Category Archives: football

Saturday 4th September 2021 I KNOW THAT I PROMISED …

dehydrated black fungus noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… never to laugh or take the micky out of foreign translations into English (after all, my writing in French and Flemish isn’t all that much to write home about) but there are some occasions that just leap to the eye.

Here in Noz this morning, I was presented with the opportunity to buy some “dehydrated black fungus”.

The literal translation is of course “dehydrated black mushrooms” and I might ordinarily have been tempted – a handful of those sprinkled on my Sunday pizza would have soon absolrbed any excess liquid, but I couldn’t get past the “black fungus” bit.

So in the end I passed up the opportunity

Having gone to bed reasonably early last night, it was still a struggle to leave the bed at 06:00 when the alarm went off.

After breakfast I had a little session listening to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was staying with someone who was a cross between my Aunt Mary and Rosemary, in a room that was underneath one of the rooms in the attic where there were peopel staying. I wasn’t particularly clean because I’d been working all the time. I didn’t have many clothes with me and it wasn’t possible to wash them so I was rather struggling. We had a big house and there was a huge garden with it, completely overgrown and an absolute mess and we’d started work on tidying that up. Some guy had come along to help us and move the heavy stuff. We’d sorted out all of the washing, all the clothes and stuff in the barn and there was a pile of stuff. By the time that he was ready to leave the place looked brilliant. he said that there was a load of washing and clothes still in the barn but he’d had to take the washing line down. If someone wanted to refix it, he’d come along later and put the clothes back up. I said that I’d do that, although I didn’t feel much like it with my health because I didn’t want him rummaging through those clothes. There was a huge bank at the back of the house and we were manoeuvring stuff up there, putting it into skips and everything. There was an issue with horse hair for some reason. This woman asked me if I’d stayed in that room before. I replied “yes, I was in that same room last year”. She said “ahh well, a horse hair has got out and this was something of a tragedy to her that this horse hair had escaped from this room.

While I was at it, I did a few of the arrears too and just as I was on the point of finishing, there was a power cut and I had to start again, right from the very beginning, having forgotten to save my post as I worked.

And do you know – I’ve been using this text editor – NOTE-TAB – for over 20 years and it wasn’t until just after the power cut that I realised that there’s an autosave facility buried deep in the bowels of this program. It’s now set to “save every 2 minutes”.

But then this is how I’ve learnt most of the details about the programs that I use – thinking about “surely this particular function would be quite useful in this program” and searching my way through the program’s functions until I find it.

Off to the shops I set, and the first port of call was Noz of course. I eschewed the dehydrated black fungus but instead bought a couple of “orange and strawberry” drinks with which to take my medicine.

As well as that, having thought long and hard about what webcam to buy for the big computer (for more than two years in fact) they had some cheap ones at €3:50 so I’ll have a bit of a play with that and see what happens.

At LeClerc they had grapes at, would you believe, €1:49 per kilo so I bought a huge pile of those. The autumn is the time of year that I love, because we have grapes in abundance followed by clementines and satsumas, all the way up to the New Year.

A rather unusual purchase was a tin of WD40. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve been having problems with Caliburn’s door latch mechanism and having dismantled it a few weeks ago I could see the problem.

So on the car park of LeClerc it’s all had a really good oiling and it will be having a few more before I reassemble the door panelling.

peugeot car up on blocks rue de la crete Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Now here’s something that you very rarely, if ever, see here in France.

By the side of the road in a parking area outside a row of houses is a damaged car, parked up on blocks with its wheels missing. And judging by the amount of rust on the front discs, it’s been like that for quite a while too.

Usually, the council is pretty quick on identifying abandoned vehicles and tagging the wheels to check whether the vehicles are in use (we’ve seen a couple of these) and then if there’s no evidence of movement they take them away.

They don’t need to tag this one to see that it’s not in use.

Back here I put my frozen peas in the freezer, made myself a coffee, sat down to drink it and the next thing that I knew, it was almost 14:00. And it’s been a good couple of weeks since I’ve crashed out se deeply, so definitively and so long as this.

While I was away, I was off on my travels. I was working for Gill Leese again, just as I had been one night a couple of weeks ago, presumably before I had been unceremoniously fired. A few drivers had taken a couple of coaches and gone somewhere. While I was there one of the drivers suddenly asked me “could you ‘phone Gill now?”. I went to fetch my ‘phone but I couldn’t remember the password. When I did, I was entering it in all wrong and it was all totally crazy. It took me ages to actually get into it. I ‘phoned her and she said that there had been a customer who had come in and wanted to take a coach-load of people on a lion hunt somewhere out in Leicestershire way that evening. Would I do it?”. I thought that this was an extremely strange pantomime way of asking me to go about doing something. I said that I would do it but I was still puzzled as to why it had taken her all of this effort instead of someone just asking me outright at some other time during the day.

It took me quite a while to gather my wits (which is a surprise, seeing how few I have left these days) and so I ended up with a very late lunch, yet again.

This afternoon I had a few things to do, including catching up with completing yesterday’s entry (which is still unfinished) but there wasn’t much of an afternoon left before it was time for me to head out to the football.

boats in baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago I mused about the situation that would surely arise when the gates of the port would be due to arise and there would be a mass stampede back to the harbour.

It seems that my afternoon trip out today has coincided with the closure of the gates of the port this afternoon because that’s precisely what I was witnessing as I walked on down the hill

However, there is one boat that seems to be heading off in the opposite direction. He’s quite possibly off for a trip around and either come back on the morning tide or to go off and find another harbour elsewhere.

boats in baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The sunout in the west was creating a haze on the water and out of the haze, boats were coming from all directions.

It wasn’t just yachts and cabin cruisers either. There were a few kayakers too, paddling like fury to reach the shore. They’ll want to be home before the evening goes cold because,being so close to the water, it’s very cold in there and you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

There are a couple of boats with multiple oars too. I once knew someone who fell out of one of those. And everyone said that he was out of his schull.

boats entrance to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Outside the entrance to the tidal harbour, there was what almost amounted to a traffic jam.

We have yachts, zodiacs, speedboats and kayakers all jostling for position and fighting for their way into harbour.

So I left them all to it – I didn’t have too much time to waste – and headed off down the hill down the Rue des Juifs on my way down to the centre of the town in the sun on my way to the football.

place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021You can tell that the summer season has come to an end. All of the attractions that were here for the summer are disappearing one by one.

The kiddies’ roundabout that was here in the Place Charles de Gaulle throughout the summer has been dismantled and taken away. I wouldn’t have thought that a Saturday would have been a good day to remove it with the market and all of the families with children wandering around the shops.

The walk up the hill towards the football ground was tough again, although it seems that it’s a little easier than it has been just recently. Perhaps the physiotherapy is doing its job.

football us granville sologne olympique romorantinais stade louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021At the Stade Louis Dior US Granville were plaving Sologne Olympique Romorantinais.

The two teams are quite low down the table having had a poor start to the season and it didn’t go any better for Granville as they lost 1-2.

In fact Granville played quite well but they just couldn’t find the final shot on goal no matter how much of the attack that they had.

And when they did have a decent attempt on goal, a beatiful cross that split the defence, it was the attacker at the far post who ended up in the net and the ball whistled past the post. The goal that they did score was a clearance out of defence that the Granville midfield fired straight back.

Romorantan just had two shots on goal and scored tham both, which shows you just how cruel a game of football could be.

What was quite amusing was that after Granville missed their sitter at the far post, Romorantin went upfield and scored their second, and it was immediately from the kickoff that Granville scored their goal. That was a phrenetic two minutes.

birds flying over stade louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Apart from the seagulls around here, there are quite a few colonies of songbirds in the town and one of them nestles in the row of trees behind the football ground.

As we were watching the game, the colony came home to roost in the trees, circling around above our heads as they came in to land.

It was like watching a scene from Daphne du Maurier’s THE BIRDS and Jessica Tandy ran from the flock, clutching her skirt between her legs and Alfred Hitchcock explaining to Kenneth Williams “a bird in the hand is worth two in the …”

Being stood up for a couple of hours was more exahusting than I could imagine and I’m seriosly considering taking a seat in the grandstand in future, which shows you how ill I’m feeling these days, and so even the long walk down the hill was exhausting.

marite chausiaise galeon andalucia granville victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The sun was going down as I staggered back up the Rue des Juifs and I was glad to get to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour where I could stop and sit on a seat and catch my breath.

The harbour gates were closed by now and everyone who was coming in home is home and tied up.

From left to right, we have Chausiaise, Marité nearest the camera, Galeon Andalucia behind her, still in port, and then Granville and Victor Hugo, the two Channel Island ferries.

repaired wall Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A couple of weeks ago we witnessed them starting to repair one of the brick walls that form the capping of the retaining wall that separates the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne from the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

The top row of capping had diappeared a while back and they had stuck some bricks on top of it. But now they have infilled and pointed the brickwork and they have done quite a decent job of it too.

The walk up to the top of the hill from here went rather easier than I was expecting and not as much of a struggle as I was fearing. To my surprise, I found that I even had some force in my right knee too.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was here, a good few hours later than usual, I went to look at the beach to see what was happening.

Surprisingly there were a few people down there too, despite the lateness of the hour and the fact that it was growing dark. Trying to squeeze every last moment of what is left of the summer.

And I’m convinced that when Rosemary came to visit me a couple of years ago she hid a spy camera in this apartment.

She rang me up last weekend just as the final whistle blew on the football that I was watching on the internet, and tonight it was just as I walked through the door after the football up the road.

We had a lengthy chat as usual and as a result I’ve had no tea and I’ve done nothing at all to finish off my day.

It makes me wonder just WHEN I’m ever going to get myself up-to-date.

Saturday 14th August 2021 – I WENT TO …

public indoor market Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… do my important shopping in the indoor market in the town centre this morning.

There wasn’t all that much that I needed today – just some mushrooms and some fruit, so it wasn’t worth taking Caliburn and going all the way out to the shops on the edge of town. A nice brisk walk to the market and back will do just as well.

Mind you, the prices are quite expensive – much more than you might think – and the quality isn’t as good either which is rather a surprise.

But at least I now have the mushrooms for the pizza tomorrow evening.

It makes a change not to go out to the supermarket on a Saturday – it means that I’m not in so much of a rush in the morning.

Not that I had a lie-in, of course. I was up and about as soon as the alarm went off at 06:00

After the medication I came back into my nice tidy bedroom to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I started off with a great big rambling dream about boats, things like yachts and sailing ships defending the bay against all kinds of things coming in here but it was long and complicated and I can’t remember any of it now which is a shame.

A little later on I was tidying my apartment. It started off as being a real mess but I was fed up and so I began to make a start on it. By the time that I’d finished it was looking a lot better, and i’d actually found four shillings and sixpence so it was quite a profitable venture. The only thing that worried me was whether I could keep it like that. Tidying up my bedroom yesterday has clearly traumatised me beyond belief, hasn’t it? There was my family of course and they were due to come round. I was asking about where they lived and they lived in a white building with blue paintwork and so on. It was a block of flats, a nice building so I thought “what is my family doing living in a place like that?”. They were going through the members of the family and there was a guy called Dhony and apparently he was one of the grandchildren’s boyfriends. He was a “Nene”. I was wondering what a “Nene” was and it turned out that it was another name for a refugee.

It was another morning where I took a good hour or two to get going after all of that. I might not actually have crashed out but it was as good as – I wasn’t able to do very much. In fact when I recovered I could barely find the energy to make a coffee.

Eventually it was time to go out. The tide will be well in by now, I reckon and in any case it’s as good a time as any to go to the shops.

la granvillaise marité baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWalking down to the sea wall this morning Icould see that we were going to be in for another excellent morning’s viewing today.

Out there at sea in the Baie de Mont St Michel are the two ships that are, I suppose, the stars of our port – la Granvillaise to the left and Marité to the right.

And the first thing that I noticed was that with the sun behind them shining through the sails, it looked as if the sails were illuminated, with the rest of the boats being in the shadows. It was quite an eerie effect.

joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I wasn’t allowed to go musing on that for too long.

While I’d been photographing the to ships I’d missed the departure of one of the Joly France ferries from the ferry terminal. But now she’s well on her way to the Ile de Chausey, sailing past Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the entrance tot he harbour.

She has quite a crowd of people on board her this morning too. It looks as if it’s going to be a busy day over there on the Ile de Chausey, and they certainly have the weather for it.

artistic patterns in the water port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe Joly France ferry wasn’t the only boat to be leaving harbour as I was watching the morning’s events unfold.

There was a group of people who had clambered into some kind of motor boat that was moored in the harbour and while I watched, they cast off and shot off for the wild blue yonder.

And in doing so they described a beautiful circle in the water. It was quite an impressive artistic design and lingered on for quite a while before the currents reacted and took it away.

Meanwhile, the need for mushrooms for tomorrow’s pizza took me away into the town centre and the market building.

grandstand port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way down the hill in the Rue des Juifs, I went past the viewpoint overlooking the loading bay at the port.

That which we saw yesterday down there is cetainly a grandstand of some description and the fact that there’s some kind of advertisement for a local media company facing it implies that there is some kind of live performance connected with it.

Now you are going to ask me what that square compound thing id behind the grandstand, aren’t you? Well unfortunately I don’t have an answer for that and I’m not even able to speculate.

helicopter port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt this particular moment I was overflown by an aerial craft. I was wondering when this might happen.

And having talked for two days consecutively about the yellow autogyro that flies overheard occasionally the sound of a pulsing motor filled me full of optimism..

Someone had indeed taken out his chopper for a bit of airing this morning but it’s not the one that we were expecting. It’s not the yellow autogyro at all but a civilian model with a twin-boom tail that I ought to recognise and probably will as soon as I’ve pressed “publish” on these notes.

Fighting my way through the throngs of people on the market I purchased what I needed and then headed back up the hill towards home.

marité baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOur two ships, La Granvillaise and Marité had now quite happily done their separate ways.

Marité, having done a couple of laps around the Baie de Mont St Michel was now going past the ferry terminal and the entrance to the port on her way out to the Baie de Granville and the open sea.

It’s not as if she’ll be going far though for with the harbour gates only being open for less than four hours at a time, she’ll need to be back home pretty quickly.

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs for the gates that guard the Port de Plaisance where la Granvillaise lives, I’ve no idea about their arrangements.

She seems to be happy enough today staying out in the Baie de Mont St Michel in the company of a couple of other smaller boats that are with her

These other boats will of course be looking for the good photo opportunities that the bigger ships can provide and that might be an idea for me to consider in the future, whenever that might be.

coelacanthe tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday we saw the big trawler Le Coelacanthe come into port and I suspected that her little sister Le Tiberiade wouldn’t be too far away

We weren’t lucky enough to see her come into port but this morning they are both there moored in their usual place at the back of the Fish Processing Plant.

When they are together like this, you can tell them apart. Le Coelacanthe has the boom on the roof of the bridge and there are wings to her bridge where her name is written. Apart from that and their size (Le Tiberiade is slightly smaller) they are pretty much identical.

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow that Marité has gone over to the other side, as it were, I wander off over there to check up on what she’s going.

And she really does make a beautiful photograph as she sails past my spec up here on the cliffs, with every square inch of sail fully extended to catch the breeze. I bet that she didn’t put that much canvas out in the Roaring Forties.

She has her little dinghy being towed behind, and as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the dinghy wouldn’t be able take as many people in an emergency as she has on board right now.

brittany ferries armorique english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut never mind the Marité right now, there’s something much more exciting going on out at sea.

Away in the distance out in the English Channel there was a rather large blob moving about on the horizon so I took a photo of it to enhance when I returned home.

