Tag Archives: allen marsden

Wednesday 6th September 2023 – AFTER YESTERDAY’S DISASTER …

… I’ve had a much better day today.

Mind you, having said that, it couldn’t have been any worse at all.

In fact, with a little application I could have been up before the alarm went off because I was awake at 06:56 but I wasn’t quick enough to haul myself out of bed.

When the alarm went off I stirred my stumps and hauled myself out of bed. As expected, it took me an absolute age to bring myself round into the Land of the Living, but at least I managed to have my morning coffee and fruit bun.

Later on, I staggered into the bathroom for a shower in the hope that it might awaken me and whether it did or not, at least I felt better – and cleaner too.

And while we’re on the subject of “cleaner”, I had a lap around the kitchen and dining area to make sure that the cleaner wouldn’t die of fright when she came.

The rest of the day has been spent on the radio programme. I completed the one that has been hanging around for a couple of weeks waiting to be finished, and then I managed to finish off the notes for the next one.

There was even a few moments for me to make some kind of desultory start on choosing the music for a further one.

The cleaner came round this afternoon and attacked the apartment. It’s looking much nicer and cleaner now which makes a change. Although how long it might last like this is anyone’s guess.

I don’t suppose that it will take too long to mess it up. As I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … my kind of life reminds me of Ezra Pound’s comment about Ford Madox Ford – "Put Ford naked in an empty room and within an hour behold total chaos"

After she left I put the washing machine on. There was some bedding in there from the other week so I put it all on quite a hot heat today to give it a really good and deep washing. Normally I just put everything on a 40°C “mixed fibre” wash but every now and again it needs a little extra.

Having set that off on its way I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. And I’d gone quite a distance too. I’d been quite friendly with a girl and decided that I’d ask her out to the cinema or something. We agreed that we’d go out for the Friday night. In the meantime I was very friendly with a girl who worked in the Building Society (as indeed I used to be in real life years ago). I was laughing and joking to her about taking her out. She said “why not?” so we arranged to go out together on the Saturday to the theatre because there was something on. Later on (I’m not sure whether this would be the Saturday) I was with this girl walking through Crewe. She wanted to know about going home. I said that I had my car parked somewhere nearby. She then added “unless you want to go for a walk-around in the woods or something like that. It would be a great place to find some firewood. Do you need any firewood?”. Seeing as she was keen and it was her idea I said “yes, OK” and we walked into the wood, actually down on the west side of the town. We were in the town centre. We had an interesting discussion about Spain and the castles, how in certain circumstances some rebellious knights could be charged with treason for attacking the King but the charge for treason would be raised by the Constable of Spain. That seemed to be a strange situation in which to be, where it was someone else who would be deciding on treasonable activity and not the King. We had a really lengthy discussion about that.

There was another lengthy dream. I’ve forgotten most of it. It was about me owning an electric bus and doing some work in it. We were dividing up a kind-of list of things, ecological things, between us. I asked if I could do the beekeeping. That was agreed but it was disappointing news to someone else who wanted to do it. Later on we were told that we could have an assistant part-time so the lad who was refused the time before when I was given the job came over to me to ask if he could help. Considering that he was interested and seemed to know more about beekeeping that I did, of course I said “yes” because it would be quite useful to have someone who knows his stuff and is keen working with me.

And then we’d been out with my father somewhere around the Audlem way. He had a Rover 2000 estate and we’d gone in that. He was driving extremely quickly. The people whom we went to see were in some way distantly related to me. Another friend of mine was there with us too. He had to go inside to see these people. When he came out ha was going on about how poor they were etc. I don’t think that he realised that they were part of my family. I asked him if there was a weedy man there with a very short, very fat woman to which he replied “yes”. These were of course my uncle and aunt but I didn’t like to say anything to him. We drove back extremely quickly. My father was telling us of a Portuguese guy who lived in the village who had really been something of an odd-job man but had now bought one of the local small businesses and was running that. When we came into Nantwich my father said that it’s probably quicker to go home via Wells Green so we ended up driving through the centre of Nantwich past the bus station.

There was a Court hearing taking place about something or other. I was involved in some kind of abstract way as a potential witness or similar. We were taken in a vehicle to somewhere and left in the vehicle while they went into Court. This went on until about 13:00 when someone came back to tell us that we could go but we needed to come back the next day. So we had to sit in this vehicle again, and no-one came at all. In the end I was outraged and so were the other people sitting in the vehicle. We saw on of the Clerks of the Court walking down the street. I grabbed hold of her and asked her what was going on. We found out that it was 16:00, I’d missed a football match, I’d missed everything. I was really angry and tore strips off this girl. In the end several people came over. They explained that this Hearing was still going on and hadn’t finished. I still couldn’t get over this discourtesy of leaving us sitting here in a car or van in the middle of the town centre while all this was happening. We’d been there for what seemed like 8 hours, no refreshments or anything so I was in an absolutely foul mood. I was tearing shreds off everyone and they were scattering and disappearing. In the end there was someone on the ‘phone and I asked him about what was happening. He said that he was still on the ‘phone to the Court trying to make them hurry up with the case otherwise everyone would be going and the case would collapse. I told him a lot of home truths about my thoughts and opinions on the way that this was going on, how everyone had been treated and I was on my way up the stairs to this ‘phone in the gallery to wrench the ‘phone from his hands to speak myself to whoever it was to whom he was speaking.

That dream was something quite interesting. When I said that I was involved “in some kind of abstract way as a potential witness or similar”, it wouldn’t be anything unusual.

In fact in the Old Days in the Crewe and Nantwich Magistrates Court they had a special term to describe people like me. We were called “The Defendant”.

Some people would even say that I gave the local farces of law and order in South Cheshire a great deal of assistance. They always seemed to be asking me to help them with their enquiries.

Finally, I had another dream that I can’t remember how it began. We had to go somewhere. Someone was having to organise the trip. My mother was somehow involved but she was prevaricating about it and decided that she wouldn’t go. After some discussion I asked her to state unequivocally that she didn’t want to go, which she did so I said to another person “then we can go any time at your convenience then”.

Tea tonight was the remainder of the stuffing lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans, with rice and veg. With a little extra chili added to it, it really was delicious. But, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, my meals might be boring but they are delicious.

There are just a few things to do and then I’m off to bed. Surprisingly, I managed to go the whole day without crashing out and that’s something well-worth noting after yesterday. I hope that I can keep it up for the next few days.

Maybe an early night might help – I dunno. But it can’t do any harm.

Wednesday 15th February 2023 – WHAT A WONDERFUL …

… left-over curry that was for tea tonight. There was some stuffing left over from the stuffed peppers, a few mushrooms and sweetcorn from the weekend salad, a few fresh mushrooms and a small potato all fried together with an onion and garlic and some soya cream. A handful of rice and frozen veg made it into something special.

The next couple of curries should be OK but I’m running low on some of the spices that I use. I can see that I’m going to have to go shopping if ever I make it back to Leuven, whenever that might be. I can’t find a decent source of spices around here unfortunately.

Anyway, it’ll give me something to think about when I go to bed tonight. I spent far too much time thinking rather than sleeping last night and I expected to regret it, especially when I fell out of bed before the alarm went off, simply because I couldn’t go back to sleep having awoken earlier.

And there was plenty of time during the night to spend thinking too because it was what I would call a “difficult” night. I was in bed much earlier than usual, having finished all that I intended to do quite a bit earlier than I expected, so I decided to make the most of it.

It took a while to go off to sleep though, not that it bothered me too much, and once I was properly asleep I went off on a little travel. There was a group of us who knew each other from our school days. We’d come together, 6 of us, and we reckoned that we’d form a group and go off to perform some kind of series of concerts somewhere. 5 of us assembled but the 5th one was missing so we had to go into Crewe to find him. We suspected that he would be at a railway workers’ social club because he worked on the railway. We went there and I left everyone in the car park while I went in. I asked after him but he wasn’t there. Another one of my friends from school was. He came over. He was extremely upset because he’d read something that I’d written where there was a quote attributed to my father. He was furious that I was putting his words into the mouths of others. I told him in no uncertain terms that if I’d attributed a quote to someone, it’s because that person had said it. It’s extremely possible that in similar circumstances on similar subjects 2 people whom I know are likely to have the same kind of comment in reply.

It was a most unpleasant encounter, so much so that it awoke me. And it was from then on that it all went downhill. I’ve really no idea why such a dream, about nothing very much in particular, should be so disturbing.

But lying awake made me think about other things too and there ended up being all kinds of things churning around in my mind, more of which anon.

However, I must have gone back to sleep on a couple of occasions because I was off on my travels again. And who should come to join me on my perambulations but Zero? What a lovely surprise that was. I was round at her parent’s last night. I’m not quite sure what I was doing. She was there and she had 2 friends her own age round. They were outside in the dark playing housewives, all sitting around a plastic table pretending to drink tea. I was watching them through the window. 1 of the girls took hold of Zero and asked her if she could have a blueberry ice cream with some kind of syrup on it. For some unknown reason Zero was reluctant to make it. The girl was rather unhappy about that idea. She thought that Zero should go and make this ice cream for her.

Then later on I’m not sure whether I stepped back into this dream or whether I had some kind of flashback, but we were back on the subject of Zero’s unhappy family again. I was at home and her brother asked if I would go round to see their father. I told him that I couldn’t because I had plenty of things to do myself. I was busy. In the end I nipped out really early at about 06:00 in the gold Cortina estate. When I arrived there was no-one about so I just sat outside and waited. Then they all got up and started to have a party. I waited until the father came out so I could see him but his son walked past. He said “I thought you said that you couldn’t come”. I explained that I’d managed to find a little time. We wandered off. I thought that he would go to fetch his father but instead his father came out and wandered off doing something else. I could see him in the mirror.

And finally there was something else about something going on in a shopping arcade where there was a post office and post box and films. I wanted to go along to photograph this post office but it was pitch-black. There were all these people walking around there running around. I took the camera but it had to be on a time exposure. I had to hold the camera at a strange angle and press the button then wait for about 20 seconds without moving. Of course trying to push the button with this camera at this awkward angle removed the perspective that I wanted because the camera moved. I had then to quickly try to re-find the perspective that I wanted and wait for the film to take. of course it was a very long exposure being so dark and everyone was moving around. I couldn’t get them out of the way of the lens. I tried 3 or 4 times and had this really difficult struggle to actually make the button work and hold the camera straight, stop the camera moving, keep the people out of the way. None of the photos that I was taking were coming out properly.

