Category Archives: LIDL

Saturday 24th September 2022 – I REALLY DON’T KNOW …

… how to start today. I’ve been trying to think of some significant event that could open up today’s entry with a bang, but I couldn’t really think of anything.

It’s been that kind of day today.

35ma light aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So while you admire a couple of photos of a few light aeroplanes that were flying around this afternoon, I’ll start at the beginning.

When the alarm went off I was in a University lecture and the lecturer was reading out the conditions for a test. The way he calculated the marks to be awarded only led up to 80%. he said “don’t worry. The other 20% will be awarded depending on how well you got on watching a couple of films”. Of course that didn’t seem right to me. he started to give the instructions but I was busy drawing flowers on the whiteboard that I had. he came out with something and I made rather a lame joke about it. Half-way through, the invigilator came in to ask him if he was ready to start. He said “I have them wound up. They are already cracking jokes “. I thought that had I known, I would have cracked a better joke than that.

light aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022It wasn’t a very enthusiastic start either.

Although I managed to beat the second alarm, it wasn’t by much. I was still dressing when it went off.

But after I had taken my medication I wandered off for a shower and a general tidy-up.

And then it was time for a quick trip to Lidl. I didn’t want much today because I have something organised later in the week and shan’t need much food – at least as far as LeClerc goes, so there wasn’t much point in going there.

It actually took much longer in Lidl than it might otherwise have done. Only one queue open, and some doddering old woman was having a dispute with the cashier.

She seemed to think that the cashier had failed to charge the reduced price for a short-dated item and nothing that the cashier would do to convince her and it took an age for the matter to be settled. Of course, the cashier isn’t going to print out the receipt and give it to the customer until the bill has been paid.

And when it did come to paying, the old woman had to dig deep in every pocket and bag that she had in order to find the right amount of cash.

There was a lot of words being said by those of us who were stuck in the queue.

f-gnnx Pierre Robin DR400-120 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So while you admire F-GNNX, a Robin DR400-120 belonging to the aero club at St Brieuc that came to pay us a visit this afternoon, I was eventually finishing my purchases and driving home.

Having sorted out my purchases I came in here to check my mails and messages.

Do you remember the saga of Not My Cat from the other week? A friend of mine was followed home by two kittens yesterday. They came into her house and settled down. She added “despite leaving the front door open they didn’t want to return outside at all”.

Anyone who knows anything about cats will realise that the cats have now adopted their human and that is that.

Armed with a coffee and some cheese on toast, I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

You’ve already read one note from the dictaphone but there was something else too. We were back in the war. The area of Russia where we were living was invaded by the Germans. I’d been caught as being away from my own place when I’d been talking to this girl. I ended up having to work for the Germans but I eventually found my way back home again. There was a second wave of invasions and I was caught yet again away from home so we decided that I’d pretend to be a flatmate of this girl and I’d be having singing lessons. This is how it started. Of course the military came to raid us again. It turned out that the guy who was in charge of the military was the guy who raided the place where we lived the first time so that didn’t work and we were all taken off.

So no TOTGA, no Castor and no Zero last night. But no-one else to disturb me so I ought to be thankful for small mercies.

After lunch I was idly surfing the internet, like you do … “like YOU do” – ed … and I came across a live football game – Wales under-19s v Republic of Ireland under-19s.

It was pretty short of skill as you might expect but a couple of players impressed me. I don’t think that anyone would ever get past whover was Ireland’s n°4.

There were a couple of distractions while it was going on, which meant, would you believe (and knowing how things usually pan out with me, you probably would), I missed the two goals that Ireland scored. 2-0 for Ireland, the final score, which rather flattered them, I reckon.

As the final whistle sounded, it was actually bang on time for my afternoon walk so I hopped outside.

people taking photograph on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a regular feature that runs through these pages is one of photographs of people taking photographs.

Sown on the beach we had some guy posing at the water’s edge with some kind of dog that seemed to be a fashion accessory at his feet while someone else was taking photographs with a mobile ‘phone.

Not exactly what you would call the height of artistic endeavour but it makes some kind of unusual subject.

And just as well too because as far as I could see, they were the only people down there on the beach this afternoon.

jersey shtandart baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And while I was up here by the wall, I was having a look around to see what was going on out to sea.

And look who’s back in the neighbourhood. Right out there in the bay a good few miles offshore is our old friend the Russian sailing ship Shtandart. She’s come back to haunt us.

And I can tell that it’s her for the simple reason that there is no AIS signal from anyone out there in that direction. Had this been any other sailing ship she would have had her AIS transmitter functioning but regular readers of this rubbish know all about her switching hers off.

And look at Jersey in the background. On the extreme right we can even make out one of the offshore Martello Towers but I can’t make out which one it is from here.

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022That prompted me to take another look at Jersey, without the distractions of Shtandart.

Over on the right we can see the blocks of flats at St Clément. As you’ll see when I finally add the photos from my trip to Jersey there are four fourteen-storey blocks of flats one behind the other on the seafront there and they show up quite clearly.

And then to the left we have various buildings in and around St Helier. It’s not easy to identify which is which because the sunlight is rather bizarre today.

But what I will do is to cadge a lift over to Jersey in Normandy Trader and film a video of the approach when the identity of the buildings will be much clearer.

And while we’re on the subject of Normandy Trader, Nathan her skipper tells me that he came into port on Wednesday while my friends and I were out to pick up those dumpers that we saw at the quayside on Sunday, and then had to come back the following day for more agricultural equipment.

la grande ancre baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There was some other stuff out and about too this afternoon.

One of the boats was instantly recognisable. I didn’t need the zoom lens on the NIKON D500 to tell who she was.

Sure enough, it’s another one of our regular customers, La Grande Ancre returning from a day’s fishing out at the Ile de Chausey.

The other boats were too far out to have any realistic idea of whom they might be, so I ignored them for the time being and headed off for my walk – or “hop”, more like.

wedding pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The path along the clifftop was really busy this afternoon. There were quite a few people walking about.

However what had attracted my eye was this large group of people on one of the lawns at the end of the headland by the car park.

While I’d been watching the football earlier, one of the distractions was the noise of motor horns coming from vehicles at the Public Rooms presumably attending a wedding. What looks to have happened now is that all of the guests had adjourned to the lawn to carry out their celebrations in the open air.

They even had a couple of cars parked on there, decorated with flags and the like. You can see one of them over on the right.

kayakers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022It actually wasn’t all that much of a nice day for it, no matter how it looked in the previous photos.

And I’m sure that the guys in the two kayaks down there would be able to confirm it. It was cold to the extent that I had on a sweater, and there was quite a wicked wind blowing – one that was certainly rocking the boat.

This would have been the kind of weather that had I been out there on the water I would have wanted some kind of heating. But it’s never a very good idea to light a fire in a canoe for as you know, you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

I’ll get my coat.

cabanon vauban person on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022What with all of the activity down there this afternoon, once more I’m surprised at the insouciance of some people.

Here we have a big wedding, a pseudo-Spanish galleon, a couple of kayaks, some fishing vessels and several aircraft flying by, all of which in a very strong wind, and here we have someone else sitting in a ringside seat on the bench down by the cabanon vauban and he is far more preoccupied by something else.

Maybe it’s his telephone, maybe it’s a good book, but there’s that much other stuff happening that I would have thought that he might have taken more of an interest in it.

la grande ancre baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Especially as just a minute or two later, La Grande Ancre goes sailing … “dieseling” – ed … part.

When I’d seen her earlier, she seemed to be pretty-much loaded up and I was really interested to see what she might have been carrying.

So here she is, and just look at all that shellfish. and not even a single seagull launching a dive-bombing raid for a free lunch.

It certainly must be profitable out there on the Ile de Chausey with all of that on its way back to the Fish Processing Plant, so I hope that they don’t hit any rough seas otherwise all that lot will come sliding off.

chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022having seen la Grande Ancre I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

Yesterday we had seen Le Poulbot in the cradle of the portable boat lift waiting for the tide to come right in so that there would be enough water to float her away from the quayside. Anyway, she’s now cleared off back into the water than that is that

There’s still that empty place though where Pierre de Jade was until earlier in the week. I suppose that someone will come along to claim it in due course

In the meantime, Gerlean and L’Omerta are still where they were, over on the right of the yard.

ch922398 Gwenn Ha Ruz port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022By now, one of the other boats that was out in the bay has come into port.

She’s one that we have seen before – CH922398, otherwise known as Gwenn Ha Ruz, which means “White and Red” in Breton.

There’s quite a load on board her too so it must have been a really good day out there today from that point of view.

By the way, don’t confuse Gwenn Ha Ruz with Gwenn Ha Du, “White and Black” in Breton. That is the colour (and nickname, incidentally) of the flag of Brittany. And you can see the similarity between the Welsh and the Breton languages.

Back here I had a play with the radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. It’s going to be a special programme because there’s an event that needs to be celebrated so I spent quite a while trying to find some appropriate songs.

But now I have my 10 and one or two extra to fill in at the end. But I’ll need to make sure that there wiil be plenty of stuff to cut out of the text because I don’t have the same room to manoeuvre as I usually would for an 11th track.

Tea was a baked potato with veg and one of my breaded quorn fillet things. They really are nice. And as I’m having to ration the potatoes at the moment I had a slice of apple pie from the freezer. Dated September 2020, it was still quite nice.

And now before I go to bed I need to make a start on a mega-back-up. It’s been ages since I’ve done a complete one for the travelling laptop so I need to think about that.

It doesn’t matter how long it takes of course because Sunday is a lie-in and I fully intend to make the most of it.

What could possibly go wrong?

Saturday 10th September 2022 – NOT MY CAT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe it’s a sign from somewhere.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And this is when Not My Cat appeared.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was quite delicious too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live for today, regardless of what happens tomorrow.

Saturday 6th August 2022 – AS BARRY HAY ONCE …

… famously said, IT’S GOOD TO BE BACK HOME.

And, shame as it is to admit it, it was good to have Caliburn at the railway station too because the train can be 15 minutes late arriving in Granville, I can go to do a pile of shopping in Lidl, and still be back home before the usual time that I would have been had I walked, and without any of the stress and fatigue.

Just as well too because apart from the fact that it was a scorching afternoon that would have burnt me to a frazzle had I tried to walk, I’d had another bad night. In fact, when the alarm went off at 05:30 I was already up and about tidying the room.

martelarenplein gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022Never mind the 06:33 to Oostende, I was well in advance for the 06:09 to Knokke via the airport

For a change, I was out of the building quite rapidly and soon at the Martelarenplein. That’s been under renovation for years too so it’s really nice to see it almost clear of the evidence. Just a portaloo and a little compound to go.

But by the looks of things, Birnam Wood is now on its way to Dunsinane, and presumably intending to travel there by taxi too because it’s just behind where they are that the taxis line up to take away the passengers.

And you can see the time on the station clock just above the trees.

glad road sign martelarenplein Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022It goes without saying that I’m quite happy too. Especially as I’m on my way home.

Seriously … “just for once” – edGlad is Flemish for “slippery”. What this sign is referring to is that there’s a spiral cycle ramp just here and when it rains and the water comes cascading down it’s quite treacherous.

