Category Archives: Liz_Terry Messenger


I am not feeling in the least like any Christmas Spirit today, but I bet that you lot are.

And so HERE are a few Christmas gifts.

Between 2010 and my rushing to hospital in November 2015 Liz and I ran a kind-of production company writing and presenting weekly radio programmes in English for a few French local radio stations with the aim of making the British and Dutch population of Rural France more up-to-date with French laws, rules and regulations.

We had a tremendous amount of fun doing them, especially when we had a whole hour to fill at Christmas, so we’d put on our own Christmas Specials to rival Morecambe and Wise.

I really enjoyed writing those. I was absolutely given my head with no editorial control and so it was a case of “anything goes” – or “everything I had always wanted to do in a radio programme but was always edited out”.

Déchainé as you might say around here.

While I’ve been cleaning up my various old hard drives I’ve come across most of the old “Radio Anglais” files and so I’ve uploaded one of our Christmas Specials.

Since I came back from one of my adventures in the High Arctic in November 2019 I’ve been working for a French local radio station here in Granville.

Outside broadcasts (which for obvious reasons, I can no longer do), technology support; music consultant and, on Friday and Saturday nights, my own hourly rock show.

Two years ago I recorded a Christmas rock special, and that’s included too.

If you’re listening on a desktop or laptop computer or similar device, could you download the two above rather than stream them? Streaming plays havoc with my bandwidth and could cost me a fortune if 300 people decide to stream everything.

And that reminds me – neither of my websites is sponsored. I pay for the hosting and streaming etc. myself.

And so if you have enjoyed these pages, please consider making your next Amazon purchase via the links aside. It costs you no extra but I receive a small commission that helps defray expenses

To those of you who do that on a systematic basis, I don’t know who you are of course but I am extremely grateful.

Thirdly, I have a little Inuit friend (well, I have several as it happens, but there’s one in particular) in the town of Uummannaq, about 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Greenland.

Uummannaq is the farthest north place where it was possible to revictual THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR when we were On The Trail Of John Ross so we put in there a couple of times.

On one occasion in 2018 a group of us went for a walk around the town while the ship was fuelling up, and we heard the sound of a guitar coming from one of the rooms of the Orphanage. And so we went there to check it out, like you do … "like some of you do" – ed

It turned out to be a young girl of 14, an inmate of the orphanage, playing guitar. And we were all totally captivated. It ended up being one hell of a jam with Heidinnguaq (for that’s her name) and SHERMAN DOWNEY on guitar, Dylan White on Keyboards and Yours Truly on bass and we finished off with Amy Winehouse’s “Back in the Black”.

heidinnguaq jensen strawberry moose uummannaq greenland september 2018 Eric HallIt goes without saying, of course, that STRAWBERRY MOOSE fell in love, and can you blame him?

Heidinnguaq and I still keep in touch occasionally, and she sent me one of her songs to share with you all as a little Christmas present. That’s on the Christmas page too.

Some of you might have heard it before. Heidinnguaq came to Granville to see us all a couple of years ago and I did a radio programme of her. That was one of the songs that she played.

Anyway, THERE YOU ARE. Enjoy them all, with love from Liz, Heidinnguaq and me

Monday 4th September 2023 – I HAVE HAD …

… visitors today. And that’s not like me at all, is it?

And not only that, but I’ve actually been to the local bar this afternoon too. And that’s even less like me.

They say here in France that jamais deux sans trois – “never two without a third” – and so what else I’ve done that is unusual these days is that I was out of bed this morning before the alarm went off.

Not by much, it has to be said, but by enough to make a note of it.

After the medication etc I went and had a shower – I need to look my best because the nurse would be coming to inject me. I needn’t have been in a rush because he was late again today

Once he’d left I carried on with a few bits and pieces until my visitors arrived.

It’s been a good couple of years since I’ve last seen Liz and Terry. They immediately entered into my good books by bringing 20 tins of baked beans with them. That should put the wind up everyone in the vicinity.

Much as I’m a big fan of European food, no-one else can make proper baked beans like the British. Even the “British Recipe” baked beans on sale in Canada taste nothing like the baked beans from a British supermarket.

There was so much that we had to say to each other, much of which was said in my apartment and more of it was said in La Rafale, the bar down the road. With the temperature at 28°C at lunchtime it was really nice to be out and about for once.

Liz bought a baguette so we went back to my place and rustled up a huge salad of all kinds of different things that I had lying around or in tins and it all went down very well.

Once everyone left I made myself a drink and came in here where I crashed out for well over an hour. Totally dead to the world, but then I’m not used to going walkabout like that these days.

Having eventually recovered consciousness, I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. My father and I were going up to Scotland on a motor bike. The only problem was that we had our sister’s mouse to take care of. We were trying to work out how we were going to do it. In the end I was rooting through all of my storage cupboards and came across a large, flat, wide sandwich box kind of thing. We thought that that would do and lined it with newspaper and put the mouse in. It was a struggle to close the lid with the lid being so large but eventually we closed it. Then we were thinking about how we were actually going to transport it. It wasn’t until we were almost ready to go that I had the thought that we were going to be on the road for 8 hours and had made no provision for drinking water or food etc for the mouse. I wasn’t convinced that it would survive the journey without it.

At another moment I awoke and I had headphones on listening to some music – Alice Cooper’s I’M 18 was playing. In the background I could hear some other music. I thought that the alarm must be going off so I’ll go to turn it off. I went to the bathroom and noticed that the time was 08:00. My father was late for work, my brothers and sisters would be late for school so I had to dash round awakening everyone. In real life I looked at my watch to see whether I ought to get up but it was actually 02:54 so that must have been some dream.

It rather reminded me of Tommy Cooper and “I knew a man who dreamt that he was awake, and when he woke up, he was!”

Someone had run a bath in an apartment on the ground floor of a big building. No-one was sure except me about what was happening. I don’t know what happened next but towards the end a young girl stripped off and stepped into the bath ad began to wash herself. The Police arrested a guy who lived in this apartment who had cancer. Apparently the bomb was a trick to fill the apartment with gas and he was going to light it to blow up the building and himself with it. He didn’t care because he had terminal cancer and only a short while to live. It would look extremely like an accident and of course he wouldn’t care about dying with such a short time left to live. He would be a hero to whatever cause it was that he was following.

Finally I was out last night with someone whom I used to know. We were driving around the outskirts of Stoke on Trent going to see a friend of his. We were in a Hillman Hunter. When we came to a road junction he seemed to have a lot of difficulty pulling out. It turned out that part of the fascia panel or something had fallen down and was blocking the accelerator pedal so we couldn’t advance in the car. In the end we had to stop, which nearly caused a big accident, while he investigated. He pulled off the panel and we could set off. A big tractor pulling a huge trailer had seen us stop and he decided that he’d pull out of the side street just as we set off so there wasn’t really enough time. He had to try to accelerate his tractor, the trailer swung round, went into a ditch, overturned and spewed all the contents out all over the side of the road, and then pulled the tractor into the ditch after it. We ended up back at his friend’s house. His friend was married to an actress. At first we had to wait my companion was searching around for some stuff fof his. Then the guy came in, an old guy, extremely simple, not the sort that you’d think would be associated with an actress. he showed me a set of brake shoes and aske me if I knew what they were off. They were like nothing I’d ever seen. He explained that they were used in some kind of mountain pathway as a shock absorber for tourists who slipped off the path and hit the barrier. It’s an extremely complicated system. At some point I’d left my red Cortina estate parked in a lay-by for a couple of days. When I returned the interior light was on. I thought that it would never start now after 2 days with that light on. I sat in and turned the key and it did actually struggle into life. I was extremely surprised by that.

Tea tonight with a delicious stuffed pepper with plain rice and the rest of the salad from lunchtime. Having marinaded in the dressing for several hours the salad was even more delicious than earlier in the day.

So now I’m off to bed. I really ought to restart work tomorrow. I’ve wasted far too much time just recently doing very little of anything important. High time that I got to grips with everything before I fade away.

Saturday 11th September 2021 – IT’S BEEN ONE …

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… of those days where anyone who can possible get out to sea had been out there today.

We started off today with Marité having a really good sail around the Baie de Granville, in company with a pile of other yachts, some of which you can see in this photograph.

She was quite far out at sea this morning and I didn’t really have the time to wait for her to come back closer to the shore. But never mind. Read on …

armorique english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further out there in the bay, right out beyond Jersey, is another ship – a huge one this time.

At first I thought that it might be the high-speed Condor Voyager, which I know to to be out there somewhere, but then I had another think.

Another car ferry, a full-size one, left St Malo about 100 minutes ago and on blowing up my image (which I can do, despite modern terrorist legislation) she has a superstructure that is much more like a full-size ship.

And when I saw that the ship was the Brittany Ferries’ Armorica and compared a shot of her stern with my photo, then I’m now pretty certain that that’s who she is.

commodore goodwill english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There’s another large ship heading the other way, towards St Malo.

Just one quick glance at her was enough to tell me exactly who she is, without even checking the radar or the port arrivals.

Her colour scheme is that of Condor Ferries and so she must be Commodore Goodwill, their big ferry that takes cars and commercial freight between the UK, the Channel Islands and St Malo

In fact, I did check, and she did arrive in St Malo about 50 minutes after I took this photo.

la cancalaise english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Also out there this morning on the right of this image is a ship with a very familiar set of masts and rigging.

At first glance you might be forgiven that she is La Granvillaise but actually, it isn’t.

She actually has a sister boat, a near-identical twin that operates from Cancale on the other side of the bay and is called, surprisingly enough, La Cancalaise, and that’s who she is. I’m pretty certain of that.

As for who the other one is, she could be any one of a couple of hundred yachts that were out there early this morning.

We haven’t finished yet with the maritime activities, but I thought that I would give you all a break from the excitement and give you a chance to recover your breath.

When the alarm went off this morning, I was actually already awake. I’d awoken blot-upright for some unknown reason at 05:47 and there isn’t really much point in going back to sleep then.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. In fact I had been on a bus. I had to go and pick up my youngest sister from School. She was at a school called Pebble Brook which was in Shavington (which of course it isn’t). I had to catch the bus and I asked for Dodd’s Bank. The bus drove into Shavington and went clean past Dodd’s Bank so I had to press the button myself and have it stop. The conductor asked “how pressed the button?” I replied “I did. I should have alighted at Dodd’s Bank”. He asked where I was going and I replied “the Primary School”. He chuntered a bit but anyway I alighted, walked through the track alongside the brook and ended up at school. All the kids were milling around and I could see her there, except that she was more like Roxanne by now. I took her by the hand and we set off. I asked her if she had ever been to see any of the houses where we lived when we were kids. She replied “no. Where are they?”. I said “we’re here” because 61 Osbourne Grove is just around the corner from the school. I showed her that house. of course it’s nothing like the heap that it was when we lived there. It’s all been modernised and 2 houses have been knocked into 1. The people inside could hear me talking about what it was like but they never came out which was a shame so we set off to go round the corner and down the street to Vine Tree avenue.

While I was at it, with not going to the shops today I had a couple of hours to spare so I paired off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be doing on Monday. I may as well get ahead of myself just for a very rare change and it will give me some free time on Sunday.

Then there was some tidying up to do because I was going to have visitors. and sure enough, Liz and Terry came round. Terry gave me back my 3/4″ drive heavy duty ratchet and socket set, and I gave him back his computer that I’d been fixing.

Liz gave me a few old towels that she was planning to throw away. I have nothing here for mopping up heavy spillages, protecting surfaces or anything like that and half a dozen decrepit towels are ideal for this kind of thing.

A coffee at La Rafale was next on the agenda so we headed off out that way, checking out the ships in the Baie de Granville as we went past the viewpoint.

diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021After our coffee we went for a good walk around the old medieval walls.

Regular readers of this rubbish will be interested in the photo just here because if you compare it with THIS ONE taken from the same viewpoint yesterday, this will give you a really good idea of how high the tide is when it’s right in.

You can just about make out the crown of the diving platform, and even a seagull that is photobombing me.

marite baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned Marité, about how she was quite far out in the bay, and I told you to “read on”.

We’d spent quite a time in La Rafale and on our walk but even so, It was quite a surprise to see Marité just here in front of us as we came round the corner.

She’s done her morning lap around the Baie de Granville and it now looks as if she’s going to be doing a lap around the Baie de Mont St Michel before coming back home before the harbour gates close.

charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And we haven’t finished yet either.

There was another boat that seemed to be doing a lap or two around the inner harbour with a load of passengers.

She’s the Charles-Marie of course and this is one of the very rare occasions when we’ve actually seen her with her sails unfurled.

When we returned to the apartment Liz and Terry went to their car and headed off into the sunset – well, not exactly the sunset but you know what I mean – and I came in here because it was almost lunchtime and my nice fresh bread awaited.

After lunch, I had a couple of other things to do, such as carrying on sorting some images – a project that I started ages ago when I merged together all of my hard drives into one large one.