And it’s worked out so well (which makes a change when I enhance something at that distance) that we can actually read her owner’s name on the side of the hull.

The fact that she’s a Brittany Ferries ship makes it easier for me to check the register of ships leaving St Malo just now and so I can tell you that she’s Armorique of 30,000 tonnes and launched in 2009, on her way to Portsmouth.

She holds a very unique distinction, being to only Brittany Ferries ship to have visited all the ports from which the company operates.

condor voyager english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd meantime, my riving eye has picked out something else exciting away in the diatance, on the other (eastern) side of the Channel Islands.

This photo hasn’t enhanced so well, probably due to the extra distance, which is a shame, but there can’t be many things that big out there in the English Channel within a cockstride of the port of St Helier.

And sure enough, a quick review of the register of ships leaving St Helier tells me that at 09:17, just 20 (adjusted) minutes before this photo was taken, the superfast ferry Condor Voyager who we have seen quite a lot just recently, set out from the port on her way to Poole.

ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe skies were certainly clear enough this morning and the view stretched for miles.

Once more the colours on the Ile de Chausey were magnificent. The lighthouse was standing out really clearly today and we could see all of the individual houses that were scattered around the island could be seen quite clearly too.

And as for the water-borne traffic, how much of that would you like? You can’t move out to sea this morning because of all of the boats. part from the few in the foreground, there must be a couple of dozen floating away around the island.

training ship belem english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I was out there today, I think that I might have solved one little mystery that’s been puzzling us for a few days.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have been seeing a mystery sailing ship out at sea and I’ve no been able to identify her clearly. It’s not easy, because for example even Marité is still described officially as a “fishing vessel” which was her former occupation.

But today’s clear weather gave us the best view yet of the mystery vessel out in the English Channel, and the fleet radar told me that on that very spot is the training vessel Belem, a 170-footer out of St Malo and whose shape bears a very similar resemblance to this one.

unidentified aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt this point I was overflown yet again.

Well, actually, I wasn’t, because the aeroplane here was too far out in the Baie de Granville – so far out in fact that I couldn’t even read the registration number on the side of her fuselage.

According to the flight log the only aeroplane that took off from the airfield at round about this time was F-GBAI but if this is she, then she must have undergone a dramatic re-paint job overnight since we saw her yesterday. So I’m reserving judgement on this.

english channel belle france armorique baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeantime, I’d been holding my fire over a certain photo because there was a chance for some symbolism to creep into one of my pictures.

By now, Armorique is on the point of creeping behind the Ile de Chausey and just at that moment, a boat that I reckoned to be one of the Ile de Chausey ferries and which I later found out to be the very new Belle France sprung into view out of the shadow of the island.

The contrast between “little and large” ferries made for a nice photograph even if there wasn’t a great deal that I could do at that kind of distance.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhat was really ironic about all of this activity in the baie de Granville this morning, there was plenty of scope for irony.

Here, with all kinds of pleasure craft of every description whizzing past, a small fishing boat was actually out there working quite sedately, taking no notice whatsoever of what else was going on around him.

But now I was going to take no notice of anything else because I’d been out for so long and I wanted to go home for a coffee. I can only stand so much excitement in a morning.

Back in the apartment I brought my coffee into the nice tidy office and then sat down to plan out my day. And “plan” was about as far as I reached before it was time to stop for lunch.

After lunch, the early and energetic start finally caught up with me and I ended up being asleep on the chair for quite a while. That was followed by quite a lengthy session on the two guitars before it was time for me to sling my hook.

football us granville voltigeurs de chateaubriant stade louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was nice to be back at the football today for a competitive match after all of this time, and I’m also reassured to know that my vaccine digipass works too.

As for the football, the defence looked slightly more solid than it has done over the last couple of years, although Chateaubriant didn’t really put too much pressure on it. They had a very small, quick n°9 up front who was in a class of his own on the field, but there was no-one up there to support him.

As for Granville, going forward they were woeful. At long last they have a big centre-forward who they can’t shove off the ball, who puts himself about and who can hold up the ball, but he is totally wasted because the service he was getting was dreadful.

Not one of the other Granville players put a ball into the box with any accuracy or conviction and the Chateaubriand goalkeeper had probably the quietest 90 minutes that he will ever have.

0-0 the game finished, and both sides were lucky to get nil too. I can’t think if I’ve ever witnessed a more uneventful game than this

What dismayed me more than anything that despite virus infections being in the upper 20,000s, I was about the only person in the stadium wearing a mask, despite the frantic appeals of the announcer. No-one is ever going to be rid of this virus if they continue to be stupid about it like this.

It’s hard to believe the stupidity of some people.

nuit des artistes rue des juifs closed Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way home I noticed that the Rue des Juifs is closed to vehicular traffic.

The street is full of small art galleries, most paintings of which are of dubious quality at an astronomic price and once a year they are open until quite late at night and people can wander around to their heart’s content in the middle of the street.

Right now my worries are reaching the top of it because I’m not as yound as I was an not as fit as I was even three months ago and thse days I have to stop a couple of times before reaching the top.

bar ephemere chez maguie place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the places where I stopped to catch my breath was at the viewpoint overlooking Marité‘s mooring berth.

She’s now back at her mooring but my interest is centred for the moment on Chez Maguie, the Bar Ephemère that springs up every summer at the Place Pelley.

In the winter it all lives in a shipping container somewhere and is brought here in late June to cater for the hordes of tourists who swarm around the town.

Not that there aren’t enough bars in the town, but it’s the outdoor terraces that are missing. Sitting on a couple of pallets in a car-parking space in the Rue Couraye doesn’t have quite the same effect.

fishermen in speedboat zodiac loitering outside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA day or two ago I was talking about what might happen if by some chance you were out at sea and missed the closing of the harbour gates or missed the tide.

This evening, there were several boats and yachts, including this speedboat and zodiac, loitering around outside the harbour area, presumably waiting for the tide to come in so that they could come in and moor up.

I don’t suppose that there isn’t much alternative that to sit and wait.

Back here I didn’t even have time for tea before the next instalment of football.

Caernarfon v Haverfordwest in the Welsh Premier League. Haverforwest have signed a couple of good players in the close season but the Caernarfon team has changed quite a lot and they are lacking the old team spirit that took them so high in the table.

Oe or two of their new players struggled to make any impact, but Haverfordwest, despite having a resolute defence and a lively midfield, offered nothing up front. Eventually a Caernarfon free kick caught the Haverfordwest keeper by surprise and in the dying seconds of the game they scored a second.

haverfordwest can feel disappointed by this result but that what happens in football. Both clubs will have their work cut out this season.

But right now I’m off to bed. It’s too late to do anything else so I’ll write up my notes in the morning.

Good night.

Saturday 10th July 2021 – 265 DAYS …

players warming up us Granville en avant guingamp stade louis dior granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… since we were last in the Stade Louis Dior to watch a football match, so I’m told.

And I nearly missed this one as well because the kick-off was at 16:00 and at 15:00 I was fast asleep, crashed out in my chair slumped over my desk. It was something of a scramble for me to make it to the stadium in time for the kick-off.

Up until that point it had been a reasonably good day as far as I was concerned. Once more I was up as soon as the alarm went off at 06:00 and although it was a struggle to gather my wits (which will be quite a surprise to everyone seeing as I have so few wits left these days) I gradually pulled myself round ready to face the day.

First task after the medication was to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. Noticing that the newspapers had arrived today we read them and we noticed that the group “White Spirit” was appearing somewhere. They had one of these young female singers so the two girls would have liked to have seen them. I ended up buying 4 tickets and I took a friend of mine and the 2 girls so the 4 of us went. The 2 of us decided that we didn’t really want to go so we’d wait outside the hall in the car. He’d had to paint the doors inside-out so the paint was one colour but I’d had the tin and taken a look inside it and it was the right lot so I thought that … indistinct … Anyway they wandered off. This girl was singing and at the end of the first song she came down the corridor and came out to us saying “I hope that you 2 are going to behave because I’m going to be coming out here afterwards to see you”. She stayed to chat to us for a while. She was sucking on a stick of rock and I thought that seeing as she has a stage performance to do she’s being extremely I couldn’t think of the word. But there was much more to it than this of course but I can’t now remember what it was. And never mind the guy – who were the 2 girls we took to the concert and who was the girl who came to see us? Yes, all these girls appearing during the night and I can’t remember who they are. What kind of state is this to be in?

Later on I had to go to Manchester with a computer or PA or something so I got on the tram. Someone I knew was on there so I said “hello” to him. We set off and were well on our way when suddenly the tram came to a stop. I walked down towards the front past this guy again to see what was happening. There was some big accident in front of us so I got off the tram and started to wave the traffic through. All the traffic including this tram got through this obstruction. It all drove away and left me standing there so I had to hitch-hike. I had a lift with someone in a Mark I Cortina and it was an automatic with a bench seat in the front, or it might have been column change with a bench seat in the front. We were talking about something with these cars. I said something and he denied it but I knew that I was right but he wasn”t having any of this at all. In the end I took the rubber mat out of the front and emptied it out to make the car a bit tidier. He told me that I could drive on the way back. There was lots more to this dream as well but I can’t remember it now.

Having dealt with all of that, what remained was to bring up to date yesterday’s journal entries. Perhaps I should add at this point that although I said that I was going to have an early night last night, but in fact I became engrossed in the acoustic guitar and ended up playing for a couple of hours.

And I can’t do the slip-change from Chord C to Chord F and back again like I used to. I’m far too rusty.

Having organised the notes from yesterday I spent the rest of the morning organising the new laptop bag and making sure that it has everything that I need in it.

And then I packed the little suitcase that I’m taking with me, and sorted out the clothes that had been airing on the clothes airier on my windowsill since I can’t remember when.

While I was sorting things out I came across an old USB drive and a USB SD micro-card reader stuck in the pocket of an old abandoned bag.

And searching further I came across the missing audio cable for which I’ve been searching since I don’t know when. I must have taken it with me to Canada a few years ago so that I could couple up my old *.mp3 player to Strider’s audio input socket, and then forgotten to unpack it.

Here’s hoping that whatever new vehicle I might buy to replace Strider will have a USB socket. Yes, I was having a good look at a Subaru Forester estate car this afternoon while I was out.

After lunch I came in here to do some work on my photos but I soon crashed out on the chair. And then it was a rather desperate struggle up the hill.

moulin childrens roundabout place generale de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way out to the football ground I went past the Place Charles de Gaulle and the Saturday market.

Summer is in full swing here in Granville if you are a kid (except in the Square Maurice Marland of course) and the kiddies’ roundabout is in full swing with plenty of potential customers. I stayed to watch the proceedings for a minute while I caught my breath and then pushed on up the hill.

And it was a long, lonely climb up there and I had to stop four or five times to catch my breath. I’ve aged 20 years over this last couple of months and that has filled me full of dismay. But I eventually arrived at the Stadium Louis Dior.

players us Granville en avant guingamp stade louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEn Avant Guingamp play in the French Second Division, but this was described as “A Team from EA Guingamp” which probably means that it contained triallists and players on the fringes of the first team rather than the first team itself.

And in an astonishing match, and in a game that Granville pretty much dominated, they somehow managed to lose the game 3-0. Threw it away completely and comprehensively.

Two goals they gave away by defenders going to sleep and there should have been a third as well except that the Guingamp player stood on the ball instead of kicking it. The third goal was a wonder strike of a curling free kick round the blind side of the defensive wall.

Granville had a bew player playing in the centre of defence – an older guy – and he certainly looked as if he had been around the block a few times. He was head and shoulders above anyone else on the pitch. He wasn’t a centre back from what I could see but more of a defensive midfielder distributing the ball out of defence. If he has signed for the club then things are looking up.

But once again, total defensive lapses and a bunch of forwards who couldn’t score in a brothel

2 players with n°33 us Granville en avant guingamp stade louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here was something interesting that I have never seen before on a football pitch at this level.

Two players on the same team with the same number. And about 20 seconds after I had noticed, so did a few other people and the “older” n°33 was quickly withdrawn and replaced by another player. And he’d only been on the pitch for a couple of minutes too.

The younger n°33 took some time to warm up but once he got going he had a good game. He almost scored too, getting in on the end of a delicious cross to the far post but his shot was somehow scrambled off the line.

So after all of this I think that it’s going to be a long, hard season, if we manage to complete it.

no parking in town on Sundays Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way up towards the football ground I’d noticed the town centre covered with these signs.

There had been something in the local newspaper about shops opening all day on Sunday during the summer season but I hadn’t realised that parking will be banned in the town centre too. This makes for interesting opportunities if ever we have a summer here.

Actually it was quite warm now – the sun being out made a change from the damp, dreary start of the day, so I went for an ice cream. But my favourite ice cream parlour was surprisingly closed. I had to walk quite a way before I found another one with non-dairy options.

sale of fresh seafood closed port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now I found myself on the quayside at the spot where the fresh fish seller sells his catch from his boat every Friday morning.

However he’s announced that he’s not operating until the middle, missing the entire summer season, which seemed rather strange to me. But then I noticed the photos of his boat, and that explained everything. Do you recognise it?

Anyway, clutching my ice cream I wandered off down the quayside to see what else was going on that I might have missed since I’ve last been on the quaysid.

philcathane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here’s an old friend of ours riding the waves at her mooring here in the inner harbour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the past couple of weeks we’d been seeing the trawler Philcathane up on blocks in the chantier naval until she went missing, back into the water, at the end of the week.

By the looks of things she’s all finihsed now with her nice fresh coat of paint and she’ll be ready to go back to the fishing grounds on Monday.

And the interesting question now is “who has gone to replace her in the chantier naval?

tour du roc à la nage no parking at port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut never mind that for a moment. Let’s turn our attnetion to the immediate present and what’s going to be going on in town.

It looks as if they are planning quite a pile of events to welcome the tourists to the town and this one is certainly a new one on me that I haven’t seen before.

It looks as if there is going to be some kind of swimming race from the port and around the Pointe du Roc to somewhere on the other side of the headland. So good luck to those who are attempting it.

And never mind “no parking”. They will probably need a good ambulance of two or three at the finishing line to take away the unlucky ones. Struggling with the tides and the currents in the sea won’t be as easy as some people might think.

helicopter hovering over port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was walking along the edge of the quayside I was overflown by a helicopter. Someone has hed their chopper out this afternoon.

The only camera that I had with me today was the NIKON 1 J5 and the standard lens (I’ve mentioned before that it passes amost unnoticed into sports grounds and the like where a large DSLP won’t) so I wasn’t able to take much of a photograph of it this afternoon.

Without the telephoto lens I can’t see if it’s the yellow and red air-sea rescue helicopter, a drab olive military helicopter or a multi-coloured civilian chopper. But hs didn’t have any of his emergency lights on so whatever he was doing wasn’t anything urgent. I could press on without witnessing anything dramatic.

trawler galapagos chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo, did you all guess the significance of the photo to which I drew your attention earlier?

We’ve all … “well, one of us” – ed … been wondering who the big blue trawler is that’s appeared in the chantier naval the other day and now we know.

She’s called Galapagos and she belongs to the people who sell the fresh fish on the quayside. And now we also know why they aren’t going to be selling fish until the middle of September and we also have an indication of she’ll be back in the water.

There were some people with the yacht Rebelle. They weren’t very talkative but at least I know that she’ll be back in the water “shortly”.

joly france 1 ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I was chatting to the people working on Rebelle we were disturbed by yet more activity – this time coming from the water.

Of course it’s the weekend, a Saturday evening in Summer zo the tourists are out in their hordes The Ile de Chausey is one of the places to be and so by the looks of things, there have been plenty of people out there.

