Tag Archives: Amber

Friday 28th January 2022 – I FOUND OUT …

inside bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… something about the gun whose mount they uncovered when they cleaned out the abandoned bunker the other day.

Thanks to a friendly neighbourhood press release, the gun that was mounted on the mounting that you can see in the foreground just behind the wire grill was a naval-type 105mm gun.

That will probably mean that it’s the SKC/32 rather than a derivative of the 88mm flakartillerie gun, and was the secondary armament on several of the larger German ships and also the primary artillery on many of the earlier generations of World-War II U-boats (but not, surprisingly, the Class VII which still used the 75mm gun).

chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022What I didn’t find out though was the name of the boat that was in the chantier naval at the side of Gerlean.

That’s because when I looked this afternoon, there she was! Gone! And never called me “mother”!.

Surprisingly, Gerlean had gone too. She’s been in there for quite a while but it looks as if she’s gone back into the water.

And what wouldn’t I have given to have gone back to bed this morning? I know that 07:30 isn’t as early as I used to get up in the good old days when I was feeling better, but it’s still far too flaming early for me these days.

After the medication I came back in here and sat on the chair. And while it would be wrong to say that I fell asleep again, I may well have done for all the work that I was doing.

A strong mug of coffee and a fruit bun at breakfast time did something to revive me and so I tackled the dictaphone notes. I was playing football last night with a couple of teams of girls. There was some confusion going on about the score because one team had had to play either with a woman short or out of position etc. No allowance had been made for that and they thought that that was rather unfair. On my way home I said goodbye. One of the girls who looked like my niece’s youngest daughter – it might have been her – had a tiny long-necked dragon-type of insect thing that she was training. She was training it by either giving it or withholding food. We all thought that it was pretty amazing but thinking on it was the kind of thing that you can do if you are using food as a tuition method. I said goodbye to them all and went outside. I was sleeping in a hedge like in Vine Tree Avenue in Shavington but it was freezing and I thought that I’m not looking forward to sleeping outside tonight in this.

Later on there was something about vehicles in the rush hour, someone driving some kind of I dunno maybe a stolen car but the authorities were already there and there were two vehicles of theirs being in plain clothes that were following this vehicle with these outlaws in it to try to find out what they were doing and where they were going and what their plan was.

And yet in the Magistrates’ Court (whatever this is all about I really don’t know) there was someone being dragged around by his collar lying on his back along the floor. I’ve no idea why and I’ve no idea what it relates to

There was also something about a car and caravan, one of these big North American caravan things. There was traffic stopped or slowing down to let a pedestrian walk across the road. This car and trailer didn’t see it until very late and swerved off the road having to drive in through all of the trees and smashed up while this pedestrian was slowly making its way across to the other side of the road

Finally, Nerina and I were working on VBH, one of my old yellow Cortinas. She was getting together all of the bits and pieces and I was busy adding them on etc. She was becoming very frustrated saying “you’ve no idea how long it’s taking me to get all of this stuff together”. I replied “yes, I can imagine, but it’s not taking me any less time to do all of the work. While we were doing that we were talking about the invasion of Normandy, how there were still one or two hold-out towns of Germans on the coast. We were discussing how quickly it would take them to close the gap. We didn’t think that it would take them long – a bus would do that trip in 3 or 4 minutes. We were talking about that. Just then a couple appeared in a white Ford Transit, people whom we knew who worked on the radio. They stopped and said “hello” and said that they were going off somewhere but they would come back to give us a hand. Off they went. Nerina brought me a dish of pea soup and I spilt most of it down me, on the carpet, on the rug and made quite a mess. I said “not to worry. I’ll change my clothes and put everything in the wash, including the rug etc. Then this couple came back. It hadn’t taken them long. They stopped a little further down the road, got out and went to talk to a couple of other people whome they must have known who were about 100 yards away from us, found some chairs and sat down and made themselves comfortable. We thought “they aren’t going to be coming along helping us, are they?”. Nerina said something like “it’s not surprising that his nickname is “the King” is it?”. I went off to find some clean clothes but in my bedroom all of my furniture had been moved around. I asked my brother what was going on. He wouldn’t give me a straight answer. I finally found my chest of drawers and went to take a clean tee-shirt. he said “you have bed bugs in there” so I opened it and had a sniff and thought “no, there are no bed bugs in here. What’s he talking about?”. We had this really ferocious argument about him changing everything around in the room without talking to me about it.