What had restarted my enthusiasm (such as it is) for this particular project was the other day when I spent half a day looking for a couple of photographs and couldn’t find them. I decided that I ought to be more organised and not let things drift as I seem to be doing right now.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021This took me up tp the time to go on my afternoon walk around the headland, and as usual, the first port of call was the beach.

Looking over the wall at the end of the car park I could see that there was plenty of beach to be on, and there were plenty of people making the most of it.

There were even a few people who had taken to the water, which was no surprise because although it had been quite cool this morning, as the day went on it warmed up quite dramatically and after the miserable summer that we had, it looks as if it’s going to be unseasonably warm for a while.

powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was out with Liz and Terry this morning there had been quite a lot of aerial traffic. Ordinarily I would have photographed some of it but you can’t really do things like that in company.

One of the aircraft that had gone by overhead was the red powered hang-glider, and I was lucky while I was out this afternoon because as I was watching the beach she came by again.

This time of course there were no hang-ups, if you pardon the expression, and I could take quite a nice photo of her as she roared by over my head. Unfortunately, from this position I couldn’t see who was in her.

50sa aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021and that was by no means all of the aerial activity. There was plenty more to go at yet.

Something else that went by overhead almost immediately was one of the little aeroplanes that seem to have a serial number range all of their own that I have yet to decipher.

This one is 50SA, whatever or whoever she might be. I keep on meaning to go one of these days over to the airfield and have a good look around, make a few suitable enquiries and maybe even blag myself a flight in the yellow autogyro. Who knows?

hang gliders pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And had I been out a few minutes earlier, I might even have witnessed some more aerial activity too.

But when I arrived at the lawn by the lighthouse at the Pointe du Roc, I could see that a couple of the Birdmen of Alcatraz had come to grief. It looks as if their Nazguls have given up the ghost, the wind has dropped or else Legolas has shot them down with his arrow in the dark.

Now, the riders are lounging around presumably waiting for someone with a car to come and rescue them from their peril and take them back home.

la cancalaise english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But for the last few minutes I’ve been digressing.

While I was watching the beach and watching the air, my third eye was casting around out at sea to see if there was anything exciting going on out there.

Earlier this morning, I posted a photo of La Cancalaise out there in the English Channel. And when I went out for my afternoon walk I noticed that she was still out there, with a couple of smaller boats to keep her company.

It would seem that they don’t have the same issues with the tides at Cancale as we do here

fishermen in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021It goes without saying that if there is going to be all this much marine activity, there are bound to be some fishermen somewhere.

What was surprising though was that despite the dozens of boats milling around, there was only this zodiac that looked as it it had any fishermen in it.

So I left them to it and pushed off on the path along the clifftop past the downed Nazguls and across the car park to see what was happening out in the bay.

To my surprise, the answer was “nothing”. It looked as if the crowds that we had seen out there this morning had all gone home. No point in my loitering around. I’ll head for my home too.

saint andrews catherine philippe l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The path along the top of the cliff on the far side of the headland takes me past the viewpoint overlooking the outer harbour.

From here, there’s a really good view down into the chantier naval and I was right yesterday when I thought that I could only make out four boats down there.

We have the blue and black one whose name I haven’t yet discovered, and facing her is Saint Andrews. The white blue and red one is Catherine Philippe and to her right is the shellfishing boat L’Omerta .

Nothing else has come in this morning to fill the empty places.

stalls and marquees parking boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the car park at the Boulevard Vaufleury are a pile of marquees and the like.

Ordinarily I would have gone for a nosey about to see what was happening but it’s a sign of how ill I am that I couldn’t face the extra few hundred yards to go and check.

What I’ll do is to go home now, and if they are still there tomorrow I can give them the once-over without having to take too much of a diversion.

But these health issues are really depressing me and no mistake.

Back here there was football on the internet and for once, the broadcasters had picked a match of two teams that are down at the wrong end of the table, Aberystwyth Town versus Cardiff Metropolitan.

Despite the lack of skill compared to the more successful clubs this was an exciting match as the action raged from one penalty area to the other. Aberystwyth played soe really attractive football but the Met were more direct and began to take control the longer the gamae went on.

They were unlucky to find Aberystwyth’s goalkeeper, the Slovenian Under-21 International Gregor Zabret, in stunning form and he kept them out right until the end when a wicked deflection off one of his own defenders sent him the wrong way.

Aberystwyth are now third-bottom in the table but surely, on this performance, they’ll finish higher up the table than this.

Tomorrow is Sunday, and that means a lie-in. I have more visitors in the afternoon so I want to be at my best and maybe even tidy the apartment a little. It does need it.

Friday 27th August 2021 – JUST IMAGINE …

sunset ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… walking out of the front door of your building and being confronted with this!

What with one thing and another, my peregrinations today totalled 98% of my daily effort and so I wasn’t going to give up at that particular point – so I decided to just nip out for a quick lap around the block to take the total over the 100%

With it starting to go dark, I debated whether or not to take the NIKON D500 with me, and I’m really glad that I did. It’s been a long time since we’ve featured a really decent sunset.

sunset ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you lot admire some more photos of the sunset this evening, let me tell you about my day starting at the beginning.

As you might expect these days, I didn’t have my early night last night. Just as I was on the point of switching off the computer, Jethro Tull came round on the playlist. And so I was treated to an earful of –
three of the finest rock albums that have ever been recorded

sunset ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, I did go to bed before
came around, just in case …

What surprised me more than anything was that I was up and about at 06:00 just as usual despite the lateness of the hour at which I went to bed. And I can’t keep on going like this.

It took me a while to clear my head, as I’m sure you can imagine, and after the medication I had a few things to do.

sunset ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe early part of the morning was spent alternating between

  1. tidying up
  2. resting
  3. crashing out

not necessarily in that order.

But the tidying up was because I was expecting visitors. Liz and Terry wanted to see me.

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you lot admire some close-up photos of the Galeon Andalucia, I was going through the apartment like a dose of salts.

By the time that they arrived, the apartment (well, the parts that you could see) was actually looking quite nice and that must have come as quite a shock to my visitors. It’s been a while since they have been to visit me and they aren’t used to this.

Terry had brought his laptop with him. A few months ago I had fixed Liz’s computer and made it work much better, and now Terry was wondering if I could do the same for his. So that’s a job for some time next week.

But that wasn’t the main reason for their visit. They really wanted to tell me that I have to say “goodbye” to an old friend

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that just a short while before I was taken ill, I’d bought a small mini-tractor for the farm – a Kubota B1220. And I’d done just 13 hours on it, mostly as a generator powering the cement mixer, before I fell ill

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt had been left down on the farm when I was taken ill and a neighbour had contacted me to tell me that someone had been “playing” with it so Terry and I went to rescue it.

It’s been in the bottom of Terry’s barn ever since.

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “hooray” – ed … one of their acquaintances had seen it, had a good look at it, and then made them an offer. As a result, they came round this morning with a bundle of folding stuff.

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s like the story of the digger. I was sorry to see that go last summer but I’m in no state to do anything with them and it’s just a couple of things fewer to worry about.

As a reward I took Liz and Terry out for a coffee at La Rafale where we had a good chinwag and a good laugh at the antics of a cat sitting outside o a third-floor window ledge and an eighteen month-old toddler.

We discussed a few plans for the future and then decided to go for a walk down to the harbour and look at the Galeon Andalucia and whatever else was down there this morning.

black pearl port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe first thing that we noticed was that there was a small fuel tanker down on the quayside. The driver was busy coiling up his hose as if he’d finished his work.

Where has was parked was right by where Black Pearl and her younger sister Le Pearl who sailed into the port for the first time last autumn were moored.

As we watched, Black Pearl cast off her mooring and set out from the quayside. The harbour gates were open and so it looked as if, having been refuelled, she was setting off to work. And I imagined that Le Pearl would be following her as soon as she’s ready.

philcathane galeon andalucia granville victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut really it was the Galeon Andalucia that we had come to see, just like everyone else in Granville I reckon.

To her left though is the trawler Philcathane, with the Channel Island ferry Granville immediately behind her. To the right of Granville is her colleague Victor Hugo.

My plan was for us all to go aboard for a good look around but Liz and Terry had other things to do so we just loitered around taking a few photos. Then, in the best traditions of the News of the Screws, we “made our excuses and left”.

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallActually, the Galeon Andalucia wasn’t the only game in town this afternoon.

While we had been looking at the galleon, we’d see some rather distinctive sail-tops go past behind the harbour wall, so distinctive that there were no prizes for guessing to whom they belonged.

One look at the familiar “G90” number on the sails will tell us that it is indeed La Granvillaise out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel with a ship-load of passengers on board.

She’s someone else towing behind her an inflatable dinghy that will have room for probably about a quarter of the people currently on board.

chausiaise entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallLiz and Terry don’t come to Granville all that often and so they aren’t aware of the new boats that have been coming into the port recently.

One of them, whom they haven’t seen before, is the little freighter Chausiaise that takes the supplies and the luggage over to the Ile de Chausey.

This is the last weekend of the main holiday season so she’s going to be busy bringing back all of the luggage of the people who have spent the summer out there, and of the holidaymakers whose two weeks in what has laughingly been described this year as “the sun” has come to an end.

commodore voyager english channel France Eric HallBy now, back at the apartment Liz and Terry made ready to leave, but before they did so, I had a quick glance out to sea from the car park.

A big white blob right out there on the horizon indicates that something large has not long ago set out from the port of St Helier heading for the UK. I took a speculative snap of it to see if I could identify it back at the apartment.

It looked very much like one of the Condor high-speed ferries, and I noticed that Condor Voyager had set sail from the port at 10:32. She would seem to fit the bill quite nicely.

Back in the building I bumped into a couple of neighbours and we had quite a chat. And I’ve been invited to go for coffee with one of them on Sunday afternoon.

There wasn’t much time left before lunch to do very much, and the first thing that I did after lunch was to have a shower. I have the therapist so I need to look clean and tidy. And I switched on the washing machine too afterwards

marite philcathane galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOnce I was ready, i hit the streets.

Down the hill in the Rue des Juifs I paid a call at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour. As well as the Galeaon Andalucia, Marité was in port as well and the two of them made a very nice photo, together like that.

Peering through the rigging of Marité we can see the little trawler Philcathane moored up where the gravel boats used to moor when they came here. To the left of Marité is the little red, white and blue boat that we have seen quite regularly just recently.

And I can confirm that she is indeed Les Epiettes, the one that we saw last year out at the Ile de Chausey. She was down there this morning and I noticed her name as we went past, but I forgot to say..

Having taken the photo, I pushed off through the town and up the hill for my appointent with destiny.

emergency ambulance rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I came out of the physiotherapist just in time to see an emergency ambulance, all bells and flashing lights, go roaring past me.

It stopped a few hundred metres down the road and the guys within leapt out and went into a building just there. By the time that I caught up with them, they were still inside so I have no idea what was happening.

As it was quite a nice afternoon I decided that I’d go down to the harbour and have a good look around at what was happening there. We’d seen Galeon Andalucia and Les Epiettes earlier this morning, but there was plenty of other stuff that I wanted to see but had been unable to do so

It’s not easy gratuitously wandering around when you’re in company.

While I was down there, I noticed that the harbour gates were closed so I could go back that way home. Spirit of Conrad was in port and Pierre, her skipper, was there so we had quite a chat for a while about this and that.

His trips to the Channel islands have restarted and ordinarily I might be interested but I have another cunning plan for that.

repainting charlevy charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s a trawler that we should all recognise, because we’ve seen it often enough just recently.

She’s the trawler Charlevy who spent a considerable amount of time just recently undergoing a repaint at the chantier naval.

And by the looks of things, the paintwork wasn’t completely finished there either. The workman standing on the roof of the bridge is armed with a paintbrush, a roller and a large tub of thick black paint and he’s giving the “ancillaries” a good covering.

And she’ll need it too once she’s out at sea this autumn and winter.

yellow autogyro port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the meantime while I was watching the work going on aboard Charlevy an old familiar noise roused me from my slumbers.

Rattling by overhead went yet another familiar face, the yellow autogyro that we see quite often flying by as we are out and about on our travels.

But right now I’m going out and about over the harbour gates to the other side, stopping on the way to exchange pleasantries with a fisherman who actually has a bucket with a couple of crabs in it that he has caught.

So that’s a first for me.

briscard pierre de jade catherine philippe chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here I went down to the chantier naval to have a look at the fishing boats that were in here, and to see if I can identify them.

Two of the three here were pretty easy to identify because I could see their names displayed. On the left, the smaller white and blue one is called Briscard and on the right, the red, blue and white one is called Catherine Philippe.

The middle one was not so easy, but as I was pondering over it, someone came down the ladder on the far side, so I asked him. “She’s the Pierre de Jade he replied.

So now I know.

peccavi unknown saint andrews chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor the other three here, I didn’t have the same luck.

Once again, two of them were easy to recognise. On the left, we have Peccavi and on the right under the tarpaulin is Saint Andrews – a rather unusual name for a French fishing boat. Why didn’t they call her Saint-André?

