Tag Archives: ALDI

Wednesday 29th December 2021 – THERE’S ONE THING …

… about all of these issues I’m having about trying to have some work done on Caliburn during the Christmas – New Year period. And that is that I’m having plenty of exercise. My fitbit tells me that I’m up to 99% of my daily activity and as soon as I press “send” on this journal entry, I’ll take the rubbish out and push it up to over 100%.

This morning I struggled – really struggled – to leave my bed when the alarm went off at 07:30 (yes, I remembered to set it this morning). Having had a late night last night was probably responsible for that but I was having a chat with someone as well as doing some interesting work.

While I was asleep I was off on my travels again. THere was a big concert in Canterbury with loads of groups on. I was down there and I tracked down one or two but in the end someone pointed me to the direction of the organisers who had a shop there too selling all amplifiers second hand, everything that you need. The tod me who was on and when and where so I made a list of groups whom I wanted to see. I was talking to a couple of boys about this as well and writing a list of what I wanted to see. I happened to mention that I was a bassist and that excited them tremendously. They were very keen so I gave them my phone number. Then I was back in Crewe, making everything ready to leave to go back down to Canterbury again. I set off and I was a good way down the road towards the motorway. It was one of those situations where you had to drive west to pick up the motorway on order to go south-east but I realised that I didn’t have my jacket. I didn’t have the list of acts that I wanted to see or where they were playing. I set off anyway thinking that I can redo all of this when I arrive

There was also something about me being in a shop. The floor was very wet. All of a sudden my knee gave way again and I crashed to the floor. Of course everyone came to help me. I said that it wasn’t the first time that I’d had a similar incident to this – in this shop a couple of years ago. She went off to fetch the accident book to go and look through it to see if I was there and to see what remedy they had done to help me ease the problem that I was having

Later on there was something about some kind of list. It might have been a music list or a shopping list, I can’t remember now. Someone had to take me back home for something because my guitar was playing up. Through a few of the songs you could actually hear my guitar, a really searing Gibson lead guitar playing that wasn’t on the original copies. There was something else too but I can’t remember what that was.

And even later during the night I was back with this big rock concert again, going down to Dover rather than Canterbury) to watch these groups. On Saturday I’d been out with Liz and mentioned it to her but she didn’t know what was happening about the snooker final or anything like that. She said that she could make it if there was nothing preventing her. I had to go to find out which groups they were. I could remember four of them so in order to remember them I wrote them down on my stomach in biro and went back to see Liz to tell her, and wouldn’t my stomach be a gruesome sight for anyone?

After the medication and checking my messages I made a long-awaited start on work – and attacked a pile of dictaphone notes. As well as todays, there are a few previous days that have been transcribed and added in where they belong. There are now only … gulp … 27 entries that need to be transcribed before I’m up-to-date enough to let things slide into arrears once again.

When I’d had enough of that I attacked a sound file of an interview that we did a few weeks ago. The content of this one is far the best of all that we interviewed but the quality isn’t up to much.

And there’s so much that needs to fall by the wayside too. There’s still 4:30 to edit on the first pass but by the time that I knocked off, already over 50% has gone into the bin. There will be much more taken out oo, but I have yet another cunning plan for that.

Brain of Britain forgot to make his hummus this morning so I ended up with vegan grated cheese sandwiches for lunch. It made a nice change, I can tell you.

During the morning I made a couple of phone calls – firstly to my doctor for an appointment to renew my physiotherapy prescription and to obtain the final dose of Aranesp.

The second one was to the garage where Caliburn is currently residing. I should have called them last night but with Rosemary on the phone for as long as she was, they were closed when I called them.

Caliburn wasn’t ready, he told me, which was just as well that I didn’t turn up uninvited yesterday evening, but he should be ready at 17:00. And so accordingly at 15:30 I set off.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Even though it’s a little earlier than normal, I went off to have a look at what was happening on the beach.

Firstly, it has to be said that there wasn’t very much beach for anything to be happening upon right now. The tide was well in and there was hardly enough room to swing a cat down there.

There was however a couple of brave people down there this afternoon on the little piece of beach that was at the foot of the steps. I’ve no idea what they were doing as I couldn’t see that far out and I only had the NIKON 1 J5 with its standard lens.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021From there I walked around the back of the building and down to the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

There were a few trawlers in the inner harbour, so I noticed, but none of the little shellfish boats that I could see. The outher harbour was quite empty for a change and even the yellow Cherie d’Amour seemed to be out at sea this afternoon.

There was something else out in the bay, right down near to the Pointe de Carolles, as I found out when I examined the photo later. Whoever she is, she has a black sail rather in the style of Black Mamba, but it is not she, according to my shipping database.

place pleville le pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021At long last I could go down the Rampe du Monte à Regret and then the steps to the bottom, because today they have cleared away the huts of the Christmas market.

That was very much a sad affair – just a dozen or so huts without a great deal of patronage. Had they installed them in the centre of town, say, at the Place General de Gaulle, they might have had much more luck with it.

So I trudged along on my weary way out through the town centre and up the long climb all the way to the roundabout right at the top, only stopping once for breath which is a great improvement. And climbing the four steps that I use as the guide to test my knee was much easier too.

Once on the flat I could push on to the garage, stopping at the Aldi for a can of energy drink to keep me going. I seem to be living on tha right now.

christmas market wooden chalets Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021As I came out of the supermarket, a council lorry with a couple of cabins from the Christmas market drove past.

Hence a very hurried (and rather blurred, unfortunately) photo as they roared past the car park.

17:00 I was told to be at the garage, and it was 17:00 bang-on when I arrived. It took me 80 minutes (including the stop at Aldi) to walk there. And there I found that Caliburn was a long way from being finished.

“If you can wait an hour I can lend you a courtesy vehicle” said the proprietor. Well, I need some shopping from LeClerc, which is about 500 metres away …

Back at the garage I had a half-hour wait and then the proprietor lent me the garage’s van – one of thse little Opel vans like a Berlingo. A typical mechanic’s van – nothing works correctly and there are warning lights everywhere, all of which will be repaired “as soon as we have a moment”.

“Give me a ring tomorrow evening” said the proprietor as I left.

And frankly, I’m worried. I can’t understand what are the problems in fitting a set of discs and pads onto the rear of Caliburn. Had I had my health, my tools and a decent place to work, I could have done the job myself in an hour or so. What’s going on?

Back here I made myself a glorious mug of hot chocolate and then arranged tea. And seeing that I now have some potatoes, it was baked potato with burger – a real one – on a bap.

Now I’m off for bed. I’m exhausted after all of my walking – especially now that I’m at 102%. And I still have a lot to do before I can stop for the New Year break.

Monday 27th December 2021 – REGULAR READERS …

sunset sea mist baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… of this rubbish will recall that yesterday’s posting included a note about the glorious sunsets that we have at this time of year.

On my way back from taking Caliburn to the mender’s to have his rear discs changed, there was yet another one. I noticed it as I walked up the hill from the town centre towards home.

And as well as the sunset we also had a sea mist that was rolling around in the bay restricting the view of the Brittany coast It was the kind of weather that made me want to head for home and my nice mug of hot coffee.

Anything to keep me awake of course because I’d had another rough night. Not because I was unsettled but because I was late going to bed. For some reason I couldn’t find the energy to go to bed when I ought to have done.

Nevertheless I managed to haul myself out of the bed in some kind of order when the alarm went off at 06:00.

Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone just now. I was going out for my evening run and I’d met someone. I can’t remember who it was but it wasn’t a very agreeable meeting. Then I came across a girl from school dressed in casual clothes. Then a few more people from school, boys and girls. Gradually, the further on round my course I went, the more people from school I met until I ended up in the dressing room for the gym. I had to fight my way through the crowds of people. They all wanted to know where I was going. I replied that I was going for a run. They said “yes, but there’s something else that you have to do” and I can’t remember what that something else was. I had to fight my way through the crowds and find the tutor and explain to him and carry on. Then I was stuck in the gym again. This time I couldn’t find the tutor to explain what was happening. These crowds of people, there were more and more of them and I was trying to fight my way through them, all this sort of thing. It was quite a struggle and I wasn’t making any headway at all through these crowds and just couldn’t find the tutor this time. And this a a dream of the “classic” type, isn’t it?

