Category Archives: Nerina Hall

Monday 19th September 2022 – WE ALMOST HAD …

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… a new record for the completion of our radio programme this morning. So while you admire several photos of the marine activity out on the water today I’ll tell you all about it.

Actually, I’m not quite sure what happened today but at about 10:10 this morning I was about to start dictating the final speech for the last track, and once that it would be edited, it would be done.

For some reason though, probably an error of mathematics, I ended up with 10 seconds too much of speech. That was quite disappointing because I’d taken great care to make sure that the length of speech was correct. One like of text in my text editor is about 290 characters and that equates to about 17 seconds when it’s edited down so I have a reasonable idea of how long a piece of text takes to dictate.

So finding 10 seconds of speech to “lose” from what I’ve already dictated and merged into the programme so far isn’t as easy as it might be. Sometimes there’s a nice piece of speech that is ripe for editing out but there might be the introduction of the track of music to which it relates that overruns it.

yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Anyway, while it finally saw the light of day at about 10:50, which is still quicker than quite a few that I’ve done just recently.

But almost as soon as I started to listen to it to make sure that it was OK, Rosemary rang me up. I’m convinced that she hid a camera in here when she came to visit a few years ago. Anyway, we had one of our lengthy chats again.

But the good news is that Miss Ukrainian has started school today at the High School in the nearest town to where Rosemary lives. I’m sure that that’s a good idea.

Even if she can’t speak French and follow the lessons, she’ll be mixing with kids of her own age. Where she’s living right now there’s no-one around at all of her age and a young teenager needs to socialise

speedboat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022But meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … apartment, last night was something of a mess.

It was later than intended that I went to bed, and then I didn’t have much sleep because I must have travelled miles during the night. To start off there was a lady-friend of mine. I don’t know who she was but she started to date someone who was a cross between Boris Johnson and Bill Bailey and only had one leg. he was a famous politician and would sneak away from meetings etc to be with her. On one occasion the two of us had booked somewhere to stay but there was only one double-bed so we thought that we’d just have to make the best of it. Biy he turned up as well so it ended up with three of us in the bed. I went out to go to the bathroom ready to go to bed. He and this woman were in there so I said to them on parting “don’t forget later on in the night that your partner is the one on your right. When I prepared to go to bed his security team was there. They were looking for him so I didn’t say anything. I went back to another room after I’d had a wash in order to leave them to it for a while.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Back in the same dream later I was up and about. Those two were still in bed. Meantime the house was filling up with people. Eventually the woman got up and came in to join us. I asked her if she knew what “discussing Uganda” meant. She replied that she didn’t. I said that if I come out with the phrase, do me a favour of bursting out laughing and I’ll explain it to you later”. She wondered what I meant by that. Eventually he came out of the room. I explained that Zero (who must have put in an appearance somewhere but shame as it is to say it, I can’t remember her being there)’s mother had been to collect her, implying that we had a young child in the house at the time last night etc. After about 10 minutes of embarrassed chatting from their side I said that I’m going off to wash my hair so I’ll leave them alone and they can “discuss Uganda” or something like that. The other people in the house knew exactly what that meant and burst out laughing. I went into the bathroom, used the bathroom and went to wash my hands and found that someone had coupled the shower up to the tap and hadn’t undone it afterwards. As soon as I turned on the tap the water went everywhere and soaked the bathroom. I managed to stop it, opened the bathroom door and hurled a huge volley of abuse about the person who’d had a shower and left the shower attachment attached to the sink and not removed it at the end. Of course you can guess who that probably was but it was an impressive volley of abuse all the same. I started to look for something to clean up the mess.

Back in this dream for a third time. I said that Zero had gone home and the kids who had been on the trampoline were leaving. I gathered that those 2 had gone back to bed again so I made some remarks about “ships that pass in the night” etc while they were there and various other things to give the game away that I knew exactly what had happened although I said them in a manner that implied that I knew nothing.

Moving on from there, there was a big party in the office. The office was absolutely filthy. There was stuff all over the place. There was only one girl and I think that it might have been my elder sister who was attempting to tidy it up. I wasn’t going home as I had something arranged in the town so I stayed behind and helped her as best as I could. I did several huge bowls of washing up. Then it came to be 19:10 so I went to put back everything that I’d done so far. She asked how the room was so I told her that it was still a mess. I told her what I’d done. She said “OK, you’d better wander off now and do what you have to do. I’m going to be late in the morning” she said. “I’m not going to be in at my usual early morning time”. I said “never mind. I’ll try my best to be there myself something early and see what happens”. I was really disappointed that all our colleagues, none of them would stay behind and help and none of them were interested in coming along to open up the office tomorrow either.

When the alarm went off I was in the middle of a meeting with the owners of this building but they were only just setting up the bottles of water for people to drink and I never found out what went on. It was all about some abandoned farmhouse and buildings on the side of a main road that they were talking about demolishing even though it was nice, old Victorian stuff. It would have made a really nice conversion to flats and houses etc rather than being just swept away.

Anyway so when the alarm went off I did manage to leap to my feet quite quickly even though it was early, and after the medication I cracked on with the radio programme, as I mentioned earlier.

There were a couple of interruptions. Firstly for an early morning coffee and secondly to answer the door. The nurse had finally printed out my vaccination certificate from last June. Just one or two things that I need to do now.

Having listened to the radio programme and also the one that I’ll be sending off for this weekend, I went for my lunchtime fruit And then I had the notes on the dictaphone to deal with.

So I stepped back into a dream not just once but twice last night. And a mention of Zero too. What a shame I can’t remember her being about although I know that she must have been there.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022After all of that it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

And once again, it seems that the Nazguls were waiting for me to step outside the door again. I hadn’t gone more than three feet outside the building when one of them came swooping over the roof of the High School and heading in my direction.

A solo outfit too, but not to worry. There were several others waiting around in the distance, some of which were two-seater Nazguls. So at least there’s still an opportunity to go for a flight around.

And I haven’t forgotten …

paddle board people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So dodging the diving Nazguls I wandered over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

But first, my attention was focused on the events just offshore. yesterday we had a zodiac watching events unfold on the beach. Today, we have a paddle-boarded paddling past.

There were a few people down there as well for him to watch. Probably a dozen or so scattered about all over there.

No-one in the water as far as I could see, but then again the paddle-boarder hasn’t fallen in yet. There’s still plenty of time for that.

cormorants baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Lots of other stuff down there for me to watch as well.

As I made my way along the path amongst the people who were wandering around, I noticed that out there on a rock just offshore was a whole colony of birds.

Cormorants, I reckon, but what do I know? All that I do know is that they aren’t any kind of bird which I would be interested in watching. I should have paid much more attention, because when we were married I had several long lectures from Nerina about bird-watching.

What I could do I suppose is to go on and on about how I don’t particularly like those birds, but it would just be another cormo-rant.

F-GCUM - Robin DR400-180 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022and so on that note I suppose that I’d better carry on with my walk and see what’s hapening with the aeroplane that has just taken off from the airfield.

It’s one of the aeroplanes that we see quite regularly as we are walking along the cliffs around here. She’s F-GCUM, a Robin DR400-180 that belongs to the local aero club.

My photo is timed at 16:01 (adjusted) which corresponds with a flight that she undertook when she took off at 15:15 and flew northwards. That’s not a usual flightpath for an aeroplane out of the airfield. usually they go out to sea and then down the coast to the south.

F-GCUM - Robin DR400-180 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022However there was something bizarre about the flight that she was undertaking just now.

As I watched her, she did a U-turn and headed back towards the airfield, almost as if when she had taken off but the pilot had forgotten his sandwiches.

Her actual flight plan though was she went north, as I said just now, and then flew back south, back over the airfield and out to sea but after just a couple of miles she performed a rather dramatic U-turn and flew back towards the airfield.

Once back over the airfield she carried on inland, performed yet another U-turn and back to the airfield where she landed at 16:09.

My route along the top of the cliff and across the car park was pretty much without incident today. Just a few craft out at sea that you have already seen, and no change either in the inner harbour or in the chantier naval.

mercedes tourismo iveco mercedes tourismo coaches boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Now that the heaving masses have headed back home at the end of the holiday season, we have the next generation of visitors.

The town and the cliffs are crawling with the pensioners out of the caravanettes or day-tripping on the fleets of coaches that are now arriving.

The poor little Iveco that waits to take the Homework Club schoolchildren back home at 17:00 is sandwiched between two rather large Mercedes Tourismo coaches, and thanks to Duncan Payne on the “Bus and Coach” group for identifying the bodywork.

It’s a good job that he did too. The driver of the brown one with whom I had a lengthy chat didn’t know and the driver of the green one drove off when he saw me approaching.

Unfortunately I’m out of the loop these days. I was left behind on Van Hool Alizees and Plaxton Premieres. I can’t believe that it’s almost 28 years since I last drove a coach after all the miles that I did in the past.

Back here I had a coffee and then I had a few things to do which took me up to teatime.

My stuffed pepper tonight was a really good one. I have really grasped the principle of those now. Plenty of stuffing left over for a taco roll tomorrow and maybe even some more to add into Wednesday’s curry.

But right now that’s that. Tomorrow I have a Welsh lesson and I hope that there will be more than four of us. But to be on the safe side I shall have to have a good night’s sleep and do some more revision tomorrow.

That is, if I can remember.

Saturday 17th September 2022 – I FORGOT …

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… that it was Saturday and shopping day today and almost forgot to go out.

When the alarm went off this morning I wasn’t in any rush at all and was lounging around for a whole 10 minutes or so before I had a sudden attack of realisation and leapt to my feet in something of a panic

So while you admire a whole collection of all kinds of aerial craft, because today it looked as if almost anything that could fly was in the air this afternoon, I shall regale you with my adventures.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And when I say “almost anything that could fly was in the air this afternoon”, there were even one or two things that couldn’t but were making a valiant attempt.

Like this Nazgul, for an instance. If it were me, I’d have “shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight. “
but Legolas was obviously having much better luck than Wordsworth and me.

This Nazgul came staggering around the headland clearly in some kind of difficulty and he ended up loitering around here for a good five minutes just half an inch above the ground waiting for a gust of wind to pick him up and send him on his way.

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner F-HRBC baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Not all of the aerial craft was unidentified though.

Flying by this afternoon was Air France flight AF428 from Paris Charles de Gaulle to, of all places, Bogotà in Colombia, by coincidence where my journalist friend Jill from Philadelphia is on an assignment right now, and had I known, I would have been on it.

The plane that’s taking the flight is a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, registration F-HRBC, and it was at 34,000 feet on course 261° at 460 knots.

We’ve flown on Dreamliners before, once FROM CHARLES DE GAULLE TO MONTREAL IN AUGUST 2014 and once FROM MONTREAL TO CASABLANCA IN OCTOBER 2019.

aeroplane 50SA baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022But retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, and more banal kinds of flying machine.

So there I was, scrambling to my feet and dashing off to take my medication while I made plans.

After the medication I leapt (well, crawled, actually but sometimes you have to write for effect) into the shower for a good scrub and to make myself pretty, but I’ll need much more than the 4 minutes that the British Government recommends that you spend in the shower in order to do that.

And then Caliburn and I headed for the hills and the LeClerc supermarket.

aeroplane 55OJ baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Today’s shop was actually quite expensive, but they had a lot of stuff on special offer today.

The hair shampoo that I use, a special type with oils and not soap, was on offer in three-packs. It’ll probably take me the rest of my life to use it all but I couldn’t turn it down.

Fabric softener was at a give-away price too, and then they had some 100% végétale margarine of the best quality in the “end of range” row. It’s much better than the rubbish that I usually buy and the reduced prices was even cheaper than what I would pay for my usual stuff.

Nothing there that I could pass up.

These days I’ve become quite domesticated, haven’t I?

unknown aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022On the way home, I called at the Health Centre. The nurse had told me that my vaccination certificate for my fourth vaccination is now ready.

The certificate might be ready but the receptionist wasn’t. Her desk was all closed up. It looks as if the reception is only open 5 days per week. And so instead I came home.

Having put the frozen peas and the cold items away, I came in here and started work.

One thing that I want to do on Saturdays now that I have a little free time with only going to LeClerc and not to Noz is to pair up the music for the radio programme that i’ll be preparing on Monday. That means that I really can have Sundays off.

If I’m not careful, I’ll end up like Robinson Crusoe. he worked a 5-day week because all his outstanding work was finished by Friday.

unidentified aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The joins in the pairs were amongst the best that I’ve ever made, and I’m very pleased with these.

While I’d been rummaging around in the fridge the other day I found some vegan cheese that I had forgotten. And so for breakfast I had cheese-on-toast and coffee. And that old vegan cheese, stuff that I’d bought ages ago from Lidl, actually melts like real cheese.

That’s the kind of thing that’s useful to know so I made a note.

So having had a nice breakfast, I made a start on what was on the dictaphone from last night. Tons of stuff too. It must have been quite a mobile night.

powered hang glider baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Last night I was at the airport taxi-driving. I was sitting in the car in the rain watching the line of passengers grow longer and then shorter. Then it was my turn to leave, and I picked up some people going to the hotel in the south near Waterloo. 6 people entered the taxi so I had to insist that 1 of them left as I was only licensed for 5. In the end 2 of them left. They had a chunter but I was only licensed for 5 so there was nothing that I could do about it. We set off

After that I had my boat and I was up round the top of north-west Scotland somewhere. An emergency had occurred and I had to go back to London. It was fairly stormy but I went none-the-less. Although the journey shook me up a lot I made it back without any serious injury or illness.

Later on, Nerina came home from school one day very upset because someone had been taking the mickey out of her. She wanted me to go along and sort them out. Of course it’s not really something that you can sort out as I told her. I said that it was pretty pointless but she insisted so we drove back to Nantwich. I said “when we park up you’ll have to do this, this and this”. She replied “I’m not coming with you”. “Of course you are. This is about you”. In the end we didn’t actually have to go very far because as we pulled up he was there. I had a few words with him about it. He was effectively “what are you going to do about it,”. Of course there wasn’t really anything that you can do about something like that. In the end nothing ever became of it. It didn’t really prove a point but it was one of those things that you just have to do, one of the affairs through which you have to go.

powered hang glider baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022and then this was early in the morning. Everyone was getting up. I was talking to someone at the front door of the residence where I was staying, brushing my teeth. He pointed to my upper lip telling me that there was some toothpaste on it. I replied “don’t worry. I’ll wash my face when I’ve finished”. He replied “yes but I’m telling you that I thought for some reason that it was an extremely silly thing to do”. There was an advert on the TV as well about a young black boy taking 2 children, 1 on the handlebars of his bike and the other in a trailer behind. he was struggling up a hill in the snow. It was something to do with some kind of energy product because it cut to the end where he was cycling up this hill and overtaking everyone like nobody’s business, nothing like the struggle he was having before”. One of my friends from Germany was there. She was there as I was rinsing my face off so we had a little chat. I had my suitcase and was thinking that I’d have time to go to the airport to check in and hand in my suitcase and then come back. Then I’d be ready for going in the evening. I was thinking about it and I wasn’t going for another couple of days yet so why would I be wanting to take my suitcase now? This was starting to become really confusing.

yellow autogyro baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022After the lunchtime fruit the next task was to deal with the carrots. I’m running a little low on them so seeing as they had 1.5kg bags this morning at the same price at which 1kg bags usually sell, I treated myself

They are all now scrubbed, diced, blanched and in the freezer. And I had to be quite imaginative about how I fitted them in because it really is now full to the brim and there’s no room for anything else in there.

Now that I’m much more organised here, I realise that I should have pushed the boat out and bought a bigger freezer. However I would have filled up the space just as quickly and I still would have ended up in this position with no room in there for anything else.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022With the carrots now done, there’s still no time to breathe a sigh of relief and collapse into a heap.

There’s the afternoon walk – or stagger – around the headland. But not before I’ve gone over to the wall at the end of the car park to check up on the activities down on the beach.

Plenty of people down there this afternoon. No surprise though because although it was quite windy, even if a Nazgul rider didn’t think so, it was a lovely late summer day and it really was a pleasure to be out in it.

There were even one or two people brave enough to be in the water this afternoon.

st helier jersey UK Eric Hall photo September 2022The views out to Jersey were magnificent this afternoon.

They were so good that you could see some of the buildings on the island with the naked eye, and now that I’ve been over there I can tell you what some of them are, and when I’ve finished reviewing the photos I’ll probably be able to tell you what the rest are.