It beats me why someone would want to bring a horse up there, but I was going to go for a closer look but there were no little girls around to come with me, presumably something compulsory, judging by the accompanying sign.

sncb 535 am96 multiple unit gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022Bang on time the 06:06 pulled in so I clambered aboard that and headed into Brussels via the airport.

It’s one of the class of AM96 multiple units with the rubber bellows end and the driver’s cab that tilts away when two or more trainsets are coupled together. These are quite comfortable, compared to some of the trains that work this line.

Not much luggage space though which is rather sad for a train that goes back and to via the airport. When the train is full we’re all somewhat overwhelmed with suitcases, although it was quite empty today.

ukrainian refugee centre gare du midi brussels Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022At Brussels I had a few things to do there so I was glad that I was on the earlier train.

First thing to do was to check the Ukrainian Refugee Centre to make sure that it was still operating. It was all closed up when I went by but that’s presumably due to the early hour. It looks as if it’s still operating in normal times.

Second thing was to draw more cash from the one-armed bandit. I don’t use very much cash at all these days, preferring to pay by card for everything but nevertheless it’s still handy to have some floating about.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that as a result of years of bitter experience, I keep €50 tucked away in my phone case and another €50 tucked away in Caliburn just in case I forget my bank cards when I’m on my travels, and I’ve had to rely on them more than once.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4537 PBA gare du midi brussels Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022There was only a short wait after that because much to my surprise, and everyone else’s too they posted the train to Paris half an hour before the next one so we all swarmed up to the platform.

Today’s train consists of two trainsets, each of 8 carriages. Mine is a “PBA” trainset, one of the Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam Reseau 38000 tri-volt units. Quite elderly now but still quite capable of cruising for hours effortlessly non-stop at speeds of over 300kph.

Despite their age, it’s still by far the most comfortable and quickest way to travel to Paris. Many people think that an aeroplane might be quicker but it takes an age to travel from Brussels to the airport at Zaventam and then from Charles de Gaulle to the centre of Paris.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4533 PBA gare du midi brussels Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022The other trainset is also a “PBA” and that’s a surprise. We’re quite used to having hybrid trains consisting of different types of trainsets.

Everyone suged aboard and I could understand why they posted the train earlier too. There were 16 carriages on this train, all of which except the two buffet cars have 108 seats, and there wasn’t an empty seat on the whole train.

Getting that lot on board would take much longer than 15 minutes.

My seat was squashed in a corner out of the way so I passed the time of the journey choosing more music for my radio shows and keeping myself to myself.

Paris was heaving too. I was lucky enough to grab a seat on the Metro and we whizzed through the drains quite rapidly.

At the exit at the Gare Montparnasse Metro station a couple of people offered to carry my suitcase up the stairs for me, which was very nice of them. I didn’t take up their offer as I have to do all that I can to maintain my autonomy.

Nevertheless I am glad that I found that easier walk down the street instead of struggling through the labyrinth.

Gare Montparnasse was heaving with people this morning but then the first Saturday in August, that’s hardly a surprise. And I was lucky to find a seat next to an electric socket that actually worked so I could charge up the phone and listen to a live concert of Steve Harley and Nick Pynn which has one of the best versions of “Riding The Waves” that I’ve ever heard.

84558 gec alstom regiolis gare montparnasse paris france Eric Hall photo August 2022The train back home was as usual a Gec Alstom Regiolis

Once again we were called early to the train which was once more just as well, and for the same reason as before. 2×6-car units and not a spare seat anywhere.

Lucky me! I had a lovely travelling companion but she didn’t say much and I carried on choosing music, reading a couple of books and … errr … falling asleep as we all went West.

The car park at the station was heaving too and leaving took quite a while. But I’m glad that I took the opportunity to go to Lidl because I could stock up with stuff for the next few days.

You’ve no idea how glad I was to be back at my apartment. I struggled up the stairs not once but twice with my stuff and ended up having quite a long chat with my neighbour from upstairs and we put the world to rights for a while.

Once I’d installed myself inside I made a nice strong coffee and a couple of rounds of toast – the first stuff that I’d eaten today and it was 15:30.

While I was drinking the coffee (two cups) I backed up the big computer in here and even before I’d finished the coffee I’d fallen asleep again. This time it was a good one and I was gone for about an hour and a half.

Tea was what I should have had last night. Alison coming by yesterday was a surprise so we had eaten out and I brought the stuff back with me today. It’s a shame to waste it.

There was the dictaphone to deal with at some point too. I was cooking some food in the oven. There was some stuff in there that I’d bought and there was a pie in there, something like that. I put the pie in what was really the vegetable container in the fridge but that was in the oven. When I went to turn the pie over to do the other side I noticed what i’d done and had to take it out. I went to pull the vegetable tray out but it was made of glass and really hot. I dropped it on the floor. Luckily it didn’t break and didn’t damage my pie. I had to look around for a pyrex bowl in which to put my pie so it would heat up properly in the oven while everything else in there was cooking

Later I was in charge of a gaol last night in Alabama or Georgia somewhere in the USA. There was turmoil because the State declared itself independent from the USA and everything changed. The townspeople wanted to take control of the gaol because there was an Afro-Caribbean prisoner in there who they wanted to summarily execute. I’d arranged for my men to be in the prison so that there would be no violent takeover. Anyway the people came in. I was standing there with a loaded shotgun. They considered that to be provocation. One man sidled up towards me supposedly out of my vision to try to overpower me but I stepped back and drove the butt of the shotgun into his stomach. I’d sharpened the butt of the shotgun into a point so it was like a spear. It pierced his skin and that took him by surprise. We ended up in a back room where I stabbed him several more times with this shotgun. He ended up unconscious on the floor. I walked back into the room with the shotgun in one hand and an automatic pistol in the other and asked “what happens now?”. That took them completely by surprise that I’d managed to overpower this guy so easily.

Finally Zero’s dad had given me a small red FIAT car that was in really good condition. I’d brought it in through my front door and into the house to give to Nerina, the idea of the house being that he couldn’t claim it back just in case there was a problem because I wasn’t sure about how reliable this gift was going to be. Then I had to go and do some work on the computer so I went upstairs to my office . I’d arranged all the furniture at one time that meant that I couldn’t see the computer screen from where my desk was so I had to rearrange it all back again. While the computer was warming up there was a programme on the internet about some kind of race through these fields by the people of this village. They had become so bogged down in the mud etc that they’d had to bring dogs in to tow them out. One of the competitors had to stay behind because they had a pair of chains to use to attach these dogs to all the teams. Instead of being clear favourites they were way down the field by the end. The judges had to mark their lateness as being compulsory rather than voluntary and that was controversial. The judges had to stay there really late to mark this particular leg so they weren’t happy either. It was all rather chaotic

It’s been an age since Zero has come for a wander with me during the night but every now and again her father pops up uninvited. He’s obviously “The Banquo at my banquet, a cuckoo in my nest”. Why can’t he send Zero instead?

So now I’m off to bed. I’m exhausted and a good sleep will really do me good, I reckon. I’ve been invited out tomorrow but I don’t know if I shall go. I’m not feeling up to it right now so we’ll have to see if I’m feeling any better in the morning.

Saturday 30th July 2022 – WE’VE HAD A …

wedding place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… wedding out here at the Public Rooms at the back of my building this afternoon.

It’s something that happens quite often but usually I don’t take very much notice but today, with having a rather late lunch, they poured out of the building as I was going into the living room so I took a few photos.

There’s a church just round the corner, L’Eglise de Notre Dame de Cap Lihouas regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and weddings take place there quite often because of the beautiful setting.

wedding place es Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022However since Laicité – the “Separation of Church and State” that took place in France at the Revolution and subsequently reinforced by a Law of 9th December 1905 there’s a civil ceremony that takes place in the public buildings in front of the mayor.

Thus everyone troops round here after the Church bit to complete the formalities with the mayor, and this is when everyone goes berserk.

Watching them all wildly celebrating reminded me of my lesbian friend from Shropshire who kept her sexual orientation a secret from her elderly relatives.

You’ve no idea how she felt when they all went up to her at every family wedding and said “you’re next! You’re next”.

So in the end she started to exact her revenge at funerals.

And while we’re on the subject of funerals … “well, one of us is” – ed … I felt like I should have been at a funeral today – in a wooden box being lowered into the ground. It has not been a very good day again.

When the alarm went off this morning at 07:30 I was sorting out a pile of medication and papers and things like that in my sleep and I must have leapt about three feet into the air. It took me completely by surprise. It was something to do with bridges over Germany and the heat. One of them had cracked and the asbestos was coming out so it was closed to passengers and pedestrians. People were having to cross by another one but they were limited in the number of times that they could go across and they had to show their ausweis. We were commenting on how Mother Nature is fighting back against the humans and how she’d eventually win, and I was shuffling these papers around.

As seems to be the case these days it took me a few minutes to stagger to my feet but once I was up, I was up. After the medication I set out quickly to Lidl for my shopping.

This was when Brain of Britain found that he’d come all this way without bringing his money with him.

However, years of very bitter experience has taught me better than this, and that’s why there’s €50 hidden in the back of my ‘phone case and another €50 hidden in Caliburn. However I didn’t have a coin for the trolleys so I didn’t buy as much as I would otherwise have liked.

It didn’t take me long in Lidl and I was back home by 09:40. I even managed to put everything away as well.

After a rather late breakfast I attacked the carrots. I was running low on frozen carrots so I’d bought so more fresh ones. I cleaned, diced and blanched them and set them to drain.

Unfortunately, they were only sold in lots of 1.5kg which was more than I was expecting so I was glad that I’d bought that extra-large casserole saucepan a couple of years ago.

And now the freezer really IS bursting at the seams, especially as I fitted the three packs of hot cross buns in there the other day. Nothing else can go in until a lot more stuff goes out.

But what kind of exciting life do I live these days when the highlight of my day is freezing a pile of carrots?

Sitting down here afterwards I drifted off into the land of Nod and that was that. Never mind my lunchtime fruit at 13:00. It was 14:50 when I awoke and round about 15:00 when I staggered into the living room to eat, encountering the wedding party on my way.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022After wards, I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

There was a large crowd of British people outside this afternoon looking at the Nazguls that were flying by overhead. Nevr mind the Nine Riders, there was probably about a dozen of them all together in all various stages of flight.

In fact it took them a considerable amount of time to come up and down the coast. They were still on their travels when I was going back into the building half an hour later.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022So having been overflown by a Nazgul or two I headed off across the car park to see what was happening down below on the beach.

We had the crowds again down there today making the most of the beautiful weather, although not as many this weekend as you might expect.

That’s because this is the weekend where everyone who has had their four weeks holiday in July will be heading for home and those who will be having their four weeks in August won’t have quite arrived yet. So there’s just that little quiet pause this weekend.

Mind you, I’m glad that I’m not on the roads or on the rails because that’s where we can expect to find a pile of chaos today.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Not much happening out at sea today either – at least in the immediate vicinity.

All of the fishermen were having the day off and there weren’t any ferries or freighters about. What we did have were a couple of yachts having a go at synchronised sailing around the bay.

We had crowds of people up here on the path creating quite a dust storm as they walked by so it was quite an uncomfortable walk down to the end of the headland.