Later on I had a dream that was so real. There was a girl who lived in Chester who I bumped into. I thought that she was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. She could sing and had a beautiful voice. Some time a couple of years later when my enthusiasm for this girl had died down I came across her music. I managed to collect together easily a dozen songs and thought that there was enough here to make a radio programme, a live concert, and also some other songs for something else so I sat down to edit them. I was editing them in the street with the volume pretty loud in the hope that she would hear it and would come to find out who it was who was playing this music because I’d forgotten her name and where she lived. It was the kind of thing that having discovered her music it was now starting to haunt me that I couldn’t remember her at all or at least any details about her

There was also lots of other stuff going on during the night. There were a couple of young boys in the youth team at Morton given their chance to make their first-team debuts. There was also a girl whom I know from the internet who put in an appearance last night and it’s a shame that she couldn’t manage that for real.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I sat down to prepare the radio programme. And in news that will surprise almost everyone, because it certainly surprised me, I was all done and finished and ready to go at 11:20. I’ve never finished a radio programme so early.

That included stopping for a coffee at about 07:30. But not breakfast because I’d finished my programme by the time I was ready for food.

When I’d finished listening to the finished article I went for a shower and then for lunch. And that reminds me – I must make more hummus pretty soon.

After lunch I organised myself and then headed out for Caliburn. And we went off to the garage for his new brakes – and here’s hoping that they have the correct parts this time.

For a change it wasn’t too wondy and it wasn’t too cold either, so I decided to walk home – all 6kms of it

As I passed Aldi I popped in for some shopping. My cucumber and my lettuce were looking extremely sad at lunchtime so they ended up in the bin. Replacements were on the agenda today

There wasn’t much going on of any excitement happening on the way home really.

sign blown down in the wind avenue des matignons Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021However there’s a derelict garage and house in the Avenue des Matignons that have been up for sale and have just recently been sold.

A big sign had appeared saying that they will be building a couple of blocks of flats thereupon, but it looks as if the wind that we have had just recently has done for part of the sign.

It’s lying there flat on its face next to a very sad framework. They could do with re-erecting it because I can’t remember what it was saying right now. But whatever it is, I won’t be able to afford it. And I wouldn’t want to live there anyway.

bad parking bus station gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Something else that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that pathetic parking has been a regular feature of these pages in the past.

This one is a pretty fine example. That’s the car park for the railway station down there, and that particular zone is where the buses park as they connect with the incoming trains.

However there’s a horsebox down there parked sort-of-ish in the bus station and as you can see, not only is it parked poorly, it’s also straddling the white line taking up two of the four bays. That’s bound to be popular with the bus operator, I don’t think.

Down in the town I didn’t see anything of any interest so I pushed on towards home.

loading fishing nets tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Half-way up the hill I stopped for a moment – and not to drink the can of energy drink that I had bought in Aldi either.

The trawler Tiberiade is down there, having reversed in to the quayside and there is a couple of men down there sorting out and untangling a fishing net.

It looks as if Father Christmas has brought a new fishing net for Tiberiade, and I would have loved to have seen him try to fit it into a stocking.

They were taking their time with the net so I didn’t hang around for too long. I headed on for home and my coffee.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Before I went in though, I went to have a look down on the beach.

And the pleasant weather had brought out the crowds this afternoon. There were about half a dozen people down there having a walk around in the mild weather.

Back here I had a coffee and then I had some work to do. A pile of sprouts and leeks were left over from Christmas Day so I prepared them and blanched them ready for freezing which I shall do when they have drained properly.

Laurent came round bang on 17:00 and we talked about the message that he wanted me to write. It’s a complicated message because the person to whom he wants to speak is rather nervous about it, judging by what I read, and needs rather a large amount of reassurance.

It’s very difficult to do that but at the same time keep things professional and business-like but after about 90 minutes I was happy with what I had written.

Now we are in the Lap of the Gods.

After Laurent had had a coffee he went home and I made tea – falafel and steamed vegetables with a vegan cheese sauce.

While I was eat my meal in the evening I usually watch a film on the old laptop that’s in the dining area.

The current film is THE HITCH-HIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY but I’ve almost reached the end. And there was a line or two in there quoted by Arthur Dent that rang a bell with me.
“And for one week, one week, in my sad little blip of my existence, it made me happy”.

Yes, one of these days I shall have to write up the story of those missing few days at the end of August 2019, if the dust will ever settle. I dunno.

Friday 24th December 2021 – MERRY CHRISTMAS …

… to all of my readers.

It’ll be Christmas Day probably by the time that you read this, and I’ll refrain from posting anything about the Public Conveniences on Crewe Bus Station because, regrettably, the whole Queensway Shopping Centre and Bus Station complex has been swept away in an orgy of demolition.

It just about managed 60 years of life before it was declared surplus to requirements and that tells you everything you need to know about modern construction.

But anyway, I digress … “once more” – ed.

After yet another turbulent night, I was once more wide awake at some ridiculous hour waiting for the alarm to go off although when it did, it still took me a good few minutes to force myself out of bed.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages, I had a cooking session. I’ve made a load of potato cakes.

There are some vegan sausages left from Leuven and a couple of tins of baked beans, so I’m going to have fried potato cakes, beans and sausage as a brunch over the festive period, with toast and mushroom paté. What’s the point of having Christmas if you can’t pig out?

After all, I haven’t bought any presents for myself this year so I’ll make up for it with food.

And then I had a cleaning session which was, as usual, 10 minutes cleaning followed by 20 minutes recovering, all the way up to lunchtime.

During the night I’d racked up yet another impressive amount of miles. I was in an apartment that I was renting somewhere and there was a problem with the water supply. It turned out that the cold water tank needed replacing. But to replace it was an exceedingly complicated procedure. It had to come out through the cellar wall into the public area down in the cellar and then lifted up which meant that you had to demolish the wall, which meant you had to fence it off to stop people coming through and helping themselves to other people’s possessions. Of course they were all blaming me in the first place for having done something to damage it. Someone described the action like something to do with eating a banana but this was going to be an extremely complicated procedure to take this water tank out and replace it with another more modern one that wasn’t broken.

Nerina and I were in Brussels visiting somewhere in the centre, looking up by the European Community. We were looking for a place to park the car. I found a corner to park on but a policeman came along to ask me to move so I went to move the car but couldn’t find a place and ended up back. The policeman was still there boxed in by someone else and he was giving them a lecture to move. In the end, with no place to park, Nerina gave me a pound and told me to park the car at a meter. Of course there were plenty of meters in the area so I went to look at them. It was something like £1:00 for 17 minutes and I thought that we would be here for at least an hour so I carried on until I came to the multi-storey car park at the European Commission. I went inside the building and asked where the entrance was. One person pointed across the road but that was like a little slot down which you posted your books so I asked someone else. He replied “yes, post your books down there and the guy at the bottom will deal with them”. I asked how you would receive them back and he had to think for a minute. After a while he admitted that he didn’t know. Incidentally he had a couple of motorbikes under tarpaulins on trailers there that were interesting me. I suddenly realised that we were only going to be there for an hour and I’d been away for half an hour already trying to find this place to park. This was getting rather ridiculous. I couldn’t find the entrance to this multi-storey car park no matter how hard I looked.

A little later I stepped back into that dream about trying to find a place to park the car. I was in the European Communities by now. I had this bag and I wanted to leave it somewhere where I could go off and look at a few things. But they wanted £5:00 to leave a bag so I replied “no, I’ll take it with me”. Anyway I went off to look at what I wanted to see and then ended up at a metro station that was called “metro” on a big, wide dual carriageway, an enormous place. One of the group told me off, told me that Michelle, whoever she was, was not feeling too well. I spoke to her on the phone and asked her if she was going home, was there anything I can do?. She replied that she wasn’t going to go home straight away but sit and relax. I said “I’ll come down and see you. Where are you?”. She replied “we’re in Brussels”. “Yes, but whereabouts?”. “I don’t know” she answered. “Can you see the European Community buildings?”. “I don’t know”. I said “well go outside and find something that looks significant and come back and tell me what it is so I’ll know where you are and where we can meet”. It took quite a while to persuade her what to do before she agreed to do it. That was one thing about this dream, that I hadn’t left my bag with these people because of this fiver issue but I realised that I didn’t have my camera with me to take any photos of what I was looking at.

