Category Archives: Eric Hall

Tuesday 17th May 2020 – YOU ARE PROBABLY …

… just as fed up as I am about hearing about how bad my days are becoming these days. If nothing changes over the next couple of days I’m going to cut out all of these new medications because I can’t keep on going like this.

Just for a change I actually managed to beat the second alarm to my feet. Only just, but I beat it nevertheless.

After the medication I came back in here and that was everything that I remember until 10:27. I was out like a light for almost 2.5 hours and that’s the kind of thing that fills me with dismay. In fact I was lucky that I awoke when I did because I had my Welsh lesson at 11:00 and I needed to prepare everything.

There wasn’t much time but I was actually ready and the lesson didn’t go too badly either. There weren’t all that many of us there either. It seems that numbers are dropping off these days. I wonder how long it will be before they merge our class with another one.

After lunch I had a few things to do and a phone call to make. Rosemary had called me in the middle of my lesson and I needed to call her back

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Later on it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

First port of call was the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach and see what was happening down there.

The tide is well out this afternoon and the weather was totally glorious and so I was expecting to see crowds of people down there today. And I wasn’t wrong either.

Surprisingly there wasn’t anyone out there swimming around. If any day was going to be suitable for going in it up to your neck, it would have been today. It was actually 25°C when I went out.

beaches and buoys ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Sometimes when the tide is right out and the sun is shining, the beaches on the Ile de Chausey are quite clearly visible.

And today was one of those days. The beaches were looking marvellous. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of years ago when went off on our week away on the Spirit of Conrad we spent a night on board in that lagoon over there and a morning lounging about on the beach.

You can tell how high the tide comes in too by looking at the pillars on which the marker lights are installed. When the tide is in those lights are barely above the water.

diggers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There weren’t all that many people on the path this afternoon so I had it pretty much to myself.

But when I arrived at the car park at the end I could see the diggers and the other heavy machinery out there working.

Even though I can’t really see what they are doing, they have come quite a long way with this pipeline that they are laying. It looks without any doubt that that they are taking it down to below the level of the lowest tide.

Mind you, having seen some of the storms that we have in the bay I wonder how long the pipeline will last before the storm rips it out again.

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And whatever it is that they are doing out there, they have something of a crowd watching them doing it.

There were a few more people sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban admiring the machinery and the work that they were doing.

There wasn’t anything going on out at sea though. There wasn’t a single boat that I could see this afternoon. Some are tied up in port and the rest of them are right out in the bay fishing.

And so with nothing to detain me here I pushed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was going on there this afternoon.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022As well as the plant and machinery out there in the bay there were other things that the people on the bench could admire, even if there were no water craft of any description out there.

With the tide being so low right now, the public ares of the beach are uncovered and so the crowds are out there this afternoon with their buckets, spades, gratters and other equipment seeing what they can harvest from the rocks.

You need something good and strong to prize to shellfish from the rocks because usually they cling like … errr … limpets. It’s what I suppose you would call “flexing your mussels”.

It’s not really a thing that interests me but regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we broadcast a live radio programme from down there a couple of years ago.

cn726519 l'oasis j158 l'ecume 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022As I walked past the chantier naval I noticed that there had been yet again anothe rchange of occupancy today.

L’Ecume II is still there of course but I can’t see if Valeque is still there because in the way blocking my view is a completely new trawler whom we haven’t seen before.

She’s called L’Oasis and her registration number tells my why she’s new in town. It begins with “CN” and that seems to suggest that she’s registered in Caen.

All of the trawlers that sail out of Granville have registration numbers beginning with “CH” tat tells us that their port of registration is Cherbourg.

crane lorry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022One thing that I wanted to do was to have a closer look at the crane that I mentioned yesterday.

There’s a better view from here, but it still doesn’t tell me very much. It’s a “Mantsinen”, the same as the other one, but the name has been painted out. And even though the paintwork looks new, the tracks look old and used.

There are also a couple of guys working on it this afternoon too. All of this seems to suggest that it’s the same one that was here before but is in the process of being overhauled at the moment.

All will become clear over the course of the next few days, I reckon.

trans-shipment rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022One of the things that I’ve mentioned before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … is the difficulty of moving things around when you live in a medieval walled city.

Many of the delivery vehicles are too tall to pass underneath the gate and into the city so they have to park up while they work out a way of trans-shipping the articles to their destination.

Back here I had a milk shake and then did some work. There was some stuff on the dictaphone so I transcribed all that. It was something like a scene from CONVOY. A whole group of truckers was on the run again. What they were actually doing was that they had something to do with buffaloes, a ranch or something where they were rearing buffaloes from eggs. It was a whole really complicated scenario there about these eggs, how they were recuperated, how they were hatched artificially into more buffaloes etc. This was a real technological marvel and the IRS was involved in it. It was such a complicated system of rearing these eggs that the whole world’s attention was focused on what was going on here insofar as it affected these truckers who were in dispute with their Government. It was easy to see how they were being prejudiced against when they even saw churches that were totally ruined still doing things to support the Government by opposing the lorry drivers’ movement. We saw one new church where all the members had been arrested even though they were no danger to anyone about anything. It was only the power of these truck drivers that was keeping them out and their interest that this project with these buffalo eggs had created.

And then I was in one of my old offices and I bumped into my old boss Norma. She said “I have,’t seen your time sheets for ages, Eric. Do you have them?”. I replied “yes, they are on my desk”. She said “could you let me have them by Friiday?” We had a long chat about this and that. Then I went out into the main office to find my desk. I had STRAWBERRY MOOSE with me. Someone asked where I was on Saturday. “We didn’t see you in here”. I asked “why didn’t anyone tell me that there was overtime on Saturday?”. “Well, you should have known” was the reply. When I reached my desk there was no chair there so I had to hunt round the office for a spare chair. In the end someone made some kind of underhand comment about where there was a chair so I went and found one and put it back. It was covered in dist so I had to tip it out and clean it. While I was sitting there one of the other girls came over and asked “what’s the matter Eric? Are we friends or something?”. I replied “nothing’s changed as far as I know”. They seemed to think that I was offended by something or upset by something which I wasn’t really. It was just my normal usual grouchy self but they seemed to have it in their heads that for some unknown reason I was upset or offended. I couldn’t seem to persuade them otherwise.

That took me right up to tea time. There was some stuffing left over from yesterday so I had another delicious taco roll with rice and vegetables.

So now I’m off to bed. Hopefully I’ll have a good night and a decent start tomorrow as I’m sick to the back teeth of all of this.

Monday 16th May 2022 – THAT WAS ANOTHER …

… totally messed-up day today.

Not that that’s any surprise because after my totally messed-up weekend and a 06:00 start this morning, it was pretty much odds-on.

Not that I’m complaining of course, even though it might sound like it. I take my days as they come and take what’s given to me. I really wanted to do that Welsh weekend course and so I have to accept the baggage that comes with it.

No-one was more surprised than me to find me half-way out of bed when the alarm went off at 06:00. And I even managed to be up and about before the second alarm went off.

After the medication I came back in here to make a start on today’s work but rather regrettably I fell asleep almost immediately. In fact I was out like a light until almost 08:00. In fact, for all the good that I was doing I may as well have stayed in bed.

When I’d finally come round I grabbed a quick coffee and then attacked the radio programme and that took me all the way up until 12:30 this morning before it was finished. I really wasn’t doing very well

There was time for a shower and a good clean up and then I made my butties with some of that delicious bread that I’d baked yesterday.

It was a good job that I’d set the alarm for my physiotherapy session this afternoon because back in here after lunch I fell asleep. And fell asleep in spades too. It was a real struggle for me to pull myself together when the alarm went off and I was in no mood whatever to go out for my physiotherapy.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022As usual, the first place to go when I went outside was to the viewpoint on the corner onfthe Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

And for a change there was no-one parked up down by the fish processing plant. Not even L’Omerta. She’s forsaken her usual spot for a change and gone off to see what she can catch out at sea.

And have you noticed the weather? We had a torrential rainstorm for about 15 minutes yesterday afternoon and it looks as if we have had another one while I was asleep just now. The weather is all wet, grey and miserable.

Not that that’s any surprise, because so am I

diggers working in port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022On thing that we see every now and again is something to do with the laying of a drain out of the port de plaisance into the open sea.

By the looks of things they are back there again today. They have a couple of diggers out there this afternoon working away. It’s not actually all that easy though to see what they are doing and the standard lens on the NIKON 1 J5 doesn’t help things any.

What I’ll have to do is to go by with the big NIKON D500 with the 70-300mm LENS tomorrow and see if that gives me a better clue.

From there I headed off down the hill towards town.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022At the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour I was lucky enough to catch sight of another hive of activity.

We’ve seen a shrink-wrapped speedboat down there for a couple of days, but today there’s a lorry delivering another one to add to the collection of stuff on the quayside to be taken over to Jersey by one of the little freighters.

My attention was also caught by the crane over there at the back of the loading bay by the old gravel bins. That looks quite new to me, unless they’ve overhauled one of the ones that was here before. If it has been overhauled they have done a good job because it’s much cleaner than it was before.

repairing electrical cables rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There have been notices all over town telling us of power cuts this afternoon.

On the corner of the Rue Paul Poirier and the Rue Couraye I caught up with them at one of their work sites. Apparently the work is due to go on into the evening.

The climb up the hill was awful. I wasn’t feeling in the least bit like it and it seems today as if I have gone backwards by about 6 months.

But when I was there she put me through my paces again. She’s certainly working me hard enough, much harder than the others did. Here’s hoping that it’s doing me some good.

After she threw me out I went to Lidl – eventually, because it was a nightmare going up the hill to the top. To think that there used to be times when I would sail up there like a galleon in the Spanish Armada.

At Lidl I spent a bit of money buying a few things and then headed for home.

digger working in rue de la houle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Myy route home from Lidl is a different way to the way that I came, so I hadn’t seen these roadworks until I left the shop.

They’ve been digging a trench with the digger and were now busy filling it in so I couldn’t see what they had been doing with the trench.

But I was more interested in watching the digger driver. Of course I can drive and operate a mini-digger – I used to own one until recently – but I couldn’t drive mine the way that this guy was driving this one.

It was something rather like a ballet and it was most impressive. I was in half a mind to give him a round of applause when he finished. I was quite jealous.

cycle path rue de la houle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Further on down the Rue de la Houle I noticed that they’ve been installing something of a cycle lane here.

They are spending a fortune on facilities for cyclists in the town and we have seen several examples thereof just recently, but I have a feeling that much of this is going to be money wasted.

The truth is that Granville is not a cyclists’ town. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s all “up-and-down” and that’s not the best terrain for cyclists. In fact there are parts of the town that are used as endurance trials during the Tour de Normandy cycle race.

That should give you some idea of what the streets are like around here.

new building rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we4ve been following the adventures of the new building on the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo and the Rue St Paul.

They have made a great deal of progress just recently. The roof is going on and the crane that has been there since July last year has now been taken away. It looks as if they might be finishing it some time soon if they aren’t careful.

