groats as the fancy took her.

On one occasion, having completed one of her rides, she was asked by a commentator what she planned to do next. She replied, in her thick Eastern European accent I vill strip – and overhaul my bicycle.

digging a trench rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021What has actually brought us to this neck of the woods is the sign that we saw on Monday telling us that the Rue Cambernon is closed to traffic.

That’s the kind of thing that needs to be checked so I wandered round that way, and sure enough, they are digging a trench down the side of the street.

That’s something that is totally bewildering me because only about a year or so ago, or maybe even less, they dug it up to do something else. That’s pretty bad planning if they are now having to dig it up for something else so soon afterwards.

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And that’s not the best of it either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the winter (or what passes for winter around here) they’d dug up the Rue St Michel and replaced a pile of pipework, then relayed the street – in asphalt rather than cobbles, to my eternal dismay.

But now it seems that they will be coming back, as all of the hieroglyphics are back on the road surface.

Blue is for water, of course, but I’ve no idea which other colour represents anything else.

They aren’t doing too well with their planning, are they?

abandoned american car place du parvis notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Round by the Eglise Notre Dame du Cap Lihou, the American car from Connecticut is still here.

We first came across it on our return from North America 2 years ago, and it’s still here now, not having moved an inch since then.

Someone has liberated the front number-plate over time but the rear is still there.

Around the corner I was swept up in a swarm of people coming out of the church after a funeral and I had to fight my way through the mob in order to reach home.

After my coffee I carried on with my notes for my radio project, and even found time to update a couple of entries from the end of August by inserting the details of my nocturnal voyages in them.

And then I went for tea.

There was a couple of mushrooms looking sorry for themselves and 2 small potatoes that had seen better days so I heaved a small tin of chick peas in and made myself a quick curry. And it was delicious too.

So now I’m hoping for another early night, hopefully on through which I can sleep undisturbed. It’s high time I had a really good night’s sleep.

But at least – lying-in until 07:30 instead of rising at 06:00 means that crashing out during the day is only happening rarely these days. I’ve been wondering whether I should set the alarm to 07:00. What would happen then?

Saturday 25th September 2021 – THIS SHELLFISH FESTIVAL …

marquees fete des coquilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021 … isn’t half bringing in the crowds. And it’s absolute chaosas well by the looks of things.

Several more marquees and stalls have been set up since we last looked and they are packed to the gunwhales with people who have apparently come from all parts of France in order to indulge in an orgy of shellfish.

Including the boat Anakena, the one that was stranded in port at the height of the pandemic. You can see her, the dark blue one moored in the background. She’s been working her way around the Brittany coast, having set sail from Lorient at the end of August.

marquee marité rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And the chicane in the Rue du Port was total chaos this morning as well.

Motorists not knowing where to go and what to do, stopping, and even parking, in the most inconvenient places, and then there were the hordes of pedestrians milling about in the way of all of the traffic.

The way out to the hypermarket was chaos enough at 09:15. I shuddered to think of what it would be like by the time that I come back, so I went the long way round to reach home. And I bet that despite being the long way round, it took me much less time.

bad parking leclerc hypermarket Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While we’re on the subject of bad parking … “well, one of us is” – ed … there was enough bad parking today to fill a photo album, so I’ve selected this example for you.

It’s a delivery van delivering products to one of the boutiques in the Hypermarket. Dozens of empty spaces at this time of morning, including this disabled space right by the front door, but reversing in there is far too complicated for this guy.

What he’s chosen to do is to abandon his van in one of the car park paths, blocking in several cars while he was at it, including one with a driver who was trying to leave. But as long as he’s okay, what does he care about anyone else?

Anyway, let’s return to our moutons as they say around here.

Once more, the blasted phone people sent me a text message that awoke me during the night and I had trouble going back to sleep again. Nevertheless I must have done because the alarm awoke me at 07:30

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too so I copied the audio files onto the computer, and as I type out these notes, I realise that Bane of Britain has forgotten to transcribe them.

Off I went to the shops once I’d awoken. at Noz I didn’t spent much but at LeClerc it was another large bill, due to my buying more coffee and a pile of syrups seeing as I’m running out. I’ve given up making my own drinks for now. I’m not feeling up to tasks like that at the moment.

Another thing that I bought was some of those soya desserts in small pots. I need to vary my diet rather more than I’m doing at the moment.

Back here, having taken the long way round, it was astruggle up the stairs with my heavy shopping. But the fact that I managed it, albeit rather precariously, tells me that the physiotherapy is working somewhat.

Having put down the shopping I made myself a coffee and cut a slice of my fruit bread, and then came in here to relax for a while. I was exhausted after my efforts at the shops.

After lunch, there was football. Trefelin against Connah’s Quay Nomads in the Welsh Cup.

The gul in class was pretty evident right from the kick-off and at one point well into the second hald, the stats showed 28% Trefelin possession and 72% Connah’s Quay possession.

Nevertheless, the score at half-time was just 1-0 to the Nomads thanks to a brilliand Jamie Insall goal. The Trefelin goal was having a charmed life with shots whistling narrowly over the bar or around the post, and when they were on target, they found the Trefelin keeper in exceptional form.

Nomads scored a second goal shortly after the interval as a result of a goalmouth scramble, a goal that should quite properly have been disallowed due to a foul on the keeper, but with the Nomads having been denied a stonewall penalty in the 1st half that everyone except the referee thought should have been given, I suppose it evened things up.

The introduction of Jamie Mullan injected some more spark into the Nomads. He had a point to prove, and set about proving it.

2 late goals for the Nomads sealed what was in the end a comfortable victory, but in all honesty they should have been down the road and out of sight a long time before the interval.

old car peugeot 203 wedding civic offices Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was getting ready to go out for my afternoon walk there was quite a racket going on outside.

My apartment looks out onto the Civic Offices where the marriages take place, and it looks as if this afternoon, judging by all of the people around there, this today must have been the marriage of the Century.

But my attention was drawn to the car down there. It’s been a long time since we’ve featured an old car on these pages, and today there’s a Peugeot 203 down there – the white and red car.

These are gorgeous machines and I would have one in a heartbeat, especially a plateau, or pickup. I found one once ON THE ILE D’YEU when Cecile and I went to visit her mother, but I had to decline.

ship relaying bouchot stakes donville les bains baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As usual I went across the car park to have a look down onto the beach, but my attention was immediately drawn to this.

Whatever is going on down there, I have no idea but there’s a small ship fitted with a crane of some description, and I’m sure that that row of bouchot stakes wasn’t there yesterday.

It looks as if the bouchot farmers are having an extension, and there are quite a few people on the beach down by the campsite having a good look

And had I been feeling much better, I would have been down there having a good look with them.

people on beach rue du nord plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But enough of that. Let’s go back to the beach.

Today was cloudy and overcast so I didn’t expect to see too many people down there, especially with all of the other attractions going on elsewhere.

And I was right in that respect, at least by the steps that lead up to the Rue du Nord, because there was only a handful of people there.

Farther along by the Plat Gousset there were a few more people, but that’s always the case. Access to the beach is much easier along there

f-gorn Robin DR400/120 Dauphin 2+2 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was out there at the end of the car park, I noticed a light aeroplane taking off from the airfield.

She’s F-GORN, the Robin DR400/120 Dauphin 2+2 that belongs to the Aero Club de Granville, on her way out to sea

However I can’t tell you any more than that because she didn’t seem to file a flight plan, and she wasn’t picked up on radar. She’d been out for a couple of flights earlier in the day, flights that had been either recorded or picked up on radar, but for some reason or other, this one hasn’t.

trailer load of everything place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From the wall at the end of the car park I set off for my walk, but as I crossed back across the car park I encountered this.

Everyone will know what some of these items are, and I’m surprised to see them on open display like this. But different countries have different attitudes of course.

But whatever the significance of it all is, it beats me. I was thinking that maybe it’s something to do with the wedding that’s going on at the Civic Offices. But it’s certainly strange behaviour and I’ll simply leave it at that.

zodiac men fishing baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From my usual vantage point at the highest point of the walk, I had another look out to sea.

There was a zodiac out there, stationary, with a couple of guys in there. “Fishermen” I mused to myself.

But as I watched and prepared to take a photo, another zodiac came around the headland into the bay travelling at some speed so I waited until they were both in the viewfinder before I pressed the shutter.

At least the moving zodiac gave the stationary one a wide berth. Regular readers of this rubbish will have seen many photos that showed speeding boats passing fishermen far too close for comfort

cabanon vauban person sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Across the car park I went, down to the end of the headland.

There was someone this afternoon sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban having a good look out to sea. And I’m not sure why because with the mist and haze that was about this afternoon, you couldn’t see very far out across the bay this afternoon.

There weren’t any fishermen down on the rocks this afternoon, nor anyone at the peche à pied. They are all probaby at the shellfish festival having a whale of a time.

So leaving our visitor to it, I set off on the path down the far side of the headland.

cherie d'amour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Down at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, I could see that there was no change in the chantier naval this afternoon. L’Omerta was still in there all on her own.

As for the boats that have been in there just recently, sitting in the silt in the tidal harbour is the yellow Cherie d’Amour. She was in the chantier naval for a short period of time a couple of days ago.

Over at the ferry terminal, Belle France was tied up, but you’ve seen plenty of photos of her just recently. The other two Joly France boats are very probably out at sea somewhere around the Ile de Chausey waiting for the tide to come back in.

marquee chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As for where Chausiaise might be, she’s over there underneath the crane in the loading bay, preulably waiting to load up for her next trip out to the island.

While I was busy looking at the mayhem down at the fish processing plant as everyone swarms around the stalls and marquees, I noticed her over there so I fitted her into this photo of the rest of the activity.

The pile of freight to the right of the crane seems to have increased since we saw it yesterday, and it’s a good job that neither of the two Jersey freighters are coming into port today. It would otherwise have been extremely exciting to watch them try to unload with all of those cars blocking the loading bay.

buffet fete des coquilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I mentioned yesterday, no fête anywhere in France is complete unless there’s a buvette.

THis one of course is no different than anywhere else in that respect. You can see what looks like a bar and row upon row of tables and benches where everyone can sit down and enjoy a quiet drink.

The doors into the Fish Processing Plant are open, and I understand that that is where the dressing of the shellfish is taking place.

There was apparently even a space for small children to try to dress a shellfish, although what you would do with the sleeves of your garment is something that would confuse me.

la granvillaise coelacanthe suzanga port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021No prozes for guessing who this is.

The angle of the sails and the number “G90” painted thereupon will tell you that this is of course La Granvillaise. Never one to miss out on a commercial opportunity, she’s giving tourists a lap around the harbour, presumably for a couple of bob a head.

You might have noticed Marité in an earlier photo. She’s down there too, although not sailing around right now. Also down there at the back on the left is the trawler Coelacanthe and in the foreground is the new pink Suzanga.

yellow autogyro place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Finally, and last but not least, on my way back to my apartment I was overflown by the yellow autogyro.

She came around the corner from behind my building at an altitude of several hundred feet just as I was crossing the road.

Back here, I made myself a coffee and then watched a couple of videos with highlights of a couple of other games from the Welsh Cup. I suppose that I should have been transcribing my dictaphone notes but I rather unfortunately forgot.

Tea tonight was the remainder of the curry from yesterday, lengthened with a small tin of lentils, and it was just as delicious. I had one of those soya dessert pots for afterwards to sweeten my palette.