During the rest periods I sent a Christmas greeting to all of the regular readers who have declared themselves to me over the last year or so. I don’t know why some of you are so shy as to not introduce yourselves, but I can’t send you my individual greetings, but rest assured that I am grateful for your support and I wish you all a very merry Christmas.

No lunch at lunchtime – instead, I hit the streets.

First port of call was at the Railway Station. My Old Fogey’s railcard expires imminently so that needed renewing. And with the odd money-off voucher for compensation for delayed trains, it wasn’t as expensive as it might have been.

Next stop was Aldi for a can of energy drink. It used to be once every few weeks a while back but these days it’s almost every time that I go out that I need an energy refuel.

Third stop was the Biocoop. They have nice vegan sesame-seed biscuits so I grabbed 150 grammes for my lunch. Biscuits and energy drink for lunch sitting on a bench in the street is somehow quite relaxing.

Finally I arrived at Espace Auto to rescue Caliburn. And here I hit a snag because he wasn’t ready. They had delivered the wrong parts.

No courtesy car available so I had them reassemble Caliburn and I drove him home – to take him back on Monday.

A quick tidying up and then Laurent came round. he had a listen to what I wanted him to do and then he dictated a pile of “supplementary questions” to edit into the monologues that we have been recording.

There were five interviews to do but we only managed 2. We’ll attack the others tomorrow.

Very kindly, Laurent invited me round to his house where he cooked a meal. I took the drink, the dessert (some of my delicious Christmas cake) and a vegan burger.

We had a good chat and he showed me a video of his trip up the Amazon from a few years ago, which was extremely interesting.

Back here now, I’m off to bed. Christmas Day in the morning so I’m having a nice lie-in, I hope. No alarm at all.

So if you are up before me, I hope that you have lots of nice gifts to unwrap.

Thanks for your support.

Thursday 11th November 2021 – I THOUGHT THAT I’D …

crack in Caliburn's windscreen place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… I’d show you the crack in Caliburn’s windscreen.

According to the examiner at the controle technique this crack is in the field of view of the driver. It certainly is from where I’m standing taking this photo, but remember in Caliburn I’m sitting about a foot higher up from here so it’s nothing like in my field of view from the driver’s seat.

And that’s probably why, for every year since 2016 up until this one, nothing has ever been said about it.

There have been issues like this before. I’ve owned several Transits in the past and on one occasion I was stopped by a policeman for “overtaking on a blind bend”. It was certainly a blind bend for him low down in a Rover 2.6 but up in the driving seat of my Transit you could clearly see the road over the top of the hedge.

Still, not much I can do about it. It does really need replacing so I may as well do it to keep him happy

It does however remind me of the time that a nasty crack appeared on the wall of 10 Downing Street. But the police painted it over before Boris Johnson could read it.

This morning I had quite a fight to leave my bed. And when you see the notes that I transcribed off the dictaphone you’ll understand why.

We were at a holiday camp, a group of us, last night. There had been something going on about some kind of play or something like that and we were all going to have a meeting. We’d booked the place for a couple of days but the previous day while we were there the guy in charge went missing. Next morning there were all kinds of rumours flying around. Some girl came over to our chalet and just walked straight in – she didn’t knock or wait at the door or anything. She said “did you hear the news? So-and-so has been to see the authors of the play and started work already”. I replied “I knew that he had gone yesterday to do this but I want to stress that I knew that he had gone yesterday, but no that I knew yesterday that he had gone”. She replied “all the party is breaking up now and people are going home”. I said “we’re here for another day yet”. It was pouring down with rain, a real wet day. She said something like “you’ll be on your own here. You know that, don’t you?”. I answered “it probably suits me fine to be on my own like that”.

Later on I was with some young girl of mixed race with curly hair. I’d bumped into her 4 or 5 times in one day in London once and since then I’d been bumping into her every now and again. I’d actually started to chat to her because I thought she was nice. She was working in an office somewhere. One morning she’s gone in late to the office and gone to hang up her coat. Seeing as there were 4 or 5 coats in there already she decided not to and to hang it somewhere else. Then she went to see her supervisor to say that she had to leave in the afternoon. The Supervisor said that she couldn’t. The manager said that she had an exam to take in connection with her qualifications so that was going to be OK. Later on that afternoon I was with someone else when this girl walked past me and went down a side street that was quite steep. When she was halfway down she beckoned to me and made a gesture something like “when I’m at the bottom, tell him” – and I couldn’t see to whom she was pointing – “to come down”. I thought to myself “perhaps I ought to go down and have some interpretation of this. Wouldn’t it be a good idea,”. So I asked my friend “do you think that I ought to go down and see what she wants?”. My friend said “no, I don’t think she wants us and you’ll be very lucky if you see her again”. I replied “I’ve seen her so often just recently that I’m sure that there will be more to it”. I had a feeling that there was something nefarious going on, that she was either going to do a robbery or a hold-up or something. Everything about this seemed really suspicious, even not hanging up her coat with the other people looked suspicious to me.

There was something else about this girl as well, something to do with old-time radio. There was an old machine that was available. I’d gone to check the plugs in my room but the centre-piece of the plug where you plugged in the appliance was loose. I told my father and showed it to him. My idea was persuade him to let me have this radio so that I could listen to this girl. We found a few grub-screws but they weren’t the correct ones. They were all screws with broken heads that we’d used in carpentry or something. he said that he’d get round to it. Then he said to one of my sisters “isn’t one of you girls going to start putting a bolt across on your room now?”. One of them replied “there’s this thing, this machine that they say we can travel all around the world from our bedroom in 24 hours. Why would anyone want to do that?”. My immediate response was “why wouldn’t anyone want to do that?”. This started to lead to a discussion between my father and my sister. In the meantime I thought to myself “I’m trying to get hold of him to get him on his own so that I can ask about this radio so that I can get on and listen to this girl but at this rate I’m never ever going to do this. There were just so many distractions again”.

There was another thing about entertainment on board a ship and this girl was in charge of it. I was keen to sign up for the entertainment and everyone was surprised but it was a chance to talk to this girl. Someone said “she won’t be interested in you. She’s a professional hostess and has thousands of people every week whom she sees”. I replied “yes, but you live for the moment and you never know what the future holds.

So that’s three times that this girl put in an appearance last night – with me stepping back not exactly into the same place where I left it but pretty close to it with the same people showing up. There’s definitely something going on right now that I can’t explain.

A little later there was a group of us walking somewhere. We were discussing my dreams and the teacher said that that’s a fascinating subject and wished that she could have a copy. I said “I’ll give you a copy if you like. I write them down”. She seemed to be quite keen at first and then she started to make excuses “I don’t have my computer here” and a few other things like that. I replied “if you really want them you can have them. It’s not a big problem for me”. We went past a house and there was a woman outside. Someone pointed to some footsteps on the floor. The woman said “that’s my son and his football boots”. She had a look in the car and said “you can see where he’s sat when he’s come home and where he’s been looking for his stuff – first turning his head that way and then another way”. This woman rang a bell with me as she had some old cars. I asked where her old cars were. She replied “the woman who lived here has moved away”. I said “I know that she’s gone and taken some cars with her but I’m sure that you had a few old ones”. She pointed to an Austin A35 up by the hedge against the road and there was another one further down in the garden at the bottom. There was something else that I couldn’t recognise. She was talking about these cars and I said “I’m sure you had much more than this at one time”.

So is it any wonder that leaving the bed was rather problematic.

Having put the spare battery on charge last night, it goes without saying that Caliburn started fine this morning. We went to Aldi and while they had plenty of stuff in and plenty of choice, they didn’t have much of what I wanted. And watching girls probably not yet in their 20s dragging four tiny kids around the shop made me realise that this really is rock-bottom shopping.