And I do wish that my family would clear of and leave me alone when I’m in the middle of a nocturnal ramble. It really is quite depressing when they keep on butting in. I don’t mind Nerina – after all, I chose her to come into my life for better or for worse and after a few of the women whom I subsequently encountered, I came to the conclusion that she wasn’t the person that I imagined her to be – but the others I can do without.

For lunch I finished off the half-loaf that I had out. The other half still in the freezer can wait until Monday before I take it out. It went in almost as soon as it was cooked so I hope that it will be nice and fresh.

After lunch I attacked the files for the radio project. One lot went fine with no issues but the second on, that it quite long and the third one, they are presenting me with quite a problem. There was a lot of background noise and I forgot to record some ambience so I had to invent some, and that wasn’t easy.

And then, there’s a difference in tone between what we recorded on the day and what we recorded here in my apartment. There’s much more resonance in the original one because it was recorded in a public hall with different acoustics so I’ve spent most of the afternoon experimenting with echo settings and changing the tone.

That’s a long, hard job and it’s going to take me a while to have it how I want it, if I can manage it at all. If not, I’ll have to “invent” something else.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

First port of call was at the wall at the end of the car park overlooking the beach to see what was going on down there this afternoon.

Not that there was very much beach for anyone to be on, because the tide is quite well in.There’s still some room for some people to go for a walk if they so choose, but there was no-one down there.

It wasn’t a bad day, actually. There was very little wind compared to what we usually have and it was fairly warm for the time of year too. Not the kind of weather to keep me indoors anyway.

strange lighting effects baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022We were however having some strange lighting effects out at sea.

Somewhere over there is the Brittany coast, although you would never guess if I hadn’t told you. There’s some sun shining through a gap in the clouds higer up, but we have some kind of sea mist just offshore and fairly low down.

You can even see some kind of demarcation line in the bay which the mist reaches, and it all looks particularly weird.

What the horizontal lines represent between the mist and the sunlight represent is something else that I can’t understand either. I wish that I’d paid more attention to Miss Coxon’s Meteorology lessons 50-odd years ago.

The guy from the council has finished his work with the concrete pad for the new flagpole so I pushed on to check the bunker before continuing my walk around the headland.

le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Gerlean and the other boat next to her may well have cleared off, but the third boat is there so I concentrated on trying to identify her.

Her registration number is pretty much out of sight and I can’t decipher it, and we have her name written in some of this stupid illegible font on the wind deflector above the cabin.

Doing the best that I can, I think that she’s called Le Roc A La Mauve III, and that’s not impossible because according to the Companies Register there’s a company based down the road in Donville les Bains called “Le Roc A La Mauve” and which is described as “sea farmers”.

gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022and as for where Gerlean is, look no further.

It sounded to me as if there was a lot of noise coming from the chantier naval and what was happening was that the portable boat lift was busy lowering Gerlean back into the water.

And once in there, she cleared off across the harbour and out to sea. Probably for sea trials, I reckon, after her repairs. It’s not very likely that she’ll make straight for the fishing grounds after having been dropped back into the water after all of this time.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, at the ferry terminal, we have one of the Joly France boats moored up.

It’s the older one, by the looks of things, without the step in the stern. They do still run out to the Ile de Chausey in winter but nothing like as regularly as in the summer.

And hang onto your hats, because we might be seeing some other boats over there. My understanding is that the Channel Island ferries have been sold to a new owner and service is due to restart in late April.

Mind you, we’ve all heard that before. Let’s hope that for this time, it really is true.

la grande ancre mobile crane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back home for my coffee I had a look in the inner harbour to see what was going on.

The big mobile crane has now been folded up and the machinery that came on the lorry that it unloaded has also gone. Apparently one of the Jersey freighter, either Normandy Trader or Normandy Warrior, came in earlier today to pick it up and take it away.

Back here I had my coffee and then carried on with this sound file editing which is going to take me quite a while and then nipped into the kitchen for a quick tea. More veg and baked potatoes with an ancient breaded soya fillet that I found, simply to make more space so that I could file away the rest of the carrots.

And thzn football. Y Bala v Y Drenewydd. Much more skilful than earlier in the week and Bala won by the only goal. But it was something of a midfield battle and the strikers didn’t have much of a look-in. And of course Drenewydd’s defeat gave TNS an opportunity to go even farther ahead.

They are well out on top, Cefn Druids are well adrift in the basement, but the other 10 places are really up for grabs with no-one stamping their authority on the League.