Going from left to right, what I think that we have is first of all Elizabeth Castle and to the right is Fort Regent. Over to the right, the white buildings are the blocks of flats at Le Marais in St Clément.

Of course, that’s guesswork based on what I saw when I was over there, but of course I didn’t actually see everything.

commodore goodwill english channel France Eric Hall photo September 2022And how about a flying ship?

It’s not actually a fata morgana – it is a real ship roughly in the position where it’s supposed to be, but the effects of the haze caused by temperature inversion at the water level gives the impression that she’s flying,.

It’s a phenomenon that’s been observed by mariners for centuries and has been the subject of all kinds of books and the like.

And no prizes for guessing who she might be either. It’s actually Commodore Goodwill out there in the English Channel surrounded by yachts and she left St Helier at 10:36 for a slow sail over to St Malo.

kayakers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Fighting my way past the crowds and the wounded Nazguls I crossed the lawn and came to the crowded car park.

Out in the bay there were a couple of kayakers having a good paddle around offshore this afternoon. Having a lot of fun, I suppose.

When I was at school I used to go canoeing but that was a very long time ago and on a canal. I wouldn’t fancy my chances in an open sea in this kind of wind.

STRAWBERRY MOOSE has been kayaking in the open sea while we were in the Arctic, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.
“Would you like a couple of oars?” I asked him before he set out.
“Yes” he replied. “After I’ve come back and put away the kayaking gear”

cabanon vauban man sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022My route continued across the car park to the end of the headland, and then I picked my way very gingerly down the loose gravel path on my one good leg.

There was plenty going on out at sea and plenty up above in the air too, as you have already seen. Consequently seeing someone sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban was no surprise at all.

What was surprising was that he was taking no interest whatever in the exciting events that were unfolding all around him. By the looks of things he was reading a good book, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Nothing wrong with continuing my way down towards the port either.

belle france joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So I scrambled off on my way towards the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what was happening there.

Nothing much going on at the ferry terminal today. It seems that despite the fine weather, the summer season is grinding to a close. Moored over there are Belle France and one of the Joly France ferries. No step in her stern so that means that she’s the older one of the two.

The only one out at the island today is the other one, the newer of the two. So there aren’t any tours around the bay this afternoon.

As for Victor Hugo, she’s still moored in the inner harbour. Her season is definitely finished and I imagine that it won’t be long before she and her sister are off to Cherbourg for a maintenance visit.

l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The portable boat lift here in the chantier naval is only rated at 100 tons and I don’t imagine that that’s anywhere near as what is required to lift Victor Hugo out of the water.

It would be nice if we had a bigger left to pull heavier boats out of the water but then there’s no real room here for anything large.

Everyone whom we saw yesterday is still here by the way. However I took a better photo of L’Omerta. When I was looking at the radar yesterday I noticed that there isn’t an image for her on the radar database. As I keep the installation here I reckon that it’s upto me to bring it up to date.

That’s a little project for me – to go through and photograph every boat that lives here. I probably have most of them anyway.

Back here I had a coffee and then settled down to watch the football – Y Drenewydd v Penybont in the Welsh Premier League.

This was a game that had everything. Penybont were the better side and they raced into a 2-0 lead in the first half. Watching Y Drenewydd mounting a comeback and trying to pull themselves back into the game made the second half probably one of the most exciting that we have seen.

They pulled a goal back and kept on piling forward, only to be hit by a sucker-punch breakaway that made the score 3-1. Nevertheless they kept on going and scored a second, but couldn’t find a way through for the third despite everything that they tried.

3-2 was about the right result and the game was a great advert for the League except for a couple of “little incidents” in stoppage time that saw a rash of bookings and a sending-off as Penybont tried to slow down the game and run out the clock.

Tea was one of my breaded quorn fillets with veg, and then I came back in here to write up my notes, rather later than usual.

All my work for this weekend is now done so I can have tomorrow off. I even have pizza dough in the freezer (I think).

So I’ll try a walk around the walls tomorrow and see how I feel. I’m still not feeling myself, which is just as well because it’s a disgusting habit, but apart from that my right knee is finished, I reckon. I don’t think that I’ll recover from this.

And even if I were to recover, I’m not sure that i’d have the confidence in it that I had.

That’s sad, isn’t it?

Sunday 11th September 2022 – WHILE THIS GUY …

kayak baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… on his kayak goes paddling by the end of the headland at the Pointe du Roc, I was busy recovering from yesterday.

Far too tired to go to bed, and far too tired to do anything else after my exertions yesterday, it was rather late when I finally went to bed.

For a couple of hours I was having quite a good sleep and then all of the tossing and turning began and the rest of the night was quite disturbed.

If I had had the energy and initiative (both of which are sadly lacking these days) I could have been up and about a lot earlier than 10:45. But then again it IS Sunday and I’m entitled to have one day of lying in bed vegetating.

red powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And as the red powered hang-glider goes gliding by overhead while I was out in the Place d’Armes, I was busy taking my medication and then sitting down to start work.

And work on a Sunday? Yes! Especially when I had a day like yesterday when I didn’t write up my notes.

It took much longer than I ought to have done too, but then again with it being Sunday I wasn’t quite as dedicated as I might otherwise have been. There are always interruptions, one thing leads to another and once you make a start you’ve no idea just how many other things there are.

And this took me up to lunchtime.

It was the usual Sunday breakfast of porridge, toast and plenty of strong black coffee, and a good proportion of my porridge ended up in the bin.

Whyever that would be I have no idea. It’s not like me to leave food that I have made. I usually have a very good idea of how much food I’m able to eat and this was just a usual proportion.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022While these people scramble across the rocks with their equipment for the pèche à pied, I began to deal with the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing.

Having been out all day yesterday I hadn’t paired off the music for Monday’s work and so I sat down to do it after my meal.

The joints went together really well and it sounds quite good. And I’m getting to grips with the idea of intros, and extended the one for Monday’s opening track so that there would be enough time to superimpose the introductory speech.

There was also a good lead-in for the speech from this week’s guest and that impressive as well.

And that took me up to the time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The weather was much nicer today – in fact I had the window open again – so there was a good possibility that it would bring out the crowds.

There were plenty of people down there too just as I expected. Plenty of them in the sea too “taking the waters” and that’s quite impressive. We’re approaching the start of Autumn and everything will be cooling down.

The tide was well-out this afternoon – far too far out for people at the Plat Gousset to be taking advantage of it – so it was quite quiet down at that end of the beach. No-one in the water down there unless it was in the tidal swimming pool that I can’t see from here.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And you can see just how far out the tide is right now.

We’re used to seeing the marker lights on the rocks at the end of the Ile de Chausey, but it’s rare to see them so far out of the water like this.

It makes quite a contrast from what we are used to seeing when we are looking out from here or going past on a boat.

That will explain the people that we saw just now on the rocks at the end of the Pointe du Roc on their way out for a bit of pèche à pied .

F-GIKI Robin DR.400-120 Dauphin 2+2, chassis number 1931 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022While we were out here on the clifftop there was an aeroplane that had taken off from the airfield.

She’s F-GIKI, a Robin DR.400-120 Dauphin 2+2, chassis number 1931 that is owned by the Aero Club of Granville.

She was picked up on radar at 16:20 just offshore from here, flew over Mont St Michel, deep into Brittany and came back over St Malo, coming back in to land at 17:57.

My photo was timed at 16:17 (adjusted) so that’s probably about right. She must be under the radar just here.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Taking my life into my hands, I decided to restart my walks down to the end of the headland.

Fighting my way past the crowds, I came in the end to the bunker at the back of the lighthouse where there’s a good view out to sea.

The view out to sea today towards Jersey wasn’t as good as it might have meen but down the coast it was one of the best that we have had. Cap Fréhel was visible with the naked eye today, and even the lighthouse could be identified.

Having clambered up there to the top of the bunker I took a photo, and I’ve not enhanced it at all.

pointe de carolles Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The view down the bay on the other side of the headland was just as good.

The Pointe de Carolles was looking quite beautiful this afternoon. The sun was catching it quite nicely and we could see the houses down there quite clearly. However they aren’t all that far away.

The hotels down at the head of the Baie de Mont St Michel are much farther away but even so, we can see them quite clearly this afternoon as well, in the background just to the right of the Pointe de Carolles.

It’s a shame that we can’t see Mont St Michel from here – that is, not until someone decides to dynamite the headland over there.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The walk down to the end of the headland was undertaken quite gingerly, sliding about on my gammy leg on the loose gravel and rough surface.

As we have already seen, there was plenty of activity down there with the kayak, the pèche-à-pied and all of the views. And so it’s no surprise that this afternoon there were a few people down there making the most of it.

There’s a woman down there hiding in the bushes but I’ve really no idea what she’s doing, and the knee of someone sunbathing too.

Plenty of people wandering around on the lower path as well enoying the lovely afternoon.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Meanwhile, there has been something exciting happening in the inner harbour by the looks of things.

Both od the sailing ships, Marité and Shtandart, have left the port and are out at sea. Marité must have simply gone for a lap around the bay as she did yesterday, because she came back into port at 19:51 this evening.

As for Shtandart, it’s much more difficult to keep track of her. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that she has switched off her AIS beacon and so I’m not able to find out by reference to my radar where she might be.

For all I know, she might even br back in port but it’s dark outside so I won’t be able to see anyway.

Having checked the harbour this afternoon I headed for home.

customs patrol porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And this was something that took me rather by surprise. I’m used to finding police barrages all over the place and even customs barrages. Regular readers of this rubbish in one of its previous guises will recall that I’ve even been caught in a few of them.

But what I don’t understand is why on earth they would want to have a customs barrage underneath the Porte St Jean. It’s not as if they are going to come across too many foreign smugglers there or people driving their cars on red diesel.

In fact the funniest moment that I ever had with a French “flying customs patrol” was back in 2002 when they took ages to set up all of their equipment to check the fuel of a lorry that I was driving, only to find out that it was in fact petrol-engined.

Back here there were the dictaphone notes to transcribe. All of them. There was Hans, Alison, Caroline and me. Caroline was in a wheelchair. We came into a building to go upstairs. Caroline went up first because she was going to bring down Aunt Mary in her wheelchair so that we could go up and visit whoever else was in her apartment. We waited and waited but nothing happened. We went upstairs to the floor, going up the stairs. The lift came back and Caroline exiited pushing the person on a wheelchair. We asked Caroline what had happened. She said that the panel had fallen down and you can’t see the buttons to press. We walked in there and a cupboard in there had fallen over blocking the entrance to the lift properly so we just stood it upright. I went to pull Caroline in and this other wheelchair. I thought that I would be blocked in here so I’d have to go down with them and back up. I stepped out. Caroline asked “how do I get in now?”. Suddenly Hans took her wheelchair, folded it up, stuck it in her hand and pushed them both inside it. Alison looked at Hans and said “I thought that you’d do well living in France”. The lift didn’t move but we were now focusing on getting to this door. Caroline would have to fend for herself to make the lift go downstairs and back up again.

Later I was in a white Ford Transit van driving from Nantwich to Crewe. As we reached Wells Green there was a vehicle in the middle of the road turning right so I passed underneath him on the left. Just as I passed him on the left a Morris Minor Traveller came the other way on my side of the road and hit all down the side of the van. Of course I stopped. Some guy came over who said that he had seen the accident. There was a girl there so he pointed me out to her. I shouted to her to come over. She was shouting some guy’s name. I went over to her and asked her why she wouldn’t come over and talk to me about the accident. She replied “no, I didn’t do it. I didn’t do it” and continued to shout this boy’s name. I said “right, let’s call the police”. I picked up my phone to dial 999 but she ran off up the road towards Nantwich. I ‘phoned the police and told them that I was involved in this accident but the driver had taken flight. They said that they’d be here in a moment.

And then we were in a hotel somewhere. There was a big business meeting taking place. I’d arrived early and was waiting maybe for Alison to show up. People stated arriving, all these upper echelons. I was amazed about how they were behaving, insisting, demanding, peremptory with the staff. One guy whom I noticed was particularly revolting with them. another guy sitting near me who was sprawled out on his chair listening to his music, someone walked past and pulled the plug out of the wall accidentally as they were going past. He was outraged and called on them to come back but they can’t have heard and just carried on walking etc. But he had put his power cable across the aisle so what did he expect? Eventually I noticed that it was approaching 16:00 and we had things to do so I decided to go upstairs which meant disturbing this guy again which wasn’t very popular. There was some stuff on the floor by the seat that I thought was mine so I went to pick it up. he made a scene about it as it was his. eventually I made sure that I had everything I need and began to set off for my room. I was really embarrassed by the behaviour of some of these people checking in at this hotel. It wasn’t a good signal for any of them.

I can’t remember very much about this one. I was with Nerina and I’d gone away early for Christmas. She was saying something along the lines of “you can tell that you’re popular when people waited until after you’d gone to bring in their Christmas gifts for each other”. I replied that that’s not true at all because people give their Christmas gifts around before they themselves go on holiday. There were a couple of people who went on holiday before me who brought in Christmas gifts for everyone including me”. That’s about all that I remember

Finally I was watching the football last night as well. Mike Wilde of Connah’s Quay Nomads took a really quick throw-in down the touchline to one of his players who beat someone and passed inside where one of his team-mates was totally unmarked. He came into goal with a on-on-one situation with the keeper. he pushed the ball past the keeper and then tripped over his own foot. The referee blew his whistle to stop the game. Everyone in the crowd could see quite clearly that there was no penalty because he really did stub his toe in the ground going round a good 3 feet from where the keeper was. We were all bewildered as to why the game had stopped.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Tonight’s pizza was one of the best that I have ever made.

And had I remembered to put the olives on it too, it would have been even better. I shall have to remember to make more like this

After breakfast i’d taken out a lump of frozen dough from the freezer and it had been defrosting all day. After my ginger beer following my walk this afternoon I kneaded it and rolled it out onto the pizza tray where I left it to proof for a while.

When it was ready, I assembled it and put it in the oven to bake, and when it was completely baked it was ready to seat.

Now I’m off to bed. It’s an early start in the morning with a radio programme to prepare. And then I have things to do. It looks as if everything is warming up again.

Saturday 10th September 2022 – NOT MY CAT

not my cat place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Say “hello” to Not My Cat.

There’s a lengthy thread on all forms of Social Media with posts about Not My Cat. Anyone who knows anything about cats will know that they come and go as they please and finding Not My Cat in a house is a regular occurrence.

Finding Not My Cat in a block of flats is even more rare especially when, as far as I know, no-one has a cat and there’s a security door.

But I opened the door to my apartment this morning and there was Not My Cat waiting outside. Quite a young cat by the looks of things. He (or she) ran inside before I could do or say anything, did a tour of the place, found a cosy spot on the sofa, curled up and went to sleep as if he owned it.

When I stroked him he purred quite loudly and I’m sure that he could have settled down here for ever and how I would have liked that. Only the other day I was talking about having a cat around the place. But someone would be missing him somewhere.

A little later I had to go out so I picked him up to carry him out. He ran down the stairs to the front door and as I opened it he skipped off outside like a 5 year-old girl and that was that. He didn’t have any fear or anxiety about going out.

And that was that. What a shame because even though it was only for half an hour or so, I really enjoyed having Not My Cat here.

Maybe it’s a sign from somewhere.

He’s not the first Not My Cat that I’ve had around. Back in the Auvergne there was a FERAL BLACK CAT that roamed around that adopted me during that really bad winter that we had.

Not My Cat wasn’t the only visitor that I had today, and that will explain the mad burst of energy and all of the tidying up just recently. But I’ll tell you more about that in a minute.

When the alarm went off this morning at 07:30 I was straight out of bed which is a surprise by itself and by the time that the 3rd alarm went off at 08:00 I’d had my medication showered and shaved.

When Lidl opened its door at 08:30 I’d already been outside for 5 minutes and by 09:15 I was back here.

It was an expensive shop at Lidl today but I’m not going to miss out on Bags of Brazil nuts at 40% off. And I’m certainly not going to miss out on grapes at €0:99 a kilo. We’re coming to the interesting time of the year.

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022When I pulled up on the car park I noticed that Marité ws out and aboout on her travels again so I went upstairs to fetch the NIKON D500.

Back down here I strolled over to the wall at the end of the headland and took a photo of her.

She was quite far out by the time that I came back down too. It was a windy morning and she had some of her sails unfurled but I bet that the diesel motor was churning away too.

Settling down with a coffee, I had a listen to what was on the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I can’t remember too much about this particular voyage but we were working on a friend’s boat for some unknown reason, some kind of galleon. We needed to contact someone else about it. That other place asked us for the name of the boat and who owned it. For some unknown reason every time we tried to say his name a different name came out. They couldn’t match it with anything in their database. We must have said it 3 or 4 times and they still didn’t get it right as far as we were concerned.