Eventually, I did manage to deal with the dictaphone notes from today. I’d bumped into the captain of one of the little Jersey freighter in Granville and tried to interest him in taking part in our radio programme. But he didn’t have very much for himself to say and he asked about payment. I explained that there was no budget, that we were volunteers. He insisted that there must be some money somewhere. We went round in circles and in the end I thought that I had managed to persuade him that there was nothing. he didn’t speak French but one of his crew did so we arranged that next Sunday we would all meet in one of the bars here and he could let me know exactly what he thought and what he was able to tell me with the aid of his colleague

later, we were at a vehicle exhibition, wandering around looking at all the old lorries that were there, in the USA judging by the plates. A former friend of mine had one, an old Ford-type of lorry but there was no engine in it. We were wandering around and they lifted a flatbed back off a lorry and found that there was another flatbed underneath it, a FEMSA dated 1972. They wondered what this was doing because this was quite rare. They made a few enquiries but the owners knew nothing about it. They rang up FEMSA and quoted the body number. They replied that they sold it to that company in 1972 so this was a big mystery as what they’d bought it for and on what hat they were going to use it. There was an autojumble there as well. I was with some woman looking at all the bits and pieces. She was asking one particular guy loads of questions about stuff. All his stuff was American electrical stuff that was no good for the UK. Eventually we came back and there was a guy actually dismantling a lorry and rebuilding it while the show was going on. He was waiting for some bits but he was quite confident that he would rebuild it and have it on the road. He was planning on a drive from Northern France to South Africa in his lorry so I was interested in going along as a co-driver but he had a team. I still tried to see and ask my way around to see whether or not there might have been a place for me because it was something extremely interesting. But there were all kinds of strange people there, 3 babies, 2 of them very badly sunburnt. There was a woman dressed as a bride who was carrying a baby on her back. I thought “she’s left it rather late to be married, hasn’t she?”

So rather later than I was hoping, I’m off to bed. I’ll leave the phone in the living room where if someone messages me tonight, I wont hear it. It’s Sunday, and a lie-in tomorrow and I’m hoping to make the most of it.

But something will go wrong of course – it usually does.

Monday 13th September 2021 – IT’S A PITY …

ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… that my 70-300mm LENS is the longest lens that I have.

Had it been of any greater length it might have picked up some really exciting activity out at the Ile de Chausey over the weekend.

Someone in a zodiac pulled up at a landing stage on the island to drop off some passengers and a speedboat, taking a great deal of exception to someone beating him to the pitch, rammed him – not once, not twice but continually over a period of seven or eight minutes.

They say that the police and the harbour authorities are “very interested” in the affair, and i’m not surprised.

If you are interested, you can see A VIDEO OF SOME OF THE ACTION

There was plenty of action during the night in here as well. I’d borrowed a van to do some removals. I had everything in the van and gone to do this but the place wasn’t ready so I had had to hang on to the van. I was going to do it next morning. The guys whose van it was wanted their van back by 11:00. After much discussion we agreed that someone from their place would come with me early in the morning, we’d unload the van and then he’d drive back the van so that I could go on to work. There were two pints of milk on the table so I said that i’d take one with me as my breakfast but my mother refused and said “no”.

A little later there was something going on about an old Transit van that i’d had for years, like that Sykes Pumps one. The diesel engine had been no good in it. I took the diesel engine out of my old white Transit and put it in. Then I tried to start it and to my surprise it fired up. I remember saying to someone that I’ve had this van for 18 years and it’s the first time that I’ve ever heard it run

Later on again I was working in Manchester. There was a huge office car park and we were parked on there. They were talking to an old manager of Rangers FC about what was going to happen to some buildings just below. He said that they were going to turn them into shops so the discussion went on to parking. Were they going to be parked in our area or not? he said not – they would probably have parking of their own. I went outside the compound and looked back. One of the buildings here was a huge 37-storey building like a space rocket thing. I was working in another one. I was lying down on my back looking at this building and these two girls came past. I said that that was where I worked . They looked at it and asked “what floor?”. I said “the ground floor. They won’t get me working on the 37th floor for any love or money. Just then I heard a load of clanking and it sounded as if the car park was being locked. I had to run back to the car park but I couldn’t get in because the gates were closed. There was a security guard there and he opened the gate for me and let me in. He said “I’ll let you in this time but don’t do it again because you won’t be let in otherwise.

There was some other stuff as well but as you are probably eating your meal right now, I’ll spare you the gory details.

After the medication I made a start on the next radio programme. And despite having to stop for a coffee and for breakfast it was all done and dusted by 11:20. And it’s a pretty good one too. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.

While I was listening to it afterwards I was busy sorting through a pile of old photographs and weeding out the duplicates. There’s a couple of GB in there right now and I imagine that as I progress there will be plenty more to go with them.

After lunch I had a shower and then did a pile of tidying up because the nurse was coming around to give me my fortnightly injection.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a week or so ago I had a very lengthy talk with the skipper of Normandy Trader. Amongst other things, he told me some news but asked me no to say anything quite yet.

Anyway, now I’m able to spread the news about. Several weeks ago he saw a sister boat to his own and discovered that it was for sale. He made several enquiries and as a result, this morning the boat passed into his fleet.

At the moment she’s called Brecqhou Warrior but she’s likely to have a name change before she starts work.

lotus place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

Once again I was held up before I’d gone too far, because on the car park is one of the little Lotus Sevens.

At least, it says that it’s a Lotus and while I have no reason to doubt that it is, one has to be very careful about accepting cars like this at face value. There are plenty of kit cars out there that resemble the real thing, and some of them are very good indeed.

There are several cases of people having been “taken in” by faithful replicas. It’s very hard to tell some of them apart.

red autogyro place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021esterday, I couldn’t even get out of the door without being overflown by the red autogyro.

This afternoon I should have delayed my walk by about 30 seconds because then exactly the same thing happened. As I was looking at the Lotus, the autogyro came out from behind the College Malraux.

It rattled past overhead, the pilot and his passenger, and disappeared off towards the airfield where presumably it went in to land.

There were several other aeroplanes that went past, light aircraft or full-size commercial aircrat but they were all too far out in the bay or too high up for me to photograph them with any clarity.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Having dealt with all of that, I went over to the wall to look down at the beack to see who was about.

The tide is now well in so there isn’t much beach down there right now but there were still quite a few people down there.

And who can blame them? It was a really nice afternoon with plenty of sun and not a lot of wind. An ideal time to be down there.

There wasn’t anything going on out at sea this afternoon which was quite a surprise, so I headed off along the path on top of the cliffs.

One of the sparrowhawks was there looking for food but he wouldn’t keep still long enough for me to take a photo of it, so carried on through the crowds of people.

man on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Across the lawn and across the car park, I went down to see what was going on there.

Surprisingly, there wasn’t a single boat of any description that I could see out there this afternoon. The only sign of any life was this guy down there sitting on the bench in front of the Cabanon Vauban.

And wherever he has come from, it’s been a hot and difficult walk judging by the sweat stain on his back.

So with nothing to see out at sea, I cleared off along the path towards the port.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There was no change of occupant today at the chantier naval so I looked over towards the ferry terminal to see what was going on there.

Moored up there at the walkway was one of the Joly France ferries that run over to the Ile de Chausey.

This one has the larger upper deck superstructure, no step at the stern and windows in “landscape” format, so she’s the older of the two near-identical boats.

The red crane on the quayside was working although I couldn’t see what it was going to lift, but there was certainly something going on over there with the boat.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021In front of her was the other one of the Joly France boats.

We can see by the smaller upper-deck superstructure and the windows in “portrait” format that she’s the newer one of the two.

And if we could see her stern clearly, we would see a step in it as well.

All that remains to be found now is the brand new Belle France. She must be over at the Ile de Chausey hoping to catch a bit more of the aquatic demolition derby. They could sell tickets for an event like that.

refrigerated lorries fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Not many fishing boats in port this afternoon and I’ve no idea where they all are because I couldn’t see them out at sea.

But they are obvously out there working somewhere because there’s one refrigerated lorry already at the fish processing plant and another one reversing into position.

And this is what makes a mockery of the UK Government’s plans to simplify the HGV driving tests and eliminate the reversing requirement. There’s only one way for an articulated lorry to park in a loading bay, and that’s backwards.

It’ll be extremely interesting when I newly-qualified driver has to reverse up to a loading bay between several other lorries.

Back here I had my banana smoothie and then made a start on my Welsh homework but at 17:00 I had to go upstairs to speak to a neighbour. I have several cunning plans going on around in my head right now, and one of them has something to do with this building.

Tea was another one of these curries made with everything that was lingering in the fridge – well, almost everything because having forgotten the diced peppers yesterday, I forgot them today as well.

Tomorrow I have my lung examination early on, and then my Welsh lesson. There’s my homework to finish too. And then Wednesday i’m off to Leuven. It’s all go here, and I can’t keep up with it.

Friday 30th July 2021 – THE THING THAT …

… surprised me most about this morning was that after so little sleep – much less than 5 hours, I was up and about so early and so … well … maybe not so energetically but at least I wasn’t staggering about incoherently (inasmuch as I am usually incoherent). And I was even back in here to check my mails and my newsfeeds in a reasonably rapid rate of knots.

It wasn’t long though (geologically speaking) until I had to leave the apartment and head off to the doctor’s and my early morning appointment. And I actually made it almost to the surgery before I realised that i’d forgotten to bring my injection with me, by which time it was too late to go back.

skip lorry loading scrap port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way to the doc’s I walked past the docks as I usually do

My attention had been drawn there a long, long way before I could see them by the racket that was coming from down below. When I reached the viewpoint I could see that there was a skip lorry that was picking up the scrap metal in the skips there.

Bearing in mind my post from several days ago, I mused that it was probably old bicycle wheels and World War 11 munitions that had been dredged up in the shellfish scrapers. Start the day with a bang? Why not!

“This is not the time to be hanging around within pressure-wave distance” I thought.

repairing brick wall Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further on down the hill, this little matter of interest caught my eye.

In actual fact, it was a closed-off car parking space across the road that I noticed at first before I saw the builders’ tape. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall, without any help from me, that the old medieval walls around here are crumbling away quicker than they can repair them.

Thai wall here, in between the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard des Terreneuviers has been quietly crumbking away and bits have gone missing, but it looks as if the local builders have been having a go at it.

Whatever next?

Next of course was the doctor’s. Having forgotten the injection, it wasn’t much of an omission because the doctor wrote out a prescription for me to have a nurse come round.

Furthermore, stocks of this injection are available in France and he’ll write out the prescription for me when I run out of the stock that I had from the hospital.

The Covid certificate is easy. Now that I have a Carte Vitale and an account at the French Government’s Health database, he could do all the necessary and I now have a proper Covid Europass. My telephone even reads it too.

The knee isn’t so simple. he thinks that it’s just the menisque, the meniscus muscle, and he’s prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication (which means that my daily dose has now gone up to 10) and a course of physiotherapy.

But prescribing a course is one thing – finding a therapist to do it is something else completely, especially in midsummer when everyone has gone on holiday.

At the chemists I had to wait five minutes before they were opened – first in the queue as well. But clutching my medication I headed back home.

aztec lady charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish might recall that a few days ago we saw Charles Marie come sailing into the harbour.

Not having been this way since then, I hadn’t seen whether or not she was still there but sure enough, she’s the blue and white boat across there.

As for the dark blue boat behind her, I couldn’t make out at first whether she was Anakena, the boat that had set off to go to Scandinavia but had been caught in the pandemic. If it had been she, she probably would have set the record for the boat that’s been the longest in the harbour.

However, a closer examination of the photo shows that she’s Aztec Lady and she’s been in there for quite a long time too.

goods on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut remember yesterday? When we saw a pile of goods on the quayside as Normandy Trader was busy loading up, and I speculated that they wouldn’t be getting all of that into her with the swimming pool as well?

It looks as if I was right – although it didn’t really take much of an effort to work it out. There’s still a pile of freight on the quayside despite the fact that the ship has long-since sailed off into the sunset.

That means that we shall be expecting another visit, either from her or from Thora, in the near future. Imagine leaving all of that stuff unguarded on a quayside in the UK.

On the way back home I met a neighbour (I seem to be doing this quite a lot just recently) and we had a good chat for a while. Then I came back in here for my hot chocolate and fruit bread, which really is delicious!

Armed with my breakfast I came in here and settled down to work on yesterday’s journal entry and the next thing that I remember, it was 2 hours later. Luckily I’d finished my hot chocolate before it went cold.

While I’d been asleep on the chair I’d gone off on another voyage. I was in my holiday home getting ready to go back to the Auvergne because I decided that I was going to move my holiday home … start again … I was in the hotel where I was staying in some seaside resort somewhere in the south of France or somewhere in the west of France. I was going to get back into Caliburn and drive back to Virlet to get some stuff because I was planning to rent an apartment here. I’d thought about going to contact all of the Agents Immobiliers in the region about seeing who had a flat to let. I just walked out of my hotel room and across the hotel into the lobby just to walk straight out, get into Caliburn and drive straight back. I saw the rain and thought “do I need anything to take with me to leave back there? Do I need to bring anything else. Then I had a horrible thought about the train – how was I going to get to my hospital in Belgium?