But then, if they can call a French trawler Trafalgar, they can call one almost anything.

The black and blue one in the middle remains a mystery. No name was visible and there was no-one around to ask.

retimbering hull peccavi chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was having a prowl around, I noticed this rather unusual work going on with Peccavi.

It looks as if they are sheathing her hull in tongue-and-grooving and I have never seen that done before on a sea-going boat. I wonder what the reason is for this.

But i’m not going to find out right now because there isn’t anyone to ask. Anyway, it’s time for me to be going home and it’s a long haul back up the hill from here. And by the time that I reached the top, I was pretty exhausted too.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBefore I go in though, I ought to have a look down onto the beach to see what’s happening there this afternoon

Surprisingly, there weren’t too many people down there this afternoon. It’s not exactly the height of summer, as I realise, but it was still nice enough for people to be out on the beach enjoying one of the last days before the holidays are over.

That was about the sum total of my trip out this afternoon. I came back for my smoothie and to sit down and relax – and to fall asleep as well.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too, as I noticed later. I was on board a ship last night. Something had happened and my right leg had been injured. They were saying that they were going to have to amputate it. Of course I was totally opposed to that idea. Nevertheless they doped me up with local anaesthetic and operated away. I was trying to stagger round this common room trying to make myself comfortable. I was just so awful about this. I sat down and there was some news on the TV about 4 marathons that were being run at the same time when there was total confusion about who was in which one and where, as well as on one occasion where on a studio leg someone had tripped over an apparatus and fallen into the athletics’ 100-yard sprint track, demolished all of the hurdles just as all the runners were running up to it so they were all entangled as well. That was so real, that dream having my leg cut off and that was one nocturnal voyage that made me very relieved when it was over.

After tea I went out for my little stroll as I mentioned earlier, and now it’s time for bed. I have shopping in the morning and hence an early start. I think that I’ve done enough for today.

Saturday 31st July 2021 – NO CAUSE FOR …

llamas la ruche nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… allama!

Or even three of the beasts.

This evening I had very strange companions. Just for a change, and for something that doesn’t happen all that often, I was out socialising tonight. Two of my “friends” whom I know from my social network were married this afternoon and I had been invited to the bunfight afterwards, which I thought was very kind of them.

After all, I can’t go on being totally unsociable all my life. Sometimes I have to come out of my shell even if I don’t want to and I don’t feel like it.

But let’s not go getting ahead of ourselves.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I was out of bed quite smartly, and after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone.

To my surprise there was something on there from yesterday when I was crashed out on the chair. I transcribed that and added it in to yesterday’s page, and then concentrated on the entries from last night.

Last night there was some story about some young black footballer who had been called up to the England under-23 or under-something national side to replace a player from Oxford who had fallen ill. Although it might not look like it they were trained in a completely different fashion otherwise I can’t tell you any more than that because I can’t remember.

The other one (which other one?) was to do with young people and something about rising up but the only rising up they were ever likely to do these days was to rise up out of bed and go to the bathroom which was exactly what I did at the time.

Later on, a friend of mine had started work in Crewe and was coming to Crewe with her bike on the train and wandering off to work. I met her at the station. On the way I took her to these friends of mine who had an Indian restaurant in Nantwich Road where Alan Pond’s used to be, one of these cheap café-type of places. He was very flirty towards her which she didn’t like. I said “this is where you come if your train is late”. She replied “I get a taxi if my train is late”. “Yes” I replied “but this is where you come to telephone and where you telephone your office to explain the delay”. “Ohh” she said and we went off down Mill Street to another Indian café‚ where we went in. The guys there knew me. They’d had Indian cafés all over Europe at one time in different places, one of them in Brussels. Esi was eating a proper meal but I was having all kinds of different bits and pieces given to me by the proprietor. He was telling me all his stories about his place in Walsall, he went to India and met new people, he’d had all kinds of new ideas and came back and opened this place which was doing really well. We were having a lengthy chat but then I noticed the time. My friend is going to be hours late for work if we don’t get a move on quick, so I had to decline everything else that was being offered to me and try to get her to head for work.

The next task that I attacked was that there was a JOURNAL ENTRY FROM A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO that needed updating. That’s now on line too, and not before time either.

After breakfast I had a good go at fixing the printer and once it was working after a fashion I printed out a dozen or so of my favourite acoustic songs in case I needed them.

Having packed my things I had a shower, found some new clothes, had lunch and then loaded Caliburn. Once he was organised I headed off to Coutances.

Strangely enough, despite shopping this afternoon in two different places, the Leclerc and the Lidl there, I couldn’t remember what I needed to buy so I didn’t buy much. But at Lidl I saw a young girl with the most beautiful hair that I have ever seen, so it made the trip all worthwhile.

eric hall liz messenger sam beavis lee edwards wedding nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd then it was off through the countryside to Nicorps and this wedding.

And here I am, in the black jacket and cap sitting next to Liz. Someone picked me up as an ancillary object in another photo so I cropped ourselves out and saved the image so that I can say in my best Max Boyce tradition I WAS THERE.

The photo was posted on the social media page for the wedding and I have no idea who posted it, but credit is given to the original poster. It’s not one of my own photos of course.

sam beavis lee edwards wedding nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you admire a few wedding photos, I was busy trying to find a place to park Caliburn.

And that wasn’t easy either. There was quite a crowd of people here. In the end I managed to find some kind of gravel hardstanding on top of an earthen bank. Caliburn coped admirably with the climb up.

The next problem was finding out where everything was taking place because it was like a labyrinth around there with passages there leading to just about everywhere except where I wanted to go.

food stall sam beavis lee edwards wedding nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe first thing that I noticed when I arrived was the food stall.

We were really going to be done proud with what was on offer this afternoon. I ended up with chips, a vegan pitta, plenty of salad and a pile of bread. But the carnivores could have had almost anything that they wanted, there was so much choice.

Later on in the evening I had a laugh and a joke with Lee and Sam about the amount of food that was left over. They’ll be eating rice for breakfast, pasta and salad for lunch and chips for the tea for the next month.

father of the groom sam beavis lee edwards wedding nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe entertainment started with an opening speech by the father of the groom welcoming everyone to the event.

Don’t ask me why it’s the groom’s father. usually it’s the bride’s father who welcomes everyone to the wedding. And so it’s probably me who has the whole thing wrong – that’s the more likely interpretation of events.

But anyway, whoever he is, he declared the celebrations open and the bunfight could begin. And I realised at this particular moment that this is the first social event that I’ve been to for over 18 months.

sam beavis lee edwards wedding nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe only people whom I really knew at that event were Liz and Terry.

They were sitting at a table right in the middle of the courtyard so I went over and said hello .Liz told me to pull up a chair, which I did.

There was another couple sitting at the table with them – people whom I hadn’t seen before. The guy was quite interesting and knew quite a lot about photography and transport.

sam beavis lee edwards wedding nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe two of us ended up chatting together for quite some time about ferries and railways and all of that kind of thing.

He comes from Weymouth apparently, and has been trying to stimulate some kind of exchange between there and Granville, but with little success.

There is quite some controversy over what’s happening in the port of Weymouth and as it happens, there has been a considerable amount of discussion on the subject in one of the Groups of my Social Network, something that I had been following closely.

sam beavis lee edwards wedding nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat was just as well because I was quite clued up on the subject and we had an interesting and in-depth discussion on the subject.

Unfortunately he had to leave quite early. he has a health problem too, but I shall be looking forward to meeting him again if the occasion ever arises. It’s quite rare to meet someone who shares my interests.

While all of this was going on, I’d turned my attention to the food supply and as I said earlier, I had a really good spread. There were some vegan desserts too, as I found out later on but I was too late and they had all gone by the time that I found out.

sam beavis lee edwards wedding nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs the evening drew on I started to become cold and tired and I began to think about going home.

What finally made up my mind was the fact that they had organised some music – a guitarist and singer playing along to backing tapes.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I have a big issue about things like this. Backing tapes are taking over everywhere and bass guitarists like me and drummers too are being pushed out of the circuit. It’s something about which I feel quite strongly.

sam beavis lee edwards wedding nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric HallAccordingly I went to see Sam and Lee, presented my excuses and gave them my thanks.

We had quite a lengthy chat about quite a few different things but of course they are playing host to a hundred or so people and so they had to wander off and socialise with others.

Liz and Terry were going to hang around so I gave them a card to give to the guy whom I’d met earlier, should they encouter him before I do, and I headed off to find Caliburn.

deer sam beavis lee edwards wedding nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere is a variety of ways that I could take in order to go home so I took the road that went to the by-pass around Coutances.

After about two minutes down the country lane, I had quite a surprise as a deer leapt out of the hedge and ran across the road just a metre or two in front of me. Both Caliburn and the deer had a very narrow escape.

Passing underneath the big railway viaduct I found the by-pass and picked up the road towards Granville and home.

circus lorry 2 trailers brehal Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I passed through Quettreville sur Sienne I encountered a convoy of what is known as “Showmen’s Goods” – several large lorries , each one of them towing several trailers.

Luckily I had the dashcam working so I could take a still of one of the lorries. This large one is a rigid heavy-duty four-wheeler towing two large trailers, but I regretted not having been in a good enough prosition to take a photo of the articulated tractor unit towing three trailers. That would have made a really good image.

It wasn’t easy to pass them as they were occupying most of the road and I had to pick my overtaking spots quite carefully. Luckily Caliburn was well up to the job

The Rue des Juifs was closed to traffic as there was some kind of animation taking place. I had to end up going around the headland to reach home.

Right now I’m off to bed. I’ll deal with the photos tomorrow and maybe make a bit more sense of this.

Good night.

Thursday 29th July 2021 WHILE I WAS …

repairing city walls rue du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… out for a walk with Liz at lunchtime on our way back from a coffee we came via the rue du nord, one of the reasons for which being that I wanted to see how they are progressing with the repair work to the medieval city walls.

Much to my surprise, they have already made a decent start to the work and I’m sure that regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen A SIMILAR STYLE OF WORK in the past when they were repairing the walls in the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

When they did that work they did what looks like a decent job so I hope that they’ll bet on and do the same here.

And then hopefully they can get on and do the rest of the walls that are falling down around our ears. If medival builders can build something that will last for 600 years there’s no reason why modern builders shouldn’t be able to do so.

But anyway, be that as it may, I was awake at about 06:00 this morning as usual so I had my medication and came back in here listen to the dictaphone. We were all at home but home was dirty, disgusting and untidy and a complete mess. For some reason, at a court my mother’s family life as a young person was being discussed. Then some time later or was it earlier, I dunno, we ended up with anoher girl staying with us and we were trying to think of a place to go. But then this girl started talking about going to somewhere on the North Wales coast where she had been. She asked if we had ever been there and we replied “ohh no, we had far too much class. We went to Rhyl” which provoked howls of laughter but this gave us an idea and we booked a trip to Rhyl. When we arrived on the coach we all piled off and this girl “ohh yes I know all of this, I know all of that” so we were having a laugh and a joke and teasing her. Our mother was telling us to be quiet, we mustn’t be so rude. Then something happened to my mother and she ended up talking about other people behind their backs and we were sitting there saying “mother, don’t be so rude” which of course didn’t go down very well. We crossed the road over to the river.

At that point I’d switched off the dictaphone, which makes a change from the way that things have been just recently.

When I’d finished transcribing the notes I finished off the tidying up of the apartment as far as I could and it actually looks quite tidy, which is just as well, because Liz turned up.

We started off making the first dough for my fruit bread and she gave me several valuable hints for the first kneading, and then we put it into a basin to proof while we had a nice cold drink.

After the drink I mixed the fruit for the filling but Liz thinks that I’m putting too much fruit and nuts in it – and she would leave out the banana too. As for the banana chips she thinks that I should be breaking them up.

Liz showed me her method of adding the fruit and nuts, which might have worked had I not been using so many.

That was the cue to go for a coffee so we walked down to La Rafale, bumping into one of our neighbours on the way. And also meeting another one at the bar.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back we came via the Rue du Nord and I’m pleased to report that the absence of boats out to sea over the last couple of days must have been an aberration because they were all there today.

As many yachts as you might care to see this afternoon and I suspect that it might have something to do with the state of the tide. The tide is well in, the outer port is under water and the gates to the harbour and the port de plaisance are open.

It will be a completely different situation, I suspect, when the tide is ebbing and the gates are about to close. Then all of the marine craft will scuttle off home to safety.

Incidentally, there’s a dark blue flag right out there in the distance. I wonder if that’s Black Mamba gone off for a run around in the bay.

swimmer baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t just water craft that were out there this lunchtime.

There was a swimmer down there doing the Australian crawl along the coastline just offshore. In a wetsuit too, and I can’t say that I blame him either because although it was sunny, it wasn’t actually all that pleasant.

Now comes the story of a disaster. Liz hadn’t asked me how I baked my bread and I hadn’t thought to tell her, so when I produced the bread mould back home she was taken by surprise.