A little later I was with Liz, wandering around the shops. We came to a newsagent’s where they had some brochures about camping. I had a look at a couple of them. One of them was for a company called Action Canada. The name caught my eye. I noticed that up in Labrador they had a camp site and 3 months there in June, July and August cost something like €3,000. I thought to myself “I could do this”. I picked up a brochure and showed it to Liz. When we had a look, this was a brochure for the British Isles only. I’d picked up the wrong one. I went back to try to find the one for Canada to find that where they had been, the owner had cleared out this particular range. We were scrabbling around looking for this particular brochure in stuff that was piled on the floor but we couldn’t find it. I was thinking to myself “here’s another one that has slipped away isn’t it?”.

Finally I was out with a bus-load of passengers and we were cruising around the back end of Shavington. We ended up on a dirt road. We were making comments about the dirt road etc. All of a sudden we came to a bit where they were tarmacking it. They actually had the whole road blocked off. I reached where these guys were working and asked “which way is past for me?”. He pointed to a steep bank that was probably about 1:2. he said “go down there”. I asked “are you serious?”. He replied “yes”. I thought that at the very least the front end of the coach is going to ground out on the bottom etc. I had the passengers making sure that they were sitting down and strapped in, and ever so slowly went down there and managed to bring the coach down to the bottom. We pulled away and ended up right where we ought to be in this café where we were stopping for lunch. I went in to see the girl. She was telling us that we would have to wait for a bit because we were early. I asked where was the best place to park the coach. She replied “about 1.8 kms away”. I replied “I’m not walking 1.8 kms”. Nerina who was with me said that she’d walk around the local area for a minute and look around. She was telling us about a mine shaft that was here which was why we’d come here for a coffee stop so that the people could see the mineshaft. She started to give the whole rigmarole speech. I thought “if she does this we aren’t going to have the time for the meal” so I had to somehow stop her and organise things properly. It occurred to me sometime during the night that I’d done the whole of the morning’s trip without putting on any music on the PA of the coach. I thought “that’s not like me at all to do that”.

Bang on cue at 11:00 my friends turned up. Someone whom I knew from my time in Manchester and with whom I’d kept in touch ever since, and was even best man when I married. We haven’t seen each other for eight years and so when I heard that he and his wife were passing through the area on their way down south, I invited them to call in.

And this is when Not My Cat appeared.

There was so much to discuss and we were in here for a couple of hours. However the weather improved dramatically and it looked like a nice day so we decided to go for a walk around the headland.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022You can see how much the weather had improved by looking at this photo of the Ile de Chausey.

With the sun being behind me the colours on the island came up much better than they notmally do in the afternoon. Perhaps I ought to go out more often in the morning.

There’s a yacht sailing around out there too but that was all the marine traffic that there was just now. Marité must be loitering around somewhere behind the island.

We couldn’t see Jersey today though. Still, I suppose that you can’t have everything.

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022We carried on walking along the path towards the port.

There was no-one on the bench at the cabanon vauban but there was something in the iar, for the first time for several days. It’s a different autogyro than the one that we normally see. That one is yellow but this one is white and red.

It seems that this place is becoming much more popular as far as aerial travel goes, with all kinds of different planes putting in an appearance.

We went to la Rafale for a coffee and waited for a while until the crowds down in the town dispersed after the market was over, and then we went to hunt for food.

And just as you might expect, all of the restaurants had closed for the afternoon.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Instead, we went for a walk around the harbour.

As we reached the Ferry terminal where we made a pit stop, we were lucky enough to witness the arrival of one of the Joly France ferries from the Ile de Chausey.

This is the older one of the near-identical pair, as you can tell by her windows. There’s quite a crowd on board and they can’t have appreciated the weather that was out there in the bay this morning.

While we were there on the quayside at the fish-processing plant we saw the tractor and trailer belonging to Les Bouchots de Chausey pull up, as well as another outfit that I didn’t recognise. It looks as if the shell-fishing boats are out there working today.

briscard chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022One place that I wanted to visit seeing as I was out on my travels with people who could pick me up if I fell over was the chantier naval

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there’s a shell-fishing boat in the chantier naval that I haven’t been able to identify and I wanted to see who she might be.

We headed off that way and that enabled us to identify that it is Briscard who is in there next to Peccavi.

Hhaving ascertained that we wandered back into the town to find food. Our first choice didn’t serve meals on a Saturday evening so we ended up at the pizzeria. They also served Italian food and to my surprise it was no problem at all to rustle up a vegan meal for me.

It was quite delicious too.

bar ephemère chez maguie place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022On the way home we went up the Rue des Juifs where we would look down on the boulodrome.

The Bar Ephemère, Chez Maguie, is still here and in the twilight it’s looking quite nice with all of the lights that illuminate it.

Whether it will be here there next year though is something else completely. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the residents of the building opposite have launched a petition to oppose it.

They were successful in obtaining a ban on the Big Wheel that we used to have here and that has probably given them courage. If only we had a maire and a town council who would do their job and respect the wishes of the other residents.

It’s quite true that I moan about the tourists being here, but even I realise that without them this town would be a very poor place.

old cars chevrolet covette stingray rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Something else that we saw on the way up was a Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

It’s been quite a while since we featured an old car in these pages. For some reason or other we don’t seem to see so many these days, so it cheered me up to see something like this just parked at the side of the road.

This is one of the third generation of Corvettes, one of the “T-top” versions, and it’s a later rather than earlier model because of the bumpers. The earlier ones had a traditional metal bumper but in 1973 it was replaced with the plastic “collision bumper”.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022We stopped a little higher up for me to catch my breath, and to overlook the port.

Now that it’s going dark and all of the lights are on, it’s looking quite dramatic down there tonight. All of the lights reflecting off the water, and the lights at the town of Carolles down there underneath the Pointe de Carolles.

The ferry terminal is still lit up, although it looks as if all of the ferries are now back home. Presumably they are cleaning them out ready for work tomorrow.

Looking at this photo, I really ought to start to go out again at night like I used to.

sunset baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Back in the car park my friends prepared to leave to go back to their camp site.

We watched the sun go down while we were there but it wasn’t as spectacular as some that we have seen. It actually sunk below the horizon a while back and all that we are seeing is the reflection of the sun in the sky.

We’ve seen some good ones of those in the past. One in particular that I remember was on 21st June one night when I was in Scotland years ago when I drove my coach up to the top of a hill near Stirling in Scotland at celestial midnight and watched the night fail to go dark and the sun to rise a few hours later.

After they had left I went back in. 135% of my daily activity when I’m having major mobility issues is something of an achievement. And so I’m going to bed while I still can. I’ll probably pay for all of this tomorrow but who cares?

Live for today, regardless of what happens tomorrow.

Monday 5th September 2022 – YOU WON’T FIND …

victor hugo baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Victor Hugo in port this afternoon.

While I was out taking my little (and I DO mean “little”) walk outside this afternoon I noticed her out in the bay going “Full Speed Ahead”.

She’s not on a scheduled sailing to Jersey today – I’m sure of that. And so I checked on the radar later on this evening. She’s actually moored in Cherbourg even as we speak so and as her next trip out isn’t for another week or so, I imagine that she’ll be staying there until then.

Having been keeping an eye on her for the last year or so, I reckon that she’s travelled further “light” to Cherbourg and back than she has travelled with fare-paying passengers.

And last night I travelled quite some distance too. Not as far as one or two just recently but certainly a lot farther than on many other nights.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I didn’t feel anything at all like leaving my bed but needs must when the devil drives and I did beat the second alarm although I don’t know how.

After the medication I came back in here to make a start with the radio programme.

It took me until almost 11:30 to complete it today and that’s a really long time. But then there are several good reasons for that.

  1. There was an early break for a coffee
  2. As predicted, the nurse came around to give me the injection that I should have had yesterday
  3. Liz told me that a couple of her grandchildren had started school today and she sent me some photos, so we had a little chat
  4. There was a hole that I had missed in one of the tracks that I’d chosen so I had to hunt down another copy, only to find that that had a hole in exactly the same place

There were probably a couple of other reasons too that I can’t now remember. All in all, I don’t suppose that it was too bad.

But as you might expect, the nurse turned up right at an “inappropriate” moment and I had to make him wait for a couple of minutes until I’d finished … errr … whatever it was that I was doing.

While I was listening to the one that I’d prepared and the one that I’ll be sending off, I was making a late breakfast. The last of the baguette that I bought on Saturday and the last of the vegan cheese that I found in the fridge the other day, washed down with hot, strong coffee.

This afternoon I’ve had plenty to do such as organising the directories that are still out of order and then dealing with a query relating to a Ukrainian refugee living in Paris. I don’t know how I manage to involve myself in things like this.

Eventually I managed to set off outside for my afternoon walk but at the front door I was buttonholed by a neighbour (yes again) where I had a conversation for about 15 minutes.

Not that I’m complaining too much though because it’s just because I was held up that I saw Victor Hugo head out into the bay. Had I gone out at the normal time I would have missed it.

fisherman people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And so I staggered over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

There weren’t all that many people down on the beach this afternoon. Almost every holidaymaker has now returned home, even the British ones, and so it’s really only the locals and the pensioners in their mobile homes who are out there now.

But to my surprise, there was someone down there fishing from the rocks on the beach. I can’t recall having seen anyone fishing from there before.

But he wont be there long, given the speed at which the tide comes in.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022As usual, while I was up here looking around, I was looking around out at sea as well.

As well as seeing Victor Hugo out there heading away towards Cherbourg, there were also plenty of yachts out and about in the bay.

They were quite a long way out as well, right by the marker light that signals the rocks at the extreme end of the Ile de Chausey and the chain of rocks.

There were no fishing boats in sight this afternoon though. And it was such a clear day that had they been there, i’m sure that I would have seen them

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022With the weather being so nice, the views out to sea were quite clear.

The Ile de Chausey was looking quite nice too. We could see it quite clearly this afternoon although the weather wasn’t quite bright enough to see the whites of the cottages. Only the surfaces facing the afternoon sun were able to pick up the sunlight.

There was a yacht out there too, out there round about where a couple of years ago we had that famous incident of the rubber boat ramming the one that had stopped at his mooring place.

It’s a shame that we don’t have any more incidents like that where I can see them

joly france ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There was something else out there moving around just offshore from the Ile de Chausey.

At this kind of distance I couldn’t see what it was so I took a photo and, back here at the apartment I enlarged and enhanced it in order to see if I could identify it.

And as it happens, I can see that it’s one of the ferries that run between here and the island. It doesn’t look like Belle France, the new one, though. It is therefore one of the Joly France boats but I cant even begin to tell you which one it might be.

le loup yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022From here I wandered off at a snail’s pace back across the car park and down to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

We’d seen a few yachts out on the other side but over here there were even more of them. A couple of the sailing schools were out in the bay this afternoon and I caught one of the schools going out and doing a lap around Le Loup, the marker light on the rocks at the entrance to the harbour.

They had a couple of zodiacs swarming around them too making sure that they stay in a straight line and don’t stray too far off course.

And here I was a week or two ago saying how I’d be out there with them one day, but not much channce of that right now.

arranging fishing nets port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Victor Hugo wasn’t in the inner harbour, but there was plenty of other activity going on.

Over there on the quayside there’s someone who has stretched out what looks like a new fishing net and there’s plenty of other activity going on with fishing equipment in the background too.

Back here I had a drink of ginger beer that I’d bought on Saturday. It reminded me of the story of the time that a couple of Scotsmen stepped off a ‘plane at Toronto airport.
“What is the purpose of your visit?” asked the immigration officer.
“We saw that advert ‘Drink Canada Dry’ and here we are” they replied.

later on I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. There was an invasion planned for the Ile de Chausey by environmentalists who were opposed to the rearing and eating of turkeys on the island. This was investigated and it turned out that there were 4 different groups of people with 4 different aims in view who were going to have some part of what was going on. The interesting part about it was that the newspapers responded in a very aggressive way, telling people that if they don’t like it, to go and live somewhere else, generally being quite aggressive to the demonstrators even though they hadn’t actually started the invasion yet.

I was there in my apartment with Percy Penguin. We were living together. My friends from the Wirral came round and I was going to cook them a meal. We started to chat and I asked the woman how she was. She replied “ask my husband first” so I asked him. He said that he was feeling a little under the weather suffering from this and that, usual age ailments. I then asked the wife how she was. There were some tree roots that I’d noticed growing across my lawn so I was there pulling these roots up, like this willow that we used to have in the Auvergne. These roots would go for miles so I was busy pulling them up. I asked the wife how she was. She began to come out with a long complicated story while I was pulling on this stuff. Halfway through she broke off and went to do something that she’d forgotten which left just me and Percy Penguin. Her husband had gone as well. I wondered how they would finish it. What would happen next?

Yes, with all of the boats that I’ve had from my palodeon years and they were entitled to stay. If the couple from the Wirral were becoming annoyed with me about the food it was they who were going, not the bikes. We walked through the town. It was a sunny day towards the beach that afternoon. All of a sudden I lost them. I caught up with them later again outside this working shop. They had stupidly allowed something to be performed and had come to a rest in full view of me. I wasn’t sure how this shock was going to help everyone particularly those in the bushes who were hiding. I realise that this makes no sense at all and I’m sure that I haven’t transcribed it correctly, but nevertheless it’s a really confusing story.

Later on I was with Nerina and that Les whom we knew. We were in Gresty. Something had happened and we’d changed some of the wiring on the Cortina, the red Cortina estate with some wires off his car. I’d wired it up and had it running. he had loads of problems doing his and we were running hours late. he seemed to be taking all day to do a simple job which was very frustrating. In the end he finished it. Both cars started. He looked at mine and said that I had the wiring wrong (as if I’d have the wiring wrong on a Cortina). Eventually I had to correct it and it ran OK. From there I started to push a wheelbarrow down Gresty Lane. I had Nerina and Roxanne with me. Roxanne kept on saying that this was her motorbike transport but it was just so heavy and awkward to push, this wheelbarrow. I’d never had a wheelbarrow quite like this. Every step became agony after a while. I was glad when we stopped somewhere half-way. We went in and this was where Roxanne and Nerina had tea. The place was really untidy. There were plates and half-eaten sandwiches everywhere. I really fancied a coffee at this moment but no-one seemed to be thinking about making one for me.

Finally I was queueing to enter the USA. I’d arrived on my ‘plane, joined the queue at Passport Control. The last time that I’d been here it was quite chaotic at Passport Control with queues everywhere all over the place but this time they seemed to be much more efficient. They had it organised much better. I was sitting at the front of the queue only to find that i’ve forgotten to fill in my form. The young guy there chuntered a little but I filled it in. We had a little chat and I told him to have a nice day. He looked at me and said thank you so I thought “thanks to all them at immigration control.
“So here I am
With my immigration form
Big enough to keep me warm
When the cold wind’s blowing.”

Tea was one of the best stuffed peppers that I’ve ever made. I enjoyed eating that one very much and the leftover stuffing for the taco roll tomorrow will be wicked after marinading for 24 hours.

But that’s tomorrow. I’m off to bed right now hoping for a good sleep and some pleasant travels with charming companions.

It’s nice to see Percy Penguin again anyway. She doesn’t figure in my voyages half as much as she deserves.

Thursday 1st September 2022 – THE DECISION …

hermitage donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022… about whether or not I ought to go for a walk this afternoon was taken out of my hands today.

For the first time since I don’t know how long (several months, probably) it was pouring with rain outside this afternoon. You can tell that by simply looking at the photos of “The Hermitage” – the old seafront hotel that is now converted into apartments. You can hardly see it through the drizzle

In the past though, I’ve been out for a walk or two in weather much wetter than this but I had a feeling that today this was nature’s way of telling me to go back inside and rest.

And rest I did. No alarm this morning so I stayed in bed until 09:30 and I needed it too.

Moving about was a little easier. Only a little though. I was still aching in my knee, my hip and now my groin. I know that yesterday I’d performed 180% of my daily activity according to the fitbit but I’ve done far more than that in the past without feeling as bad as I did.

There was no rush to start work today. I had a nice, leisurely morning and in the end I didn’t even sort out any music to which to listen this week. I ended up instead listening to the old-time radio and my favourite radio programmes from the 40s, 50s and 60s.