Loads of brats playing around by the bunkers too. It’s almost as if there was some kind of organised activity taking place this afternoon.

sunlight reflecting off window brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of months ago I talked about the use of heliography by General Crook in his campaign against the native Americans in the late 19th Century.

The illustration that I used was the sunlight reflecting off a window down at the bottom of the bay over in Brittany.

This afternoon we had another example of the same thing. That’s about 20 miles away, I reckon, and reflecting off a glass window in the kind of strange atmospheric conditions that we have around here.

When you see things like this you can understand why Crook’s soldiers could send heliograph messages over 50 miles with a mirror in the crystal-clear weather conditions that prevail in the Arizona Desert.

While I’d been looking on the fleet radar earlier I noticed that the ferries Condor Voyager and Commodore Goodwill would cross each other at some point in the English Channel while I was out.

The former had left St Peter Port at 15:03 and was to arrive at St Malo at 17:00 while the latter departed from St Malo at 15:02.

sailing ship english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And so when I scanned the horizon and saw a large object away out on the horizon I took a photo in the hope that I’d caught them both crossing each other.

However, enlarging and enhancing the image reveals that I’ve caught something else completely – a rather large 2-masted sailing ship.

Don’t ask me what she is because by the time that I’d worked out what type of ship she was, the rader plots for that area had long-since dispersed and I couldn’t bring up any historical tracks with any accuracy.

Nevertheless, even at this distance she’s a magnificent ship and I really wish that I knew who she was.

With the crowds around on the car park it wasn’t easy to make my way down to the end of the headland.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022But with all of the people about, the display of heliography and the magnificent sailing ships right out there in the English Channel, it’s no surprise that there was something of an audience watching it all.

Down on the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon we had a couple of people enjoying the nice weather and enjoying the view that went with it

Plenty of people walking around the lower path looking as if they might go to join them but I wasn’t going to wait around. Instead, I was going to clear off down the path down the other side of the headland that takes me to the port.

open cockpit aeroplane baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There had been several aeroplanes flying by out at sea this afternoon but they had all been too far away for me to identify.

This one was also too far away for me to identify but the reason why I photographed it was because, quite rarely, it had an open cockpit.

We don’t see too many of those these days and that makes me think that she’s probably a light aeroplane whose registration number isn’t on the list that I have. I checked the arrivals and departures from the airfield for today and there was no-one whom we didn’t know out and about at the time that I took this photo.

gerlean l'omerta fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Before I went home I had a look down in the port to see what was happening there.

Marité had gone back out today but back in the port were L’Omerta and Gerlean who are playing “Musical Ships” down at the Fish Processing Plant.

Back here I made a coffee and had a listen to the dictaphone. I was in Security working at an airport. I’d been given a rifle because we suspected that someone was going to cause a problem boarding a particular plane. I ended up right at the back of the boarding place where I could see everyone in front of me. Sure enough, this woman started to protest and mount an objection. In the the end she was clambering through the false roof and fell through, falling to her death on the concrete floor of the terminal so everyone could go and board their planes. I had to put my rifle back which meant putting it in one of the rooms but all the doors had been locked. There was a way in there through one of the other rooms. This means going through a small gap but they had tiled over this gap so I was trying to work out how to enter the other room. Someone came along and began to take up the tiles. There was a metal tray underneath that they began to take up. There was the floor and then something else under that. I thought that this would take ages to do. Putting it back would take even longer and all that wanted to do was to put this rifle in the storeroom that should have taken 30 seconds. I couldn’t understand at all why I had to go through this enormous rigmarole just so that I could put back my rifle. Ther emust be a much quicker, normal way to do it than havinf to do all of this.

And then I was dealing with my medication, as I mentioned earlier.

There was time for me to have a play with the guitar and then I went for tea. They had some of those breaded quorn fillets in Lidl do I bought two packs. One of those with potatoes and veg was delicious.

Later on I downloaded some more radio programmes from that radio site that I mentioned the other day. I’ve finished all of the Paul Temple stuff and I’ve now found a batch of Tommy Handley “It’s That Man Again” programmes from 1943-44-45 so I have those on the go.

But I’ll be off to bed early. There’s an alarm set for tomorrow because I have things to do. That’s not like me, is it? I’m changing my habits so much these days.

Friday 15th July 2022 – AFTER I’D FINISHED …

fete de la bastille firework display 14th july quatorze juillet feux d'artifice port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… writing up my notes last night I thought that I’d nip out and see if the moon had broken free of the cloud cover that was hanging around.

Instead I ended up being swept along by crowds of thousands of people – and I really do mean “thousands”.

What I’d forgotten is that last thing at night on Bastille Day there’s a huge firework display at the port and it looks as if most of Normandy had come along to stand on the cliffs to watch the spectacle.

And they weren’t disappointed either.

fete de la bastille firework display 14th july quatorze juillet feux d'artifice port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022We were out there for about half an hour while they blasted off a pile of fireworks into the stratosphere.

Considering that it was a free evening’s entertainment, we certainly had our money’s worth and everyone enjoyed it. There was a tumultuous round of applause when it finished, and then I staggered back to my apartment to go to bed.

There were about 60 photos altogether and they are all on line now. You can see them HERE. Remember to click on a thumbnail to see the full-size image.

“Staggered back” is correct too. Yesterday my knee gave way again when I was scrambling over the chest of drawers to close the window in my bedroom. And it seems that I’ve done it a permanent mischief now.

hang glider rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022It was another “mobile” night last night and so while you admire a few photos of Nazguls flying by overhead, I shall elucidate.

My mother told me to take my younger brothers and sisters to the hospital. We didn’t have much time and it was dark so we set out to jog there. We were up there by Goodall’s Corner in Shavington and had to go down the Newcastle Road. There were all these medical cards and records and a few other bits and pieces so I told my brother to take our two sisters and run off down there towards Newcastle slowly while I picked up a few boxes of stuff that need to be carried and I’d run after them to catch them up. In the distance I could see them but when they got to where the petrol station was they crossed over and went into the petrol station. I had to run in after them to drag them out and explain to them that if I hadn’t seen them out of the corner of my eye cross the road I’d have run right past there with the stuff and we would have been separated for ever. I was quite angry and annoyed about this, not because they had crossed the road but because we could have been separated like that. We carried on and came to a place where we had to climb through a barbed wire fence. I knew of a gap where to go but they somehow found some other gap which wasn’t where we needed to be. They all climbed through there anyway. I suddenly found myself alone at this other gap. Once I’d gone through this other gap we had to negotiate a concentration camp and that was very dangerous because if we looked too healthy or too ill we could be exterminated. Then of course we had to exit on the other side and carry on with our trip to the hospital. This required an awful lot of thought and cunning to do it correctly but there I was on my own. I couldn’t work out where they had gone once they’d gone through this other gap and they’d disappeared.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022I forget how this dream actually started but it turned out that we were in native American country and having to be extremely careful. Somehow we ended up losing our way and being attacked or threatened. We had to work our way around and out of there while avoiding a pitched battle which was not going to be easy but I can’t remember all the rest. There was much more to it than this.

I’d decided spontaneously to go to Canada. I booked myself an air ticket and took my suitcase from under the bed. I didn’t even check the case at all – I just grabbed it and set off for the airport. There was a reasonably small-sized queue – we didn’t have to wait all that long to go through the security. But once we were queueing we gradually ended up at the front then it would flash a gate number. Mine flashed. It was 34D. I had a few carrier bags etc that I stuffed in my suitcase and set out to find it. I had to go up some stairs and saw some guys standing by a turnstile type of thing so I went over to them but someone from behind shouted. I looked behind and saw that there was some kind of alcove to the side where there were some immigration or customs people. They told me that I should have gone there first but I hadn’t seen them. There was nothing to indicate that they were there so how was I supposed to know to go there? I thought that this was good. I’d started to have an argument with people already and I’d hardly even arrived, and I’m arguing with the security or immigration people or whatever they were. It won’t do me any good at all.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And while you admire a few photos of the crowds engaged in the pèche à pied There were a couple of girls getting into trouble due to a violation of the school’s dress code. What happened was that the skirts could be cut short depending on some kind of ratio relating to the girls’ waists but what they had done was having shortened them once they had turned round and shortened them again and that was against the school rules. They were then causing trouble about their dress code and were going to have to face the music.

There was also something about the dream in which i went to Canada. Someone had been round at my house helping me to pack. They had to write a label to go on my luggage giving all kinds of personal details including the value of my house. They put “£30,000 by auction”. I enquired about that and they said that I’d paid that much money for it when I’d bought it. I replied “yes but look at the improvements”. They replied that it’s still quite a damp house and it needs even more doing to it – one wall repairing. I tried to argue that even so the value must be an awful lot more than £30,000 but they still didn’t agree with what I was saying.

peche a pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022When the alarm went off it took me a while to get my head together but regardless, I was still up and about before the second alarm.

After the medication I spent a pleasant hour or so transcribing the dictaphone notes and then edited all of the photos that I took last night of the fireworks.

When that task was completed I prepared the web page with the photos of last night. This 3-column layout that I designed earlier this year needs some work to improve the design but it seems to work quite well and to do exactly what I want it to do.

It’s the kind of thing that makes me with that everything that I were to do would turn out like that.It took quite a while to do,

When the page was finished I had another hour on the acoustic guitar. And I quite enjoyed that session too. It seems to be all coming together at long last but I wish that I could remember what it is that I’m supposed to be playing without having to refer to the music.

Most people think that it’s an age thing but I’ve been like this practically all my life.

It reminds me of a conversation that I had with someone a while back.
“Two things happen to you when you get to my age. The first thing is that you forget almost everything.”
“What’s the second thing?”
“Actually, I can’t remember”

The rest of the day, such as there was, has been spent finishing off everything relating to the photos from June and I’ve started to update the blog entries from when I was away. “Started” yes, but I’m a long, long way from finishing.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There was the usual pause for me to go off and see what was happening down on the beach.

Across the car park I went, noticing that the car that was blocking up the two car parking spaces had disappeared. The sea seems to have disappeared too because the tide was well out this afternoon.

And it seems that everyone had come out this afternoon too. There were crowds on the beach enjoying the sunshine down there, even if there was quite a lot of wind blowing about right now. So much so that one young boy was chasing down the path after his hat.

kite surfer rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022What also caught my eye down there too was some kind of kite or sail.

What I did was to take a photo of it so that I could enlarge and enhance it when I returned home so that I could see what it might be.

It’s not just the Nazguls that are out and about this afternoon. We have a kite-surfer down there somehwer ein the sea, regardless of the whitecaps on the waves.

At least, that’s what I reckon, even if I couldn’t quite make out which guy was flying it. At least it isn’t a Nazgul that has fallen to a watery grave thanks to a lucky shot from Legolas.

zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There was also a zodiac out there in the bay.

No trawlers today, or anything else for that matter. Just the zodiac. It was actually moving quite rapidly towards the port so I don’t think that it could have been full of fishermen. They wouldn’t be heading to port when there’s still a couple of hours before the tide comes in.

So fighting my way through all of the crowds, a couple of people who actually said “hello” to me, I wandered off down the path towards the lighthouse at the end of the headland.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Crowds on the car park too with cars parked on the lawn, so I headed off for some peace and quiet.