From there I carried on down into town where I bumped into one of my neighbours and then staggered up the hill towards home, having to stop on several occasions to catch my breath and, on one occasion, to brink a can of energy drink.

That’s the kind of state in which I find myself today.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022The weather had brightened up by now so I went to look down onto the beach to see what was happening.

There wasn’t a lot happening there right now though. Just one or two people. The bad weather earlier seems to have put the rest of them right off coming out today.

Back here I had a coffee and then collapsed into a chair, feeling absolutely awful. It’s a long time since I’ve felt as bad as this.

But I did manage to listen to what was on the dictaphone from last night. There was something about moving a squadron of lorries across the border in northern France. My friend from the Wirral was there at one point. I can’t remember very much about this particular dream at all. Then I was in Canada. I’d just hired a car and had an accident in it and that was before I’d picked up my temporary Canadian driving licence so they had to hurry up and issue my Canadian driving licence extremely quickly. In the meantime I had to go and wait over by the Sheriff’s office to tell them to come along and deal with it. It was in a terrible state, more untidy than mine. Some big, fat lady came over and asked me what I was doing. I explained so she went and rolled over onto a settee and lay down there and went to sleep leaving me amongst all these cameras and guns etc while they sorted out my driving permit.

Tea should have been a stuffed pepper but the pepper was no good so it ended up being a taco roll.

And now I’m off to bed. I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to be at my best but that’s unlikely the way that I’m feeling right now.

Sunday 15th May 2022 – TODAY HAS BEEN ANOTHER …

… day when I have lived up to the efforts of my namesake the mathematician and done “three fifths of five eights of … errr … absolutely nothing”.

And that’s with an alarm going off at 07:30 too, And that’s nothing like usual for a Sunday morning, is it?

But having signed up for a weekend Welsh course, the least that I can do is to take full advantage of what is on offer. The Cyndeithas Genedleithol is having a huge push with its target of a million Welsh speakers by 2025 so I may as well make the most of it and learn the language of my grandmother, and what should have been my father’s and our language had my grandmother not been so concerned about her descendants being on the receiving end of prejudice and hatred.

Such was the thinking in the 1920s and 30s and there are still vestiges of it existing today.

Anyway, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m not a morning person by any means. I’m a night own. So I’ve no idea what on earth possessed them in sending me first for my mock oral at 09:30.

And it started off as badly as it could be. I was given an advert with gaps in it and I had to ask questions so as to fill in the gaps. And the first gap I could make absolutely no sense of it whatsoever and in the end the examiner had to help me out. Be sy’n digwydd yn Llanaber? – “What’s happening in Llanaber?”. Dw i ddim yn gwybod – “I don’t know”. “So why don’t you ask?”

OK – be sy’n digwydd yn Llanaber?. Easy, wasn’t it?

During the speaking park I gradually warmed up although I did say that I went to watch my friends rather than see my friends, and when it was my turn to ask questions of the examiner apparently I did very well with that. In fact, what should have been a 10-minute oral exam ended up being 25 minutes.

Getting me talking is never a problem. It’s more of a problem getting me to shut up.

Having got that out of the way I joined my class and that’s how I spent most of the day. During my lunch break I nipped off for a trip around the headland.

After lunch we carried on again right through to the end with me fighting off wave after wave of sleep and even the tutor was struggling, setting us tasks that weren’t on the worksheet and expecting us to know the answer.

When we finally finished, I had another few jobs to do. No more bread and no more pizza dough so I had to make another pile of stuff. And I’ve gone back to using processed bleached flour for the pizza because it’s easier to manipulate and makes a much better pizza. IN fact it was delicious.

The bread was wonderful too but all of this meant that I didn’t have my tea until very late.

So I haven’t transcribed the notes on the dictaphone and I haven’t done the photos. I’ll have my work cut out tomorrow at this rate.

Saturday 14th May 2022 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… day where I’ve hardly ever stopped. So much co that I’ve not even had time to upload any of the photographs that I’ve taken today.

Just for a change, the way that things have been just recently, I managed to beat the second alarm to my feet. Well, actually, I was sitting on the edge of the bed with my feet on the floor when it went off so I suppose that that counts.

Mind you, I was feeling rather like death but I struggled on as best as I could despite everything.

Having had my medication the first thing that I did ws to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night. There was something going on with Québec. If you worked with the Canadian Civil Service and you were close to retirement and that meant that your family was to be split up for different kinds of reasons like some were working and some were not, you had the right to settle in Quebec so you could reunite all your family together. I came to hear of this proposal because I was close to retirement date and my mother who was a few months older than my father and my other siblings, we all tried to arrange a meeting with someone official. The Premier of Québec was having some kind of entertainment thing. He was busy giving speeches to different people about the advantages of living in Québec although he did make some remark about people who travelled 350 miles just to catch a little bit of country food which he thought was a strange behaviour. I thought that his attitude was strange because of course it was country food that was the mainstay of Canadian society before Europeans. I had every hope that my application to move to Québec for this family reunification programme would be accepted. There was much more than this too but I can’t remember the rest of it. It’s slipped right out of my mind.

Having done that I spent an hour or so revising my Welsh ready for the first day of my weekend revision school

When I was ready I switched on the laptop that I use for Zoom meetings, only for it to perform a major update, consequently I was late joining and that was rather annoying. Punctuality is the politeness of princes.

We covered a lot of ground this morning and I was ready to knock off for lunch before my brain turned to spaghetti. We had an hour’s break so I nipped out for my afternoon walk considerably earlier than usual, for reasons that will soon become apparent.

Back here there was time for my butties before we started up again.

This afternoon we spent in small groups of two and three chatting about selected topics that are likely to come up in the exam next month. The conversations are quite lively and despite the lack of vocabulary we are making considerable progress.

These free supplementary classes that I managed to track down are worth every penny.

When the day’s work finally finished I dashed into the bedroom where my office is. I had 20 minutes before kick-off

It’s the final of the playoff in the JD Cymru League between Caernarfon Town and Y Fflint. It’s a winner-take-all match, the winner representing the league in the Irn-Bru Cup with teams from Scotland, England and Northern Ireland.

As for the match itself, I’ll let you be the judge of that. It was probably the most exciting, and intense matches that I have seen for many a long while, a game that swung from end to end from start to finish played like a game of chess. And it was certainly the most dramatic.

Don’t take my word for it. I don’t know how many of the regular readers of this rubbish are football fans but if you are and have a couple of hours spare you can WATCH THE GAME HERE. You won’t be disappointed.

That took me up to a rather late tea. There was some stuffing left over from last night so I had a taco roll with rice and veg. And as usual, marinading overnight makes it all taste so much better.

So now I’m off to bed. There’s an alarm in the morning and I’m starting the day with a mock exam. On a Sunday too. Whose crazy idea was that? I must be out of my head.

Friday 13th May 2022 – THIS WAS PROBABLY …

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022… the worst day that I have had for quite a while.

And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’ve had a few of those just recently.

So while you admire a few photos of everything that was going on out at sea this afternoon, when the alarm went off at 07:30 I couldn’t move an inch and it was just the same at 07:45 and again at 08:00. In fact it was, would you believe, 10:20 when I finally put my feet on the floor this morning

speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022It wasn’t that that was the worrying part about it. What worried me more than anything was that I was feeling as if I had a hangover. I don’t know what there are in these pills but they are certainly kicking in with a vengeance

But seriously, if this is how I’m going to end up, I’m going to try to work out which one of these new medications it is that’s causing this and simply stop taking them.

As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the only excitement that I seem to have these days is what goes on during the night. The last thing that I want to do is to cut all of that out of my life.

In fact I can understand why (although that’s not the same as saying that I agree with) the taking of hallucinatory drugs is so habit-forming. There is certainly something to be said for being taken out of yourself and going off on a series of voyages into the ether.

yacht ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022So while we’re on the subject of my nocturnal voyages … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ve actually managed to pull myself together at some point during the day and dealt with the stuff on the dictaphone.

I was going to do a coach job which meant taking a coach to a race track by a big army camp in Yorkshire. I set off in Nerina’s Ford Escort to go to find the coach. When I reached the army camp I parked the Escort and got out but I must have knocked the gear lever by mistake for all of a sudden it revved up and roared off across the car park on its own with no-one at the wheel. It was late at night and there weren’t all that many vehicles on the car park but I had a feeling that this was going to be a recipe for disaster. I had to run after it but I didn’t have a hope of catching it. I could see it driving erratically around this car park. There was no way that I would catch it. Gradually the car park filled up, ordinary people, whole families of Gypsies hauling scrap and rags, soldiers etc. Of course I lost sight of the car and had to climb up onto a bank in the middle of the race course and that wore me out so I had to climb up a smaller one but I couldn’t see as far. Then they came in with the coach. I thought to myself that if I’d made such a mess of driving this Escort what am I going to be like driving this coach? This is going to be an absolute nightmare to me and how am I going to explain to Nerina what’s happened about her car? She’s not going to believe this story for a minute.

yachts speedboat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And then there was a big group of us on an aeroplane. I somehow ended up with a girl whom I’d sat newt to on numerous occasions. We were discussing an aeroplane incident in the Atlantic similar to the Titanic and we were looking for the location of the yellow parachute of the plane. We were poring over maps documentation etc but we couldn’t actually see it. As well as that we were having a big lengthy chat. This girl was married but was in bad company and they spent a lot of money gambling. I’d been trying to tell her to cut down on it. She told me that last weekend she’d refused to go out even though everyone else in her family had wanted to. They’d wanted to go out on a big gambling spree but she’d dug her heels in and ended uo not going out at all. I was immediately pleased with her. Our hunt went on with quite a few documents but we couldn’t relate anything in them to anything on the ground. In the end she asked me quite pointedly what I was going to do now. I interpreted this as being that she wanted me to go. I gave her a great big kiss but she fought me off saying that people were looking so I prepared to leave on my own

That actually took me until rather late in the afternoon to type all of that out. For the first part of the day I couldn’t actually bring myself to do anything. It was all far too reminiscent of 2003/2004/2005 when I was going through another phase like this and I remember how difficult it was to climb out of the pit back then.

It was only Rhys’s wedding that rekindled my spirit of adventure back then. I’ll have to persuade him to marry again.

A lot of the morning was spent trying to recover and then the rest of the day was spent tidying up in the kitchen. There were piles of stuff everywhere and all of the washing-up that I hadn’t done yesterday after my rather busy day.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There is of course the afternoon walk around the headland so I had to drag myself out of the apartment and off on my way.

First port of call was the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down on the beach to see what’s happening down there today.

It was a really nice day and there were plenty of people down there making the most of it. No-one brave enough though to take to the water which was a surprise. I’d have expected to have seen the crowds in there today with the nice weather that we are having but they semmed to have all chickened out.

f-pdyt Turquetil DYT-01 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022While I was looking around out at sea at all of the maritime traffic, I was overflown by a light aeroplane on its way to the airfield.

It’s a new one on us. We’ve not seen her before. She’s F-PDYT, a Turquetil DYT-01 and that’s a machine about which I can tell you nothing at all.