Eventually though I started on transcribing all of the notes on the dictaphone. There were two days’ worth – yesterday and today, and all told there were tons of them. Having dealt with all of yesterday’s, I made a start on today’s. I was doing something with the taxis again last night. Someone phoned up – it might have been my brother probably, I dunno – and was shouting at the girl who was answering the phone and doing the radio. In the end I took over. It took me a whole while to chisel out the information from him bit by bit. It was basically “Friday 12:50 or earlier if possible, pickup from Glasgow and take him to Northampton”. It took an age to chisel all of that out of him bit by bit. Everyone was short-tempered by the time that I finished this call.

And then I can’t remember much of this bit. There was Nerina and I, once again having our marriage difficulties. She and her friend had once ganged up on me once playing cards, even going as far as to look up the rules about borrowing cards from the pack which I thought was totally unnecessary. anyway they were there working on some other stuff again about that. There was much more to this but I can’t remember it now.

And Zero was back last night. After all this time and how nice it was to see her smiling face, even if it was only for a fleeting second. We were tidying up in her school classroom and she was one of the last to be there. She went home and we said that we’d be round later. There was me and another girl but I can’t remember who she was. We were getting close to finishing. The guy in charge said that he was leaving. We said that the place wasn’t tidied up yet so he replied “you stay and finish it but don’t take too long”. There was just the 2 of us there and we were tidying it up. The girl with me thought that she’d telephoned to Zero to say that we’d be round in a few minutes. I could tell that the conversation was going quite badly. It finished off by her saying “well, we’ll see you tomorrow”. I wondered what was going on. It turned out, so she said, that Zero’s father who was the last person to leave was probably not feeling too well so they’d be spending a lot of time dealing with him. I said “I’m having to go tomorrow so we could I suppose always turn up unexpectedly tomorrow to say goodbye. We did that once before and it went quite well but I’d much rather have gone round on a day when we’d been invited and when people were expecting us. That way there’s no question of having any kind of conflicting interest etc”. I forgot to mention that after the girl with me had hung up on Zero she went and sat down somewhere and put her feet up. I was still wrestling with these 3 enormous boxes. I had to insist that she got back on her feet and came to help me otherwise I would never finish this lot either and I’d be here all night.

Once again I could see that all my best-laid plans here were coming to nought even before we’d gone very far at all, and that’s just typical whenever any of my interests seemed to coincide with those of anyone else back in the old days. No wonder I prefer to live alone. It’s far less complicated.

There I was with a date with Zero and everyone else was deliberately pushing spokes into the wheels. Just as always.

All that remained (for the moment at least) was the blog entry for yesterday. That took a total age to write but at least it’s all nicely on line now. Without the photos though. I couldn’t stomach working my way through 97 of those this afternoon. I wasn’t in the mood.

The proceedings were interrupted by me finally deciding to risk my knee on an adventure outside.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And despite the poor weather I went off for a stroll across the car park to the wall.

With the weather being as it was, I wasn’t expecting to see anyone down there on the beach so the half-a-dozen or so people down there took me somewhat by surprise. I don’t know what they were doing down there but at least whatever it was, they had plenty of beach to do it on.

It was a waste of time looking out to sea because the mist was pretty thick out there and you couldn’t see anything.

Going to to St Helier yesterday was a good plan because I had the last of the decent weather. It would have been miserable out there today.

But this took me completely by surprise.

bus place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022This photo isn’t about Caliburn. You can see the bus stop over there on the left-hand edge of the photograph so why is the bus parking there? And for not the least of the reasons being that any passengers would have to go into the street in order to board the bus.

You can see the rain too. It was pretty miserable but I can’t say that I’m sorry that we’ve finally had some rain.

Before I went back in I was buttonholed by one of my neighbours who attracted my attention from her second-floor window. We had quite an impromptu chat at distance, with me being slowly and inevitable soaked to the skin.

Back in the flat I had a nice strong coffee and then carried on with the blog until it was finished (for now) and then I breathed a sigh of relief.

Tea tonight was a left-over curry with mushrooms, potatoes and the left-over stuffing along with a big handful of peanuts. And I do have to say that it was the best one that I’ve ever made.

A quiet evening now and I’ll probably end up with an early night. It’s still raining and my legs are still hurting and who knows how all of this will pan out.

We’ll all find out tomorrow

Thursday 18th August 2022 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what happened today but I haven’t crashed out.

Not yet anyway. The night is young and there’s plenty of time to go.

Even more astonishingly, I’ve had yet another letter from the hospital this morning to the effect that I know have no fewer than SIX appointments scheduled for my next visit to the hospital. And if that’s not a record, I don’t know what it.

Perhaps it’s as well if I mention that the letter that they sent me is dated 9th August – that’s before I sent my incendiary missive their way. heaven alone knows what will be the response to that and how many appointments I mend up when the whatsit hits the wherever.

On the other hand, they could of course tell me to clear off, and I’m quite prepared for that possibility too.

joly france belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022However, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here and let’s talk about what happened today while you admire a few photos of Belle France leading the new Joly France ferry out to the Ile de Chausey.

Despite what I said last night, it ended up being a night much later than I had intended. Just as I was going to bed, TUNNEL OF LOVE, one of the must beautiful songs ever recorded, came round on the playlist.

Of course, it’s not a song that you can only play once. A song about nostalgia and Ohhh! What might have been if only …

Having a song like that going around in my head on my way to bed, of course it’s bound to be a very turbulent night.

joly france belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022This is a long rambling dream yet again but I can only remember bits of it. I was with Liz and Terry and they had a Ukrainian family staying with them pretty similar to Rosemary’s. Terry and Liz were going off somewhere in the morning so the Ukrainian guy came to see me to ask me what they needed doing today. I was surprised at how much his English had improved. I didn’t know so I asked Liz but she wasn’t there. I went to the top of the stairs out to the back garden and shouted for Terry. He came round so I went down to meet him and asked him what he wanted to be done. He pointed to an area round at the back of the shed between the shed and the river where they had plented onions but it was pretty weed-infested. He said “he can do that”. I said “OK – I’ll get him on that” but it was raining quite heavily so I didn’t know if he wanted to go out and do it just then. Then Terry changed into Liz. We had to walk back to the house. I was walking so much easier but when I reached the steps that started to lead up I started to take them 1-2, 1-2 and I actually managed 4 steps like that before my knee gave out which was an impressive turnaround. By this time Liz had gone up to the top and she wondered where I was. She saw me coming behind after her so she carried on. By now she was carrying this huge balloon in front of her. There was a line of school children so she just charged this line and pushed them along, pushed some out of the way and pushed the others forward etc until they all became embedded when she was about 2/3rds of the way down. The kids thought that this was really funny but the teachers weren’t impressed. I went up to Liz and said “Liz, I’m not with you”. There was much more to it than this and I really can’t remember it.

joly france belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was also something else in a dream about me walking around. There was a girl walking around. She was caught in this flood that knocked her over and she nearly drowned. Luckily she managed to scramble free. That’s about the only thing that I can remember of that dream.

Later on I’d been on a train with some people heading towards Crewe. I alighted at a railway station somwhere to stretch my legs while the passengers were boarding. There were some people there clearly having problems so I went over to see what was going on. They were boarding this train but their train was about 12 hours late and they’d been shunted halfway across the south of France in different directions before they had been finally brought to this railway station somehow and were now going to make their way to Crewe on this particular train. I boarded the train and sat with them, talking about the train and completely lost track of time. They were talking about the stations, at which ones they were stopping. I explained that it was stopping at a lot more than usual because of all of these problems. We rattled through the railway station at Whitchurch and I was still talking when suddenly we were coming into the outskirts of Crewe so I had to run the length of the train to where I was sitting before, unplug and close my computer, pick up everything and hurtle to the door just as the guard was locking it. I thought “I’m going to be stuck on this train now until it reaches its destination wherever that might be”. Luckily he saw me running. He asked if I wanted off. I replied “yes” so he opened the door so that I could fall out onto the platform with all m stuff just as the train pulled away. I thought “that was a really lucky escape there”.

And we’ve had quite a few “train” and “railway station” dreams too.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Ohh no! I’ve not finished yet! Far from it.

I was on another train but I can’t remember now what was happening but it was something to do with meals on board that we never had and dietary requirements that we never had but I just can’t remember what happened with this now.

Nerina was about somewhere as well at some point but I can’t remember why. It was something to do with me tidying up. There were all these beer bottles lying around. I said “this is what happens since you’ve been back isn’t it?”. She said “yes but how many did you drink the other night when it was hot?”. I said that I’d dunk 3. She asked me where I’d found them. I replied that I had them from an Italian guy at work. She wanted to know why I’d been seeing him.

And seeing as I’m teetotal, the idea that I’d be drinking beer is rather bizarre too.

red powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Finally there were 4 of us, 3 men and Nerina. She had to go for a Covid special treatment because her first injection had come up with something. We all went to this marquee and those 2 stood outside and the 2 of us went in. Going in was something because there were people blocking the door. We had to register Nerina. Eventually she managed to be seen so i went to stand outside. We were waiting for ages watching all these GMT double-deckers drive past. Suddenly she came out so we could leave. I asked about her treatment and how many injections she’d had. She said that this was her 2nd. She asked a couple of strange questions. There was some kind of crate or container on wheels that she was pushing so we took it in turns to push it. First one guy pushed it and then I pushed it and then Nerina and then the other guy. At one point one of the guys said that he was becoming fed up of pushing this which was no surprise for it was up a steep hill on a grassy verge. I said “never mind, I’ll push it”. I pushed it up to the top of the hill. Not too far away was a pub. It used to be called the “Cheshire Cheese”. This guy said “do you know, it’s been years since i’ve been to a pub on a Saturday night for a quiet drink”. I said to him “go and ask the other guy and if he agrees we’ll all go in there and have a drink on the way home” so he went off to check with the other guy about going for a drink.

So after having several of my family members coming round to bother me, I had Nerina last night come to join me. Her presence doesn’t bother me at all because, after all, I did invite her willingly to take part in my life, for better or for worse so she’s every right to be here.

But where are Castor, Zero and TOTGA? I haven’t seen them for an age.

Anyway, it was another difficult start to the morning as I struggled to my feet to face the day. And after the medication I came in here and transcribed the dictaphone notes, of which there were more than just a few.

There was an interruption when the Postie came by with a large box. So I now have the bits for the fridge and I can open the door without running any risk (for now, anyway) of a load of bottles falling out.

Having eventually finished the dictaphone notes the rest of the day has been spent steam-cleaning the kitchen. Well, not exactly, and for two reasons too –

1) My in-depth cleaning skills aren’t as good as many other people’s. I don’t seem to have the correct technique in this respect
2) These days I can’t work like I used to. I can only do about 10 minutes and then I have to go and sit down for an hour. Consequently it’s taking me an age to do anything.

However you can actually see the difference and if I keep on progressing like this, a little bit here and a little bit there, I might eventually finish it. Who knows?

There were the usual interruptions, like the Postie, breakfast, my lunchtime fruit and also my walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while I was being buzzed by the Nazgul that you saw earlier, I headed off to the wall at the end of the car park to look down onto the beach to see what was happening.

The weather was bright and sunny with a few clouds here and there, but colder than it has been of late. Nevertheless there were still plenty of people down there on the beach.

And even a few taking to the water. I know that at one point I was sorely tempted to go down and join them but today wasn’t one of those days. It wasn’t that warm.

There’s a yellow inflatable boat down there on the rocks and that would be much more like my way of going out to sea.

zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022This isn’t it though.

While I was looking down onto the beach I was also looking out to sea at the same time. And that was when I picked up a white streak of water being disturbed way out in the bay.

A closer look when I returned home and enlarges and enhanced the image shows that it was a zodiac streaking by. He wasn’t hanging about at all. Il a le feu dans ses fesses – “he has a fire up his … ” well, never mind.

The footpath was crowded again today. All of the people who had turned out this afternoon but probably found it too cold on the beach had gone for a walk instead.

f-gcum robin dr400 180 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while I was fighting my way through the multitudes I was being overflown yet again.

We’ve seen the Nazgul and the red powered hang-glider, and now it’s the turn of F-GCUM, one of the Robin DR400-180 aeroplanes that belong to the aero club and fly out of the airfield just a couple of miles up the coast.

She took off from the airfield at 16:04, flew down the coast to do a lap around Mont St Michel and then came back home to land at 16:28. So seeing that my photo is timed at 16:20 (adjusted) that’s about right, I reckon.

And I wish that everyone else who takes off from there would file a flight plan.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Fighting my way through the carpark and past the cars parked on the lawn, I ended up at the end of the headland again.

There were a few people loitering around by the cabanon vauban and they were certainly having their money’s worth this afternoon for a change given how things have been this last couple of days.

A little earlier we saw Belle France and the newer Joly France ferries go past on their way out to the island. Those people down there must have had a spectacular view of them going by just offshore

And so must the people down on the bottom path. There were quite a few people wandering around down there too.

wind surfer baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And the two ferries weren’t all that there was to see this afternoon either.

swinging along on the breeze behind them (well, a long way behind them actually) was a windsurfer, looking for all the world totally untroubled by anything. He must have been having a really good time out there just now.

When I was in Brussels I met a young guy who had been a champion windsurfer. He told me that on several occasions he had set out from Kent to try to windsurf across the Channel but kept on running foul of the French marine patrol who didn’t want him and his craft in French waters.

And seeing how quickly this guy was moving on his windsurf board, I could see how it might have been possible to travel that distance.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So leaving the windsurfer to his own devices I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

So ask me how I know that the second ferry in the line was the newer one of the two Joly France boats. The answer is that here at the ferry terminal we have the second one.

And by looking at the windows and seeing that they are in “landscape”, not “portrait” format, that she has a larger upper deck superstructure and there’s no step cut in the stern, we can tell that this one is the older one of the two.

There’s no-one about on board so it looks as if she’s not going anywhere right now.

gerlean fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Over at the Fish processing Plant we have a ship tied up there that’s sitting in the silt, seeing as the tide is not yet in.

She is of course Gerlean and we can recognise her with no problems, having seen her often enough these days tied up over there. No sign of L’Omerta today though.

And as for what’s happening in the chantier naval today, everything over there is exactly the same as yesterday. No additions, and nothing taken away either.

On that note I headed for home and my coffee.

marité marie fernand port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022But before I do, just a little change down there at the loading bay.

All of the freight that’s been there for a few days has now gone. That means that someone has been in to pick it up but I don’t know who that might be. Neither Normandy Trader nor Normandy Warrior have been in port today.

On the other hand, Chausiaise departed at 10:17 and arrived in St Helier at 13:47 and wasn’t back in the harbour when I looked, so that’s the likely answer.

Meanwhile, in other news, Marité and the new arrival, Marie Fernand, are still here thia afternoon.

Back here I had my coffee and did a little more desultory cleaning up. If I’m not careful this place might end up looking as if someone is living here and we can’t allow that.

Tea was a burger on a bap with potatoes and veg and it really was delicious too.

So now that I’ve finished my notes I’ll gird up my lojns and try for an early night at long last. A few more travels might do me good but wouldn’t it be nice if one of my favourite young ladies came to visit me? I wonder where they have got to.

And remember the traffic queue and the policemen from Sunday? Apparently it was a “control” and they stopped for questioning 266 motor vehicles.

History does not record how many led to a subsequent prosecution.

Monday 8th August 2022 – EVEN THOUGH I WENT …

… to bed fairly early last night, the 06:00 start didn’t do me much good and round about 12:45 while I was thinking about lunchtime, I ended up going away with the fairies.

And not just for five minutes either. When the alarm went off at 14:45 to remind me about my physiotherapy appointment (that I’m not restarting until next week) I was only just about tucking into my lunchtime fruit.

That was a period that I would like very much to forget.

When the alarm did go off at 06:00 I was out of bed quite quickly for my medication etc and round about 06:30 I was beginning to attack the radio programme.

There were a couple of new groups and artistes making their debuts so I had to carry out some research rather than just extracting information from my notes, and then I had to find about 11 seconds of speech to edit out when it came to adding the final track as it over-run.

As a result, it wasn’t finished until about 11:20 but it does all sound very good and, as usual, I learnt a lot.

That was the cue to go for breakfast, much later than usual, and Rosemary mistimed her ‘phone call because I hadn’t quite finished my toast when she rang up. We ended up chatting for about 45 minutes during which I told her about my vicissitudes at the hospital on Thursday.

It was shortly after the end of my phone call with Rosemary when I crashed out.

After lunch I made a start on transcribing the dictaphone notes but stopped half-way through because it was time for me to go on my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual, the first place to go was to go and see what was happening down on the beach.