This is when the two Joly France boats that work the ferry out there come into their own. This is the newer one of the two, Joly France 1 as you can tell by the windows in portrait mode, and she has quite a load of people on board today coming back from the island.

From the chantier naval I wended my weary way up the hill in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers and made it back home. There was time to upload the photos to the computer and then I knocked off for tea.

There’s plenty of stuffing left over and also a pepper that won’t survive until next week so a stuffed pepper it was, followed by chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce. And that reminds me – it’s been a while since I made a jam roly-poly. That will have to be the next dessert.

Back here to write up the journal today when I noticed that I’d performed 95% of my daily activity today. So never one to miss an opportunity, I took the NIKON D500, fitted the f1.8 50mm lens and went for a walk around the block.

midnight sun baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd who said “The Land Of The Midnight Sun” then?

This is the sight that greeted me as I stepped out of my apartment this evening. We’re situated at 48°50′ here and that’s far from being in The Land Of The Midnight Sun so imagine what it must be like somewhere north of the Arctic Circle.

It did remind me of the nights that I was driving coaches on my Friday night run to Central Scotland and on one occasion one June-end it was so light that when I’d dropped off my passengers I drove to Stirling and parked up on a mountain top near there to watch the midnight sun and that’s 8° further North.

donville les bains rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here at my little spec at the end of the car park I went over to look over the wall.

Not that I was expecting to see anyone on the beach this evening – as a matter of fact I couldn’t even see the beach – but I was more interested in what was going on along the coast, insofar as I could see it.

The Rue du Nord is quite well illuminated right now especially round by the Place du Marché aux Chevaux, and then carrying on to the left we have the lights of the houses on top of the cliffs at the Plat Gousset and then the lights of the waterfront reflecting into the sea down on the promenade at Donville les Bains.

rue du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack across the car park and along to the road now to see what’s going on here right now.

That is of course the Rue du Roc that leads to the headland where we find the lighthouse, the semaphore and the coastguard station – not that you can actually see any of those right now.

It’s very had to believe that a year ago I could run all the way down there to beyond the end of the street lights and then turn left and keep running all the way down to the top of the cliffs. The way I am these days, even just looking at the images makes me feel totally exhausted.

They were halcyon times, they were.

porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat’s the view in the opposite direction, looking towards the Port St Jean and the entrance to the medieval walled city.

And that shadow down there is the guy on whom I almost stepped in the dark because I hadn’t seen him. I must pay greater attention when I’m out and about in the dark. But at least he gives the photo some animation.

After all is said and done, the Porte St Jean all floodlit at night is one of my favourite photo objects and the shadow gives it something different.

Through the arch we can see the Rue St Jean illuminated by the street lights and in the foreground to the left is the car park for the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallStill 3 or 4% of my daily activity to perform in order to bring me up to my 100% and so I thought that I’d better go for a walk down to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour and see what’s going on there.

And it wasn’t easy to find my way down there either tonight as this economy drive means that all of the streetlamps are switched off and I had to grope my way down there in the dark.

What was even worse was that the harbour was in darkness too. There were just a couple of isolated streetlights and that was really our lot. It was difficult to work out where I was or what I was photograpiong but somewhere down there in the shadows are Granville and Victor Hugo.

They are the two boats that in better times provided the ferry service between Normandy and the Channel Islands but the combined effects of Covid, Brexit and the tight-fistedness of the Channel Islands in refusing to pay a subsidy towards the reopening of the service is making the recommencement of the services more and more unlikely.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt least here at this end of the harbour the presence of a couple more street lights makes it slightly easier to see what’s going on.

Over to the right the ferry terminal is brightly illuminated by several lights but to no good purpose because there won’t be any of the ferries coming into port for quite a while yet.

To the left of the image, illuminated by two street lights are the port offices. They are open when the harbour gates are opened and there is movement in and out of the port.

But with thz harbour being in total darkness like this I don’t think that there will be much movement going on right now.

In the foreground, all wrapped up on the darkness of the night, is the fish processing plant and there isn’t much going on round there right now either.

tower of eglise notre dame de cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne final photo before I toddle off back to the warmth and comfort of my own little apartment.

Just behind where I was standing to take those two photos of the harbour area is the Eglise de Notre Dame de Cap Lihou. part of it is obscured by the medieval city walls but the spire isn’t, and it’s illuminated tonight for a change. I can’t go back home without photographing that now, can I?

So back in my apartment I’ve accomplished 102% of my daily activity and been out for my first night-time walk for about 6 months too and taken some photos.

And I’ll have to go out again and take some more, only this time remembering to adjust the ISO from 800 to 6400 so that I can let in more light without straining the camera unnecessarily.

Brain of Britain has struck again, hasn’t he?

Saturday 10th October 2020 – WE’VE HAD A …

… footfest today again.

Football Stade Louis Dior FC Fleury 91 US Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallStarting off was a match between second (US Granville) and third (FC Fleury 91) tonight in French National 2. And I’m not quite sure how these clubs are as high in the league as they are right now.

Granville’s attack was the usual lightweight aimless effort that was easily dealt with by the Fleury defence but if you think that that was pretty poor, Fleury’s attack was even less effective and never really put the Granville keeper under any pressure. He just had one or two awkward crosses to take and he made a good save with his feet on one occasion.

Admittedly, for 15 minutes or so after the start of the second half Granville had something of a purple patch and forced the Fleury keeper into a couple of brilliant saves, but I reckon in all honesty that both teams could still be out there now and it would still be 0-0.

That was followed by a match in the JD Cymru Welsh Premier League between Bala Town and Aberystwyth Town. And anyone would be forgiven for thinking that the score – 5-2 in favour of Bala – represented a pretty one-sided match.

But it was far from that. Aberystwyth were giving as good as they were getting but the difference was that Aberystwyth really didn’t offer anything much up front. In contrast, Bala were electric and had Connor Roberts in the Aberystwyth goal not had such an outstanding game, Bala could easily have doubled their score.

But Aberystwyth’s captain Marc Williams impressed me tonight. He scored one of their goals, cleared a Bala shot off the line, and was always in the thick of the action for his team. In short, I don’t think that Aberystwyth Town can be too disappointed with their performance.

As for me, I’m quite disappointed with mine. 07:45 when I finally arose from my stinking pit this morning. And as a result, everything was running rather late today.

It’s no surprise however that I was so late arising this morning. With the distance that I travelled during the night I must have only just come back by then.

The night started off with me round at my mother’s place which was actually my place in Gainsborough Road and on the worktop was a newspaper folded over …. and here I must have fallen asleep here.

Then we were at a market stall. We were doing something and I can’t remember what it was. It might have been the records or LPs. I had a wind turbine up there and it was stuck on a pole that was stuck over a kind of spike. It wasn’t particularly secure and the blade wasn’t particularly well attached. I had it up there and every now and again it would go round but suddenly the wind got up and it started to go round like the clappers. It had been powering a small radio but now I thought that I’d better take it down because it would come off or fall over and this could be quite dangerous in the middle of this marketplace so I switched it off. Then this family walked past, a mother, father and a couple of girls. They were speaking German. By this time the machine had started off again. I’d been up on a ladder doing something to it. These girls went past and were talking in German. One of them had picked up something and had greasy, oily hands so whoever I was with said “ohh yes come and wash them on our stall”. I thought “I’m going to have to take this wind turbine down because it’s dangerous the way it’s going round like this.

At one stage we (whoever “we” were) were afraid of being attacked by vampires so we were wrapping our bed in clingfilm so at least the sheets would stay where they were and wouldn’t be distorted while we were raunging around in bed

Later on, I was with a girl. We were a couple and we had started going out together. We were walking hand in hand aimlessly around Nantwich. She’d been telling me a few things here and there. There was a dance on at a club. She happened to mention it so I said “if I give you some money could you get a couple of tickets on Monday?”. She said “it’s not been officially announced yet” but I replied “we could get into the queue and get some”. There was one of these Viennese waltzes that was playing so I picked her up and we waltzed off down the street with a couple of other couples as well. Considering that she’d never danced before she was at least keeping in time to the music as we waltzed off down the street at the side of the church. We went round the corner and coming towards us was a Morris Oxford MO-type pickup, making a hell of a racket. The first thing that went through my mind was that it had a diesel in it. We waited for him to park and I went over to talk to him. You couldn’t hear a word that he was saying, it was so noisy. I asked him about his pickup. “Is it a diesel?”. he said “no, it’s a 17-litre engine in this, very powerful and they use them to power aeroplanes “. “Ahh” I replied. “A Lycoming”. he was immediately pleased that I knew exactly what a Lycoming was. But when he pulled up the bonnet is was the weirdest kind of Lycoming that I’ve ever seen. 17 litres of this engine, a parallel V twin combine thing, probably about 8 cylinders altogether. It was hot and steamy and making a racket – clearly a custom job. I asked if I could take a couple of photos of it as I had the camera on the telephone. he said “no problem but don’t put them on the internet here”.

Later a group of us were talking about an architect from Nantwich and in 1709 he collected the keys for his new building, the new National Westminster Bank because the older one had proved to be much too small at the time. But it wasn’t the NatWest bank, it was the one on the Square (Barclays?) that we were talking about but I had the NatWest Bank in my mind at the time.

Finally I was in work last night in Stoke on Trent and I was retiring at the end of the following month. However due to accumulated leave I was retiring in 2 weeks time. I’d told no-one about this before but now that my plans were finalised I started to tell people, but it didn’t create any kind of emotion from anyone and I was surprised if no disappointed. I was trying to avoid doing any work and the post was building up, but I didn’t care too much – just hoping that I’d gone before the post count. In the toilet were several cards and a few candles welcoming a new arrival – someone with a strange name that I can’t remember. A few people were in there and I asked anyone if they knew him but apparently not. Back in the main office (which was now back in Crewe) I met the Manager. He told me that I could come and watch the full moon in his office that evening at 08:00 but part of it might not be visible as it wouldn’t quite be over the roof of the building and we’d have to crane our necks round. I arranged to meet my father at 20:00 to see it with him but I reckoned that I could bring him into the office seeing as it was after working hours. But when we looked outside it was pouring with rain and I thought that we wouldn’t see very much if this carries on.

Is it any longer that I stayed so long in bed when I’d been out this far during the night?

So after a shower and setting the washing machine en route, I headed off for the shops. But not without a sense of disappointment. I noticed that my decline in weight came about through a variety of factors, one of which was the fact that I’d not been having the medical treatment. On the scales, I noticed that my weight is now risen back over my first target weight again despite everything that I’ve been trying to do to keep it down.

At the shops, NOZ came up with nothing and neither did LeClerc. And what it didn’t come up with was fresh figs. The season has finished, so it seems. I’m not sure how I’m going to make my kefir now in these circumstances.

But there was some excitement on the carpark when some motorist came the wrong way around the one-way system there and blocked all the traffic.

Old Cars Talbot Samba Convertible Hypermarche LeClerc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd not only that, the car park came up trumps again for another reason. I’ve lost count of the number of old cars that I’ve seen there quite recently.

And whilst this car may not be particularly old – probably somewhere between 35 and 40 years old – it’s nevertheless quite an exciting and rare find. That’s because these cars had a dreadful reputation for poor quality and unreliability.

It’s a Talbot Samba, a modem that was launched in late 1981 by PSA. It’s basically a Peugeot 104 and not one of the even worse Chrysler drop-offs from the late 70s that PSA took over when they purchased Chrysler’s European operations

Old Cars Talbot Samba Convertible Hypermarche LeClerc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe Chrysler models like the Alpine and the Solara were so bad that the very name of Talbot was tainted and these cars just didn’t sell at all. The total number of Sambas made over the 5-year period was 275,000, despite it being marketed as “Europe’s Most Economical Car” and its rally successes.

What’s even more unusual about this particular model is that it’s a cabriolet, or convertible. These were launched the following year and until production of the Samba finished in 1986, a grand total of just 13,000 or so was built.

To give you some idea of the longevity of these cars, a good proportion of Sambas were sold in the UK and in 2016 there were said to be only 14 remaining. And so finding a convertible still on the roads even in France is something quite astonishing.

Orange Grape Kefir Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack home, having put the frozen food in the freezer, first job was to peel and then whizz up three oranges. And then I threw in a handful of grapes for good measure.

The resultant mash was filtered and pressed through a series of filters to extract the juice. The kefir that was brewing was then filtered too and added into the juice. It was all mixed together.

Having sterilised a few flip-top pressure bottles, I poured the kefir-orange-grape liquid into the bottles and sealed them. And then, with my last fig, I made up another kefir solution and left that fermenting for when I’ve exhausted the bottles that I’ve just made.

Back in the office I had a few things to do after a rather late lunch and shame as it is to admit it, I fell asleep for a good 45 minutes. We’re back on this lark again, so it seems.

On my way out to the football I went past the la Vie Claire, Health Food Shop, so I popped in to see if they had any figs. They hadn’t, but the greengrocer’s, la Halle Gourmande, further down the street did. There were three left but one of them looked distinctly dodgy so I left with the other two.

At the football we were drenched with a shower of rain for a few minutes. It had looked so nice earlier too, but it cleared off quickly and I had a nice walk home afterwards to watch the football on the internet.

It’s late now and I’m tired despite all the time that I’ve spent asleep so I’m off to bed and I’ll finish my notes in the morning.

Saturday 26th September 2020 – I WAS WRONG …

… about the weather last night. We didn’t have the rainstorm today. Or the plague of locusts either. But we had just about everything else.

The high winds are still here and still wreaking devastation about the town. I blame the baked beans that I had for tea the other night.

We also had one of the coldest days that I can remember for a good while too.

That’s probably why I didn’t feel like springing into action this morning and leaping joyously out of bed. Consequently I missed the third alarm. Only by 10 minutes or so, but missed it all the same.

And that’s hardly surprising as I must have been exhausted after my travels last night. I was with my aunt and we were doing a lot of stuff on the computer quite happliy working away. There was another guy with us as well. Suddenly my computer hard drive caught fire. This boy was all for dashing off for phoning up the fire brigade. Of coure I wouldn’t let him do that – I put it out myself. The fire brigade would just smother it in foam and ruin everything. In the end I managed to put out the fire. Of course the hard drive was ruined. My aunt and this boy were going into the City – Bishopsgate, although I don’t know why I thought Bishopsgate because it wasn’t there that I meant. There was a huge computer shop there. I felt really annoyed because I’d been to a computer fair that day and I could have bought a new hard drive there for peanuts had I known but it’s too late now. I asked this boy if he knew about this computer shop. Oh yes, he knew it very well. I asked “while you’re up in London with my aunt can you nip in there and pick me up a hard drive?”. I told him the one I wanted. He said “wouldn’t it be better to pick up a differet type for a MAC or something like that?”. He only ever uses MACs. I said that I use PCs and I’ve used them for years and I know them pretty well so I’m going to stick with them. He had a little bit of a chunter about that. Then I thought that I would have to get him some money as well and I probably don’t have enough cash on me so how am I going to do that? Then it came to booking the tickets so I went to look on the railway site. It turned out instead that I was looking at the bus site. It took endless goes for me to log in on it because everyone was meithering me and I kept on typing the wrong word. Eventually I got in to find that it was buses that we were looking at because we were now actually living in Bath. The first thing my aunt said was that they don’t have a direct bus service from Bath to London any more. We have to go on the train. We had to start looking for things like that. In the meantime we managed to find the times of the buses which would at least get them some of the way. Then the phone rang. My aunt talked to whoever it was and so on. When she hung up she said “that was George and that’s strange. He’s after his wages for the taxis. He’s on holiday and he wants it posted to him in York by cheque”. She couldn’t understand why he wanted it. I said “he’s probably going to buy something special while he’s in York”. “Yes but it’s early. he doesn’t get paid until Thursday but anyway …”. She had a chunter about that. Then I had to go and get her ready for this bus so they could get on it and this other guy too and head off into London
A little later on there was a girl and she was a lot older than she ought to be and she still had a dolly that she cuddled. People used to make remarks about it (Wiske and Schanulleke, anyone?). They decided that they would pass a Law about it. Somewhere inside there they inserted a clause that people who cuddled a pet or other object or person for the purpose of comfort would be exempt, which of course wiped out the whole purpose of this Law anyway. So we all had a debate about it.
Just then this other girl turned up. She was in a purple and gold kind of trouser suit kind of thing that looked more at home in a Middle-Eastern harem. She had long dark-brown hair that was cut in the style of an Egpytian, really precise cuts and edges and so on.
There was much more to it too but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you any discomfort.
And once again I was dictating without the dictaphone in my hand. Either this is starting to become a habit or else it already is and a whole load of stuff has slipped quite literally through my hands.