Firstly, she hasn’t filed a flight plan and secondly, she wasn’t picked up on any radar anywhere so I can’t tell you anything about where she’s been and where she’s going.

And then I can’t even tell you anything about the manufacturer either because I can’t find any information about that either. It’s really not my day, is it?

As I walked down the path I came across a large group of people trying to take a selfie so I took their phones and duly obliged them. We had a little chat and then I carried on my way.

fishermen in speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Nown at the end of the path I walked across the car park and down to the end of the headland.

For a change there wasn’t anyone sitting down on the bench by the cabanon vauban, which was a surprise because there was enough going on out there this afternoon to keep everyone entertained for hours.

We’ve already seen plenty of marine traffic going by this afternoon, but this speedboat was stationary out in the bay. There were several fishermen on board but in all the time that I was watching, no-one actually pulled anything out of the water.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in all the time that we’ve been here, we’ve never ever seen anyone catch anything with a rod and line.

l'ecume 2 valeque sagone d'angawelys chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022From there I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what was happening in the port.

There was quite a racket coming from the chantier naval this afternoon. It looked as if they had the air sander working full tilt on L’Ecume II grinding off the old paintwork.

In actual fact they are making quite rapid progress on her, which you can see when you compare her to how she was ON SUNDAY.

It’s not like them at all to be this rapid, is it?

St-Gilles Croix-de Vie chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Yesterday I mentioned that the dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie had finished its work in the harbour and had been towed across the harbour to the portable boat lift and had been lifted out of the water.

She’s now out there on a couple of blocks while they start to dismantle her ready to be taken away.

She doesn’t actually sail into port, as you might expect. She comes into port in a dismantled form on the back of a low loader and they assemble her on the hard-standing before they drop her into the water.

And then they dismantle her ready for her to be taken away again on the lorry that will come to pick her up in due course and take her off somewhere else.

fishing boats unloading fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022This afternoon there was quite a crowd over at the fish processing plant.

All of the boats are coming in to unload, swarming around L’Omerta that is still there after all this time. And there are a couple of large refrigerated lorries over there ready to whisk away the catch.

Back here I carried on tidying the kitchen and putting away the shopping from Thursday. The place looks a little more respectable now which makes a change. It had got into quite amess over the last few days.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper now that I have some and it tasted quite delicious. But I’m using a different rice right now and it’s not as nice as the usual stuff.

So later tha usual, I’m off to bed. I have a weekend school for my Welsh course so I’m hoping for a better start to the day tomorrow that today’s start. That was appalling and I don’t want to do that again.

Thursday 12th May 2022 – HAVING HAD A FEW …

… extremely quiet days just recently, that all changed today. I’ve been rushed off my feet and haven’t stopped all day. I haven’t even had any time for tea.

There’s even some stuff on the dictaphone too but I haven’t had time to transcribe it yet.

It all went wrong earlier this morning when for some reason that I didn’t understand, the alarm went off at 06:15. I was actually up and about by the time that I realised and it didn’t take much for me to crawl back into bed.

When the alarm went off again at 07:30 I did manage to leave the bed something-like on time and after I’d had my medication I went to have a shower and clean myself up

Then I nipped out to go and see this sports therapist at Saint-Pair sur Mer.

My appointment was for 09:30 but he was running horribly late and it was gone 10:00 when he finally saw me. He asked me a few questions and poked and prodded me around, and it didn’t take him long to find out where the bone in my kneecap is broken.

There is a series of special injections that he is proposing for me so he gave me a prescription and an appointment to go back on 1st June.

This weekend I have a Welsh weekend school so I called at LIDL on the way home and stocked up with a big pile of stuff to see me through the next 10 days. It cost a fortune too. But I’ll still nip out for a few things late on Saturday that I couldn’t buy at LIDL.

By the time that I returned home it was almost lunchtime, never mind breakfast, but I had one of my fruit buns all the same with some coffee. And I was right. It really was delicious.

After lunch I was back out again. It was the turn of the physiotherapist to have the pleasure of my company.

trawlers fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022First stop though was the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne where you can look down upon the fish processing plant.

It’s quite busy down there this afternoon. This is the moment when all the boats are coming in to unload and they are having to fight their way around L’Omerta who is still tied up to the quayside.

It shows you what a busy little port it is, with all of the boats down there and the people on top of the quayside helping to unload the catch into the fish processing plant. There will be cars and vans on the lower level underneath too, there to take away the load from some of the boats.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There was plenty of activity out in the bay too.

And not just trawlers coming into harbour either. One of the yachting schools was out there this afternoon with the pupils having a sail around the bay, with someone in a zodiac shepherding them around. And I haven’t forgotten that one of these days in the near future I’ll be out there with them.

There were plenty of pleasure craft too like the large yacht in the foreground that has just come out of the port de plaisance. And there were a couple of speedboats loitering around out there too.

chaisiase l'ecume 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022That wasn’t all either.

While I was here I had a look over towards the chantier naval to see how they were getting on with L’Ecume II. They are still bashing away at her but as I watched, something else came around the corner into my field of view.

It’s the little freighter Chausiaise, on her way back from, presumably, a run out to the Ile de Chausey with a load of freight. Someone mentioned to me that if she’s out there with no return load, she’ll bring back a pile of shellfish for the fishermen over there.

marite normandy warrior port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022From the corner here I walked on down the hill towards the town.

As I was on my way I noticed in the distance that there was a shrink-wrapped speedboat on the quayside and as I approached I could see that Normandy Warrior was in port.

At least, I think that it’s she, because the bridge is slightly different and her skipper has moored her differently than her sister Normany Trader is usually moored.

There were also crowds queueing up to board Marité too. It looks as if she’s going off out for an afternoon’s sailing around the bay. The first time this year that we will have seen her.

The walk through town was rather agonising today and I don’t know why. I’ve noticed for the last few days that I’ not moving around as well as I have been.

And the physiotherapist put me through my paces todays. This new one works me a lot harder than any of the others whom I’ve had so far. I think that she’s on a “kill or cure” mission.

On the way home I called at the pharmacy for the prescription that the sports doctor gave me. If I pick it up while I remember, it saves all kinds of unfortunate complications for later.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022The walk back up the hill was a struggle today. I really am becoming worse and worse these days.

There were several occasions where I was obliged to stop, including at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour. And “Gone! And never called me ‘Mother’!”. Both Marité and Normandy Warrior have cleared off.

But the shrink-wrapped speedboat is still on the quayside. Normandy Warrior hasn’t taken that away this afternoon. And so it looks as if either she or her sister will be back in port quite quickly to do the necessary. They won’t be leaving that on the quayside for too long.

notre dame de cap lihou port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Something else that was wandering around in the harbour was the local lifeboat, Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

Strange as it may seem, they have been using her to tow the dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie around the harbour while she’s been doing her dredging. So by the looks of things, she’s just knocked off for the day and it going home to have a rest.

In actual fact, not that I saw it, but apparently she was back out later. The dredging is finished so she towed the dredger over to the chantier naval where the portable boat lift could winch her out of the water.

marite baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022A little further on along the path we finally caught up with Marité again.

It’s a shame that I only had the NIKON 1 J5 with me. That just has the standard lens and so distance photography is pretty useless and I can’t really pick out anything.

But at least, by the looks of things she’s having a good sail around, even if it is with her diesel engines and not with her sails. I don’t suppose that many people still have the skills for this kind of thing.

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Instead of going into my building I went for a look out to see what was happening.

What I was hoping to see was Normandy Warrior disappearing off into the sunset but wherever she was, she was well out of range of any equipment that I had with me.

All that there were that I could see were a couple of local inshore boats with a couple of fishermen therein so I had to content myself with them.

In any case, there was quite a haze out at sea and even the Ile de Chausey was difficult to see in these conditions this afternoon.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But it was actually a nice day so it was no surprise to see a few people down there on the beach this afternoon.

They were enjoying themselves, especially the few people who were brave enough to go into the water.

Having photographed them I came in here and had a strawberry smoothie and (regrettably) crashed out completely for a good half hour or so. This physiotherapist works me really hard.

And then I had to get everything together for my Welsh conversation class this evening. That passed quickly and it could have been much, much worse. But I’ve ended up with no tea and I don’t care either because I’m tired and I’m going to bed.

Tomorrow there are no plans but something will come along to disturb me, I’m sure of that.

But anyway, that’s for another time. Let me finally post up the details of my little nocturnal voyages from last night now that i’ve transcribed them We were in Wales, Hans, Jackie, Alison and me. We had to go to somewhere which meant going south on the train and then heading east and then back north again in the direction towards Shrewsbury. That was basically what we did and that was how we set off to do whatever it was that we were supposed to be doing.

And then there was something happening at the bar in the Rue des Juifs as well. We’d all taken musical instruments there and set them up in the alcove as if we were going to have some kind of performance but that was as far as I went with that.

Wednesday 11th May 2022 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

airbus A400m baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022… day I’ve had today.

It’s been one of the worst that I’ve had for quite some considerable time, I’m sad to say. So while you admire a few photos of the flight of Airbus A400M aircraft that flew by overhead I’ll tell you all about my sad, sorry tale.

It’s probably something to do with the fact that the medication that I take before I go to bed must have kicked in. i was out like a light almost as soon as my head hit the pillow and that was that. An earthquake could have occurred and a bomb could have gone off but nothing would have awakened me.

airbus A400m baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022The alarm went off at 07:30 and again at 07:45 and again at 08:00 but like Housman’s “Shropshire Lad” who was “One-and-Twenty”, “no use to talk to me”.

The way I was feeling this morning I wouldn’t even have crawled out of bed for Jenny Agutter and Kate Bush, never mind TOTGA, Castor and Zero. It was 10:25 when I finally summoned up the energy to leave my stinking pit, and I was feeling like death.

It goes without saying that there was nothing at all on the dictaphone, and it’s been a long time since that’s been the case. I really was absolutely out of everything last night. And that’s probably the most disappointing part of everything from last night and this morning.

airbus A400m baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Once I’d had my medication and breakfast I came back in here but I was in no fit state to do any work. I spent the morning vegetating all the way up to lunchtime.

For lunch I had the last helping of the leek and potato soup and it was just as delicious as it was when it was fresh. In fact it was probably better with all of the spices having marinaded in.

Just as I was finishing my soup Rosemary rang me up and we had another lengthy chat. She was keen to know how Paris went because we’d talked about it beforehand, and I was keen to hear about her Ukrainian refugees.

But the bad news is that they haven’t arrived. They’ve been caught in a Covid trap and are currently in isolation somewhere along the route.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022After we finished it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk, even if I didn’t feel at all like it.

First stop was the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach to see what is happening there.

The weather had turned today. It was a lot cooler than it has been so I wasn’t expecting to see many people out there, even if it was school half-day. And there can’t have been more than a dozen people down there this afternoon.

What did catch my eye though was the couple perched up on the rock just to the right of the steps.

suzanga baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Having dealt with all of that I headed off down the path towards the lighthouse.