Down on the bench at the cabanon vauban we actually had someone sitting there today. First time for several days that we’d seen someone there.

And she had plenty to occupy her too. Apart from the zodiac that went spluttering by, we had all of the people out there at the peche à pied whom we saw earlier.

But with no trawlers and no other distractions I headed off to the port to see what was happening there.

la confiance 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Today we have had another change of occupancy at the chantier naval.

Monaco du Nord II is still in there over by the portable boat lift, but she’s now been joined by another trawler, La Confiance II.

Who she might be, I really have no idea because we haven’t seen her before here in Granville. But her registration number suggests that she’s an older boat so I’m surprised that she hasn’t featured in these pages before.

And it seems that I’m not wrong about her age either. According to the trawler database, she was launched in 1980 and is made of wood.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Across the bay, our game of “Musican Ships” is continuing.

Today it’s the turn once more of L’Omerta to be tied up at the Fish Processing Plant and settled down in the silt.

Plenty of activity on the quayside up above here. There are loads of shellfish boxes and ancillary equipment up there as if she has just unloaded.

There were crowds on the car park too and what looked suspiciously like a police car cruising around there too. That reminds me that I must change over the insurance sticker in Caliburn’s windscreen before they come cruising around us.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Gone! And never called me “mother”!

Marité has wandered off today and her berth is now empty. She’s currently at anchor off St. Vaast, just along the coast from Cherbourg.

What else that has also gone is all of the freight that was on the quayside yesterday. According to my maritime radar, Normandy Trader came into port early this morning and loaded up.

Back here I made a coffee and while it was brewing I went and had a shower, a shave and a good clean-up.

When the coffee had been drunk I changed the bedding and then set the washing machine en route. High time that I had some nice clean clothes and clean bedding. I’m letting things slide a little here.

And then I was off to Lidl. I’m running rather low on supplies, especially frozen and fresh vegetables and fruit. The place was packed and the mystery of why stocks had been running low there over the last few weeks was solved. They’ve had a huge change-round in there and everything is in a different place.

That of course is a cunning plan carried out by all large shops. Customers become so used to where all of their regular purchases might be found that they go straight to there and don’t go anywhere else. Shuffling the produce around means that customers have to hunt for their produce, with the shops hoping that they’ll find plenty of other stuff to buy that they haven’t seen before.

Tea tonight was vegan pie with potatoes (now that I have some) and vegetables with gravy. It really was nice.

Tomorrow I’m going to LeClerc for more shopping. Not that I need too much but having broken my floor mop this week, at least I need to replace that. It’s not quite the same as when Nerina went with me to buy a new broom.
“Don’t bother to wrap it” I said to the cashier. “She’ll fly it home” .

Wednesday 1st June 2022 – MY VISIT TO THE …

… sports doctor person was interesting today.

He had a look at my knee with his ultrasound scan thing and then put his thumb right on a certain spot that as soon as he touched it, it hurt like hell. Right on it with no messing around at all.

And then he gave me this injection right in the spot. And that hurt like hell too because the needle wasn’t long enough and he had to press really hard on my leg to make the needle go in deep enough.

He wants me to send him an e-mail to tell him whether there’s an improvement. And I do have to say that there does actually seem to be an improvement already, but how much of this is due to the placebo effect is anyone’s business.

He’ll write out a prescription for me to give to the physiotherapist to recommend some exercises that will build up my knee, and apparently I’m entitled to one session per week of sports training with him. Would I be interested?

He wants to see a resumé of my medical condition from the hospital at Leuven before he can work out a training programme for me. I’ll have to sort something out.

Anyway, once again I fell out of bed when the alarm went off at 07:30. I’m still not exactly bouncing with health these days and I wish that I could do better than this. But after how I was three or four weeks ago then anything is an improvement than that.

After the medication and doing some paperwork I went and had a shower, and I noticed that my weight is slowly – very slowly – going down. I seem to recall when I lost all that weight in 2019 was a combination of having food poisoning and being without my blood transfusion stuff for three months.

Due to problems on the road I was almost late for my appointment. Just as I was driving along the promenade a tractor pulled out of the port de plaisance towing a large boat on a trailer. And so we inched our way all down the coast at a maximum 25 kph until I could find a place to overtake.

After they threw me out at the clinic I drove back to LIDL to do some shopping. I needed some olive oil but I ended up buying everying except olive oil because they didn’t have any.

In fact I’m surprised that they had anything at all because the woman in front of me in the queue spent €256:00 on groceries. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen anyone buy so much stuff in a supermarket.

It was late when I returned from the shops so it was something of a very late breakfast. And then I ended up having a session on the guitar to keep in shape.

Another thing was to have a look at a couple of songs in this playlist that I was sent but I’m not convinced by their accuracy, especially when I saw a mention of a chord of “H minor” in one of them. That’s enough to make anyone smell a rat.

After lunch, rather regrettably, I crashed out for a while. And as I said yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that as well, it’s getting on my nerves and I’m rather fed up of all of this.

hang gliding cemetery Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Later on, I just about managed to awaken myself in time to go for my afternoon walk around the headland.

Yesterday I mentioned the lack of Birdmen of Alcatraz and their Nazguls but I was going to have better luck today by the look of things.

As I watched, a Birdman rose up from the ground and began to hover over the cemetery ready to shoot off down the coast along the top of the cliffs.

And as he began to move away, another one began to unfurl his equipment ready to take to the air. It’s going to be busy out there today.

man on beach reading book rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022so having dealt with that I went over to the wall to have a look down onto the beach.

With it being half-day closing at school today and a nice day I was expecting to see quite a few people out there today enjoying themselves but to my surprise there was just one person down there on the beach by the Rue du Nord.

Interestingly, he was actually sitting there reading a book, very reminiscent of that girl who was sitting on the rocks at the end of the headland the other day.

It’s actually something of which I approve wholeheartedly. In fact it’s been a long time since I sat down with a really good book.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022for the last couple of days we’ve been admiring the views out to sea.

It’s yet another day where the views were excellent. That white building at St Helier was once again quite clearly visible with the naked eye. But I was more interested today with the little islets down at the end of the Ile de Chausey.

A couple of years ago when we were on the Spirit of Conrad we were out there walking on that beach that you can see and it really is beautiful. And much of its beauty is due to the fact that it’s quite inaccessible.

yellow autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While I was walking along the path on top of the cliffs I was overflown.

It’s our old friend the yellow autogyro. It’s been down the coast with a passenger, presumably for a lap or two around Mont St Michel and is now on its way back to the airfield.

We’ve seen it a few times just recently which is something of a surprise because we went for a couple of months through the winter without seeing it at all. It made me wonder where it had been.

And no, I haven’t forgotten …

people in zodiac baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022there weren’t all that many people on the path again so I had it pretty much to myself today

At the end of the car park there was nothing happening so I went down to the end of the headland to see what was happening. No-one sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban but if there had been, they would have seen this zodiac in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

And I’ve no idea what they were doing in their zodiac. They don’t seem to be fishing and I can’t see anything else to give me a clue. They might just have gone out for a roar around the bay with the afternoon tide.

cabin cruiser chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022From there I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what was happening in the port.

And we can all see why work had ground to a halt on L’Ecume II yesterday after the speed at which they had been working. Here she is! Gone! And never called me “mother”!

She’s actually over in the inner harbour even as we speak, ready to go back to Jersey at some point in the proceedings .

All that we are left with at the moment is the impressive-looking and expensive cabin cruiser that we saw in there yesterday.

crane dismantling dredger chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Well, that isn’t exactly all.

On my way out to the sports therapist person this morning I noticed that there was a rather large mobile crane in the chantier naval. It looks as if they are now making a start on dismantling the dredger.

One of these days in the very near future a lorry will turn up and the crane will pick up the bits of dredger and drop them on the trailer.

In fact I’m surprised that she’s still there now. It’s been several weeks since she was lifted out of the water and she’s just been sitting there waiting for things to happen.

helicopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022On my way back towards home, I was overflown yet again.

Actually, I had to wait for quite a while for it to arrive. I could hear its engine from a long way away and I was surprised that it took so long to reach here. It certainly made a racket when it did.

It’s another helicopter, a different one from the last one that we saw, but I do have the feeling that I’ve seen this one before at some point in the past.

And once it had gone by I could hear it rattling its way towards the airfield for quite some time as well. It was definitely one of the noisiest light aircraft that we have seen.

chausiaise scrap metal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022When I went out this morning I noticed that Thora was in port unloading.

She’s gone back out now but has left a pile of scrap metal on the quayside waiting for someone to come and collect it for taking away.

In her place is Chausiaise, the little freighter that goes out to the Ile de Chausey. I’m not sure why because there’s nothing on the quayside that needs to be loaded up onto her.

Back here I made a coffee and then came back in here to listen to the dictaphone. No nightmares involving Zero this time. Instead, I’d done something extremely silly like lending a scrapman some money and I was having a load of difficulty talking to him, never mind getting it back. We had to go back and I had to take someone with me and have one more go at speaking to him. We had to mountaineer up the side of this house to reach somewhere near where his office was. We couldn’t go in it. This was an awful climb up the bricks and the gutters etc. Finally we arrived within shouting distance of where his office was and we shouted without any hope at all. His wife heard us and said “he’ll be here in a minute” which I didn’t expect but it turned out that he was. We had a chat about the money that he owed me and I had a date by which he would pay me back etc. Of course I didn’t expect him to keep to any of this for a minute but it was even something that he had agreed to see me and talk to me about it. I didn’t think that there was any chance whatever that I’d be getting back this money at all.

Tea tonight was a curry made up out of leftover bits and pieces, and it was just as delicious as normal. And having written up my notes I’m off to bed ready for tomorrow.

But would I be interested in a once-weekly sports training session with a sports therapist? Do bears go to the toilets in the woods?

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.

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.

Monday 28th March 2022 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what it is with me but having had the news a few weeks ago that Kaatje, my “support worker” (really, my psychiatrist) at Castle Anthrax, is leaving her post at the end of the month, I had the news that Sonia my physiotherapist has decided to leave her post too

It seems to me that they are all sussing me out sooner or later.

Whoever is going to replace Kaatje remains to be seen but I bet that at the physiotherapist’s, they have some retired Bulgarian weightlifter lined up to take over. That is usually about par for the course, isn’t it?

repointing wall rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, in other news, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been keeping an eye on the repairs to the medieval walls, of which there are several miles thereof about the town.

One of the things that they did was to replace the brick capping on top of part of the walls and then leave it unpointed for all of the damp, humidity and frost, whatever else you like to infiltrate.

Anyway, today, they had a bricklaying class out there and to my surprise, they have made a start on repointing the brickwork that they did ever so long ago.

Not that they made much progress this afternoon, so I imagine that they’ll be back over the course of the next few days to complete the task.

scaffolding rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Something else that I mentioned the other day was the scaffolding that they have built over the Rampe du Monte à Regret.

As I was going down the hill I noticed that it was still there so I took a photo of it just for the record. It looks as if it’s going to be there for a few more days yet as they were busy moving the scaffolding around to different parts of the wall.

But anyway, be that as it may, I actually managed to haul myself out of bed just after the alarm went off at 06:00, which surprised me more than it surprised anyone else.