There was really only just enough time to sort out the photos before lunch and guitar practice.

After lunch I had to ring around for a nurse, but everyone seems to be unavailable. Better luck at the hospital where I was able to change my appointment to the following week. And then I could at last push on with my notes.

There was the usual break for my afternoon walk so grabbing the NIKON D500 j cleared off outside.

lancia fulviasport 1600 zagato place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while there was no bus parked outside the building today, I would swap any bus on the road for one of these.

This vehicle is probably one of the fasted production cars that Lancia ever produced, and I didn’t recognise it at first because someone has taken off the distinctive bumpers. But in actual fact it’s one of the Zagato-bodied Lancia Fulvia Sport 1600s.

Made for just two years, 1971 and 1972, there can’t have been many of these made, and there can’t be more than a handful that still survive, especially here in France.

But yes, one of these would do me very nicely, thak you.

man in water beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo having dealt with the car, let’s go and deal with the issue of the beach.

It took quite an effort to make it across the car park because there was now a howling gale that had sprung up. I wasn’t expecting to see too many people on the beach, and I was quite right too because everyone was conspicuous by their absence

Apart from a few brave souls wandering around out there, there was this guy leaping up and down as the waves came into shore. He was certainly a braver man than I am.

waves breaking on rocks baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd waves of course, there were plenty because there was quite a storm raging out at sea.

There are some rocks that even when the tide is well in, they aren’t covered over by the sea and the waves were breaking on them with quite considerable force. We aren’t likely to see too many ships out there today.

But there were crowds of people at a loose end wandering what to do and I threaded my way through them along the path, chasing after my headgear that had decided to go off for a stroll all on its own with the aid of the wind.

joly france 1 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I said that we aren’t likely to see many ships out there this afternoon, here’s one that I certainly didn’t expect to see.

It was the clouds of spray being thrown around out there that drew my attention to somethign moving so I went to find a high point on top of one of the old bunkers to have a better view.

Exposed as I was to the wind, it was impossible to take the shot that I wanted for when there was a shower of spray over the ship I was being blown out of position. I had to compromise.

Digital enhancement back home brought out the step in the stern of the ship and this tells us that it’s Joly France I battling its way valiantly out through the gale to the Ile de Chausey and I bet that the people on board were not enjoying the trip.

A few years ago I was on a crossing like that, and everyone was leaning over the railings.
“The trouble with you” I said to one man “is that you have a week stomach”.
“Nonsense” he retorted. “I’m throwing it as far as all the others”.

waves on sea wall baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith all of these storms at sea I was expecting to see waves of hurricane proportions dshing over the sea wall and soaking everyone and everything in the inner harbour.

Consequently I dashed down the path, across the car park and around the corner onto the path onto the other side of the headland in eager anticipation.

And this is the best that I can get.

It’s true that the harbour wall is well-sheltered from the nor’westers by the headland around which I have just walked, and you can tell that by the fact that I have now replaced my headgear. But I was expecting much better than this.

If I knew who to complain to, I would lodge a complaint.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday (was it only yesterday?) we saw one of the shell-fishing boats moored up and aground at the wharf by the Fish Processing Plant.

Today, it looks as if we have had a tactical substitution because while she has now cleared off, another one his come to take her place.

When I went further round to the front, I could see that it’s our old friend L’Omerta who seems to spend a lot of her time moored over there when she isn’t out at sea.

But anyway, that’s not my affair. With nothing going on any different in the chantier naval I carried on with my walk.

man in hazmat gear le tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther on down the road I stopped to have a look at what was going on in the inner harbour.

The trawler Le Tiberiade is in there this afternoon. She has a sister-ship, Le Coelecanthe and the only way that I can tell them apart is when I see them together because the latter is bigger than the former.

But as I looked more closely, there was something else that had caught my eye. In the background is a white van and a large commercial pressure-washer, being operated by someone in full hazmat equipment.

So whatever that is all about, I’d love to find out more. Although there isn’t likely to be anything in the local paper about it, and at the speed at which I move these days, I wouldn’t be able to catch him before he went.

unloading builders equipment port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallInstead, I turn my attention to the rest of the inner harbour.

And remember the pile of builder’s material that we saw there yesterday and this morning, well, like Topsy, it “just growed”.

If you look very closely, you can make out the front of an articulated lorry and there’s also a guy on a fork-lift truck busy manoeuvring stuff around there.

All of this seems to indicate to me that the arrival of one of the Jersey freighters is imminent.

But I shan’t be around to wait for it if it arrives on the evening tide. I’m off back home for my coffee.

Downstairs in my letter box was a letter, from the Welsh Joint Education Council. For my “spoken Welsh exam” I’ve scored … errr … 208 out of 220. The reason for that mark is that I have learnt after many years of bitter experience to “Keep it Simple” and don’t try to complicate things gratuitously. Then you can’t tie yourself in knots of your own making.

Back here I finished off yesterday’s entry, about 7 hours later than I had intended, and then made tea. Falafel and pasta with the most delicious pineapple upside-down cake with coconut soya stuff.

No football tonight so I can go to bed. And about time because I’m wasted after my bad night and early start.

Here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow.

Saturday 17th July 2021 – AS BARRY HAY ONCE …

… famously said – “one thing that I gotta tell you, and that it’s good to be back home”.

And having spent a couple of hours collapsed on my chair in my office, I can’t do any more than agree with him

This morning was a dreadfully early start – 04:25 when the alarm went off and I crawled out of bed feeling pretty awful, as you might expect.

There were my sandwiches to make and my packing to do and then a pile of cleaning up, and to my surprise it was all of 05:15 when I’d finished so I reckoned that I might as well head off for the railway station.

martelarenplein gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric HallOne thing about the camera on my telephone is that it’s not very good in the dark.

One of the construction projects in the town that has been going on for far too long with little signs of finishing is the rebuilding of the Martelarenplein, “Martyr’s Square”, outside the railway station. This is something that has been dragging on for years and it looks as if it will be going on for a long time yet.

It’s difficult to understand why these projects take so long to complete. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there have been endless projects of all sorts going on here and which have dragged on and on and on.

class 18 electric locomotive 1812 gare de Leuven railway station 	Belgium Eric HallIt was 05:35 when I made it onto the station, to find that the train to Oostende was running late.

As I arrived on the platform so did the train and here’s a rather blurred photo of it, because the ‘phone isn’t up to very much in this kind of light.

The locomotive is one of the Class 18 electrics, the workhorses of the Belgian railway system, pulling a rake of double-deck coaches. I found a quiet spec in the front compartment over the bogie, and settled down for my trip into Brussels.

And no-one came to bother me, not even a ticket inspector. He was probably asleep in his compartment somewhere near the rear of the train.

sign about train cancellations gare du midi brussels Belgium Eric HallWe pulled into Brussels-Midi just after 06:00 and while I was here I had a look at the indicator board to see where my train might be.

But this notice caught my eye and it was worth photographing. The railway network in the east of the country has been badly hit by the flood and there are piles of trains that have been cancelled as a result.

“If you are implicated in this notice, please don’t come to the station. Postpone your journey” – in other words, there are no alternative means of transport to connect up these towns. That tells you all that you need to know about the damage to the transport infrastructure.

The trains to Germany were cancelled too. With Liège 6 feet under water and the Rhine and its tributaries overflowing, all of that has taken a knock as well and it will be a while before these services are reinstated.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4513 PBA gare du midi brussels Belgium Eric HallLook at the time now!

It’s 06:37, I’ve been here for half an hour already, and my train has now come in. It’s one of the PBA – Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt trains that is running the 07:17 to Strasbourg. I take it as far as Lille Europe where I change trains.

We weren’t allowed on the train for 10 minutes while they cleaned it, and then we could all pile aboard.

And those of us on the platform side of the train were treated to the sight of a bag-snatcher snatching a bag from the train on the other side, the 07:00 to Marseille. The security staff managed to recover the bag but not the thief. The police turned up a couple of minutes later, presumably to make further enquiries.

We set off bang on time and I tried to work but there was no electricity on the train and the battery flattened itself quite quickly and that held me up.

At Lille Europe we all piled out and then there was the stagger across the town to Lille Flandres railway station.

TGV Reseau Duplex 225 gare du lille flandres france Eric HallThere isn’t much time to cross town before my train is due to leave. It was already in the station and the platform when I arrived.

It’s one of the TGV Réseau Duplex trainsets – at least, this end of it is, and I don’t know what’s on the front of it. I eventually found my carriage but these are quite cramped and there isn’t much room in the overhead luggage racks for all the stuff that I was carrying, so I dug myself in in the little phone lounge at the top of the stairs and there I sat.

It’s not possible to work there though so I spent most of the journey asleep. But at least the laptop and the telephone could recharge themselves while we were on the move to Paris.

TGV POS 4406 gare du nord paris france Eric HallAt the Gare du Nord in Paris I could have a look and see what the front trainset of my train to Paris was.

It’s one of the TGV POS units that used to work the eastern part of France and into Southern Germany until they were replaced by the next-generation machines.

Wandering off under my heavy load, because you won’t believe just how much this medication weighs, I made it to the platform of the Metro just as a train pulled up and to my surprise there was an empty seat right by the door.

It whizzed me off to the Gare Montparnasse where I wandered about aimlessly in the ill-signposted station until I found the correct escalator to take me up to the fourth floor from where the mainline trains depart

84572 gec alstom regiolis gare montparnasse paris france Eric HallMy train always departs from the platforms at the far end of the station so I wandered off that way.

There was one of the Normandy trains in at the platform and I assumed that it was mine. And there was an empty seat in that little corner that I discovered a few weeks ago from where I could keep an eye on things.

15 minutes to go, the platform number flashed up on the display screen and it was indeed my train that I had seen, so we all piled on board.

And I do mean “all piled” too because there wasn’t even one empty seat on the train. Travelling to Granville on a Saturday morning in summer with everyone going on holiday is not a very good idea. Of course I’m not usually here at this time of year – I’m usually wandering around Canada somewhere at this time of the year.

We were so crammed in that it wasn’t easy to work this afternoon on the train, but what I dd manage to do for yesterday’s journal entry is now on line and I’ll finish off the rest of it tomorrow maybe.

84567 gec alstom regiolis bombardier 82648 gare de granville railway station france Eric HallIt was quite a transformation when we arrived in Granville – bang on time with no obstructions or delays. Cold, damp and cloudy weather had given way to brilliant sunshine.

So while I stopped to organise my luggage I took a photo of the trains in the station. My train was a combination of two trainsets – I’d been in the rear one and here on the right is the front one.

To the left is one of the Bombardier units that works the service between Rennes and Caen and on which I’ve travelled a couple of times going to Coutances and St-Lô.

So into the heat I set off. Not down through the Parc de Val es Fleurs because I couldn’t manage the suitcase down the steps. Instead I went down the Rue Couraye into town.

old cars renault 8 rue couraye granville france Eric HallAnd I’m glad that I did because once more I came across another old car.

And this one is a real old car as well – A Renault R8. This was the car that was launched in 1962 with the aim of replacing the famous Dauphine and stayed in production until 1973 in France, although the model continued to be built in other countries until as late as 1976.

One of my teachers, Mr Firth, at Primary School had one of these and that one must have been one of the very first right-hand drive ones to roll off the production line. He took me to play in a football match for our school, my only representative honour, in early 1965.

old cars renault 8 rue couraye granville france Eric HallAs I was taking a photo of the car, some tourist walked right in front of me and spoiled my photo. I had to retake it.

But the whole town was heaving with tourists, getting in everyone’s way. At one point I ran my suitcase over the foot of someone who was obstructing the pavement. They really get on my nerves.

The crawl up the hill in the Rue des Juifs was appalling and I had to stop several times to catch my breath. I felt every step of the way in this heat and I don’t want to be doing this again if it keeps on like this.

Taking the bus is a sign of defeat, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but one of these days pretty soon I’m going to have to throw in the towel. All of this medication is killing me

marite victor hugo port de granville harbour france  Eric HallOne of the places where I stopped to catch my breath was at the viewpoint overlooking Marité‘s place in the harbour.