No Nazguls out there this afternoon but we did have one of the trawlers on her way back in to harbour. She’s Suzanga, the newest of the trawlers in port. We first noticed her coming into port in August last year.

Not very many people on the path either this afternoon. I was pretty much alone out there as I admired the flight of Airbus military aircraft that went flying past out at sea. Far too far out for me to be able to read their serial numbers and not having brought my ‘phone with me, I didn’t have a radar on which to pick them up.

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022My walk took me across the car park to the end but there was no-one today sitting on the bench down by the cabanon vauban this afternoon so I didn’t wait around.

There wasn’t a great deal of activity out at sea either. We’ve seen Suzanga of course and out in the Baie de Mont St Michel there were a couple of yachts having a bit of a sail around the bay. And that really was about it.

At fist I thought that it was a catamaran and I had tio look twice to make sure.

So I set off down the footpath on the other side of the headland heading towards the port to see what was happening down there this afternoon before I went back home for my drink.

repainting l'ecume 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There was a great deal of activity taking place in the chantier naval this afternoon and almost all of it was centred around L’Ecume II.

We’d seen it the other day looking in rather a sorry state but they’ve been hard at work having stripped off much of the perished paintwork and primed it. But there’s plenty to go at and they’ll be there for a little while yet smartening her up.

Dodging the classe decouverte walking in a queue-lieu-lieu, or “single file”, I carried on down the path towards the inner harbour because I’d noticed that away in the distance I’d seen Thora, one of the little Jersey freighters, tied up at the quayside.

thora leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022However as I drew closer, she slipped her moorings and headed off towards the gate and the open sea.

As she passed through the gates I ambushed her with the camera and took a photo as she headed off back to Jersey. I’ve not taken a decent photo of her for quite a while.

There wasn’t a great deal of anything else happening so I ended up back at the apartment where I forgot to make myself a coffee. I really must be slipping. It’s not like me to forget to make myself a coffee.

But I didn’t relax for long because I had things to do. I have to do some work today even if I don’t feel like it at all.

home made fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Having eaten the last of my fruit buns this morning I needed to make some more.

So 250 grammes of flour, some dried fruit, a banana, piles of other stuff (and I forgot the dessicated cocount) all went in there and for a change it all mixed up quite nicely.

When I was satisfied with it I divided it into 9 buns and put them in the oven to bake for 40 minutes. And I do have to say that they look, and smell, delicious.

As for what they taste like, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for me to tell you that. But I do reckon that they will be among the best that I have ever baked.

Tea was veggie balls with steamed veg and vegan cheese sauce and it was delicious. And now I’m going to have another go at going to bed. And hoping for a better morning. I have an appointment with the sports therapist tomorrow so I’d better be up and about quite early for that. No lying about stinking in bed.

Tuesday 10th May 2022 – IT REALLY WASN’T …

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022… the right kind of day to take your Nazgul out for a spin this afternoon.

This one came to grief at the Pointe du Roc and in all the time that I was watching, he was unable to go back into the air.

It reminded me of a story about a certain young lady. She was only the groundsman’s daughter but she never got off the ground.

Of course, one of these days, there will be stories written about me. Loads of them too. And I know exactly which wall they will be written on too. Not Crewe Bus Station unfortunately, because the public conveniences there have been completely flattened along with everything else in the town centre.

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There might have been plenty of issues about what was going on in the air but out at sea there was nothing at all to prevent the crowds from assembling.

When I saw all of these boats congregating offshore I thought to myself that there must be something exciting going on out there, because I haven’t seen so many boats assembled in one place before in the ordinary course of events.

It’s quite possibly a fishing party of some description because most of the boats – with one exception – were stationary out there.

Unfortunately it’s not the kind of thing that will be reported in the local newspaper so we’ll have to pass on this event and leave them to it.

sb934730 le grand bleu yacht zodiac baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But there was something of note going on out at sea this afternoon that was worthy of note, and I’m not talking about the zodiac or the yacht in this photograph.

What caught my eye this afternoon was the trawler – simply because when I checked her registration number – SB934730 – on the database that I have, she wasn’t on it so she must be quite new.

SB stands for Saint Brieuc which is down the Brittany coast past Saint Malo, and the registration number and photograph corresponds with a trawler called Le Grand Bleu.

She was build by the Chantier Naval Bernard at one of their sites in Brittany and was launched on 22nd December 2021.

speedboat trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022So be that as it may, let’s turn our attention to what I’ve been up to today while you afmire a few more photos of some sea-going craft.

My day actually started last night when I couldn’t go to sleep no matter how I tried. And I ended up being still here working at 01:30 because I couldn’t thin of what else to do.

When I finally went to bed it didn’t take long to go to sleep but no-one felt less like getting up this morning at 07:30 than I did this morning. In fact, for a couple of hours, if not more, I was right out of everything.

While I was supposed to be revising my Welsh ready for my lesson this morning, I even crashed out a couple of times too and that wasn’t any good at all.

petite laura baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Mind you, when the lesson started I managed to stay awake although I was a long way away from actually contributing very much.

There weren’t all that many of us in our lesson today either so it meant that we had correspondingly more to do. I for one was very glad when the lesson was over and no mistake.

And then it was time for lunch. Another big helping of leek and potato soup and like anything else that is heavily seasone,d it takes so much better the longer that it’s left. I’m certainly looking forward to the final helping tomorrow.

And that reminds me. While we’re on the subject of tomorrow … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ll be eating the last of my fruit buns for breakfast tomorrow morning so I need to make some more in the afternoon.

cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022After I’d finished lunch I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

This was where I was in Paris. I awoke to find that I was totally on my own so I don’t know what was happening with all this going on or not.

And that, surprisingly, was that. It looks as if I didn’t get up to much during the night which is a shame. Who can remember the nights a month ago when I travelled miles with all kinds of wonderful companions holding my hand? It looks as if these pills that the doctor is giving me are having some kind of effect.

That’s something that I find quite depressing. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … what goes on during the night is much more exciting than what happens to me during the day.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Soon enough it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

However, as soon as I put my foot outside the door, the dark, cold hand of doom fell upon me as a Nazgul fluttered by overhead. This one was on his way back to the landing strip which is next-door to the cemetery.

As it happens, I couldn’t think of a better place for the Bird-Men of Alcatraz to take off. If they make a mistake on taking off or on coming in to land, you can just heave the remains over the wall into the cemetery. You don’t have all that far to go at all.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Having dealt with the issue of the Nazgul (for the moment) I went over to the wall at the end of the ca rpark to look down on the beach to see what was happening.

There wasn’t a great deal of beach but that didn’t seem to bother too many people. The weather was so nice with the temperature well in the 20s that it had brought everyone out and they were down there sunning themselves.

No-one brave enough to be in the water though which is a surprise. Plenty of people in boats of course but no-one actually in there swimming or splashing about. If they won’t go in there with weather like we had today, I don’t know when they will because this last couple of days have been gorgeous.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Plenty of people on the path wandering around as well as you can see, and also our stranded Nazgul.

That’s a good indication of how nice the weather was today. Not enough wind to keep this one in the air this afternoon. The seagull didn’t have any problems though.

While I was walking along the path towards the end of the headland I was taking a few photos of the boats in the bay. And as you have seen, there were plenty of those this afternoon.

But there was something of a haze out to sea today so photographing the islands out there was simply not possible. They will have to wait for another time when I hope that I’ll be lucky enough to photograph the Channel island ferries out there doing their bit.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022The car park at the end of the path was quite busy too and it was interesting (to say the least) to watch someone reversing around trying his best to knock over a couple of pedestrians walking around there.

But I walked on down to the end of the headland to have a look at the bench there by the cabanon vauban. This would be the kind of day where I would expect to see people sitting there and I wasn’t wrong, was I?.

They were having a grandstand view of all of the activity too this afternoon. Certainly having their money’s worth.

But I was more interested in the coffee that I had remembered to set off before I came out so I wandered off on the path down the other side of the headland towards the port and home.

trawler l'ecume 2 j158 fishing boat valeque sagone d'angawelys chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And I was right about La Roc A La Mauve III. There she was! Gone! And never called me “Mother”!

But I can identify most of the other boats down there this afternoon. The one nearest the camera defeats me for the moment but behind her is Valeque and behind her is the Jersey trawler L’Ecume II.

Yesterday we saw another unidentified boat in there but from this position we can see clearly who she is. She’s called Sagone D’Angawelys.

Having seen the chantier naval closed over the winter while they overhauled the portable boat lift, it’ nice to see the place filling up again. A busy ship repair yard is the sign of a successful port and that’s important.

omerta petite laura sm517594 rocalamauve port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Over at the fish processing plant we still have L’Omerta moored up at the quayside.

Behind her is Petite Laura just coming in to tie up and unload. We saw her earlier out in the bay on her way home.

The boat behind her tucked around the corner is the one that we saw there yesterday. We couldn’t identify her then but I can see who she is from this position. She’s called Rocalamauve and is carrying a Saint Malo registration number.

Back here I had a coffee and then started to play around with the photos, there were so many. But today things are taking me much longer than they usually go. I seem to have lost my enthusiasm somehow.

These days I’m doing that far too often.

Tea was a mushroom and lentil curry that was delicious as usual, and now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed. I’m not sure whether to wish for a good night’s sleep or a disturbed night with plenty of travels to keep my interest going.

All of these First-World problems, hey’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 8th May 2022 – I WASN’T WRONG …

… when I said that I was likely to have a bad day today.

speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022So while you admire a few photos of the various water craft that was out and about offshore this afternoon while I was out on my afternoon walk, I’ll tell you all about it.

It actually all went wrong late last night because having crashed out so definitively yesterday late afternoon, I wasn’t in the least bit tired and it was long after 02:00 when I finally crawled into bed.

Strangely enough, that was round about the same time that I went to bed last Saturday night too but how I wish that it was for the same reason.

Even though it was really nice to be back in my own bed, I was awake at 10:00 and couldn’t go back to sleep again. Nevertheless it was 11:00 when I finally crawled out of bed.

speedboat zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022After the medication I did some work on the radio programmes, pairing off some music for a radio programme that I’ll be preparing in the future.

At the moment I’m almost a whole year ahead which is good news. I have to concentrate on building up a stock ready for if ever I get to go away again and, of course, for another eventuality which you all know.

That took me up to lunchtime – or, rather, brunchtime, because I haven’t had anything to eat yet. Porridge and toast and plenty of strong black coffee to keep me going for the afternoon because, surprisingly, I was starting to flag already.

As I said yesterday, I had a feeling that it was going to be something of a bad day.

zodiac with fishermen baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But not quite yet because there were still things to do.

The first thing was to write a rather difficult message. I’m not very good at expressing my thoughts and emotions, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and I always end up making a total mess of what I’m trying to write.

But when someone who has known me long enough to know better calls me “sweet”, then that’s the kind of message that deserves something of a rather special reply of the type that I’m really no good at all at writing.

Why does life have to be so full of complications? It would be so much better if I could simply rely on the power of thought transmission.

Having finally sent something (and that took much longer than it ought to have done) that I still didn’t think was good enough but was the best that I could do, I attacked the dictaphone.