But now it’s bed-time. And I wonder who’ll be coming walkies with me during the night. After the delightful company that I had a few days ago, Castor, TOTGA and Zero, I shudder to think who’ll be out there waiting for me to appear tonight.

Monday 9th August 2021 – THERE HAS BEEN …

trawler charlevy chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… yet more excitement in the chantier naval today.

When I walked past there this afternoon I discovered that the yacht Rebelle has once more gone back into the water today. But for how long, who knows? We might be seeing it back again quite soon if past history is anything to go by.

Also missing today is the trawler Monaco du Nord II. Her repaint and renovation job seems to be finished.

All that remains today is the trawler Charlevy and the two others whose names I have yet to discover.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, over at the ferry terminal is one of the Joly France boats – the older one without the step in the stern and with the windows in landscape format.

It may well be that she’ll be going out to the Ile de Chausey when the tide comes back in, even if the tide doesn’t come back in until later this evening, unless she’s there in preparation for an early start tomorrow.

Despite the weather not being exactly summer-like, there are still holidaymakers who need to be ferried out to the island and back. And it’s really sad that the weather isn’t what they would have been wanting after all of the events of the last 18 months.

And the sleep that I had last night wasn’t quite what I was wanting. Despite my early night and feeling as tired as I was, I couldn’t get off to sleep for ages and when I finally did, it was one of those sleeps that was rather intermittent.

And one thing that I noticed that I had to leave my bed in the middle of the night, something that I’ve now done for a few times just recently after going without for a couple of years.

There’s a pile of stuff on the dictaphone too. It was 21st birthday party of one of my niece’s daughters and a late 16th birthday party for another. They had waited until Covid was over and were having this celebration. There were some kids next door who were having a party and the parties somehow intermingled. At some point there was a fire and the fire brigade were called. The police came and arrested me and took me off. Some woman policewoman started to question me about the party – what was I doing allowing this and that to happen? I replied “hang on – what’s this got to do with me? I’ve only just turned up from Europe. I have no idea of what was happening at this do. I wasn’t in charge of it or anything like that. Why isn’t my sister here? Why isn’t her husband here? If anyone was in charge of it, they were more than anyone else because they live there and they were their kids”. After this went on for a couple of minutes I said “I’ll tell you exactly whose party it was. It was my niece’s daughter’s party. She’s 21, she’s an adult. Why isn’t she here?”. The policewoman looked at me, thought for a minute and said “get out of here”.

I was having camera issues and things weren’t going very well. Suddenly a box turned up and I opened it. It was 3 cameras, one of which I’d ordered but the other 2 were 2 that I’d looked at and decided that I didn’t want. It seemed that Amazon had sent me the 3. Liz then asked “is that the one that I got you?”. It turned out that Liz had bought me one as well and someone else had bought me one. I thought “that’s really nice of my friends, isn’t it?”. They were all going out and I was having to stay behind. They were getting ready to go but there were all kinds of things – it was like being in an office. Instead of closing at 17:00 it was open until all times of hours. There were people coming and going, all that kind of thing. A friend of mine (and I’ve no idea who she was) with 2 daughters, she’d gone of to take her kids to ballet class but she didn’t have time to come back. She came back with the older daughter who was about 8. We’d had a chat and a hug. We were just about to go off and get the other car when the other girl appeared from her ballet class and asked “where are the others going?”. I replied “they are going away home and leaving you behind”. “No they aren’t” she retorted “No” I said “they are going to get the car and bring it round here so you can go”.

There was more than this too but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

What had occupied my time this morning was the radio programme that needed to be prepared. Yesterday I’d paired the music so I had to do the rest this morning.

And much to my surprise it was all done and dusted by 11:20, which is a new record, and I could even have finished earlier than that had I not forgotten to deduct the 35 seconds of speech from the time left over at the end of the programme.

As a result the final track was 35 seconds too long and I had to spend some time editing out a pile of speech to make the final track fit.

There was the usual break for breakfast, and my fruit loaf, the one that I made yesterday, is delicious.

When the radio programme was finished and while I was listening to it to make sure that it’s OK, I wrote up the notes from yesterday and posted them on line

After lunch I sat down to work on the journal entry from 31st JULY from when I went out socialising, and the excitement that I had on the way home. Unfortunately I … err … closed my eyes for a while, even though I had a full mug of hot coffee by my side.

Cold coffee doesn’t really taste the same.

Coming round from my reverie took longer than usual and it led to rather a late afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown to the wall at the end of the car park to look at what was happening down on the beach.