People were streaming on board so it looked as if she was about to go out for an evening sail as soon as the harbour gates opened. I wasn’t going to wait around. Once I’d recovered my breath I carried on up the hill.

Here at the apartment I collapsed in my chair and here I stayed for a couple of hours. And then I managed to find the energy to put away the cold food and to drink the coffee that was in my “Adventure Canada” thermos flask. Still quite warm despite having been made over 12 hours.

Tea tonight was out of a tin, and then I came in here to write up my notes. And now I’m off to bed. I’m exhausted, I really am, and it’s just as well that I’m having a lie-in tomorrow. I need it.

Friday 16th July 2021 – HOW LONG IS IT …

modern morgan 3 wheeler predikherenstraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall… since these pages have featured an old car?

At one time it used to be quite regular but these days it’s a lot more rare than it ought to be. And unfortunately, this vehicle here isn’t as old as it looks either.

As I was wandering down the Brusselsestraat on my way home I happened to glance down the Predikherenstraat where I saw this.

At first I thought that my luck was in and it might have been a real Morgan three-wheeler but unfortunately I was not labouring long under a disillusion

modern morgan 3 wheeler predikherenstraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallOne glance at the engine was enough to tell me.

ThIs engine is not a nice big 998cc JAP V-twin but an S and S engine, which tells me that this vehicle is less that 8 years old.

And that’s rather a disappointment because I’m really looking forward to finding an original JAP-engined Morgan from the 1920s and 1930s.

So after having taken a few photographs and having had a chat with another admirer I made my way back into town.

But all of that comes later. We need to start at the beginning.

When the alarm went off I was up early this morning and after the medication I came in here to transcribe my dictaphone notes. I was very much persona non grata at some kind of do involving my family and a couple of girls from my class at Grammar School. I can’t remember what it was about but something came up about, was it Welsh Independence or something? They were all sitting there saying that it’s all been done wrong and if it had been organised correctly they should have done this and this and this. I replied “if you don’t like the way it’s done don’t vote for it” so they said they weren’t and it became something of a slanging match. The younger girl who was there was then talking about a few things “well so-and-so will be coming and we’ll be having to do this down in somewhere” something or other and I was of the opinion that she was having a visitor but I couldn’t understand what it was all about obviously, having been left out of the loop for half a story so I checked my diary. There was nothing in my diary so I thought that I’d better write down a few notes. I went to the drawer to find a pencil. My mother asked me what I was doing. I replied that I was looking for a pencil. I found one but it wasn’t sharpened so I needed to find the sharpener to sharpen the pencil to jot down a few of these notes.

As well as all of that I fell asleep too. Only for about half an hour or so but nevertheless …

At about 08:45 I headed out to the hospital for my appointment.

market herbert hooverplein Leuven Belgium Eric HallSeeing all of the people walking along the Tiensestraat loaded up with all kinds of shopping tells me that it’s market day today, as if I wouldn’t have known it anyway.

Here at the Herbert Hooverplein is where it all begins and it spreads out through the Ladeuzeplein and down to the Bondgenotenlaan, swallowing up that whole area.

In the past we’ve been for a wander around the market but unfortunately today we don’t have time. I’m on my way to the hospital for my dermatology session. And so I pushed on down the hill in the Tiensestraat towards the city centre

Halfway down the hill I was almost squidged by a lorry that was reversing back up again having presumably made a delivery there.

cycling energy sprint oud markt Leuven Belgium Eric HallThe previous day I’d noticed something unusual in the Oud Markt – some kind of shipping container with a display screen outside it.

Today it was open so I could see what was happening in there. What we have are a few exercise bikes in there and people can go for a ride on them. Presumably the distance and speed that they travel is added onto the figure shown on the screen.

Normally I would have loitered around to see of anyone was going to have a go and if the total on the screen would increase but there wasn’t anyone around and I couldn’t wait all that long for someone to turn up.

river dijle brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallDown at the foot of the hill is the River Dijle.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we’ve had an unbelievable amount of rain over the last 24 hours and it’s caused all kinds of devastation in the eastern part of the country.

The level of the river has risen quite appreciably since the rain started and even since I last saw it yesterday afternoon it’s risen by another few inches. Not quite as high as it was that day in 2016 when I was living here but another day or two of this weather will deal with that.

That rainstorm yesterday morning was terrific, in many senses of the word.

medieval tower sint pieters hospital brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I talked about the old medieval tower that has now been unveiled to public view following the demolition of Sint Pieter’s Hospital.

Yesterday I’d photographed it by accident because I didn’t know that it was there. But now I do I went there forewarned and forearmed this morning and found a spec where there was a much better view.

It’s protected by scaffolding and corrugated sheeting so that seems to imply that it’s not going to be demolished during the redevelopment of the site and it might even be restored as part of this project that’s ongoing with the city walls further along at the side of the river.

There is some talk about uncovering the river just here too, and that will be interesting if they do that.

bicycle racks kruisstraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that a couple of months ago we saw them installing a set of bicycle racks in a couple of car parking spaces in the Kruisstraat.

At the time I remember speculating that these bicycle racks wouldn’t be receiving much use as there wasn’t a great deal of accommodation in the area

Nothing that I have seen since has changed my opinion. Despite there being space for about 40 bicycles here, there’s not even a handful and that’s how it’s been every time that I’ve walked past.

Sometimes it’s very difficult to actually work out what is going on in the minds of the City Fathers when they do things like this .

tactile pavement goedsbloemstraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing are the roadworks around the Monseigneur van Weyenberghlaan and the Goedsbloemstraat.

Last time we were here we saw them finishing off the Goedsbloemstraat, working on the pavement by the traffic lights. What they were doing, which they have now finished, was to install some tactile paving, the corrugated pavement that gives indications to blind people that they are approaching an obstruction.

Regular readers of this rubbish in one of its previous guises will recall that I once met the girl who designed this tactile paving and we had a little thing going on that unfortunately led nowhere

When I arrived at the hospital I was channelled into the Dermatology clinic where the young trainee doctor poked and prodded me and took sample of my skin. She left me alone for 40 minutes too during which time I … errr … dozed off.

When she returned she had a chat with me about my skin issues, gave me a few prescriptions and then told me to clear off. They will “be in touch”.

On the way back to my digs I went to retake the photos that I didn’t take yesterday.

new building zongang kapucijnenvoer Leuven Belgium Eric HallWhen the NIKON 1 J5 died on me, I was on my way to take a photo of the new building that’s going up between the Kapucijnenvoer and the Zongang.

And having complained quite long and quite loudly of the Byzantine pace of construction etc in Belgium, then perhaps I should try not to be so vocal in future because they are cracking on with this. It’s going up like a mushroom.

The big difference, I suppose, is that this is a private enterprise building a private building for resale to the general public, rather than a Public Authority work. The quicker it goes up, the quicker the developers can recover their cash.

Nevertheless I suppose that someone will remind me of this in 6 months time when the construction has stalled.

kids on bikes velodrome brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallYesterday we went past this new velodrome that they have constructed. And what with the torrential downpour that we were having, there wasn’t anyone riding around it.

Today of course, the situation is different. The boards are now dry and all of the local kids have descended on the place. A few of them are gingerly feeling their way around whereas one or two of them really have got the hang of the principle of a banked velodrome and are pelting round it.

And like most things involving kids, it all ended in tears a few minutes later in a tangle of kids and bicycles as one came to grief and brought down half a dozen of the others. That was rather odds-on, wasn’t it?

market bondgenotenlaan Leuven Belgium Eric HallHaving dealt with the Morgan, the next couple of photos are going to be quite interesting.

This one here and the one below represent the same image more-or-less, but taken in different ways.

The first one is actually a still taken from a moving picture. I was interested to see what size the resolution of the video would be when I tried it on different screens, but the size of the screen didn’t seem to be an issue.

market bondgenotenlaan Leuven Belgium Eric HallNevertheless I took a still from the video to compare it to a still image.

As you can probably see, there’s quite a difference in quality as you might expect when the full-size images are compared, but reduced to the resolution that I use for publication, the difference is not all that much, which is a pleasant surprise.

Why can’t my dashcam produce images of this quality?

Feeling that I’d earned myself a little treat after my exertions, I stopped off halfway up the hill for an ice cream

medication Leuven Belgium Eric HallJust up the road is a pharmacy so I went there with my prescriptions to have them dealt with.

For someone who said that he wanted to cut down on his medication, just look at all of this. It’s going to be something of a logistics issue just taking this lot home with me on the train. It’s a good job that I have a decent shopping bag with me.

And the cost was astonishing, which is hardly a surprise when you see the amount that I was given. My bill at the pharmacy came to €253:00 which is the same as a year’s expenditure on food, I suppose. When I return home I shall have to send in my accounts to my insurers and see about some reimbursement.

This afternoon fighting off the sleep (not always successfully, I have to mention), after lunch I sorted out the music for three new radio programmes, so that’s another batch of all done and dusted. Things are doing rather well from that point but I need to have a go at a few live programmes.

nissan motor car tiensestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallSome of the medication wasn’t available at lunchtime so I had to go back before they closed in the evening to pick it up.

But the number plate of this car parked outside appealed to my rather juvenile mind. I was thinking that it would be appropriate for quite a few people whom I’ve encountered.

One (or rather, two) of the items that the chemist gave me filled me full of dismay. It looks as if we’re back on the elastic stockings too. More and more, I can see myself returning to early 2016 and that’s not very good news..

After tea, I’ve done some tidying up and washing up and now I’m off to bed. Early of course, but I have to leave my bed at about 04:30. So I’ll finish this off tomorrow on the train (if I don’t fall asleep on the way back) and post it on line tomorrow night.

You’ve heard that before, haven’t you?

Sunday 20th June 2021 – HOW LONG IS IT …

citroen traction avant 15 boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… since we’ve featured an old car on these pages?

So here’s one that I saw today and you don’t need any introduction to they type of vehicle that this is because you’ve been introduced to its LITTLE BROTHER on several occasions.

And when I say “little brother” I really do mean this because whilst mine that’s in the back of my garage at Montaigut-en-Combraille is one of the smaller lightweight four-cylinder 7CV models, the one that’s here on these pages is the Real McCoy, the big heavyweight 6-cylinder 15CV models, as you can tell by the badge that is proudly displayed on the right-hand mudguard.

citroen traction avant 15 boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn fact we can actually put a date to this one, assuming that it’s all correct.

The boot lid features the shape of the spare wheel. That was phased out in late 1952. But it has straight bumpers instead of the curved “whiskers” type. That type was phased out in early 1952

But the real Real McCoy, the Holy Grail of all Citroen Traction Avants that I know existed at one time and which were never put into production, and I’ve no idea if there are any left, are the model 22s.

22 is of course twice 11 and so you might be expecting something special, and indeed you are right. It’s an experimental model fitted with a V8 engine made of two of the four-cylinder 11 engines. If only I could find one of those I would be in heaven, but let’s be honest – it’s not very likely.

What else that wasn’t going to be very likely is me being up anything like early. With having crashed out so definitively in the afternoon I couldn’t sleep and I was still up working at 04:00 this morning. Being awake and up and about at 11:30 on a Sunday was something of a surprise.

There had been enough time for me to go off on my travels during the night. We were looking after 2 children about 8 or 9, a boy and a girl. They were rather unruly and it was hard to keep control of them. As it was nearly bedtime I took them outside to let them play around for a while. That was the idea – I brought a ball with them. I left them out there for what was going to be 10 minutes but turned out to be longer than that. They must have gone to bed on their own so no-one said anything. The next morning I went to awaken them. They asked “what are you going to make us do today”? I asked why and they replied “if we’re going to play football we’re just going to make a noise”. I replied “in that case I’d put one of you up here and the other one somewhere else and you can make as much noise as you want”. When we went outside they had made a snowman only it was the two of them kneeling down stroking a big snow cat. I thought that it was wonderful. I asked “who made that”. They said that they did and some of the cats helped. So I made the kids kneel down by this sculpture and went to find as many cats as I could so I could give them to the kids to hold so that they would all be in the photo. But trying to round up a herd of cats at any one time is pretty impossible as anyone who has a large number of cats will tell you.

After the meds, much of the day has been spent going through the music and sorting a few things out. And in a spectacular burst of energy I paired the music for the radio programme that I’ll hopefully be doing tomorrow.