I was having a dream about having to write letters to people (something of a premonition, I reckon). Someone was writing them on my behalf but something had happened. The situation had changed unexpectedly and the person writing these letters no longer felt comfortable doing it. The situation was not as she imagined it and she didn’t think that it was as I expressed it so she refused to write any more. I had to collect all the pens and papers and make a list of the people who have already had their letter, then sit down and write the letter again myself to every one who had been missed.

And then I was round at someone’s house doing some tidying up for them (as if that’s ever likely to happen. I can’t even tidy up for myself!). They decided that they would go out and I was still there, not making a great deal of progress. I was busy making myself something to eat when one of them came back, the first to come back and started setting out some food on the table. There were some cakes that he was laying out. I noticed that one of them was a plain scone and I wondered if that was for me. If so, that was quite nice of them. Then someone else came in with a strange-looking object that was like a glass globe that the top came off. They said “here, cook your food in that”. I can’t remember if it was porridge or something like that that I was making but I cooked it in this glass globe thing. It swelled up really nicely and when you coupled up a Land Rover to it at the back it looked absolutely perfect. Whatever it was that I was cooking had the look of like a cake or something like that but when I took it out of the microwave it went flat again which was a shame because it really looked so nice in this glass globe thing in the microwave.

As I expected, I fell asleep in the middle of dictating all of this. And then I fell asleep as soon as I had finished. And on the latter occasion, it was a really deep, intense sleep that wiped me out completely. Right the way up to time to go walkies.

And when I set out I was really in no fit state to go.

people in water beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022The first port of call once I was outside was to go down to the wall at the end of the car park to look down onto the beach to see what was going on down there.

The tide was on its way out so more and more of the beach was being uncovered. And there were more and more people uncovered too, to such an extent that several of them had actually taken to the water.

And that wasn’t a surprise because it was a gorgeous sunny late Spring day and there wasn’t much wind to cool things down.

even Rover was having a good time too, down at the water’s edge having a good bark at the passing seagulls, trying to chase them away.

fisherman baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Plenty of boats out at sea this afternoon as we have already seen, and plenty of fishermen too.

It seemed as if every rock had its own fisherman perched thereupon this afternoon. I counted a couple of dozen out there casting their lines into the water.

Not that we actually saw anyone catch anything. That’s been a regular theme running through these pages that we have seen hundred upon hundred of fishermen fishing from the rocks and not once have we ever seen anyone pull anything out.

There were crowds of people on the path too. It looked as if the whole town had turned out today for a walk around. After all, it is a Bank Holiday today – VE Day – and that’s quite an important date in the French calendar.

f-gorn Robin DR400-120 Dauphin 2+2 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022While I was out there looking at the sea I was overflown by a light aeroplane heading towards the airfield.

It’s one whom we know quite well – F-GORN, one of the Robin DR400-120 Dauphin 2+2 aeroplanes that they have.

When I returned home later I had a look at the flight database. The only flight that was recorded for her today was one where she took off at 15:07, flew briefly around the bay and landed again at 15:17.

But my photo was taken at 16:03 (adjusted) so she’s obviously been out again later and kept below radar level.

Incidentally, when I say “adjusted”, all of my appliances like cameras, dictaphones etc aren’t adjusted for Summer Time.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Crowds of people out on the paths, as I said earlier, and also a few people sitting on the bench down by the cabanon vauban.

There was plenty of activity going on out at sea and there’s little doubt that these people were enjoying the spectacle, both maritime and pescatorial. And with plenty of sun and very little wind, why not?

But I can’t stand here all afternoon watching them. I’ve forgotten to put the coffe on before setting out so I need to go home and make it. I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was happening there.

trawler l'ecume 2 j158 fishing boat valesque le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022One of the things that I had wanted to do was to check the chantier naval to see what was happening there.

And I was right yesterday when I said that I thought that the trawler there might be a Jersey trawler. Indeed it is, and it’s one whom we have met before. J-158 happens to be the registration number of L’Ecume II and she’s been in the harbour here a couple of times.

Her claim to fame is that a couple of years ago her watch fell asleep at the helm and she ran aground on a sandbank. And by the looks of her hull, she looks as if she’s been having a few more issues as well.

Also in the photo are La Roc A La Mauve III, Valesque and an unidentified inshore fisheries boat.

l'omerta ch646489 petite laura port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Yesterday, we saw L’Omerta and another inshore fishing boat over there at the fish processing plant.

They are still here today, and from this viewpoint I can identify the second one. At first I thought that she was Lysandre but on checking her registration number I find that she is actually Petite Laura and she’s a new ship to us. We haven’t seen her before.

You can see in her stern all of the buoys and flags and so on of the type that we see dotted around in the sea just offshore. I’m convinced that they relate to things like lobster pots, indicating where the crew has dropped the pots over the side.

dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Having noticed the dredger in port yesterday I was interested in having a closer look at her today.

And I was right. She certainly is St-Gilles Croix-de Vie, she who comes into port quite often.

But I was more interested in looking at the water level in the inner harbour because that looks a lot lower than it usually is. So what’s happening there?

Back here I had a nice surprise. Rosemary has been tidying up at home and she told me that she had sent me a little gift. So in my mailbox was a little parcel containing a little book on identifying ships. That was really nice of her.

Armed with a mug of coffee I came in here and promptly fell asleep again and that’s how I spent most of the late afternoon. I’m not doing too well right now with all of this. The first couple of days after my transfusion always seem to knock me out.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022After lunch I’d taken the last ball of dough out of the freezer.

Now that it had defrosted I rolled it out and left it to proof and then made myself a pizza.

This is the fourth out of this load of dough and I have to say that it was something of a failure becuase 600grams of flour divided into 4 leaves the base too thin. I’ll have to go back to 500 grammes into 3 for the next batch of dough.

So now I’ve written my notes I’m off to bed. I’m having an early start tomorrow to prepare a radio programme so I have to be on form. But where I’m going to find the energy to do it I really don’t know.

Saturday 7th May 2022 – AS BARRY HAY …


As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … this is really the only place where I’ve ever felt comfortable – really at home. And when I fell in through the door this afternoon I breathed a big sigh of relief.

Having lain awake last night listening to a Paul Temple episode, I wasn’t in much of a mood to leave the bed at 05:10 this morning.

But leave it I did. It didn’t take long to tidy up and make my sandwiches.

martelarenplein leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022By 05:35 I was on my way down the street.

On the way into the station I stopped to have a good look at the Martelarenplein now that most of the work has been completed, to see what they are up to these days.

And by the looks of things, Birnam Wood has come to Dunsinane. There’s a forest springing up outside the railway station right now. I wonder if they are going to be there permanently.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen trees and the like springing up in all kinds of unlikely places, presumably as part of this “green drive”. But they will need much more than this.

am96 multiple unit gare de leuven railway station belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022And it was a good job that I arrived at the railway station quite early.

The 06:33 to Brussels was running quite late and I might have been pushed for time. But the 06:08 was here, an AM96 multiple unit going to De Panne via the airport and Brussels and that will give me plenty of time. I prefer to be early rather than running around against the clock in a panic.

There was nearly an hour to wait in Brussels so I nipped into the Carrefour for a small bottle of water. Just recently I seem to have developed the kind of thirst that you could photograph and I only had a couple of cans of energy drink on me. They won’t go far.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4539 PBA Thalys PBKA 4344 gare du midi brussels belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022They posted the platform for my train to Paris quite early today, which is quite unusual.

There are two trainsets in this train. 4539 is one of the PBA – Paris Brussels Amsterdam – trainsets and 4344, the one on which I travelled, is one of the PBKA – Paris Brussels Cologne Amsterdam – trainsets.

And it’s a good job that they had two trainsets on the job thins morning because it was packed to the gunwhales. I think that I must have been the only person who didn’t have a neighbour.

We arrived in Paris bang on time which was just as well because I’m not going from Montparnasse today. Having booked my voyage differently because of my stopover in Paris I was free to choose a different return and there was a quicker way of going home – from St Lazare via Caen.

However, “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley an’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain for promis’d joy”. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last week when I wanted to go sightseeing, the metro was closed. When I wanted to go to St Lazare today, it was the turn of RER Line E to be closed.

It took me a few minutes to work out where I needed to go in order to reach St Lazare – on the normal metro Line 5 to “Republique” and then Line 3. That will take an age and I don’t have much time. And when I missed the first Metro train by a whisker I thought that my goose was cooked.

To my surprise things rattled on nicely (for a change) and I burst onto the platform at St Lazare with 5 minutes to go.

Bombardier Regio 2N 56665 gare st lazare paris France Eric Hall photo May 2022They were making the train ready to leave so I scrambled aboard quite quickly.

The train is one of the Bombardier Regio 2N double-deckers that run the line between Gare St Lazare, Caen and Cherbourg.

They are quite comfortable and if I have the opportunity I’ll be going this way again because I made a startling discovery. On board the train is a coffee machine and the coffee that it produces is quite reasonable.

And so drinking coffee and reading a copy of Carl Rafn’s “Antiquities Americanae” of 1837 – the first “modern” work to take seriously the Norse visits to North America, We hurtled off to Caen.

82647 76611 bombardier multiple unit gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022At Caen my train was already in so I had to leg it across the station.

THis one was packed out as well and I think that I managed to grab the last free seat. And we were soon off on our way to Granville, where I took this photo. My train is on the right and the train in the reverse direction, from Rennes to Caen, is on the left.

The crowds had thinned out somewhat by the time that we arrived in Granville. But nevertheless it shows you just how ridiculous it was when they tried to run this route with an express bus.

On the way down into town I called in at Carrefour here too. It’s pizza day tomorrow of course and I need fresh mushrooms

roundabout open air market place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022IN town I had an errand to perform.

But first I had a look around at the town centre. It’s Saturday today so it’s market day complete with charcoal-burning barbecue lorry much to the chagrin of the previous mayor who tried to stop them. And the kiddies’ roundabout is back too after a little break.

But I had to go to the chemist’s. I’d ordered some Aranesp for my injections before going to Leuven and I had forgotten to pick it up. To my surprise it was still there and hadn’t been thrown away.

Mind you, I did ask the owner if I had to pay rent for the storage of the device.

And now, with the batch that they gave me at the hospital, I now have enough to sink a ship.

bar ephemere chez maguie place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022It was a dreadful stagger up the hill this afternoon.

For the first stretch I had to stop a couple of times to catch my breath. One was at the viewpoint overlooking the Bar Ephemère, “Chez Maguie”. That’s now properly up and running for the summer season and will soon be drawing in the crowds.

There were a few people down there this afternoon too which wasn’t surprising because it was quite a warm and sunny afternoon.

But there weren’t any boulonauts down there this afternoon. I don’t know where they have gone to. It’s not like them to miss out on the opportunity.

le roc a la mauve 3 fishing boats chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022The further up the hill I went, the quicker I seemed to have recovered my second wind.

From another breathing point I could see right into the chantier naval and took a photo, not that it will turn out too well because it’s only the NIKON 1 J5 with the standard lens.