So with all of that going on, I must have had some kind of sleep at some point. Especially if I managed to conjure up Zero after all this time. What with TOTGA the other night, all I need now is for Castor to put in an appearance.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I had a few things to do. Like chosing the music for the next round of radio programmes. That involved going through the playlists and tidying them up because over the last few weeks I’ve decided to do things in a different direction.

That means doing some kind of major adjustment to the … errr … 6 playlists that I maintain. With over 1200 albums and 300 artists I’ve split the playlist into 6 with different artists in each one so that I don’t play the same groups too often.

But going back to what I was saying earlier about things going round in my head, one of the things that I was pondering was this question of paying for the apartment. I had a feeling that all of this was about to go pear-shaped so I spent several hours thinking of a cunning plan.

Sure enough, the company charged with dealing with the transfer rang me again today and came up with yet more demands for information. And in the end after much debate and discussion and having thought of a Plan B, I ended up telling them to clear off.

In the past, I’ve said that my bank in the UK is a regular favourite for the title of “worst bank in the world”. But right now, I’m firmly in their hands with their wicked exchange rate, their stupid daily limit and all of that, and it’ll take me forever to transfer the money over at an absurd cost. But the quicker I start, the quicker I’ll finish and the first daily amount has gone off today.

But as we have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … there’s no such thing as a recession. What there is instead is a whole load of money floating around waiting to be spent and no-one can be bothered to put the work in to go out and collect it.

And that reminds me – still no replies about that work I want doing. It’s unbelievable.

The cleaner came here for an hour as usual and made the place look a lot nicer. It’s a good plan having her here. And she took out all of the rubbish which was nice of her. That was a good decision.

So having sorted out allthe music, paired off the music for one lot (and I’ll pair off the other lot tomorrow morning) and had my nice tea, And having written my notes, I’m going to bed.

So who’ll come to see me tonight? It must be Castor’s turn of course, but “I could be bound in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space – were it not that I have bad dreams”. I reckon that it’s going to be more like some member or other of my family.

Wednesday 25th January 2023 – AFTER ALL OF …

… the excitement and effort yesterday, I’ve been taking it easy today.

With not going to bed before midnight last night, I decided to ignore the alarms this morning and I stayed in bed until 09:45 this morning. That’s all very well for an odd day here and there but it’s not too good in the long term, that’s for sure, and I really do have to put in more of an effort to crawl out of bed at a more respectable time.

It must have been a really good night for sleeping too because I didn’t go far during on my travels. We were working in a garage during the night. There was a Hillman Imp van there that someone had partially dismantled the rear light unit on the left-hand side. I went to reassemble it. Just then A former friend of mine from school appeared in the distance and was wandering into the garage. He pointed out that he’d had some problems with the vehicle on that corner and had taken the rear light apart to look at the suspension. He found that the hi-fi speaker was missing out of the place where it goes which was accessible through the back of the rear light. I had a look and you could see that there was no speaker there. All the lugs had corroded so it looked as if it had been missing for quite some considerable time.

After a leisurely start to the day I started to edit the radio programme that will (hopefully) be broadcast on Friday. We’ve had another musician go off and play in that great big gig in the sky and that involved some editing of the programme. And surprisingly, it takes longer to edit something that I’ve already done than it does to actually make the programme.

Particularly when I miscalulate yet again (I shall have to take up this idea of more compulsory maths) and end up with 10 seconds short so I have to turn round and do it again.

The cleaner came round this afternoon too for an hour and made the place look much more like home, for which I am grateful. Mind you, it’s the last Wednesday of the month so I have to think about paying her.

Once she’d gone I decided to go and make a start on bringing the shopping in from Caliburn. I decided that that would be the exercise for the next week – a dozen or so trips up and down the stairs carrying a small amount of stuff every time.

However it didn’t work out like that. I bumped into a couple of neighbours and they took it upon themselves to run a shuttle service up to my door, and everything was done before I even had time to lock Caliburn back up again.

It’s like I said, not only is the building and the area so nice, the neighbours are so wonderful too. I can’t understand why anyone would want to leave here.

With a mug of hot chocolate I transcribed the dictaphone notes and yesterday’s details are now on line for your perusal.

Tea tonight was a left-over curry and it was one of the best yet. I definitely have the hang of this now and my own mixture of spices seems to be working.

So now I have a few things to finish off and then i’m off to bed. I have a few important things to do tomorrow too and I have to set the ball rolling about gathering in what I need to pay for this apartment. I’ve already made a few enquiries about getting a workman in to help me with the shower but there’s plenty more to do too.

Tuesday 20th September 2022 – MEANWHILE, BACK AT …

fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… the apartment, I’ve been a busy boy this afternoon.

At breakfast this morning I ate the last of the fruit buns and so I needed to make some more. Consequently, after I came back from my stagger around the headland I made a start and mixed up a pile of dough.

It just so happened that I had two extremely ripe bananas and they certainly made a difference. And as a result there was rather too much liquid so I had to add more flour and thus instead of the usual 9 or 10 there are in fact 11

And they are of good size too so I shall be regaling myself for quite a while.

And it wasn’t only just this afternoon that I was a busy boy either. I kept myself quite occupied during the night as well. There was a “Help Yourself” song stuck in the Top 20 and the group was trying to come in from one way to reach it but someone else had come from ahead of it to reach backwards for it. This was going to cause quite some conflict in the charts as the group itself really didn’t do anything except sit there. And if you can make sense out of all of that, then well-done because I can’t.

We were all then waiting round the corner from Exchange Street for a bus that was coming past at 23:17 because it had a car on it that we wanted to pick up. The bus appeared but it just drove straight past the bus stop. We all set out in pursuit. We caught up with the bus as it pulled into the bus station. The driver was basically talking a load of nonsense saying that this is in fact the 21:17 running late and what made us think that we’d get a car on board his bus anyway? He said that there would be other buses coming in even though it was almost midnight and although the bus station would be closing at midnight. We said that someone had better fetch some drinks for us as we were exhausted but he took one and drank it which we thought was rather cheeky of him. Generally speaking we had the air that he wasn’t going to co-operate at all and was just messing us around until the bus station closed and that would be that. We didn’t have our car, we didn’t have a way of going home, we didn’t have anything. I could see about 20 people spending the night sleeping on board this bus in the bus station.

There was also a white and light blue Plaxton Premier driving along the Rue du Port heading towards the chantier naval. I’d no idea what one of those would be doing round here but it looked happy enough

And next, I was working for OUSA last night recruiting. I was talking to a new girl who had just begun her studies. She lived in North London. At first getting information from her was like getting blood from a stone but gradually we warmed up and we had a really exciting chat. She’d worked for a roofing company and had actually been on roofs, doing roofing herself at one time. I was beginning to think to myself that by the time the end of this chat warmed up, this was someone whom I ought to know really a lot better than I do. We were having a bit of s struggle though because she was sent over to see ma and I was talking to her but it was someone I knew from school who was in charge of all the paperwork and the brochures. I went over to fetch some paperwork and a brochure but of course he’d gone home and there weren’t any so it was rather difficult to have this subject and this conversation on the go. But this was a girl whom I’d have really liked to have met a lot more than I did.

Finally I was on a project building a Combined Heat and Power generator using an old diesel engine to run a generator and to heat water that would provide hot water for various projects. It’s proven technology of course but there were always the prophets of doom about. Some scientist had published some work on the subject. he was quite a famous scientist. The debate was going on about whether he was right in this instance. Someone made the point that he had been right 3 or 4 times but as I explained, that counts for nothing because each case is individual. In any case this isn’t new technology, it’s stuff that’s been used for hundreds of years and even in cars they do it with generators and hot water heating the interior of the car so it obviously works. It doesn’t need a scientist to tell anyone. This carried on until the alarm went off.

After the medication I sorted out a few things that I needed to do and then revised for my Welsh lesson. And I’m glad that I did because today we were only 6 students. Still several who are missing.

Mind you, I nearly didn’t join the lesson. When I went to refresh the portable computer that I use, it took that moment to perform an upgrade. I was about 15 minutes late in joining by which time everyone else was already in breakout rooms.

It passed off quite well today, much better than it did last week and I’m hoping that I can keep it up. And also to continue with my Welsh studies too.

Incidentally, you won’t ever find any double-entendres in anything that I ever write. If you happen to come across one, let me know and I’ll whip it out immediately.

After the fruit I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been. I must admit that I had a smile about the trip to Crewe bus station. No chance of that these days because it’s all been swept away in an orgy of demolition.

It didn’t quite manage to survive 60 years, which is a shocking indictment of modern construction techniques, about which I HAVE BEEN VERY BITTER IN THE PAST.

Nevertheless, it shall be sorely missed. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I passed my Biology ‘O’ Level exam thanks to the helpful drawings on the walls of the public conveniences on Crewe Bus Station

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So by now it was time for me to go walkabout

As usual I wandered over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down there today. The tide was quite a way in so really there wasn’t all that much down there for anything to be going on.

And there weren’t all that many people down there either. The weather has definitely turned and for the first time since I can’t remember when, I have put on a sweater in order to go out.

That’s not like me, is it?

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Even though the tide was quite a way out, there wasn’t all that much going on out at sea this afternoon.

Just really a handful of yachts like this one out in the Baie de Granville, and nothing else. We’re really getting to the end of the season now. It’s the first day of Autumn tomorrow if my calculations are correct.

There weren’t too many people up her eon the path either so I had a quiet walk along the tops of the cliffs. The view was good all the way along the coast and even out to Jersey but there wasn’t anything special to see today so I didn’t take any photographs to add to the record.

cabanon vauban people pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So despite the lack of action anywhere around, there were still a couple of people down by the cabanon vauban.

It was quite interesting going across the car park to see them because although there weren’t many people up there, I heard some English people and some German people too. Now that the French people have gone home, the foreigners are coming out in force.

But as for the people down below, I don’t know who they were but they certainly didn’t find the bench by the cabanon vauban to be comfortable enough. The ground looks much more comfortable for the person on the left.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022But I suppose that there was someone down there for our people by the cabanon vauban to observe.

The tide is far too far in for the adepts at the peche-à-pied to be out in force, but perched down there like piffy on a rock we have a traditional fisherman with rod and line.

He’s concentrating quite hard on what he’s doing but it doesn’t look as if he’s intending to do anything special because like many other fishermen whom we’ve seen down there, he doesn’t have a box or a bucket in which to put any catch that he might take.

It could be of course that I’m completely missing the point of what the fishing is all about and it isn’t to actually catch anything.