And then I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing to do while I was out was to go and stick my head over the wall at the end of the car park to see what the score is down on the beach this afternoon.

And while there wasn’t all that much beach to be on because the tide was well in, there were still hordes of people clinging on to the rocks like seabirds, or rather like King Canute trying desperately to turn back the tide. There were even some people looking as if they had been into the water too.

That must have been quite a brave thing to do this afternoon because while it’s summer tomorrow, it was rather like an April day out there right now. The heatwave that we had at the beginning of the week seems to be well and truly gone and that seems to be our lot.

people fishing from boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot that that would ever seem to bother a certain part of our society. The fishermen seem to be always there either on the rocks or in their little boats just offshore. That is, if they aren’t right out at sea in a big trawler or two.

Today we have Jerome K Jerome’s “Three Men In a Boat” out there armed with fishing rods and heaven alone knows what else, but probably not a dog called Montmorency. One of the guys has his rod in the water but as the boat is moving along, it’s going to be very unlikely that he will be tempting any of the local sea bass to come in and take the bait.

Of course, fishing is actually very much like having sex. You get your rod out and you never know what you are going to catch.

I’ll get my coat.

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the fishermen in the boat weren’t the only people out there hoping to catch a bite to eat this afternoon.

There are a couple of birds of prey who loiter around in the air around the edge of the cliffs here at the Pointe du Roc. As well as the lizards and mice and all of the usual kinds of wildlife that inhabit the cliffs, there’s a colony of rabbits and I would imagine that a young baby rabbit would be just the thing to feed a growing family of vultures or whatever they are.

But while he was swooping up and down a few times, I didn’t actually see him catch anything either although I reckon that he would have far more animal cunning than the fishermen.

crowds of people on footpath british flag pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd so I headed off on my walk along the path on top of the cliffs, in amongst the crowds of people who were also out there for their afternoon stroll, most of whom were not taking a blind bit of notice of the order from the Préfet that masks are compulsory here until 30th June.

But there was something interesting down by the war memorial to the Resistance that I noticed for the first time since I came back. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that they were flying the German flag down there the other day but this afternoon I noticed that it had gone and in its place is the Union Flag of the United Kingdom.

“Is there a story behind the substitution of the flags?” I asked myself when I saw it. I would have expected the British flag to have been the more likely of the two seeing as we are celebrating the Normandy landings, but the German flag was flown first. So why the change?

yacht speedboat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was pondering over that conundrum I noticed something moving out in the Baie de Mont St Michel and as it looked rather like something a little weird I went to investigate.

It was a yacht that was out there this afternoon and while there wasn’t really anything in the way of wind today, it was careening right over at quite an angle. There must have been quite something of a wind blowing out there to sea to have caused it to go over at that much of an angle. There isn’t the wake of another boat or anything that is causing it.

The little zodiac that looks as if it’s coming over from the Ile de Chausey looks as if it might be having a few yachtsmen dropping in for a coffee if the yacht goes over much more.

speedboat joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here’s some much more exciting activity going on around the headland in the Baie de Mont St Michel so I wandered off around the path to meet it.

That little speedboat or cabin cruiser with the fishermen in it that we saw earlier is heading back into port at quite a speed, and here it’s about to collide with the wake of one of the Joly France boats that has just left harbour and is heading over to the Ile de Chausey to presumably rescue some holidaymakers from there.

And that’s the older of the two Joly France boats. You can tell that by looking at the windows. They are rectangular but in “landscape” rather than “portrait” mode.

aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat’s not quite all of the fun that was going on out there this afternoon.

While I was out there watching the activities of all of the boats off the end of the headland and in the Baie de Mont St Michel I was overflown by another light aeroplane. Unfortunately it was far too far out for me to be able to read its registration number.

And as you might expect, the records of the control tower at the airport here were of no use whatsoever. No planes were recorded as having landed round about this time so I couldn’t even check to see if a flight plan had been filed or if it had been picked up by radar at any point during the afternoon.

yacht rebelle fishing boat chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo I pushed along the path on top of the headland round to the viewing point overlooking the harbour, dodging the unmasked millions as I did so.

From the viewpoint there’s a good view looking down into the chantier navale. I was expecting to see some changes down there over the period while I had been away, but apparently not so. The yacht Rebelle is still down there, up on blocks at the side of the harbour where Aztec Lady lived for so long.

The fishing boat that moved in there not long before I went away is still there too, so there have been no goings, and no comings either, unless I missed them while I wasn’t here.

And there was nothing else going on very much so I went to look at the Citroen on the car park.

One of the things that I did earlier this morning that I have yet to mention was that I made some bread dough. On my return I gave it the second kneading, shaped it and put it in the bread mould.

Then I made a pile of pastry mix, lined a pie dish with some of it, made a filling out of diced apple, raisins, desiccated coconut, cinnamon and lemon juice, and then covered the pie with the rest of the pastry. It was then sealed, brushed with milk, dusted with brown sugar and priced to let out the steam.

With the pastry that was left and the filling that was left, I made an apple turnover.

That lot went into the oven and while they were baking I attended to the pizza. I’d taken the dough out of the freezer earlier and now I kneaded it, rolled it and put it in the pizza dish to rise. After an hour or so when it had risen I assembled the pizza with that I had (which wasn’t much).

apple pie home made bread vegan pizza apple turnover place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here are the finished products. The pizza is delicious even if it was undercooked because I forgot to turn up the oven after the bread.

As for the rest of the food you’ll have to wait until tomorrow because I had no room for any pudding or any bread tonight after the pizza. I shall look forward to that with eager anticipation.

So now that’s all done and I can think about going to bed. Despite the late start I’m ready for an early night what with having to do my radio programme in the morning. And that reminds me – I mustn’t forget to switch the alarms back on for tomorrow morning otherwise I’ll be in a right jam.

But not a jam pie. Thats maybe for a few weeks’ time.

Wednesday 9th June 2021 – IN NEWS THAT WILL …

french flag, usa flag, german flag pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… infuriate every gammon for miles around, we can now see which of the four flagpoles was taken away earlier in the week.

The interesting thing about this is that the three nations whose flags are represented there have long-since given up fighting World Wat II and for the past 70 or so years have been working together to make the world a far better place in which we all can live (except when, of course, the Septics elect a Republican president).

There’s only one nation that is still fighting World War II and that’s the Brits. Still unable to live down the humiliation of throwing away their weapons and running away from the Germans and ever since then, clinging to the coat-tails of the Americans.

This inferiority complex was never better shown than on a few islands just in sight here on the horizon. The one part of the British Isles occupied by the Germans in 1940, the liberation passed by the Channel Islands in July 1944 but because the Americans refused to let the British have the resources, the British were too afraid to confront the Germans on their own and left their own people to starve, cut off from supplies, until after the Armistice in May 1945.

The people in the Channel Islands have never forgotten this of course, although the British have, a long time ago. Humility and remorse is not something in the character of the average gammon.

What’s not in the average character of me right now is this getting-up-at-06:00 lark, although I’ve been doing it for long enough these days. Still, to my surprise, I hauled myself out of bed as the alarm sounded (well, maybe a minute or two later) and went off to sort out the medication, which takes far longer than it ought these days.

Back here, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I went during the night. I was with a boy from school last night last night and somehow we had ended up being chased out of our accommodation. We had to walk and travel one stop on the train and we found another place where they were building some kind of armed camp to defend themselves against the authorities. We went to squat there. I asked him how he felt about seasick and he said that he wasn’t very good. We were in this room and I asked “what about your trip to Shearings? Are you still interested in going?”. He replied “yes” … (indistinct) … but instead he dressed and with about 12 minutes to spare I took him out and thought what was the matter with him … (I fell asleep here for a good few minutes) … I don’t know where I got to with that when I fell asleep dictating but we found some refuge in this place and then we got to the time when his pickup was ready so I asked him if he was still interested in going with Shearings, going on something that I had organised. He wanted to go with Shearings so I told him to get his things ready and I’ll see him on the bus somewhere. And the moral of this story is “never give up no matter how tempting the other alternatives are because you never know how good the profits of what you are planning are going to be” and what those last few words have to do with anything that has occurred I really have no idea.

And once more, apologies to Percy Penguin (who doesn’t appear in these pages anything like as often as she deserves) for doubting her when she complained that I snored when I was asleep.

Most of the day has been spent revising my Welsh, with plenty of comfort breaks, coffee and hot chocolate breaks, lunch breaks and even a couple of work breaks when I updated a couple of the Leuven pages (but don’t ask me which they were – you’ll have to go back and find out for yourself). And I made an appointment to visit the doctor tomorrow too.

My Welsh exam took place at 16:00 and by 16:15 it was all over. Although I made a couple of basic errors, I think that overall I might have done OK.

Luckily I’d found tucked away in the revision section of the course book 50 standard questions that might go with one part and 50 keywords that would go with another part so I spent a couple of hours working over different answers to the standard questions, and then inventing questions to fit the 50 keywords.

And I’m glad that I did that because while not many of the actual questions or keywords came up in the test, question patterns were pretty much the same. That will make up for me saying ‘sgynno fo on a couple of occasions when I should have said ‘sgynny hi. And that’s an important distinction. If only I’d stuck to “mae gan Caroline …”.

Anyway, about half an hour late, I went out for my afternoon walk.

volvo skip lorry collecting skip place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd right outside the front door we have yet more activity. And had I come out at my normal time I would have missed all of it.

The other day we saw a skip lorry drop off a skip and drive away empty. Today we’ve seen the reverse of the operation. An empty skip lorry has pulled up and he’s now reversing into position where he can lift up a skip onto the back of his lorry and drive away with it.

They were out working until quite late last night, judging by the times that the dumper came past here while I was writing up my notes. It’s not like French workmen to do overtime. There must be a penalty clause somewhere about to come into operation, hence the rush.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs is my custom, my next stop is to go and look at the beach to see what activity there is going on there right now.

Off I strolled across the car park over to the wall at the end where I can stick my head over the top to see what gives down there. And the answer is “not all that much”. There’s more beach than yesterday because the tide isn’t as far in, and it’s also a nice day considering what we have had just recently.

And so I was surprised to see only one couple down there on the beach, as far as I could see. And they are either preparing to go into the water or else they have just come out. It’s not all that clear. But it is a Wednesday afternoon and the schools are off this afternoon. So why aren’t there crowds of kids swarming about down there this afternoon?

Maybe they are all in the swimming baths at the Cité des Sports – it’s opened this afternoon for the first time since a long time ago.

hang gliders place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall And I hadn’t moved all that far away from where the people were down on the beach before there was yet more excitement this afternoon – this time, there’s Something In The Air as Thunderclap Newman would have said.

The other day I pontificated on the fact that we hadn’t seen the Bird-men of Alcatraz for quite a while, and so immediately there was one who took to the air. He must have been out there for a trial run and to report back to the other boys in the band, because this afternoon there were at least four of them out there enjoying themselves and probably a few more than that besides.

But for some reason they didn’t bother me all that much. I was able to walk faster than they could fly and so they never caught me up as I walked off along the path.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the things that we have been doing recently, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, is to look at what’s going on in the Baie de Mont St Michel to see if the fishermen from Granville are exploiting it.

And so I walked past the flags, that you saw earlier, across the car park and down to the end of the headland to see if there were any trawlers out there this afternoon. And sure enough, there were quite a few of them out there today.

Right down at the bottom of the bay right up against the Brittany coast are three of them working hard. And they were just three of a dozen that I could have photographed. But they will do because they were quite close together rather than spread out across the bay.

And look how clear the Brittany coast is this afternoon. That’s somewhere near Cherrueix which is about 20 miles away as the crow flies.

trawler hera rebelle chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the viewpoint overlooking the port I could see quite a lot of activity going on there and in the chantier navale today, which makes a nice change.

The yacht Rebelle is still in there. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw her still in the portable boat lift yesterday. But now, they have put her up on blocks, so it would seem to be more than a five-minute job that they will be doing on her.

The trawler Hera is still in there of course, but the question to which I’m more interested in knowing the answer is “what happened to that hulk that was in there for a few days?”. To my untrained eye that looked as if it needed much more work to make her seaworthy than the time that they spent on her.

fishing boats unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut you can tell that it’s coming up to that time of day when the tide will be well in.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall a few years ago that they dug out a deep channel a couple of years ago at the quayside under the Fish Processing Plant so that it would fill very quickly when the tide started to come in.