Le Roc A La Mauve III is still in there (I think) but what had caught my eye was the trawler that was in there. I couldn’t read what was written on the beam but it looked like the letter J with a number indicating that it’s a Jersey-registered vessel.

So what’s she doing here that she can’t have done to her in St Helier?

omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022No prizes for guessing who is tied up at the fish processing plant today.

It is of course L’Omerta, currently afloat because the tide is in but she’s unattended by the looks of things so I imagine that once the tide goes out she’ll settle down in the silt as she usually does just there.

There’s another boat behind her too but I can’t tell who she is from this position. She may well be unattended too because there is no activity on the quayside as there usually is when there are fishing boats unloading or having something done to them.

a href=””>trawlers dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Most of the other fishing boats were, as far as I can see, all in the inner harbour. It looks as if they are all having the day off.

The Channel Island ferries weren’t there today either. The service has restarted because they have been seen bringing passengers into St Helier, so they must all be still out there working.

But there’s a visitor in the harbour over there on the left. She looks very much like the dredger, St-Gilles Croix-de Vie to me. But what’s she doing here in port now? She usually comes here earlier in the year when there is less pleasure traffic.

Eventually I made it back home but it killed me bringing my suitcase upstairs. There was tons of stuff in it today with having to bring home three months’ worth of medication and three months’ of vegan cheese and vegan mayonnaise.

wedding civic rooms place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022When I went to open the windows to let in some air I noticed that there was a wedding going on at the Civic Rooms.

While we’re on the subject of weddings … “well, one of us is” – ed … someone attending a wedding a couple of years ago parked in the parking place of a neighbour of mine.

When she said something to them about it, they gave her a torrent of abuse.

Not to be outdone, she went into the apartment, dressed in her best clothes, and went and gate-crashed the wedding reception and helped herself to free food and drink for the afternoon.

Having made a coffee I came in here to start work and ended up crashing out. I was totally wasted after my efforts today.

Later on, I recovered in time for the football. Caernarfon Town v Cardiff Metropolitan. A game that wasn’t a classic but flowed from end to end and was eventually won by Caernarfon 1-0. Probably the right result.

After tea I had to work myself up to write my notes. I was dead on my feet and I have a feeling that it’s going to be a bad day tomorrow. I know all of the symptoms right now.

Friday 6th May 2022 – ONE THING THAT …

… disturbs me is when I walk into the pharmacy at the hospital to pick up the medication that they had to order for me yesterday, one of the cashiers recognises me and hands me my package without even asking for my name or any identification.

So much for my idea of passing inaperçu – “un-noticed” as I go round and round on my petit bonhomme de chemin. I’m becoming far too well-known for my own good and for my own liking.

Better news though was that I actually had a decent night’s sleep last night once I actually managed to drop off to sleep and there wasn’t a great deal of tossing and turning.

Despite there being no alarm, I was wide-awake at 07:40 and up and about, wandering around at 08:30.

After the medication, including the first of the new once; I had a listen to the dictaphone. And my sleep must have been so deep because there wasn’t as much on there as there has been of late.

However we were at a fishing port or pleasure beach or harbour at Cornwall last night. A fire had broken out and the pier was completely burnt away. All of the waterside houses down one side of the estuary against which the pier was located, because the pier ran from the end of this estuary up alongside the banks of it. All of the houses and businesses on that side of it were burnt away. You could see up into the river that was there without any impediment whatsoever. everyone had moved away from this town because its livelihood was over. A couple of people had been to look and the stone pillars of the pier were still there. They reckoned that they could build a pier on these stone pillars that would be above water at low tide and under water at high tide and put a couple of wind turbines on there. They could still use it for anchoring ships etc. They were looking at it. Then they decided that they would have a collection around the town or everyone’s old ash because some of the stuff that they had burnt was really good quality coal. The ash in it had solidified and would make an ideal base for rebuilding the pier so they went round collecting everyone’s ash bins and checking the quality of the ash ready to use to start rebuilding the pier.

Today I’ve been writing up more notes for my forthcoming radio programmes. With nothing much else to do today I’ve been doing my best to keep busy to stop my mind from wandering off into the deep and dark recesses full of cobwebs in my head where all kinds of different thoughts loiter around.

But as well as that I’ve also had a very long conversation that went on for almost two hours this morning. Not with Rosemary, I hasten to add – she’s far too busy dealing with the family of Ukrainian refugees who have come to live in her little cottage – but in fact with Liz.

That’s the first time that we’ve had such a chat since she moved away. There was a lot to say by both of us. There has been a lot of water that has flown under the bridge in that time.

It was really nice to catch up with everything too. I miss having good friends around the place to whom I can pour out my heart. It’s lovely having Alison, for example, but it’s only for a couple of days per month and usually when things are going according to plan.

rebuilt house dekenstraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022After Liz and I finished I had to nip to the shops. I didn’t have any bread in the place.

For a change I went the back way to the shop in the Tiensestraat. I’ve not been this way for quite some considerable time and the last time that I passed by they were replacing the roof on this buildins.

But now, they have modernised the entire place and it looks totally different from HOW IT LOOKED in October 2020.

And now you can see the benefits of this photo index that I prepared over the last few months.

Back here I had lunch and then headed off into town and the hospital for my medication

open air market herbert hooverlaan leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022In the Herbert Hooverplein on Friday is the big open-air market.

it finishes round about lunchtime and everyone would “fold their tents, like the Arabs and as silently steal away” like “the cares that infest the day” in Longfellow’s “The Day Is Done”.

But there is one here who hasn’t folded his tent quite yet. He’s not yet hitched his lorry up to his trailer.

But here I found out a little more about the megaphone. I had noticed that there was something written on it that said “”. There were a few signs scattered around the park just here advertising it.

It turns out that it’s some kind of acoustic artwork taking place all over Belgium and presumably the megaphone that we have seen is an example thereof.

open air theatre grote markt leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022And so I wandered off into the town centre and the megaphone at the Grote Markt to find out more

But I couldn’t approach the megaphone because there was some kind of open-air theatre taking place. Two actors, complete with props, were reading a play to the watching public. All eight of us.

It wasn’t what I would call a popular affair.

So off I went through the town centre and down the hill towards the Brusselsestraat and the hospital to pick up my medication.

book fair marquee velodrome busselsestraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022The mystery of the marquee at the velodrome in the Brusselsestraat is resolved as well.

There’s a book fair taking place in there this weekend and they were busy filling up the shelves with books as I walked past.

Someone had left the door open so I took full advantage and pointed my camera through it to take a photo – not that you could see all that much.

The papier maché cow was quite impressive though, although what that has to do with a book fair I really don’t know.

It was really quite hot this afternoon so it was something of a struggle up the hill this afternoon. I made it right the way to the top without stopping though, due almost entirely to the fact that I didn’t have anything to carry.

building work car park herestraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022When we were here yesterday we saw all of the activity going on with the hospital car park.

We’d seen a tarmac ripper having its claws installed, and today we could see that it’s been hard at work and much of the tarmac has already disappeared. It’s going to be quite a task by the looks of things.

As I mentioned earlier, at the pharmacy the cashier gave me my missing medication and so I picked up my bag, turned tail and headed back down the hill again towards home in the heat

At least the walk will do me some good.

house renovation kruisstraat hertstraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022When I was on my travels yesterday looking at that redevelopment site I’d seen in the distance some more building work.

This is taking place in the Kruisstraat. It’s another one of these famous Belgian projects where they knock down everything of a building except the facade and rebuild an entirely new building behind it.

There was quite a scandal about a similar situation in Brussels when I lived there. There was a beautiful building with a magnificent marble staircase that the authorities wanted to keep so there was some kind of preservation order on it.

But that only covered the facade apparently so they kept the facade and swept everything else, including the staircase, away.

rubber belt drive bicycle kruisstraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022One thing that we noticed last month when we had a look at the bike rack in the kruisstraat was the strange propulsion system of a bicycle there.

The bike was still there today so I took a better photo of it. And I do have to say that I’m not convinced by the wisdom of a toothed drivebelt rather than a proper chain drive.

On the way back I popped into Delhaize. With not coming back for three months I’d better buy more vegan cheese and mayonnaise to keep me going. And then I went to the vegan ice cream shop only to find that it was closed down and up for sale.

It’s just not my day is it?

Back here I crashed out yet again, but 120% of my daily activity on the fitbit will probably account for a lot of that.

In order to revive myself I had a coffee and then finished off the notes for this radio programme

Tea tonight was sausage beans and chips and now I’m going to tidy everything up ready to leave tomorrow and then I’ll be off to bed

Its strange, but I can’t wait to go home. I miss my little apartment. It’s the first place where I’ve ever lived that has felt like home.

Thursday 5th May 2022 – NOW I KNOW …

… exctly how a table-tennis ball feels.

Apparently there is so much liquid in my body that hasn’t been evacuated that moving it around is what is putting my heart under strain.

And so we’re back in the nephrology department again which was where we started. Knocked back across the fence

As to the question of “how come it suddenly happened overnight rather than a gradual decline?”, well, there was no response to that.

And so it looks as if I’m fated to carry this heart issue around with me until the end of my days. And at this rate, it’s not going to be for long.

At least last night was a rather better night than many have been just recently, even if it did take me an age to go off to sleep. But once I’d gone off I didn’t awaken all that often.

During the night I didn’t go very far – theoretically speaking. We started off back in the war again. We were in the regiment that was leading the advance. When we came to a place that had several lakes and plenty of rocks our regiment was split in 2. One was sent clockwise around these lakes and the other one was sent anti-clockwise round the lakes. We set off on our journey going clockwise. We made really good time. We had a couple of young people with us who had just joined up. We looked after those. We advanced really quite well and made quite some distance. In the end as we went round a corner around the shore of one of these lakes we suddenly collided with a group of people coming through the rocks. We had our guns at the ready, they had their guns at the ready. We fired a few bursts at each other but it turned out to be the other half of the regiment who had come round the other way. We pitched camp for the night together. One or two people were flown out on an aeroplane to make a report and the rest of us settled down for the night.

And there was also a dream about the taxis again. I can’t remember very much of it. It ended up with us having done some tidying up. We had a huge stack of oil in the kitchen in these 5-litre containers and no-one seemed to remind me very much about it. We’d had a visitor, someone who worked on a farm saying that he was having someone around in the morning to lengthen something and shorten something else. I was talking about the time that someone told me that you would probably be able to fit a Leyland cylinder head onto the block of another engine and we managed to have it running. We exchanged a few reminiscences but there wee definitely things about the cars moving around and driving around but I can’t remember a thing about that really. There was much more to it than this.

The alarm was set for 07:00 and just for a change I managed to fall out of bed something-like quickly which is a change, the way things are happening these days.

A quick run-round looking for things, making my butties, all of that kind of thing, and I hit the streets bang-on 08:00 where I was wept up by the crowds and carried off away towards the hospital.

loudspeaker grote markt leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022My route took me into town and past the loud-hailer that we saw yesterday.