Consequently I wandered off across the car park to the wall at the end of the car park where I can look over and down onto the beach.

As it was a lovely day, I was expecting to see crowds of people down there this afternoon and I wasn’t disappointed either. There were plenty of people disporting themselves on the rocks and many of them had actually gone into the sea.

It must have been really nice down there this afternoon and what wouldn’t I have given to be down there with them?

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual, while I was looking around down on the beach I was also having a look around out at sea too.

Away out in Granville Bay almost in the English Channel (you can see the channel marker over to the right) was a beautiful set of sails, the topsail of which was bellying out in the wind.

No prizes for guessing who it was, although I had to wait until I returned home to enlarge and enhance the image to make certain.

It is indeed our old friend Marité who has gone out for a sail around the bay with a bunch of passengers. At least, that’s why I imagine that she’s gone out there.

belle france joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was even more activity out at sea too.

As I watched the action in the bay we almost ended up with another one of Tom Rolt’s “Greek v Greek” moments. There was a ferry on its way back from the Ile de Chausey and another one going out from the mainland and it looked at first as if they were on a collision course.

The one of the left heading out to the island is the very new Belle France and the one coming in on the right from the island is one of the Joly France boats.

They didn’t stay on the collision course for long though so I was cheated out of some free entertainment. Belle France did a little bit of the old “left hand down a bit” and they passed each other to starboard.

flying a kite pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022From my vantage point at the back of the College Malraux where I’d been observing the nautical goings-on, I headed off down the path towards the end of the headland.

On the lawn half-way down the path there was a father and his little child having endless amounts of fun with a balloon. Unfortunately he couldn’t keep it up for all that long and it soon came crashing down to the ground.

But just look at the vegetation. It really is in a right state, isn’t it? All burnt to a rather delicate shade of light brown with just the odd patch of green weed that still seems to be thriving.

And the path is like an Oklahoma Dust Bowl from the 1930s and with the wind, there’s quite a bit of dust being blown about.

joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Acros the car park I walked down to the end of the headland to see what was happening out at sea in the bay.

There was plenty of activity out there this afternoon but I was much more interested in the ferry that we had seen a little earlier that was now just sailing around the headland towards the port.

From this position it’s easy to see which one of the ferries she it. With the step taken out of the stern and the windows in “portrait” format, we can tell that she’s the newer one of the two.

Strangely, there was no-one on the bench by the cabanon vauban watching the fun, and no-one fishing off the rocks either, so I pushed on down the path on the other side of the headland towards point.

ch764626 chant des sirenes ch 730708 la soupape I ch898472 cap lihou chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There has been some activity in the chantier naval while I was away in Leuven.

Chant des Sirenes and her painted mermaid are still in there, but I can’t remember who was there with her before I went away. Anyway, in there today with her is La Soupape I and over on the extreme right by the portable boat lift is Cap Lihou.

There’s a trawler in between Chant des Sirenes and La Soupape I but I can’t identify her from this position.

L’Omerta was still there moored up by the Fish Processing Plant but she was on her own.

men working on crane chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022They were having fun with one of the cranes in the inner harbour this afternoon.

That’s the one that they renovated a couple of months ago as you can tell by its new fresh paintwork but now someone is busy presumably checking over the hydraulics.

Chausiaise is over there too moored up close to the crane but the two Channel Island ferries are missing.

Back here I finished off the banana drink that I’d brought back from Leuven and then finished off the dictaphone notes from last night. I started out at school, sitting in a lesson writing notes into a notebook. On the cover of this notebook I had a drawing and the name of The Farmer’s Daughter (who has appeared a few times in the past in my nocturnal rambles but was only there last night in spirit) who went to this school and on whom I had quite a crush. When the lesson finished I put my notebook in the desk. Of course it happened to be hers. We all filed out of the classroom and I didn’t think anything of it. It wasn’t until a couple of lessons later when one of the teachers asked me for a piece of work and I realised that it was in the notebook that was in The Farmer’s Daughter’s desk. He wanted it straight away so I had to go to her classroom. It was being used by another group. My brother was there along with a load of other people whom I knew so I had to interrupt the lesson to ask if I could collect something out of one of the desks. All the desks had been pushed over to the back wall to make a large empty space in the middle. I didn’t have a clue whose desk was whose and what and where. I had a look in them all as best as I could but I couldn’t find this notebook. I wasn’t even sure that I’d looked in them all. I did everything that I possibly could but in the end I had to admit defeat. I thanked the teacher and the class for their time and made my way out to go. They had all piles of magazines etc stacked up ready to be distributed amongst the students etc. Everything was in a real mess. There was no way that I could find this desk with this notebook in it so I was wondering what was going to happen next.

As it happens, I did have quite a crush on her at school although that didn’t go anywhere. However we did meet up in Manchester once or twice when I was living there and we saw each other once or twice.

Later on Nerina and I had separated and I was left with a pile of cars. I had the red MkV estate, the brown MkIII saloon and a couple of other estates. I decided that what I was going to do was to trim down the fleet and dispose of a couple of estates. I was putting a couple of ads in the newspapers. I’d written the ads but I hadn’t sent them off yet and I hadn’t decided which of the estates I was going to sell. I was obviously going to keep the red one but I didn’t know about the others. Then I was thinking that at the moment I don’t have a car on the road. There was no reason why the MkIII can’t be on the road because that’s MoT’d but it’s not taxed and I could afford to pay the road tax for once so I may as well tax it and have that going. While I was debating this my brother came along and asked me what I was doing. I said that I was contemplating the ceiling. He said “besides that”. I said that I was getting ready – I was going to – I was at work. He said “that’s not what I mean at all”. I replied “that’s all that I’m doing at the moment. I’m not doing anything else. It’s not the Spring or Summer so i’m not working on any cars. I’d leave it until then to put something else on the road running”. The chat with my brother turned in to be something rather acrimonious.

For some reason I was looking at fishing rods. I still had my fishing rod from when I was a kid but it was falling to pieces. I was looking in the window at various fishing rods. There was a young boy standing there looking who came over to talk to me. While I was looking at some that were in the region of £70-£80 he was just looking at any old one. I found out that he had never been fishing before and wanted to have a go. In the end he came into one of the shops with me and we had a talk to the woman behind the counter. I introduced her to him and he explained that he wanted to go fishing. She took him off to have a go with a few things while I listened to the radio about a few few fishing programmes. She came back with him picking a fishing rod at £5:95 but it needs some line and a few other bits and pieces. I said “that sounds good to me. Make sure that he has everything”. Then we started talking about what I really wanted. I explained that I wanted something good that would work under ice as well.

Like most kids, I had some fishing tackle that my grandfather gave me but I only went out about three or four times and just like the fishermen around here, I never actually caught anything. It was like watching paint dry.

Finally there was some woman whom I wanted to see, something to do with the radio. When I found out where she lived I went round to see her. She had some kind of security guy on the door who refused to let me in on the grounds that she was working. I suggested that maybe the 2 of us could do our work together and that way I could talk to her while she was working and neither of us would be wasting any time.

Having had a search around in that old-time radio site that I mentioned the other day, I came across some more ITMA, some “Much Binding In The Marsh”, some PG Wodehouse and some more Clitheroe Kid that I’ve not found elsewhere so I’ve been downloading that.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper which was delicious and now that I’ve finished my notes, I’m off to bed for an early night. I’m exhausted and a good sleep will do me the world of good. I bet that I’ll still fall asleep at some point tomorrow

Thursday 14th July 2022 – WHILE I WAS …

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… writing up my notes for yesterday I was still talking to Liz.

She was telling me that tonight’s full moon was going to be excellent so I decided that before I nipped off to bed I would go off and have a quick look.

There had been a firework display over at Sp Pair sur Mer and there were still crowds of people milling around who had been watching from the clifftop here, including one of my neighbours and we had an intersting chat for quite a while.

And then I wandered off to take a few photos of the moon.

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022 There was quite a lot of cloud out there so I took a comfortable seat on the wall overlooking the harbour and waited for it to rise up through the clouds.

So while I’m waiting for the moon to rise, I can tell you about the rest of my night last night once I’d gone to bed.

I had a really long dream but when I awoke I forgot most of it immediately. I was with Nerina last night at some kind of wedding. There were lots of people around there and gradually they started to go. Most of them were going by some means and I don’t know what it was but there were still people there and all the children were dancing etc. It was really sad to see the people disappearing one by one and even Nerina was quite disappointed when some people whom she knew started to leave. In the end someoe came over to me and said “there are all these cars here. You can take whichever one you like”. I thought “I have all my stuff in Caliburn so I don’t want to start taking it out at this time of night and changing it over so I reckon that we’ll go in Caliburn anyway”. There was much more to it than this but I really can’t remember any more.

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Later on there was another dream as well involving a few kids being totally obnoxious. We had a lot of things to do and not much time to do it so we were doing things on the sly like when we were trying to deal with this party of people even though we weren’t allowed to use the kitchen we were still doing it all the same so everyone had to keep really quiet but that was absolutely impossible. Everyone was coming and going. There was no control whatsoever over anything. I had some food to make for a little boy. In the end I made him a sausage sandwich. Cooking the sausages was exciting. Half the bread fell into a wash bucket so I had to use a different kind of bread for half of it. All in all it was just absolute total chaos. It ended by some young boy in his early teens having to ring his girlfriend to tell her something important and all he got was her on an answerphone message so that didn’t work out particularly well. Again, there was much more than this that I can’t remember.

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022I was having a really happy time with my little girlfriend who worked on Saturdays at the library in Nantwich. I was round at her house with her parents talking about all kinds of things including alarm clocks. Of course I have the alarm on the phone that wakes me. Then we went out for a walk around the village laughing and joking. There had been some kind of story where a family who were extremely religious had gone for a pizza on Sunday which of course is not the done thing in religion so we all laughed about that “if we aren’t careful we’ll end up with a pizza”. We ended up looking around in a shop full of surplus clothing, catalogue returns etc. I don’t know what she was looking for but she had a really good look round. Then she saw some radios of the type that she had to awaken her so she wanted me to go to look at them. I did out of politeness. I was looking at the range of Mhz that the radios covered and the bands. If I could find a short-wave one with a decent coverage I might think about it but there wasn’t anything. I couldn’t even pick up my niece’s husband’s private radio station on medium wave on it, his was set so low. The salesman was extremely pushy etc. In the end we walked away hand-in-hand and skipped off down the road again. It was all very nice and very pleasant.

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The idea that I would be talking to her parents is unfortunately rather amusing.

They hated me with a passion which is not a surprise because I was a different person as a teenager or a young adult … “not THAT much different” – ed.

But she was lovely. She worked in the library on Saturdays and she would go through the new arrival LPs. Any that she knew that I would like she would smuggle out and I would tape them, for her to return the following Saturday.

Christmas 1977 when we were totally broke and had no money, we devised a cunning plan. Audlem, the village where she lived, was a strange village of two halves, the rustics and the well-to-dos. We made up a pile of expensive-looking Christmas cards out of bits and pieces and then took them round to deliver to the well-to-dos.
“Oh, how nice. Thank you very much. Do come in and have a drink and a mince pie”
We were totally gone with the wind by the end of the evening and it didn’t cost us a penny. That was a really good night.

However, her parents took an extremely dim view of the proceedings and that was the final nail in the coffin of our relationship.

We did go out (as friends) to a few rock concerts later but that didn’t reignite our relationship.

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022A few years later I was driving a coach through Shropshire and stopped to go to the bank for some cash.

And who should be serving behind the counter?

We had a brief exchange of pleasantries because I was in a rush but I went back a few months later only to find that she wasn’t there. She was training at that branch when I met her and no-one would tell me where she had gone.

Yes, she’s another one who had a lucky escape from my evil clutches and I’ll give all that I own to speak to her again if she ever were to surface. She had rather an unusual name but it never came up on the internet. I tried.

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022She’s not the only one to have been on the end of a broken relationship due to alcohol.

When I was 17 and my girlfriend at the time was almost 14 (and that’s a long story too) Lindisfarne were playing at a private members’ club in Crewe. Too young to be a member myself, I borrowed the membership cards of my older sister and her husband and we both went to see them.

She hadn’t ever drunk alcohol before, as I found out far too late to do any good, and you can’t take it out once it’s gone in.

So that, dear reader, was that once her mother came to pick her up.

I was round at my niece and her husband’s house last night. It was somewhere nothing like their place at all. A whole group of us was on holiday. I was talking about work again saying that I’m over the retirement age now so if they annoy me which they had done during that week I’d turn round and not go in at all on Monday. I was outside the shop working. What I’d done was to draw a picture of what I had seen outside their shop and was busy trying to paint it. Things weren’t going too well and I’d made a big mess of the rear of a car. I was in all kinds of messes with that. Just then a couple of girls came over and started to ask me questions about myself and to chat to me. I had a little chat with them. Suddenly I looked at my watch and saw that it was 08:55. I thought “God! I have to be at work shortly!” so I had to get myself ready, grab my things and go. This picture only undeleted part of the mess that I’d done. I hoped that the rest of the undelete etc would still be in there when I came back this evening otherwise this picture is totally ruined and I’d have to start again

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022So when I’d finished photographong the moon, I came back home.

On the way I looked behind me and saw the moonlight reflecting on the water in the harbour. It looked quite picturesque so I took a photo, although it’s rather a shame that it’s over-exposed.

Back here I finally went to bed and ended up in the arms of Morpheus and wandered off into the dark recesses of my mind. It was quite a mobile night as you can tell, and I was quite exhausted when the alarm went off.

It was a struggle to leave my bed when the alarm went off but nevertheless I managed to go for my medication without too much trouble, even working out that I was a medication short in my pile.

Back here I transcribed the notes for my nocturnal voyages and then rather regrettably I fell asleep. And not just for five minutes either.

When I finally recovered I’ve been bashing out the rest of the photos from June. It took much longer than I expected too because I had to research one or two locations as I had written them incorrectly in my notes.

bad parking place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Soon enough, it was time for me to go off for my afternoon walk. Not that I went very far though at first.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I have commented in the past that I won’t go on quite so much about bad parking but sometimes it just can’t be helped.

It’s not actually the fact that this person has taken up two parking spaces that is so annoying. It’s the fact that this is a private car park and whoever is the driver of this vehicle isn’t a resident of the block.

This is just plain ignorant.

But as an aside, just WHEN are they going to come and repair our entrance barrier?

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022In rather a foul mood after that, I wandered off towards the wall at the end of the car park.

Down below, there was plenty of beach this afternoon. The tide was quite far out today.

Surprisingly there weren’t all that many people down there enjoying it. Despite the wind, which was quite strong this afternoon as you can tell from the whitecaps, it really was a nice afternoon and I’d expected to see many more people down there.

No-one in the water as far as I can see either. In fact, I’m surprised that surfing hasn’t become a major pastime here.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Despite the high winds and rough seas, there were several trawlers out there this afternoon.

This one looks as if it might be fishing because although it was too far out for me to see if it had its nets out, it was travelling quite slowly with its stern to the French shore.

As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … since the recent fishing disputes flared up, they seem to be trying new fishing grounds much closer to home.

There were quite a few people wandering around on the path today. They were making the most of the warm weather. I joined them on their trek down to the lighthouse.

fishermen peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There was nothing going on down at the end of the headland this afternoon.

No-one on the bench at the cabanon vauban but there were several people down there on the rocks. We have a fisherman with rod and line and also a couple of dozen people at the pèche à pied.

From here I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland and, surprisingly, there was nothing going on at the port.

Just Monaco du Nord II in the chantier naval and no-one at the ferry terminal or playing “Musical Ships” at the Fish Processing Plant.

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022In the inner harbour we saw Victor Hugo moored at the quayside.

We saw her yesterday out at sea off the Pointe du Roc but she has eventually made it into port. And it doesn’t look as if she’s going back out this afternoon.

Back here I had the last of my banana drink and then spent a couple of hours with the guitar that would take me up to teatime. And the timing of “Born to Run” is very difficult to grasp.

Tea tonight was veggie balls with pasta and vegetables, mixed with a nice spicy tomato sauce. That was really nice.

It’s cloudy tonight, otherwise I might have been tempted to go out and look at the moon. Instead I’ll have an early night ready for tomorrow.

It was a Bank Holiday today of course, Bastille Day. And we all know why the French stormed the Bastille on the 14th July. That ws because with it being a Bank Holiday all of the shops were closed and they had nothing else to do.

Wednesday 13th July 2022 – AND THE WINNER …

… of yesterday’s sweepstake is “whoever suggested Nerina”.