There was quite a lot of traffic down on the road so it took me a minute or two to cross over.

gerlean l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And down at the chantier naval this afternoon there’s yet more exciting stuff going on.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have become quite used to seeing L’Omerta and Gerlean playing “musical ships” down by the Fish Processing Plant but by the looks of things they are now planning on playing a game in the chantier naval.

And you can see that it’s becoming quite tight in there with all the other usual suspects still in occupancy. There is some talk somewhere about the possibility of expanding the chantier naval and you can see why the proposition has been put forward.

But it’s unlikely that it’ll take effect. All of the quayside is a Protected Monument.

arc en ciel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And while the cats, as in L’Omerta and Gerlean are away, the mice have come out to play.

Moored over there at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon is the little trawler Arc En Ciel. She’s another one whom we’ve seen on a couple of occasions in the chantier naval in the past.

While she was there I was trying to make out what was going on and what she was doing, but unfortunately she didn’t hang around long enough. Just after I took this photo she pulled away from the wharf and went into the inner harbour and that was that.

F-GORN Robin DR400-120 Dauphin 2+2 baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Anyway, it was at this moment that I was distracted.

Flying by overhead as I watched Arc En Ciel came an aeroplane. On closer examination it turned out to be one of our old favourites. She’s F-GORN, a Robin DR400-120 Dauphin 2+2 that belongs to the local aero club.

She’d been out a few times during the day and picked up on radar but this flight wasn’t picked up. She was recorded at landing at the airfield here at Granville at 14:03 and the next time she was picked up, she wast taking off at Avranches at 16:29.

As my photo was taken at 16:19 (adjusted) she must have been on her way to Avranches but keeping a very low profile.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022On the way home I stopped for a look at the inner harbour.

There was a lorry down there unloading a pile of freight ready to be picked up by one of the little Jersey freighters. Although I’m not quite sure how they are going to load it up with Cotes De La Manche moored up in the way.

Back here I made a start on the fruit buns and I do have to say that they looked quite good while they were proofing.

So as I was going to have the oven on to bake the buns, I abandoned my plans to have a taco roll for tea and found some frozen vegan pie in the freezer. That went in to oven with some potatoes and the fruit buns while I cooked some vegetables in thick gravy

The tea was nice and as for the fruit buns, I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.

And that’s tomorrow too. Right now I’m off to bed. I have visitors coming tomorrow so I’ll have to do a little tidying up. Not that anyone will notice the difference in here.

Wednesday 3rd August 2022 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

… today that I vowed that I would never do. But needs must when the devil drives and it’s a sign of how far down the slippery slope I’ve slid just recently.

In fact what I’ve done, while we’re on the subject of driving … “well, one of us is” – ed … is that I drove to the railway station this morning in Caliburn.

It totally beats me why they can lay on a bus service that serves our building, and then send the bus off to places that don’t include the town centre or the railway station or anywhere else that anyone would realistically want to visit

Having spent far too much time hanging around in the past, I set the alarm for 07:00 today and that gave me enough time to prepare myself and to have a whizz around the apartment to clean it a little and take out the rubbish.

84569 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There were a few parking spaces free just outside the station which was my good luck. I didn’t have too far to walk

As a result I was on the station in plenty of time for the train, which pulled into the station through the fog. The weather was clammy, foggy and not very encouraging this morning.

Our train was, as usual, one of the GEC Alstom Regiolis models, consisting of 2×6-car units. It was quite busy today and by the time that we arrived in Paris it was totally crowded.

Nevertheless I was lucky in that I had no-one sitting next to me so I could spread out and work in comfort.

It didn’t take me long to update the computer and then I read a book all the way to Paris. For a change, it was a novel, “The Man Who Was Thursday” by G K Chesterton.

eiffel tower sacre coeur paris France Eric Hall photo August 2022By the time that we reached Paris the fog had gone and we had a bright blue sky.

My seat was a good one this morning and as we pulled into the city and passed over the petite ceinture, the railway that used to perform a complete circle of the city in the olden days, I had a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower.

In fact you might say that I really had an Eiffel of it.

Over on the right on the skyline is the Sacré Coeur church in Montmartre. Where we stayed a couple of months ago was just round there about 10 minutes away but we didn’t have the time to visit it back then. I haven’t been there since I went with Nerina at some ridiculous time of the morning before the rush-hour traffic hit it some time years ago.

We were about 15 minutes late arriving in Paris but that didn’t matter too much because there was a long wait for my train to Brussels today.

ukrainian refugee centre gare du nord paris France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual I walked down the street in the open air to the Metro station instead of going through the labyrinth. It was blistering hot and I melted through the streets to the Metro. The Metro was packed but I managed to find the last remaining seat to Gare du Nord.

At the Gare du Nord I went to check to see if the Ukrainian Refugee post was still operating.

There’s a very active Group of activists in Normandy who are very interested in the lot of the refugees and I have some connection with a couple of them. While I’m on my travels I like to see what’s going on in this respect so I can pass on the information to people who can make use of it.

And then there was the wait for the train. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m not taking the earlier “Ouigo” train and going via Lille. I’m not up to the walk across town at the moment so I’m paying extre and going on the later “Thalys” direct to Brussels.

The Gare du Nord was packed as well and there was no hope of finding a seat anywhere. I headed off to my usual comfortable secret bolt-hole where I was shouted at by a trolley driver but I took no notice.

Thalys PBKA 4301 gare du nord paris France Eric Hall photo August 2022And then I had to fight my way on board the train to Brussels.

It was one of the PBKA – Paris Brussels Cologne Amsterdam trainsets and it was packed. There wasn’t a single seat free.

There was all kinds of confusion about the seats too, to which I contributed somewhat, with the ticket inspector having flicked over my electronic ticket while checking it so I ended up sitting in my seat for the return journey instead.

And in the confusion I lost my computer mouse. I had a feeling that it wasn’t my lucky day today.

sncb class 18 electric locomotive gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022As our train pulled in to Brussels, so did a push-me-pull-you for Leuven.

An ancient graffiti-ridden vinyl-upholstered relic of the 1970s as you can see in the photo where they have done a pretty poor job of cleaning it up but it was here and now do I fell aboard and that whipped us off to Leuven.

It was pushed by one of the Class 18 electric locomotives that these days are the mainstay of main-line passenger trains on locomotive-hauled lines. We’ve been on plenty of these in the past.

Having done a little shopping in the supermarket at the back of the station I came on here to encounter a load of confusion about the keys to my room.

And they have put me up two flights of stairs as well and I really don’t need that at all. Not in my state of health right now

pennsylvania volkswagen naamsevest Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022Later on I made it down to Delhaize for the rest of the supplies for my stay here.

And on the way down, this Volkswagen caught my eye, mainly because it’s carrying a number plate from Pennsylvania.

Why I’m interested in this is to find out how the car managed to come over here. There is a vehicle ferry from Europe to North America and back again but it’s for unaccompanied vehicles only and the prices are on another planet.

If I could find a ferry that is at amore reasonable price I’d sell Strider, my Canadian pickup, and take Caliburn over every year to North America.

roadworks Weldadigheidsstraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a while back in the Weldadigheidsstraat there was a rather large crane that was doing some kind of work at a house down there.

And so going past today I had a look down the street to see if it was still there, only to be confronted by a pile of paving blocks and building materials.

There’s some kind of process of gentrification taking place in Leuven right now and this street looks as if it’s about to fall victim to the designs of the planners.

What’s regrettable about this is that once the council does this it adds on about €20,000 to the house prices in the area and this makes the properties even less affordable to low-income earners.

Prices in town are already far too high for many people and this kind of thing won’t help any.

In Delhaize I stocked up with stuff and it wasn’t all that expensive. But then again with me being much more restrictive on what I eat these days, I’m not buying as much. And i was lucky enough to find a hard-wired mouse so I’m back in business, and after tea I can write up my notes.

photographer naamsevest Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022One thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that my pages are full of photographs of people taking photographs.

Here’s someone else whom I caught doing it at the corner of the Naamsevest and the Naamsestraat. I had a good look round but I couldn’t see what had attracted his attention but never mind. I cleared off home.

Tea was a vegan burger with pasta and veg – the vegan burgers that I bring from home because LIDL actually does a good line in cheap vegan burgers

The reason why I do that is because if I have one with me and I’m too tired to go to the shops after I arrive, I can buy a bag of chips from across the road and I still have something like a meal to keep me going until I feel better.

What a state of affairs to be in.

Meanwhile – the dictaphone. We were at school, a whole mob of us, and there was a radio play in which we were performing. It started off with someone falling over a pile of students’ outstretched legs so it was a long stretched-out “AAARRRGGGHHH” sound to open it. This was how this radio play opened. It was one of a series of radio plays that the school was actually doing. There was much more to it than this. I was around with a few of the kids so I was a kid myself. We all had something to do with this, a group of us, and I was involved in this and there was definitely something happening in which we were involved but I can’t remember now what it was. It was just how this radio programme started up.

Later on my car was away at the garage having work done at it. There was something involving British Salt and the garage there but I can’t remember what it was. I needed a car to go to Chester and the wholesale warehouse. My last port of call was at my sister’s to see whether she had something. They were living in a mobile home place. I went there and knocked on the flyscreen but no-one came. A neighbour came round and started talking to me about it, pointing out this old car and saying that this was her old car but she had to have one because some of her kids went to Nantwich High School and some went to the local one. This is what you have to do when your children are spread out like that. I knocked a couple of times but she didn’t come to the door so I wondered what was happening. This was not like her. If she had been there she would have come. There was much more to it than this but that’s all that I remember.

And finally I was running tours around Perth and Scotland. I had a variety of part-time people helping me. One young boy, a friend of TOTGA, had just quit because he misunderstood the situation. He expected something else other than guiding tourists around. We were waiting at Tourist Information for a party that was turning up at 16:00. I’d told a friend to turn up at 14:00 so that I could show him a few things and point out to him so that he’d know about them. Time dragged on and he wasn’t there. It was 14:30,14:45 so I phoned him and he was still at home. He said “well I was out last night”. I said “I need you here to do this”. He said that he’d come down and tried to engage me in conversation over the telephone. I said “we’ll talk about this when you arrive because we’re in something of a rush at the moment. Come here as quick as you can”. The person with me asked me about this boy quitting. What did I think? I said that it was rather silly. I could see that once again I was going to be plagued with unreliable employees. I could see that I was going to be here full-time doing all this on my own as usual. I thought that I’m not going to be able to go home until Sunday after everything finishes. It’s a long way to go in an evening to go home. I said that I’ll be going home on Sunday evening. Someone asked “doing what?” so I replied “going home” “doing what?” going home!”. I suddenly realised that they were asking me “doing what” when I was back home. I replied “going back to work of course”. The friend had been telling me that it had been raining which was why he hadn’t come in but actually where we were it was bright sunshine so I had no idea why he decided why he didn’t want to come in and do this and even less of an idea why he didn’t want to tell me that he didn’t want to come in and do this.