For a change, I had some time to have a look around it but surprisingly there wasn’t anything at all to tell anyone what is was supposed to be and why it was there.

Belgium is a country that is well-known for its surrealism, as anyone who has visited the country will know, even down to the shop assistants who have a totally new slant on “customer service”, so the idea of finding bizarre things like this dotted around he place is nothing new.

But a little explanation would be nice once in a while.

club velodrome brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022There was however an explanation as to what was happening at the velodrome yesterday.

There’s some kind of grandstand at the velodrome where spectators can sit in the hope of actually catching someone using it for the purpose for which it was intended, and the back wall of the aforementioned has a series of displays and advertisements.

One of the notices was advertising the “Club Velodroom”, having a meeting yesterday from 13:00 to 16:00. That must have been the occasion that I caught when I was out and about on my walk yesterday afternoon

It’s surprising that seeing as it’s the “Club Velodroom” there wasn’t any cycling involved in the meeting.

building site medieval tower brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022A little further on down the Brusselsestraat I stopped off to look at what was going on at this redevelopment site.

The rubble piles seem to be changing shape although they don’t seem to be changing in volume. Although there are plenty of vehicles and workmen on the site it’s difficult to identify any progress that they have made since we were last here.

The surviving medieval tower is still there though, surrounded by scaffolding and its protective netting. That’s something that is quite reassuring. I can think of many cases where there has been an “accidental manoeuvre of a bulldozer” or a “suspicious fire” that has removed a historic monument from a valuable redevelopment site.

On one occasion I actually wrote a REDEVELOPER’S GUIDE to historic sites, based on a considerable amount of experience.

building site kapucijnenvoer leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022There are a couple of other building sites on which we are keeping a rather watchful eye.

This is the one in the Kapucijnenvoer that backs onto the Zongang. We’ve watched this building rise up from the ground over the last year or so.

They’ve been putting the cladding on the front of the building just recently and we saw some of it go on, but this particular part of the cladding is quite new. I’m sure that I would have noticed something as bizarre as this the last time that I came past this way had it been here.

building site kapucijnenvoer leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022The other building site in the vicinity is this one here further down the Kapucijnenvoer.

They had begun to add the second floor to the structure the last time that we were here, so I was keen to see how things were progressing. And the answer was “not very far”.

There was a lorry, which you can see on the left of this image, with a load of slabs that they are using to build up the walls and one of the cranes is busy unloading them.

And so next time that we are here we might see something of a difference. I know that it’s a big building covering a large surface area but it’ll take for ever to finish it at this rate.

electricity work monseigneur van waeyenberghlaan leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022Something else that is tking for ever to finish is this electrical work in the Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan.

We’ve seen this dug up and repaired and then dug up again on numerous occasions over the last few years but it seems now that they have dug it up and are leaving it like this for the foreseeable future.

The number of times that I have staggered past it on my way to the hospital I really can’t remember.

And I almost ended up making this trip my final one. Someone on a cycle took absolutely no notice of the pedestrian crossing with me on it and we ended up having a “discussion” about the situation

building work car park herestraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022There’s yet more building work of some description going on on the hospital’s car park.

From a distance I thought that they might have been digging holes in which to plant trees as part of this green environmental drive, but when I looked down into the holes I noticed a whole web of cables there.

Presumably then it’s something to do with the rest of he electrical work that’s going on in the vicinity. It’s something else which presumably will become much clearer with the passage of time.

If it’s for lighting, we’ll have to wait until later in the year to see the results.

For some reason that I don’t understand I must have been quite quick today walking to the hospital because I was in plenty of time. Not that it did me any good because I still had to wait for my appointment.

The first thing that they did was to give me an echograph and then they pushed me out into the waiting room for the second part of the examination. That was an electro-scan and when she had finished with me she took me and the results to the doctor.

That was when I had my rather disagreeable discussion. Well, I don’t suppose that it was disagreeable because these people are experts and know their jobs. But it’s simply rather bizarre that I have something that they can’t find. I reckon that I’m just not made the same way as everyone else.

At one point he squeezed my leg and asked me “did that hurt?”. And there I was, wondering how they were going to fix that hole in the ceiling that my head had just made.

He’s also given me a new medication to take. This reduction in my medication didn’t last long, did it?

In the Oncology Day Centre they interviewed me as usual, took a blood sample and then coupled me up to my blood transfusion.

The doctor came and discussed my case and I told him of my latest symptoms, including the fact that in the time that I had taken to take off my elasticated stockings and wash them, my foot and ankle swelled up.

He went off to discuss the latest developments with the Professor who oversees my case and then came back to tell me some startling news – that they want to try me out with three months away from treatment. Come back on the 5th August or whenever it is.

That has taken me by surprise. I would have thought that with new developments they would have been more interested in following me up more closely. What am I going to do now?

The answer to that question was to fall asleep. I crashed out for half an hour.

On the way home I called in to the chemist. And the bill for the medication came to €500 give or take a few coppers. At least the hospital gave me a pile of Aranesp to take home.

heavy machinery building work car park herestraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022When we were coming up the hill towards the hospital we noticed the building work going on on the car park.

While I had been in the hospital someone had come past with a lorry and dropped off a tarmac ripper. It was now unloaded, sitting on the tarmac and the mechanic was busily fitting the ripping teeth onto the belt underneath the machine.

And so it looks as if resurfacing of the car park is on the agenda too, once they have ripped off all of the old stuff.

There’s some kind of major project going on here then and it doesn’t just involve electricity work them.

demolition and rebuilding goudsbloemstraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022For a change I went back home a different way, down the Goudsbloenstraat.

It’s a street down which I walked on many occasions when I first came to live here but it’s changing quite rapidly. I can’t remember what building was there but whatever it was, it’s gone now.

The site has been cleared away and planning permission seems to have been given for the site for it to have new apartments built on there

Now that things are drawing to a close at the building in the Kapucijnenvoer, I’ll have to come back this way and keep an eye on the proceedings

relaying drains blauwe hoek leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing is the roadworks in the Moneigneur van Waeyenberghlaan

They are now finished and have been for many months They now seem to be turning their attention to the road system around the “Blauwe Hoek” or “Blue Corner” That’s all been dug up now and it looks as if there’s a new drain being laid in there too

Construction work in the town is never-ending and there will be plenty to watch in the course of the next year or so I reckon

But right now I’m going to head off home Liz has sent me a message saying that she wants to talk.

hartlopers grote markt leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022There was something going on in the Grote Markt too as I passed through.

There are what they call “hartlopers”, “runners from the heart” who have just come pouring out of the town hall. There were a few jogging around the town too.

Back here I had a quick shower and a change of clothes and then had a little chat with Liz. That took me up to the time to go and catch my bus for Alison’s house.

There is a big drive for putting people onto public transport but that’s no use if the buses don’t come, like mine didn’t. I had to wait for half an hour in the rain.

Alison had cooked something nice and then we had a lengthy chat about this and that – the various things that have happened to us just recently. It’s good to exchange news when there is news to exchange.

Back here I had a lengthy mail to write and then it was time to write up my notes. With 134% of my daily target reached today, I’ll switch off the alarm tomorrow. I have to go to the pharmacy at the hospital to pick up some medication that they needed to order and that will do me for my daily activity I reckon.

Wednesday 4th May 2022 – HAPPY STAR WARS DAY

May the fourth be with you!

As for me, I’m not suite sure what was with me today but I’ve been a very busy boy. The only cure for what’s wrong with me at the moment is, as I said yesterday, plenty of work to take my mind off things and so I’ve buckled down and done a pile of stuff.

For a change I had a reasonable night last night. Probably having taken one of my night-time pills before going to bed might have contributed to that. But even so, it was still quite interesting because I’d been off on my travels during the night.

World War II was being fought. The armies were opposite each other in a trench each. From our side, whichever side that was, someone held up a huge red square type of banner that looked like a Manchester United type of banner when you were close to it. Someone held it up and the firing stopped. A troop of soldiers and cavalry went over into no-man’s land where they met someone coming from the enemy’s side. They had a long conference while we were still in the trenches. Slowly people got up from the trenches and started to move around on top. One group went over to inspect this huge orange bunker that was just in front of the trenches. We noticed that it had several holes like miniature golf holes in it. One of them was so much deeper than the others but that was like a supply hole. People would drop things into this little hole and it would go down out of harm’s reach into this thing so that someone could then open it from underneath and take out whatever was in there. Gradually the news percolated around that an armistice had been signed so we all slowly left the trenches. We found some water, rain water that was full of pulverised brick dust and cement dust s we washed our hands together in this hoping that the action of the dust would grind out all of the dirt and everything that was ingrained into our hands but no matter how I tried, I just could not get my hands clean no matter how many times I washed them.

And then there was some kind of football tournament taking place at Wistaston Green. It involved a girl who was playing against a team. She was out in the street and they were in their gardens. She had to kick the ball towards them and they kicked it back. The big team scored a goal by kicking the ball into the garden of the house next door. I was there and I asked the name of the guy who had kicked it. They told me so I made a note. They carried on playing and he did the same again, or someone else did it. They told me who it was who had done it and they said “Clarke with an H” so I imagined that it was spelt “KHlarke”. Then he said that they had changed now and had un front a “Clarke with an L” so I was trying to think how you would spell that “Clarke with an H because that also has an L”? This girl took a kick and almost scored a goal with it. One of them pointed to the river valley behind her and said “you don’t want to try to win because in that valley is all swamp and everything. You’ll have a hell of a time down there with everything rusting. She replied that she’d seen some places down there that were waterlogged.

Finally I’d been in the English shop or some kind of shop and bought a packet of traditional English butter biscuits, don’t ask me how. I was sitting there eating them. A discussion started about all different kinds of things and something came round about waste, how everything ought to be re-used. Nothing should be thrown away. I pointed to my biscuits and said that the crumbs from these would go to make apple cider vinegar and that’s the way that I’d bought them from this shop that would do this kind of thing. Someone made a remark about me with some of these biscuits but I didn’t pay that much attention. Just then my brother and one of his friends came past. My brother saw these biscuits and just put his hand in my bag and helped himself to one. There were only about half a dozen. Then one of his friends started to make extremely broad hints about the biscuits do I had to give him one as well. Then I found that someone had only eaten half of one as well and put the other half on the dashboard of my car which annoyed me somewhat. I got into the car to start. They had been playing with my music and it wasn’t the music that I’d been listening to. I had to scroll through all the different channels and different storages to try to find the music that I’d been listening to but I couldn’t find it. I was in such a bad mood. My car had actually been driven into a parking space instead of reversing in. That annoyed me intensely. I had to reverse out into the street. There was a whole line of traffic. I started to reverse thinking that someone would stop and let me out but they all carried on. In the end we ended up in a log-jam where I couldn’t move because I was at the wrong angle to go back in again and cars going past me couldn’t go past because I was in the way. It was all total chaos now.

So no TOTGA last night. That was a disappointment and no mistake.

So having dealt with the dictaphone (which took long enough, as you can tell) I sat down to start work.