And today, not only were there people sunbathing, there were a few actually in the water enjoying themselves, although I can’t see how anyone could possibly be enjoying themselves in any kind of water at a temperature less than 37°C.

Mind you, today there was hardly a breath of wind and it was fairly warm. I’d even gone out without a jacket or pullover, for the first time since I can’t remember when.

man fishing place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that we haven’t seen for quite a while has been any fishermen.

Today, there was one of them standing on the rocks down at the end of the beach at the Place d’Armes. Of course, as you might expect, he never actually caught anything while I was watching, but then that’s par for the course.

And for a change, there wasn’t anyone in a boat fishing just offshore. Usually you don’t have the one without the other but we haven’t seen any seaborne fishermen with rod and line for quite a while.

fishing boats ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other hand, there is plenty of evidence of seaborne commercial fisherman.

My roving eye out at sea had picked up some kind of activity going on round by where we spent the night in the Spirit of Conrad last year. It looks as if it’s one of the inshore shell-fishing boats.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there are some shellfish beds out there and I suppose that the boat is engaged in harvesting the fruits of the sea.

There are some bouchot beds out there too and I suppose that the quality of the harvest from there would be beautiful seeing as there’s almost no human interaction over there.

condor voyager boat english channel ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut there was something else going on even further out behind the Ile de Chausey in the English Channel, something that looked rather like a large boat.

Although I couldn’t see it clearly, I took a photo of it with the aim of blowing it up (the image, not the object) and enhancing it to see if I can find a clue as to her identity.

Having done that and enhanced the image sufficiently, I noticed that her silhouette resembles one of the Condor high-speed ferries that works the round trip between Poole, the Channel Islands and St Malo.

This photo was taken at 16:33 (remember, the camera is set to standard, not Summer time) and I noticed from the radar that at 16:53 the high-speed ferry Condor Voyager pulled into the harbour at St Malo

yacht fishing boat rainstorm brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver the fast few days we’ve seen storm and rain clouds gathering across the bay along the Brittany coast.

Today, there’s yet another rainstorm descending onto the sea just offshore over there. There ware a couple of boats, one a yacht and the other one that looks as if it might be a small fishing boat, that look as if they are about to be engulfed.

There are several small beaches over there that are quite popular with holidaymakers and they must be having something of a torrid time with the weather over the last few days.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAround the path on top of the cliffs to the viewpoint overlooking the port where I could look down onto the chantier naval and the ferry terminal.

Earlier on in this journal I posted a photo of Joly France settled down in the silt over by the ferry terminal, and here in front of here is Chausiaise, the freight barge who has moved from her mooring in the inner harbour where we saw her yesterday.

That would seem to indicate that she too is either about to go or has just been out on a run with freight over to the Ile de Chausey. The service is still continuing despite the depressing summer so far.

boat building material port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday, we saw a shrink-wrapped boat on the quayside waiting for transport out to the Channel Islands.

The boat has now been joined by a pile of building material so we can assume that there will be a freighter coming into the harbour imminently.

And if we look to the side, we’ll see that Marité has gone off for a sail today. We’ve not seen her out there at sea but I can tell you that she left port this morning at 08:06 and apparently she came back on the evening tide.

police interviewing motorcyclist car park boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat isn’t everything either.

There’s an issue, just as there is everywhere, of kids on motorbikes running around with little respect to the rule of law (and just in case anyone wonders, I was a young tearaway on a motorbike too in my youth) but here in the car park at the Boulevard Vaufleury, a couple of the local police force are giving one of the motorcyclists the third degree.

They are checking his papers, under the scrutiny of that woman over there who seems to be expressing a keen interest in whatever is going on.

apple crumble place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack at the apartment I finished off the outstanding journal entry and then went off to prepare a dessert for this week.

The choice fell on an apple crumble, and this is one of the best that I have ever made. You can see that I’ve already taken a helping out of it. That went down really well after my vegan pie and vegetables for tea.

But now that everything is done, i’m off to bed. Another early night and I hope that I have a better one that I did last night. I’ve been feeling a little better today and I hope that it keeps up. Tomorrow I have a Welsh lesson and I need to be on form.

Wednesday 30th June 2021 – THE BIRD-MEN …

hang gliders plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… of Alcatraz were out in force this afternoon while I was out for my walk.