She came to accompany on my voyages around and about last night – or, at least, part of them. It was pouring down with rain and we were on our way to our cabin. She was telling me that she thought that it was all wrong, what we were doing with the solar panels and wind turbines. We should have had a job where we could have worked and just spent the weekend and our spare time doing up the house and everything so that we could at least have had some money behind us. I said that there’s little point in arguing now because we were so well advanced. Things were going along anyway. It was pouring down with rain and we had 2 people with us. We were walking down this asphalt path towards our cabin. The path ended and it meant walking across a field. It was extremely muddy in places. These other 2 people found the muddy bits but Nerina and I were lucky. It was pitch-black the sky, daylight but it was so dark and raining that Nerina wanted to know what the batteries were doing. I could see through the window that there was just a faint glimmer of an orange light so I said that there was some charge in there. She thought that the fact that we could see everything through the window meant that it wasn’t really burglar-proof and we should have done more to try to hide everything from the public view when they were gazing in through the window.

There was much more than just that last night as well. One of my father’s friends had been sent to prison for something or other for a couple of months. He was now out and living near Worleston. One of my family but I can’t remember who – one of my sisters – needed a wheel bearing changing on her car so I suggested that this guy would do it. I tried to give her directions to Worleston but it wasn’t easy for some reason and I couldn’t understand why. It was a pretty straightforward place to go to from where we lived but she couldn’t understand the directions and mine were probably much more complicated than they would be in real life. In the end I thought that I’d drive over to see him so I went. He was there with his wife in his house. We had a little chat. He asked me how I was doing, whether I was off to University now that school had finished etc. It was very hard for me to talk to him because I didn’t want to ask him many questions about how he’d been and what he’d been doing because I didn’t imagine that he would want to talk to me about his 3 months in prison so it was an extremely stilted conversation, very difficult.

There was something similar about an Infant’s School that had been created in an old monastery or similar, that kind of building, but I can’t remember anything at all about that or who was there.

While I was round at that guy’s house, which had now turned itself into some kind of luxury apartment, there were all these girls coming over asking if we could do something to their cars. It was very nice, seeing all these pretty girls but as time went on we came to the conclusion that there was something going on about which we didn’t know anything that was bringing all these girls here. We were sure that it wouldn’t be car repairs

Finally I’d bought a new expensive guitar and I’d gone to the bank to see whether I had the right to reclaim the VAT on it. There was quite a queue, a couple of women in front of me doing all kinds of different things. Then some guy turned up and pushed in front to start to argue with the woman behind the counter about something. I didn’t speak German well enough to tell him to clear off but I was really annoyed by this and I made sure that he knew it. Eventually it was my turn and the clerk was away for ages. She came back with a huge sheaf of papers and pointed out all kinds of things that I’d bought in the past. She explained to me that I’d reached my limit for duty-free purchases and I wasn’t able to claim the tax back on this guitar which was extremely disappointing.

When the alarm went off this morning I was out of bed quite quickly and after the medication checked my mails and messages as usual.

First task this morning was to make some more fruit buns, otherwise I wouldn’t have anything to eat for breakfast.

home made fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022300 grammes of flour, a pile of ground brazil nuts into a kind of coarse flour (and if it’s “coarse” you want, then in the words of the late, great Bob Doney “I’m your man”), some desiccated coconut, sultanas and raisins, banana chips, dried tropical fruits, some salt and some yeast all mixed up with 125ml of water and a ripe banana.

The mixture was well-kneaded, rolled, shaped and then left to proof for 45 minutes. Then it was all brushed with milk and sprinkled with brown sugar and baked for 35 minutes.

And when it was all baked, it looked delicious. And tasted delicious too. I think that I’ve mastered this process for now. One of them makes a lovely breakfast with some hot strong coffee.

After breakfast I had a few things to do.

Firstly I had to check all of my hospital appointments for 4th August and then make all of the necessary reservations on the train.

What I have done is to make an executive decision (that is, a decision that if it’s not the correct decision the person who made it is executed) that I’m not coming and going via Lille. It costs me more but the trek across town from Lille Flandres to Lille Europe is quite uphill and I don’t fancy that very much at the moment.

There have been changes too at the place where I stay. The smaller, cheaper rooms are now only available on long-tern let so I’ve had to pay for a more expensive room. Still cheaper than anywhere else in Leuven though.

One good thing about it is that I finally managed to make my Belgian credit card work and that will save me quite a bit of anguish in the future.

Rosemary rang me as well for one of our usual chats that go on for hours. Surprisingly, we managed to steer clear of politics. There is no doubt that having to deal with the issues that arise from caring for a family of Ukrainian refugees is a whole new way of life and a full-time occupation.

She also told me that little Miss Ukrainian is a little better, which is good news, and that one of the local boys who lives nearby asked her to come with him while he took his dog for a walk. Yes, I can remember when I was barely a teenager too and I think that it’s sweet.

Having had a good session on the guitar this afternoon I went out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022As usual I went across the car park, having said “hello” to a neighbour, to the wall at the end of the car park to look down onto the beach to see what was happening there.

There’s rather more beach there today but surprisingly, nothing like as many people. That’s a surprise because it was probably the warmest day of the year today and I was expected to see hordes of people taking full advantage.

Only a handful of people in the water too. I don’t know where everyone has gone to this afternoon. There is nothing else happening around the town today.

hang gliders place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022While I was watching the people on the beach I suddenly felt the cold hand of doom on my shoulder.

Never mind the odd one or two that were passing by overhead, there was a whole squadron of them assembling down by the field next to the cemetery.

By the looks of things it was the entire force of Nine Riders together with several reserves. Give them 10 minutes and they’ll all be heading my way so I cleared off down the path so that they wouldn’t sweep down on me.

Where is Legolas when you need him?

l'omerta baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022No prozes for guessing who this shell-fishing boat is. After all, we’ve seen her often enough.

Right out there in the Baie de Granville over towards the Ile de Chausey is our old friend L’Omerta. For a change she isn’t playing a new game of “Musical Ships” today but is out there at sea working.

When I saw her out in the distance I couldn’t identify her at that kind of distance but back here when I enhanced and enlarged the photo I could distinguish her silhouette quite clearly with her winch assembly on the stern.

people with kite pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There weren’t all that many people wandering around on the path this afternoon so I had it pretty much to myself this afternoon.

But on the grass by one of the old bunkers from the Atlantic Wall defences of the Second World War was a young family having a great deal of fun flying a kite.

That reminds me of a time when I was with Laurence and Roxanne at the seaside on the “Costa Stella” in Belgium when Roxanne and I managed to put a kite quite high in the air. Roxanne was delighted until it crashed down into someone’s picnic.

The two of us had loads of fun together in the three years that she was my “daughter”.

f-gykl Robin DR400 160 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The kite and the Nazguls weren’t the only things flying around in the air this afternoon.

While I was admiring the kite a light aeroplane went flying by overhead. She is F-GYKL, a Robin DR400-160 and one that we haven’t seen here before.

She took off from Cherbourg at 15:09 and disappeared off the radar near Avranches at 15:35. She was next picked up near Granville at 16.21 (I saw her overhead at 16:12) and went back to Cherbourg, so it’s probably someone else clocking up the flying time on a nice warm day.

victor hugo baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Now here’s a thing.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve complained … “surely not!” – ed … on several occasions that I’ve yet to see Victor Hugo going out to sea on a ferry trip to St Helier.

But here she is today, out in the bay with her bow pointing in the direction of the Channel Islands.

However if you look closely at the photo you’ll see that there is no wake. In fact she didn’t move for all the tima that she was in my field of vision. So there’s definitely something not quite right.

It’s always possible of course that she’s waiting for the tide to come in at Granville so that she can dock at the ferry terminal but she’s facing the wrong way for that.

fishing boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022With nothing happening at the end of the headland I wandered off around the headland to the port.

On the way I had a look out towards the Baie de Mont St Michel to see what was happening there. No sailing school out there this afternoon but there were several of the smaller shell-fishing boats waiting for the tide so that they could come into port.

This perhaps give some kind of credence to the idea that Victor Hugo is waiting for the tide to come in even if it might be facing the wrong way.

la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Someone has however made it into port at some time just recently.

That is, unless we are having a new competitor in our game of “Musical Ships”. Moored over there and settled down in the silt is La Grande Ancre.

We’ve seen her quite often loaded up with crates of shellfish and we can see that there are piles of crates on the quayside up above her.

We’ve also seen her doing other things too. I recall on one occasion seeing her coming over from the Ile de Chausey carrying an old wreck of a tractor and probably a few other things as well

monaco du nord 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There’s also a new arrival in the chantier naval today too.

Philcathane who was in there when we came back from Germany left some time after Monday afternoon so the yard was empty but today we can see that Monaco du Nord II has been brought in.

And “Monaco du Nord”? That’s the nickname that is given to Granville, and not without reason either. Firstly we have the kind of weather that allows certain kinds of palm trees and the like to flourish here.

Secondly, the Monegasque royal family has people from Granville in its family tree. In 1715 Jacques François Léonor de Goyon de Matignon who lived in the old town here and whose house we have seen on the corner of the Place Cambernon on several occasions married Louise Hippolyte Grimaldi.

yellow autogyro place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Having seen all that there was to see out in the harbour I headed for home and my banana drink.

On the way back I was overflown yet again. This time it was the little yellow autogyro, complete with passenger, going by overhead on its way back to the airfield.

Back here I mixed myself a banana drink with plenty of ice and came in to drink it. Instead though, I crashed out for an hour. It looks as if I’m slowly going back to where I started off a few weeks ago.

When I awoke I had another session with the guitar. I’m trying to find some more stuff to play with the bass but I seem instead to be finding more acoustic tracks. In fact another 5 have been added to that playlist today and if I’m not careful I’ll end up with 200 songs in it.

What this might seem to indicate is that my acoustic guitar playing is improving. God help us!

Tea tonight was a burger on a bun and for a change I had a salad with my potato. Plenty of salad stuff around here seeing as I’m not eating lunch these days and I have to use it up somehow.

Later on I had a nice long chat with Liz. It seems to be my day for speaking to friends. Can’t have too many of those. We talked about all kinds of things, including my little voyages during the night. She hoped that I would find some nice and interesting companions to accompany me on my travels tonight.

another night with Zero would certainly be nice and interesting but that’s probably expecting too much. It’s pretty much like pot luck these days and I’m very lucky indeed if it works out as I would like.

Sunday 19th June 2022 – HERE WE ALL ARE …

strawberry moose place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022… not exactly sitting in a rainbow but sitting in a Premiere Classe hotel in Tours in Western France.

And when I say “we” I really do mean “we” for I am not alone. As you might expect, STRAWBERRY MOOSE has come with me too. I can’t leave him behind.

And just in case you are wondering, I’ve already made a considerable list of things that I’ve forgotten. Most people make a lost and pack accordingly. I pack and then make a list of what I’ve forgotten.

Despite a late night last night I was awake at 08:30 and drifted in and out of sleep for another couple of hours

After the meds and checking the medication I started to back up the big computer onto the little portable memory stick that travels with me. And that wasn’t the work of five minutes.

Then I had to finish off emptying out Caliburn and packing up everything to go in him. The final task was to do all of the washing up and cleaning and then disinfect everywhere.

There were plenty of notes on the dictaphone too. I was writing stuff for a radio programme, the notes for the music. One was for a particular group from the 60s. I remembered seeing them and I got on really well with them. They were busted for drugs like most groups were at the time. I always remembered the last time I saw the girl singer was that some of her group had gone already. She was singing with just one or two of them in the street on this makeshift stage. At the end she got off and came over to see me smiling and we bumped fists. She wandered off down the street and that was the last I ever saw of her. I remember thinking about how nostalgic this was and things might have been different to everyone’s lives if instead of bumping fists I’d grabbed hold of her and held her like I wanted to do but I didn’t really know whether I should have done at the time.

Later I was with Nerina and she was having problems as well with her new relationship. They were no longer sharing a room together. Where they worked in this motel they had a room made up for both of them but they were actually sleeping in separate rooms. I asked how long this had been going on and she replied “a couple of years”. Anyway they had been caught doing this and it had led to all kinds of different complications and for all kinds of different reasons that they were no longer actually living together.

Finally there was a group of us on board a boat. We’d had a meal and we were doing the washing up on the back of the boat outside. There was a little guy on board something similar to Hercule Poirot. He came over and said that he had a request for us. We asked what it was and he asked could we go and do the washing up in the kitchen, in the sink. I couldn’t understand why so I asked him why but he couldn’t really come out with a really good answer. Someone else cottoned on to the fact that he didn’t think that the washing up was being done correctly. It needed to be done in running water and the plates properly scrubbed and everything like that. He didn’t think that what we were doing was very hygienic. I was basically on the point of telling him that if he wanted the washing up done down in the boat in the kitchen he can take the bowl away and do it himself rather than disturbing us who were doing it while he was doing nothing but discretion got the better of me. I tried to find out exactly what his precise objection was but for some unknown reason he wasn’t really all that keen in spelling it out. It was annoying me that we were working and he wasn’t and he didn’t like the way that we were working but he didn’t actually volunteer to come along and do the work himself if he wanted it done in a different way.

There was much more to it than this but you really don’t want to know about it, especially if you are eating your tea right now.

By 16:00 I was on the road again. First stop was at LeClerc to fuel up (and that cost me an arm and a leg) and then we had a leisurely drive through the French countryside.

We hit Tours, 250 kms away, at 20:00 and saw a cheap B&B hotel so I left the ring road, found myself stuck on the motorway and couldn’t find my way back, came off and couldn’t get back on to retrace my steps.

premiere classe hotel joué les tours France Eric Hall photo June 2022However, all was not lost. After I’d been driving for a while around the suburbs of Tours trying to find that hotel, a Première Classe Hotel loomed up out of the gloom.

A room was a mere €45:00 which I’ll take any time, and they arranged for a vegan pizza for me at a nearby hotel that even gave me 15% off.

As you might expect, I’m totally wasted after the drive. I’m clearly not up to this. The day that I drove non-stop pulling a trailer for 32.5 hours are long-gone.

But right now, I’m off to bed. I’ve earned a good night’s sleep.

Thursday 9th June 2022 – I WAS DOING …

… really well today. I went all the way through to the late afternoon without crashing out and I even managed to accomplish a great deal of work which was quite a surprise.

And when you see how far I travelled during the night, it’s a surprise that I wasn’t dead on my feet a long time before I did.

Once again I was awake before the alarm went off – at about 06:30 in fact – and there was no difficulty at all in leaving the bed as soon as the alarm sounded.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I sat down to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. We started off with something to do with Christmas time. There were Christmas carols. Some young girl had to sing them but someone was busy trying to make her intoxicated and she was far too young for that so that they could take advantage of her. Her mother found out about what was going on and stepped in to put a stop to the situation developing out of hand. There was part of it with someone having an on-line chat. She was having all of these people queueing up to have on-line chats with her as soon as she came on-line. There were so many that she couldn’t carry on a conversation with any of them and was being swamped. If it had been a case of 2 or 3 conversations it wouldn’t have been too bad but this was dozens of people calling her for conversations as soon as she came on line and she wasn’t able to cope with any of this at all. That was a dream that was again extremely vivid and extremely real, far too real to be comfortable.

Then I had to go to the Wistaston Green estate to pick up Andrew Beddow to take him to one of the clubs in Crewe. The taxi fare came to £1:40 but he gave me a 20-guinea piece to hold onto as a sign of good faith while I waited while he went off to change a £20 note so that he’d have the correct change to give me. We were talking about taxis and money and the clubs etc. It was quite an interesting chat.

There was some kind of quiz game on TV. One of the contestants was having a right mauling and the producer went over to the presenter to ask him to go easy with the contestant because she was someone from his old school. He wanted her to have an easy ride about it. The presenter wasn’t having any of this and if anything, started to make the questions even tougher for this particular girl. That’s all that I remember of this which is a shame.

There was a swimming pool where a lot of young girls used to go. The owners had it in their heads that they wanted to set up cameras and film everyone from a safety point of view and tuition point of view. None of the customers or regulars were having it. They believed that this was being done for some kind of mischievous purpose. Everyone just upped and walked out. Even the boss of this company quit as well right in the middle of him having some kind of beauty appointment with Frank Sinatra when he handed in his notice and left.