The bread fell apart as we tried to move it gently into the mould so that didn’t work too well. Anyway we put it in the oven to bake while we had lunch.

After lunch, our next trick was to make a pineapple upside-down cake. I don’t know why but I’ve been hankering after one of these for a while and Liz had a recipe. Well, of an apple upside-down cake but the theory is still the same so we had a go at that.

That went into the oven and while it was baking, Liz still had some time to spare. A while back she had sent me a recipe for cranberry and pecan cookies and as I actually had some cranberries (but cashew nuts instead) we made a pile of those too. They went into the oven as soon as the upside-down cake was baked, and we went for a walk outside.

50sa aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe hadn’t gone more than five yards out of the building before two things happened.

Firstly, we were overflown by a light aeroplane. Well, not exactly overflown – it was in fact right out at sea and it was difficult to pick it up with the camera.

Some judicious editing when I was back home later showed it to be 50SA – another light aircraft that does not figure in any register that I have been unable to find, even though we’ve seen it before. It’s painted out in the style of a World-War II US Army Air Force fighter although its fixed tricycle undercarriage tells me that it is anything but.

The second thing that happened was that we were swept away in the turmoil of a furniture removal. Someone else is moving out of the building. There won’t be anyone else left except me at this rate, and I won’t be here for all that long at the rate that bits are dropping off me.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo walk outside the building these days is complete, or even begins, without a walk across to the end of the car park to look down onto the beach to see the activity down there.

By now the tide has gone well out and there’s plenty of room for people to be moving around this afternoon. Not that there were too many people though because while the weather had improved, it hadn’t improved that much.

nd while I was admiring the people in the water, Liz’s eye had picked out a father rubbing his young children with sun tan oil so that they could all run into the sea and wash it off.

Yes, I used to be a child too, believe it or not.

marité english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been watching the beach with one eye, the other one had as usual been roving out to sea.

Out there was a silhouette on the horizon that looked quite familiar to me so we headed for the nearest high ground where I could have a better view.

Once safely installed I took a photo and later on after Liz had left, I had a look at it, cropped it, enhanced it and blew it up (the photo, not the object)

No prizes of course for guessing what it might be, because we are all familiar with this silhouette right now.

Anything that’s big, with three masts and loads of sail can only be the Marité, our sole remaining Newfoundlander fishing boat, gone out on the morning tide for a lap around the coast and will probably return home this later on the evening tide.

people in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLiz had also spotted this and wanted to know what it was. I explained that it was probably asylum-seekers who had gone to the UK, decided that they didn’t like it and came back.

Seriously though, I thought that it might have been fishermen at first, which it may well be, but of what description?

And I wonder if they had anything to do with the strange square object bottom left? It doesn’t look like a mooring buoy marker or a lobster pot marker, so I wonder if it’s a diver in a face mask?

Mind you, what would be be diving for that he couldn’t find quicker and easier in an hour or so when the tide has gome out and the sea bed is uncovered?

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw the swimming pool on the quayside and I intimated that this would mean that Normandy Trader would be on her way into port quite soon.

And look who’s in port this afternoon then? I wasn’t wrong. And I was very lucky to see her because usually she comes in as soon as the harbour gates open and she does a quick turn-round and disappears back to Jersey with her load before they close again.

And so I’ve no idea why she’s loitering in port this afternoon. I suppose that these swimming pools have to be stowed very carefully because they are quite fragile, especially when they have a rolling sea to contend with.

Tons of other stuff on the quayside too and they’ll be lucky to fit all of that in. They can’t exactly drop it inside the swimming pool.

fishing boat in naabsa position port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut in the meantime, while you are admiring Normandy Trader, there’s another item worthy of note.

Here moored up at the quayside by the fish processing plant is another one of the local fishing boats, left to go aground as the tide goes out.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve discussed this phenomenon on many … “many, many” – ed … occasions in the past so I shan’t dwell on it again. Instead, Liz and I will go home and see how the biscuits are doing.

And cooked to perfection they were too, so we had another cold drink to celebrate, and rightly so because when you are out of the wind it’s really quite warm in the sun.

After another chat, Liz decided to head off for home and make tea for Terry who had been out working.

That was a shame because I had a few things that I wanted to discuss, but they were things of the moment and it’s doubtful that the moment will ever present itself in the same way again.

home made fruit bread oat and cranberry cookies pineapple upside down cake Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving seen Liz safely off on her way, I had a look at all of our cooking efforts for today.

As I mentioned earlier, the fruit load was not as it was supposed to be. The consistency and texture were perfect – the best that I’ve ever tasted and that was certainly a success. But picking it up and putting it into the bread mould halfway through its second proofing was not a success as you can see.

We’d already sampled the cookies and I do have to say that they were pretty good too. That was certainly a success and instead of cranberries and pecans, almost any kind of dried fruit and nut will do.

It’s like most things, when you are baking, you have your basic recipe and you adjust it as you go along, depending on what you have to hand.

When I worked in that Italian restaurant in Wandsworth, the woman who owned it told me that whenever she interviewed a new chef she would always have him make a tomato sauce. If that were good, then everything else would be.

Incidentally, my tomato sauce passed muster, but then Nerina was full of fiery Italian blood so what do you expect? I had a good teacher.

Back in my little office I sat down on my comfy chair and found that I couldn’t move. Not actually stuck in it, but I lacked the energy to pull myself out of it. I started to do some work but I couldn’t concentrate on it and that was the most difficult part.

Eventually a football match came on the internet. Connah’s Quay Nomads were playing FC Pristina in the European Championships. Having lost 4-1 in Kosovo last week they were up against it but it all started so well for them and within 3 minutes they had pulled a goal back.

They were pushing forward and forward incessantly and could have had several more but in the space of five minutes were hit for two soft, sucker goals, the kind that would kill off any team.

Nevertheless, Andy Morrison isn’t one to throw in the towel. He pulled off a defender at half time and sent on an attacker and then it was a relentless stream down the field towards the Pristina goal.

To everyone’s surprise, they managed to score three goals as they created all kinds of panic in the Kosovar defence, and had Mike Wilde not been offside in the 70th minute or had Jamie Insall had a clearer connection on the ball in stoppage time, who knows where they would be now?

But this is the problem with so many Welsh clubs. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. They are up against teams that are much more street-wise and astute than they are, with several internationals from all over the developing world in their teams, and while domestic Welsh teams can turn on a performance like this, little lapses of concentration and stupid, silly mistakes are ruthlessly punished and rob them of just about everything.

Meanwhile, in the other match that wasn’t broadcast, events went on to prove just how wrong I can be. Having stuffed no fewer than 5 goals past FK Kauno Zalgiris of Lithuania last week, TNS went out and did exactly the same again tonight, to record the biggest ever aggregate win by a Welsh domestic side in any European competition anywhere. Teams with a long history in European competition, like Dinamo Tbilsi, Austria Wien and AA Gent were knocked out of the tournament last night.

It was 01:00 when I finally found the energy to go off to bed. And with getting up at 06:00 and going to the doctor’s tomorrow, I’m not looking forward to that at all.

Sunday 6th June 2021 – JUST IN CASE …

food place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… you are wondering why it’s taken so long for this post to come on line, the fact is that I’ve had rather a busy day as you can see.

All of this here is the contents of the shelf unit that is in the kitchen area. That has been totally emptied later on in the afternoon and it isn’t going to go back on the shelves until it’s all had a really good sort-out and I’ve decided what is what. There has been so much confusion and so much has been misplaced and lost at the back of the unit.

Quite frankly, I never really realised that there was so much on there. The pile of stuff goes right around to the left in front of the sofa and has filled the living room area completely.

lino in kitchen place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut this is the real reason why I’ve done this.

Ever since I’ve started cooking and baking seriously I’ve been dropping bits of dough and pastry all over the floor and with it being a nice wooden floor, I don’t want to spoil it and mark it with what I drop. Back at the end of last year when I was at Brico Cash I bought some linoleum and it was living in the back of Caliburn.

Today Liz and Terry came round and they asked if they could do anything while they were there. So we stripped out the kitchen completely and laid it on the floor. And with what was left, Terry cut it to make covers for the shelves.

You have to admit that it looks really good and I’m very pleased with all of this.

But with Liz and Terry coming round to visit me today, I had done something that I rarely, if ever, do on a Sunday and that was to set an alarm. But that was something of a wasted effort because at 05:20 this morning all of the church bells in the town started to ring – presumably celebrating the D-Day landings.

Although I went back to sleep it wasn’t for long and by 08:30 I was up and about having my medication.

There was a little bit of tidying up that I could carry on doing so that by the time that they arrived the place was looking something rather respectable, which makes a change.

We had a coffee and they sampled some of my fruit bread. Liz made a few suggestions as to how it can be improved. And so my next batch of fruit bread will hopefully be better – not that it is actually bad of course, but I’m always open to suggestions. In the past many people have made all kinds of suggestions, but most of them were physically impossible.

Later on we went out for a walk in the sun.

commodore clipper ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing that I noticed was that out there in the distance there was something moving behind the Ile de Chausey and so I took a photograph of it for later examination.

Back at the apartment later on, I cropped and enlarged the photograph to see what it might have been. It has all of the silhouette of one of the Channel Islands ferries that sail out of St Malo and so I went and had a look at today’s departures from the port of St Malo.

My photo is timed at 11:07 which is actually 12:07 right now and at 10:30 or thereabouts Commodore Goodwill, one of the two ferries that run out of St Malo and around the Channel Islands, set out from St Malo.

But what we had really come to see was what was going on at the bunker that I’d noticed yesterday. It cost €2:00 to go in so we had to have a scavenge around for a handful of cash so that we could go in.

german doctors equipment bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd this was the star attraction in the bunker this year. A complete wartime medical kit belonging to a German doctor.

It seems that a couple of years ago an old woman left her home and was placed in an old people’s home. Her house began to be emptied and when they searched her cellar they discovered this complete kit down there, where it had been since 1944. It’s been donated to the people running the bunker as an exhibit for the proposed museum that they intend to set up here.

The other room of the bunker was empty because of water infiltration through the roof. And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO I was given a guided tour of the bunkers so I didn’t take any more photographs of it.

zodiac fishermen baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back to the apartment we walked along they clifftop so we could watch the sea.

And while we were admiring the view and watching the people relaxing on board the little cabin cruiser down there, a large zodiac or some other kind of rapid boat roared past them. And I bet that the people in there wouldn’t be very popular when the wake of the zodiac hits the little cabin cruiser.

We went back to the apartment and Liz made a big salad out of all of the stuff that I had in the apartment, with my home-made bread and home-made hummus and it was delicious.

Once we’d digested our meal we attacked the kitchen. Terry reckoned that it would take 30 seconds to empty the shelves but his estimate was somewhat optimistic. It took much longer than that. And then I had to go and fetch the lino up from Caliburn.

By the time that we had finished it was quite late but nevertheless I took Liz and Terry down to La Rafale to treat them to a drink. I do have to say that they had earned it.

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back we were overflown by one of our regular aerial pals who we haven’t seen for quite a while.

It’s the yellow autogyro that we first saw several years ago AT THE CABANON VAUBAN when I was here with Hans. I’d seen it quite regularly at one time but for the last few months there hasn’t been a sight of it, despite all of the other aircraft that we’ve seen just recently.

Liz and Terry didn’t come back to the apartment. It was time for them to go home. I went with them to their car and sent them off on their way with my grateful thanks for all of their help.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter Liz and Terry had gone off home I went across the car park to look over the wall to see what was going on down on the beach.

Today there were crowds of people down there lounging around on the rocks. By the looks of things there were even a few people who had been in the water.

That’s hardly any surprise for when I awoke this morning and looked at the thermometer, the temperature outside was already 23°C. If that’s not enough to being out the crowds today then I really don’t know what is.

But there were crowds of people around everywhere today, not just on the beach either. The hordes were swarming around the car park and the paths as well.

35ma aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd not just on dery land or out at sea either. The air was pretty busy too as we have already seen with the yellow autogyro.

And here, overflying me as I was watching to goings-on down on the beach is another one of the aeroplanes that fly around here. Its registration number is 35MA and she is definitely one that we’ve seen before, and on several occasions too.

It’s a shame that I don’t have access to the database where this number is referenced, and so unfortunately I can’t tell you vert much about it. One of these days I’ll have to go out to the airport to have a good look around and see if I can find more about this aeroplane and the other one, 55-OJ for which I can’t find any information either.

paragliding pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow over the last few days I’ve been lamenting the fact that we haven’t been seeing any Birdmen of Alcatraz for quite a while.

And so not content with seeing crowds of people on the beach and low-flying aeroplanes, I’m overflown by one of the birdmen who take off from the field by the cemetery so that they don’t have far to go if they make a mistake.

But I left the birdman alone and went inside to see how things were looking. And it’s going to be a long job to sort out all of this mess. And as I was contemplating it, Rosemary rang me and we had a really good chat for half an hour before, emulating the old news reporters from the old News of the Screws I “made my excuses and left”.