And after the medication, I made a start on the radio programme that I wanted to prepare today.

No records today though, because I was actually working on two at once. Having written the notes for the programme over the last week, I wrote them for the next one this morning and then dictated both one after the other.

There were several interruptions too – for the coffee and for breakfast, and also for the nurse who came round to inject me with my Aranesp ready to go off on my travels.

That prompted me to telephone the doctor for an appointment as I now have run out. That’s for Wednesday morning at 09:30.

Nevertheless, I’ve only prepared the one though. I’ll nibble away at the other here and there over the course of the forthcoming week and see where I end up.

When I finished the programme, I had a listen to it and also to the two that I’m sending off today. Yes. That’s right. I’m not here next week so I need to make sure that my programme will run next week without me.

During the three hours that it took for me to listen to the three programmes I attacked the photos from the High Arctic in 2019. I shifted a good pile of them too and now I’m just arriving at the abandoned RCMP post at Dundas Harbour on Devon island in the Canadian high Arctic.

During a pause here and there, I went and had a shower to clean myself up. I have to look my best for my physiotherapy.

After lunch I carried on with my photos while I listened to the radio programmes and then headed off out.

classe decouverte calean, spartiate, trafalgar, chant de sirenes, black pearl, charlevy fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was going on.

There was plenty of excitement there too this afternoon. All of the trawlers are coming in to unload and I can identify Calean, with Spartiate behind her. Then a couple of unidentified fishing boats with the blue, white and pink Trafalgar behind her.

Just coming in alongside the others is Chant de Sirenes with Black Pearl behind her, and then Charlevy just entering the harbour to the right.

Also on the quayside are several groups of school children.

One of the things that is quite common here in France is what they call the Classe Découverte – the “Discovery Class”.

They take groups of kids away from their natural environment and put them in another one for a week or so in order that they can experience life elsewhere. So what we probably have here is a bunch or two of kids from some inner city schools somewhere who are staying in the Youth Hostel in the town to find out about life in a fishing port.

And with all of the work going on down there with the seafood being unloaded into the vans, they will be learning a lot today.

And I learnt a lot on the way down into the town today. There is a series of steps that I use to test the force in my right knee and I found to my surprise that I could actually haul myself up them today. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do that.

la grande ancre swimming pool freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down in the harbour it looks as if we are going to be having one of the Jersey freighters in port very soon.

One of them has the contract for transporting the swimming pools out to the Channel Islands and with them being expensive items, they won’t want them to be lying around on the quayside for too long.

At least it won’t be going off on board la Grande Ancre. She won’t be taking them but the fact that she’s there in the loading bay means that they will be loading something onto her.

Down into the town I went and then up the hill on my way to the physiotherapists. And the walk wasn’t all that difficult today. Over the last week or so, things seem to have improved from that point of view and I don’t know why.

roofing rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Halfway up the hill I did come to a halt. But not for a breather.

They have been ripping the roof off this building here and they are currently in the process of replacing the woodwork. They certainly seem to have picked the right weather for it at the moment.

At the physiotherapist’s she had me on the couch with her electro-massage thing, followed by five minutes on the cross trainer and then a few exercises. And she showed me an exercise that I can do at home.

After she threw me out I staggered (and it was a stagger too) up the hill and round the corner to Lidl for a few supplies. But to my surprise, they don’t sell baked beans at Lidl and I fancied sausage, beans and chips for tea.

scaffolding on crane new building rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back I went past the building work that’s going on at the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo.

They had the Rue Victor Hugo closed off and they were unloading some scaffolding into the bucket that’s attached to the hook of the crane so I loitered around planning to watch them hoist it up.

When they had finished, they lifted it about a foot off the ground and then they all knocked off for a tea break, which seemed to be a rather strange thing to do.

Dodging yet another classe découverte I ended up in the town centre and picked up a few tins of baked beans from Carrefour. Can’t do without my baked beans.

On the way up the hill I bumped into one of my neighbours coming down, so we had a good chat for a while. I’m not usually the sociable type, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but I have to make an effort seeing as I live amongst them.

person in sea beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went back into the apartment I went to see what was happening down on the beach.

Not too many people down there today with it being a school day, but even so one of our intrepid adventurers had taken to the water. So hats off to him today.

Back in here I had a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone. I started off in Russia. I’d been collecting photos of steam trains and I had a couple of books to identify them. There were hundreds abandoned all over the place that I had photographed. But then the Russian authorities – something had happened and they didn’t want me to take any more photos. They made me sit on a bench in a station to wait for a train back home. The train was going to be in ever so many hours and hours’ time. all I had to do to thumb through were these photos and the couple of books that I had. Somehow something had happened and I ended up in some kind of industrial town in Northern England with terraced houses. The kids there were playing a game in the street. Even then, this was being gradually subsumed into this Russia thing where the kids were having to hang around in the street for hours and hours and amuse themselves which is difficult when you are bored, until something happens. It was very much the same scenario as me being in Russia

And then I was at work again. I’d set out to go to work fairly early but I’d gone off to do something else on the way. I arrived just before 10:00 and put my things on my desk and went into the assembly. When we all came out and went to sit at our desks there was a discussion going on about food and bread. Someone had been overcharged for his lunch sandwich etc. I already had my lunch sandwich for today but I had one for Friday which I was going to have for my breakfast because I hadn’t had breakfast yet. A girl with whom I used to work came over and said that someone saw me out at Peruwelz this morning on my way into work and wanted to know why I didn’t arrive until 10:00. We had a chat but I didn’t actually tell her the reason and I was intrigued to know who it was who had seen me. I was in a car a little later. I was driving and she was with me. We were going down this road that I don’t recognise and through a couple of speed limits. We wee chatting about nothing in particular.

I forgot to mention that somewhere in all of this I’d bought a black Rolls-Royce for £3500, a runner apparently. I had to go to pick it up at some point but I had nowhere to leave it. If it was a runner I could park it in the street or even park it in the place outside my building but I don’t know.

Regrettably, but not unexpectedly, I crashed out later. And for an hour too. Having made 90% of my daily activity today with having had a good session on the cross trainer, that’s enough to finish me off for today.

For tea, I fancied sausage beans and chips but one look at the sausages in the fridge told me that it wouldn’t be sausages that I’d be eating today. Instead, I had a burger with my beans and chips and, as I suspected, the beans from Carrefour were appalling. Not even pepper, grated cheese and rosemary could improve the taste.

So now that I’ve written my notes I’ll have half an hour on the guitar and then go to bed. I’ve had a busy day today and I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow. I need to be on form

Wednesday 23rd March 2022 – A FUNNY THING …

workman suspended on rope rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022 … happened on the way to the for … errr … Physiotherapist’s this afternoon.

There I was walking quietly along the Rue Couraye and suddenly a man dropped down out of the sky right in front of me.

At least, that’s what I thought, but on a closer inspection after he had picked up the paintbrush or whatever it was that he had dropped and was hoisted back up, I could see that he was on a rope.

Cleaning or painting the facade of the building here, I reckon, or doing something of a similar nature.

But fancy a safety harness. When I retiled my roof in the Auvergne I was perched about 50 feet up on a roof holding on with my feet as I nailed down the slates.

And another funny thing that happened was that I walked all the way up the hill in the Rue Couraye to the physiotherapist’s without feeling any agony and it’s been months and months since that’s happened. So what’s going on here?

There was a lot going on last night though. I was in bed early and, for a change, out like a light. Another struggle to raise myself from the dead, and after I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages, I could listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been.

At first, I was at an interview with STRAWBERRY MOOSE on the radio. The presenter was an extremely dominant and aggressive type of personality who basically shouted at the crowd to make everyone settle down and listen to his story. It was certainly a new departure in radio to hear the way that this programme was being presented. I thought that maybe I could take a lesson from this when I’m presenting some other radio programme some time in the future. It was certainly different, telling everyone to “shut up and listen” and “he’s come all this way to give you this story and the least you can do is pay attention”. it was all quite aggressive

Later, I was at work in the office and the ‘phone rang. I had to bring the Escort estate into Brussels. They were selling it so I had to hunt through my drawers for all of the paperwork for it but I couldn’t find anything. There was nothing at all. The boss had said “make sure that you bring the paperwork because we don’t want to have to come up to your place to look for it”. There I was, looking for ages through my drawers and I couldn’t find it anywhere but then 2 people came in and heard that I was going into Brussels so could they come with me? They hopped in and I thought that i’d better go anyway otherwise I’ll be here all day and I still won’t have the paperwork. Off I set to drive. After I’d gone a few miles I found that I actually had the paperwork in my hand. Of course someone must have had the paperwork to have taken the Escort to be valued. I had that as I was driving. I ended up coming in from the direction of Oostende. I radioed in that I was there and asked where I had to go. They said “the Garage de France”. I asked where that was and they replied that it was near the Gare de Ouest. I didn’t have a clue where the Gare de Ouest was. As I came closer to the office I dropped off these 2 people and stuck my head inside a café. She knew where the place was and she told me but the directions that she gave me didn’t make any sense. Then she said the name of a square where it was. I thought to myself “I wish that I’d brought my GPS in out of my own car and stuck it in the Escort to take it there. I could have solved this problem in 5 minutes had I done that”.

And then I was back in work again. I don’t know if I’d dictated the story of the Ford Escort estate being sold but later I was back in the office. I had a pile of paperwork that I’d picked up on the way in that needed to be sorted. I took it into the office and one of the chauffeurs came up to me and said in one of these high-pitched little baby voices “what’s little Eric got there?”. So I replied “some paperwork”. He asked “what’s little Eric going to be doing with it?” and I replied “nothing whatsoever”. This conversation was on the verge of getting out of hand. In the end the boss came along so as I was in earshot I said to Jef (it’s here, it has a date-stamp on it, it’s been received, it’s been registered, so why don’t you clear off?” or something like that. The boss came over, looked at the papers, took them off me and put them out for sorting. There was no chair at my desk but there were several other chairs dotted around with files on them so I went to take the files off one so I could have a chair to sit. Someone else said “there’s a spare chair up here” but I replied “this one down here will do me”.

At another point I was with one of these American folk singers, someone like Gene Clark, and we were being chased in a car down some kind of road. We turned off up the side down some kind of farm track and were being chased down there but I swerved off the road into a farm gateway and the other car went roaring past. We prepared to drive back where we’d come but another car came the other way. We’d been talking about these huge plants that were growing all over the placen one-eyed I-can’t-remember-the phrase-now but it was in a song by the Byrds, “My Back Pages”. This car came the other way and I asked “is that one of these?” and I said the name. He replied “probably” so we waited until it went. We thought that if he could go all the way through then so could we so I set out to follow it. He said “let’s forget about these plants for now and head off”, something that made me feel rather disappointed

Finally, we’d gone to a big village hall-kind of dance, the whole family, tribe. Our mother had taken us. She was, surprisingly, a big Afro-Caribbean woman. When the dancing took place she danced in a most uninhibited way. It had absolutely no interest for me whatsoever so I was just moping around at the back of the hall. eventually I went over to my mother and said that we really must have to go very soon. She asked the time and I replied “20:20”. For some reason we were due to go at 20:30 anyway. She started to collect everything together. She said that she first came to one of these dances when she was 15 and everyone was shocked and scandalised but even people like James Brown had stuck their head in to see what was happening. I hadn’t really any idea of what to say because I knew how my mother was with her imagination.