Nerina and I had both been at work as well and we’d come home to our flat as usual. We had to go out again so we made ready. She was going out of the door and I had to check to make sure that I had my keys and money etc. There was a note on our door so she picked it up and read it. She asked me if I’d go down and put the money in an envelope that someone would give her and then inside an envelope that someone else would give her and take it to the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival so that they’d be up-to-date and if I could spend any time to work down there that would be great. I said that I’d see what I could do about that. Then we prepared to go out. There was much more to it than this but I can’t remember any more now. What confused me about this was that I found myself dictating this into my hand as well and I had to go back and start again from the beginning using the dictaphone this time. That’s how come I forgot a lot og it

And then I had to go to Nantes or Rennes and I was in the red Cortina estate. I drove all the way down there and found what I had to do. I had to come back in 2 days time. I had all my dirty clothes and a big plastic sack and I wandered around looking for a tap. Eventually I found one in a park and filled the plastic sack of clothes full of water. I was going to leave it down there for a couple of days all to soak and I could pick it up when I returned in 2 days time for the next meeting or whatever it was. While I was wrestling with this bag a woman, her husband and three little girls came down the steps. Of course I was in their way with this bag so I had to move it out of the way. I didn’t realise how heavy it was now and it was quite a wrestle for me to move it out of the path so that they could all go past and go on into this park.

Meanwhile I went all the way down to the end of the yard in these 2 old Commer vans so that I could dismantle all of the plumbing fittings that were around here. And I have a feeling that I’ve missed off a lot of this one as well.

After the events of recent times, I’m surprised that I wasn’t stark out at some early point in the morning after all of that.

There was an interruption at 10:00 for breakfast with my delicious fruit buns and to answer the telephone when Ingrid rang me. We chatted for quite a long time as we had plenty to say to each other. It’s been quite a while since we last spoke.

Having finished the dictaphone notes I had a form to fill in.

Every couple of years I have to complete a certificate to say that I’m still alive so that I can continue to receive my pension. The doctor countersigned it last time that I was there but I’d forgotten to send it off. Now they were telling me that they are planning to stop paying me unless I send it back quite soon.

It did rather remind me of the story that I’d heard about the guy who had been left a large sum of money in a will “if he could prove that he was still alive”. He had to find a Justice of the Peace to swear an oath.
The JP asked him “Are you …. (Mr X)?”
“Yes I am”
“Are you still alive?”

That left me with enough time for a shower and a good clean-up before lunch.

After lunch I had several e-mails to write. As I’ve mentioned before, this Sports Therapist wants to give me a few sessions of therapy and he wants to give a prescription to the physiotherapist about some special exercises.

Before he can do so, he needs a resumé of my health condition, presumably to make sure that nothing that he’s prescribing will compromise my hospital treatment or create a bad effect on my health.

Another thing is to tell them about how I’m feeling about my health in general, that seems to be deteriorating quite rapidly now. And so I composed an e-mail to each of the services that is treating me to make them aware of the situation and to ask them for the resumé.

gerlean port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022By now it was time for me to go out for my trip to the physiotherapist.

And as usual, I went to the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was happening this afternoon down in the harbour.

And our game of Musical Ships has taken another turn this afternoon. L’Omerta is no longer there this afternoon but in her place Gerlean is back again.

At the moment then there are only these two boats playing “Musical Ships” and I wonder how long they’ll be able to keep it up, or whether we’ll have some more players in due course.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While I was here I had a good look out in the baie de Mont St Michel.

There was plenty of activity going on there this afternoon too. After the storms of yesterday that kept everyone indoors a few of the sailing schools were out there today.

There were two sailing schools out there just outside the harbour with a couple of zodiacs shepherding them around.

And there was a third one out there deeper in the bay too as I discovered later as I was walking down the hill towards town. The students were certainly having their money’s worth this afternoon.

While I was here I had quite a shock as well. A girl who was the spitting image of Castor went walking past. I did a double-take and I still wasn’t convinced that it wasn’t she and it was quite unnerving.

Something similar happened to me in Brussels a few years ago now. It’s been years since I’ve seen Zero in the flesh and I’ve often imagined how she might have looked as she’s grown older.

And then in Brussels, of all places, into a café where I was drinking walked a girl who was exactly how I had imagined Zero to be by then. I was so surprised that I dropped my coffee.

painting zebra crossing Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022But retournons à nos moutons as they say around here – there was work going on in the street this afternoon.

The pedestrian crossing here has faded quite considerably and this afternoon they are repainting it.

And that reminds me of the time that a pedestrian was trying desperately to cross a busy street and a passer-by yelled at him “there’s a zebra crossing just a little further down the street”
“Well, I hope that it’s having better luck than I am” retorted the pedestrian.

So hotfoot in desperate pursuit of the Castor lookalike and failing miserably, I headed off down the hill into town and the Post Office where I posted my letter about my pension and then wandered off to the physiotherapist.

Somehow today, although the climb up the hill was agony again, the physiotherapy session wasn’t quite as painful today. Even so, I staggered out of there at the end of the session looking like “The Death of Nelson”.

Even walking down the hill was painful, and the least said about the climb back up towards home the better.

victor hugo chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Once again, I had to make several pauses on the way back up there to catch my breath.

One of them was at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour. Marité was there with members of her crew clambering all over her, but I was more interested in Victor Hugo and Chausiaise

We still haven’t seen Victor Hugo in action so far despite the service to the Channel Islands being up and running for over a month. We’ve noticed her absence on a couple of occasions and I’ve seen photos of her out around the Channel Islands when other ships have encountered her, but that’s all there is so far.

And Chausiaise seems to be leading something of a nomadic life in the harbour, moving around from berth to berth.

speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Having recovered my breath I pushed on up to the top of the hill and home.

Before going inside though, I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to have a look at what was going on out at sea this afternoon.

It’s not easy taking photos out there today as I only had the NIKON 1 J5 and the standard lens with me. I could pick up this speedboat that was out in the bay but that was the best that I could do.

Whether there was anything else out there I really couldn’t say. The focal length of the lens isn’t all that long and in any case the weather conditions weren’t as good as they have been just recently.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And of course while I was here I had to go and look at what was happening down on the beach this afternoon.

Sticking my head over the wall and having a look I could see that there were plenty of people down there on the beach this afternoon and several of them had actually taken to the water.

There was a little wind about, although nothing like as much as yesterday, and it was nice and warm. In fact, I’d come all the way back from the physiotherapist’s in my shirt sleeves.

It was that kind of day today. I actually saw a lizard today – a sure sign that sumer is acumen in.

bus with passengers place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There was a crowds of people loitering around in the vicinity and as I watched, a coach pulled up and they all scrambled aboard.

Where the coach is parked is where they put that new kerb in the other day, and the fact that the coach is there explains in part why they installed that kerb.

As of 1st July they are reorganising the town’s bus service. There’s a new line being added and there are a few more changes, one of which is rerouting the bus that comes up here. Instead of going down the Boulevard Vaufleury where no-one lives, it will now coming through the square where everyone including me lives, and the bus stop will be where they installed that kerb.

That couldn’t be much better for me, could it?

Back here I had a strawberry smoothie and then I crashed out. I knew that I couldn’t keep going for ever. I’m surprised that I kept going as long as I did after the night that I had. I was out of it all for about 90 minutes and felt like death.

There was plenty still to do but I’ll have to do that tomorrow for I’m not in any fit state to do it now.

Tea was steamed veg with vegan cheese sauce and falafel, and that was just as delicious as usual.

So having written my notes I’m off to bed. I’m totally exhausted and I’m hoping for a good night’s sleep where I can recharge my battery and have a better day tomorrow. I have that meeting tomorrow at 10:00 about the radio and we’ll see what happens there.

Monday 23rd May 2022 – HAVING GONE TO …

… bed last night at 22:15 I bet that you are all dying to know at what time I actually awoke for my 06:00 alarm call this morning.

The truth is that I was wide awake and raring to go at … errr … 05:30 this morning and I actually had difficulty staying in bed until the alarm went off.

That’s not like me at all is it? If recent events are anything to go by, my get-up-and-go has got up and gone a long time before I’m ready to leave my stinking pit.

So having had the medication and a mug of hot coffee I made a start on the radio programme that I needed to to today. I wasn’t in any particular rush and in any case there were several pauses for this and that (but regrettably, not for “the other”. Those days are long-since gone) so a time of 11:20 to finish it was not unreasonable.

And then I spent the next hour or so listening to it to make sure that it’s OK. It actually features several artists who are making their debuts on my radio programmes and you’ll get to hear them if you can wait for about 9 months or so.

When I finished I went for a shower and a good clean-up ready for my physiotherapy appointment, followed by a rather late lunch.

After lunch I had a listen to the radio programme that I’ll be sending off tomorrow for broadcast this weekend. As it’s the end of the month it’s a live concert and I do have to say that if I had to choose my top five live concerts of all time this one will be up there in that lot.

However, the tape is full of holes. It’s been played to death one way or another and it needs a lot of patching. So I made a few notes before I nipped off for my appointment.

saviem low loader porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Just my luck that the battery in the NIKON 1 J5 was flat. And as I was late, I didn’t have time to go back home to change it so you’ll have to make do with the camera on the ‘phone.

At the Porte St Jean we have a really beautiful old lorry this afternoon. An ancient Saviem pulling a low-loader trailer and if you look through under the gate you’ll see some kind of heavy machinery.

It’s probably just brought that here and unloaded it, and it’s gone disappearing off into the old town. I’ll have to go for a wander that way later in the week to see if I can find out what it’s up to.

There’s quite a bit going on in the old town at the moment. The Council doesn’t seem to be shy about spending our money, does it?.

gerlean omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And so I cleared off down to the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was going on there this afternoon.

It’s not really any surprise for me to tell you that L’Omerta is there again this afternoon, but she has a new companion today.

Petite Laura is no longer there behind her, but in front of her this afternoon is Gerlean.

From there I headed off down the hill towards town, becoming entangled in a party of schoolchildren. French schoolchildren too, but wearing what I can only assume were ghastly parodies of a typical English school uniform.

There was something not quite Catholic about all of this and I wasn’t the oly one who noticed it.

speedboat swimming pool port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Thinking that I could head them off at the pass, I stopped for a look down at the port.

The speedboat is still there, and that is definitely a swimming pool that’s appeared there at some point over the last couple of days. And after the amount of rain that we had this morning, it probably has plenty of water in it already.

The walk up the hill to the physiotherapist was agony yet again. I’m not doing so well with that these days. I feel as if I’ve gone backwards by several months.

Still, it will soon be the 1st of the month when I have my next appointment with the Sports therapist person. I hope that he can do me some good.

It’s often been said that some women are capable of doing a man to death. I must admit that I staggered out of the physiotherapist’s pretty darn close to it and then I headed rather unsteadily for home.

erecting bollards rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022One thing that has cheered me up is that they seem to be doing something about some of the crazy parking that goes on in the town.

In the Rue Paul Poirier the local council was erecting a row of bollards along the edge of the kerb to prevent vehicles parking on the pavement just there. Not that it’ll do much good because they will just obstruct the traffic somewhere else instead.

But at least they are trying. Whereas the motorists who park on the pavements are very trying.

The walk up the hill towards home was much more like another agonising crawl and I had to stop a couple of times for breath before I made it.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But as usual I went to have a look at the beach before going in.

By now it was raining quite heavily so I wasn’t expecting to see anyone down there on the beach, so I wasn’t disappointed. Everyone has much more sense than me.

Back here I had a coffee and then I had work to do. There were five holes in this concert that needed patching and they had to be done forensically.

Luckily, it’s a group whose music has a pronounced beat and rhythm so I could copy out a segment from elsewhere that has the same beat and rhythm and then superimpose it back over the damaged sector, drag it around until it fitted perfectly, and then cut out the damaged sector from underneath it.

Do that 5 times, which took an absolute age and I ended up being 1.406 seconds over length. But if I can’t lose that amount of time with some judicious editing out of some applause after all of the practice that I’ve had, I can’t be much good.

You can – well, I can – detect one of the joins because it’s in the middle of a lead guitar solo and it doesn’t flow as it ought to, but the others are invisible and I challenge any of the regular readers of this rubbish to detect them when it’s broadcast.

It’s certainly, from a technical point of view, the best concert that i’ve ever done.

There was time to listen to the dictaphone too. There was plenty on there from last night. I was in my office last night, working on the case of a guy whose wife was also working. It was starting to become a little late so I mentioned that maybe Nerina would come round to join me in the office when she finished. As I was pushing on it was becoming later still so I was talking to myself rather out loud like “is Nerina here? Is she hiding from me?”. I carried on doing that. I was trying to find cases where I would know about the man’s income and about the wife’s income, what children they had, whether they went to school or to university or somewhere like that. It suddenly struck me that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing … “that’s something that doesn’t usually bother you” – ed … because it’s 30 years or more since I’d last done this. Things had changed so much over that time that I was probably doing everything wrong anyway. I was going to have to re-learn absolutely everything from the very beginning again in order to start again and have it all correct this time. Of course it was becoming late now and I could see that all that I’d been doing all afternoon has been wasting time because I’m in no condition as far as my knowledge goes today to actually do anything at all about any of this. I wondered why on earth I’d been wasting my time.

And then I was with a girl. I can’t remember who she was but she was a young girl. The subject of the Titanic came up. It was beached in New York and it was possible to go for a guided tour of her. I took this girl and we wet on board the ship and down into the bowels to the waterline where we could see the damage and the holes. It was all extremely impressive. They had one of those pressurised cargo wells like they had on some of the early “Lake-type” submarines where they were open to the water but it was air pressure that kept the water out so that you could actually walk off the boat inside under water and go into the sea. We were busy exploring that because it was quite a novel thing. We had a really good wander around and then headed back. I suggested to this girl that we go for a beer which sounded like a good plan so we stood in the queue for the lift back up to the top of the ship. The question of football came up because every Thursday they were showing Welsh Premier football on the TV. There had been a series of matches that had taken place on one day and what they were doing was to show them one by one every Thursday over the next few weeks. I was explaining to this girl that I was intent upon watching them so I’d be home from work early that particular day curled up in front of the TV. We had a little chat about that as we stood in the queue waiting for the lift in the Titanic to take us back up to street level where we could leave and go for a beer.

So who was this mystery girl? I Wish that I knew. Fancy being with a girl and not knowing who she was.

And finally I was in Crewe last night staying in some lodgings in a little room just off Nantwich Road somewhere. Someone had a big bottle of pop and offered us a drink out of it. I had a drink and another guy who was there, an Australian guy, said “no, you don’t want to have a drink yet. Wait until he’s tried to borrow something then he’ll be much more willing to lend you some more stuff tomorrow. Of course I had quite a thirst so I was happy for that. Then I thought about getting us some food so I thought that I’d try to find a pizza in the area and something to drink as well. I thought that there’s bound to be a place nearby so I went out but for some reason I couldn’t lock my room. I tried 3 or 4 times to do it but it wouldn’t lock so in the end I thought that I’m only going out for a minute so it shouldn’t be too crucial just for a minute. I thought that I’d better leave it and just nip out to get something while everything was still open.

Tea was another delicious stuffed pepper, and now that I’ve finished I’m off to bed. I’ve decided that I’m going to file that medication under CS because whether it’s really that or whether it’s simply auto-suggestion, I seem to be doing much better without it. If I can keep on going like this I’ll be happy but as we know, one swallow doesn’t make a summer.

Saturday 23rd April 2022 – THIS GAME OF …

fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… musical ships moved into a new dimension this afternoon.

Neither L’Omerta nor Briscard were there when I went past on my afternoon walk. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I speculated that either Titanic or Mary Celeste would be there in their place but instead, we have two anonymous inshore shell-fishing boats.

Unfortunately I’m too far away to read their registrations so I can’t tell you who they are but they are new players in the game so we’ll have to watch this space much more closely to see how things develop in the near future.

However in the immediate past, I had a better day and actually managed to go through a day without falling asleep, although it was touch-and-go at one point this afternoon.

And when I saw how far I’d travelled during the night, I’m amazed that I could keep on going. But we’ll leave that for a moment.

Once again I managed to beat the second alarm so that’s progress of sorts, and after the medication and a quick shower (and washing a couple of pairs of trousers because I seem to have run our) I was off early for the shops.

Noz still had some of those mini-burger things, although I noticed this evening that they aren’t the same, but anyway I bought another packet to add to those in the freezer.

LeClerc didn’t come up with al that much either except that coffee was on special offer so I bought a four-pack of the variety that I like. I use a lot of coffee.

They also had carrots at €0:99 a kilo so I bought a packet of those, and actually peeled, diced and blanched them as soon as I came home. Even as we speak, they are freezing up ready for the next couple of weeks.