Not that I’m elitist or anything like that but I’ll probably end up back shopping in Lidl.

Back here I had a coffee and a fruit bun and then attacked the dictaphone notes. And I don’t know what happened today but I had a really good shift and actually finished all of them and updated every one of the journal entries with the missing entries.

And apart from the family and Nerina, I had loads of exciting visitors. Miss Stoke on Trent was there a few time as was Percy Penguin, who doesn’t feature in these pages half as often as she deserves.

TOTGA showed her face too as well as some other people who flit in and out but one surprising omission was Castor. She didn’t turn up at all and I’d swap any appearance of anyone else in my nocturnal voyages for a visit from her.

Something really strange happened on that boat that night and I wish that I knew what it was.

Meanwhile back at the ra … errr … apartment I went for lunch with my nice new bread and then went outside for half an hour to tidy Caliburn a little and to find the screws to reassemble the door panel. I eventually tracked them down and now he’s looking so much better.

However, I wish that I knew where the spring clip that secures the window winder onto the axis sprung off to that day when I levered it off.

man with paddleboard people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another interruption, if there hadn’t been enough already, was my afternoon walk.

Down at the wall at the end of the car park I peered down onto the beach and was astonished to see all of the crowds down there.

There was even someone negotiating the currents with a paddleboard and I bet that he would have known all about it had he fallen off into the water.

And have you noticed the length of the shadows these days? The sun is sinking lower and lower in the sky.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021It wasn’t just seeing all the people on the beach that was surprising either.

Out there in the bay one of the sailing schools from somewhere was being quite adventurous. Four of their boats had gone way out from shore and were busy parading up and down.

And that reminded me – I want to see what the heart specialist has to say about my heart next week so that I can plan about going sailing and going for a flight underneath a Nazgul. Things are building up here.

fishermen peche a pied beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Further along on the beach there was plenty more activity too.

Out on the rocks at the water’s edge there was a guy casting his rod and line into the ocean, more in hope than in expectation I imagine. Remember that we have yet to see a fisherman with rod and line actually catch something.

There were a couple of other people down there too. I’m not sure what they were doing. At first I thought that they might have been doing some peche à pied among the rocks but it’s not very easy to see from this angle.

red microlight pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As I left the building to come out I was immediately overflown by one of the little light aircraft from the airfield but I wasn’t quick enough to photograph it.

But never mind. As I was walking along the path an old familiar rattle from the distance told me that one of the powered hang-gliders was heading my way.

Today, we’re having the red one come to overfly us. The yellow one must be having a day off today.

And that reminds me that we haven’t seen the yellow autogyro for a while either. I wonder where he’s got to.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021We’ve seen crowds on the beach, crowds out at see and even a couple of things up in the air so far.

There are crowds on land too and when I saw “crowds” I really DO mean “crowds”. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many people walking around on the path down to the headland before at this time of year.

Mind you, it’s nothing at all like mid-November today. It’s much more like the balmy early evenings on a mid-September day and I don’t recall there being anything like any wind to speak of either.

fishermen people on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Walking down the path and across the car park I came down to the end of the headland.

There were crowds down there as well. usually, we might manage just a couple of people by the little stone cabin there if we are lucky but today there were what looked like a couple of families that were admiring the beautiful sun that was blinding me and the camera.

Further out on the end of the rocks at the water’s edge were a couple more fishermen having a go with rod and line. But I didn’t really pay much attention to them.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Instead I cleared off down the path on the other side of the headland.

Over at the ferry terminal this afternoon in a foot or so of water was one of the Joly France ferries to the Ile de Chausey. The older one I reckon because, as you see, there’s no step in the stern.

And for once, they’ve folded up the crane correctly.

Nothing else happening out there. L’Omerta is still settled in the silt and the portable boat lift is still in the middle of the chantier naval with its wheels lying by the side.

Back here I made a coffee and then waded through another pile of photos from that rock concert a couple of weeks ago.

That took me up to tea time and steamed veg with falafel and vegan cheese sauce which was delicious.

Tomorrow I’m busy. There’s a public meeting about the twinning arrangements between Granville and Uummannaq and as I know Uummannaq and some of its inhabitants very well, I’ve been asked by the radio to go and record it and interview a couple of people there.

There’s also a rock concert in town to which I’ve been invited but I don’t know how I’m going to find the time to go.

First task though will be to find the spare battery and the two battery chargers for the NIKON 1 J5. Before I posted the camera off, I put them somewhere safe so I wouldn’t misplace them, so that means that it will be another 5 years before they next see the light of day.

Wednesday 10th November 2021 – MARITÉ IS BACK …

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… in port after her little adventure filming whatever it was that she had been filming during the week.

She crept back in on the morning tide and is now happily moored back in her habitual berth and the trawler Saint Gaud has cleared off elsewhere.

Caliburn is back too, but not for very long. The examiner at the Controle Technique didn’t like the crack in the windscreen that’s been there for five years and through four previous controles technique without so much as a mention.

He also needs his headlights polishing too so I’ll go out there with some toothpaste and an old toothbrush to deal with that one day later in the week.

And if I don’t have a decent sleep some time soon I won’t be here for very long either. You can tell just how disturbed it was by the entries on the dictaphone. I started out on my way to Court last night to defend myself against a VAT assessment. I’ve no idea why except that it was something quite old and I hadn’t a clue what it was so I’d just taken a pile of pens and notepaper to write down notes. I found an empty bench and went to sit down and started to rehearse my case. The judge who was sitting at his desk told me not to rehearse my case at all so that confused me even more.

Later on I’d been tidying up a huge pile of papers that were all over the floor, books and everything. It was getting worse and worse the more that I tried to tidy up, everything like that. No matter how much I tried, there was more and more stuff to unpack. Then there was something to do with a couple of friends who came round. We ended up driving back towards Manchester. We were talking about music but the guy wasn’t really listening to what I was saying so I didn’t say very much. When we returned we measured my wall out and found that there were a couple of plssterboards that were too low and needed building up. I took one off the wall to give to him. The we started talking about do he and his wife want to come round for tea or maybe a meal or something and put back the plasterboard but they had to have a look at all the food supplies they had lying around, put it away and see what went into the fridge and let me know

Some time later there was a netball match being played last night. I was on one team. It was strange that everyone except one player was packed into the defensive circle of his own team so there was only me and one girl from the other team playing upfield. We were playing with balloons and I had the upper hand but every time I passed the ball over to the pack to try to get it into the hoop the balloon burst and they had to produce another one. Some balloons were better than others and we never seemed to be making any headway with this. It was all just playing this netball in this one particular area trying to get into the attacking semi-circle

Finally there had been a new road built from Nantwich so although Chester was posted straight on down Welsh Row, Tarporley was for some reason posted off to the right on this new road. A little later on there was a girl driving an Austin A40 in nantwich who was heading towards Tarporley. She decided to take this new road to find out why it didn’t go on down Welsh Row towards Tarporley. At some point she’d parked up her car and was having a huge row with someone. She said something like “my car’s far too new to abandon just like that and walked back to get in her car to carry on down this road. I was there because I was interested in taking photos of the signposts to find out exactly what was happening.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I cracked on with a pile of dictaphone notes from the backlog.

A few more days have been added to the updating and there’s another pile of notes ready to follow that lot tomorrow morning too. It kept me busy for for most of the morning and there’s only four days left to transcribe now.

They aren’t going to be done as quickly as I would like either because by now my turbulent phase was in full swing are there are mounds and mounds of stuff.

There were a couple of breaks in the middle of all of this.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Firstly, I’d almost run out of bread here. And I’d almost run out of yeast too so I had to go with what I had.

For a change I spent quite some time kneading and rolling my dough and it’s come out quite well again. I must remember this technique for the future.

It actually tasted quite nice too and it would have been even better had it had more yeast in it. But I think that the mixture could have benefited from a little more water in it.

The second interruption was the nurse. He couldn’t come on Monday so he came today instead and gave me my Aranesp injection and also my ‘flu injection.

Now i’m injected to the hilt and safe against every known disease, so i’ll probably be run down by a bus as well.