Yes, my mother had a very fertile imagination, as we came to realise as we grew older. She lived in her own little world that only rarely had any connection with the rest of the world in which everyone else lived.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I mentioned that I’d had a problem with a three-column website on which I was working. It didn’t take me long to discover the missing tag (or, should I say, the tag that was in the wrong place) and once I’d done that, I finished it off.

You can see it ON-LINE now. The content isn’t inspiring but it was only a test run for a few other purposes that will become clearer over the course of time.

It’s been checked in C-Cleaner, Waterfox and Tor but if someone has access to an Apple-based machine, if you could check it to see that it does what it’s supposed to, I’d be grateful.

Having dealt with that task, the next task was one about which I’d forgotten. At the end of October last year I’d been to see a rock group called “Reload”. I took … gulp … 184 photos and I’d made a start on editing them but as usual, I’d been side-tracked.

This morning though, I sat down and worked my way right through the lot and they are all now edited. I’m now onto mounting them (I’m kinky like that) and they will be on-line in die course.

That will be the acid test of my three-column photo layout – trying to make it work with all of these.

There were several breaks of course – breakfast being one of them with my lovely fruit bread, and then a shower and a good clean-up.

And while I was at it, I did my Dave Crosby impression. In fact I went one better and actually did cut my hair. Probably because I didn’t have the ‘flu for Christmas.

After lunch I headed out for the physiotherapist.

van car porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And we’ve had a change here at the Porte St Jean.

The large lorry and trailer with the digger perched thereupon are not there this afternoon. Instead the place has been taken by a glazier’s van.

In fact that has been there or thereabouts in one of the parking spaces for the past couple of days but today it seems that the driver has taken advantage of the absence of the lorry to move even closer.

In fact, I would have thought that he could have passed underneath the arch. There looks to be enough room.

On the left-hand edge you can see some advertising boards that have been erected. It’s soon to be election time here and they put up these boards for the candidates to attach their posters.

jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne, I stopped to check the camera – even though I’d checked it just a minute before.

There’s no-one about in the outer harbour and most of the fishing boats in the inner harbour seem to be out at sea. The only one that seems to be in there today is Jade III and I wonder why she hasn’t gone out.

Also absent, as they have been for quite a while, are Victor Hugo and Granville, the two Channel Island ferries. If service is indeed starting up in April, they need to finish their overhauls quickly and make their way back here to be ready to go.

freight on quayside bouchot stakes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down on the quayside, all of the freight that was there has now gone.

Normandy Trader, one of the little Jersey freighters, came in the other day and whisked it all off to the Channel Islands but there’s another pile that is slowly appearing down there ready for the next voyage.

And you can see all of the old stakes from the bouchot farms on the Ile de Chausey down there to the left of the right-hand crane. That was a good weekend’s work to pull up all of those and replace them.

Whoever is going to take those away will have some work on his hands too.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, down in the bottom corner, there’s been quite a lot happening by the looks of things.

There’s only one boat down there today, and that’s the newer of the two Joly France boats, the one with the smaller superstructure on the upper deck.

We saw Chausiaise out at the ferry terminal yesterday, but Belle France is also missing today. She and the older of the two Joly France boats must be keeping busy running out to the islands today.

And the mystery of why they all had their cranes out the other day is as yet unresolved. I’ve not seen anything at all about it.

reroofing rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022A week or so ago I posted a photo of a cherry-picker that looked as if it had lifted some scaffolding up onto a flat roof in the Rue Lecampion.

Over the past few days I’d been keeping a quiet eye on it but today there has been some rapid progress since I last saw it. They’ve removed the tiles from an adjacent pitched roof and replaced all of the woodwork

That was quite quick. It’s not like the typical worker whom we’ve encountered these days.

Carefully dodging workmen dropping out of the sky, I sailed up the Rue Couraye rather more rapidly than just recently for my appointment with the physiotherapist.

She had a good look at my x-rays but told me that there was nothing evident that she could see about why I’m having this trouble with my knee. And that’s bad news as far as I’m concerned because how can anyone fix the problem if they can’t see t?

It’s just like my heart issue, where there’s no obvious problem that anyone can see. I’m not making it all up, I know that.

Anyway she gave me an electromassage, put me on the bike thing for 5 minutes and gave me a few exercises.

After she threw me out, I went to Lidl. I’m out of tomatoes and cucumber as well as a couple of other things. And there’s no big shop at the weekend because I’m on a course and anyway, I’m off on my travels on Thursday next week.

new building rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way home I went past the new house that is being built on the corner of the Rue St Paul and Rue Victor Hugo.

When I arrived the builders were busy chasing away a couple of kids who were pleying in the building, but apart from that there doesn’t seem to have been a great deal going on. I suppose that they will finish it one day.

My route led me through the town and up the hill towards home but I hadn’t gone far up the hill when a neighbour came past in his car. He offered me a lift, which was nice of him I did have a fair bit of stuff to carry.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Back in here I put some coffee on to brew and then picked up the big NIKON D500 to go outside.

Across the car park went I towards the beach to see what was happening there. The tide was well out and with the weather being so nice, there were plenty of people down there making the most of it. Of course, here in France, there’s no school on Wednesday afternoon.

While I was here, I had a look out to sea to see if there were any fishing boats working out here today. There was something right out beyond the Ile de Chausey that I couldn’t see, but that was really my lot. There wasn’t anything else happening out at sea that I could see.

55-qj aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Ther emight have been nothing going on out at sea but there was something having a go at the Thunderclap Newman impression of “Something In The Air”.

And don’t ask me what it is because its number, 55-QJ, is one of those that isn’t in the series of numbers to which I have access. And it goes without saying that she hasn’t filed a flight plan and wasn’t picked up on radar either.

Back here I had my coffee and then had half an hour or so on the guitar before I carried on with mounting the photos of the concert that I attended.

Tea was a curry with the left-over stuff in the fridge. I’ve not forgotten that I have some stuffing left from Monday, but I fancied a curry tonight. I’ll have the stuffing in a taco roll tomorrow.

So as well as that, I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow. In the afternoon too, not the evening as I thought. I wonder what kind of catastrophe this will be.

Tuesday 15th March 2022 – I HAVE HAD A …

… calamity today.

During the coffee break in our Welsh lesson this morning, I set some coffee on the go in the coffee percolator while I went for a ride on the porcelain horse.

When I came back, I picked up the glass jug from the percolator – and the bottom fell out of it. The coffee went everywhere.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … when I moved here I bought everything new, the cheapest possible, with the idea that I would have at all as quickly as possible and as items give out one by one, I would replace them.

So it was only a question of time before the cheap €9:99 coffee percolator gave out and today it’s been replaced with a high-quality machine with a metal jug that is actually a vacuum flask. I hope that my coffee will be hot enough now instead of barely tepid.

Another disaster was last night’s (lack of) sleep. I went to bed rather later than intended and couldn’t sleep at all for absolutely ages.

Eventually I dropped off to sleep and promptly had a nightmare. and while I’ve had a few that for all kinds of reasons have failed to make these pages, this one didn’t even make the dictaphone. I couldn’t even bring myself to dictate it.

And as a result of this nightmare, I didn’t go back to sleep. Nevertheless it was a struggle for me to leave the bed.

While I was preparing for the Welsh lesson I was drifting in and out of sleep but to my surprise, not only did I manage to end up in advance of where we finished today, it actually passed quite well and was quite a successful lesson.

Unfortunately this was the last session of our second year. Next week will be the first lesson of our third year and to my dismay one of my colleagues whom I happen to quite like has decided not to renew. That’s dismayed me somewhat, to be sure.

After lunch I had a few things to do and then I went to the radiology centre for the x-ray on my knee. It didn’t take too long for the x-ray to be taken- in fact she took 6 – and the wait for the finished photos wasn’t anything like as long as it usually.

LeClerc was next for my new coffee machine and then shopping at Lidl, seeing as I don’t have much in right now. It was quite an expensive shop too, much of which was spent on coffee and brazil nuts.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I returned home I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

With it being later than usual the tide had turned and there were one or two people down there having a wander about. I didn’t stay long watching. I grabbed my stuff and came back in here.

There was quite a fight that I had with the freezer. It’s now full to overflowing, and there’s no room whatever for anything else. But I’m going to have to make a start on emptying it. It’s only the vegetables that seem to run through various cycles. Nothing else much seems to move.

For tea tonight I worked the air fryer again to make some chips. And this time they worked really well. With baked beans and a vegan sausage it was delicious.

And then we had football. Caernarfon v Y Fflint. Caernarfon’s manager and assistant manager are down with Covid right now so it was the Academy manager on the bench and to my surprise his choice of team was certainly different. An attacking Five, something that I haven’t seen since the early ’70s.

A couple of Caernarfon’s players were fairly anonymous tonight for a change but they still had too much in the tank for Y Fflint and ran out 2-1 winners. And had Mike Hayes, their centre-forward, had had more luck with his half-chance efforts, it could have been a cricket score.

Y Fflint have gone right off the boil just recently.

Bedtime now and I need a good sleep. I have a physiotherapy session tomorrow and then in the evening I have the first of my 5 Welsh language revision sessions for my exam in the summer.

It’s all go again around here.

Wednesday 2nd March 2022 – IN WHAT MUST SURELY …

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

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

Whatever he had done yesterday was clearly not good enough.

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

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

We are living in interesting times.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some people don’t realise how lucky they are.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 16th February 2022 – THERE’S A TIME …

repairing fishing nets port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… for fishing, and a time for repairing the nets.

And right now, it looks as if the time has come to do some repairing.

With no trawler in attendance it’s not possible to say with any conviction whose nets they might be, but with Tiberiade still out of the water up on the blocks in the chantier naval, it would be a fair assumption to suggest that the nets might belong to her.

There is also a time for working and a time for falling asleep and regrettably, I have done rather more of the latter than the former today. So much for my “… hoping for a better day tomorrow” of yesterday.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I said “One of these days I’ll have the kind of day where everything goes well and I manage to do plenty of work” but that certainly wasn’t today.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 I’m afraid to say that I turned over and went back to sleep. And i’m even more afraid to say that when the second went of at 08:00 it was ditto. It was 08:35 when I finally surfaced. And had I not needed to go for a ride on the porcelain horse I would probably still be in bed now.

That meant that there was plenty of time for me to go off on a few rambles during the night. I was out with a girl last night but I can’t remember who it was unfortunately. We’d been out somewhere and come back to my house before I was due to take her home. The question of food came up and I knew that there were some beefburgers in the freezer so I suggested that we had those. Whoever it was who was there went into the kitchen to find them but all that she could produce was an empty box. Someone had had the beefburgers. Of course I knew instinctively who this was so there was some kind of shouting and everything like that with my brother. He seemed to think that it was very very funny. I grabbed hold of him by the collar of his tee shirt, punched him in the stomach, pulled his head towards me and told him exactly what I thought of him. I let go of his tee shirt so that his head sprung back with a resounding “thump” as it hit the wall. Of course I was embarrassed by this and ashamed about the confrontation in front of this girl. She was pretty fed up as I could tell. In the end she decided that she didn’t want anything to eat so I thought that I’d better take her home.