According to the guys who had talked to us at the bunker, there was to be a fly-past of an American bomber between 18:30 and 18:45 this evening and I was determined not to miss it so I arranged to clear off outside to watch.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe first thing that I had noticed was a yacht sailing right out there in the Baie de Granville so I wandered over to have a better look and to take a photograph.

It’s not one of the big charter boats that we see sailing around here every so often, unfortunately. It’s quite a small yacht, presumably out of the pleasure harbour or even brought here on a trailer from elsewhere.

There are three or four people sitting down there so it’s probably a small family or a group of close friends out for a breath of wind on a pleasant afternoon. But I wasn’t going to hang around and watch them for I had things to do down at the end of the headland.

people fishing from boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that I noticed out there in the Baie de Granville.

There was a strange little boat out here that I hadn’t seen before. There were four guys on board and while one of them was at the controls of the boat two of the others were busy fishing while the fourth guy was busy watching the proceeding. I wonder if he had any more luck that me in seeing one of the fishermen pull a fish out of the water.

But I left them to it and wandered off down to the end of the headland to find a good position to watch the American bomber fly past.

f-bvmc Robin Apex DR-400/140 B aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t long before I heard the sound of an aeroplane approaching so I prepared the camera.

But it didn’t sound like a four-engined Pratt and Whitley to me, and as it came over the headland behind me, I saw that I was right. It’s F-BVMC, which is a Robin Apex DR-400/140 B that had just taken off from the airport here. She was on her way back to somewhere in the Paris area from where she had set off earlier.

And I can tell you that because I had a look at the radar when I eventually returned home. She disappeared off the radar somewhere to the south of Paris so I imagine that she must have come down to land somewhere in the vicinity. And how I wish that these aircraft would file flight plans.

canoe baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallStill no sign of the aeroplane but I was quite comfortable sitting on my nice, big and comfortable rock so I could have a good look around.

Underneath me a canoeist was paddling past in the water down there, heading towards the harbour at the end of the day. He had a good pair of oars with him down there, and we know all about that. When I mentioned to STRAWBERRY MOOSE when I was on board a boat that I needed a pair of oars, he completely misunderstood the situation and brought a couple of ladies, heavily made-up and wearing fishnet tights.

But I had to admire him being out there and shirtless in his canoe at this time of the evening. The evening was coming on and the weather was starting to cool down.

trawler speedboat men in fishing boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut suddenly, things started to liven up down there in the water. The harbour gates must have just opened because a load of traffic suddenly started to swarm out into the bay.

This was developing into an exciting scenario, because the smallest boat that we’d just seen with the four men in it was heading back to port. And a speedboat was speeding around out there too heading into port. The trawler had to do something of a dodging manoeuvre that brought him rather closer to the little boat than I thought was prudent.

For a while I watched them and their activities, but there was no collision and no “shipwreck and nobody drownding – in fact nothing to laugh at at all” which was rather disappointing.

thais leo st brieuc trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis trawler was followed out of port by another trawler, the Thais Leo

And what caught my interest about this trawler was its registration number, which begins with SB. That indicates that it’s a boat that’s registered at the port of Saint Brieuc down the Brittany coast and so I was wondering what on earth it was doing here.

But by now it was about 19:15 and still no aeroplane so I went back up to the bunker to check the time of the aeroplane. But they had all packed up and gone home so I decided to do the same. I must have missed the aeroplane somehow.

Not long after I returned home there was a knock on my door. One of my neighbours who owns a red car who has parked next to Caliburn once or twice told me that she’d inspected her car closely and found no trace of any damage on it. We had a little chat and then she left.

Once she’d gone, I rang Rosemary back and we had a good chat that went on for about three hours, by which time it was far too late for me to think about food and even to think about writing my notes. I was totally exhausted after my long day so I went to bed and I’ll write up my notes in the morning.

Friday 12th March 2021 – I’VE HAD MY …

… first anti-virus injection today.

But let’s not go gettign ahead of ourselves here.

Last night was another bad night. Although I was in bed a little before midnight I spent most of the night tossing and turning and trying, not very successfully, to go off to sleep.

But I must have gone to sleep here and there at some point because there were several little trips recorded on the dictaphone.

We were off on the Spirit of Conrad last night going off to the Far North. This dream is all about getting ready, who we were going with, the stuff that we were taking. It was all very confusing. I didn’t really know where I was but at one stage e had to move the boat and I had to find a gallon of petrol from the stores to do that. Then we needed to manoeuvre the boat again. The guy who owned the boat was asking about petrol. I explained that we’d used a gallon so we had to hint for another gallon. They kept on finding things like oil but they weren’t sure whether or not it was petrol. I was dismayed because nothing was labelled, which was going to make life really interesting later on as we got further round. I remembered that one of the girls on board had brought 50 gallons of petrol with her. He said “yes, there was some confusion about that. She wouldn’t give us the petrol until we’d done something else” but I didn’t find out exactly what that something else was, or whether we actually got the petrol. It was just one confused thing whirling around all the time and I can’t remember hardly anything of it now.

There were issues with bus tickets and getting on board, having the passport and all kinds of things that made this trip really complicated. Add to this the fact that I was waking up regularly with attacks of cramp that didn’t help matters very much at all.

Later on we were given a lecture about suitcases and how the airlines would be banning all non-standard sizes. Someone asked for questions so I asked “how are we going to make sure that Strawberry Moose moves. Everyone else shouted the name of a little boy who was in this meeting. He travels with us to North America and he has a wheelchair. They reckon that maybe Strawberry Moose could be taken by him on board the ‘plane as a kind of hand-luggage kind of thing.

Once again I was up just after the first alarm even if I didn’t feel much like it, and after the medication I peeled, diced and blanched the rest of the carrots ready to freeze. And while they were draining off, I attacked a few of the photos from Greenland in 2019.

A little later I prepared myself ready for my day out, and then Caliburn and I set off for Valognes, stopping for fuel on the way. The first fuel since 6th August last year.

The drive out there was interesting. There was bright sunshine and around the next bend it was raining, and then over the next brow of a hill it was windy. And we went on and on like that all the way there.

Finding the Simone Veil hospital at Valognes was straightforward but finding the Vaccination Centre was something else. It was something of a treasure hunt all around the hospital site until I finally came across it.

And they took some persuading to make them give me the vaccine. One of the nurses didn’t think that my Spenectomy was “serious grounds” even though my doctor did, and then because I didn’t have a health card, another one of the nurses had a moan about that as well.

However in the end logic prevailed, especially as I’d just driven 100kms to be there, and I had my injection. They even gave me a date for the second vaccination – 10th April 2021. I can see that I’m going to be very busy travelling about for the next 4 weeks.

On the way home I called at Liz and Terry’s. Liz’s portable computer has been playing up for a while. Terry had had a look and told me that the Hard Drive was easily accessible, so we had ordered a new SSD. I fitted it into Liz’s computer this afternoon and with my little magic tool I was able to configure it and now it’s working fine.

So much so that Terry has now ordered one for his computer (his hard drive is easily accessible too) and I’ll be doing that one next time that I’m out.

Liz cooked tea and then afterwards I came on home, braving the curfew and thoroughly exhausted after my day on the road.

An early night is called for and then I have the shops tomorrow and I need to be on form. I need a really good sleep too, one of these days, and the sooner the better as well.

Sunday 28th February 2021 – SPOT THE …

lys noir chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… difference between this photo and any other photo that I’ve taken of the chantier navale over the last few months.

Yes, as you have probably noticed, the yacht that’s been over there at the far end for the last I don’t know how long has now disappeared, presumably having gone back into the water at long last. I was beginning to think that she was going to be there longer than I’m going to be here, but there you go.

What else didn’t go on as long as I was expecting was the amount of time that I stayed in bed last night. There are some days when I have an alarm to help me to be up and about and I still can’t be on my feet by 08:10 so the fact that I can do that on a Sunday when there’s no alarm is something quite surprising.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. I’d had a very big row with the people for whom I drove coaches at one time. I’m not sure whether I ended up being sacked or resigned but they were sitting there calculating my wages and then ended up owing me 29 days pay for days in lieu of notice. They said that I’d get it in due course. That had all been arranged and they said “what about these Friday nights where we start to sort out the yard so you’d come down and do the office while we do it?”. I made a very non-committal reply to that and wandered off. I ended up playing cricket again, a girls’ cricket team and I was keeping wicket. The girl who was bowling was a pretty wild bowler but she took this long run-up and the ball in the air took this beautiful swerve and caught me on the left shoulder where my catheter is instead of in the gloves. I have the ball back to her and she started off on her run again so I asked “where are you off to? Nantwich?”. She stopped for a minute and burst out laughing. Another girl who was fielding at slip started to move back behind me. I said “no, don’t go behind me!”. I explained that these balls swerving around so much, she’s likely to get one in the face the further back she stands. Someone else turned up from the office where I was working and said to the girls’ captain – he gave her a form and said “just fill this in for Eric, will you? I want to see how he gets on now that he’s in a higher age group” so they started to fill it in before they took their next ball. He asked “what shall I put your occupation down as? Are you still a bus driver with (those people I mentioned earlier)?”.

So what’s this thing about me going back to playing cricket and keeping wicket doing reappearing just now? That’s what’s bewildering me at the moment.

But somewhere along the way I was watching a very large pair of aeroplane wings with four engines falling out of the sky on fire and hitting a tower block, destroying the block and there was debris and all kinds of things all around. Later I talked to a few of the passengers who had been seated in what remained of the fuselage.

There was quite some time left before my visitors arrived so I worked on the notes for my trip to Central Europe back in July and I edited a couple more days.

Liz and Terry turned up at 11:30 and they brought me a lovely present, a nice vegan coffee cake that I’ll be trying out with my afternoon coffee during the course of the coming week. And I have to provide feedback on the recipe and the cake itself as it’s a new recipe that she hasn’t tried before.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen we had drunk our coffee we went out for a walk in the beautiful sunny early afternoon.

There were plenty of people down on the beach which wasn’t any surprise at all given the weather. It was quite warm for February, rather like an early May afternoon. There was not a single cloud in the sky anywhere and, just for a change there wasn’t all that much wind.

Liz, Terry and I had a lot to talk about as we walked around the path. I think that we’ve only ever seen each other once since the autumn. I’ve been on the road to Belgium quite often since October and they were stranded in the UK for quite a while.

english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the things that we discussed was the colour of the sea.

It’s a beautiful emerald greeny-blue colour in this kind of light, the kind of colour that you don’t see very often. It was rather unfortunate though that there was such a haze. It would have been the kind of weather where you might have been expected to see for miles down the coast and miles out to see but today you couldn’t even see the Ile de Chausey, never mind the Channel Islands or the lighthouse at the Cap Frehel.

For a change, we went down the steps at the far end and right around the headland on the narrow path. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been that way.

people on beach rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe crowds were out around there too, walking around the path making the place look rather busy.

The people sitting on the old concrete gun emplacement with their feet dangling into the void was quite interesting, and there were even people sitting on the rocks against the harbour wall. There were a few people picnicking higher up in the cliffs, perched like seabirds on their little nooks.

We ended up back at home and Liz prepared lunch. She’d brought with her some vegan sausage rolls and a salad followed by a sticky lemon cake. It’s nice having good friends who look after me when it’s my birthday.

As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I don’t have many friends but those whom I do have are the best friends anyone could ever have in all of the world. Quality, not quantity.

We also had some of my ginger beer. And that was what I call “fiery” without any doubt.

After they had left I went and sat down in the bedroom and that was that for about an hour or so. I was well away with the fairies, right out of it and it took me quite a while to come round to my senses, which is quite a surprise seeing as these days I don’t have all of that many senses to come to.

Later on when I recovered I went off and started the weekend’s cooking, hours late.

First task was the pizza. I’d taken some dough out of the freezer earlier and that was now defrosted so I kneaded it again, rolled it and stuck it into the pizza tray to proof again.

And while that was doing, I made myself another batch of kefir, with the last of the mandarines from Christmas. I used those cheap mechanical bottles that I’d bought a while back but replaced the seals with some of the spare ones that I have which were more substantial.

While I was at it, I set another batch off on its way ready for next week.

Some pastry was next and I made myself a jam pie with some of the leftover strawberry jam. And with the pastry that was left I made a quick apple turnover.

home made vegan pizza jam pie apple turnover place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now the pizza base was ready so while the pie and the turnover were baking I assembled my pizza. I had no fresh mushrooms so I drained a tin and dried them in the oven for 10 minutes. While the pizza was baking I fed the sourdough and the ginger mother solution.

Having had a big lunch, I wasn’t all that hungry so I only had a couple of slices of the pizza, and it was quite delicious. I’m going to have the rest with a baked potato one night this week. That should make quite a nice tea.

Tonight I’m going to bed early. There’s a radio programme to be prepared tomorrow of course and while I’ve already done some of it while I was away, it still needs a good deal of work.