While I was waiting for the bread to cool down I went to take a shower. And my weight is slowly going down. I could make it go down even quicker but experience has shown me that the quicker it comes off, the quicker it goes back on.

omerta port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Having finished lunch I set the washing machine off and then set out for the physiotherapist, taking the NIKON 1 J5 with me.

L’Omerta was still moored up at the wharf underneath the fish processing plant, something that seems to be becoming a regular occurrence these days.

Strangely enough, I’d forgotten how to use the little camera and it took me a while to remember. It’s only been four months as well.

These days, my memory is becoming terrible. I keep on telling people that two things happen to you you when you reach my age.

  1. You forget absolutely everything that there is to forget
  2. I can’t remember what the second thing is


fishing boats victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I was still finding my feet with the camera (I don’t ‘arf do some strange things) I noticed that the inner harbour was strangely deserted.

It seems as if all of the big trawlers and most of the little inshore fishing boats were out at sea this afternoon. There were just a few of the smaller inshore boats left behind – and L’Omerta of course.

But Victor Huge and Granville are still there too. A sad casualty of the Channel Islanders’ willingness to leap aboard the Brexit bandwagon despite the fact that, never having been in the EU, Brexit is nothing to do with them, has been the ferries that for a couple of centuries have been running between here and there.

One of the reasons why I came here was for the ferries – a good chance to exercise my sea-legs – but it’s turned out not to be.

pointing Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Last time that we came down the hill in the Rue des Juifs we saw them erecting a scaffolding to enable them to continue the repointing on the wall at the Rampe du Monte à Regret that they abandoned a while back.

By now it’s all up and they have actually started work. And it doesn’t look to me as if they are apprentices or work experience trainees either but proper time-served employees.

That’s a shame really because there are so many traditional crafts that are rapidly dying out with no-one to carry them on.

To promote this kind of thing amongst the young and the jobless is a really good way of building up a reservoir of skilled workmen and women with a trade that is a meaningful and valuable occupation.

woman speaking into microphone rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down the hill, through the town centre and back up the hill on the other side to the physiotherapist..

It would have given me great pleasure (well, a lot of things would, actually) to have said that I went all the way without stopping but I did actually stop once in the Rue Couraye – just to take a photograph though, not to catch my breath.

The woman was standing on the side of the road with a professional microphone into which she was talking and which seemed to be connected to something in the rear of that car.

Whatever that was about, I have no idea.

The physiotherapist had me doing kinetic exercises again because someone else was using the tilting platform. And right at the end she had me staning on something just 10cms wide, one foot behind the other while she threw balls at me to catch.
“your reflexes are really good” she said. Well, she didn’t. She actually said “vos reflèxes sont vachement bien”

It wasn’t for me to disillusion her by telling her that I spent much of my spare time in my teens and 20s as a goalkeeper and later as a wicket-keeper.

After she threw me out, then biting the bullet I headed off on foot to rescue Caliburn, stopping at Aldi on the way for a can of energy drink.

It’s all uphill to the garage – not very steep but long, long, long and it took it out of me but I made it there in the end.

Having paid the bill I went to collect Caliburn only to find that the battery was flat. One of the guys at the garage gave me a jump-start and so I went for a good long drive to put some juice back into the battery.

It was my intention to go to the shops for food but I didn’t fancy the idea of trying to have a jump start on a supermarket car park.

Back here I put the spare battery on charge just in case he won’t start tomorrow and then went to make a coffee. It was at that point that I realised that tomorrow is a Bank Holiday. I hope that one of the supermarkets in town will be open tomorrow morning.

There were some mushrooms lying around looking sorry for themselves in the fridge so I made another delicious curry with them. These ad-hoc curries with whatever is lying around are turning out to be quite nice.

So now I’m off to bed, to see where else I might be going tonight. And, more to the point, and more importantly too, who’s going with me. I’ve been having a few interesting partners on my travels just now and it’s a shame that they aren’t here in real life.

Thursday 4th November 2021 – HOW LONG IS IT …

… since I’ve walked 110% of my daily total? It must be quite a while, I reckon.

This morning I took Caliburn for his annual service and controle technique and it’s a long way home – just over 6kms in fact. But apart from the final climb up the Rue des Juifs, what parts of it that aren’t on the level are slightly downhill so I thought “now or never”.

As it happens, just as I was walking past the bus stop about 400 metres from the garage, a bus came along and I could even have had a free ride home, but I persevered. And I’m glad that I did.

Mind you, I shan’t be walking back to pick him up when he’s ready. That’s not part of the plan at all.

Even more surprisingly, I’m surprised that I even thought about it after the night that I had. I promised yesterday that I won’t mention bad nights again so I’ll say nothing more.

It was however something of a very mobile and extremely surreal night. I don’t know why but I had just thrown a load of inflatable lifebuoy rings and toys and things into a swimming pool. Everyone had jumped in afterwards after them but thy were adults and even so they were making like whale things like squirting water out of a jet at the back of their helmets and that kind of thing, not being serious at all.

Later on there were 2 Viking ships doing a shuttle service between Norway and England. One of them was delayed for so long that by the time they prepared to leave the other Viking ship or Norse trading ship had come in to the harbour down the coast so they wanted to slip out to sea before the captain of that ship came to look for them to wonder why they had been so long. They slipped out on the tide at night and were caught in a fog. eventually they made a very rough landfall on some kind of island that might have been the Faroe Islands or something but was totally uninhabited. The ship was damaged so they couldn’t sail away so they had to sit and make the most of what it was that they were going to be doing on this island. There was plenty of driftwood for wood but that was really all about everything.

Some time later I was with a friend of mine in that old black MkV that I had and we were going into Crewe somewhere, just generally talking. This Cortina was running really poorly on about 3.5 cylinders and you had to work the gears pretty hard to get it to move. We went all the way down Mill Street where we nearly ran into the back of a car. I stopped by turning left and let some people cross the street, up past Oak Street into the town centre. The whole of the town centre had changed. There was still the pavement opposite the library but that was now a lawn but where the car park and the ring road used to be was now all buildings. I was having to find a place to park there but I couldn’t see anywhere to park. I was thinking that I would have to drive round for a bit in order to find somewhere.

There were plenty of other things going on too. We were on a coach tour going into Hungary. When it was meal-time the coach pulled up in Budapest, but it was no Budapest that I ever knew, something really modern. We all cascaded out and there was a restaurant there and it had absolutely nothing whatever vegan. We went to look at another couple in the vicinity and there wasn’t anything there either. By the time that we’d met up with a couple more off the coach who were looking for something to eat. We went back to the first place but to get there wasn’t easy. We had to scramble down this slope that looked very insecure. Down at this restaurant you had to make your own pizza, make your own sandwiches, take them to the till. There was nothing there that I could eat so we went into the restaurant to look for the tour guide. He wasn’t there. I was becoming extremely annoyed about this because I wanted something to eat but there was nothing there whatever that I could eat.

Finally there was an awfully interesting chat about camisole dresses and school sports days but I’m not quite sure what that was all about – something about rolling the camisole dress up like girls do when they go to school – roll the waist over to make the skirt shorter.

After the medication I went and assembled Caliburn’s door.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the door latch keeps sticking and sometimes I can’t open it from the outside. A few weeks ago I dismantled it and oiled all of the parts with WD40 and I left it half-dismantled to make sure that it works. Today I gave it another oiling and then put it back together.

Having dropped Caliburn off at the menders’, I set out for my marathon walk home. It was sunny but there was a cool breeze and I was very grateful for that.

calvary rue de la font jolie Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the corner of the street near the garage is a calvary – a shrine in honour of the Virgin Mary i reckon.

The plaque underneath it is very worn but the general message suggests that it’s to do with a pilgrimage to Lourdes in 1959

And this reminds me of a story that I have told before … “and on many occasions too” – ed.

In Québec many years ago they had some kind of competition for the design of a calvary. One designer sent in a drawing of John Wayne on his horse

Avoiding the temptation to take the bus, I carried on walking and I was glad that I did because we now have an Aldi open in the town. I popped in there for some energy drink to fuel me up and took advantage of the opportunity to have a good look around.