There’s already some water in that channel and there are a few of the inshore shellfish boats with a very low draught that have been able to come in and unload. The larger boats will have to wait until there is more water.

And doesn’t that yellow one resemble the one that was out in the Baie de Granville yesterday?

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOooh! Look who’s moored up in the inner harbour underneath the loading crane?

It’s one of our old friends from the Channel Islands. This is Thora, one of the little coastal freighters that plies her trade between here and Jersey. At one time, a long time ago, she used to be a car ferry working between the island of Bressay and the “Mainland” of Shetland. That’s a comparatively sheltered water so I bet she and her crew know all about conditions in the English Channel between Jersey and here when the going gets tough.

She still occasionally doubles as a car ferry. At the time that the lockdown was at its height and the big ferries weren’t running, people being repatriated had to come over on Thora and regular readers of this rubbish saw more than one or two cars lifted out of her by the big crane.

f-gorn Robin DR400/120 Dauphin pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo we’ve seen a bit of almost everything today. So what remains to be seen that we haven’t seen as yet? I know! How about an aeroplane?

Sure enough. Almost as soon as I’d said it one of the little light aircraft came flying by. I must have made a pact with the devil, I reckon.

This one is F-GORN, a machine that we have seen on many occasions. She’s a Robin DR400/120 Dauphin and she seems to have spent a lot of her time today flying around in circles not too far from the airport. Not that that should come as any surprise to anyone because she is actually owned by the Aero Club de Granville and is used either for instructing or solo flying by club members.

autobianchi stellina place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey say that you should always leave the best until last and so how about this one? It’s this kind of thing that made it all worthwhile going out late for my walk.

And so I’ll tell you that you have undoubtedly never ever seen one of these before, and you undoubtedly will never ever see one again, and that’s because there were only ever 502 of these made, and that was 55 or so years ago.

The first ever Italian car to have a fibreglass body and powered by FIAT’s water-cooled 767cc engine, it’s an Autobianchi Stellina and just what it’s doing here I really don’t know. These would be as rare as hen’s teeth in Italy, never mind here.

Back here I cut myself a big slice of Liz’s ginger cake as a reward for my efforts and made myself a nice hot coffee. And then I came back into my little office where I promptly fell asleep. About 2 hours I was away with the fairies and so the guitar practice, when I finally came round, was short and horrible.

Tea was a burger in a bap, and then seeing that I had no pudding I made something that I haven’t made for ages – viz. a baked apple with hot custard. And wasn’t that delicious too?

But now I’m off to make some bread dough, and then I’m goig to bed. I’ve had enough of today. it was only seeing that Autobianchi that cheered me up.

Saturday 5th June 2021 – B@$T@RD$

caliburn paintwork scratched place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo wonder that I hate people so much.

Back in November I spent … wait for it … €1370 in having Caliburn’s bodywork fixed and getting him to look exactly as he did the day he left the showroom, and look what one of my neighbours has done.

This morning I went out to the shops and as I went to open the side door to throw in the shopping bags, I noticed the scratches in the paintwork. And the bright red paint too, so I have a fairly good idea of who it was. Anyway, before I go visiting someone armed with half a house-brick and a length of lead piping, I’ve put a note on the door asking the person responsible to come and see me.

To ease his pains though, he had a little treat today. In NOZ – the rubbish shop that sells all kinds of end-of range stuff, there was a windscreen wiper exactly the right size for him to replace the one that is in the process of disintegrating.

And such an exciting life that I lead when buying a windscreen wiper for Caliburn is the highlight of the week.

water craft baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut actually today there was plenty of excitement – more than enough to keep me going for a good few weeks, I reckon.

The sea was totally crowded with all kinds of water craft today. You couldn’t move out there on the water for boats getting in your way. Many of those down there would seem to belong to fishermen, because they were anchored and weren’t moving. They were too far away for me to see if they were casting their lines into the water though, but it’s quite a reasonable guess.

And there was much more than this too, but more of that anon. You’ll have to read on down the page.

55-oj pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it wasn’t just on the sea that there were crowds of people about this afternoon. The air was quite busy and I don’t know how they managed to fit everyone in. This is just one of the many that flew past me this afternoon.

It’s difficult to read the serial number of this aeroplane that flew past over my head but it looks as if it might be our old friend 55-OJ on its way out for a lap around the block.

It’s a shame that I can’t find this serial number in any of the databases to which I have access so that I can tell you more about it. All I do know is that it doesn’t appear on the lost of aeroplanes owned by the aero club so it’s privately owned, and it hasn’t filed a flight path or been picked up on radar anywhere.

Transall C-160 french air force aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if you think that it was just the little stuff that flew past me this afternoon you would be mistaken. There was some heavy stuff too.

This is one of the Transall c-160s that flies out of “Base 105” – not “Area 51” unfortunately – near Evreux and it came by to pay us a visit. These are built by the Transporter Allianz Group which is a consortium of German and French manufacturers who collaborated together to build this transport plane.

The prototype first flew in the early 60s and the last one left the production line in 1985 so they are quite old. But they won’t be around much longer because Airbus is currently building something to replace them.

dukw chevrolet lorry jeep dodhe ambulance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a reason why the French Air Farce paid us a flying … “groan” – ed … visit this afternoon.

By the time you read this, the 77th anniversary of the landings on the Normandy Beaches will have occurred. That’s just round about dawn tomorrow morning. And the guys who are manning the bunker here are open to visitors and they have a little display of military vehicles.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I almost became involved in this project. I’d been given a guided tour of the bunker and invited to apply for a position as volunteer and then I fell and dislocated my knee and broke my hand.

And then with sailing off on my trip across the Atlantic and then becoming involved with the radio it became pushed to the back of my mind.

But anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself.

The alarm went off at 06:00 as usual and I leapt from my bed ready to face the world – well, once I’d had my medication and made myself a coffee, that is. I climbed into the shower and had a good scrub, and then came my disappointment with one of my neighbours.

Caliburn and I rode off to NOZ where I spent rather a lot of money. But then there was plenty of good stuff on offer today, not to mention Caliburn’s windscreen wiper.
“Caliburn’s windscreen wiper?” – ed
I told you not to mention that!
But a few boxes of vegan soup, some chocolate-flavoured oat drink, curried baked beans (that I haven’t seen for years), some more of that strawberry syrup stuff for making smoothies – oooh! Tons of stuff.

LeClerc wasn’t any better either. I spent a lot of money in there too. But they had no tahini so I had to go to La Vie Claire to stock up on that.

Back here I made myself a strawberry smoothie and then came in here to make a start on transcribing a few dictaphont notes. But to my dismay I crashed out – good and proper too. I remember seeing 13:20 and thinking that I really ought to move but the next thing that I remember was that it was 14:27.

And what was worse was that it was the kind of sleep where I don’t remember dropping off. usually in the past I’ve felt that I was falling asleep and I was able to resist it for a while, but just now it’s been a complete and sudden departure from this world.

And I don’t like that at all.

So after a very late lunch I came back in here and did some more dictaphone stuff and now I’m up to TUESDAY 25th MAY. And then I could go out for my afternoon walk.

la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd look who’s out here, sailing along in the Baie de Granville this afternoon.

No – it isn’t Martité. You can tell by the number G90 that she’s displaying that she’s La Granvillaise – one of the boats that plies for hire out of the harbour here – towing her little lifeboat along behind her. She must be doing an afternoon tour of the bay or something like that with some of the tourists who have descended en masse onto the scene this weekend.

She has quite a flotilla of boats around her too. Including a couple of canoes that seem to be having a race with her. And who seem to be well ahead of her right now.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as usual we have to go along to see who is down on the beach this afternoon and so I stroll across the car park and look over the wall at the far end.

It’s a really nice, sunny afternoon today and there isn’t a great deal of wind, so despite the fact that the tide is now well in and there isn’t all that much beach for people to be on right now,, it’s no surprise to see a few people down there taking in the sun.

Mind you, I think that a few of them are somewhat exaggerating things. It’s not so warm that I would want to strip off down to my trousers like a few of them have done down there. They must be made of pretty stern stuff to want to go around and do that on a day like this.

f-bsno Wassmer 421-250 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier I mentioned that life in the air was quite something right now and that there was a lot going on up there right now.

Sure enough, as I was admiring the beach I was overflown by another light aircraft. This time it was a Wassmer 421-250 carrying registration number F-BSNO and built, so it seems, in 1970.

She came onto the local radar at 16:09 and landed at Granville at 16:22. And as my camera has timed the photo at 16:18 (in case you’re wondering, my camera is set to Standard Time, not Summer Time) that sounds about right to me. She must have been working out a circuit in order to come into land.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2106/21060044.html”>n6413j beechcraft bonanza 36 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo sooner had she gone out of sight than another light aircraft came flying by the other way.

She’s a Beechcraft Bonanza 36 carrying registration number N6413J. She apparently flew in from somewhere near La Ferté but she didn’t stay long because she turned round and flew back after just a short time on the ground. She was last seen somewhere near Nangis.

But what beats me is first of all why a light aeroplane with n American registration would be here in France and secondly, why she would be carrying the registration number of a Cessna aeroplane that was INVOLVED IN A FATAL CRASH IN KENTUCKY IN 2007.

dodge ambulance jeep chevrolet lorry dukw pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier too we saw an array of military vehicles parked outside one of the old German bunkers here at the Pointe du Roc.

From left to right we have a Dodge Ambulance, they a Willys Jeep of course, followed by a Chevrolet lorry and then a DUKW.

And I know all about DUKWs because back in the late 1970s I was out for a drive and picked up who I thought was a squaddie heading to barracks. In fact it was a young student dressed in combat dress. He was part of an organisation called the Military Vehicle Conservation Group from Shrewsbury and they were doing an exhibition for the weekend.

They had a DUKW so I wasn’t going to miss out on an opportunity to hang around with them for the weekend and help out. And get to play with the toys too!

water craft baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlso a little earlier, we’d seen piles of water craft sailing around (or not, as the case may be) in the Baie de Granville. And if you think that the situation will be any less in the Baie de Mont St Michel then you will be mistaken because it isn’t.

While there might not have been any trawlers there was just about everything else out there. Except the Loch Ness Monster of course, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had poked his humps up out of the water at some point.

One thing that I particularly enjoyed was the guy down there standing on a rock admiring the stacks of ships going past him. I can just imagine him with a telescope, an eye-patch as “ships? I see no ships”.

Transall C-160 french air force aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was a few minutes after that that the C-160 flew past me. Quite low and quite slow.

And as she went past behind me, she banked over and started to turn round as if to follow the coastline along the bay. This presented me with a real “unicorn moment” of a shot as she flew sideways up over one of the old ruined bunkers with the aerials and masts and flagpoles of the semaphore and coastguard station in the background.

That was my cue to clear off down the path to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour. But there was nothing of any great excitement happening in there or in the chantier navale.

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut we haven’t finished with powered flight yet. It was round about now that one of these microlight things came flying by overhead.

And that reminds me. We haven’t seen the Birdmen of Alcatraz out for a very long time, have we? I wonder why that is.

But anyway I went home and made myself a coffee, and then I had work to do. I’m expecting visitors tomorrow so I have to make an effort to get the place tidied up. First thing was to take out all of the rubbish and then I could clean all of the worktops, vacuum the floor and then give it a good wash in disinfectant and bleach.

Tea was out of a tin, and then I wrote out my poster for Caliburn and then wrote up the notes for today.

Now I’m off to bed, much later than I intended, which seems to be the way of things right now. I’m exhausted and I have to get up early tomorrow too. I have visitors coming so the place has to look good.

Friday 21st May 2021 – THIS IS THE VIEW …

view from window gasthuisberg university hospital Leuven Belgium Eric Hall… from my window this evening.

And I bet that you are wondering where I am and why I’m not in my usual little room in the Dekenstraat. Well, the fact is that I’ve had a ‘phone call at 18:20 this evening “Mr Hall – you need to come back here. And bring your nightie and sponge bag.