And for some reason or other that I don’t quite understand, I’m feeling rather more optimistic about this coming week.

That’s a feeling that I can’t explain.

Sunday 17th January 2021 – HERE ARE …

home made bread vegan pizza jam roly poly place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… today’s culinary offerings, all fresh out of the oven.

Yes, I’ve been a very busy boy today, even though I didn’t feel very much like it.

What we have is a loaf of bread of course, a vegan pizza ditto, and as an extra special treat a rather overdone (unfortunately) jam roly-poly for pudding next week.

Firstly, as for the pizza, I forgot the tomato sauce so I had to make my own. Three tomatoes were whizzed around in the whizzer and strained to remove the worst of the liquid. The mush was then put back into the whizzer with some concentrate from a tube, some oregano, basil and tarragon and all whizzed up into a purée.

The jam roly-poly is rather different. A mug and a half of flour, half a sachet of yeast some salt, a little sugar and a dab of oil, and make a dough like you would for a pizza.

Leave it to proof for a while and then knead it and roll it out with the rolling pin into a large square. Spread with jam, sprinkle with desiccated coconut and roll it up. And then leave it for an hour or so.

Finally, dust with cinnamon, brush with milk, sprinkle with brown sugar and then cook. I had to cut mine in half to fit in my oven, but here we are – pudding for next week.

That’s not the best of it though.

It’s Sunday with no alarm but even so I was up and about by 09:00 and by 11:15 I’d steam-cleaned the apartment, taken a load of rubbish outside and had the place looking nice and respectable – something that I never thought I would be able to manage.

Liz and Terry promptly turned up, bang on cue, and now I have a major problem because the frozen hot-cross buns that they brought have caused my freezer to have a major overflow and now the rather inefficient icebox in the fridge has had to be pressed into service

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving had a coffee we went for a walk around the walls in the gale-force winds.

And this is one of the reasons why I don’t like coming around the walls in the afternoon – you see the sun shining off the roof of the Casino and yet the Plat Gousset is in deep shadow from the cliffs. Trying to balance this lighting is what one might describe as “extremely challenging”.

Still, once we were out of the wind we had a pleasant walk in the sun across the Square Maurice Marland, watching the picnickers enjoying their food. And I don’t blame them at all.

pipe markings rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve mentioned a couple of times just recently the weird hieroglyphics painted on the street, presumably something to do with all of the pipework that they will be doing.

The alleyway that cuts through the Rue St Michel where they are currently working terminates in the Rue du Midi and here’s a good example of what I mean. It’s all quite graphic, isn’t it?

So having noted that, we pushed on home because it was lunchtime. Liz had made some leek and potato soup the other day and had plenty left over so she had brought it round. We had soup and bread (she brought some bread too) followed by fruit and mint tea.

After they left, I started on my cooking and while it was all a-doing I had a listen to the dictaphone.

Even though I didn’t have a great deal of sleep I had been on my travels and gone for miles during the night. A whole group of us was together and we were listening to a programme on the radio – a live broadcast of a court case in New York due to start at 07:45 so we had everything all ready and settled down and turned on the radio and it was Kenneth Horne on “Round the Horne”. We were all extremely disappointed because we had been looking forward to this. It was on a Friday and we didn’t have the paper any more with all of the times on it from the previous weekend so we carried on doing some kind of ordinary stuff and the chat came round to something about times and I suddenly realised that if I was saying 07:45 in New York it wouldn’t be 07:45 UK time but USA time and that would explain the difference. We ended up waiting for a bus in the West Midlands somewhere, watching all these buses go past, including a weird single-decker towing a refreshment trailer with people inside having coffee. This went past about 3 or 4 times. Our bus turned up and we clambered aboard and went upstairs. One of the people with us was Liz Ayers or someone resembling her. There were a load of kids all messing around at the front so she went up to them and gave them a lecture, like any teacher would have done to a pile of children. Of course everyone was astonished by this including some of the kids who were sitting somewhere else but she bawled them out. In the end they all settled down quietly and we carried on. Back in the house there was a large number of us getting ready for tea. I was a bit late – everyone had started. Something came on the radio and I remembered that 1 of the girls had wanted to hear something so when I went down to get my tea I said to the girl “such and such a programme is on the radio now”. She asked “why are you telling me?”. I replied “I thought you asked them to tell you”. “No, that’s Helen” she replied, pointing to a girl whom I didn’t know sitting at the table. I told her and then I had to sit down and had to find my meal because there were dozens of meals on this table and none of them particularly corresponded with any seating position. I tried to work out which meal was mine but it was extremely difficult.

Later on I was on holiday with Castor. We’d been driving around Europe in the car. We’d been out for 3 or 4 days and been to a couple of places and seen a few things. Suddenly, she asked me “Eric, do you know how to have fun? Do you know how to party?”. I had to admit – I said ‘no I don’t” which is perfectly true (and it is too – I have no idea how to do these in real life). We had along discussion about the holiday and so on. “Maybe it’s my fault” I said. I pointed to an ruined old church, an Eastern European type church. “See that?” I asked. “We’re in Brasov in Romania at the moment. Perhaps it’s me – maybe I don’t explain things properly. If you want to go to see something like that somewhere we’ve passed through you have to say ‘let’s go and have a look at that’ – you don’t just have to sit there and come with me. You can make suggestions, all this. You can say anything, like ‘how far are we from Bucharest’ and ‘why don’t we go here?’ “. “Yes” she replied ” but no-one knows all the old stories about these places like you do”. Our chat carried on and I tried to make some sense of what was happening.

Later still, I was in Crewe and I had to catch the bus back to Shavington. I had my suitcase and I’d taken so long over this meal, and that was an event too. The café was small, crowded and the seats were jammed up against each other and difficult to find a place to sit. In the end I found a place and a woman sat with me. We had a quick meal and something, and when she got up to go she began to berate the staff about the untidy place and all this, the lack of room. I thought that this was most unfair considering the conditions under which they were working. Then I thought “God, I’d better get a move on or I’ll miss my bus”. I had to go up to the counter and pay. It was £2:50 for a plate of beans on toast and a couple of drinks which I thought was really good value. I only had my card so they gave me the machine. I had to be careful because this was the kind of place where you hide your PIN while you were tapping it in. When I left I thought “I have 5 minutes to go and fetch my suitcase and go and catch my bus. Should I stay at the hotel an extra night, or catch the next bus or should I go on this bus and come back in a car to fetch my luggage?”. I thought that the taxis would be busy because it’s Saturday so coming back might be difficult. In the end I went on the bus and got to Shavington and walked down the street. Of course, all the cars were out. I thought then that I’d better go back on the bus and get my luggage. Then I saw a couple of young girls moving around the house so I thought that I’d go in. So I went in and everyone was pleased to see me. Someone said “I’m sorry about your luggage stuck in New York. We heard the story”. I didn’t understand that at all. One of my sister’s children started to talk that everyone had been up Big Ben. I spoke to her about it and we had a chat. There was my youngest sister there also so we had a bit of a chat as well.

There was much more to it than this too – a whole voyage as well but as you are having your tea right now probably I’ll spare you the gory details.

So now that tea is finished, I’m off to bed. Despite the short sleep and the full, busy day I’ve managed to keep going. But I don’t want to push my luck. There’s still plenty to do.

Wednesday 30th September 2020 – ONE THING THAT I …

… like about having visitors is that it obliges me to tidy up the apartment.

So having been through the bathroom and toilet like a dose of salts the other day, I went through the kitchen and dining area this morning ditto and now it actually looks as if someone is living here.

Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish might recall, if they have been reading this rubbish regularly over the last 15 years or so in one of its previous incarnations is the mystery of the declining hits. At one time back in the earlier years of this century, with far fewer pages, I was racking up hundreds of hits each day. Then dramatically, almost overnight, hundreds of people melted away and the figure plummeted to probably a quarter or even less than what it had been.

In surprise, I tried various means to combat this, but apart from an odd day here and there nothing much happened.

One thing that I noticed however (and it took me a while to configure it) is that there’s a hit and visit counter on my web server and, strangely, that’s still racking up hits and visits in their hundreds per day. So what’s afoot? … “12 inches” – ed.

The next step was to change the hit counter to see if it had a fault – and while the new one shows an improvement over the original one, it’s not that much of an improvement.

And so, as one or two regular readers of this rubbish will have noticed already, I tried a little experiment. If you clicked on a couple of images on yesterday’s posting to see the original image in all of its glory, you might have noticed that one or two are presented in a different way.

These now have a hit counter embedded in them and so following the trail back (to my site, not to your IP address of course) I can track them. And sure enough, the hits on that counter have increased dramatically, all of them being to the images concerned. And they correspond exactly with the counter and the tracks on the web server.

It seems, on further enquiry, that the embedded code in the images for the hit counter is no longer read by stand-alone web counters and hasn’t been since about 2007 or 2008. So now we know, and that explains everything.

You won’t have chance to try this out on any images tonight, for the plain and simple reason is that there aren’t any. It’s been chucking it down violently since about 14:00 and as I result I haven’t been out on my afternoon and evening walks. Mind you, it’s just as well because with having another very late last night, I missed the alarms this morning and it was about 08:00 when I finally crawled out of bed.

Tidying up and then a shower, ready for when Liz and Terry came round.

It wasn’t raining then so we went for a coffee at La Rafale followed by a walk around the walls and back here for lunch. Liz had bought some of her Butternut squash and carrot soup and that went down really nicely with my bread rolls, which didn’t turn out too badly in the end. It was followed by some of my banana bread and strawberry flan.

But the flan hadn’t worked out too well. However, I know the reason for that. With frozen vegetables and fruits, they are pumped full of water. The water in the strawberries slowly came out and diluted the agar-agar. The secret is to either use fresh fruits or else leave the frozen fruits to drain for a lot longer than I am doing.

After the meal we had a good chat about sourdough. While I’ve been working on kefir, Liz has been working on sourdough and we swapped experiences. Not only that, Liz gave me a helping of her sourdough mother-solution and I’ll give her a helping of my kefir mother solution in due course. When the sourdough mother solution has grown enough, probably after I come back from Castle Anthrax, I’ll try my hand at sourdough bread.

That was basically that for today. There wasn’t much time left to do anything after Liz and Terry left.

Tea tonight was a curry out of the freezer followed by some of my flan with soya coconut dessert. And no evening walk.

There was football on the internet tonight. Bala v TNS in the JD Cymru League. After having said that the other night that no TNS side with Paul Harrison in goal would ever concede 2 goals, they promptly went and did just that and for a while they were definitely second-best. However, Bala switched off in the second half and I don’t think that Will Evans, who had ripped TNS to pieces in the first half, actually touched the ball after the interval.

TNS clawed back the two goals, and then we had a floodlight failure that caused the game to be abandoned.

So now I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow, if it isn’t raining so I need to be on form. And who knows? I might even beat the alarm out of bed.

Friday 21st August 2020 – IT’S 03:15…

… right now and I’m nowhere near ready to go to sleep quite yet.

But there’s a good reason for that – well – a reason anyway, and that is that I’ve spent most of the afternoon in bed.

This morning depite the alarms going off at the usual time, it was about 08:00 that I finally left the bed.

First task was to tidy up, and the second task was to have a shower and a general clean-up.

Round about 11:00 Liz and Terry turned up to see how I was. I gave Terry his brush cutter and I gave Liz my old acoustic guitar to pass on to one of her grandchildren.

We went down to La Rafale for a drink and a long chat, and then for a long walk around the walls which totally tired me out.

For lunch we had a rather impromptu salad with all bits and pieces that were hanging around here, with some of my home-made bread which went down really well – the general opinion being that it was delicious which pleased me greatly.

After Liz and Terry left I worked on a few photos but round about 14:30 I fell asleep on the chair. I woke up at about 15:30, feeling so dreadful that I crawled into bed and that was that.

Rosemary awoke me round about 18:00 by phoning up for a chat. We had a good natter and then I made some tea. Falafel and pasta in tomato sauce.

This evening I was in no fit state to go out for my evening walk so I stayed in. But nevertheless I can’t go to sleep and that’s no good because it’s shopping day tomorrow and there’s a lot to do.

There I was, thinking that I was getting over this illness but it doesn’t look much like it to me. I have a feeling that this is going to be a long, hard haul.

Saturday 18th July 2020 – I’M NOT HERE

This morning, although I heard the three alarms, I didn’t get up until about 06:30. Tons of stuff on the dictaphone, as I discovered, so it must have been a very restless night.