The place is bigger and has more choice than Lidl, so I can see myself calling in there every so often to stock up, especially as it’s not too far from Noz and LeClerc.

By the time I reached the bottom of the hill in the Rue Couraye I was beginning to feel the strain but I pushed on regardless.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021So much so that I actually made it half-way up the hill in the Rue des Juifs before I had to stop for breath.

Down there in the port, it was all quiet. The quayside was deserted – Normandy Trader and Thora had gone, taking the huge mound of freight with them.

Also gone from the harbour is Marité. Apparently she’s doing some filming somewhere, but I’ve no idea what or where it is.

When I returned home I made some coffee and toast and then came back in here to sink into my comfortable chair. And was I glad to do that! It’s a long time since I’ve been so exhausted and even so, I was really glad that I had accomplished it.

There’s life in the old dog yet!

But that wasn’t the end of my activity for the day either. There’s my appointment with the doctor at 13:30.

When I sat down on returning home I was feeling fine, but when I stood up to go on my way, I knew about it. I felt every inch of the journey down into town, and every bone and muscle in my body as well.

peche a pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As usual I took the NIKON D3000 with me on my walk. and I put it to good use just round the corner.

The tide is well out right now so with it being the school holidays, the crowds are out on the exposed beach having a go at the pèche à pied.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the foreshore between high and low tides is leased to commercial fishermen who harvest the shellfish. But at the very low tides the water drops right down below the commercial zone and anything found in this exposed zone is fair game for anyone who cares to harvest it.

The doctor gave me a good going-over while I was there. My blood pressure is up which is a surprise because I didn’t think that I had enough even to make a normal reading.

The chemists have to order the injections of Aranesp for me so when I recovered from the shock of the price (you won’t believe how much they cost) I told them I’ll be down tomorrow to pick them up. It’ll be a nice walk into town in the afternoon, to do something different instead of my usual walk.

While I was at the chemist’s I remembered that I have a free voucher for a flu injection. I handed that over as well and I’ll pick that up tomorrow too.

Back here again I had a very late lunch with my delicious bread, musing on the fact that had suddenly hit me that I’d walked all the way from town and right up the hill to here without stopping for breath even once. And if that isn’t progress, I don’t know what is.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But after all of this I was in no fit state to do very much in the afternoon.

I remembered to pop out (later than usual) too look at the beach. The tide is not quite full in but even so there wasn’t anyone down there, so I didn’t hang around much. I came back in to the apartment for another rest.

At some point I managed to go through all of the photos for yesterday and at some point when I have summoned up the energy I’ll write the text for them. But right now, I’m aching in places that I didn’t even know that I had.

Leaving my seat to go and make tea was exciting too. I can see me having a real struggle to leave my stinking pit in the morning if things carry on like this.

But tea was good tonight. There were some leftover bits and pieces lying around so I made a curry with them and that was quite delicious too.

Anyway, shortly I’ll be off to bed and try again for an uninterrupted night’s sleep, if I can. The pace is hotting up in here with the work building up so I’m hoping to have a really good day at it.

Just watch someone come along and spoil it.

Monday 3rd June 2019 – I MIGHT POSSIBLY …

… be mistaken but by the end of the evening today I might have noticed a slight (and I DO mean “slight”) change in the way that my left leg is performing, and it might (and I DO mean “might”) be a change for the better.

But we shall have to see

The alarm went off of course as usual at 06:00 but when I finally surfaced it was more like 08:35. If I get up and move around too much too early I end up in agony.

We had breakfast of course and then much of the morning was spent copying the blog notes over to the web page for Canada 2017 – when I was feeling up to it. It’s not easy with the pain.

There has been some bad news too. Many years ago I bought a cheap cassette player from ALDI – they kind of machine that plugs into a USB port so that you can digitalise your audio cassettes.

I have hundreds around here and that was to be my next project. I went to make a start but for some reason the thing doesn’t want to work. I tried various combinations of batteries but it doesn’t want to fire up at all.

So it looks as if this project has gone back on ice for a while – either until I have a sudden revelation about what it is that I have forgotten to do or until I buy another machine.

Most of the afternoon has been spent in bed – for at least that way it eases things off a little and it doesn’t hurt so much. I can cope with the leg when I’m lying down like this and it’s not too painful.

It’s being upright that’s causing me most of the problems, and the transition between being lying down and being upright that it causing all of the rest – and they are the worst.

But as I said, this evening I noticed that things seem to be slightly different in the way that the leg is performing.

Once again, I didn’t feel like any tea. A couple of squares of chocolate and a handful of nuts. I’m still not in the mood for eating and seeing as I have a number of kilos that I wish to lose it’s no skin off my nose if I don’t eat. I’ll eat away at these excess kilos instead

So now I’m off to bed, nice and early. As in 21:05. But I don’t care. I need to make the most of this immobilisation and catch up on my beauty sleep so that I can feel so much better when the time comes for me to start to work again, which I hope will be soon.

Saturday 30th June 2018 – WE HAD ANOTHER …

… early start today.

But this one meant business. Ulli was taking Hans off on a raft ride for his birthday and they had a long way to go. So we barely had time to exchange pleasantries before we all went our separate ways.

But I’d already been on my travels. Back on a job where I should have been retired but was still there. And instead of dealing with the post that was coming in, I was just filing it away un-dealt-with. And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve had several very similar travels to this one over the years.

For my part, I went off to the big shopping centre down the road. The big DiY place opens early so I went there to look for a German plug for the slow cooker.

A German plug will fit into e French socket but not the other way round, so to solve my cooking issues I’ll fit a German plug for mow. What I’ll do in the long term is to get a three-hole French extension and fit a German plug to that

I was in luck too. They had just the plug that I wanted, and for all of €1:89 too. So I changed the plug in the car park and now we are back in business.

There’s an IKEA just around the corner too so I went in there for breakfast.

But not breakfast in bed, like some lucky people.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day Liz and I went to the IKEA at Caen. But they didn’t have enough of some stuff and they had sold out of some others. And so I went round and stocked up with what I had missed.

And it was cheaper than in Caen too.

I had to try a couple of supermarkets before I found a baguette, and then I headed off for the motorway. And we had an element of confusion yet again as The Lady Who Lives In The Satnav failed to recognise a grade-separated route.

having stopped for half an hour to eat my butties, I arrived at June and Dave’s at about 14:30. They live at Memmingen and June has just had a very major operation, so I was looking forward to seeing her and seeing how she was.

Catherine, her daughter, lives nearby so I went to pick her up and the four of us had a vegan pasta and a really good chat for hours.

June’s son had been a sound engineer for several rock bands, including Hawkwind and had played bass in several bands. All of his equipment was at June’s house and she had never heard his bass, a Fender Jaguar, played. And so I duly obliged.

Later that evening I took Catherine home and came back to June’s where I bedded down for the night in their guest room.

And the bed here is beautifully comfortable. I’m looking forward to this.

Saturday 12th November 2016 – I HAD A NICE …

… four hours out with Alison today.

She came round at about 11:00 and we went off to the good cafe down the street for a coffee and a chat. We were there for quite some time too.

Once we’d finished we went for a walk to look at a couple of shops and then went down the road to the ALDI where Alison did some of her shopping. And then over the road to Spit, the huge Charity Shop just there. And there was tons of good stuff in there too, much of which is at a decent price. I could quite happily furnish a small apartment from there.

There’s a Troc in the vicinity too, somewhere in between Leuven and Mechelen. The prices in there though are totally ridiculous, even though the stuff looks really good quality. But here’s something that you can buy me for Christmas if you can’t think of anything better – they had a late Medieval suit of armour in there. Wouldn’t that look nice standing up in the corner of my house? But €895 was a bit ridiculous really, although nothing like as ridiculous as the €12,500 they wanted for a bronze fountain that looked like a good well.

Alison took me later to the English shop. There’s a fish and chips van that parks up there a couple of days a week but that wasn’t what excited me. They had vegan pies which will go down nicely with some new potatoes and vegetables, but the highlight was definitely the vegan mince pies. I’ll be back there a few days before Christmas, that’s for sure.