After a shower, Caliburn and I hit the streets and headed to the shops.

NOZ is always on my shopping list. That’s a shop that buys job-lots of bankrupt stock, overstocks, that kind of thing from all over Europe.

In the past I’ve found plenty of useful things in there and also a whole variety of different foods to vary my diet somewhat. Today they had stocks of Sharwoods products on offer so I now have some vindaloo and madras sauces as well as some mango chutney. Stocks of curry in the freezer are getting low, an I’m also going to learn to make poppadoms, I reckon.

At LeClerc I didn’t spend very much, and most of what I did went on fruit. The place is now looking like a greengrocer’s, which is good for my health (and that reminds me – my kiwi, lemon and ginger cordial is delicious and I’ll be doing that again – hence more kiwis today).

One good thing is that, after much searching, I finally found the fresh figs. So back here, I finally set my kefir en route. How that will pan out remains to be seen.

This afternoon I had a whizz through some more photos of my adventures with Spirit of Conrad in July and we are now in our anchorage for the final night aboard. I reckon that there are about 50 more to edit before I finish.

Then, there are the 400 or so from my voyage into Eastern Europe and once they are completed I can turn my attention to the 3000 that remain from the High Arctic in 2019 and the 2000-odd from the High Arctic in 2018.

And then, finally, I can write up the notes for all of this.

The burning question of the day is not Rafferty’s motor car but whether I’ll finish all of this before all of this finishes me.

A few more albums bit the dust too, some more work was done on revising the web pages, Rosemary rang me and we had a chat for just over an hour, and I even found time to crash out for 15 minutes.

And as for that latter, with everything else that I’ve been doing today, it’s hardly a surprise. I must have been exhausted by then so I’m not too disappointed, even if for the last couple of days I’ve managed to keep going.

chez maguie bar itinerante closed granville manche normandy france eric hallThe day is far from finished too. There’s football this evening so I headed off into town.

And here’s another sure sign that the summer season has ended. The beach cabins have gone and they’ve taken down the diving platform at the Plat Gousset already, but now the itinerant bar Chez Maguie has folded up its tent and crept silently away in the night.

It’s a very significant sign for some of us, but for others it means that the locals can have their boulodrome back until next summer.

football stade louis dior fc flerien flers us granville manche normandy france eric hallProfessional football started back up a few weeks ago, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. But this weekend amateur football has had the green light.

Consequently I headed off up to the Stade Louis Dior to watch Granville’s 2nd XI play FC Flerien, the team from Flers, in Normandy Regional 1.

For the first 15 minutes Granville’s control of the ball and their passing and movement was extremely fluent, but by the end of this little period they were already 2-0 down – a corner that the goalkeeper dropped into the path of an onrushing forward (he seemed to have a good pair of teflon gloves) and a misplaced header under pressure back to the goalkeeper that went to another onrushing forward.

After that, a couple of heads dropped, and the Fleriens got into their stride. We had to wait 55 minutes for Granville’s first shot on target (and about 10 minutes before the end for their other one) and 65 minutes for their first corner.

It was literally men against boys because Granville’s team was quite youthful whereas Flers had three or four old hands who had clearly been around the block far more times than the Granville players could handle.

The match ended 2-0 but really Flers could have had half a dozen and no-one in Granville would have complained.

And I’m glad that the match finished when it did because I was absolutely frozen to the marrow. It’s a long time since I’ve been this cold. I’ve been much warmer than this in the Arctic and next time I go to the football I’ll put on the thermal undies that I bought on Thursday.

blue light pedestrian crossing ave matignon granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back, here’s something that I haven’t noticed before – mainly because it’s been an age since I went into town in the dark at night.

But now there seems to be blue lights shining down on all of the pedestrian crossings on the main roads. Presumably to give motorists a better chance of spotting civilians trying to cross the road.

It brought back many happy memories of a press release that we wonce received from the Parisian authorities when I worked at Shearings – “The policeman who directs the traffic at the roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe will from now on be floodlit to make sure that motorists don’t miss him in the dark”.

marite port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy route home had to be extended tonight for the simple reason that “if I’m out, I’m well out” and there’s no point in going home with just 90% on my fitbit. I may as well push it up to 100%.

For that reason I wandered on down into the port to see what was going on.

“Nothing much” was the answer to that. Marité was there of course, tucked up in her little corner and so were the two Channel Island ferries, Granville and the older Victor Hugo.

As an aside, we haven’t seen a gravel boat in here for almost 6 months. I was hoping that this new mayor would do something about stimulating the freight trade to the port.

restaurants rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy route continued along the rue du Port.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen several photos taken of this street in the dark, all of which have been taken from the cliffs up above.

And so tonight, in an effort to do something different, here’s the reverse-angle shot taken from the street looking back towards the cliffs.

Not that you can actually see the cliffs in this (lack of) light. You’ll just have to use your imagination.

moonlight baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn the climb back up the Boulevard des Terreneuviers I stopped (for breath) to look at the tidal port.

There was a beautiful bright moon tonight, even though it’s only half-full, and there was a wonderful reflection of light down in the Baie de Mont St Michel looking across to Jullouville and the Pointe de Carolles.

Actually, considering that this photo was hand-held and taken with the little NIKON 1 J5 with the standard lens, it’s not come out too badly, even if I did have to stop it down by 8 (in fact by 10 because normally the camera has to be opened up by 2 since the lens was repaired).

Back at the flabberblok there was yet more football so I grabbed a bowl of rice pudding and settled down in a ringside seat in front of the internet.

Y Fflint, newly promoted to the JD Cymru League this season after a 20-year absence were entertaining Barry Town. Barry, usually a strong competitive side but who misfired so spectacularly in European Competition earlier and then against TNS on the opening day of the season, have yet to grace my screen this season and I’ve only ever seen Y Fflint play once, in a cup match a few years ago.

The match was quite entertaining because while Barry were much more powerful and street-wise (which you have to expect), Flint matched them blow for blow and I was quietly impressed.

There were three significant items in this match

  1. Alex Titchiner, Flint’s ace striker, was carried off injured after just 2 minutes.
  2. Mike Lewis, in the Barry goal, played the game of his life and made a couple of stunning reflex saves (and that’s not to say that our old favourite, Jon Danby, formerly of Connah’s Quay Nomads, now next-door in the Flint goal didn’t have his moments too)
  3. and had a Flint defender kept his head when Matt Jarvis burst into the area and not conceded a penalty

then the new boys would have had something from this game. They are no mugs, and certainly not cannon-fodder like some promotees have been.

And if TNS managed to sweep away this Barry side so convincingly, then just HOW good are TNS?

There is also some exciting news from Deeside too. It seems that the idea to build a new football stadium on Deeside to be UEFA-compliant for junior international matches, and European club competition and to be shared by next-door neighbours Connahs Quay Nomads and Y Fflint has taken a giant step forward.

Who knows? It might even become a reality if the two clubs can keep up the momentum they they have established over the last couple of years. The announcement that “certain funds have been made available” is major news but, as expected, BBC Wales, with its hands so deep in the pockets of the Welsh Rugby Union to an indecent depth that it imposes a news blackout on Welsh football, has totally passed it by.

But by now, it’s late. Long after midnight, so I’m off to bed. I’ll write up my notes in the morning – if I’m here. It’s Sunday and a day of rest and I might sleep in long past midday.

Saturday 19th September 2020 – BRAIN OF BRITAIN …

… strikes again!

Having spend some time today pondering upon the question of this little matter about recording my old cassette tapes, round about 15:00 this afternoon the light suddenly went on in my head.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have a ZOOM H1 that I use for recording outside broadcasts for the radio. So this afternoon I went plugged the audio cable out of the headphone socket in the big hi-fi and into the mike socket of the Zoom.

The settings are a bit all over the place and I’ll have to be doing some kind of further research to improve the sound balance, but it’s already a great improvement on not being able to produce any sound.

But sometimes I really wonder however I managed to get so far in my life as I have done when I spend days trying to solve a problem when there is a simple solution like this at my fingertips.

You might also think that getting out of bed is a simple solution too, but it wasn’t today. It was another 07:30 start.

Mind you, it’s no surprise that I had such a lie-in because I’d been off on quite a considerable and lengthy voyage or three or four during the night.
There was another one of these little flighty girl-types of people and we were all somewhere in Crewe – the Nantwich Road end. We were all flirting around and I had a quiet little word with her because there was someone in our group who was’t particularly appropriate for her to meet.
abandoned Opel estate place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallSo this larking about went on but then there was some kind of issue about tidying things up and putting them away and so on. There had been an old Vauxhall estate abandoned on wasteland on Mill Street, like the one that’s been dumped outside here for a year or so, and that needed to be tidied away. They asked me if I could arrange that. I asked what was the deal – they replied “you take the vehicle, you can have it”. I said “I’m sure that I can arrange something”. I contacted a friend of mine and he said that he would come down to join me. In the meantime this girl was flirting and she ended up with another young guy. I had a little whisper in her ear about one or two things and she asked “is this the guy you were warning me about?”. I replied no it’s not. It’s actually the one who’ll be here in a minute. Anyway he turned up and he wasn’t in a car but on foot. He asked “where’s this vehicle that you want us to go and have a look at?”. We had to walk down some stairs into the foyer and he got on his radio. He had a police radio and he was radioing back to the police station about some guy who’d been seen prowling around. They eventually managed to track him down to some kind of street somewhere, not hanging around somewhere dangerous – and I awoke all hot and sweaty in a fever again.

The call had gone out to Wales for everyone to rise up on behalf of the Welsh monarch against the English one. This is one of those things where I’ve completely forgotten absolutely everything
Later on we were at University. I was with a couple of girls and someone came along to say that they had left something. They described accurately what one of these girls was wearing and they said that she came and sat here after they left. After much discussion debate and argument she went off to have a look in the clothes that she was wearing that morning to see whether she had it. I was having a chat with one or two of these girls who had come over. The subject was about the University, my friends and so on. The girl who had gone off, she said that she had to tell everyone that she was 21 but she was actually 15, one of these child prodigies who had gone off to University early but she didn’t really want to draw attention to herself. We were having a chat and one of these girls was being a bit forward, talking about a few racy subjects and I wasn’t sure if she was trying to lead me on somewhere so I replied in a non-committal kind of way but I was very interested to see where this discussion was going and that rings a very familiar bell, doesn’t it? Again all hot and sweaty.
I was with Liz and Terry and there was something happening about a racing car. There was no-one to drive it and they asked me if I would. I said yes even though I didn’t know how and we went off to this racing circuit. I don’t know what happened about the race but on the way back we stayed at this really posh hotel. I had to go out for a walk or something and there I met a woman with two girls, Germans. They were discussing different things I suppose about patriotism, whatever. The elder of the two girls, a little thin blonde probably about 10 or so was saying how proud she was of her country, all this thing, how proud she was of her navy, whatever. I overtook them walking back to the hotel. I walked past a house that wasn’t there any more. It had been redeveloped and a new house was built there. I remember one of my school friends having a house on that site and I used to go there regularly but I couldn’t for the life of me remember who it was. All these names came ticking through my head only to be ruled out. I got back to the hotel and these people were coming in. I had to help them over the patio wall into the main room – it was quicker than going all the way round to the door at the main entrance. They summoned the receptionist and there was confusion about the car machines, which one they had to use. These people were booked in. This blonde girl came over to me and said that she had lost my phone number and could I give it to her.

It’s hardly any surprise that I was so late getting out of bed after all of that.

After a shower and a general clean-up I went off to the shops. At NOZ the prize was a beautiful olde-worlde porcelain mixing bowl to replace the smaller metal one that I’ve been using.

It’s becoming quite professional in here now.

cars parking at electric charging bay leclerc granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that pathetic parking is a regular feature of these pages.

Here’s some more from the car park of LeClerc and this is something that’s going to cause a big problem in the future. The supermarket was heaving today – I’ve never seen it so busy – and parking was at a premium.

The charging bays for the electric vehicles are close to the entrance so two motorists have taken it upon themselves to park in them rather than out in the wilderness.

Purists may argue that one of them (if not both) is an electric vehicle but neither of them is plugged in. And as there are only four charging points at the supermarket, that’s 50% of the potential capacity blocked off for no good reason.

It makes me wonder how long it will be before we start to see the warning notices like we see at disabled bays.

Despite the crowds in the supermarket and the fact that they had run out of my favourite traditional Saturday baguette, I was in and out in half an hour.

Mind you, I’d forgotten my bread flour and one or two other things too, but nothing that I can’t live without. And they had no frozen broccoli either.

Such an exciting life I lead when an absence of frozen broccoli in the supermarket makes headline news.

Back here I attacked a couple more of the arrears and that’s becoming even more manageable now. And then, shame as it is to say it, I crashed out on the chair. The excitement of finding no frozen broccoli in the supermarket is clearly proving too much for me.

After a late lunch I recorded a few more albums from the USB turntable and then had a session with the Zoom.

I was pleased that at last I’ve been able to digitalise probably the rarest record in my whole collection. I’ve seen the value (not that it means very much of course) of some of my records being in the thousands, when they are available, but what would be the price of the only rock LP (of the early 70s of course) being sung in the native Greenlandic Inuit language?

That’ll make my listeners sit up a little. They are still struggling to come to terms with rock music sung in Scots Gaelic. They can’t say that they aren’t having their money’s worth, considering that they are getting it all for free.

low tide out baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric halllater on I went out for the football.

By now, the tide is well out on one of the lowest-tide days of the year and you can see now how far it goes out when it has a mind to. When it’s right in, you can see the tide mark on the harbour wall to the right of centre.

On my way through town I bumped into Maryline from the radio – she who does the film and cinema programmes – and we had a chat for five minutes or so before, in the best traditions of the late lamented News of the World, “I made my excuses and left”.

football stade louis dior sm caen us granville manche normandy france eric hallSM Caen must have been kicking themselves tonight on the way back home from the Stade Louis Dior.

On several occasions they carved their way through the Granville defence like a hot knife through butter but their finishing was even worse than Granville’s, who never ever looked like scoring if they were still playing now.

Nevertheless it was an exciting match as you never knew who was going to be the next to kick the ball into the keeper’s arms when in a one-on-one situation or to completely miss connecting with the ball when presented with a free header on an open goal.

And it all turned up on its head with 4 minutes to go when a Granville player was brought down in the Caen penalty area. For once, Granville managed to find the back of the net.

But after all of the chances that Caen had, they must have been totally devastated to lose a game to Granville like this when they should have been out of sight and down the road a long time before half-time.

marite port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back home I noticed the crowds of people loitering around the harbour so I went to see what was going on.