We were in a classroom last night having a talk on climate change, this kind of thing. A question that came up interested me, about New Zealand. The lecturer was saying that all of the difficulties about New Zealand – in Iceland the volcanos and glaciers were pushing out the centre of New Zealand – rather, pushing it up, the centre of South Island and changing all of the weather. There were storms and this thing. I asked if this was going to be a permanent thing or a temporary arrangement. One guy in this classroom was making notes, doing it with a kind of hammer-press thing and it was making a racket even louder than a typewriter. I wanted to ask him to shut up if anyone was able to talk to me about my question, to which I never actually had the answer. There were a couple of girls in this class and I was quite keen on one of these. For some reason the question of cycles and motorcycles came up. These two girls rode motorcycles so I was thinking “should I buy a motorcycle too so that I can keep up with them?” and that way I can keep up with them and be close to them I suppose and so on. But it was a case of how long was this going to continue? Is it just a flash-in-the-pan kind of course and we’ll all go our separate ways in a week or is this going to be some kind of long-term situation. As usual, I was full of indeciaion yet again.

Later on I was back in my house in Winsford of all places. There was a lot going on there as if it was in Central London and actually a car. I was sitting there watching all these events going on behind me – a little old woman tottering back to her home and someone I was with running out and shouting after her. But this little old lady didn’t seem to hear. There was another older person with us. The three of us came back and the reason why I hadn’t heard anyone reply was that the 2 old women were talking really slowly. It seemed that they were taking this old lady to show her this Old People’s Home, whether there was a vacancy in it, something like that. Off they went and they were climbing up the steps just as an ambulance pulled up and dropped off a load of elderly ladies all on crutches. I was back in my house and a couple of rooms were really cold and a couple really warm. I had the central heating all confused. This was the first time that I’d been in this house for God knows how long. I got back in there and there was a small cupboard on the wall. That was where the food was. I thought “God I’d left my steps in Belgium”. I don’t know why I said Belgium. I had to open it and everything was all crammed into these shelves and I thought “where am I going to put my freezer now?” There’s no room to put that in the kitchen. I had a pack of drink and for some reason this drink needed to be put in another bottle so I cleaned another bottle with bleach and had to rinse it out. Of course there was all the calcium in the water and it took ages to try to run clean before I could start to use it.

Another thing that came was that I was on a bike cycling home and for some unknown reason I fell asleep when I was cycling and woke up to find that there were some girl cycling alongside me. As I awoke she sped off. I then had to go and retrace my steps. it was through this hilly area and I remember a few things of the route and got on a bit of route that I didn’t recognise at all. It was steep and windy. I thought “God, did i cycle through this in my sleep? I was doing really well!”. Then I came into a town and by the bus station were loads of people with skis and it turned out that this was a … march. This was a big ski resort and you flew into the airport and a bus from the airport brought you into the town. Right at the bus stop was the start of the chair lifts so it was the easiest place to go to if you wanted to ski after work. All these crowds there and I fought my way through. This woman said something about this but I can’t remember what the something was so I replied to her in French and said “it’s not a problem”. She said “I was referring to you” I replied that I have to get home so I have to fight my way through everyone to get home. Everyone laughed at that and that was when I ended up back at my house in Winsford.

Having gone back to sleep at some point I stepped right back into that dream again, right back into Winsford and right back into my house. The house had been built for 2 years but I’d only just moved into it. I’d had it that long that I hadn’t lived there. it was in the middle of some kind of shopping centre where all of these shops were half-built or quarter-built where the money in Winsford ran out. The didn’t have the money to finish off all of the shops to let. a very decaying place indeed it was. I was walking through there and there was another couple in front of me. the guy was telling the girl about how the election in May 2015 2 years ago had changed absolutely everything and the new party decided to stop work on the shops.

Later still we were in a water mill that produced electricity with the water wheel. This mill hadn’t been used for years due to some kind of faults and complications about a diesel fuel blower and all of this and had set the place alight. There wa s no way of getting any modifications for it and they needed to get some kind of money coming from the mill so they decided that they would open it as a water-powered mill and let nature take its course. I was there but everyone else was off looking for things but I was screwing up the sluice gates so that the water instead would pass through the main centre of the mill. I started to open the main mill doors and the water started to rush in there. it suddenly started to go at a hell of a rate, this, as if a huge flood had built up outside for hundreds of years. It was necessary for me to slow down the flow of water otherwise it was going to sweep away the mill.

After all of that I was surprised that I wanted to go away. That sounds like it was more than enough travelling to be going on with.

But the first task was to finish off the packing and start to load up Caliburn. Basically, I just threw the stuff in because the back of the van has a huge pile of old cardboard boxes in it.

When everything was packed and loaded I tidied up and took the rubbish down to the waste disposal, vacuumed the living room and kitchen and then washed the floor with bleach and disinfectant. While the floor was drying I had a shower and a weigh-in. And I’m keeping this weight down, although what I will be like by the time I return will be anyone’s guess.

Cleaning and disinfecting the waste bin was next and then bleaching and disinfecting the WC and sinks.

Once all of that was done We set off.

First stop was the dechetterie where all of the cardboard, the old Caliburn battery and the old electric kettle bit the dust.

Next stop was Noz. But there wasn’t all that much in there, apart from a few small tims of potatoes.

After that wes LeClerc for a full tank of diesel, a couple of memory cards and a few basic items of foodstuffs – nothing much at all.

Off to Roncey to Liz and Terry’s. Terry loaned me a brushcutter which went into the back of Caliburn – while I was there I tidied it up a little too but I’ll be doing some more tidying up in there as well as I go round

Liz made lunch and we all had a very good chat for a couple of hours.

Round about 15:00 I hit the road. 260kms to travel on the first stage of the journey. Via Caen, Liseux and Evreux. Eventually I ended up in St Marcel, on the outskirts of Vernon in between Rouen and Paris on the banks of the Seine.

Here there’s a hotel, the Hotel du Haut Marais, and this is where I’m staying tonight.

old cars 1913 panhard levassor duranville france eric hallOn the way down towards the banks of the River Seine we had a little interruption that delayed me somewhat.

As I drove through Duranville in the département of the Eure I came across a garage that had seven or eight old cars out on display, and that kind of thing is enough for me to stop and have a better look to see what is going on,

And I seem to have found myself at the garage of a dealer of vintage and historical vehicles and almost everything in this yard is available for sale if you have enough money, which I don’t.

strawberry moose old cars 1913 panhard levassor duranville france eric hallThe first car that I saw and which tempted Strawberry Moose out of Caliburn to come for a ride.

The car itself is a Panhard-Levassor of 1913 although what model it might be I really have no idea. Being a 2-door 2-seater it’s not going to be one of the Model 20s that Président Poincaré adored but that’s all that I can say.

The company was a big fan of sleeve-valved engines – ports in the engine casting to vent the gases, protected by a kind of rotating sleeve between the piston and the bore. Very quiet running but very heavy on oil consumption and a technique that faded away when conventional valve seating technique improved.

Some Panhards had sleeve valves and some were conventional, but I don’t know about this one.

old cars strawberry moose cadillac convertible duranville france eric hallThis car is much more like what you would expect to see in a place lke this.

One of the most opulent and ostentatious mass-market vehicles ever to hit the road anywhere, the Cadilac convertibles of the 1950s were the acme of bad taste in the 1950s. Big, powerful V8 engines and wallowing suspension were great on the open roads of the south-west where WE HAD LOADS ON FUN IN THE MUSTANG all those years ago, but in the crowded streets of the major cities they were a nightmare.

Nevertheless it was the kind of vehicle to which everyone aspired back in those days, and everyone had to be seen in one, just like Strawberry Moose and his new friend.

old cars Ford V8 pickup duranville france eric hallThis is a vehicle that will probably appeal more to the traditionalists and the practically-minded amongst us.

It’s a Ford “steppy” – a step-sided Ford V8 pickup of the design that when I first started going to North America 20-odd years ago, were still reasonably common on the roads over there but now you will be very lucky to see one moving about under its own steam on a day-to-day basis.

Possibly from the late 1940s or early 1950s was my first thought. In fact the unofficial Québec number plate that it has on the front (Québec doesn’t require legal plates on the front of its vehicles) suggests that it’s a 1952 model. If so, it’ll have the 239 V8 sidevalve engine in it.

old cars ford model T duranville france eric hallOn the other hand, 30 or so years earlier, just about everyone in the USA would have been seen in one of these.

“Every colour you like, as long as it’s black” said Henry Ford of his Model T “Tin Lizzy”, or “Flivver” as Paul Getty called his, so I’ve absolutely no idea at all what he would have had to say about this one in a bright lime green.

Te one advantage of cars of this era with separate chassis and body is that they could be cut about as much as anyone likes, and so you could buy them in all kinds of shapes and body styles. And if that didn’t suit you, you could customise your own.

This little pick-up is a beautiful example.

old cars ford modet t fire engine duranville france eric hallIt’s not the only Model T here at Duranville either. We have this one here to whet our appetite.

Or, rather, should I say “wet our appetite” because this is the former fire engine of the town of St Laurent in Québec. That’s a town that now no longer exists, having been conjoined to Montréal in 2002. But it’s an area of Montréal that regular readers of this rubbish will know very well because it wasOUR OLD STAMPING GROUND AROUND THE METRO DUCOLLEGE beFore I was taken ill.

As for the vehicle itself, it was new in 1924 and is said to be the first motorised fire engine of the city, serving between 1924 and 1944, and just imagine going out to fight a fire in that in the middle of a Québec winter.

She underwent a complete restoration in 2006/2007.

old cars dodge convertible duranville manche normandy france eric hallYes, as well as the cars outside, there was quite a number inside the building too as you can see and they let me have a wander around inside with the camera.

Right by the door was this Dodge Convertible. It looks beautiful from this distance but that’s because it’s had a full restoration by the looks of things. It wouldn’t have looked like this maybe 20 years ago, I bet.

Unfortunately there’s no indication of what model it might be but it has the styling of a Dodge of the mid-late 1930s

old cars dodge convertible duranville france eric hallIt’s carrying a set of French numberplates issued within the last 3 years or so but there’s no other indication about where it comes from.

It’s not the kind of North American vehicle that I would have expected to have seen being sold in Europe at that particular time – after all, there was a quite a big volume-car marked in Europe at this time churning out all kinds of stuff that was as good as this at probably half the price.

There wouldn’t have been an “exotica” market back in those days, so I suspect that this is a comparatively recent import, like much of the stuff seems to be.

old cars barn find bugatti replica france eric hallThis of course isn’t a recent import, but it’s certainly a lot more recent than it looks.

Had this been a genuine Bugatti “30 plus” you wouldn’t find it in a place like this looking as if someone has dragged it out backwards from a haystack. It would have genuine alloy wheels on it for a start and be locked up in a vault somewhere because it would be worth a fortune.

My guess is that this is a replica, of which there are several examples available and on the road. It has a few quite modern features that you wouldn’t have found on the originals 90-odd years ago.

old cars dodge pickup duranville france eric hallWe saw a Ford stp-side pickup just now parked outside, but here tucked away in a corner is a Dodge pick-up of an earlier vintage, I reckon.

There was a series of lightweight Dodge trucks, the WD series (or DD series if made in Brampton, Ontario) between 1939 and 1947 of various carrying capacities between half a ton and one ton and if I had to guess, I would say that it’s one of these.

The position of the sidelights on the A-pillars suggests that it’s later rather than earlier but the absence of window vents suggests that it’s not one of the final ones made.

old cars buick 8 renault prairie 1952 mgb duranville france eric hallThis is a bit of an eclectic assortment of vehicles stuck away in a corner.

The MGB is of no interest to us of course but the big Buick 8 in the foreground is of course. Again, it’s difficult to say much about it except that because of where the spare wheel it is, it might actually be a Buick 8 Special of the late 1930s

The Renault at the back is a Renault Prairie of 1952 and if you want to see a close-up of one of these I’ll have to dig out my photos from 2007 because regular readers of this rubbish in a previous guise will recall that we found one in a scrapyard in France back in those dats.

Talking to the owners later, it appears that they have an agent in Québec who sources this kind of thing and has it shipped over from there. So much for yet another business opportunity then, unfortunately.

But right now I have other things to think about, like finding a hotel.

hotel du haut marais saint marcel 27950 eure france eric hallThere are several along the river but I need to be careful because one of th bridges is closed for repair. I have to track my way through all kinds of countryside before I arrive at Vernon.

And this is my hotel for this evening, the Hotel du Haut Marais at St Marcel. It looks as if at one stage it’s been one of the Accor group’s places but really these unit hotels all look so alike that there’s no way of telling.

Anyway, it’s a reasonable price without going too far and it’s comfortable. And I’m off to have an early night. It’s been a long day and there is plenty to do. A good night’s sleep will do me the world of good.

Tuesday 2nd June 2020 – I’VE NOT BEEN …

… feeling myself today.

“And quite right too” I hear you say.

But never mind that for a moment, I’m definitely sickening for something and I know that for definite because I’m off my food. Which, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, is not something that happens every day.