On the way back I picked up a baguette at the Carrefour by the football ground and had lunch once I returned. following that I did some more research for my web pages on Labrador. I’ve found a couple of really good sites of interest on the internet – one that lists every known community in Labrador in about 1910 and the access port where appropriate (and there’s tons of interesting stuff on there) and secondly, an interactive map that shows the location of almost every known geographical feature in Labrador. I could really lose myself in those sites.

For tea it was pasta with a tin of chick peas and vegetables and tomato sauce. and then a nice relaxing evening.

This afternoon I’d crashed out for an hour or so but that is probably something to do with the disturbed night that I’d had. It took me ages to drop off to sleep and when I finally did, I was up and down several times too.

I’d been on my travels too, out to the Coasts of Labrador where there was a very narrow strip of land in bewteen the cliffs that narrowed even more just where I had to cross over the mouth of a small river. There was a young teenage girl with me too, rather like a girl with whom I’d had a lengthy discussion once when I was out on the North Shore of the Gulf of St Lawrence in May 2012. Although what she was doing suddenly making an appearance I have no idea.

Friday 19th August 2016 – I’M FED UP OF THIS!

I managed to doze off quite early last night, but I wasn’t asleep for long. My co-habitants came back shortly afterwards and we had the usual round of “good-nights” that awoke everyone in the building, and probably in the next street too. From then on, it was a tale of regular up-and-downs during the night. Three or four times, I can’t remember now.

I was also on the espionage trail at various times during the night. This place here featured in my nocturnal voyages at one time, as did one or two members of my family. However, I can’t remember much in the way of detail now.

After breakfast, I didn’t feel up to much and sat around vegetating for a while. About an hour in fact, and I was well away with the fairies too for a short while. I must really have needed it. but by about 09:15 I was down at the launderette again.

Apart from the usual stuff, I spent quite a while tracking down accommodation. I have quite a few addresses that I’ve discovered, and already sent out a few enquiries. And by the time that I was back in the launderette I’d already had a few responses. One invitation to visit, that I’ll be following up of course, and several requests for further information. Already, I’ve had more responses that I’d had earlier in the summer. Nothing concrete though, unfortunately, but while there’s life, there’s hope.

After lunch, I went for a walk. Down to the Aldi to see what was going on, and the short answer was “nothing”. I pushed on to the Carrefour near the Stade Den Dreef – the football ground – and picked up one or two things that I might need.

On the way back, I stopped off to check on Caliburn and ran his engine for a good few minutes. I sorted out a few things that I needed (but forgot my hair clippers) and then had a nice walk back.

It will be no surprise to anyone to learn that once I arrived back here, I crashed out for a good hour. Well away too. But a coffee soon revived me and then I did some work. I discovered some notes that I had made of a journey that I had made through France in May 2014 so I made up a web page and started to link the photos in with the text. That will keep me out of mischief for quite a while once I can set up a reliable internet connection, which doesn’t look as if it is going to be any time soon. The manager has been in here this evening, and done nothing about fixing it so that looks as if it is that.

For tea tonight I had pasta, a tin of ratatouille, green flageolet beans and garlic fried in soya margarine. That’s filled me up quite nicely and now I’m ready for anything.

Tomorrow I might go out for a drive. It’s been ages since I’ve set foot out into the suburbs so it looks as if a mega-shopping visit is on the cards for tomorrow.

And I’m sure that regular readers of this rubbish will agree. I really ought to get out more.

Wednesday 10th August 2016 – I HAD A QUIET DAY TODAY

And that’s no surprise either. I had another bad night – still being awake at 02:00 this morning, and then having to make a couple of trips down the corridor during the night.

The alarm went off at 07:30, and it was something of an effort to crawl out of bed, but it had to be done. And then I staggered off upstairs for breakfast.

We seem to have run out of muesli and no-one has replenished the container. So it was cornflakes for breakfast with my toast, coffee and orange juice and somehow it’s not the same. I hope that they will refill the container sometime soon although when I was up there making tea it was still empty.

This morning I haven’t done too much at all, but at lunchtime I went for a walk. I checked on Caliburn in his new home and he seems to be fine. And then I went off to spy out the ALDI down the road from there. They don’t sell baguettes unfortunately but they so have some cheap stuff including the soya desserts and soya milk, as well as having a small range of vegan food like burgers and falafel. I’ll check this out when I find a proper place to stay. But it just goes to show you how far France is behind the times when it comes to this.

This afternoon, I crashed out for an hour or so – and quite right too for I was feeling pretty miserable what with having a bad night. But I wasn’t as miserable as the weather, which had rained when I was out and about on my travels at lunchtime although it did clear up later.

For tea, I cooked some of the vegan pastries that Alison had bought me, together with potatoes and mixed vegetables cooked in butter and with garlic. That was a very good tea, and there’s enough left over for tomorrow. The little oven here isn’t very powerful but it managed to do the job, and I need to look out for a small, cheap baking tray. Looks like a trip to IKEA is on the cards, especially as now I can access Caliburn without any effort. Renting this parking place looks as if it’s a good move.

So now, I’m going to try again to have an early night. And quite right too because my appointment at the hospital is for 09:10 tomorrow so I have to be early. I’ll pack some stuff in case I have to stay the night but if I don’t, I’ll be on the phone afterwards trying to sort out some accommodation. I have a few ideas, and a few phone numbers, up my sleeve.

But all of this assumes that they can tell me how long I have to stay here. I need to have some kind of idea so that I can make further plans.

Monday 5th March 2012 – I WAS RIGHT …

… yesterday about the snow.

At about 15:30 this afternoon the heavens opened and for a couple of minutes we had a snowstorm.

Not totally unexpected either, because between about 14:00 and 15:00 the temperature dropped from 8.3°C to 4.1°C – quite a dramatic fall in temperature in such a short space of time – and it carried on dropping too.

Having spent much of the morning doing computer things, I went out to move these tree stumps that are in the way of where I want to put the compost bins. But rather than spending all of the time moving the stumps, I spent much of that time taking the handle out of an old abandoned spade to put in the garden fork.

That’s another tool handle broken – I’ve lost count of how many just recently. I’ve no idea what’s causing them all to pack in.

However, when I was at Bricomarche the other day I noticed a pile of tool handles. I shall have to go and mortgage my life away.

“But why did it take so long to change a tool handle?” I hear you say.

Probably because the handle in the spade was well stuck in and in the end it was a job for the angle grinder to cut away the neck of the spade. As for the fork, that involved drilling out the broken bit of handle and that wasn’t as easy as it might have been either.

But now the big tree stump is out, and so are a couple of smaller ones. I didn’t have time to remove the rest so that’s a job for tomorrow, always assuming that I can see them through the snow that is forecast to fall tonight

Another thing I did was to plant the lettuce. Did I mention that I bought a dozen baby lettuce plants on Saturday? A dozen cost €2:95 and the price for 6 – also €2:95. So seeing as a dozen lettuce all ready at the same time would overwhelm me, I planted 6 and gave 6 to Liz at the Anglo-French group this evening.

What I will be doing is buying a few small lettuce plants every few weeks and running them throughout the year.

A big mistake that I made last year was that I left the final lettuce out in the open and the frost got to them even though they were stiull going. I’ve therefore planted this lot of lettuce in the cloche with the strawberry plants and put the glass (really two old caravan windows) over them to keep the bad weather out.

And the lettuce from September onwards will also go into the cloche to see how long they will keep in there under cover

I also bought a few packs of seeds from ALDI and LIDL – €0.29 and €0.49 a packet depending on size. Not many varieties but enough to keep me going. I imagine that temperatures of -16°C have done for the seeds in store from last year.

I also need to think about seed potatoes, onion sets, garlic and shallots. It’s getting to be about that time.

All in all, things are starting to become busy around here. I need to put my skates on.