Unreliable employees was the bane of my life wasn’t it?

Having already crashed out once earlier, I’m off to bed now. I have no fewer than four appointments at the hospital tomorrow so I can’t afford to hang about. I need a good night’s sleep.

Sunday 27th March 2022 – HOW LONG IS IT …

citroen traction avant 7L porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… since we’ve featured an old car on these pages?

It must be quite a good while so I was quite pleased that one of them went coughing by this afternoon while I was out on my afternoon walk.

It’s a Citroen “Traction Avant” of course and I should know because there’s one of them IN MY BARN IN THE AUVERGNE where it’s been for over 20 years and where, unfortunately it will have to stay.

The car is one of the later models as you can tell by the straight horizontal bumper rather than the curly “whisker” bumper. And if you were to see the rear of the vehicle, you’ll see that it has a propor boot rather than a sloping back with the shape of the spare wheel pressed into it like one of the ones THAT WE SAW at Oradour-sur-Glaine in the Summer 2020.

It’s always interesting to watch these more-modern films of wartime France when these cars were everywhere and spot the later models that have slipped into the action that took place long before they were ever manufactured.

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022But that’s enough of that. While you admire a couple of photos of just some of the dozens of boats that were out at sea this afternoon, I’ll start at the very beginning.

A very good place to start.

As I mentioned yesterday, we had an alarm this morning, which was just as well, especially as the clocks went forward this morning and there was an hour less for sleep today.

In fact, I set three alarms at five-minute intervals and I actually managed to beat the second alarm, which is quite good going these days.

After the medication I made a quick breakfast and then settled down for my Welsh lesson today.

yacht rowing boat cabin cruisers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022It started off quite badly because it took me a while to warm up.

But once I was going, it all went pretty well and by the end of the lesson this afternoon I was talking much more confidently than I ever have done to date. I reckon that this free revision weekend was worth every penny of the price.

We had the usual breaks for coffee and for lunch, and during the lunch break I made a pile of dough for the next batch of pizzas. And as the bases overflow the pizza tray somewhat, I made a batch with 600 grammes instead of 500 grammes and then divided it into four instead of three.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In some respects it was a shame to be indoors today because I reckon that it was the nicest day of the year so far.

And that’s borne out by the crowds of people who were down there on the beach. And even though there wasn’t much beach down there, they all managed to squeeze on there somehow.

No-one in the water as far as I could see, but there were a couple of people down there looking as if they were stripping off ready for a plunge.

You’ve seen a few photos of the boats that were out there too. The sea mist hadn’t gone completely but even so it was nice enough to tempt a pile of Sunday sailors out into the water for a good sail around.

la granvillaise le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And it wasn’t just the private boats that were out there. There was some commercial activity too out in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw la Granvillaise in the chantier naval a couple of weeks ago having an overhaul. Now she’s out there this afternoon with a quite a crowd of tourists having a sail around in the bay.

It’s easy to identify her from this range as she sails past Le Loup. You can see her registration number – G90 – on her sails.

The lifeboat that’s being towed behind doesn’t fill me with much confidence though. I’m sure that they wouldn’t be able to fit all of the passengers on board the lifeboat if they have any issues.

Maybe they have a few rafts on board just in case.

rowing team baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022The car park was packed to capacity with cars and motorbikes just about everywhere.

They had brought crowds of people down to the end of the headland where there were a few things going on to keep them entertained, like these oarsmen going past on their way back to port.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I once had a go at that but I wasn’t much good and I fell into the water. “He must be out of his scull” said a passer-by.

STRAWBERRY MOOSE once wrote me a note to say that he would be going rowing if only he could find a couple of oars. I really must take him up about his spelling.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And believe it or not, I was right about the crowds of people around here this afternoon.

Some of them even managed a grandstand seat, such as these two sitting on the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban looking out to sea.

Plenty of others too walking around on the lower path. It’s actually been a while since I’ve been for a walk down there but I’m not as healthy as I was when I first came here, which is rather depressing. Over the last 12 months my health has deteriorated dramatically.

But that’s enough of that for now. It’s time to be pushing off around the other side of the headland.

kids on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While I was walking along the path towards the port, I noticed a kid climbing up the steps that have been cut into the sea wall there.

What went through my mind was that he must have been jumping in from off the top so I hung around for a while to see if anyone else would follow suit.

But in fact they were all drying themselves off and then slowly, one by one, they drifted away. The tide must now be too far out for them to jump in safely, although I’ve never known a bunch of young boys worry too much about things like that in the past.

Nothing else of any interest anywhere else in the port this afternoon so I came back home, stopping to photograph the old Citroen on the way.

Back here, over the next couple of hours I did more work that I would normally do on a Sunday when there aren’t any Welsh revision classes.

Firstly, I divided up the pizza dough into four, rolled three in oil and put them in the freezer and rolled out the fourth one and put it on the pizza tray.

Back in the bedroom I dealt with the dictaphone notes from last night. This first one was a dream something like Peter Frampton who had had a big hit and had ended up saving 3 or 4 of his songs. He had someone write a song for him. It was an unusual type of person whom you wouldn’t associate with rock songs. When he went to meet this person there was so much pressure on him that he was running, and jumped from about 30 feet away and slid on his stomach through the street to this guy. He ended up breaking his spine and had to go into rehabilitation. That enabled the guy to write a song for him and a few others. he went on from there to be a success. It was someone like Peter Frampton, a one-hit wonder who burst out into the mainstream after someone wrote a successful song for him

My father had died last night. We (whoever “we” were) ended up going to the funeral which would be a surprise. Back at the house afterwards there were one or two of his things in which I was interested. I asked who was administering the estate. Someone gave me the name of whoever it was, as it happens the same person who had administered my aunt’s estate and with whom I’d had all that trouble 6 months ago. I eventually managed to find my way out of the house to go to see him. The first thing that happened was that he was really upset that I still had my hat on. Then he told me to make a list of the things that I’d taken but of course I hadn’t taken anything. Then he told me to go along and help hand out the coffee and tea etc. Basically he didn’t seem to be all that interested at all in talking to me or letting me tell him what it was that I was hoping to be able to take away.

And then I was with a girl last night. She was working in a pub. The postman came and brought her something and she immediately burst into tears and asked if she could go to work somewhere else instead of the public rooms. Eventually I managed to track her down and she showed me a telegram. Her aunt who was her only living relative had died. I don’t know what happened after that but I had to have my appendix out and she had to have some kind of operation. In Nantwich how this worked was that they had mobile surgical labs. These were parked up near the church in Churchyardside outside the market. They drove the two of us there because she needed something too. We were going to have our operations in 2 surgical labs one parked behind the other. They drove us there in ambulances and we had to get to the corner of the road and then turn left instead of right into the Crofts and do a U-turn and come up behind. I’d go first and be put in the surgical lab and my ambulance would move away. Then the other surgical lab would pull up behind then the ambulance with the girl would pull up behind and they’d put her in her surgical lab. I was in mine. They were talking away and I was trying to go to sleep but I didn’t drop off. I could hear things going on. After a while someone put a pad of cotton wool over my face and dropped some ether on it. When I came round I was in the surgical lab and they asked me how I was and what I could feel. I said that I could feel some heat like something burning on the right side of my lower abdomen like where they would take out the appendix but they didn’t elaborate on what iy actually was and I didn’t want to know either.

And I’m impressed that I can give coherent directions even when I’m fast asleep.

Finally I was around Chester. I was just wandering around and had to go to wash my hands, and found that the toilets there had become unisex so I could only wash my hands and not the rest of me. I was out there in Foregate wandering around when I saw a boy from school but I kept out of his way and let him walk by. Later on there were some schoolboys who had hijacked a lorry-load of whisky. They were busy stacking it in 3 or 4 cars that they had. They were having all kinds of arguments about people who had disappeared with the odd bottle here and there. Just as they were loaded up a police car arrived so they shot off, right into a column of policemen setting out on their beats and scattered them. A couple of police cars gave chase but they adopted a manoeuvre of dodging down a side street when no-one was looking and coming back up the next one. Of course the police who didn’t see them go down the side street when down the next one so they passed each other at 180°. Then another car came and turned round. It was obviously looking for them but they happened to notice that there were a couple of crates of whisky in this. They thought that this was another couple of crates that they’d lost, that someone had stolen. Having given the police cars the slip they set off. They ended up being stuck in a mountain pass somewhere because the police had a couple of observation parked on the other side of the pass to watch all the cars that came past. They wondered how they were going to do this. They had the idea that they would send one car out with a couple of girls in it and a radio. They would be able to see whether any other police cars followed that particular car. That way they’d know whether they were suspected of actually being hidden up in this mountain.

Having done all that I paired up the music for the next radio programme that I would normally have done this morning.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was the pizza to deal with too.

That had risen nicely while I’d been working so I assembled it and when it was made and the oven was hot I put it in to bake.

For some reason, it wasn’t as good as the last few have been and I don’t know why. Mind you, it was certainly better than the first few that I made before I grasped the technique.

Now that i’ve finished my notes, I’m off to bed, even though it’s quite early. I didn’t have my usual long lie-in today and there’s an early start in the morning – even earlier than usual due to the change in the hour.

It’ll probably take me a good few weeks to adjust to the change but if I don’t start now I never will, will I?

Monday 5th October 2020 – IT’S AN ILL-WIND …

Kite Surfing Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall…. that doesn’t blow anyone any good, so they say.

And that certainly seems to be the case even with Storm Alex. You can see the waves and the whitecaps that have been caught by the wind, and there are a couple of kite-surfers making the most of the horrendous weather, and a very interested seagull intent on watching them at it.

It must have been the same ill wind that blew me out of bed this morning, because I was up and about this morning before the third alarm. “Up”, anyway. I’m not quite sure about the “about” though.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone. And while you admire the photos of the waves crashing down on the Plat Gousset in the aftermath of Storm Alex, I’ll tell you all about it.