Instead of going round the headland I went on the path around the medieval city walls to see how they were getting on with some of the repairs that they have been doing to various things in the old town, but instead I ended up being buzzed by a squadron of Nazgul

They take off and land at the field next door to the cemetery which I always think is good planning because they won’t have far to go if they have an unfortunate accident, and then follow the clifftop along almost to the lighthouse and then fly back to where they started.

hang glider plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat is, always assuming that they can gain enough height to do so.

Some of the bird-men find it easier to do than others. This guy is struggling to find the air currents that will pull him up. Instead, he’s struggling along well below my eye level and well below the top of the cliff and not doing too well about it either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw one of the birdmen come to grief the other day at the lighthouse and he’s not the first either. Someone else was seriously injured last year, and I never did find out whether he recovered from his accident.

But our intrepid birdman did in fact find a current of air in the end and lifted himself off into the ether over my head.

And I must have found a good current of air to lift me out of bed this morning because I leapt out of bed with an extraordinary burst of energy as soon as the alarm went off. And considering how exhausted I was last night, that must have been pretty close to a miracle.

After the medication I came back in here and finished off last night’s journal entry. There wasn’t much to do but I did it anyway. And following that I carried on with the photos from August 2019. and right now I’m on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR pulling into the harbour at Sisimut, Greenland.

Yes, I really managed to crack on this morning and deal with a nice bundle of them. I even managed to find a photo that I took of THE AURORA BOREALIS in Kangerlussuak Fjord

There was a pause for a coffee break and later for breakfast, and then I had another task to carry out. My little niece Amber graduated from High School in Canada last week and she had sent me a video of THE GRADUATION PARADE AND VALDICTORY SPEECHES.

Being as busy as I am I’d not had an opportunity to see it and so with my hot chocolate and fruit bread, and then with the acoustic guitar I watched the video. And I had to laugh as well. You can tell that it’s New Brunswick. They held the parade in the Tractor-Pulling Stadium

That all took me right up to lunchtime when I had some more of my very nice fresh bread.

After lunch I went to revise my Welsh but once more, ended up crashing out on the chair for half an hour or so. I didn’t realise that Welsh had this effect on me. It’s all becoming quite embarrassing. But anyway that took me up to walkies time and I would have gone out earlier had we not had another power cut. And this time it wasn’t any fuse in my apartment and it came back on after a couple of minutes without any help from me.

trans-shipping rubble porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo schoolgirl loitering outside the door this afternoon again so I could push off into the wild blue yonder. But only a little way because there was something going on right at the back of my apartment at the Porte St Jean.

One of the problems of living within the confines of a medieval walled city is that large lorries and delivery vehicles can’t make their way in so there has to be some form of trans-shipment. In this case, this little pickup is bringing builders’ rubble from within the walls and it’s being scooped up into the back of the larger lorry for disposal.

And while I was passing I had a look at the rubble that they were taking away. And there were several granite setts in there that had presumably at one time been part of the road surface. Throwing those away is really sad if you ask me.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallnext stop of course was to go and look down on the beach and see what was going on down there this afternoon.

And you’re probably noticed that we have a different perspective for the view today. That’s because we are going for our walk around the city walls rather than the headland so instead of being in the car park I’m at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord.

This afternoon there are plenty of people down on the beach enjoying the nice weather. And even a young kid running out of the sea as if she’s just been in for a quick splash round. And if I’d been in the sea I’d be running out pretty quickly too and no mistake.

scaffolding wooden structure workmen's hut place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that has been the subject of much comment and discussion in these pages just recently has been the state of the medieval city walls.

Some more were closed off a week or so back here in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux and then a couple of days ago a kind-of workmen’s hut appeared, along with a strange wooden structure that was fastened to the walls.

This afternoon I found a spec on the other side so I could have a look at the outside of the walls to see if I could see to what this wooden structure relates. But it’s not evident at all. But at least you can see the trailer that looks as if it might be a workmen’s hut.

Something else that we can see from this viewpoint is some scaffolding. I haven’t seen that down there before, but I wouldn’t like to insist that it’s only just arrived. I just don’t remember seeing it before.

But I wonder if all of this really does mean that we might actually be seeing some work being done on the walls in the near future in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

lifeguards tidal swimming pool beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA flash of flourescent yellow caught my eye down at the Plat Gousset so seeing as the path underneath the wall was reasonably dry this afternoon, I went that way to have a look.

Being buzzed by a variety of Nazgul on my way along the path I eventually arrived at the viewpoint overlooking the beach, and I could see that I was right. The holiday season is now in full swing and we have a couple of lifeguards on duty in their flourescent yellow jackets.