WHat I’ve done is to write out the notes for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. It’s not easy to do that on the laptop with steam-driven internet. I’m used to 64GB of RAM, a 4.7Ghz processor and hard-wired internet.

As a result that took me right up to a late lunch. But at least it’s done and dusted.

Having had a late lunch I wandered off out for my afternoon walk.

disco party university of leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022And this afternoon I hadn’t gone far before I ground to a halt.

Just down the road in the Brusselsestraat is one of the Halls of Residence for the University and it looked as if they were having a party this afternoon.

They had marquees and beer tents, a bouncy castle, all kinds of sideshows and a disco bashing out the music oud enough to awaken the dead in the cemetery across the road.

There was someone at the entrance collecting admission money and issuing tickets but I fooled them. I went in through the exit.

And I did too. Quite seriously.

In town I went into FNAC to see what was happening but there was nothing whatever of any interest so I tried my luck in the Diestsestraat. But with the same result.

At Origin’O I bought some vegan sausages for back home and a can of that fiery ginger beer to drink as I walked round. They had a pile of it in a cold display and it was quite warm outside.

river dilje handbooghof leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022My walk took me down the street to the bridge in the Brouwerstraat.

It’s here that the River Dijle – or is it the River Leie? – flows underneath the bridge here. There’s a path, the Handbooghof, that runs down alongside it. It was looking quite nice this afternoon in the sun so I took a photograph of it.

But it’s one of these places that needs a good tidy-up. There is so much more that they could do with the place to make it look quite attractive. I’m sure that the people who live in those modern apartments across the river would appreciate it.

medieval city walls handbooghof leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022Maybe they will do something when they have finished restoring the medieval city walls.

There’s a length of wall that runs down here alongside the footpath and they have been restoring it for a couple of years. Although they don’t seem to be going quickly, it’s quite a skilful job involving a lot of precision manual labour and it isn’t easy to do it.

When I rebuild my collapsed wall, I didn’t have any artistic design to follow.

As I walked past I noticed that the door onto the site was open so I stuck my head in, only to find myself nose-to-nose with a security guard.

And so in the best traditions of the News of the Screws, I “made my excuses and left”.

disco party velodrome brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022Further on down the path I turned into the Brusselsestraat.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that at the back of the velodrome here they had laid out a hardstanding that they use for events. Today though they have put a marquee on the site.

It’s quite a substantial erection too with proper sides and doors, so it looks as if it’s going to be something important.

That’s something else that I’ll have to inspect when I’m out and about on my way home from the hospital – if they let me out tomorrow.

Who knows what they have in store for me tomorrow?

disco party velodrome brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022There was another racket coming from nearby too so I went to have a look as I was passing by.

It looks as if some people have set up a disco at the velodrome and they are having a little dancing session.

So what’s going on in the town today with all of the music and all of the students having a good dance? I can’t recall anything special happening today that would merit all of this.

But while we’re on the subject of the velodrome, when was the last time we actually saw someone taking advantage of it with a bicycle?

kid in bakfiets brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022And while we’re on the subject of bicycles … “well, one of us is” – ed … here’s an interesting photo.

That bike there is what they call in Dutch and Flemish a bakfiets and they are used for transporting small goods. But they also have another use too, as you can see in this photo. Taking the kids around in the bakfiets is quite a common pastime in Leuven.

At Delhaize I remembered the coffee (because I’d run out) and the baked beans and then headed for home.

Back here I had a nice shower and a good clothes-washing session and then regrettably I crashed out good and proper in the middle of a Paul Temple episode on the computer.

Later on I carried on with the work in order to distract me from my woes. I’ve now paired off two weeks’ worth of music for the radio programmes.

And that wasn’t easy with the small screen and using a pen and paper instead of a whiteboard and washable marker. I couldn’t see anything very much at all of what I was doing

That took me up to the time for my Welsh conversation class revision and as a result I didn’t have my tea until after 21:30.

That’s what I call “working” – and it’s just as well because it keeps me busy and stops me dwelling on what might have been over the last 22 – or was it 30? – years had the time have been right and things have been different.

At least tomorrow I’ll have far too much to worry about than to think about anything else.

Tuesday 3rd May 2022 – I HAD THE GOOD …

inside building rector de somerplein leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022… luck this afternoon to be able to see inside that building on the Rector de Somerplein.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few months ago a building that had been used for years as an office had closed down and they began to smash out the inside.

A couple of months ago I managed a quick glance in but this afternoon while I was out and about in town I noticed that everyone had knocked off and gone home, and the tarpaulin that they had fitted across the front was blowing in the wind.

“An opportunity far too good to miss” I thought to myself. I whipped out the NIKON 1 J5 and poked it through the grille at the front.

Et voilà

At least it was better luck than I had last night trying to go to sleep. It seems to make no difference what time I go to bed, I simply can’t sleep these days and that’s beginning to get on my nerves. It must be my guilty conscience, I reckon.

However I must have gone off to sleep at some point because there were tonnes of stuff on the dictaphone from my travels during the night.

And once more, it was quite a fight to tear myself off the mattress this morning when then alarms went off. I failed miserably with the first and second alarms and although it was something of quite a struggle, I did manage to beat the third alarm – only just.

There was a Welsh lesson this morning so I had to do things with a rush as we were starting early as our tutor had a medical appointment.

And to my surprise it passed off quite well too. I don’t know what I’d done wrong but I seemed to have remembered most of what I needed this week.

The one good thing about having an early lesson was that it stopped me feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in self-pity for a change. Half the problem is that I have too much time on my hands. If I were at home I’d have plenty of distractions to keep me occupied.

After lunch I had a go at the dictaphone notes to see where I’d been during the night. I’d started out with Jerry Kobalenko, one of my Arctic explorer friends. We were out in the Atlantic and getting into some kayaks to paddle north. As the story changed and continued Jerry became a girl. I know who she is but I can’t think of her or where I met her. We were there on the high seas getting out of this boat trying to pack our things that were floating around on top of the water. We were having to put them in a couple of holdalls that would be strapped to the kayak. Of course it would make the kayak top-heavy so it was going to be interesting to see how we could make it to land like that without being swamped. I noticed that the boat on which we sailed, it could have been THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR had only one propeller blade. All the others had sheared off. There was my little wind turbine on there but it wasn’t doing all that much. I had another alternative energy machine on there but I can’t remember what that was. In the meantime our ship was reported missing. We’d been in the company of another ship for a while but then there was an ice field and we’d separated but hadn’t rejoined the other ship afterwards so we were listed as missing. People were starting to be worried about us and search for us but we were still afloat, still a way out in the Atlantic busy trying to organise these kayaks so that we could get out of the water as we were actually in the water by this time starting to pack then get into the kayaks and paddle away through these waves and the storm in top-heavy kayaks

And then there was a group of us on board ship again. Me, another woman, her boyfriend (it could well have been my friends from Nicorps). There were a few small girls. Once again one of these small girls had taken a fancy to me and was hanging around with me. During the evening they had a kind-of ship’s party out on the open deck. It was starting to become somewhat out of hand. The woman and her husband, they wouldn’t dance together. He wouldn’t dance with her. A person took him and made him eat something, some powder, and used him as a kind-of sacrificial altar where they decked him out with candles etc using some kind of magical incantation to make people dance a kind of crocodile around him. This woman worked out that what they had actually given the husband was strychnine. We all thought that it would kill him, at least make him impotent. She took a mouthful of it and we all wondered why. She said that it was to do with some way of making him immune to disease. We couldn’t work out exactly why but there were all these people dancing around. There was such a feeling of deep and utter tragedy happening. Then one of these little girls, the one who had taken a shine to me, started to dance with me too.

Later on I stepped right back into that dream of all of us on that boat, these dancing people being separated and so on. It was at that point where the women were dancing and the men were standing still before the one who had been picked out to be the sacrificial altar, somewhere around there.

We were back in Crewe. There was some kind of family event going on. We were in the High Street. By this time the railway line to Chester was a footpath and there was the old railway line that was also a footpath. We were discussing what had happened on someone’s wedding night where Malcolm had had rather too much to drink and had been fooling around round here by the steps onto the abandoned railway lines and had been arrested. It was around here where we bumped into TOTGA, a very crestfallen-looking TOTGA too. She’d been in a fight with a group of girls. It turned out that someone had suspected her of sleeping with someone else’s boyfriend. She showed me a photo of a girl and said “that’s the girl who hit me”. I asked her how she was. She said that she’d hurt her hand so I took her hand. She was very reluctant to let me but I kissed it better like you do to a kid. That made her recoil a little. The conversation went on about the particular fight that had happened completely out of the blue. She knew absolutely nothing about it. It just flared up in the street from nothing.

But this is not the time for TOTGA to be unhappy.

It goes without saying that talking about sacrificial altars and the like, there was much more to it than this. But you really don’t want to know about it, especially if you are just about to have a meal.

taverne universum herbert hooverplein leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022This seemed to be a good time for me to go out for my afternoon walk. There were a few things that I needed in town.

Down the Tiensestraat I strolled and ended up on the corner of the Herbert Hooverplein and the Tavern Universum.

Over the last few months we’ve been watching the developments here as they have been ripping out the interior and so on.

The skip over there on the left is full of rubble so it looks as if it’s going to be a while before the work is finished and the tavern reopens.

children playing in fountain herbert hooverlaan leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022In the meantime, there’s plenty of excitement in the Square itself.

The fountain over there is now working again after the winter and there are a couple of kids having no end of fun running about and soaking themselves as the fountain erupts in a fury.

It just goes to show you the resilience of kids. It’s not exactly midsummer this afternoon and I bet that the water over there is pretty cold.

From there I headed off into town, past the building that we saw earlier in the Rector de Somerplein.

loudspeaker grote markt leuven belgium Eric Hall photo May 2022The Grote Markt is well-known for all kinds of exciting temporary displays and we’ve seen a few in our time over the 6 years since I’ve been coming here.

THis month they have a giant megaphone over there although why it’s there and what it’s advertising, I wasn’t able to identify. I shall have to have a closer look on Thursday when I’m on my way to Castle Anthrax.

But whether or not I have time is something else. My first appointment is at 09:30which means that I have to be off on my travels at 08:00 and I’m not sure how I’m going to manage that.

At the Delhaize I stocked up on vegan cheese and vegan garlic mayonnaise for home, as well as some Iced Tea and banan-flavoured soya milk. However I forgot the coffee and baked beans and so I’ll have to go again when I go to buy the vegan sausages at the Origin’o or whatever it’s called these days.

Back here I had to choose the music for the final radio programme of this next batch. And of course the first track that I chose and which will open up the programme had to be YET ANOTHER ONE that touched a nerve.
“Well maybe I’m just thinking that the rooms are all on fire
Every time that you walk in the room
Well there is magic all around you, if I do say so myself…
I have known this much longer than I’ve known you”

So having now had tea, I’m going to sit quietly and not do very much before I’m off to bed. If I’m lucky I might be able to have a good sleep but I’m not holding my breath.

Maybe I ought to have someone come and tuck me in every night and read me a story, but let’s not go getting all broody again, hey?