Yes there was definitely something going on during the night but I picked up the dictaphone and promptly forgot it again. No idea what it was. But after a minute it all came back to me, as the skunk said when the wind changed. It was vaguely something to do with being at work. Someone whom I knew from school was there and someone else and we’d been spending a lot of time chatting. I wasn’t doing any work because I was retired officially. I was just keeping on going as long as they would let me so I was spending most of my time talking or reading books. One or two people had been to see me so we’d talked and then I’d been reading a book hidden in the corridors between the library shelves. It came to coffee time so I went to get my coffee.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallI’d met someone there and we’d had a chat, talkng about football and the football pitch down below. I said that I’d seen the Belgian Prime Minister playing there. This brought a howl of incredulity for he was a big guy, the Belgian Prime Minister. I said that it was only for a couple of seconds and he was substituted. But there were a couple of other people there having some kind of fitness thing. There were 2 guys there streets ahead of everyone else with their fitness so I asked if they should be signed up to a club. He said “no, they aren’t interested in football although they coach some team for their children, something like that”. Then I was on my own and carried on doing a load of stuff, messing around in this canteen. I thought that I’d better get back to my desk anyway so I picked up my breakfast and gently ran through the offices. That schoolfriend was there and he looked at me with a bit of surprise so I waved at him and carried on running to get back to my desk in a hurry and I couldn’t remember what happened next.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomewhat later there was an old couple and they had a job working for someone. because they had very long arms, or the husband had, long arms and very thin hands he was often asked to do some tasks. On one particular occasion he had to put his hand through a wheel or something to reach the other side to play about with something on the vehicle. He was doing this and suddenly the vehicle rolled back. Of course he had his arms through the spokes and that broke his arm.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever at some point during the night I was trying to close the rear doors like Caliburn’s on a van. For some reason, when I pulled the handle down the pegs weren’t coming down far enough to fit into the bodywork to hold the door closed. I was with, I think, the same schoolfriend as before and no matter what I tried I couldn’t get these pegs to come out far enough. I thought that I could conceivably get in and close the door from inside and climb back out through the window because there was no glass in the aperture in the back (I was confusing myself by now with MY RED CORTINA ESTATE . Then I noticed that the doors were rotten and I thought that maybe I could get some more doors for it but for some reason I just couldn’t get this door to shut.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe same ill-wind that was blowing us all into next week blew me into a frenzy this morning. Just for a change, I had a bad attack of motivation and I was able, to my own surprise and probably to yours as well, to sit down and in one swell foop I completed a radio programme from start to absolute finish.

It’s all totally completed, one hour’s worth of it, and been listened to and checked.

We had the usual break for lunch and afterwards, I had a little task to perform because Saturday’s Kefir mix is now good and ready.

Kefir Mix Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallI took three juice-oranges and whizzed them into oblivion, and then strained the juice out through a conical sieve into a large 2-litre jug. Then I gently and slowly poured out the kefir mix through a mesh coffee filter into the jug with the juice, taking care that the grains of Kefir remained covered with liquid. There should be a couple of inches of liquid left in the jar.

Finally, I strained the combined liquid back through the coffee filter (which I had placed in a large funnel) into a couple of bottles and capped them.

Having done that, I added 40 grams of sugar to the liquid that remained, three slices of lemon and two halves of a fig, and then a litre and a half of water. That’s now brewing in the jar and will be good and ready by the time that I return from Leuven.

That was about 90 minutes out of my day all told but nevertheless, by as early as 15:30 it was completed and ready to be heard. That was the moment for me to go out for the afternoon walk.

Fog in English Channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was an old headline in an English Newspaper about 100 or so years ago – “Fog In The Channel – Continent Cut Off”.

At the moment, it’s not the Continent that has been cut off by the fog but the Ile de Chausey. You can’t see a thing out there today, despite the howling gale that’s blowing around today. There is in fact a fishing boat that’s out here someone – I’ve seen a photo of it leaving port this morning in the storm – but there’s no possibility of knowing where it is in this kind of weather.

As well as that, I’ve no idea where anyone else is either. Probably at home, I reckon, because there was no-one at all out there this afternoon and I don’t blame them for one moment.

Waves Breaking Over Le Loup Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWending my weary way around the headland I was met by an enormous blast of wind that almost bowled me over.

The wind was raging into the Baie de Mont St Michel and even though the tide was quite well out, the waves were being blown in with an impressive amount of force and the poor little Le Loup, the marker light that marks the rock at the entrance to the harbour, was taking the brunt of it.

The yacht school was not out there in the bay today either and that’s hardly any surprise at all. And that reminds me that I still have to go and talk to them about lessons. I should be seizing opportunities like this.

Les Epiettes Chantier Navale Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo chance of running along the top of the wall in this wicked wind so I strolled gently along to the viewpoint overlooking the Chantier Navale.

We are now back up to four boats because we now have a nouvelle arrivante in there this afternoon. I couldn’t see a name on her but she looks as if the might be Les Epiettes, the boat that belongs to the French Département de Ponts et Chaussées – the Ministry of Roads and Bridges.

She’s certainly carrying the same official Government colours and so it’s an official boat, and Les Epiettes has been the one that has been around here in the area. We saw it over at the Ile de Chausey when we were there with Spirit of Conrad in July

Chausiais La Grande Ancre Coelacanthe Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe know that there’s a fishing boat that’s gone out to sea this morning, but it seems that it’s the only one that is.

There are plenty of other boats moored in the harbour that haven’t put to sea today. From left to right we have Chausiais, the freighter that takes supplies and equipment out to the Ile de Chausey, la Grande Ancre, a small freighter that seems to undertake a variety of tasks from transporting tractors out to the mussel farm on the Ile de Chausey to going out to catch a load of shellfish herself.

On the right is Coelacanthe, the sister ship to Le Tiberiade that we have just seen in the Chantier Navale. She’s one of the biggest trawlers in the port so if she’s not out at sea then things must be nad out there.

Traffic Lights Porte St Jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the streets of the old Medieval City within the walls are very narrow.

Just recently there has been a great deal of work done on the streets in there and it looks as if there is more going on there today. We have another set of traffic lights at the Porte St Jean so presumably they are working on the road in the one-way system somewhere in there. What I’ll have to do, if the weather allows me to go out this evening, is to go and find out where they are. I don’t recall seeing any notices about there.

By this time I was totally fed up of the wet weather so I turned for home and came in. There was a pool of water at the foot of the stairs, presumably blown underneath the door by the wind.

While I listened the radio programme that I had prepared, I went through the photos that I’d taken and edited them. And there was a distraction as I had to hunt down an image file that was lost in the depths of my computer.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter my hour on the guitar, tea was a stuffed pepper, seeing as there was a pepper remaining, followed by the last of the strawberry tart with coconut soya dessert, following which I went out for my evening stroll.

The wind had dropped somewhat by now but still quite blustery, and there were a few squalls of rain swirling around. Nevertheless there was still the heavy fog and it was difficult to see anything out at sea. There was no-one about at all which is no surprise so I ended up having quite a comfortable run all the way along the footpath under the walls in the wind and rain.

Once I’d recovered my breath, I carried on walking and eventually ended up at the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t difficult to gather what was going on due to the noise. You could hear it from half-way around the walls.

The tide is now about an hour and a half from high but nevertheless the waves are really intense in the storm and are crashing down with a considerable amount of force on the promenade at the Plat Gousset. Just imagine what it’s going to be like at high tide if it keeps up like this.

The weather being a little calmer tonight than it was on Saturday, so I could hang around for a little longer tonight. The photos are a little better too because of that but I’d love to be able to improve my technique. Don’t forget that I’m working on the edge of the technology that I have.

Road Works Rue Cambernon Rue Notre Dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving watched the storm for a few minutes I turned round and ran off down the full length of the Square Maurice Marland.

Having recovered my breath I walked through the alleyway and down the Rue Notre Dame towards home. My eye was open for whatever it was that the traffic lights at the Porte St Jean were controlling, and here at the corner of the Rue Cambernon and the Rue Notre Dame I discovered the issue.

It was far too dark to look into the hole to see what was happening, but I could certainly hear the noise of running water. It sounds as if there’s a burst water main down there. The fact that parking is now forbidden on the way up to the church seems to indicate that they’ll be digging up there tomorroz.

Trawler Unloading At Fish Processing Plant Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now I was used to the weather so I went for a wander around the walls.

The other night we saw a fishing boat unloading at the fish processing plant but tonight there seems to be three of them currently unloading. There’s another one in the darkness just there too, and a few more over on the other side of the harbour looking as if they are making ready to leave for the open sea.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … my hat comes off to all of those heading out to sea in weather like this. I stood there and watched them too, and then turned on my heel and ran on back to the apartment.

Now that I’ve written my notes, I’m off to bed. I’m off on the train tomorrow to my appointment with Destiny so I need to be on form. I need to do some tidying up before I go and I must also remember to feed my sourdough before I set off.

It’s all go in here, isn’t it?

Friday 11th September 2020 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what has happened this week. I really don’t.

With all of this pressure that I seem to have put myself under with doing these radio programmes, it seems that I overlooked to actually send the one in for this weekend.

Luckily they had something in the pipeline, but it’s really pointless me doing all of this work if I’m not going to send it in. It’s pretty much a waste of time.

And not only that, it seems that I’ve also overlooked to do my second week of internet course.

What with one thing or another, it’s been a pretty miserable week and I’m going to have to be doing better than this.

At least I managed to be out of bed before the third alarm. Sitting on the edge of the bed waiting for the world to stop spinning round so that I could get off.

During the night I’d been in hospital and there had been some kind of operation. I was eventually allowed up. Someone from the hospital phoned me up to see how I was. They were interested to know if I was capable of doing my own shopping and they asked me about my plans. I said “the nearest LeClerc is 20-odd kilometres away so are you happy that i’m going to be cycling 40 kilometres just to go to the shops?” but they didn’t reply very much. It was a very non-commital answer that I had from them. The woman said that she lived in a small town where the nearest supermarket was only a minute or two away by car so she could do all her things like that. That didn’t help my matter very much. As I was walking around I came across a pub. It was a Sunday morning not quite before lunchtime. The pub was on a second level higher up. There were a few people whom I knew in there. I thought “should I go and have a drink?” but then though “that’s a stupid thing to be doing, going drinking”. So I carried on walking and came to the second one and there were even more people whom I knew in there. One of them was a boy whom I knew in school and with whom I shared a flat for a short while later. There was a group of about 4 boys and they were playing a few songs. On bass was another boy who was in my class – someone with whom I had very little contact whatever so how come I suddenly remembered him? I was extremely jealous because they were playing a couple of numbers that we used to play. I thought that they were going to steal a march from our bow and get themselves established in this pub.