Finally I could turn my attention to the dictaphone. I was on that … “which?” – ed … space rocket last night. I had my own comfortable room and my bass guitar with me. I seemed to be in there for months as I kept orbiting the earth.

And then I was supposed to be going to Paris. I was staying in a hotel. It was going to be a quick train into Paris and back on the TGV for the evening because I was playing bass in a rock group. There was some kind of commotion in the station at the front of the hotel. It turned out that all the TGVs were cancelled. I’d have to go on a standard train which would take hours and it wasn’t until 20:00, the next one. I asked whether there would be one back later at night or whether I ought to stay over. He said “we’ll find out later” but it was gone 18:00 already so there wasn’t much later to find out. If I couldn’t have a train back I would have to book a hotel etc. I went back to my hotel room. I was in and out a couple of times and suddenly realised that I’d locked myself out of my hotel room. I had to go down to rception. They gave me a duplicate key. Some woman must have overheard me speaking English because she came up to me and invited me to a party “when the war is over” she said. “You’ll have to come round to the party” and she gave me a card. I went to give her a card. She said “yes, I’ll cook you a really good meal”. There was another woman standing nearby. We both said at the same time “oh we’re vegans”. This woman smiled and wandered off leaving the 2 of us so we started to talk. I invited this woman into my room now that I had the duplicate key. I asked her if she wanted a coffee. She said “no”. We started to talk, bearing in mind that I had to be gone in an hour or something like that and I had a lot of things to arrange in the meantime.

I was also in Eastern Europe last night. I had a filing cabinet with me in the back of the coach and there was a load of files in it, including ones on Putin and things like that. While I was doing something a girl came up and took a file from the cabinet. I took the file back from her but she had a piece of paper on her hand. I went to take that too but she didn’t want to give it to me. In the end I had to wrestle it from her hand. She went to ‘phone the police. When I looked at the paper I saw that it was one of hers so I apologised and gave it back to her. I got into my coach to drive away, fearing that any moment now I was going to be swept up in a police patrol and taken off somewhere

It was becoming close to Brexit. Boris Johnson had some kind of notice prepared with the date on it. He was out there in no-man’s land standing by this notice. We could all see him dithering. He went to unhook the date so people started cheering that he was going to call it off. Instead he suddenly and decisively put the date back on and said “right, let’s go”. This immediately started a riot. People began to set fire to everything, piles of paper, coal, buildings, etc. Rees-Mogg went to collect his things together but he found that someone had been into his jewellery box and stolen every single item of his jewellery. This led to a lot of discussion. We were talking to someone about that. They mentioned his jewellery box so I asked “where’s his father?”. The penny dropped with them as well. Everyone immediately understood what I meant and what had probably happened to his jewels. Someone who was rather pro-Brexit asked me where mine was. I replied that he was near Betley, Wrinehill, the last time that I had any news of him.

We were then back on Brexit again. First of all though I had a dog that I was trying to lose. I arrived at Crewe Station and there was a bus coming in going to Chester. It was packed so I led the dog on I was hoping to disappear but at the last moment I had a pang of conscience and couldn’t let it go. In the end I climbed aboard – there was just about room. I went to pay my 50p to the driver but I dropped it. The bus was so crowded that I couldn’t pick it up so someone whom I knew paid my bus fare and picked up my 50p from the floor. We left the bus at the Hurleston reservoir. Rees-Mogg was there, he’d just turned back since … I fell asleep … he was going on about how he’d me this nice lovable clown who had promised him all kinds of riches and wealth and so on. Of course that was Johnson and his proposals for Brexit.

Of course, when I say that “I fell asleep”, I don’t mean that because I am actually asleep while I’m dictating, in some kind of subconscious state. What I mean is that I slip out of this subconscious state into a much deeper state where I don’t function.

Finally I was with Nerina last night. Somehow we’d encountered my father’s sister somewhere along the road. We were all out somewhere. We had a huge, lengthy chat. We’d set out to go shopping actually and somehow encountered them. Then we drove a little way together out of Crewe and Nantwich. It was a really cold, icy winter. First of all I’d been off somewhere and had to walk back. Nerina had been out working when i’d gone but she’d obviously gone in because the weather was too cold. There we were and I suggested to her seeing as it’s a nice cold day and we aren’t doing anything and it’s rather boring why don’t we go to do our shopping in Whitchurch which is where my aunt lived. She thought that that was a good idea. We took my aunt back and dropped her in the centre of Whitchurch. Then we were talking. I was qaying “look at me becoming all family-orientated again. Not like me, is it?”. She made some comment and said “no, particularly as we have to go through your father in order to contact your aunt”. She led me off down these alleyways, down these steps. We had to step through these tables and restaurants where these people were playing chess. It suddenly dawned on me that fancy me having to be shown around a town by Nerina when I knew everywhere but of course she worked in Whitchurch (at least, she did last night anyway) so it was only natural.

But over the last couple of weeks my dreams are becoming quite political and I don’t understand why. I could understand it when there was all of the uncertainty about our position a couple of years ago but these days we are all regularised and our lives haven’t changed so considerably that there is any great cause for concern.

So what’s happening?

After lunch there was football. The final day of the regular season with four clubs – Aberystwyth v Connah’s Quay and Hwlffordd v Cardiff Metro chasing the one spot to play off for wild card in the Irn-Bru Cup or whatever it’s called these days. There was just two points separating the four clubs so it was effectively “winner takes all”.

We were watching Hwlffordd v Cardiff Metro with the other game in the corner of the screen. And the producers made the right call because while the game at Aberystwyth was a drab midfield battle that ended 1-1, we had a game full of excitement that ranged from end to end and back again, one of the best that I have ever seen.

The Met won 2-1 in the end with a winning goal that was worthy of any championship, but how different might things have been if Henry Jones’s diving header in injury time had been half an inch lower and crept in underneath the bar.

And having watched closely a few of the incidents that took place in the various penalty areas, I’m convinced that at times Dean John the referee was refereeing a different match to the one that the rest of us were watching.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022By now it was the usual time for me to go off for my afternoon walk around the headland.

And the first stop was as usual the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach.

Not that I was expecting to see anyone down there this afternoon because the weather had turned cold and overcast. I was even wearing a jacket when I went out.

One saying that I like to use quite often is “your level of success is measured by your level of expectation” and so seeing no-one down below on the beach was no surprise and no disappointment, even if it was a Saturday.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was however something going on out at sea, as I noticed while I was looking round.

Not too far offshore was a yacht swanning around in the bay having a whale of a time.

No fishing boats out there though, at least, as far as I could see, because visibility was quite poor this afternoon. It wasn’t even possible to see the Ile de Chausey this afternoon.

And nothing in the air either. In fact it was quite a quiet day all things considered.

fishermen zodiac baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There were a few more boats out there around the corner in the Baie de Mont St Michel though, I noticed

There was this rather large zodiac floating around just off the end of the headland, with three men in it. I thought that they might have been fishermen but I couldn’t see any equipment and they certainly didn’t have any rods out in the water.

But even so, I can’t think of anything else that they might be because the boat wasn’t actually moving when I saw it. It was just sitting there about a mile offshore waiting for something to happen.

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There were some yachts from one of the sailing schools having a run around in the bay as well.

These two were having something of a race across the bay, with the rearmost one slightly in the lead. Somewhere out of shot there was a zodiac keeping an eye on the proceedings.

And while we’re on the subject of the sailing school … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ve been carrying out a few rather desultory enquiries and discovered that there’s a “boat permit” that licenses you to operate a powered craft of a certain maximum size within a certain distance of shore.

Apart from wanting to sail, of course, that permit is something that I might find to be of use as well. But at the moment everything is on hold until the hospital and the doctor can sort me out.

cabanon vauban person sitting on bench Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022With all of the activity going on out in the bay, I was half-expecting to see it all having something of an audience this afternoon.

And here I wasn’t disappointed either. This woman sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban seemed to be taking rather a keen interest in what was happening with the zodiac.

The way things were, I had half a mind to go down and join her but it wasn’t the kind of day for loitering around. Instead I pushed on down the path on the other side of the headland to see what was going on in the harbour this afternoon.

ch922398, sm735890 lysandre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There wasn’t all that much going on in the harbour either. All in all, it was extremely disappointing for a Saturday.

There were a couple of inshore shellfishing boats out there in the outer harbour. The blue one is of course Lysandre on a visit from across the bay at St Malo but although I can read the registration number of the other one, she’s not in the fleet list that I have.

Still the same boats as yesterday in the chantier naval but no-one over at the ferry terminal either.

You’ve seen the photo of the two boats over at the fish processing plant, and that was really that. I came back for my coffee and to finish off the dictaphone notes.

There was time for another good session on the guitar too this afternoon before tea. A couple of these new mini burger things with potatoes and veg. And even though these burgers aren’t the breaded quorn fillets that I thought they were, they are still just as delicious.

A lie-in tomorrow, at long last. And I can’t say that I don’t need it. It’s been a tough week and it’s going to be even tougher next week as I have physiotherapy twice, a Welsh lesson for which I’m not prepared, an injection, a visit to the dcotors, a trip out and a weekend away.

By the time that I come back I’ll be ready for another break to recover.

But I wonder what I’ll be doing this time next week.

Thursday 10th March 2022 – THAT WAS THE …

… quickest “in and out” that I’ve ever had from a doctor at Castle Anthrax.

She asked me how I was, If I’d been ill, if I had any pains and if I had any tingling in my fingers

She then poked and prodded me about , asked me for my medication requirements and that was that. She cleared off.

And I made a mental note never to drink any strong ginger beer just before I’m due to be poked and prodded about.

Last night I was in bed early and with no alarm I was hoping to have a really good sleep but it didn’t quite work out like that. One look at the list if files on the dictaphone will confirm that.

There was some kind of competition going on with these Chinese girls. We had to pick 5 of them so I picked my 5 and they should have been packed in a cardboard box wrapped in tissue. But one of them burst into tears so I asked her why she was so upset. She said that it was because I knew nothing about her life prior to this competition and it was dreadful. I asked why she doesn’t simply tell me about it. The quicker she tells me, the quicker we can solve the problem. But she was extremely reluctant to do so and we had fits of tears and hysterics and all kinds of things but she still wouldn’t explain the issue. In the meantime there were other people choosing one of their 5 girls to marry and I was desperately wanting to marry this particular one but with all of this going on she wouldn’t let me get close enough to her to take hold of her.

Later on I was back here again. By now all of the prizes had been given. One of my friends of 19 had carried off loads of prizes but he still wasn’t given this ideal couple or this female couple or exciting couple. It seems that most of his girlfriends …. (fell asleep) … give half a chance I’d go back but she had to be willing to … (fell asleep) …

Meanwhile, it was all about this girl being sent off. One of the others had been sent off too. They had been disguised as something or other and positioned in between the window and the attackers to prevent the attackers from becoming too close. That’s all there was to this mystery and it was ever such a disappointment when I found out that it was simply that.

Nerina and I had this huge pile of money. I’ve no idea where it came from – I can’t remember. We were driving around Crewe (although it wasn’t Crewe and it wasn’t Brussels either although it might have been) trying to find a bank that was open. We ended up down all kinds of back streets looking for all kinds of obscure and offbeat banks. In the end we couldn’t find anything at all. We decided instead that we would go to Bonn because there would be bound to be something there. We ended up sitting at a table with a couple of people whom I knew from the EU (although I didn’t). One of them had a horribly disfigured face. We were talking. One of the people was quite a senior person and the subject of finance came up so I told them the French stein joke which of course made everyone laugh but I had to explain it to the guy with the disfigured face. They thought that Bonn was an excellent idea so we were planning on setting off. At one point we found a side street where I knew there was a bank and I tried to park with 2 feet on the kerb and 2 on the road to let cars go past although there wouldn’t be many cars going this way. There were bollards in the way and of course some car came down and couldn’t go past so I had to drive round again but that was through Brussels or wherever it was before we’d gone to this bar to meet these people

I’m not sure if I’ve dictated this I haven’t) but I was with someone called Allota Fagina, the Austin Powers character. We were going somewhere (that I couldn’t identify from the dictaphone) … old house that was derelict and part of it was falling down. In front of it was a new house. There were several old cars parked there including tow old early Austin A45s that had identical number plates ONA432. She asked whose it was so I said that the one that had fallen down was the one where Austin Powers’ grandparents lived, the one that is standing still is where his parents live and the new one at the front is where he lives. We carried on and all met up at the end of the street for a chat. In the meantime there had been a TV crew so there were lots of people and lots of reporters. They had actually filmed part of this trip and they’d filmed the arrival at his parents’ house where someone had been there and wanted the film crew to record his children because they weren’t going on any further to the end. There were several reporters dotted along the street to ask the questions and the TV crew picked up one of them and it was someone whom we knew. They asked her some questions to which she gave some very nebulous answers

I forgot to mention that at one point Austin Powers’ grandfather had disappeared. When they asked where he was, he’d actually gone off – he fancied a chicken to eat so he’d actually gone off hunting a chicken. Someone was saying that this was his current mode of life and interest hunting his food for his tea

Then we had a dispute between two neighbours. One neighbour had moved in and the one who had been there the longer tried to lay the law down to him but that hadn’t worked and there had been some kind of confrontation between them that had left the long-living neighbour in a bad light. He’d found out a few things about the new arrival that he was repairing a boat down at the bottom of his garden so he called the Council’s Enforcement Officer over to make a formal complaint. The new neighbour had caught them both discussing it and it was quite obvious that this was going to lead to a major confrontation between the two

And when someone (the nurse, in fact) telephoned me at 08:30 to ask if he could come round and inject me, that was that. Of course, there’s no danger of the nurse coming to see me here in Leuven. He’ll be back round to see me on Monday morning.

After breakfast I washed my clothes and had a shower, and then spent the rest of the morning working on choosing the music for the next series of radio programmes.

Having made my sandwiches I set off for the hospital, stopping off at Origin’O on the way. Alison had forgotten that I was coming so I had to buy some vegan food for tea.

And it’s not Origin’O now anyway – it’s changed hands. It’s now called something else whose name I have forgotten. But there’s only half the range of products and the prices have increased somewhat dramatically too.

If this is how it’s going to be, I can see yet another vegan food shop being crossed off my list.

cleaning balcony with cherry picker mural brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way to the hospital this mural on the end of a café in the Brusselsestraat caught my eye – “Progress in your own fashion”.

Normally, I don’t feature any advertising on my pages unless I’m having a share of the profits but I thought that I’d include it because first of all it really is new and secondly, it really is an eye-catching piece of art that must have taken a great deal of effort to complete.

There was also a cherry-picker there too and at first I thought that it was something to do with the mural but it looks as if those men on there are cleaning the windows of that building next door. Although why they need a cherry-picker and why the can’t do it from the inside by tilting the windows over is beyond me.

building facade kapucijnenvoer Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022One building in the Kapucijnenvoer on which we have been keeping an eye is this one that backs onto the Zongang.

Last time we went past they were fitting the windows but over the last four weeks they seem to have made some dramatic progress. They are now busy building up the facade with some kind of machined stone blocks and it doesn’t look as it it will be long before they have finished.

We can no longer see the really nice building that is behind it and I bet that with the height of this building in front, it will be quite dark there. It’s a shame that a building as beautiful as that one has been consigned to the shadows.

new building kapucijnenvoer Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022The other building in the Kapucijnenvoer on which we have been keeping an eye is the huge one that is slowly going up further down the street.

Last time we were here we saw them beginning to fit the walls to the ground floor. And today, we’ve having to step back across the street to take a photo of it because it’s now mushrooming up quite quickly.

It’ll be interesting to see where it will be up to when I come back next month.

The climb up the hill was the usual exhausting agony but I made it right the way to the top without actually stopping for breath which is something, I suppose.

digging up pavement monseigneur van waeyenberghlaan Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022When I reached the roundabout near the top I did actually stop, but not to draw breath.

Something else on which we’ve been keeping an eye is the work, whatever it is, that’s going on in the Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan.

They have dug this up, laid electric cable, filled it in and then dug it up again more often than I care to mention. And look at the state of the paving at the side. I wonder how long it will be before someone trips over an uneven paving slab and does themselves a mischief.

At the hospital, my transfusion didn’t take long to complete, and I wonder why that was. Usually it takes hours but I was ready to leave at 16:30.

However I had to wait for a while for Alison to finish work and then we went round to her house for tea. She thought that my coffee cake was delicious and she was certainly right there.

Now, back here, I’m ready for bed. No alarm in the morning though because I’m having a lie-in to compensate for what I didn’t have today.

And so I wonder what will come along to disturb me.