Actually, I had an educated guess seeing as on the way out to the shops this morning I saw Marité heading out of the harbour and across the bay, and that her berth was empty when I went out earlier to the football.

And sure enough, into the harbour, full sail ahead, came Marité, heading for her berth again.

marite port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallShe had quite a crowd of people on board, and I’m not quite sure how she managed that, as regular readers of this rubbish will well recall the issues that I’ve had with the personnel who operate her.

A more unfriendly bunch of “customer service” people I have yet to meet. They actually make Belgian shop assistants sound friendly.

But nevertheless, it makes quite a magnificent impression when the old Newfoundland cod-fisher is out there with all of her sails out in a full gale.

Even manoeuvring into the harbour is quite an impressive sight, as the crowds out there watching it will testify.

yacht baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallShe wasn’t the only large boat out there heading for home on the evening tide.

This one that I vaguely saw in the gloom (in a heavily-lightened photo) was also heading into harbour. When I first noticed it I thought that it might have been la Granvillaise but even with having thrown plenty of light onto the subject, I stil can’t say.

Back here, it was tea out of a tin and then time for more football. In the Welsh Premier League, or the JD Cymru League as it’s now called, Newtown who have been misfiring during the season so far were away at newly-promoted Haverforwest County.

Haverfordwest have a beautiful, modern little ground thanks to a good deal with a local supermarket who bought their old ground from them, but the team has never had any particular success. They survived relegation from the WPL for several seasons due to lack of suitable promotion candidates or due to licensing issues of other clubs but they fell out of the league a few seasons ago – 2016 if I remember correctly – and have gradually clawed their way back.

They are another team who I haven’t seen so far so i was looking forward to this game.

And the match was particularly interesting. Newtown were the quickest out of the blocks and looked the better side, but Haverforwest, having signed the cream of the second tier, looked nothing like the patchwork team that they were said to be and in fact actually played more like a team than Newtown’s experienced regulars.

The final score, 2-2, was a fair reflection of the match and while Haverfordwest are not going to set the league alight this season, Newtown are going to have to be doing some rather serious looking over their shoulder. Even after three matches, they are adrift at the foot of the table and that’s not a very comfortable position for one of the only two teams who have been in the WPL for its entire existence.

But now it’s late and I’m tired. Far too tired to write up my notes so I’ll have to do that in the morning instead.

Saturday 5th September 2020 – THIS EVENING …

football us granville stade plabennecois stade louis dior granville manche normandy france eric hall… I have seen probably one of the most exciting games that I’ve ever seen at the Stade Louis Dior.

For a start, just for a change, I’ve seen Granville’s defence play a whole 90 minutes without a single lapse of concentration and only one major error (when a defender with the ball slipped and lost possession).

As well as that, I’ve seen the midfield firing on all cylinders – even the guy who I’ve criticised on several occasions in the past. He had an excellent game.

The big and awkward right winger, Livio Nabab, who has played international football for Guadeloupe – he played in midweek at Vannes and scored a couple of goals and today it was perfectly clear to everyone that he had much more to offer than the average run-of-the-mill National 2 player. he showed his skill and intelligence on a couple of occasions and created plenty of chances for the attackers.

The only problem was that the forwards once more failed to make any impression up front and when Nabab went off injured after 65 minutes, Granville’s attacking threat simply petered out despite the evident superiority of the team in both play and possession.

For all of that, it certainly was a most exciting match even if neither goalkeeper had very much to do during the match.

However, this is going to be a long, hard season if the forwards can’t find their way to goal. How I would have loved to have seen an attacking pair of Nabab and William Sea from last season up front for Granville

Apart from that, today has not been a very good day. Not the least reason being that I couldn’t go to sleep last night. It was gone 01:00 and I was still wide awake.

Mind you, in news that will surprise everyone reading this, including me, I was actually up and sitting on the edge of the bed when the third alarm went off. However, to say that I was awake would be rather stretching the point. It took me a good 10 minutes to gather my wits.

Nothing on the dictaphone so I spent a while transcribing a few entries from a couple of weeks ago.

After a shower, I went out to the shops. There was nothing at all in NOZ except a couple of batteries for the guitar pre-amp and some dishwashing sponges.

LeClerc didn’t come up with anything special either, except a box of 2kgs of grapes for €3:50. They won’t last long. They did have some frozen sprouts though this week.

Back here I put away the frozen food and then sat down on the chair, where I crashed out properly and completely. I was gone for a couple of hours – something like 13:30 when I awoke and as usual, I felt quite dreadful. It took me a good half hour or so to collect my wits.

After a late lunch I had some paperwork to do, and then I had another go at the Welsh revision. That took me up to 17:00 when I went off for the football.

demonstrators slogans parking Rue de la Fontaine Bedeau granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back from the football I came home a different way. Since I started running a year or so ago my daily target has increased so I need walk farther to make my target.

So my route home took me down through the alleyways and onto the car park at the Rue de la Fontaine Bedeau. I’m not sure what they have been doing here today but it looks as if there has been some kind of demonstration.

All of the notices and slogans seem to be attached to the railings on the car park. Whether it’s just to inform visiting motorists I really don’t know. I shall have to make further enquiries.

man working up mast port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAs I walked past the end of the port I noticed something strange in the distance so I went to make further enquiries about this.

When I approached the scene I saw that what was happening was that there was someone who was climbing up the mast of one of the larger yachts here in port.

As I watched, his mates unfurled a large sail that presumably was attached to the mast in which our hero was lodged. This led to an extreme amount of animated discussion between him and the remainder of the crew.

joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was there, I went to sit down to catch my breath. And as I did so, Joly France came into port with the evening ferry from the Ile de Chausey.

The older one of the two was already here, moored up. The newer one, Joly France is is the one just coming into port.

If you can’t read the names, you can tell the difference. Joly France I has a smaller superstructure on the upper deck, has larger windows and has a step cut in the stern.

charles marie la granvillaise yacht baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThat wasn’t all of the excitement either.

There was a queue of boats waiting to come into the harbour behind Joly France I. I don’t know the identity of the smaller yacht but the blue and white one is Charles-Marie and the larger white one with G90 written upon it is La Granvillaise.

By the looks of things, they have been out either for the day or maybe even for a few days with a pile of paying customers. Not that there are very many places to go right now with the Channel Islands and the UK out of bounds.

charles marie la granvillaise baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAs I watched them, they suddenly lurched into the harbour. That told me that I’d missed the gates. They had now opened so I couldn’t go across them and had to retrace my steps.

On my way back I bumpred into Pierre so we had quite a chat about this and that and afterwards I made my way home.

Back here, I had tea out of a tin followed by a banana and ice cream which was delicious. I’ve written up my notes, albeit slowly, and now I’m going to go to bed.

Tomorrow is Sunday and a day of rest, and you have no idea just how much I am looking forward to it. i’m moving about somewhat better than I did a week or so ago but I’m still not feeling 100%. It’s a slow recovery, if “recovery” indeed it is. I have to make the most of my rest whenever I can.

Saturday 29th August 2020 – IT DOESN’T MATTER …

football us granville voltigeurs de chateaubriand stade louis dior granville manche normandy france eric hall… how many players they change at US Granville. They are still churning out the same old aimless nonsense.

They have replaced the three strikers of last year – the three who misfired for so much of the season last year, and replaced them with three who are, unfortunately, even less clued up.

Today we were treated to another pile of long, aimless balls up front to no-one in particular, or attacking midfielders who dribble round all the defenders as they run upfield with the ball, only to end up in a blind alley near the corner flag.

For the second week in succession Granville’s goal was scored by a defender coming up for a corner – and they wouldn’t have scored that had the Voltigeurs de Chateaubriant’s goalkeeper not let the ball go right through his hands.

As for the defence, they might be different players but they are still the same panic-stricken shambles under pressure and they conceded two goals that should have been cleared at least five minutes earlier.

Mind you – I know that it’s no excuse but i’m sure that the referee was refereeing a different match than the one that we were all watching. He booked a Granville player for diving when we could hear the crunch of the opposition’s boot into his leg from up in the stands, and he sent off a Voltigeurs de Chateaubriant player for a foul that didn’t even merit a yellow card in my opinion.

And they were just two of the more bizarre decisions that I noticed

This morning there was no chance of my beating the third alarm, even though I’d had a quite early night. 07:30 on a Saturday morning is rather excessive.

Still, there was plenty of time to go on a few nocturnal rambles. Yes indeed!

We were back in London in the world of gangsters last night. Something had happened involving millions of pounds had been stolen and the word was out for it and it was extremely hot. Someone, this Michael Caine character I suppose had been told that it was hot money where it would be and who was involved and how dangerous it would be, all this kind of thing and he was walking through the streets of London, the east end, and someone came running towards him with a briefcase. He stopped this person and there was quite a fight and he ended up in possession of the briefcase. Of course the whole world was after him after this. he was running away and had to hide in a phone box from a girl on one occasion and eventually ended up in a certain night club which he had been led to believe was a safe night club. There he started to boast about all of his exploits with this money. One or two other people started to boast about what they had heard. This was all heading towards a showdown with the real villains.
Some time later we were in South London discussing roads. We were by a big road leading out of London. It was a bleak industrial area. It had been World War II and we had been looking at the accounts of someone who had been in hospital who had been hit by a V1 and seeing how much they had had to pay, all of that under the situation before the National Health, all of that, going through the itemised bill that they had found. Even in wartime hospitalisation cost you a lot of money. The girl had been released. She had been on this bus that had dropped everyone off at this bus stop. She was quite inebriated but was extremely polite drunk. We were watching this scene as they got out of this bus, talking about this bleak view of this modern industrial estate being built at the side of this road. I said ‘this is the A2 isn’t it? I know where we are I think”. We started to chat and there was a railway line with automatic half-barriers. I asked “isn’t there a railway station to the left?”. The said “yes there is”. Someone recognised the BBC building in the distance, someone recognised something else. This corner that we were on – “isn’t this the back way to Wimbledon?” They looked at me strangely as if it wasn’t. Someone reckoned that he had to go to Croydon and I thought “yes it’s the road to Croydon, not Wimbledon”. we started talking about a bank and how I had to visit a bank in the neighbourhood. One of the guys said “if you find a bank in the neighbourhood let me know the details because I’m looking for a bank as well to pay some money in”.
For some unknown reason I want to bracket this with a voyage that I had a good while ago about a van leaving London and coming to grief on a tight bend.
Later on I was out in the USA getting quotes on bank loans and finance deals for cars. I talked to a garage and he ended up showing me a Ford Escort Cube. the finish was pretty naff and it was leaking oil out of the rocker covers and one or two other things. They wanted nearly $30,000 for it and I thought they were joking. I ended up having a 10-minute chat with them, testing everything, feeling the oil on the dipstick and all that kind of thing, acting as if i’m really serious about it. Of course I wasn’t. I pretended that it was my son who was learning to drive who was looking for a vehicle. I was just passing the time more than anything else. i said that the pedals needed adjusting because they are in the wrong place for where the seat was going to be so they needed adjusting downwards.
And that’s not all. We were having a caravan outing a group of us. It was a three-storey caravan believe it or not.A girl – a female officer type of thing lived in the basement with some other people who were with us. Some of the crew stayed on the first floor and I was on the second floor which was where all of the offices were. I was early in bed but this girl was complaining that she was bored, that nothing was happening. We were saying that if you go to bed early and wake up early that’s when everything happens. Anyway sp I was getting ready for bed and said “when are you going to come round with the tea?” But someone said that it was only 21:00 so I said that there was another hour before our evening tea. Someone else was watching “‘Allo ‘Allo” on the TV and talking about it in the Radio Times.
And finally, there was something in one of my voyages about a young Harley Street physician who had to call Holmes in to investigate a case. He had come round again when Holmes was busy doing something else trying to get holmes to go round to see him straight away. basically this doctor had simply panicked and Watson was able to put him right onto the correct path. Then it turned out that this doctor was driving a lorry-load of grain and he had to get out of this loading depot. There was one land full of cars that were being let out fairly quickly so ha manoeuvred around a lorry that reversed out of the way for him. he got out via this lane. There was some issue about data recording but he refused to become involved because he thought it would be some kind of fiddle so coming out of the depot he turned left instead of turning right and went down to the traffic lights there. This recalled some discussion about when he was in an emergency and his young secretary was busy working the oxygen pump for him. he was talking about marrying some kind of rich widow or something like that to inject funds into his business but you could see that this young girl was much more suitable for him and there was some kind of rapport between them – they were doing really well and you could see that they would make a really nice couple if only he had been able to see it.

It’s hardly surprising that I didn’t make it out of bed early with all of that going on.

But anyway I did, and after a shower I headed off to the shops.

last week I followed a British Volvo all the way through town without it giving a single turn signal. Today, it was the turn of a local Gendarme vehicle do go all of that way without a single signal. I’ve no idea what has happened to the Code de la Route here in Granville.

Noz came up with nothing special – they had windscreen wipers on offer but none of Caliburn’s size. LeClerc came up with a pile of stuff, including a nail brush or two, a pile of orange juice on special offer and a pile of reduced vegan burgers that I can freeze for later.

After lunch I played around with some photos and then headed off to the football.

piles of granite port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back, in order to push up the daily total to over 100% I walked through the harbour.

It looks as if we’ll be having one of the Channel Island freighters, Thora or Normandy Trader, coming into harbour very soon. There’s a huge pile of pallets loaded with granite waiting here on the quayside.

There were some expedition labels on them so I checked, and they are indeed for someone or other in the Channel Islands. So they’ll be gone pretty soon, I reckon.

spirit of conrad le Courrier des Iles marie pierre port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWalking along the harbour a little further I came across a gaggle of boats moored up.

We know all about Spirit of Conrad of course because back at the beginning of July we went away down the Brittany coast aboard her for five days or so.

The one nearest the camera is Le Courrier des Iles, a boat that also runs guided trips out and about. As for the third one, she’s the Marie-Pierre and I don’t know very much at all about her as yet.

old cars mark 2 jaguar 3.8 granville manche normandy france eric hallFor quite a while now we haven’t seen any old cars around and about.

And what we have seen just recently are several old Jaguars, like the XJ-S that we saw yesterday.

So how about this one that I saw on the harbour this evening? A beautiful mark II Jaguar from the 1960s, and a 3.8 at that too. I’ll take that home with me in a heartbeat.

old cars mark 2 jaguar 3.8 granville manche normandy france eric hallThese are really beautiful, powerful cars and the archetypical “Villain’s car” of many a 1960s gangster film in the UK.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I once owned its bigger brother, a jaguar 420G, when I had my taxis. And it was this colour too. And, incidentally, an even bigger Mark X Jaguar that I bought for spares.

And I bitterly regret letting an opportunity pass me by when I was offered one of these Series 2 vehicles fitted with a 2.5 V8 Daimler engine and couldn’t afford it at the time. It was all of £250 too.

Mind you, I once missed a Bentley priced at £800. But then again, that was 1971 and prices were a little different then.

sunset port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallSo while I was musing on the Jaguar and reminiscing on former times, I headed off into the sunset.

And beautiful sunset there was too. The sun had sunk below the horizon but it was reflecting up into the clouds and making this lovely lighting effect, complete with reflections in the water.

The tide was out so the harbour gates were closed and I could walk across the top back to the fish processing plant and along to the rue du Port.

cat seagull boulevard des terreneuviers granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was no-one about as I walked along the rue du Port. I headed for the steps up to the Boulevard Vaufleury.

But I had a laugh as I climbed up the steps. There was a baby seagull standing on the wall with its plaintive cry calling for its mother, and the cat sitting there taking absolutely no notice whatsoever.