While I was at it, I transcribed a few more days’ worth of dictaphone notes from the pile of arrears. There are still 47 entries remaining that cover a three-week period of my voyage to Central Europe.

Apart from that it’s been another slow day with something of a lack of motivation and an excess of fatigue. I’ve finished all of the arrears of photos from June and I’ve now started on those from July.

Only three days from my trip down the Brittany coast in Spirit of Conrad remaining, and then I can start on the photos from Central Europe. I’ve already done some of those but there is still a huge pile to do.

And then there are the photos from my two trips to the Arctic.

At least I managed to remember to book my trains and accommodation for my trip to Castle Anthrax. That’s one thing. Here’s hoping that I remember to print out everything and that my appointment isn’t cancelled.

speedboat english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallWe had the usual interruptions this afternoon too.

The afternoon walk was one of them of course. There were crowds of people out there today walking around in the beautiful weather. Crowds of people on the sea too. Plenty of small boats out there such as this speedboat that was roaring past.

Nothing in the way of large boats though. No Joly France no fishing boats and no Channel Island freighters. It seems to be quite quiet out there in that respect these days.

F-GDED Robin DR400 180 granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was plenty of activity in the air too.

Our autogyro was flying around but rather too far out of range to take a decent photograph. This aeroplane here was flying quite high but with the NIKON D500 and the BIG NIKON ZOOM LENS I could take a good photo of it, and even tell you what it is.

According to the official register, it’s a Robin DR400 180 light aeroplane.

Incidentally, you are quite lucky to actually see it. On 22nd May 2019 it suffered an engine failure and crash-landed in a field near Eurodisney. Luckily no-one was hurt and damage was said to be only minor.

It could have been much, much worse.

yacht baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was no less busy around the southern side of the headland in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

This beautiful yacht was on its way around and into the port de plaisance this afternoon. Just one of several small boats out over there this afternoon.

But apart from that, there wasn’t very much else going on. It was actually quite quiet as far as excitement went. I slowly wandered on home.

Much of the remainder of the afternoon was spent revising my Welsh ready for the start of my course next week. but shame as it is to admit it, I fell asleep on the chair again. To such an extend that I missed half an hour of my guitar practice.

lifeboatmen sauveteurs de mer place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallTea tonight was taco rolls with the remainder of the stuffing from yesterday’s pepper, lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans.

But while I was preparing it, I noticed plenty of movement outside at the Public Rooms. The lifeboatmen, sauveteurs de mer, were congregating outside the building.

As an aside, later on in the evening the band stuck up and there was a lot of music and noise coming from the building.
I enquired as to what was going on there.
“We’re holding a Lifeboatman’s Ball” came the reply.
“Well for God’s sake let go of it” I urged. “He’s making far too much noise!”

Later on I went for my evening walk around the walls.

The lights of Jersey were twinkling quite brightly in the distance and I took a couple of photos of them with the camera. Unfortunately, with them being hand-held and in the dark, they didn’t come out very well and I discarded them.

From there I ran on along the path and then across the Square Maurice Marland.

big wheel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe roadworks in the Rue Notre Dame were finished and the barriers and traffic lights dismantled. I walked past them and carried on around the walls.

But what caught my eye tonight was how nice the port area and the town looked in the streetlights, with the water tower on the skyline in the background just to the right of centre.

The big wheel was looking particularly nice so I reckoned that I had better photograph it tonight. This is going to be the last weekend that it’s here this year

people up to no good city walls granville manche normandy france eric hallBut I’m not quite sure what was going on here.

There were two people with a rather large briefcase and a couple or portable radios hidden away in a corner up on the walls. i’ve no idea what they were doing and they certainly weren’t too keen to enter into conversation.

Having observed them for a couple of minutes I ran on home. My three runs of about 600 or so metres in total once more. There’s only Saturday that I’ve missed in this respect but then again I’ve been well over 120% of my day’s activity ever saturday that I’ve missed.

it’s Saturday tomorrow and US Granville are playing away. I have shopping to do of course and I’m hoping that I remember everything. I’m having a really bad time right now and I don’t know what i’m going to do about it.

Saturday 20th June 2020 – LET’S NOT TALK …

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall… about this morning as it was nothing at all to celebrate.

Instead, while you admire the photos of the sunset this evening, let me tell you something about the rest of the day.

After the medication (when I finally did leave my stinking pit) I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. It’s always the most important part of the day when I check the dictaphone and find out that I’d been on my travels.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallI was back in school last night and it was the annual prizegiving. On eof the prizes being awarded was for the most attractive male pupil. I actually made it to second place … “yes, as if …” – ed … which I thought was absolutely bizarre … “and quite right too” – ed. The winner was a friend of mine from my schooldays, and that would have been omething that would have surprised everyone except him. He was a little taken aback and when they presented him with the award he asked “is there a speech that I have to read?” I shouted out “no, you have to read your own”. So he gave a very tear-laden speech, just a short one thanking everyone. The the MC said “it’s lunchtime now so we’re going to do something down in the canteen but you can all go for a wander round until it’s ready”. I stormed out of the room there, I’m not sure why, to wait for the guy I was with – my doctor friend again. And we saw this winner again standing in the corner of one of the rooms on his own with a few people hanging around in that room as well and we wondered what was happening now with him

After a shower I headed off to the shops. And to my surprise I bought next-to-nothing at NOZ – some vegan ice cream, a couple of little bits and pieces and a nice comfy seat cushion for my office chair.

At LeClerc again I spent almost nothing at all. And to my regret they had run out of those frozen falafels that I had bought last week. I should have bought a few more packets last week.

However I did buy some of the veggie balls that they had, and also some more of that bread flour seeing as I seemed to have had some good results with that last lot.

Back here I put most of the stuff away and then I … errr … had a little relax. As if I haven’t done enough of that already today.

Lunch was taken on the wall overlooking the harbour again but whether it was the weekend or whatever, there wasn’t a soul moving about anywhere. I can’t think of such a less interesting time out there.

Mind you it was nice in the sun. I didn’t mind that much.

This afternoon I spent a lot of time going through some stuff on the hard drive of the computer. One or two … “dozen” – ed … directories seem to have got themselves into something of a tangle just now and needed a good clean-out

Hidden deep in there was a small utility program that I had downloaded and then completely overlooked. It’s quite a useful little utility too and I put it to some use while I was at it. No time like the present.

Not only that, while doing some research into the issue I came across the solution to a problem that has Been vexing me since Christmas.

So even if it looks as if I haven’t done much, I’ve accomplished an awful lot.

surfers english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallOut for my walk this afternoon and I had several errands to run.

Not that I got very far though because I was distracted by something out to sea. I took a photo of it with the big 70-300mm LENS with the aim of enlarging it when I returned home.

And much to my disappointment it wasn’t the Loch Ness Monster at all. It seems to be a group of people, maybe surfers with their surfboards having a Union meeting out to sea and I’ve no idea whatever what they may have been discussing.

woman fishing from rocks plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallOne of the many things that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing has been the fishermen perched on rocks on the edge of the water rather like little garden gnomes on their tuffets.

There were yet more out there today – and for a change, I reckon from the body shape that this one is more likely a female of the variety. That’s certainly something new.

A friend of mine once took his wife fishing. “never again!” he replied. “She did EVERYTHING wrong to show me up in front of the others. talked too loudly, used the wrong hook, fixed the wrong bait, cast the line incorrectly, caught the biggest fish …”

lifeguard crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will also recall that we saw them a good few weeks ago now digging out the accumulated sand from the old tidal swimming pool.

It’s now well up and running as you can see from this photo. There are a few people there or thereabouts.

And do you notice the guys in the yellow flourescent jackets? I was told the other day that the beach and the pool are to be patrolled by lifeguards this summer in view of the larger-than-expected crowds.

My suggestion is that the two guys down there in those jackets are the lifeguards.

seagull chick rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallOne of the things that I forgot to do was to check on the roofing to see how it was doing.

Instead, I pushed on through to the Place Maurice Marland to check on my baby seagull to see how it was doing.

And there it is, on the roof, looking fit and healthy although still a week or two behind the others around here. And no sign of mummy. She probably thinks that baby is big enough to be left alone while she goes off foraging around for food.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the medieval city walls are falling to bits.

escalier square potel closed granville manche normandy france eric hallThey spend a whole year almost repairing a huge section in the rue des Juifs but in the meantime there are three more sections of wall (and one on the Plat Gousset) that have had to be closed to passers-by due to the danger of falling rocks.

And here’s another one today. I noticed in the newspaper a few days ago that the stairs down to the Square Potel have been closed of “due to a serious degradation”.

It’s high time that, instead of wasting millions in the port on a job that could have been done at half the cost and twice the speed when the port was drained a couple of years ago, they started to do some serious work and maintenance on the cultural heritage of the town.

None of this is going to last for ever, and tourists – and inhabitants – won’t want to come if all there is is a heap of stones

work on staircase rue lecarpentier granville manche normandy france eric hallAnother thing that I have been meaning to do is to go and check up on the work that we saw on the steps in the rue LeCarpentier.

They had a digger there of course and it had been doing plenty of work. They’ve cleared away the ground from around a meter so it’s obviously some kind of mains services that are being overhauled.

As it happened, at the foot of the steps I bumped into my friend who works at the mairie. She told me that it’s a gas pipe being replaced.

While I had her attention I mentioned to her the subject of the itinerant. There’s a welfare service in town that deals with the disadvantages and there is emergency accommodation available. She’s going to get on the case and see what she can do.

If he wants to stay out there in all weathers, that’s his choice and I’m the last person to stand in his way. But someone who knows what they are doing should be keeping an eye on him all the same.

old cars citroen b12 1924 granville manche normandy france eric hallNow how long is it since we’ve had an old car in these pages? And I don’t just mean something from the 1960s or 70s either but something really old.

Walking back to the apartment I came across this parked on the side of the road by the Porte St Jean so of course I went over to have a closer look and take a couple of photos.

According to the radiator grille it’s a Citroen B12. And according to the woman who was sitting in the back, it’s from 1924

old cars citroen b12 1924 granville manche normandy france eric hallSomething isn’t right there then.

The B12 wasn’t unveiled to the public until the October 1925 Paris Motor Show, when it replaced the B10 and the B2

It seems that the car had broken down, so the lady told me. The driver had gone off to look for spare parts so I didn’t really learn an awful lot. I hung around for a while but he didn’t show up so I headed for home.

After the guitar, tea tonight was baked potato and veg with one of the brzaded soya fillets (there were a few more in Noz today) followed by Apple Crumble and soya coconut dessert.