But then again, with a family member coming between me and a nice young lady of the opposite sex is a reasonably regular occurrence on my voyages.

And resorting to violence against my family even in a dream. If violence is the answer it must have been a pretty stupid question and there were plenty of stupid questions about my family right enough back in the olden days.

On the subject of my family, my father and I had gone to watch Crewe Alex play – not that anyone would want to given the results of their last half-dozen matches. We left my place in Jette and went all the way across the top of Brussels and ended up somewhere down towards Woluwe, that area. We went into the stadium and the teams were there being presented to whoever it was. We watched the match but in the room where we were sitting there was one of these old pot-bellied wrought-iron stoves. There was a woman like one of the three witches burning paper so I was adding piles of paper to it as well. I was adding the paper and taping it to the side of the stove with masking tape until it burned. Then I would tape another piece on. It was far more interesting than the football. When the match finished my father was ready to go home but I was still burning this paper. I was getting down to the end of the roll of masking tape so I told him that I’d be ready in a minute. These women then came along doing something else. I put a metal damper of some kind on this stove that made it roar. These women were ever so alarmed when it roared but it burnt a lot of the ashes. Then I took it off and said to my father that we can go. One of these women pointed to three chairs that turned up in this room and asked if we could take them back and put them where they had come from to help them tidy up.

At a later time I’d been out with Liz and we’d been to a strange town where there was a pedestrian centre, but it was something like somewhere out or rural Spain. We walked through this pedestrian area and down through the fields at the end to end up on a cliff path. We were walking around there looking at the sea. Somehow I ended up back at another house where there was someone with a big pile of cars. I was gradually going through them looking at things that needed doing, changing and replacing what I could. There was a place across the road that had a big pile of old cars and every now and again he would tell me to take a piece off one of those. One vehicle that he had was a D-reg CF van that needed a new rear light. I told him that so he told me to go to a different scrapyard somewhere. I had a strange four-wheeled bicycle thing and set off but I took the wrong turning somewhere and ended up in this pedestrian precinct again. This time there were crowds of people around so I had to weave my way through the crowds. At some point there was someone making some kind of sand design that was going right across the path on which I needed to be. I did a bunny-hop over it. I ended up at the start of these fields again. A woman was there calling her child and two boys came running out of the field. I was stopped on the edge of this field sitting there thinking. It looked so familiar because I’d been here with Liz but I really don’t know how I’m going to find this scrapyard from here. I’d never been this way to it and I can’t remember now whether I’d be able to find my way back to where I’d taken the wrong turn and whether I’d recognise which was the correct one again.

After the medication I made a start on the radio programme that I wanted to do but I am nowhere ever near finishing it. There was an interruption for breakfast of course and then Rosemary rang me up for one of our marathon chats.

And we would probably still be chatting now except that there are certain things that, never mind how rich, powerful and famous you might be, it’s not possible to have anyone else do for you.

gully emptier place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was organising breakfast I had a look out of the window to see what was going on.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday afternoon we saw the gully emptier just finishing emptying a gully in the street. Today it’s back, in the courtyard between the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs and the Council Offices, emptying the gully just there.

And here’s an idea. I ought to start a lottery, guessing where we’ll find the gully-emptier tomorrow.

Later on I went for a shower so that I’d smell nice and clean for my physiotherapy session. And I’ve lost 800 grammes since Monday lunchtime, which just goes to show that there’s a problem with my bathroom scales.

As a result of everything so far, it was a rather late lunch. And that reminded me that I have some baking to do tomorrow. I’ve no bread and no fruit buns left either

outer harbour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Eventually I wandered off outside for my walk to the physiotherapist.

As usual I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to test the NIKON 1 J5. Not that there was anything particular to photograph because the tide was well out.

On the way down the hill are the four steps that I use to test how my knee is feeling. They are quite high and there is no handrail so I have to pull myself up with whatever strength I have in the knee.

On Monday I couldn’t manage anything at all but today was rather better. It’s still a long way from anything reasonable though and it’s depressing me.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022The other day I mentioned that we might be expecting the arrival of one of the little Jersey freighters.

Because of the swimming pool on the quayside I was expecting to see Normandy Trader but in actual fact today it’s Thora who has come into town. We haven’t seen her for a while.

The walk through the town and up the hill was quite uneventful. And at the physiotherapist’s she spent the first 20 minutes massaging my patella, which she can do any time she likes.

She seems to think that it’s ligament trouble that’s causing my problem and suggests that I need to speak to my doctor. I have to see him soon to load up with more Aranesp so I’ll talk to him then

And having to have injections to stimulate the blood cells sufficiently to enable me to have the strength to go to Leuven – what kind of state is that to be in?

After the physiotherapist’s I went to LIDL to do some shopping. Supplies are rather low right now with not having been to the shops for a couple of weeks. There was chocolate-flavoured soya drink on spcial offer so it was a shame that I was on foot. I could only carry away one of those.

building apartments rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022On the way back from the shops I passed by the building site on the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo and the Rue St Paul where they are building that block of apartments.

They seem to have advanced quite rapidly over the last couple of weeks. However they have been at it long enough. I seem to recall that the crane arrived here just before the summer holidays last year

Down the hill I went and then back up the hill struggling under the load of shopping that I had. And to think that a year ago I would quite happily walk back from LIDL with three times the weight of the stuff that I had today.

Halfway up the hill I bumped into one of my neighbours and we had a chat for five minutes or so about nothing particular. I have to be sociable, even if I don’t feel much like it.

la grande ancre l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Down in the harbour the fishing boats were coming in to unload after their day out at sea.

A couple of them we can identify quite easily. The one in the foreground busily unloading is of course La Grande Ancre and behind her in her usual place is L’Omerta.

Also down there are a few of the larger ones clustered around the harbour gates waiting for them to open with the tide. And one of the Joly France ferries is over there at the ferry terminal too

By now it was raining and so I didn’t want to hang around. A nice hot mug of coffee would do me good

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022However, of course I can’t go into the apartment without looking to see what’s happening down on the beach.

Not much beach, and no-one down there on it. Everyone has much more sense than I have abviously.

Back in the apartment I made myself a coffee and came into the office to sit down while I waited for it to percolate. When I awoke later the coffee machine had timed out and the coffee was cold. I must have been out for quite some time.

So one of these days I might actually finish my radio programme.

For tea tonight I nearly made another mess. There were some mushrooms that needed eating so I resolved to make a curry with the leftovers in the fridge and heave them in.

So I set about making the curry and I was halfway through before I realised that I’d forgotten the mushrooms. It’s a good job that I remembered just in time.

It’s bedtime now and I can’t say that I’m sorry. I’m exhausted. I just can’t seem to make any progress right now and i’ve no idea why. I’m seriously wondering if there’s something in the medication that i’m taking that’s slowing me down like this.

But I dunno and I don’t know if I’ll ever get to find out.

Wednesday 2nd February 2022 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

peche a pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… one of the lowest tides so far this winter, and so as we might expect, the crowds are out at the pèche à pied this afternoon.

That is, of course “fishing on foot”, not “fishing for feet”, although there was probably a little of that going on too after the events of several weeks ago when someone did fish up a human foot – or, at least, the remains of one.

And that reminds me – I wonder whatever was the outcome of that. Nothing more ever appeared in the local Press and I’m intrigued to find out some more about it.

I shall have to put my best foot forward and go to enquire of the local bobbies sometime. Maybe they have one foot in the grave already.

trawlers ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And it wasn’t just on the beach that people were fishing either.

Right out at sea at the top end of the Ile de Chausey there were a couple of fishing boats wandering around. Far too far out for me to be able to tell exactly what they were doing, unfortunately.

For a change, I knew what I was doing today – and that was “making some progress”. Being unable to eliminate all of the background noise from my radio interview, I cheated and made my own background noise, and then overdubbed it onto the supplementary questions.

Surprisingly, after a considerable amount of tweaking, it didn’t sound too bad at all and it’s difficult to hear the joints.

Yes, a better day today and I was able to make progress. And not just that either. I have a much better idea of what I’m going to do with it all.

It took a good while though to work myself up to it. It was rather later than usual when I went to bed and despite dropping off to sleep quite quickly, I was awake just as quickly too and had another hour or so of wishing I was dead or something before dropping off into the Land of Nod.

And not tossing and turning too much during the night either, for the first time since I really can’t remember when.

Leaving the bed was another struggle, which was a surprise seeing as I’d been awake since 06:10 and starting work after the medication was even more so and it took me quite a while to start up.

First task was to listen to the dictaphone. I started out with Nerina last night. We were driving somewhere, the two of us, in our separate cars, looking for a place to park. For some unknown reason I missed a turning and carried straight on down this road. When I looked behind me she had gone. I stopped and someone, I’ve no idea who or how, said that he’d nip down this side road after her. I parked up Caliburn, walked a little further down and turned left where there was a road junction that went left back on itself and another road that went left and forward on itself like a “K” on its back. I followed the road that was going back on itself thinking that I’d reach the road where Nerina had turned off. I’d left my van so that if she turned up she’d see it, know that I’m around and wait. I walked down this road. There was a canal on the right and buildings on the left. It narrowed into a footpath and then came out onto the road that Nerina must have taken. There were people around, like a park etc, and the canal. I couldn’t see Nerina, I couldn’t see June, I couldn’t see anything of that so I walked a little way back along this road heading towards the main road again. I couldn’t see her, I couldn’t see anyone so I thought that I’d walk back to where my van is and see what happens next. Of course there’s no point ringing her because she had a mobile ‘phone but she never ever brought it with her so ringing her wouldn’t be any use.

We never had that trouble in real life though. We could wander off in different directions even in major cities but we’d soon find each other again, like a pair of homing pigeons. Except once many years ago in Budapest when I nipped out of the car, told her to “drive round the block and come back” because there was nowhere to park while I had things to do, and then having to wait three quarters of an hour in a tee shirt in a snow storm because I’d sent her off round the only 5-sided block in the whole of Hungary and she had, unsurprisingly, become disorientated.

And I remember that car very well. OCC883S, a Cortina estate that I bought for £50 to break for spares 35 years ago and ended up driving it, and the two of us, all the way from Crewe to the border of the USSR via Italy and Yugoslavia, and they wouldn’t let us in because Nerina didn’t have a visa.

Some local reversed into us as well outside the railway station in Budapest and was shocked to the core when I told him to forget it and drive on. As if another dent on that car was going to make any difference.

And then it cracked the head in Ulm on the way back so when you left the car overnight, water would drain into a cylinder and stop the car from starting. We had to drain out the water every night, start the car up empty next morning and then fill it up with water once it was running.

Later on I was with Nerina and TOTGA of all people in Gainsborough Road doing some tidying up (as if that would ever be likely). We discovered a huge damp patch on the floor that was wringing wet and were having a big discussion about whta we were going to do about it. I was busy working through my music playing different tapes here and there. It was starting to become quite late and TOTGA decided that she would have to go home. Before she went I put on an album, THE HOUSE ON THE HILL by Audience, I don’t know why, but that was playing. Anyway she eventually decided that she would have to go so i went to the front door to see her off. “There’s no need to see me off” she said but she added that this time would be the best time to ‘phone her because everything was quiet just before she goes to bed and she wasn’t ever really doing anything else. The she said something like “there’s no need to take me to the door”. I thought “of course there is, if I can get a hug out of it” and I gave her a big hug. She was rather wary about what was going to happen next, something that will come as no surprise, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and I could sense that things were not maybe as I would like them to be.