Back here, it was tea out of a tin again. And a lovely surprise too because one of my co-voyagers from the Spirit of Conrad has been around and left me a present, more of which tomorrow.

Bedtime now, and quite right too because I’m exhausted. Sunday is a lie in and I have to say that I’m ready for this. I’m still not feeling myself right now, which is just as well, and I hope that I’ll be better tomorrow.

Saturday 22nd August 2020 – I NOW REMEMBER …

… why I didn’t like being here in the month of August.

There was a headline in the local newspaper today about “incivilities by the tourists” and having spent a lot of time outside today and having witnessed enough incivilities to last me a lifetime, I can see what they mean.

Interestingly, the incivilities were almost exclusively committed by either British people or Parisians and none of that should come as any surprise to anyone.

Last night was something of a disaster. As I said, I was still up and about long after 03:00 but I must have gone to bed soon after because I awoke again about an hour or so later – at 05:20 or so – covered in sweat having had another nightmare.

And what a nightmare this turned out to be, all to do with spies and Berlin and the Cold War. Some people who had broken into a house where I was staying. One of the girls who was living there confronted these people and didn’t seem to realise that they were evil but Government members. She telephoned her father to say that there were some people breaking in so I picked up the phone and told him to get down here pretty quickly. There was an enormous fight between me and a couple of people on my side and these people who had been breaking in, cheered on by a couple of spectators. It was a vicious horrible fight with absolutely no holds barred. In the end we ended up beating these intruders to a pulp and I do mean that. This girl’s father arrived. He worked for the Government. he said “You realise of course that although you are right you can’t go back to the Government now”. I said “we’re proud of your resolution”. We had to get washed and ready to leave East Berlin. Somewhere in this we’d been walking around trying to work out an escape plan out of – or into – Berlin. It involved walking around this industrial area which then led onto some old abandoned railway embankment across a patch of green in the middle of the city. We had to go down to the farmhouse that was there to make arrangements to receive whoever it was that was coming over. But all of that was there in somewhere too. During this walk we were being followed and having to slip between patrols of police, that kind of thing. This violent scene was right at the end, presumably something to do with our ring of people smuggling or whatever it was being broken, I dunno. But this nightmare was so thorough that I couldn’t go back to sleep after that for quite some time. It’s really been a bad night for me.

The alarms went off as usual but I didn’t care. It was 09:00 when I finally awoke and that was something of a surprise too seeing how late and how disturbed the night had been.

No breakfast of course because I’m still not feeling that well, but I put a machine-load of washing on the go and then went off to the shops.

LIDL was first and I spent quite a lot of money in there too. There was nothing special either – just the usual stuff. But as I haven’t been shopping for quite some time and the supplies were run down it was quite a lot of usual stuff too.

At NOZ I didn’t spent very much. Most of it was on vegan ice-cream which was on special offer. There’s quite a bit now in my freezer and I don’t use it all that often, but it wasn’t anything that I ought to be passing by when it’s available.

LeClerc was disappointing in that my frozen chopped spinach wasn’t available. I had to buy frozen leaves and that’s not the same.

While I was travelling from LIDL to the top end of town I was following a British-registered Volvo. We went around three roundabouts, four left turns and a couple of right turns (across the traffic) and yet there was not one turn indicator signal from the Volvo.

Back here, the fridge needed cleaning and defrosting so I emptied it and switched it off to let it defrost.

After lunch I carried on with the defrosting and organised the fridge once again. Now there is no build-up of ice (for the moment) and we’ll see how it goes.

la belle poule port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall
Later on I went out to the football. However I didn’t go very far before I was interrupted.

There was a large sailing ship moored against one of the new pontoons here. At first I thought that it might have been Marité having been moved from her usual berth but counting the masts, I came to the conclusion quite rapidly that it wasn’t.

Marité has three masts whereas this one only has two. It’s probably La Belle Poule, the French navy’s sail training ship that’s been around here for the last few days on a courtesy visit.

stade louis dior granville manche normandy france eric hallEventually I arrived at the Stade Louis Dior. The football season has restarted and crowds are being admitted again, but it’s not quite that simple.

  1. There’s no standing. Everyone has to sit on a seat in the stand.
  2. Only certain seats are available. Others are marked with a red cross on a white background indicating that the seat is prohibited. It seems to be alternate seats only.
  3. Face masks are compulsory in the ground.

And quite right too. This virus doesn’t take prisoners and it’s too lethal to play pot luck with it.

football stade lous dior Sainte Geneviève Sports us granville manche normandy france eric hallAs for the football, Granville, with an almost completely new team kicked off against Sainte Geneviève Sports.

For the first 15 minutes it was all one-way traffic towards the St Geneviève goal but the opposition slowly awoke and we had a much more even game. Granville were pretty ineffective up front – a very lightweight “attack” and the defence were up to their usual tricks as well, lack of concentration and all of that.

Some of St Geneviève’s players were rather spiteful and it was no surprise that they were down to 10 men after an hour.

And Granville brought on a substitute – a Gaudaloupe international winger they had just signed. He was quite a useful player but there was no-one really to take advantage of his good crosses.

However with about 15 minutes to go he put in a good cross to no-one in particular but the keeper, under pressure palmed it away, straight into the path of an onrushing Granville forward who side-footed it into the net. A goal out of nothing after all of the chances that they had missed.

We had a torrential rainstorm for 20 minutes too and we in the crowd were all soaked to the skin.

Back here, I did a couple of extra laps around to make up the 100% (I can’t be feeling that bad, can I?)

Tea was out of a tin and pudding was a banana with ice cream.

Sunday tomorrow so a lie in. I’ll need to make the most of it because I’m back to work as of Monday.

But I’m dismayed at the attitude of people and their masks.

I’ve been out and about amongst a lot of people at various times today and so many people just don’t take their masks seriously. Very few people seem to be wearing them correctly.

It’s hardly surprising that there’s a resurgence of cases here. This virus won’t ever go away at this rate.

Saturday 8th February 2020 – I’VE JUST SEEN …

football stade louis dior us st malo us granville manche normandy france eric hall… one of the strangest football matches that I’ve seen in years. And I’m still shaking my head about it even now.

Following US Granville’s dismal performance last week, the coach made a few changes to the team to play US St Malo this evening at the Stade Louis Dior, and rightly so. But the players that he replaced were players who I thought played well last week and left on the field some of the players, including the guy who gave Olympique de Marseille their third goal the other week and who gave away the ball that led to one of the Vannes OC goals last week.

In the first half St Malo had pretty much the best of the play and so you will be just as surprised as I was to learn that US Granville were 3-0 up. I don’t know what the trainer had put in the pre-match cuppa but I would like a drink of it.

But really, the goals were
1) a free kick
2) an own goal
3) a penalty.
Nothing really there to get excited about.

As I went for my half-time coffee, I remember thinking that there was still plenty of time for US Granville to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

And when US St Malo went down to 10 men, you would be forgiven to fetching the bottle of champagne, but I know my players and I had faith.

football stade louis dior us st malo us granville manche normandy france eric hallJust look where the St Malo goalkeeper is standing. Almost on the halfway line.

At this point St Malo are taking a corner. The ball is played into the centre and the Granville keeper catches it. Now you and I would go for the long kick downfield over the keeper’s head and who knows? There might be a goal in it. Chris Mullock scored one like that for Aberystwyth Town a season or two ago and even if it didn’t, it would keep the keeper back on his goal line and stop him playing centre-half.

But no. Our keeper rolls the ball out to a defender to play the ball upfield.

And the inevitable happens. He loses possession, the attackers are through one-on-one with the keeper abd they make no mistake.

The tragedy is that just 30 seconds earlier we had had exactly the same situation and a goal was only narrowly averted. It taught them nothing.

Even worse – a few minutes later US Granville messing around in defence instead of clearing the ball, and they lose possession. Consequently US St Malo pull back a second goal.

Luckily US Granville cling on until the final whistle to win the match with a desperate rearguard defence against 10 men in a match that they should have won at a canter.

This morning was another struggle to leave the bed. I missed an alarm once more so it was 07:10 when I finally left the bed. Nothing on the dictaphone from the night so after the medication I cut up a digital track.

That was more difficult than it ought to be because whoever had assembled it had left the marks where he had joined it up – and they were in the wrong places. So I had to rejoin it correctly before I could cut it.

After breakfast I had a shower and then went to town.

First stop was NOZ where I bought a cheap whiteboard at €0:79. I alreay have a whiteboard but a spare is useful for a variety of reasons and as well as that, it included a marker and the price of a marker on its own is more than that.

LeClerc was much more expensive but then again I had to buy coffee and the rest of the muesli stuff, and also they had some frozen vegan burgers and things like that and seeing as there is at the moment some room in my freezer for once I stocked up.

For a change I went to GIFI too to see if they had any pastry cutters. But no such luck, so I came home instead.

The rest of the day was spent working on the radio project and that’s all done and dusted and recorded and I’ve started on the notes for the final one. They are about two-thirds done now.

That could have been finished today but for the fact that I was having another bad day. I was crashed out on the chair a couple of times, really deeply too. I’m getting a little bit worried by this right now because I’ve been here in the past and I thought that I had managed to go beyond that.

There was the walk to the Stade Louis Dior of course and the walk back, which was extended to take me over the 100% mark. And I managed a run too, which pleased me greatly.

Saturday night so tea was out of a tin, followed by a banana with the rest of the raspberry sorbet. No walk afterwards because of course I’m over my limit so I can relax.

So now it’s bedtime. No alarm so it’s a nice long sleep – I hope. But you just watch someone come along and spoil it.

Saturday 1st February 2020 – I HAVE SEEN …

vannes olympique club stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hall … US Granville play some rubbish in my time, but nothing quite like they played in the last 30 minutes or so of this evening’s match against Vannes Olympique Club.

And it all started so well too.

In fact it was looking like it was going to be a good match today. Both sides playing possession football and trying to open the other one up. And while it is true to say that Granville had the better of it, they were playing some kind of aimless football.

At least, Vannes OC had some kind of plan or tactic.

The second half was a different story. I don’t know what the trainer of Vannes OC had put in his team’s half-time cuppa but I could do with a mug of that myself.

They came out of the dressing room at a blistering pace and quickly had the Granville team pegged back in their own half. Granville were absorbing the pressure quite well and just as it looked as if the danger might have passed, Vannes OC got the ball into Granville’s net. And I do have to say that it had been coming for quite some time.

Strangely enough, the goal seemed to inspire Granville more and they started to play a lot better after that – but then 5 or so minutes later the wheels really did come off.

Whether the tackle that a Granville midfielder put in on a Vannes player merited a yellow card or not is a matter for debate, but what the midfielder said to the referee about the decision certainly merited the red card that came out of the referee’s pocket.

It’s stupid. Pathetic. Childish. Indisciplined. It cost Granville the game and it’s not the first time either, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. The Granville trainer needs to do something about the lack of discipline in his team and kick a few of the worst offenders down the road, or else get down the road himself.

We had a couple of weird substitutions too this evening. he took off both of his front two and put on two others. It’s quite true that they hadn’t done a great deal and didn’t look much like doing it either, but everyone in the ground except the trainer apparently could see that the reason why this was the case was that the midfield weren’t getting the ball forward quickly enough or often enough.

Changing the forwards isn’t going to solve that particular problem.

Granville went a second goal down near the end and then we had four minutes of injury time. By now the players had lost all interest in the game and it was a dreadful sight to watch as the fans streamed out of the ground in dismay.

With about 30 seconds left and 2-0 down, they had a goal kick. “get the ball upfield quick with a long ball and put the defence under pressure” – but no – a short kick out to a defender and they try to play the ball upfield with just seconds left. What a dreadful decision that was at that particular time.

So what happens is that the defender loses possession. With most of the team upfield waiting for the long ball that never came, there’s no-one back to defend and Vannes score an easy third goal.

I came home in disgust.

Last night was a bad night for me. Gone 02:30 when I finally went to bed last night and although I mdidn’t take too much notice of the alarms I was up by 06:35 which was good going.

After the medication I checked the dictaphone. A group of us had been out for the night celebrating the New Year and we were walking home. My German friend was there and he had banged his leg and they had had to stop and look at his leg all that kind of thing. Some people kept on walking on – I was one of those people who kept walking on. Then someone caught up with me and we asked about him. “Yes, that’s fine, they’ll be catching us up in a minute” so I asked what they were doing – had they stopped for chips or something like that and they got some money for you because one of the guys has given you a reduction. I couldn’t work out why I would get a reduction. I thought that it was because I’d brought all these people in or it might be something else that I’d bought before midnight or whatever. But it turned out that it was a fancy dress night and I was in fancy dress. I said to a former friend of mine who had miraculously appeared in my voyage (they are good like that) “find out if this guy meant to give me a reduction and if he did then give him the money for the deduction. I’m not quite like that”

After breakfast I cut up another digital track or two and then went for a shower. And then off into town.

Noz was first and I bought a few things there – but nothing of any significance. Next stop was Centrakor where I wanted some small pyrex bowls, some pastry cutters and a new small baking tray. But nothing whatever of any good to me which was a shame.

LeClerc didn’t have anything either, but I knew that anyway.

bio products self weigh leclerc granville manche normandy france eric hallBut here’s a thing! It looks as if at long last LeClerc is about to enter the 21st Century, a good 10 years behind the Auchan and a few years behind Carrefour.

LeClerc did have a small self-weigh section but it had about 10 products from which to choose. But here they are on a Saturday morning, and a busy Saturday morning at that, setting it up.

Why the couldn’t have done it on Friday night so that it would be ready for today’s customers I really don’t know. You can’t sell the stuff if you can’t get it into the shop.

It was like NOZ this morning. You couldn’t get round half of the shop due to the piles of unopened boxes just dumped in the aisles waiting for the staff to fill the shelves.

Totally disorganised, totally poorly managed, totally crazy.

vegan brioche bread rolls granville manche normandy france eric hallBut the vegan bread is back on the shelves again, and about time too.

Not that I buy stuff like this these days but it deserves to be encouraged so that they might expand their selection og Vegan products.

Things were such that I didn’t buy a lot today. I’m pretty well stocked right now and that’s good news. There’s enough food to eat for the week anyway.

On the way back I had the extreme misfortune to be stuck behind a parcels delivery van of which the driver would much rather park in the middle of the street than advance 20 yards into an empty parking space.

Lunch was the rest of the mushroom soup with bread, and then I made a start on editing the dictation for the radio programme. That’s done and I’ve started to assemble the soundtrack, and I could have done much more had the bad night not caught up with me at a certain point.

Tea after the football was out of a tin and now I’ve had a slow desultory evening.

NO alarm, no early awakening so I’m hoping for a decent lie-in. And then I need to crack on and get these things done.

Friday 17th January 2020 – I BET THAT YOU ARE …

stade michel d'ornano caen olympique de marseille us granville manche normandy france eric hall… all wondering where I’ve been with the posting of today’s activities, aren’t you?

The fact is that I didn’t get home tonight at all. In fact, it wasn’t until about 16:40 on Saturday that I put my sooty foot through the front door of my apartment.

And with not having had lunch either, I ended up running considerably later than planned. But then, that’s what plans are all about, aren’t they?

But anyway, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

It was another morning of missed alarms. Another 07:00 start and I really need to get a grip and get myself organised otherwise I’m just going to fade away.

But then after the medication I attacked the dictaphone in order to see where I had been during the night.