Just for a change I didn’t buy any of that today. In Noz they had some vegan oat-based ice cream and I’m going to try that when the coconut stuff runs out.

One thing that I like about Noz is that they do have the unexpected in there and it’s a great way to vary my diet. As I have said before … “on many, many occasions” – ed …I’m eating so much better these days.

crowds picnicking pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallOff I went on my run later on – all the way up the hill and down to the clifftop without stopping (in total agony too).

It was a lovely evening although there were not too many people around out there which was a surprise. There was one family just there having a big picnic in one of the old gun emplacements and a few other people loitering around just to make up the numbers.

The itinerant was there too of course, perched under his hedge. I reckon that he’ll be here for the summer, and more besides, probably.

speedboat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere wasn’t much going on in the water this evening.

One or two fishermen on their rocks but no-one about in a fishing boat. Just this speedboat roaring over from the Ile de Chausey on his way back to town.

So with nothing doing there, I ran down to my viewpoint past the chantier navale, where there was no change in occupancy, down to the port which was all quiet.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallWith nothing happening I ran all the wat down the Boulevard Vaufleury, gown the Rue St Jean, through the alley and back up to the Rue du Nord and the viewpoint.

You’ve seen the photos of the sunset at the beginning of this posting, but you haven’t seen the beach. No picnickers down there – just a couple soaking up the summer sun and some kids having some fun.

With nothing else going on, I ran on home to write up my notes.

Sunday tomorrow, and I lie in. But I need to find the papers for Caliburn’s controle technique which are around somewhere and also book my next voyage to Leuven

That 6 months has come round fast, hasn’t it?

Wednesday 8th April 2020 – I DONT KNOW …

sunset english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall… what kind of day it has been today, because up until this evening I haven’t set foot out of the door to the building.

But if it was anything like the night sky suggests that it was, it must have been truly wonderful. There’s a beautiful red tinge to the sky over there on the horizon very much reminiscent of the old phrase “Red Sky At Night, St Malo is on fire”.

And being somewhat considerably later than usual for my evening walk, I was lucky to actually see it

Something else that I was lucky to see was the morning. It was another one of those mornings where I missed the alarm. And I’m not sure why either because although it wasn’t an early night last night, it wasn’t anything like as late as some have been just recently.

After the meds I looked at the dictaphone notes. I was with someone from the radio station and another guy with a very thin face and we were discussing the radio. It was in a cafe somewhere at the bottom end of the Chaussée de Wavre near the Boulevard du Souverain in Brussels but there was no coffee being served because of this scare going on. We were talking about all kind sof things and there was a quartier where there was some events taking place and there was no-one covering it. I said that I would go for a wander around and at least I would make a few contacts there because I was moving to this area in due course. So we had a talk about that, contacts, getting people to sign in and get people to be watchers for us to tell us what’s going on, all this kind of thing. At this moment my tea was ready so I asked everone else what they would like to eat as I’d cooked myself a meal. The two women said “a Boskoop” (an apple). I thought “do I have enough?” so I asked “is that all that you wanted?”. Then I heard a shout from outside and it was a former schoolfriend of mine who was my son, would you believe. I thought that I wouldn’t introduce him as my son to these women because I wasn’t sure that they realised that I was old enough to have a son his age. I had to get out my sieve, a plastic conical one. It had been in dirty water for about a week and was all stained and all horrible. That was when I awoke, wondering about my nice cooked meal and was it appropriate to eat it when these people were just going to have an apple each, always assuming that I actually had one for them.
A little later, we were discussing groups. There were three of us – me, a guitarist and someone else jamming. Only for about 30 seconds and someone had recorded it on video. They were starting to make copies of it and pass them all around which I thought was crazy – just one of these 30-second-type jams that you have every now and again. Some guy was there saying “yes we’re going to do our best to help you and do our best to get you somewhere”. I thought that that was just absolutely crazy. They started to pass these CDs and DVDs around. They were taking all of my white CD sleeves. I thought “hang on a minute this isn’t on” because my CDs are colour-coded – red for this, white for that, black for that, blue for that and they would disturb my system and that wasn’t really on. Then I thought that having a DVD of me actually playing would be interesting. At one moment he was talking about a tricycle, a Honda 750 that had been turned into a tricycle called a Queen Bee or a Queen Mary or something. The rear single-wheel bit was extremely complicated and he’d never seen one properly but he had found one in a scrapyard and was trying to negotiate to buy it to put it on his bike but the scrapyard wanted to sell the whole unit, not just the bits. He asked me if I’d ever seen one close up and I said “no, and to be honest, I’ve never seen one from a distance either”

After breakfast I made a start on the digital file splitting. You can tell that we are getting down to the bottom of the pile right now because these last few are proving to be difficult.

Long-gone are the days when you would pick up an album to find that it would be Tangerine Dream and consist of one track that was 51:20 in length or something like that. Instead I’m coming across albums of 15 tracks of 2:00 each, something like that.

There are plenty of tracks that are not so easy to find either so I’m having to hunt around more than maybe I ought. And in error I rather regrettably downloaded an *.mkv file, with all of the problems that that entails.

As a result of all of this, I was somewhat late finishing everything this morning.

But by my reckoning, there are maybe another 20 albums at most that I can do things with in the immediate future. The live albums and the obscure compilation albums will be done another time and the untraceable ones that I shall digitalise myself, that’s for even later.

The next thing that I intend to do is to start on the cassettes. Dozens of those from my “Winsford” days and I’m surprised that after almost 40 years I still have them.

A few of those are quite obscure too and I will need to digitalise those. I had made a start on that in … errr … 2004 but that was a project that ran aground quite quickly. I’m hoping for more perseverence this time.

home made orange ginger cordial place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter lunch, with taco rolls again of course, I had to make some orange and ginger cordial.

Not as much ginger as I would have liked because, for some unaccountable reason, I only had an old piece of manky stuff. I’m convinced that I had two or three pieces, but I’ve no idea whatever became of them.

And even worse, I’ve run out of Manuka Honey. Not having had the chance to go to a health food shop when I was in Leuven last time I couldn’t pick any up.

What I’ll have to do is to go to the Health Food shops here – if they are open – and see what they might have.

Eventually I could attack the text for the radio shows and once again I’ve come up short. There was a break to listen to our “Grande Marée Virtuelle” of course, and the hour on the guitars, but I wasn’t even in much of a mood for that either.

It makes me wonder if it’s something to do with the full moon, this lethargy.

For tea tonight, I made that potato and lentil curry that I had been promising myself. And this new diet thingy means that instead of there being enough for 5 helpings, there was actually enough for 7.

The other 6, which I didn’t eat tonight of course, are now freezing nicely in the freezer ready for another time.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter the rice pudding, I went out for my evening’s exercise, rather later than usual.

And surprise! Surprise! I wasn’t the only one out there tonight. I mentioned the other day that the fishing boats here are still going out and there was one just there heading off into the wild blue yonder.

And there was an article in the newspaper this morning that direct sales to the public from the quayside may commence, but only under certain quite strict conditions.

It’s better than nothing, I suppose.

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnother thing about which I am not sure is going on is down in the chantier navale

It looks as if the fishing boats are breeding or something like that becase we had a third yesterday and today we have a fourth one. And it’s not keeping its social distance either, but is rather cuddled up to the one on its right.

So I left it to its own devices and carried on. I’ve managed my five runs this evening but I ended up feeling like something that the cat has dragged in through the cat flap

Back here I had a little chat with Liz. She likes to make sure that i’m still OK, which is very nice of her.

So having finished my journal for tonight, I’m off to bed. Here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow.

Sunday 1st March 2020 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… day without a single photograph. And, eve, worse, the first day for a month that I’ve done less than my 100% daily effort.

And one of the main reasons for that was that there wasn’t much of a day today to have a go at.

What with one thing and another, I ended up not going to bed until 03:30 this morning. I had things to do, I was on something of a roll and there was good music on my playlist. No alarm on a Sunday either.

And so consequently when I awoke at 07:50, and was even out of bed at one stage, there was no chance of that ever continuing. A much more reasonable time after a late night like that was …errr … 11:50.

Consequently, breakfast was … errr … somewhat late and then I had a look at the dictaphone. And I rather wished that I hadn’t.

Because what a nightmare that was! I was in West London and I’d fallen in with a family a bit like one that I knew once in Scotland, pretty undisciplined and wild with loads of kids. When we got to their house there were dogs overrunning the house – 20 or 30 dogs. Absolutely terrible. You coudn’t do anything for dogs barking and jumping up at you, all this kind of thing. In the middle Keith Emerson came in for a piano lesson as the guy who was running the house was teaching him to play the piano. That just made the whole thing wilder. I don’t think that i’ve ever been in a house so dirty and disgusting, especially when I’ve been in a dream, something like that. An old school friend was there. There was a TV going in the background and the woman came down and told Liz off about turning on the TV, quite bossy about it and switched off the TV. And on and on went this dream
A little later last night I was walking with one of my nieces through London. She was having a row with her mother about doing something about estate agents. There were a lot of properties that needed some kind of descriptive sheet drawn up. She was saying that some kind of things were not needed but her mother was saying that she did and there was this talk about it. The girl came out with this “well I don’t care what Northern people have to say. It’s not how it’s done”. We were walking over this huge railway arch overbridge type of place. We could see railway lines that kind of thing below us heading towards London docks. We were walking through the streets and somehow she and I became separated, I was on my own. Someone touched me on the shoulder, a young guy. He said “you know all about this agency thing don’t you?” I said yes so he said “do you know what it is that the mother wants?” “yes, it’s like ‘this apartment is in a sunny situation, one bedroom, fitted kitchen’ that kind of thing of descriptive”. So he handed me a couple of forms and said “could you write them out for these places?” I noticed that there were three or four other people near me who were doing the same thing so I had to write out a descriptive for these flats. The first one was at the address where my aunt lived, a flat in her building. I said “God, how strange” but no-one seemed to pick up on that so I said it again and again but no-one seemed to pick up on it so I made a start. Someone else was writing something and saying “I wonder if she’s going to get much work done on her place?” I replied that I knew the apartment because my Aunt lives in the building there. They are allowed to work on the interior but not on the exterior. A guy said “yes, that’s right. That’s how I had my place – it was like that as well”.
One of the people in the previous dream came out with the old Kenneth Williams “I’m Alan Watermain and I’m bursting with indignation at having to do this”
I was in Granville again later on and it was the Carnival parade and everyone had to interview the owners of the floats. I’d interviewed a few and one or two other people but someone was having no luck at all. In the end he just stopped broadcasting so he had to fill in all of the events. One of the questions that we asked was “what brought you to Canada?” and they recited a bit of their history and that sort of thing. Anyway this drifted on into the night. Next minute I was up early and started to ring people again. They were looking for me on the radio – they had a TV monitor that they used to zoom into the crowds. Eventually they picked me up and used various hand gestures as I was having to take things easy myself otherwise I’ll be creating these people with all their health issues. They asked me what I was doing, so I told them that I was still hunting for people to talk to the radio.
I fell asleep again while I was dictating a dream, this one about the circus procession thing. I probably mentioned about how the French were no good at building up the tension – they were good at reporting on the actual events but didn’t have very much idea about setting the scene or building up the tension, anything like that.