So no surprise there either. Over the years she had several lucky escapes from my evil clutches so no reason why that shouldn’t continue in the virtual world.

After a shower, I went for lunch where I finished off the last of the bread. Must make some more tomorrow.

In the meantime I made a start on the radio programme and made quite good progress. I might even have finished off the final part but Rosemary rang up for another one of our mega-chats that go on for hours and hours.

There was of course a break for my trip to the physiotherapist.

coelacanthe port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And on the way down into town I stopped to have a look at chat was going on in the port this afternoon.

And what is Coelacanthe doing? She’s moored stern-on to the quayside right by the fish-processing plant so they won’t be untangling her nets there in that small space and the ice chute that pumps the ice into the holds of the ships that are setting out is the grey tube in the foreground so she’s not taking on ice.

Meantime, in the background, after her perambulations of yesterday afternoon, Belle France is back tied up at the quayside near the port office. She can’t have gone far yesterday afternoon.

cutting down trees place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Further on down the hill I could hear the noise of machinery coming from down below in the street.

The council has parked a load of vans and lorries and so on down on the boulodrome on the Place Pelley. And even so, the presence of several vehicles isn’t going to put the boulonauts off their stride.

They will still be carrying on regardless. A game of boules is quite serious stuff around here. Nevertheless, I decided to go that way into town to see what was going on down there.

cutting down trees place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022So this is what they are up to this afternoon.

Pollards!

What they are doing is pollarding the trees around here, namely trimming them down so that there is less weight on the trunks and to increase the density of the foliage, all of which is supposed to make the trees last longer.

The wood isn’t going to waste by the way, because there was someone picking up the bits that had been cut off and was busy stuffing them into the back of his car. I suppose that they will be the right kind of thing for basket-weaving and the like.

kiddies roundabout place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022The last time that we were down here in town they were beginning to set up the kiddies’ roundabout.

They’ve finished doing that now and it’s up and running, with fare-paying passengers by the looks of it.

And if you look closely at it, it seems to be smaller than in previous years. Perhaps that’s just an optical illusion or else this is how the stand-off with the town council has been resolved.

Whatever it is, there seems little doubt that pedestrians can walk all the way around it without stepping into the street, which was one of the objections that the council had.

At the physiotherapist’s, she had me doing exercises, including standing on one leg, throwing a ball behind me and then catching it as it rebounded from the wall. I’m still trying to work out why.

Around the corner to Lidl next. I’ve run out of frozen peas and quinoa and they are a vital part of my cuisine. I bought a few other bits and pieces too but I forgot the tarragon.

house building rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022ON the way home I came past the new house that they have been trying to build for a lifetime on the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo and the Rue St Paul.

We’ve not had a photo of it from this angle, as far as I can remember, so I took one while I was organising my shopping which, for some reason, felt as heavy as lead today.

A few hundred yards further on, my neighbour who had been at the physiotherapist’s came by and offered me a lift which was quite nice of him. We had quite a good chat on the way home. And I can’t say that I was sorry to have a lift. I wasn’t doing too well on the way home.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I’d been getting out of the car I’d heard the noise of a powerful power tool coming from within the walled town so I grabbed the NIKON D500 and went back outside while the coffee was brewing.

My first thought was that they might have been doing something in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux where they are repairing the medieval city walls, but it wasn’t clear from this photo.

But we can see how they are progressing with the repair work. Where the scaffolding is, they’ve done almost all the way up to the very top, and are working their way along at the foot of the walls.

But those two very large vertical cracks are looking quite ominous and they will need quite a large amount of attention.

Back in the old days, when they would finish the repointing, they would drill two holes in a piece of glass and screw it with one screw either side of where the crack was. They would check the glass regularly and if it became cracked, they would know that there was still movement in the walls.

You see that kind of thing in plenty of medieval churches and the like even today.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was at it, I went for a butcher’s down on the beach.

Plenty of beach, even though it’s later than usual, but no-one down there on it. The weather might have been miserable but it wasn’t raining and it wasn’t that cold. It doesn’t seem like midwinter at all right now.

Back in the apartment I carried on with the radio programme until Rosemary rang up for one of her chats.

Tea tonight was falafel with steamed veg and vegan cheese sauce. And the potatoes weren’t steamed enough. I must give them a few minutes on their own before I add in all of the other vegetables, I reckon. Everything will be so much better.

So while I’ve been writing out my notes I’ve had a hot chocolate and now I’m on the hot blackcurrant, lemon and honey drink. I’m having plenty to drink and it’s all healthy. It might make me want to go for a ride on the porcelain horse later but I’ll worry about that at the appropriate moment.

Right now I’m off to bed, hoping for a more exciting and productive day tomorrow if I can find this momentum again. I need to finish this off and move it out of the way and get on with other things.

In the meantime, if you want to see the highlights of yesterday evening’s football, THEY ARE HERE.

Wednesday 26th January 2022 – I HAD A …

… lovely tea tonight, I really did.

Steamed vegetables with vegan veggie balls all tossed in a really nice thick vegan cheese sauce. And for a change the vegetables were cooked to perfection and it really was delicious. I loved every mouthful of it.

fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Breakfast was pretty wonderful too.

Yesterday I forgot to mention that I’d finished the last of the Christmas cake, and what a success that was! Even the icing hardened off after a week or so.

Unfortunately the banana and molasses cake had gone the Way of the West over the last four weeks that it had been standing idle, and so I made another batch of fruit buns first thing this morning after the medication and these have worked really well yet again

It’s just a simple 250-gramme bread recipe but with only 2/3rd water and a very ripe banana mixed in, along with sunflower seeds, dried fruit of all kinds and varieties, desiccated coconut and about 100 grammes of brazil nuts ground into rather a coarse flour.

Of coarse … “he means “of course”” – ed … there will have to be some coarseness involved if I’m doing something, won’t there?

Not much last night though. After the heady and turbulent nights that I’ve had in the recent past with Zero, Castor, TOTGA and a few other of my favourite young ladies coming to join me in my nocturnal rambles for hours and hours on end, last night brought me down to earth with a bump. A guy a know from way back when and I were rewiring a car somewhere using bits of wire but there was a whole wiring harness from another scrap car and I was cutting a whole length of wire out of it (and the times that I’ve done that too in real life!). Someone asked me what I was doing so I explained. They were a bit upset thinking that I’d been doing it in a different way but it seemed pretty reasonable to me. Then I could remember that my father could get hold of wire as well so I told my friend that we were using wire with a blue and grey trace but we could get from my father some yellow and grey trace for it and maybe we should go down there. He asked what time my father was working so I could explained. he said that if I get down there to Church Lawton I could take the car because there’s a misfire that needs sorting out and we can pick up some wire while we’re there. Of course I wondered if he was actually going to be out there and be the one to bring me back. We had a discussion about that but I can’t really remember where we went to after that.

Added to this was that some girl was involved in this but I can’t remember why. There was also something about why were we using this black wire with different-coloured tracing in it when we could have had any-coloured wire from anywhere to do the job and the more wire with higher contrast in it the better.

And what was he doing putting in an appearance in my nocturnal rambles? He was one of these people who had a very volatile character and while we had something of a working relationship back in the 70s and early 80s it fell apart dramatically on 2 occasions, the second time for good.

And if you think that that’s interesting, you ain’t seen nuffink yet. I was taxi-driving last night, going down Market Street and then up the bank in Middlewich Street. There was some excitement when a couple of boys on bikes were blocking my path. I got rid of them. Just then I heard a voice cry “Eric!”. I turned round and it was someone on a moped. The name “Frank” came into my head so I said “hello Frank”. Then I realised that it wasn’t so I said “it’s not Frank, it’s Pete”. He used to be the landlord of a couple of pubs in Crewe but had had some severe mental health issues. I asked him what he was doing now and he replied that he was working as a family counsellor. He was off the drink and had himself properly organised, all this kind of thing. We had quite a chat. I asked where he was living. He said he was living with his aunt, or his mother, or someone else who had a motorbike but they were constantly rowing about things but staying together. Then he said “you’ll remember (a girl’s name) “. I looked and there was a girl there. “Last time you saw her, she was a tiny baby” so I looked and asked “how old are you now?”. “11” she replied but she was quite big for 11 so we had a chat and I had a hug which was very nice and we all started to chat about the old days.

And why did he become involved in my travels too? He was someone who lost his town-centre pub due to a redevelopment project and they transferred him to a different kind of pub on a decaying housing estate and his character didn’t suit the locals at all. The last I heard of him, 40 years ago, he was having some really serious and tragic problems and I haven’t heard a word or even thought about him since.

The reason why there wasn’t as much going on during the night as there has been just recently is probably because I didn’t go to bed until almost 02:00. After crashing out so dramatically yesterday I wasn’t in the least bit tired. But when you have an 07:30 start in the morning, there isn’t much time for voyaging.

There had also been my first nocturnal challenge too – and that was changing the batteries in the ZOOM H1 while I’m asleep and the net result of my experiences is that I’m going to replace my ancient Sony with like-for-like. I can change those batteries in my sleep with no problem.

After the meds I made my fruit buns and then after breakfast I carried on going backwards through the journal to update it to include the missing journeys and photos.

At 12:30 I ground to a halt and went for a shower, followed by lunch. And the pain in my jaw has eased considerably over the last couple of days so I tried some sandwiches instead of soup. And that worked fine today.

Later on I went off and parked Caliburn on the street outside Lidl and walked down for my physiotherapy session. And the exercises that she’s had me doing, I can feel the difference between my left knee and the bad right one. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve broken both my knees once and the right one a second time in motorcycle accidents in my teenage years.

And then the right one a third time in a skiing accident in the 1970s – and next day drove my old BMC HALF-TON VAN all the way back to Winsford from Inverness and it’s not an automatic.

That van, known as “Bill Badger”, could tell a few stories, and you’ve heard a few of them, Alison.

It’s a good job that I went in Caliburn to the physiotherapist because I had a funny turn in Lidl – a week of inactivity hasn’t been kind to me by the looks of things.

The bill in Lidl was enormous, but seeing as I haven’t been shopping for almost 3 weeks it’s not a surprise. But they did have these tactile glove on offer again and they are great for photography in the winter, if I ever get back to the High Arctic, which these days is looking more and more unlikely until I learn to sail.

On the steps I bumped into my neighbour from up above and we had a chat, then I came in here to put away the frozen food, make a coffee and collapse into a chair. That was hard work.

Now that tea is over and the washing up done, I’m off to bed. Despite my bad night I’ve kept going all day which is good news but I still can’t motivate myself. maybe a good sleep might recharge the batteries, but I dunno.

And in any case, as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … what goes on during the night is much more exciting than anything that happens to me during the day and I wouldn’t exchange any of that for anything else – except if it were to happen in real life.

But fat chance of that.