Strange as it may seem, I was back in my house back in Gainsborough Road and it was an absolute tip (I know that I live in total chaos but it has nothing on how my house was, last night, I’ll tell you). There was stuff everywhere all over the place and there was the football on – it was the World Cup or something like that – the European Nations match and I was trying to watch it on TV but there was just so much disorder going on around me that I couldn’t. I went into the kitchen to get something and the place was in such a state clothes and bits everywhere and someone shouted something like “come on, your tea’s ready”. It turns out that my brother and a younger boy had been given their tea and it was probably about midnight or whatever. I went into the room and it was the back room and there was one of my sisters sitting on a chair. I hadn’t seen her for ages and she was talking to someone, another one of my sisters. I went up to her and said something like “what are you going to do tomorrow morning, if you get up early?” She said “I’m going to come and wake you up”.
It was some time shortly after that that we found a young boy hanging upside down by his feet in a four-poster bed. We pulled back the curtains of this four-poster bed and there he was hanging upside-down by his ankles. What was quite bizarre was that after going back to sleep after dictating the first part of it, I stepped right back into it where I’d left off. And it’s not the first time by any means that I’ve done that either.

There was lots more to this voyage too but as you are probably eating your meal or something I’ll spare you the unpleasantness.

Once breakfast was out of the way I attacked the radio project that needed finishing. And that took a lot longer than I expected too, basically because the 10-minute audio file that I had dictated turned out to be only 04:20 by the time that I had edited it and so I had to find a completely different song to end the show than the one that I had planned.

Anyway, I eventually managed to complete it and that was mu cue to go off and buy my dejeunette from La Mie Caline

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving seen a white speck out in the English Channel I went to photograph it, only to find that I’d forgotten to put the memory card in the camera so I had to go back upstairs for it.

Downstairs again, I could photograph it and then in the comfort and safety of my own little office I could blow it up (the photo, not the object of course).

The result is inconclusive but probably a trawler-type of fishing boat I reckon. And you can see the Jersey coast in the background behind it. That gives you some idea of how far out the boat was.

chausiais joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOff then on my jaunt into town, but I didn’t get very far.

It’s all change in the inner harbour today. Chausiais and Joly France II have moved position. They’ve crossed over to the other side of the harbour and are now moored up in fromt of their sister over by the old cold store.

That’s a surprise for me. The only thing that I can think of is that they don’t want any debris from the car park renovation to drop onto the deck. And it also indicates that Granville and Victor Hugo are not going to be back home anytime soon

work chantier boulevard des terreneuviers granville manche normandy france eric hallYesterday, the regular readers of this rubbish and I saw them setting out a pile of “No Parking” signs in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

Today I went that way to see if I could pick up any clues about what might be happening down there.

Having had a look, I’m not really a great deal wiser. Apparently we are going to be having travaux – some kind of works – taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. That should be interesting to I shall have to go for my walk that way for a butcher’s.

spirit of conrad trawler mobile sling chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was excitement too down at the Chantier navale too right now.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve had four boats in there this last couple of days. But in about ten minutes time we shall only be having three of them.

Spirit of Conrad is still there and so are two of the fishing boats but the third one, the blue and yellow one, is just about to leave the scene.

trawler mobile sling chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHere she is, in the mobile sling, being lowered down into the water. And in a couple of minutes she’ll be sailing … “dieseling” – ed … off into the wild blue yonder.

So with another empty space in the place, does this mean that we are going to be having a new visitor?

But it also means that the tide is quite a way in, which also means that the harbour gates will be closed which also means that the path across the top will not be accessible and I’ll have to go along the rue du Port.

pressure washing heavy dumper lorries port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd as I went along the rue du Port I could see strange goings-on on the boat-launching ramp down into the tidal harbour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen the dredging operations out by the ferry terminal and we had a look at the machinery the other day.

But today they are giving one of the huge dumper-lorries a good hose down with a pressure-washer, presumably to remove all of the silt that has accumulated thereupon while they have been working.

Off I went to la Mie Caline to pick up my bread, and then I headed back home.

What I spend the afternoon (with a break for lunch of course) was to deal with the Johan Gallon (the coach of US Granville)’s speech.

It’s been completed now, with all of my questions edited in, and I’ve been going through to edit out the joins, the silences and the stumbles. When that’s completed I’ll be going through and making another pass to remove the irrelevances and I’m hoping that I’ll have it done for Monday morning – at least, that’s the plan.

At 16:00 I called it a day, grabbed a few things together and then Caliburn and I headed for the hills.

First stop was at the dechetterie. The European Cardboard Box Mountain has now been consigned to a skip along with the old broken office chair and I can now get into the back of Caliburn if ever I need to.

Second stop was at Liz and Terry’s at Roncey.

We had a good chat and I gave them their Christmas present, after which we had tea. Burger and chips with salad followed by ginger cake.

Terry and I then headed off in Calburn down the motorway towards Caen and the Stade Michel D’Ornano. It’s the last 16 of the Coupe de France and Granville have pulled a plum out of the bag for this match.

They are “at home” against Olympique de Marseille but the match can’t be played at the Stade Louis Dior as was the Bordeaux match two years ago. There, there is a capacity of just 3,000 and it’s very uncomfortable at that size too.

But the Stade D’Ornano at Caen is free and has 20,200 places. Even so, it was sold out in about 4.5 hours but I managed to obtain 2 tickets.

We were doing really well until we hit the outskirts of Caen when a road accident slowed our progress. An hour it took to advance 6 kilometres.

Then we hit the traffic heading to the stadium, became tangled up in the mesh of red lights, and then I lost count of the number of roundabouts that we passed in the frantic search for a parking place.

Spotting an ad-hoc parking place, we quickly stuffed Caliburn into it and ran down the road towards the next roundabout. Not seeing the stadium, we asked a passer-by who sent us back where we had started. Brain of Britain had miscounted, and parked Caliburn at the roundabout right by the stadium.

stade michel d'ornano caen olympique de marseille us granville manche normandy france eric hallAs a result we missed the first 30 seconds of the game.

Having been frisked at the stadium we were allowed in, but finding a seat was impossible. We ended up standing, with about 100 others on the stairs, with a couple of people who had made themselves comfortable sitting on the top step complaining about the “new arrivals blocking their view”.

But at a time like this and in a crowd like this, it’s “every man for himself”. Sardines had nothing on us.

The first half of the match was a surprise to most people.

It was pretty clear that Olympique de Marseille were the better team but it was also clear that US Granville weren’t going to lie down and roll over. They were pegged back for much of the half, that’s for sure, but they were breaking away quite regularly and going forward down the wings, with William Sea throwing his weight around up front.

The Granvillais goalkeeper was the busier of the two but it wasn’t by any means a one-way street.

drummers stade michel d'ornano caen olympique de marseille us granville manche normandy france eric hallAt half-time we were treated to a display of drumming as the drummers marched around the touchline having a right old bang. There were also two teams of kids having a penalty shoot-out.

What was even worse was that I was dying to use the bathroom and desperate for a coffee but I had no intention of moving away from my good spec on the stairs having fought my way into it.

So we stayed put and waited for the second half to begin.

The second half carried on where the first left off , with Olympique de Marseille attacking, US Granville absorbing the pressure, and then hitting them on the break.

And then the match turned rather sour.

maseille had worked out early on that the danger men for Granville were little Lamrabette with his merry, mazy runs with the ball through crowds of players, and also big William Sea who was showing that despite his injury he still had what it takes to mix it on level terms with the Olympique Marseille central defenders.

As a result, they were flattening the two of them with regular monotony, but being very careful firstly not to do it quite enough to earn a caution and secondly to take it in turns so as no individual would be cautioned for persistent infringement.

It was saddening to watch a display like this from a team like Olympique Marseille against a bunch of amateurs and if that’s the idea of how Villas-Boas wants his team to play then he should be ashamed of himself.

Anyway, it had the desired effect because with round about 15 minutes to go, William Sea was finally fed up of being grabbed from behind every time he had the ball. He lashed out behind him with his elbow and unfortunately caught a Marseille player full in the face.

Having had a yellow card earlier in the game, that was that for Sea and he was off down the tunnel for an early bath and Granville were down to 10 men.

What was sickening about this was that the player who had been fouled them followed Sea to the touchline and taunted him about being sent off. A couple of Granville staff had to grab hold of Sea before he put the Marseille player over the stadium wall and out into the street.

stade michel d'ornano caen olympique de marseille us granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd that, I’m afraid, was that.

At the Press Conference I’d mentioned that the danger time in every game where the professionals meet the amateurs is the final 15 minutes when the lack of fitness shows through and the amateurs run out of steam. And even more so when you are only 10 against 11.

And so it proved. 2 minutes later, Olympique de Marseille went ahead. They added a second 10 minutes later and then deep into stoppage time, a typical US Granvillais “lack of concentration” about which I have moaned on more occasions than many in the past gifted them a third.

Although before the game the general feeling was that had Granville come home with a 3-0 defeat they would have done really well but after the match that we had seen, a 3-0 defeat was a travesty.

And the tactics of a team riding high in the French Premier League against a bunch of students, supermarket shelf-fillers, taxi drivers, teachers and the like have left a bitter taste in the mouths of many, including mine.

The drive home was no better than the drive out. We had to fight our way through the maze of traffic lights which took an age and then another accident on the way back had us queueing again for yet another lengthy period.

As a result it was 01:00 when we finally reached Terry’s, and he offered me a bed for the night. By that time and after all that, I was totally done in anyway so I took up his offer and here I am and there I stayed.

Tuesday 14th January 2020 – I WAS WONDERING …

fallen tree place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hall… how long it was going to be before we had a catastrophe.

The answer is “this afternoon at about 14:00” when this tree came crashing down. It was bound to happen sooner or later because the winds outside are horrific. They aren’t quite the worst that I’ve ever encountered but they are pretty close.

And this tree took the full brunt of it and came crashing down. Lucky that there weren’t any cars parked just there on the car park of the other block of flats.

As for me, I had a really bad day today.

By the time that I finished what I was doing, it was 02:30. Sure enough, the elarms went off at the usual time but it was 07:05 when I finally crawled out of bed.

There was the medication of course and while I was waiting for it to work I attacked some more of this translation. In fact over the course of the day I’ve been nibbling away at it here and there and I’m now at 65%. But even so, my good humour hasn’t returned quite yet.

trawler baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRound about 11:00 I headed out of the apartment for this Press Conference.

And as I was leaving my apartment this fishing boat from Jersey was leaving port and heading out into the wicked wind. I don’t envy him at all heading that way in all of this.

At least the rain wasn’t all that heavy, which was one good thing. But it’s been a long time since I’ve seen horizontal rain.

guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hallAt the Stade Louis Dior I was one of the first to arrive and so I had another good chat with the Vice-president, Guy Lefevre.

We’d met each other ON THE BUS THE OTHER DAY GOING TO VERSAILLES and so we continued the interesting conversation that we’d had back then.

But then everyone else began to arrive and we all settled down.

johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hallNone of the players were available today but the team’s chief coach, Johan Gallon, came to talk to us.

He gave us a little talk and we all asked loads of questions. What interested me was that I was the only one there asking questions about tactics and the like. Everyone else was much more interested in the emotional side of the match.

He did his best to answer them but without giving away anything that might be of use to the enemy.

johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hallHe’s well aware that the match is going to be difficult, much more difficult than against Bordeaux and much more difficult than when US Granvillais met Olympique de Marseille back in 2016.

There were about a dozen of us all told, and two television cameras too. One or two of them were interested in me too – where did I come from and what was I doing there.

I suppose that I’m really something of a novelty around here, being British, asking tactical questions in French and gatecrashing press conferences like this

johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter half an hour or so Johan gallon left us to carry on with his other business.

However the Vice-President Guy Lefevre stayed behind and a couple of us continued our chat.

We also discussed the Carnaval because he has a char that parades there and it’s another idea that I have for the forthcoming.

One thing I learnt, which was of great interest to me, was how they transported the chars from their hidey-holes to the Parade.

Apparently the operators of the chars have to have Public Liability insurance but the road risks are arranged by the municipality. The Police provide an exemption from the Road Traffic Acts to cover journeys to and from the parades and the parades themselves.

Another thing is that there is a limit on the number of chars. Just 47 are permitted to parade. Motorised chars, that is. Push-along chars can turn up in any particular number that they fancy.

By the time that we finished, the rain had stopped so I walked home in something like comfort. On the way back I popped in to la Mie Caline for my dejeunette and then came back here.

By now it was 14:15 so that was it. Lunchtime.

This afternoon I started to listen to the recordings that I had made. The quality isn’t up to much but, rather like Samuel Johnson’s dog, “I’m surprised that it is done at all”. I spent some time enhancing the recordings so at least I could hear what was being said.

The plan is to listen to the recordings to hear parts that are obvious “answers” to questions that haven’t been asked, then to record the questions and edit them into the recording.

It’s an old radio practice that has been done for years – in fact when the Beatles first toured the USA they sent over to each radio station a recording of “answers” so that the reporters there could ask their own questions and have an “exclusive live interview”.

dredging ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn that point I went out into the horrendous gale. There were just four of us out there in total today and I was surprised that there was that many.

The wild wind hadn’t stopped them working down at the ferry terminal. They were digging out the silt, tipping it into the dumpers and taking it off to be dumped.

They can’t be going to be spending too long on it because sooner or later they’ll be wanting to send the ferries back out again and they won’t want to be working all around a ferry timetable as well as a tidal chart.

ripping up abandoned railway port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnother thing that’s cracking on is the work on the car park in the rue du Port.

They’ve devastated that pretty much over the last 24 hours as you can tell if you compare it to THIS PHOTO TAKE 24 HOURS AGO. It won’t be long before that will be finished and they will have all gone.

What’s going on in my mind is what it will look like when it’s finished. I hope that it’s not simply going to be a bare patch of asphalt. And I hope that they plant some trees in there too.

Back here I was intending to start work but I’m afraid that I simply crashed out on the chair. I was gone for a good hour too in a deep sleep, the kind of crashing out that I used to have before that last spell of good health.

It’s something that has depressed me completely and I don’t really want to dwell on it.

Instead, I had tea. The last of the falafel with steamed veg and vegan cheese sauce, followed by the last of the Christmas Cake. It was delicious too.

So tomorrow I’ll have to start on the rice pudding that I made on Sunday.

high winds storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallIf anything, the wind outside had worsened tonight. It bowled me along the street on the way out and on the way back there were times when it was impossible to make headway, so strong were the gusts of wind.

You can’t see it at all well but the waves were smashing over the sea wall at the Plat Gousset with the most astonishing violence.

It’s a shame that they’ve taken this decision to turn out the lights along there in winter. No-one can see a thing out there now and it’s terrible for photography.

The wind was so powerful across the square Maurice Marland that is was impossible at times to walk, never mind run.

But having anticipated that, I’d done my running (such as it is) in the sheltered spot on the north side of the city walls. The huge puddles there made it difficult but I pushed on for a few hundred metres.

It might not be much but at my age and in my state of health I think that it’s pretty good.

trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere’s a spot on the city walls that is protected from the wind so I went there for a moment.

There was a trawler unloading at the fish-processing plant so I could snap off a quick shot of it through the trees. Winter is my favourite time for photography because there are no leaves to obscure the shot.

On the way back I bumped into a girl walking her dog and smoking a cigarette. We exchanged pleasantries and then I came back.


Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have a lot of time for kids – sometimes (in fact, quite often) I find them far more interesting than adults – and some of the kids in my radio programme didn’t let me down.

They performed admirably and gave a really good filling to the programme as well as providing some comic relief.

It’s the one thing that I regret – not having a kid of my own and I get quite broody at times. But then if I had a kid I would have to have the partner that went with it and I’m not made for living with other people.

Anyway, it’s later. later than I want to be. Marillion has passed by on the playlist so there’s no reason to stay up any longer. I’m off to bed and tomorrow I’ll crack on and do this radio programme.