The day didn’t really get off to a very good start today , as seems to be usual these days, I missed the third alarm. Only b a couple of minutes, but nevertheless …

The notes on the dictaphone from my night’s voyage were interesting too. There were two new people who had started work on the radio – a girl and an older guy. I’d had a listen to a piece of music on the girl’s site and I wasn’t very impressed with it but everyone’s taste is personal. Anyway I was in the queue to ge tmyself organised when these two came over the hill. They were talking and the guy was saying something about “there’s only one song on your web site and it’s the same one that i’ve got”. She was saying things like “well I’m very new” but she’s only just started, all this kind of thing. I said “I’m quite happy to help anyone with any kind of help that they need” but they just drifted past as if I hadn’t said a word. They ended up in the queue in front of me to have their work dealt with and they were going on about this being new and all of this kind of thing. Then it was my turn so I gave me name and asked if there were any special instructions for me. he was looking down the list to see whether there was anything. I was going to say that if anyone like these two people needed a hand to get themselves started I would be quite happy to do it but instead I ended up dictating the notes of the journey.

But looking back, how long is it … ” that’s a rather personal question” – ed … since I’ve had some pleasant company with me on a nocturnal voyage? It must be an age – or, at least, it feels like it.

After breakfast I made a start on updating the journal entry for Sunday – the one that I had left hanging in the air. And by the time I knocked off for the evening I’d actually finished it.

However, there was a whole variety of interruptions today – tidying up being not the least of them. If I go video-conferencing, I need to have the place looking quite nice.

Terry came round too. he had an appointment in town and so came for the hat that Liz had left here the other day. And, furthermore, and even more importantly, he brought me a fresh supply of home-made cake from Liz.

So that’s one crisis solved.

At 11:00 I had my Welsh lesson on the internet. That meant doing quite a bit of preparation too, which was not easy because I don’t have the course book. In the end the tutor sent me a *.pdf version which was very nice of her

A few important things had come up during the lesson that needed attention so I had to organise those, and that meant once more a very late lunch.

emptying recycling point place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was another really gorgeous afternoon and so I decided once more to take my sandwiches outside and sit on my wall overlooking the harbour.

Not that I managed to go very far at first. In fact I came to a shuddering halt at the front door of the building. Regular readers of this rubbish will know about the underground refuse system here in the town and we’ve seen one or two lorries emptying them

But we’ve never seen a lorry this close with this much detail. Just look at how big these subterranean containers are.

fishing boat zodiac port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallDown at the wall, I was there all on ly own today. Everyone is either back at school or back at work and I was late as well.

But there was an awful lot going on in the harbour today. I’m not sure at all what was happening here but we had one of the smaller fishing boats tied up at the fish processing plant and there were a couple of people in a zodiac-type of boat inspecting it.

Mind you, in that depth of water they didn’t need a zodiac to go out there. They could quite easily have walked.

fishing boats zodiac port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMind you it didn’t stay there long.

Into the port came another one of the shell-fishing boats, a rather larger version. Our zodiac was clearly in the way so it set off and piddled off out of there

What that was all about, I really didn’t know because I couldn’t see at all what was going on.

normandy trader chausiais port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallIt was pretty busy in the inner harbour too, and there was a queue of boats waiting at the crane for unloading.

In pole position for loading and unloading is our old friend Chausiais, looking as if she’s making ready to set off with a cargo for the Ile de Chausey. And behind her awaiting her turn – or maybe having already had hers and waiting for the harbour gates to open, is Normandy Trader

She must have sneaked in on the morning tide when I wasn’t looking.

joly france baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallSomething else caught me rather by surprise too.

There I was, sitting there quietly eating my butties when suddenly a horn went off around the corner, that almost made me drop my book.

Of course, the tides are almost half an hour later every day, so it’s round about now that Joly France would be coming back from the morning ferry out to the Ile de Chausey.

joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd you can tell that the tide has only just started coming in.

The smaller boats with a shallow draught can pass over the sandbar at the entrance quite easily but boats like Joly France have much more trouble and have to go all the way over to the eastern side of the harbour entrance.

The water that drains out of the inner harbour has scoured a deeper channel on that side and that gives the larger boats more depth to play with.

Even so, when we went out there A WHILE AGO we grounded out on the way back in.

fishing boat baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallBut Joly France didn’t hang around long. She dropped off one load of passengers, picked up another and headed back out to sea.

And as I watched her disappear, one of the medium-sized fishing boats came around the corner heading for port, presumably with a full load of shellfish ready to be unloaded at the fish processing plant.

She was travelling at a fair rate of knots too. At first I thought that she was a large speedboat of some description, making waves like that.

But better late than never – I came back inside and carried on with the work that I had to do. Choosing the music for a radio project was on the agenda this afternoon.

chausais fishing boats ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd I didn’t really have all that long to spend working because, with being rather late, it was time soon enough to go back out for my afternoon walk.

By now I reckoned that the harbour gates were well and truly opened because I have never ever seen so much nautical traffic just offshore as I have today

There were boats heading in all directions, and not just to and from the port either. This speedboat in the foreground was putting quite a spurt on heading along the coast towards Bréhal-Plage.

chausiais fishing boat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd those ships and boats in the previous photo – I thought that I recognised one of them.

And I was right too. It’s Chausiais. The harbour gates are definitely open now, because she’s been able to leave the port and head off on her little trip to the Ile de Chausey.

One of these days I’d love to be able to see what she’s carrying but her holds are closed in and with covered hatches so it’s not that easy at all. But I suppose that it takes all sorts of cargo out there.

normandy trader yacht zodiac english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallOf course, if the harbour gates are open to let one boat out, they will be open to let everyone else out too.

And sure enough, out of the port right behind Chausias comes Normandy Trader off on her way back to the Channel Islands with another load of freight.

She’s an open freighter of course – a former car ferry by the looks of things, so it’s easy to see what she carries. But of course you can’t see anything at this distance.

normandy trader english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAs a small car ferry, she’s not really equipped to deal with the seas in the same way that a ship with a pointed bow would be.

And, for that matter, neither is Chausiais.

There’s quite a wind blowing out there and I had to take off my cap as I was walking around the headland. And the ships, with their less-than-conventional design were making rather heavy weather of the journey out to sea.

There was some beautiful spray flying around as Normandy Trader smashed her way through the waves. This photo has come out rather well, I reckon.

tai chi pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallSo that’s enough ships for the moment.

In the beautiful sunny sunshine I carried on with my afternoon walk around the headland and it was my turn to surprise some people. It looked as if they were practising Tai Chi, although I don’t think that you need yoga mats for that.

Anyway they must have seen me coming because as soon as I pointed the camera they folded up their mats and they too piddled off into the sunset as well.

It wasn’t my day, was it?

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd what was quite amusing about this afternoon was that we seem to have had a tactical substitution of freighters in the harbour.

Chausiais and Normandy Trader may well have sailed out of the port on the afternoon tide, but the tide has also brought in with it another one of our old friends, Thora, also from the Channel islands.

And how I would have loved to have been at the harbour and watched her come in. There would have been an extremely interesting nautical danse macabre as all three boats were jostling for position in there.

yacht baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe high winds have brought out a whole load of people and nautical craft as we have seen.

And you can tell just how windy it is out there, simply by looking at the sail on that yacht as it comes round the headland.

Look how much it’s billowing out. I bet that it’s pulling the boat along at a ferocious rate despite the load that it’s carrying. I can count at least 10 people on board and that’s quite a load for a boat like that.

But I bet that it’s exciting on there.

fork lift truck refrigerated lorries port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith all of the fishing boats out there, it’s no surprise that they are expecting a bumper load of fish and shellfish coming into the port today.

As a result there are three large artics, a smaller 17-tonne lorry and several other smaller refrigerated vehicles waiting at the fish-processing plant this afternoon

And the fork-lift truck – that has quite a load on it that’s goign to be deposited into the artic trailer over there. That’s a never-ending chain of product that will be stuck in there and the other vehicles.

There’s a really high turnover of product down there these days

home made apple pear purée cordial granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd talking of high turnover of product, I used the last of my apple purée this morning. Time to make some more.

Six apples, one and a half pears, some desiccated coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg all put on the boil and then left to simmer. And when it was ready, the liquid was drained off and bottled, the solids were put in the whizzer and whizzed into a purée.

Then a handful of raisins was added, and all of that was bottled too. Of course the bottles were sterilised by giving them a minute in the microwave with some warm water in there to spread the heat.

But it wasn’t all as easy as that. Our Welsh group has set up a communication group on the internet. A couple of us set it up and were testing it – to such an extent that I completely forgot about the fruit on the stove and instead of 45 minutes simmering, it had just about two hours.

That’s not a good idea.

By this time I wasn’t feeling too good, and I don’t know why. I hadn’t been able to concentrate all day and I’ve done none of my Accountancy or Music studies because of it.

And not only that, I’ve lost my appetite, and that’s the sign of a major relapse heading my way – no surprise seeing how many months (over 4 months in fact) since I’ve had my four-weekly cancer treatment.

harbour marker light kairon plage baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallSo no tea tonight, but I was determined to carry on with my running despite everything. So off I went, with all of my aches and pains and grouches.

Despite the wind, it was a beautiful evening and the colours were splendid. The big marker light on the rock just outside the harbour entrance, the sea, and the resort of Kairon-Plage in the background all came out really well

Surprisingly, after all of the excitement today, there wasn’t a boat to be seen anywhere at all in the baie de Mont St Michel. I wonder where they all went.

crowds picnicking beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAs fr me, i went off on my run all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury where one of my colleagues from the radio drove past and waved to me.

My run ended up at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord and I had a look over the wall to see how we were doing for picnickers tonight. And do you know what? After all of the excitement here over the last week or two there wasn’t even a one.

But not to worry. Because as I was musing over the situation, down the steps came a few young people carrying blankets and bags, and they began to settle themselves down in the evening sun.

beautiful sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd evening sun there was plenty of tonight.

We’ve had some good ones just recently but tonight was one of the best. But I didn’t hang around too long. I just stayed for a minute or two and then ran on back home.

Tonight I made a determmined effort to finish my notes even though I didn’t feel like it. And now I’m off to bed, rather later than I had hoped.

Here’s hoping that I feel a little better tomorrow because otherwise we’ll be heading for a tragedy again.

Sunday17th May 2020 – I’VE HAD A …

… bad day today, and I’m still not feeling myself.

Which is just as well because it’s a disgusting habit anyway.

The day didn’t start off too badly either. I was awake at about 09:30 and out of bed by 09:45. I had to make some muesli for breakfast (I seem to have run out of cornflakes) as well.

Nothing on the dictaphone from the night so I could spend the rest of the morning tidying up the tip that is my apartment.

Liz and Terry came round and brought me a nice home-made vegan walnut and date cake that really is delicious. In exchange, I gave them a slice of my red fruit pie which impressed them quite considerably. Liz gave me a few useful tips about making pastry too.

casino plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hall.It was a really beautiful day so we went for a nice walk.

All the way around the walls of the town by the rue du Nord and then down the steps to the Plat Gousset. Hordes of people around too, enjoying the weather. we walked onto the beach to take advantage of the mayor’s relaxation of the restrictions.

And it felt really good to be down there too. The ozone that hit us as we went down the ramp was an odour that I had missed.

tidal swimming pool plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallOne of the things that I had wanted to do was to go to have a look at the tidal swimming pool.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen them over the last week or so with a digger and a couple of lorries digging out the sand that has accumulated over the last few years to encourage the water.

That’s going to be difficult with the breach in the wall like we see here to the right

tidal swimming pool plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThere weren’t too many people out here today. Obviously didn’t want to puss the mayor too far, I suppose.

But while we’re on the subject of the mayor’s relaxations, the thing about the camp-site is the the mayor has relaxed the regulations there too and vehicles from a radius of 100kms from here are authorised to use it.

It seems to me to be a pretty strange decision, bearing in mind the fact that we have managed to keep this town effectively virus-free during the pandemic. There’s bound to be a second wave and with all of this gratuitous movement of people they’ll just spread it about even wider.

trawler diving platform plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallWe went off to find a little corner to sit. Not to “install” ourselves on the beach (which is not allowed) but simply to catch our breath.

And having caught our breath for a while we headed on back to my apartment.

Living here as I do, I can actually invite people to lunch. So we had taco rolls with salad with fruit to follow. Having people to lunch is a luxury that I could never do back in the Auvergne of course.

And while he was here, Terry checked the wiring and he reckons that the system will run a 30-amp fuse for any oven that I might want to install here.

That’s good news because with all of this cooking that I’m doing these days, I ought to have a decent oven. This table-top oven is doing its best but I’ve gone beyond what it is capable of doing.

After they had left I started to tidy up, but that was when I had my relapse. I crashed out on the chair for ages and when I awoke I felt dreadful. It’s been a while since I felt as bad as this.

However, I made my pizza dough and following Liz’s best instructions about leaving the yeast longer to ferment, to leave the dough longer to rise and to let it rise in a warm place when I had shaped it for a good half-hour, I had the best pizza base that I have ever made.

And it rose too – all nice and spongy. And followed by my fruit tart with some of that new coconut stuff which was very delicious.

No evening run tonight. I’ve not been feeling up to it. I’m going to finish this and then go straight to bed.

Here’s hoping that I feel better in the morning.