So here I am, sitting in a hospital room gazing out of the window. I’ve just had a catheter fitted into my port, they’ve taken a blood sample and I’ve been poked and prodded about by various nurses and doctors, and we shall see what we shall see as the situation unfolds, because I’m going to be here for a few days apparently.

This morning I didn’t have too much of a lie-in because there’s a building site at the back of the building here and at 08:00 they started work with all kinds of machines going off. I gave up after about an hour and went to have my medication.

What I’ve been doing this morning is carrying on choosing the music for the next few radio programmes. Anything that will save time as far as I am concerned .

Nevertheless I knocked off halfway through in order to go to the shops.

triumph tr6 tiensestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallAs regular readers of this rubbish wil recall, I’m a big fan of old cars and I’ll always take a photo of one whenever I can when I see one, and so it’s only natural that when one goes past my nose down a quiet street, I’ll have the camera ready.

This one here in the Tiensestraat is the poor man’s E-type Jaguar, a Triumph TR6. And in British Racing Green, although I could never understand why they chose a colour that isn’t on the Union Flag for the British racing teams.

Made from 1968-1976 and fitted with Triumph’s straight-6 2.5 litre engine, over 90,000 of these were made, mainly for the export market.

Just over 8,300 were sold in the UK and such is their popularity that 4,000 are still on the road and 1,300 are declared as stored. And I bet that there are more than just a few that were stored off the road in sheds and barns before registration of stored vehicles became obligatory.

This one is carrying a Belgian registration, and the “O” in the front of its registration number means that it’s registered as an “old-timer” so it has a less-severe technical inspection but limits are applied as to its use. For example, emission standards and braking distances of modern cars couldn’t be matched by older vehicles even when they came off the factory production line.

market herbert hooverplein Leuven Belgium Eric HallDown in the Herbert Hooverplein my passage was blocked by the weekly market that sets up there.

It occurs once a week here and of course I had completely forgotten about it. Of course, the water fountain had been switched off so that the stall holders wouldn’t be havng a shower as they sold their wares.

One stall that I hadn’t noticed before was that there was a sweet stall there and I don’t have my usual bag of mints with me. There were none on the stall but they did have some of these jellied sweets that I like. They didn’t have any indication of what was in them but I know a place where I can buy gelatine-free jellied sweets.

market monseigneur ladeuzeplein Leuven Belgium Eric HallAnd so on my way to the shop that sells jellied sweets, I passed by the Monseigneur Ladeauzeplein and found a few market stalls set up there.

This is the first time that I’ve been out and about on a Friday at this kind of time so I hadn’t realised that the market stretched around here. But even so, one or two of them were packing up, and I imagine that the others won’t be long in going.

And as for that, I wasn’t long in going either. I went to the Kruidvat and bought myself a nice big bag of gelatine-free jelly sweets. They will last me for a week or so and that’s good. It’ll make a change from mints and eucalyptus sweets.

new building diestsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallAs regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I forgot to bring any spare clothes with me this week. And so I popped off to Wibra. But on the way I stopped off to have a look at this new building going on.

When I was in the Diestsestraat a few months ago they were demolishing a building and, in common with a lot of building work in Belgium, they keep the facade but stick something completely new behind ir, just as they are doing here.

A couple of doors away is Wibra, the shop that sells cheap clothes and I found a couple of cheap tee-shirts, a couple of undies and a couple of pairs of socks, all reasonable quality for the money that I paid.

While I was there I also picked up a tin opener. I have a small tin opener at home and after my exertions here over this last few visits, I’ll pack the small one that’s at home and replace it with this one here. It’s not as if €1:99 is a massive expense.

signs of donors to university library monseigneur ladeuzeplein Leuven Belgium Eric HallOn my way home I walked past the University Library in the Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein when this writing caught my eye.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, the University Library was gratuitously destroyed by the Germans during the Sack of Leuven and all of its contents, including books and papers going back to the earliest days of writing in Europe, were lost to humanity.

After the war many Universities from all over the world sent historic books to restock the library when it was rebuilt and it seems that the names of donors to the library were engraved into the fabric of the building. And I suppose that the donors to the library would have been absolutely mortified when the Germans came back in 1940 and burnt it down again.

Back in my room I had a nice hot shower, had a shave and changed my clothes so that now I look as human as I ever could. And this was followed by a very late lunch.

In the afternoon I sat down to carry on with what I was doing and unfortunately I fell asleep yet again. And that’s how the afternoon went – rotating between working and sleeping.

Some time later I managed to listen to the dictaphone for the previous night and found that there were two entries. I must have had quite a mobile night. It was the last day of our holiday on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR and for the last evening I was hoping to invite the girls to come and sit at my table with me for a final dinner. The only trouble was that there were 4 or 5 girls whom I liked and as usual I was caught in this wave of indecision about which one I would invite. In the end I didn’t invite anyone and I was just swept away in the crowd. When I mentioned it, it was to 2 girls who were together, whether one of them would like to but they pretended not to hear and were swept away in this crowd of people coming down this gangplank. I ended up with my meal crammed into this really uncomfortable place surrounded by all kinds of other people. No-one would make any room for me, anything like that so in the end I just threw my napkin down on the table and got up to walk out – something that I have actually been known to do in real life.

Later on, there was a huge pile of us and we’d been camping somewhere. I was on my own as usual, all round the Paris area and someone I was with suggested that I went to London where I could stay with someone for a few days and then come back. They said that I coud get a lift from this festival so I saw everyone off, my friends, and went back to where there was supposed to be a car but there were some people packing their things into it. I went over to them and asked them about “are they going near so-and-so”. They replied “yes” so I asked if I could cadge a lift. The first thing that the guy did was “those 3 packs of peaches for £0:49 – were they yours? Because I’ve eaten them”. I couldn’t remember whether they were or not but it didn’t really bother me too much. We got chatting while his wife went off doing things . He asked me where I was going but actually I didn’t know. I had to ring up in the morning to find the address. But by this time they would be on the road – they were planning to leave and drive through the night. I hoped that whoever it was was going to be expecting me and that I could find the place otherwise I was going to be rather foolish going all that way and getting lost like that. There was more to it than this but I just can’t remember it now. I can remember a bit about talking about going by bike somewhere to visit my friends in (wembley?) (Memling?) and they were saying that it was a bit far and they weren’t that energetic, something along those lines. But there was much more to it than this and I don’t remember it at all now.

All of this came to a halt when I had my phone call. I gathered up as much stuff as I could reasonably carry and headed off to the hospital.

roadworks amerikalaan franz tielemanslaan Leuven Belgium Eric HallIn the Brusselsestraat I walked past the building work that we had noticed yesterday on the corner of the Amerikalaan and the Franz Tielemanslaan.

They seem to have made some progress there, having covered the lump with cobbles and made a path out of bricks. This is starting to resemble a cycle pathway there and I’m wondering why if they could put down a nice brick surface there, why they couldn’t do that in the Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan where they put down that horrible asphalt surface.

There is a Carrefour mini-supermarket just beyond where I’m standing and that’s just as well because the big Delhaize was closed and that was a disappointment. No vegan cheese then but I grabbed one of these honey loaf things and a couple of large packets of buildings. The vegan food at the hospital is sometimes quite questionable.

There was no-one at the registration desk when I arrived to I had to enquire at the information desk. I had to follow the light purple arrow to the lift at the far end of the hospital and then ascend to the 6th floor.

One thing about Covid is that now everyone is in a single room. Mine is nice and comfortable with a reasonable view. I’ve no idea how long I’ll be here, and neither does anyone whom I’ve seen. I suppose that things will become much more clear as time goes on.

Saturday 15th May 2021 – WE’VE HAD A

unidentified aeroplane place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… one of these aerial days today – a day when just about everything in the air flew past me today.

It wasn’t possible for me to count all the ones that went past today because I ran out of fingers. Several of them flew past out of range so I couldn’t photograph them but I did photograph those that I could, like this one here.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to identify it because I couldn’t see its serial number anywhere and it’s not a model that I recognise anywhere. It looks like a pretty lightweight machine so it’s quite possibly one of these kit-built aircraft that care classed as microlights.

unidentified aeroplane place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is another one that I didn’t recoognise, but that’s for a completely different reason.

As it flew past overhead, it didn’t present to me a surface that carried the registration number. That will be underneath the port wing of course and it wasn’t going that way round. But whatever it is, it’s not one of the aircraft that regularly flies out of the airport here that we see quite regularly.

There was nothing shown on the flight radar for these aircraft of course. It’s unlikely that they file flight plans and they probably don’t fly high enough to be picked up on the radar anywhere.

powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it wasn’t just aeroplanes that went flying past overhead either.

As I walked out of the building here to go for my afternoon walk I was overflown by one of these powered hang glider things. That wasn’t shown on my radar set either and that’s no surprise. It’s the kind of thing that struggles to lift itself over my building, especially as it’s carrying two people therein.

As this went past overhead I was thinking that all I needed now was to see Godzilla going past and then I’d have the full set. Either that or the Loch Ness Monster. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many aircraft on one particular day.

This morning I hauled myself out of bed fairly early, just after the first alarm, despite my rather late night.

And after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was really surprised to find that I’d been anywhere because it had been a bad night with several raging attacks of cramp that didn’t ease off even when I went for a walk around.

This was the worst series of attacks that I’d had and they were horrible. Painful and horrible.

aeroplane 55-OJ place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut returning to our moutons as they say around here, while you admire aeroplane 55-OJ, I was somewhere on the outskirts of London last night, living by the side of this big main road that was a 2×2 lane with the carriageway nearest me higher than the other. Crossing over there was quite difficult because it was so busy. One night I’d finished my tea and I had the remains on the plate so I thought that I would take then to the dustbin. I had to walk along the pavement, across the road on a zebra crossing, down a set of steps and across the other road. Luckily there was no traffic and I reached the dustbins to put my stuff away. I’d been counting my steps – so many steps across the road, so many steps across the central reservation and so on. There was a lot of traffic waiting at a junction on the other side of the by-pass and I had to walk my way round. I thought that I recognised one of them. It turned out to be a black boy from the City of London on a bicycle who had been wanted by the police for a murder but released. At that moment a police car pulled up and someone started to talk to the policeman saying something like “it’s happened again but I definitely saw something white which was either something white once 100 times or something white twice 50 times”. I immediately thought of this boy. What had he been up to?

After that I went for a good hot shower which made me feel so much better, and then I stripped the bed and changed the bedding, the first time since I can’t remember when. The bedding, my fleece jacket and a few other bits and pieces went into the washing machine and I set it off on its cycle again.

Meanwhile Caliburn and I went to the shops. At NOZ I found a guide book on Iceland, which will come in handy when I write up my notes and if I ever return to the island. There were also some frozen vegan veggie balls, so I bought three packets of those.

LeClerc’s was an expensive shop this morning, even if I did forget the coffee. They had vegan burgers on special offer, and also some special vegan burgers made of sweet potatoes, a new variety with an introductory offer and I wouldn’t want to miss those. I’m building up rather a large supply of burgers now, more than I can probably tackle so I need to start to make my way into that supply some time soon.

Back here I put the veggie balls in the freezer along with the falafel, the other vegan veggie balls, the vegan sausage rolls and whatever else I have picked up in NOZ over the last while. The freezer is now bursting at the seams.

Having done that I made myself some hot chocolate. And despite now having some more cocoa powder I made it with real chocolate. I even bought a pack of 5 slabs of pure chocolate so that I can do this again for the next while.

And then back in here I sat down and promptly crashed out.

The football had already started when I awoke so I watched the rest of the game. TNS v Bala Town and even though TNS went down to 10 me, with a defender rather harshly sent off, they were always too good for Bala Town.

They won rather comfortably 2-0 but it didn’t do them very much good because Connah’s Quay Nomads beat Penybont and that meant that the Nomads were crowned champions for this season. The 4-1 victory that the Nomads had over TNS a couple of weeks ago proved to be so decisive.

Despite their championship win, the Nomads are rather short on consistency and rather short of strength in depth. If they intend to make progress in European competition and retain their championship, they need to recruit half a dozen good players this close season and move on a few of the fringe players who haven’t contributed enough to the team whenever they have come on to play.

It’s the same with Bala Town. They have a good, solid side but apart from Chris Venables and Henry Jones, they don’t have any players capable of pushing the club up to the next level. And the rest of the League are just also-rans with just the odd star dotted about here and there.