Whenever am I going to find time to do my own stuff?

johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hall
johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hall

johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hall
johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hall

johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hall
johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hall

Saturday 11th January 2020 – YOU LUCKY PEOPLE!

You aren’t just getting one example of pathetic parking today. You’re getting two!

bad parking noz granville manche normandy france eric hallThe first one is outside NOZ. The road here is very narrow so the Police are rigorously enforcing the rules here. There’s a Stationnement Génante and a Stationnement Très Génante in French Law, and here this counts as the latter with a much more expensive fine.

There are notices all over the place about this, and also a sign to say that there’s “A Large Car Park At The Rear”.

But even with all of that and the fact that the little car park at the front is totally empty without a soul parked upon it (it was just at opening time), this clever motorist has decided to block the street and the pavement

bad parking hypermarche leclerc granville manche normandy france eric hallThe second one is even more ridiculous.

This minibus is far too big for a single parking spot so rather than go to the end of a double-row and straddle two places as I usually do, he’s chosen to park en bille, or “on the diagoonal”.

It’s Saturday morning when everyone comes to do the shopping, there are four electric car-charging spots at LeClerc, and our hero here decides to block off 25% of them just so that he doesn’t have to walk very far.

This is bringing selfishness down to a totally new level and it’s absolutely shameful.

What else is absolutely shameful is that once again I missed the third alarm. That’s despite a relatively early night when I fell asleep half-way through writing up my notes and crawled off to bed early.

A late start meant that everything else was late too. After the medication the first task was to finish off the blog entry for yesterday. And the second task, after breakfast, was to deal with the notes that had found their way onto the dictaphone during the night.

Norma Edwards was going through all of my paperwork and had transcribed all of my dictaphone notes. She’s examined every file in detail and built up quite a file on me and was now coming into avenge herself and do her best to get me out of the office and put pressure on me about the work that I hadn’t been doing, all that kind of thing. One thing that was going through their minds too was about my injury where I was saying that I wasn’t able to move around very well so they were following me around this afternoon and I was pushing this trolley around. We ended up going through something like a kids’ library where there were loads of kids sitting around with a stamp collection. I had to go past them and Norma Edwards and this guy were following me, watching how I walked, all of this kind of thing. At one stage they asked to see the photos that I had taken that particular day so I told her to clear off. She asked for my dictaphone notes so I told her to clear off as well. I was half anticipating her to ask for the photos that I had taken when we had got back to the office after this walk and I was ready to tell her to clear off as well. But there was something specific she had asked for and I can’t remember what it was. My intention was to get her to ask it in writing because employers aren’t allowed to ask for that from their employees but she had asked in the past so I wanted her to ask again and put it in writing so that I could take it to the Employment Tribunal and have them look at it for me. This thing with Norma Edwards though – there was a little baby microphone inside my portable radio so that every time you switched it on you could hear exactly what I was saying. She’d asked me a few times to upgrade it so I could get a bigger microphone to put in it and she thought that each time that I refused the opportunity was to spite her.

So I’ve no idea what that was all about.

After that I grabbed a shower, took the glass, metal and plastic out to the recycling, and then Caliburn and I headed for the hills.

First stop was NOZ as I mentioned earlier. Nothing of any great excitement there except a pack of alcohol-free raspberry beer. And it’s delicious too so I hope they have more in next week.

After that, I went to Action up the road. I wanted some small pyrex bowls for the microwave and some glass bottles for my drinks. No luck, of course, but they did have some really cheap luggage labels which I need, and some really cheap memory sticks. I wanted one for the radio stuff and strange as it is to say it, I can’t seem to lay my hand on any of the ones that I have lying around here.

Final stop was LeClerc and here I really did spend up. In my new year resolution to move away from bottled water I went and purchased myself a sodastream.

As well as that, apart from the usual shopping I bought a couple of glass bottles, a proper liquid sieve and a proper purée squidger. They had some cheap glass bowls in too which I thought might be microwavable and they were at the right price to try (and they aren’t and it took me 20 minutes to clean up the debris).

After lunch I put a few things away and then sorted out the cordial that I’d brewed. Filtered it all out with the series of sieves and then squidged the solids to obtain some more strong liquid and added that back into the mixture, and then dropped half of it onto the floor so I had to wash the floor.

At 17:00 I set out up town, firstly to the railway station to change my ticket. I arrived at 17:25 knowing full well that the ticket office is open until 17:30 but it was closed up and abandoned.

It looks as if we haven’t had the last laugh yet.

And so I carried on up the road.

la vie claire avenue des matignon granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall the new building that’s been taking place in the avenue des Matignon just now. It’s now finished and a tenant has moved in.

La Vie Claire is a bio food shop and the town needs one to combat the complacency of the Bio-Coop.

With 10 minutes to kill, I went in for a nosey. The vegan cheese section is very limited and shockingly expensive, but the rest of the stuff is quite competitively priced and I shall be making further enquiries in due course. I was specially impressed with the price of the tahini and the vegan sausages.

football stade louis dior as vitre us granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd now up the road for the football.

At the Stade Louis Dior US Granvillais were entertaining AS Vitré, a couple of places below them in the table

AS Vitré didn’t really threaten all that much, although they did hit the post early on.

On the other hand, US Granvillais were pretty rampant. They soaked up the pressure and then broke away quite quickly, going down the centre as well as both flanks

And when I say “US Granvillais”, I really mean William Sea at centre-forward.

I’ve probably mentioned at some time or other that he’s a former professional but has been out of the game for a while with an serious injury. I didn’t think all that much of him at first as he didn’t seem all that interested, but now I put that down to lack of match fitness.

This last few weeks I’ve been much more impressed with him. You can see when he’s on the field that he moves about in a different way, much more like a professional, in sharp contrast to most of the others.

He’s quite powerful too and quite prepared to get in and mix it with the defenders, something that the remaining players in the side, all lightweights, aren’t able to do. Any defender who comes up against William Sea will certainly know about it.

He throws himself around and fights for everything, and tonight we were treated to a masterclass performance of exactly how a centre-forward should play.

We had a delicious overhead kick in a crowded penalty area, a header that went just wide, a rounding of the keeper that was desperately scrambled off the goal-line by a defender, all kinds of things. The only thing that we didn’t get from William Sea was a goal, but I’m sure that it will come.

And then with 15 minutes to play, we had another one of these really bizarre substitutions that we see so often. Having attacked the defence in spades for 75 minutes and had them under all kinds of pressure and stress, William Sea was withdrawn from the game.

And I just don’t understand that at all.

But it didn’t matter as Granville won 2-0. The first goal was a scramble on the goal-line with the keeper eventually grabbing the ball, but the linesman reckoned that it had crossed the line.

The second was from a breakaway through the defence and a delightful pull-back to flat-foot the keeper with the player running in behind side-footing into the empty net.

At full-time I walked back home and had tea, out of a tin.

Now I’m off to bed and having a lie-in. And then I’ll try to have another go at changing this ticket. It’s quite a fight, isn’t it?

Saturday 4th January 2020 – HERE I AM …

… back home again after my mega-day out on yet another coach outing.

And mega-day out it was too. With a somewhat late night, I was in no mood to leave the bed at … errr … 05:30 this morning, but needs must when the devil drives, although it took me a while to come to terms with the time.

No time for breakfast. Just enough time to throw something in a rucksack to nibble on, to make some butties from lunch, grab my equipment and head out of the door.

us granvillaise football supporters stade louis dior granville manche normandy france eric hallWe had to present ourselves at the Stade Louis Dior at 07:00. I surprised myself by being there at 06:50

There were only a couple of the “Neva” buses – the buses that provide the public transport around the town – at the stadium so I was anticipating a hard ride all the way to Versailles.

But while I was waiting, I buttonholed the guy who beats the big plastic oil drum at the football matches and asked him a few questions about things.

autocars lemare coaches donville les bains us granvillaise football supporters  granville manche normandy fc versailles 78 Stade de Montbauron, Versailles  france eric hallIt seems that my fears about the transport were unnecessary.

About 5 minutes after I arrived, so did the real transport. Autocars Lemare from down the road at Donville-les-Bains had been engaged and sent along three of their Van Hool executive coaches.

For a change, I drew a good number. A seat on the upper deck of an almost-new double decker. It’s been quite a while since I’ve travelled in such luxury, I’ll tell you that.

Even more surprisingly, we set off bang on 07:30 as advertised. It’s the first time that that’s ever happened.

The first part of the journey was in the dark and it wasn’t safe to move about, so I caught up with my beauty sleep for an hour or so. But once the light came up and I could see what I was doing, I set to work.

Having made an executive decision (that is, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, a decision that if it goes wrong, the person doing it is executed) to lead from the front, I took the microphone and dictaphone with me and interviewed the passengers about their support for the club and their reasons for going to the match.

The dictaphone and the mike work passably in “outside broadcast” situations at the budget end of the scale in which we work, and I can make quite presentable “outside broadcast” radio programmes with the computer. So I’m going to make one – not about the match itself because by the time I will have finished it, it will be old news, but about the supporters.

My own personal opinion is that the club ought to do more to encourage supporters to travel to “away” matches and so having a captive audience to work with, I might make something that will knock on a few doors.

us granvillaise football supporters  granville manche normandy fc versailles 78 Stade de Montbauron, Versailles france eric hallHaving stopped on the way up for a coffee, we arrived at the Stade de Montbauron in Versailles at just after 11:30, for a 13:00 kick-off.

We had to loiter around for a while. They were only letting us into the ground a handful at a tme so as not to cause congestion. That gave me an opportunity to chat to a few more passengers off the other buses.

But the real reason for loitering soon became apparent. Where we were to be standing was actually outside the perimeter of the ground and they wanted to have the opportunity of checking our tickets and our baggage without being overwhelmed in a flood of people.

us granvillaise football supporters  granville manche normandy fc versailles 78 Stade de Montbauron, Versailles  france eric hallStill an hour or so before kick-off and that gave me an opportunity to have a walk around and a look at what was going on.

First thing to do was to eye up the “opposition”. There were about four TV cameras (and maybe more) in the ground and they had a Mercedes Vito van that was kitted out as a mobile control centre.

What wouldn’t I give for something like this? Perhaps I ought to convert Caliburn.

As a treat, I found a bag of chips for myself and eventually managed to track down the stadium’s announcer who let me have a minute of his valuable time by telling me something of his club.

us granvillaise football supporters  granville manche normandy fc versailles 78 Stade de Montbauron, Versailles  france eric hallThe Stade de Montbauron is another one of these one-sided wonders.

There’s a large concrete stand that could accommodate several thousand people and a large standing area in front of it. The “town end” and the far side are effectively inaccessible and the fourth end is a row of concrete steps that are quite uncomfortable to sit on, and in the open air.

My instincts were telling me that this wouldn’t be a nice place to be in the middle of January in a freezing cold rainstorm.

us granvillaise football supporters  granville manche normandy fc versailles 78 Stade de Montbauron, Versailles  france eric hallBefore the kick-off, I’d spoken to one of the crowd control people from FC Versailles 78.

He told me that they were expecting a crowd of maybe just over a thousand, of which 300 were from Granville. I’d heard this “300” figure from elsewhere but I suspected this to be somewhat optimistic.

But no matter how many there were, they were making far more noise than the home side and that’s what counts.

us granvillaise football supporters  granville manche normandy fc versailles 78 Stade de Montbauron, Versailles  france eric hallAs for the match itself, I’m left shaking my head about this one.

For the first 25 minutes or so FC Versailles 78 were like a runaway train as they smashed their way into the Granville defence. I could count on the fingers of one hand the number of times in that period when Granville had the ball in the Versailles half.

In fact, I was fearing the worst.

And that’s no surprise because after 14 minutes, they were 1-0 ahead.

Yet another break into the Granville penalty area. A Versailles player in a marvellous position to shoot when a desperate last-ditch sliding tackle robs him of the ball.

The ball bobbles up, hits the Versailles player and bounces back into the Granville defender and hits him – on the arm.

No doubt about it – definitely a penalty within the Laws of the Game. But how unlucky can you be?

For the penalty, the Granville goalkeeper dived to the right, only to be outdone by a beautiful “Panenka” penalty right down the middle.

After 25 minutes, a most astonishing thing happened.

Granville, who up to that moment had been totally anonymous and had barely troubled the linesman down at that end, suddenly came to life.

Lambarette picked up a loose ball in his own area and set off at a hell of a pace down the field on one of the mazy runs that he does and which usually lead nowhere.

But this time, he had half a yard on everyone else and was clear down the field. As the Versailles keeper came out to challenge him, he simply tried a delightful lob right over the keeper and the ball went into the Versailles net for the equaliser.

By my reckoning, that was Granville’s first shot on goal.

The second half started as the first half, with Versailles throwing everything including the kitchen sink at Granville’s defence but Granville stood firm.

Granville’s response was just a whole series of aimless hoofs upfield in the general direction of Ibaye but usually going nowhere near him.

One of Granville’s midfielders I had particularly noticed because up until that moment he had done nothing at all and as a substitute was warming up on the touchline, my money was on him coming off.

But right at that moment as I was musing on the subject, one of these aimless hoofs suddenly landed at his feet. A little bit of trickery found him free of two defenders and one-on-one with the keeper. The keeper went down far too early so the Granville midfielder simply rounded him and tapped the ball in the empty net.

Granville in front? I don’t think that anyone could believe it from the way that the match had been going to that point.

Late in the game Ibaye was replaced and William Sea came on to go upfront. He’s an ex-professional from the Premier League but had a lot of time out with injury and came to Granville to try to rehabilitate himself.

He’s not done much to date, which is probably not a surprise given how long he’s been out, but he’s big and strong and knows the game. Within about 30 seconds of his entry onto the field he had left his mark on both the Versailles centre-halves, and I do actually mean that.

Granville’s forward line definitely became much more lively and purposeful with him up front. It’s one thing that the club has been lacking – a big bruiser up front, and if ever he recovers even half his form he’ll be a handful for any defence at this level.

us granvillaise football supporters  granville manche normandy fc versailles 78 Stade de Montbauron, Versailles  france eric hallSo the final whistle went and Granville had surprisingly won it. No-one would have given any sort of odds whatever on that result after 20 minutes.

The players came down to see the supporters afterwards to thank them for turning up. There’s no doubt about it – the noise that the fans had made throughout the game had been impressive.

The FC Versailles 78 fans left the ground shaking their heads in disbelief, and who can blame them?

us granvillaise football supporters  granville manche normandy fc versailles 78 Stade de Montbauron, Versailles  france eric hallMy work was not over though.

With microphone and dictaphone in hand, I went amongst the crowd and asked several of them their thoughts.

One thing that is important is that I like to engage the youth in any activity like this because youth are the future. So I talked to several kids as well as adults. There were three girls aged about 12 or 13 who I’d seen at every Granville match and who usually chatted away to everyone about anyone and anything.

And they were great, until I produced the microphone. They suddenly dried up and you couldn’t get a word out of them. We saw that phenomenon with one of the girls from Uummannaq the other week.

On the other hand, a boy and a girl aged about 9 could have talked all night to me without the slightest air of self-consciousness and that will be some really good radio if it works.

Having had a bad night, I had a sleep for an hour or so on the way back, but a coffee at a motorway service area awoke me.

So now I’m back home. Tea was out of a tin and seeing as I made almost 110% of my daily activity I didn’t go for a walk tonight.

What I’ll do is have a lie in tomorrow and then try my best to finish the Bain des Manchots. I want that out of the way so that I can do this football supporters’ programme.

There’s this feelign in the back of my mind that for the next foreseeable future i’m going to be up against it.