So I don’t have a clue about any of that.

There was still time for me to attack one of the digital files to split that into its components, and that’s one that will have to be done because the tape seems to have been damaged – there’s a frequent blip that appears at regular intervals right through it as if the tape has been pierced at one point.

Caliburn and I hit the streets and headed for Brehal-Plage. One of the guys from the radio lives there and we had some things to talk about – making plans and all of that. Just because things aren’t going our way right now, that’s no reason to down our tools. I have plenty of ideas and if the loud-mouth in the “team” (a phrase which I use very carefully) doesn’t like our ideas then we quite simply won’t seek his approval and by-pass this selection “committee” upon which he sits. We’ll just plough our own lonely furrow.

From there, I went to Roncey. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last Sunday it was my birthday and I had been invited for a birthday tea to Liz and Terry’s. However, I had to skip it because of this debâcle in which I was involved and so I was invited today instead.

We had a really good chat and I discussed one of my projects, which will (hopefully) involve Liz and STRAWBERRY MOOSE – but that’s not going to happen any time soon unfortunately, due to various things getting in the way.

Tea was delicious. We had a dahl – a lentil curry with garlic naam bread followed by apple crumble and custard. Even better, there was plenty left for a doggy bag to bring home.

And best of all, Liz produced a chocolate and orange cake as a special birthday treat and I shall be trying that as soon as I can.

On the way home, the heavens opened and Caliburn was drenched. And if that wasn’t enough, I went over a speed bump and the passenger-side mirror glass fell out of its surround and broke.

So bed-time now, and tomorrow I shall be back at work. I have my travel arrangements to make and a few other bits and pieces to do too, as well as organising the music for the next series of music programmes.

It’s all go here, isn’t it? But at least there is cake.

Wednesday 27th November 2019 – WHAT A WASTE …

… of a morning this was!

Although the night wasn’t as late as many nights have been just recently, I still had a few problems this morning.

I heard the 06:00 alarm go off sure enough and I’m not sure what happened next but when I heard the next alarm go off I thought that I’ll give it a couple of minutes and then get up before the third alarm, like I usually do.

After a few minutes I had a quick glance at the time before I arose. 06:25 it was. So for some unknown reason I had completely missed the second alarm.

At that point I decided that seeing as I had already missed my target time, another couple of minutes wouldn’t hurt any.

The next thing that I remembered was that it was 08:47 and I’d been right away with the fairies.

As indeed I had been. And not on my own either for there were three of us again and we were having something to do with the animals. We were looking after the animals in a kind of laboratory place and a couple of guys came past and were talking to us so we were talking back to them. But for some unknown reason the conversation took off into a kind of 1950s type of scene with all pork-pie hats and that kind of thing. I was speaking to them not as I would today but going back 50 years and everyone was wondering why. They didn’t understand the language for a start so I explained that this was how English would have been 50 years ago in the days of the Teddy Boys, all this sort of thing (of course the Teddy Boys were earlier than that) but this was when the period was, back in the teddy Boy days and they found it difficult to understand. From here it kind of drifted off into a wartime scenario and I can’t remember very much about this second bit where it was during the war.

By the time that my feet were on the floor it was almost 09:30 and I decided to forego breakfast again. Just have a coffee and some juice and then crack on with work. There’s an open-air fruit market on a Wednesday morning as I discovered when I was on one of my marathon walks just recently. I’d planned to go out there for a butcher’s but it won’t be today.

The first thing to attack, as far as work goes, was the dictaphone notes. And a mega-one of 12 minutes at that. All in all, from the night of 20th-21st September this year there were over 20 minutes of dictaphone notes and many of them are quite disturbing.

But the 21st was the morning that I set off from Montreal to ottawa so it was bound to be an extremely turbulent night. And had I listened to what had been going on during the night before I set off, I probably wouldn’t have gone.

But I didn’t, so I did, and that was an end to it. But I’ll be thinking long and hard before I put any of the night’s activities into print in the public domain. They will join the others that have yet to see the light of day until I have had an opportunity to consult m’learned friends.

The plan was to work on until about 11:00 and then go into town for a dejeunette (I’ve decided that I’ll do that every day from now on) and the Post Office to post the letters that I didn’t post yesterday.

But when I did glance at the time, it was just coming up to 12:00. This late start killed me off and it was far too late to go to the Post Office. I carried on with work instead.

low tide port de granville harbour manche normandy franceRound about 13:00 I broke off and headed down the steps into town. The tide was out, miles out in fact, and all of the boats in the harbour were high and dry.

With the tide being out, the harbour gates would be closed so I headed off round the back of the fish-processing plant and onto the path across the top of the gates and went into town that way.

Striding along as if I were on my way to invade Poland, I was feeling so good that at a certain moment I even broke into a little run. And that’s not been anything that has been seen this side of this Century – me running for no good purpose in broad daylight.

ski slope place general de gaulle granville manche normandy franceArmed with my dejeunette, I went to inspect the edifice in the Place General de Gaulle.

And I now know what it is, because there was an article about it in the local paper. It seems that Granville has pretentions about being a winter ski resort (don’t ask me how or why because I don’t have a clue either) and they are building an artificial ski-slope.

All that I can say is that the mayor and her cohorts are going downhill fast.

After lunch I carried on with the dictaphone notes. There were some mega-ones in there as you might expect, what with everything that was going on and how I was feeling, but I was determined to break the back of the issue today.

By the time that I knocked off for my afternoon walk, I had reduced the backlog to a mere 69. There are only a handful of really long ones in there, one of which is … errr … over four hours (and that can’t be right) so with a bit of luck I can crack on and whittle them down.

And then I can start on the photos.

storm at sea english channel granville manche normandy franceWhen I had gone out earlier in the day it had been quite windy. But now the wind was simply wicked.

The tide was out so I can’t show you just how wild the seas were, but you can have an idea simply by looking at the whitecaps in this photo.

They would have made rather a mess of the sea wall at the harbour or at the Plat Gousset.

casino beach plat gousset granville manche normandy franceTalking of the Plat Gousset … “well, one of us is” – ed … I stopped to have a look down there and to see what was going on.

Just one solitary soul out there on the beach and no more than half a dozen on the promenade itself. And that’s hardly surprising because it really was a dreadful wind.

In fact, we’ve had nothing but gale-force winds since I’ve been back from North America and I don’t know about anyone else but I’m getting rather fed up of this.

It’s a good job that my apartment is a really solid building. If I had owned a paper shop, it would have blown away a long time ago.

black cat granville manche normandy franceMy route into town took me down the steps to the Place Marechal Foch, but I didn’t get very far at all.

My trip was interrupted by a young black cat that was wandering around in the undergrowth so I stopped and had a little chat with it. They say that stroking a cat is a very good way of relieving stress, and who can argue with that?

The moggy and I were there for a good few minutes until I moved on.

road works place marechal foch granville manche normandy franceNot too far as it happened, because down below me the Plce was cordoned off and there was a pile of machinery down there digging up the road surface.

There were a few guys down there too who looked as if they had something to do with it all so I went down the steps to ask them about it.

But they must have seen me coming because they took off and by the time that I reached their van, they had long-since departed and that was that.

road works place marechal foch granville manche normandy franceI had to content myself with a really good examination of thr work to see what I could see.

Definitely electric trunking and the trace cable for pulling through was there. So I was wondering if this is a bit more of the fibre-optic cabling that’s been going on here for as long as I can remember.

What I’ll do is to come this way tomorrow on my way to the shops and see if the guys are there then, and I can ask them

Down at the Post Office I posted my letters and then I came back here. And with a coffee and a slice of Liz’s cake, I really hit the jackpot.

And big-time too.

A quest that I have been undertaking for almost 43 years has deamatically come to a conclusion.

Let’s turn our clocks back to 22nd january 1977. I was living in Crewe, sharing a flat in Nantwich Road with Allen Marsden. And on the radio came a “Sight and Sound” concert of Santana.

It was the most amazing, most phenomenal live concert that I have ever heard either before or since and, grabbing a tape, I recorded it. I’ve played the tape to death and it’s all worn away now, and over the last 40-odd years I’ve been trying to track down when and where it was recorded. I’ve even been to the BBC to ask them, and they were no help.

But idly surfing the internet looking for something else I suddenly found a Santana live concert from the Hammersmith Odeon on 15th December 1976 and I only had to listen to the first three notes to know that this was exactly the concert for which I had been seeking.

It really is superb! Just listen to “Soul Sacrifice” from about 44:00 onwards.

So listening to Santana on an endless loop I attacked the web page updating. And by the time that I had knocked off for tea, another 30 had bit the dust.

All in all, I call that I good day’s work!

Tea was a burger on a bap, followed by pineapples and blackcurrant sorbet.

brehal plage granville manche normandy franceAnd then the evening walk around the headland.

Despite the high winds yet again, the sky was beautifully clear again and once more there was a beautiful view up the coast. The lights of Bréhal-Plage came out perfectly in this picture, taken with the camera being hand-held.

Of course I could have done a lot better with the tripod, but in this wind? You must be joking!

spirit of conrad omerta aztec lady chantier navale port de granville harbour  manche normandy franceOnwards or upwards then, and round the headland and along the top of the cliffs overlooking the port.

Nothing much has changed in the chantier navale. Spirit of Conrad, Omerta and Aztec Lady are still in there on their blocks, and there’s badger all else for the moment.

So I carried on and broke into a run at my usual spot, much to the amusement of a passer-by and his dog. And tonight I made it all the way over the rise and down the bank as far as the pedestrian crossing.

That’s the farthest that I’ve been

So now it’s bedtime and I’m hoping for a better day tomorrow, with a nice long walk up to LIDL. That should be interesting. I forgot to see what the sale goods are.