But one thing is quite interesting, and it just goes to show how much the Welsh Premier League has progressed over the last few years is that when an ex-Football League came to play with a Welsh Premier League club it made headline news that reverberated around the pyramid for months.

These days there are ex-Football League players in every club, several players who play International football for their country and a couple of players who were in Wales’ successful Euro 2016 squad. And things can only get better when we see the money that these clubs earn by being successful in Europe.

All of that took me up to the time to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst stop was to go down to the end of the car park and look over the wall down onto the beach to see what was going on down there this afternoon. So dodging the powered hang-glider and other aircraft, I headed in that direction.

There were crowds of people down there this afternoon, which was only to be expected seeing as the holiday season is well under way. The town was heaving with people this morning as I drove out to the supermarket so it was no surprise to see the beach so packed.

We’re at the period of lowest tide too so I imagine that many of them down there are scavenging for seafood. And I hope that they will share their catch with their friends because you mustn’t be selfish with your shellfish.

aeroplane 35-MA place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier I posted a photo of an unidentified aeroplane that flew overhead while I was walking across the car park.

As I walked back, I was overflown again by an aeroplane that was pretty much identical to one of the unidentified ones. And this time I could see the registration quite clearly on the port wing.

Not that it did me any good because the number on the wing is 35-MA and that is not a number that I can find in the series of registration numbers that I have. And so I’m not able to tell you anything about it, unfortunately. There’s certainly no flight plan or trace of it on the flight radar.

citroen sm maserati place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I didn’t make it off the car park and off down the path because I was detained by this absolutely gorgeous machine parked here.

It’s been a while since we’ve featured an old car on these pages and to break our barren spell with a vehicle as rare or extraordinary as this is quite exceptional. In case you don’t know what it it, it’s basically a Citroen DS or ID, with the model designation “SM”.

The “S” of course stands for “Sport” but the “M” stands for “Maserati” because the earlier models of the series were powered by the same engine that was in the Maserati Merak and the later ones were powered by the engine out of the Maserati Biturbo.

citroen sm maserati place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe model was made between 1970 and 1975, but only about 13,000 models were made.

In 1974 there were just 294 examples sold and in 1975 a mere 115 so with the rationalisation of the French motor industry in the mid-70s, the poor sales resulted in the model being discontinued. What did for the model was the fact that the tax band in which the vehicle fell was so high that few people could afford to run them.

Nevertheless, if I had to choose a French vehicle of this era to keep as my own, there wouldn’t be any question about it. I would have one of these in a heartbeat. One of these would rival the Maserati Quattroporte in my list of top-10 vehicles.

citroen u23 place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was something else of interest parked up here at the end of the car park.

We’ve seen this vehicle before a few months ago. It’s a Citroen U23 lorry, a type of lorry that was launched in 1936 and was seen everywhere all over France. There are even A FEW EARLY ONES KNOCKING ABOUT ON THE ROADS today. They were also very popular with the French Army in World War II and quite a few were incorporated into the German army after the fall of France.

The earlier models looked very much like a Citroen Traction Avant but the bodywork evolved over the next 30 or so years before the model was abandoned in 1964. This is one of the last redesign of the model, undertaken in the late 1950s.

On that note I finally set off along the path above the cliffs, amongst the madding crowds wearing facemasks to a greater or lesser extent. There was nothing out to sea but as I approached the lighthouse a storm rolled in quite quickly and it began to rain. And so I didn’t wish to hang around for very long outside.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other side of the headland in the rain I looked down on the chantier navale from the viewpoint overlooking the port.

It looks quite strange right now with nothing in there up on blocks down there. It’s not very often that we can see the place looking quite like this without any boats of any description in there. It’s restricted by the fact that the portable boat lift only has a rating of about 95 tonnes, and so that rules out some of the boats that are based in the harbour.

There’s a dry dock here, the Cale de Radoub, in which larger boats could be placed and where they could be repaired but even though that was declared an Ancient Monument in 2008, it’s been out of use since 1978 and will cost several millions to put into working order so that it could be used again.

marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the boats that requites an annual inspection is Marité, the old Newfoundland fishing boat that’s based here and which takes passengers out every now and again.

She had to sail to Lorient for her annual overhaul a few days ago as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. She must have come back on the tide last night. I was lucky enough to catch her coming home last year but I missed her this year.

Back here I made myself a mug of hot coffee and sat down to make a start on doing some work. But instead, I crashed out yet again. This is becoming far too much of a habit these days and I’m becoming rather fed up of all of this. I could understand it if I’d done any heavy exercise but even a walk around the block these days is finishing me off.

After I came round and recovered my equilibrium, I spent an hour or so playing the bass. I have to learn the songs on this song list and there’s no time like the present. I ned to exert myself one way or another.

Tea tonight was a burger with pasta and vegetables followed by chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce, which is just as delicious as it was when I made it. And chatting to a few people on the internet later, I posted them my recipe so that they can make it.

Now I’m off to bed, a lot later than usual but it doesn’t matter all that much because I’m having a lie-in tomorrow. And as long as it’s not 13:30 like it was last Saturday, I won’t mind too much.

Wednesday 5th May 2021 – HAVING READ …

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… the Press from yesterday, you’ll probably understand now why we are seeing fishing boats working away in the Baie de Mont St Michel these days.

With the eternal conflict going on around Jersey right now, it’s probably just as well that they take this opportunity to explore new fishing grounds closer to home to see what they are likely to be able to provide by the way of catch.

There were three or four out there this afternoon too. This one out near the Brittany coast is the closest to my point of view. All of the others were too far out for me to be able to photograph them appropriately. And I wonder how long they are going to be out there too. I haven’t seen them this diligent in the bay before now.

trawler leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as I watched from my vantage point up on the walls, another one went out to join them in the bay. She left the harbour behind and headed off deeper into the bay.

But I have a feeling that this might not be as permanent arrangement as I might at one time have thought. In the Jersey Press today was the usual propaganda and sabre-rattling to placate the natives over there, but tucked away in a corner out of view was a little notice that the Jersey Authorities have approached the British Government and the European Union to seek permission to negotiate directly with the Normandy and Brittany fishermen.

The threat of cutting off the electricity to the islands did the trick. It didn’t take long for the French to bring the Channel Islanders to heel, did it?

And it didn’t take long for my bad habits to resurface did it? After a day yesterday where I went without crashing out, I succumbed this afternoon. Not as badly as I have done in the past just recently but it was still a dismal state of affairs.

Mind you, I blame the fact that I couldn’t sleep last night and it was about 02:30 by the time that I went to bed. No-one is going to feel on form after just 3.5 hours sleep. In fact I’m surprised that I kept going for as long as I did today.

After the medication I didn’t do much and that’s not a surprise. I stirred a few papers around and that’s just about it as far as the morning went. There were so many things that needed to be done but I ended up doing nothing at all.

One of the things that I forgot to do this morning was to make some more hummus. As a result I had to have vegan cheese with my salad on my butties and I don’t have all that much of that left.

This afternoon I finally started work and brought my journal up-to-date by indexing the entries that hadn’t been indexed, and there were quite a few of those. And then I attacked the dictaphone entries. Most of them are done but I’m not going to update the journal until they are all finished. I can however add in today’s to let you know where I went during what there was of the night last night.

But talking of last night, It’s been a good while since I’ve had a night sweat but I had one then. I can’t remember now very much about my voyage now except that there was a horse involved in it somewhere. I was having to meet some people coming home or I was coming home and had to meet some people, something like that, I can’t remember now but I awoke drenched in sweat.

After going back to sleep I was back in County Durham again on the east coast. There were plenty of car scrapyards around one of which was full of lorries and bits of garden hose, all kinds of other stuff as well. There was more to it than this but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

In fact there will be a couple of the arrears that won’t make it on line. There have been a few very disturbing ones just recently.

place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall
For a change this afternoon I decided on going for a walk around the medieval city walls. It’s been a long time since I’ve been that way round.

While I was out here I took advantage of the viewpoint that goes across the top of the gate that leads outside the city walls. There’s a nice view along here to the Place d’Armes where I live. If you see just to the right of centre the white building with the sloping roof, my own building is the big stone one immediately behind it.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) you can’t see my own apartment from there.

The large building further back with the modern extension to the right is the College Malraux, the local High School

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s a good view out to sea from up here on the walls.

In the distance I could see something moving about over by the Ile de Chausey so I took a photograph of it with the aim of blowing it up (something that I can do, despite modern anti-terrorist legislation) so that I can see what it was that I had seen.

At first I thought that it might have been Joly France or Chausiais coming back from the Ile de Chausey, even though it’s off the usual route that they take coming back. But in actual fact she’s one of the trawlers out of the port.

At least she’s managed to get out to sea today despite the current issues with the Channel Islands.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFinal thing that I must do while I’m on this side of the headland is to look down onto the beach to see if there was anyone about.

But there wasn’t all that much beach to be on as you probably saw on one of the earlier photographs. The tide is quite far in as I was taking these photographs. Mind you, this guy and his little daughter seem to have found a nice corner in which to sit. Anywhere on the beach near the sea is good enough for a small child regardless of the weather and the state of the tide.

On the footpath underneath the walls I might have been tempted to break into a run, but there were far too many people around for me to want to embarrass myself like this. Instead, I had a nice leisurely walk underneath the walls.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually I arrived at the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch and the Plat Gousset.

There was certainly no shortage of people wandering around there this afternoon. It’s half-day closing at the schools of course so many people here have the afternoon off to look after their kids. So if you ever want to find a crowd of people at some time other than a weekend, Wednesday afternoon is the time to be doing it.

There aren’t any Birdmen of Alcatraz out there today though. And thinking on, we haven’t seen any of them about for quite a while either. So musing on that particular thought, I set off across the square Maurice Marland and headed back for home and my coffee.

road works rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way home, I managed to track down the workmen who have been doing stuff around the Rue Cambernon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last week or ten days ago we’ve seen signs of them setting up a camp in the Place d’Armes and driving around in dumpers loaded with gravel and I mentioned that I’ll have to go and find out where it was that they are working. And there they are, down there at the corner of the Rue Saint Michel.

And that was exactly the same place where they were working the last time that we were round here, which was before Christmas if I remember rightly when they were doing things all the way up the street.

road works rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s difficult to believe that after all of this time they are still working there and haven’t finished off what they were doing.

It was my intention to take a short cut down the alleyway at the far end of the Rue St Michel but that was ruled out because the workmen haven’t finished at that end either. There was a guy there with a compactor flattening everything down in the street and sweeping up the debris quite diligently with his broom.

In the end I had to go the long way around and leave the workmen to whatever it was that they were doing. And when I reached the walls, I could see the trawlers that I photographed earlier.

And as I write these notes I can add that since I started them I’ve discovered that the British Government has sent two gunboats to the Bay of Granville. Bearing in mind that the entire might of the Royal Navy couldn’t defeat a handful of Icelandic trawlers in the 1960s, I can’t see this doing much good.

And as I have said before, it doesn’t matter how much fish the British fishing boats catch. If they can’t sell any of it, it won’t make the slightest difference.

chevrolet car from connecticut parvis notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomething else that hasn’t changed much is the little Chevrolet car.

It has Connecticut licence plates but the stickers expired a long, long (as in 10 years or so if I remember correctly) time ago and was abandoned here last Summer. Like the car in the Rue St Paul, they don’t seem to be in too much hury removing it.

As it happens I’m keen to find out who the owner might be, for the simple reason that I would like to know how he managed to bring the vehicle over here. It’s not a high-value vehicle so the costs of shipping it would be more than the cost of a replacement vehicle, from what my researches have revealed.

If I could find a way to move Caliburn economically back and to across the Atlantic every year I would do so at the drop of a hat.

Back here I carried on with a little work and then went for guitar practice.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap followed by jam roly-poly and home-made custard. And While I was making the custard I was thinking that why don’t I make another one of those chocolate sponges that I made once or twice and them instead of vanilla flavouring, put chocolate powder in the mix for the sauce? That would be nice.

So now I’m off to bed. I’ve done enough today. Hopefully I’ll awake early and have a grandstand seat at the naval battle that will take place offshore. I can’t imagine that the French would let British gunboats cruise around just offshore here without bringing in one or two of their own.