Saturday 11th December 2010 – I SPENT A FORTUNE TODAY …

… in the shops in Montlucon. Easily €600  reckon. And poor Caliburn creaked and groaned on the way home under the weight of 50 breeze blocks, loads of pine boards to do my wardrobe (and why is it that a 300mm pine board costs €5.75 yet a 600mm pine board costs … errrr … €12.15?), tons more insulation, a load of wire and trunking and (says he, hoping it does the job) a new wheel for his wheelbarrow.

Yes, forget your €15:00 in some shops and your €17.95 on the tool vans that come by, how about a Brico Depot special at €8:75? Much more like my kind of price.

But I had lots of time to spend all of this money as I was up and about at some ridiculous hour and was actually camped outside the door of the new Aldi in Montlucon before its 09:00 opening time. And that’s a change isn’t it? Normally I struggle to make my kitchen by 09:00!

>And it was a gorgeous day to be out as well. Not quite your Alpine winter day but as close as we can get and the solar panels here on the house racked up about 180 amp-hours of charge. That was quite welcome too. We’ve been struggling for a decent charge for the last few weeks and I’ve been on something of an economy drive as far as the electrical energy goes.

On the way home I managed to fit in a visit to the swimming pool at Neris-les-Bains. I didn’t stay long as it was perishing in there but I managed a decent soak and a good warm (not hot, unfortunately) shower so I feel all clean for a change – at least on the outside.

Tomorrow I’m told (for at Auchan I bumped into Michel from the footy club) that there might be some footy – Pionsat’s 2nd XI have a match at St Maurice and it might even be on – so I might even have an afternoon out.

I’m missing the footy. What with this weather there has been none for ages.

Monday 22nd November 2010 – BACK AT WORK TODAY

And you have no idea how difficult it is, crawling out of bed at something like 08:30 in the morning when you haven’t had to do it for a while.

What made it worse was the weather – really a case of groping my way outside because we had a typical Auvergnat hanging cloud again and you couldn’t see a thing.

First thing that I did was to pull up my beetroot. That didn’t take too long and some of the roots are enormous. Liz is going to show me how to pickle them later this week and I’ll be looking forward to that.

home grown potatoes les guis virlet puy de dome franceNext was the turn of the potatoes and I seem to have rather a lot of them. I’ve had a cursory skim over about a quarter of the potato patch and I’ve pulled up a huge bucket full. But a few of them were damaged by the lifting so I reckon I’m going to have to make a huge potato curry.

I didn’t stay down there long because the heavens opened after about half an hour and it wasn’t very pleasant at all. And having to run up the field to answer the phone at about 11:30 or so, only for it to stop ringing as I put my hand on it – that didn’t help matters either.

But after that I fought my way into the barn, tidying up a load of wood as I passed, and sorted out a scaffolding pole to mount the wind turbine. That’ll be fixed to the fence for a while until I finish pointing the house wall, whenever that might be. And mounting it to the fence won’t be any time soon either as the weather is just impossible right now.

After lunch I tidied up a little in the bedroom downstairs to get ready to start work in there again, and I’ve used some of the old planks from the stairs to make a temporary floor in what will be the bathroom.

Now I have an inside toilet – a dry toilet of course, that’s made from a stainless steel waste bin (I bought two of those from IKEA) lined with a biodegradable bin liner and part-filled with sawdust. It’s only merely placed in the bathroom – it’s a long way from being fitted – but it’s a major advance as I don’t fancy trekking to the outside in the snow that we are likely to be having any time soon

I’ve also had a phone call from a potential customer interested in a wind turbine – that old guy who I met on an ALDI car park in Commentry a while back. He wants to power his house heating with it, which is rather optimistic, so we had a chat and if he wants to go any further he’ll call me back.

Tuesday 5th October 2010 – SOUTHERN SHORE OF LAKE ERIE

mar lu motel marblehead ohio usaThis is my motel from last night.

It was rather out of my budget but

  • it was here
  • it was open
  • it had a room
  • it was nice and comfortable
  • it had a good situation right on the waterfront

and you can’t say fairer than that.

lorry fitted with wheels for running on railway lines sandusky usaAnd remember years ago when we saw that lorry driving up the railway line and I thought that it was an optical illusion?

So here’s another one and you can see by the fittings underneath it that it’s not an optical illusuon and these lorries do actually exist. I had a chat to the workers – apparently they are rail welders and check the rails for cracks, which they weld up if they can, or signal for replacement if they can’t.

raw sewage discharge into lake erie sandusky ohioLake Erie has a reputation of being the filthiest lake in the world, with all kind of industrial discharges into the water.

But that’s not all that is discharged into the lake, judging by this sign. And to think that there’s a beach resort just a couple of miles up the road. Not that the USA would care too much about that, I suppose.

vermillion inland waterways museum ohio usaThis is the Vermillion Inland Waterways Museum, or some such name. It goes without saying that it was closed when Casey, Strawberry Moose and I visited. But then again, I wasn’t expecting anything else.

And Vermillion is the birthplace of Lester Allen Pelton who invested the “Pelton Wheel” type of water turbine. I had a quick look around but couldn’t see anything in the town to commemorate him.

marina vermillion ohio usaThe Vermillion Museum is situated in Ferry Road, which tells you such a lot about the history of the town, and it its fortune has always been based around the water.

Today, it’s famous for its marina and attracts thousands of water-borne tourists each year (who I bet haven’t read the notice in the harbour down the road at Sandusky). Nevertheless, it’s a nice pretty little place even in this kind of weather.

cleveland ohio usaThat’s Cleveland, Ohio, just down there. I was planning to park up and go for a little wander around but just after this photo I was engulfed in this most astonishing rainstorm the like of which I haven’t seen in ages.

That put paid to all of my plans – I wasn’t going to set foot out of the car in this kind of weather. I stayed put and carried on driving.

But one thing astonished me about Cleveland is that not only did it have buses, it had dedicated bus lanes too. Imagine that in the USA!

aldi food store cleveland ohio usaAnd that wasn’t all that surprised me about Cleveland either. Here on the corner of Lakeside Boulevard and East 315th Street is an Aldi. I had to go in for a look around.

And my conclusion? Well, the only resemblance that it bears to the European version of the shop is the sign on the shop front. For a start, the Bargain Section is total rubbish, something that would never be the case in a European Aldi, and no-one from Europe would ever recognise any of the products on sale here. The “German” potato salad bore no resemblance to any potato salad that any German Aldi has ever sold.

Oooohhhhh! Now take a look at this.

rover sd1 ohio usaI’ve been musing to myself as I’ve been driving through Ohio that I haven’t seen any old cars around and that’s been something of a surprise. But here on the way out of Cleveland near Madison, I’ve encountered an old Rover SD1.

You don’t see any of these in the UK these days – they’ve all been broken for the V8 engines that people have fitted into Land Rovers, so no-one was more surprised than me to see this one looking comparatively fit and healthy in the USA. However did it manage to come here?

point park ashtabula ohio usaThis is Ashtabula – one of the very few working harbours remaining on Lake Erie these days. All kinds of stuff – coal, gravel are shipped from here and it has the reputation of being one of the most polluted places on the lake – and that’s saying something!

Bob Dylan sang about it, Jack Kerouac wrote about it, it’s also been the site of one of the USA’s worst railway disasters, and the rail ferry that sailed from here across the lake to Canada sank just off-shore following a collision. It was 52 years old at the time.

From here, I cross into Pennsylvania having missed out on the fate that befell Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, William Schroeder and Sandra Scheuer (and, incidentally, Joseph Lewis, John Cleary, Thomas Grace, Alan Canfora, Dean Kahler, Douglas Wrentmore, James Russell, Robert Stamps and Donald MacKenzie, the suffering of whom is largely ignored by the media).

In fact, you can tell that we are elsewhere other than Ohio by the amount of rubbish and old cars lying around. And I don’t mean that pejoratively either, because I’d been making little notes to myself all along today’s journey about how unusually (and unacceptably) tidy everywhere in Ohio is – it’s no place for me.

I’m running on fumes looking for a petrol station (which I eventually find, manned … "personned" – ed … by someone from Swindon, Wiltshire) and looking for a motel, as the night is upon me. Eventually, the town of Erie comes up with something and so I settle myself in.

It’s heaving down with rain and I’m not going out.