There is one standing at the water’s edge keeping an eye on the bathers in the sea (and take my word for it – there were a few of those this afternoon) and the other one is supervising events taking place in the tidal swimming pool that still has its water in it. And there were a couple of people in there too.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut out of the wind I bet that it was really nice and cosy if you could catch a few rays of the sun.

Round by the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset we could see the people on the beach. Not exactly the height of summer (which is due to start this weekend of course) but still plenty of reason to be on the beach, especially as it’s half-dayat the schools and the brats have the afternoon off on a Wednesday, as we can tell from this photo.

And the other day I showed you a photo of a couple of girls sitting on the wall overlooking the beach, and I surmised that it must be quite a comfortable spec. And that’s what it must be because there were more girls sitting on the wall this afternoon.

f-gsbv ROBIN DR 400-180 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was walking around the path underneath the walls I was overflown yet again, only this time not by one of the Bird-men of Alcatraz but by an aeroplane.

Even though it’s quite far out in the Baie de Granville I can actually identify it from here. She’s F-GSBY, one of the aeroplanes that we see on a regular basis. She’s a Robin DR400-180 and is owned by the Granville Aero-Club where she’s used for either advanced flying training or for hire.

According to my radar she took off at 16:55, flew down to do a lap around Mont St Michel and then flew back to the airport where she landed at 17:21. And as my photo is times at 16:15 (it’s set to real time, not summertime) that looks as if it’s correct.

And I haven’t forgotten that I must make suitable enquiries at the airport about the navigation school

seagull chicks rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile we’re on the subject of flying … “well, one of us is” – ed … there are other flying objects that need our attention.

So with that in mind I pushed on round to the Square Maurice Marland to have a look out onto the roofs of the houses in the Rue des Juifs to see how our baby seagull chicks are doing.

And they look as if they are doing quite well too. There are three of them on that roof over there and they have grown quite a lot this last couple of weeks. One of them was flapping his wings quite vigorously and so I don’t think that it’ll be too long before he’s ready to take to the air.

But the Square is still a mess and it’s quite annoying. Sumer is here and some of the kiddies’ entertainments have been taken away and the rest are fenced off and overgrown. This is not the way to run a holiday resort.

boat on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday we saw a huge pile of merchandise stacked up on the quayside ready to be taken away by one of the Jersey freighters.

Word on the streets is that Normandy Trader came in for a quick “in and out” early this morning on her way back from St Malo and it looks as if she’s cleared almost all of the load. The boat wrapped in shrink-wrap is still there so either Normandy Trader was full or else that’s a load for Thora.

What’s intriguing me though is the appearance of the garden shed over there. If it is a product for export, I’d expect it to be flat-packed to save on loading space. But it could be for a small office for either one of the boats or else for a customs or police presence (but why wouldn’t they be in the police station across the road?). We shall have to see.

resurfacing venelle st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt te start of the afternoon we saw the trans-shipment going on with the rubbish and a few of the granite setts.

What they seem to be doing now is trying to resurface the Venelle St Michel with granite setts in certain places and judging by the excavations, in other places too. It’s probably from here that the rubbish and the granite setts were discarded and I don’t understand at all the idea of disposing of those.

But I’m still dismayed by the surface of the Rue St Michel and its stone-chips. They could, and should, have done so much better than that.

There were some people in the back garden of a house here having a party, with a tabby-cat sitting on the wall. It let me stroke it, which surprised the people in the garden. But I left them to it and came on home for a coffee and to do some work on my boat trip on the Spirit of Conrad last year.

The practice on the bass went well and then I went for tea – burger on a bap followed by chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce.

Now, tired as I am, I’m off to bed. Tomorrow I’m shopping and I want to carry on with my Spirit of Conrad stuff as well as do some more photos from Greenland. High time that they were all done and dusted.

Friday 15th January 2021 – LET’S NOT TALK …

… about this morning. It wasn’t 05:45 when I left my stinking pit – and neither was it 06:45, or 07:45, or 08:45, and while I might have been awake at 09:45, it wasn’t then that I left my bed either.

So that was the whole morning ruined.

It’s my own fault though. It was already a late night when I was planning on going to bed, but just as I was about to retire, onto the playlist came LA GAZZA LADRA, and if I ever have to make a list of the 10 best live rock albums of all time, this one would be well in there.

And so I need not continue.

Much to my surprise I’d been off on my travels during the night – or rather, the morning. We had a French exchange student staying with us – it was actually one of my little nieces – who was very uncomfortable as she had a different approach to life than some of the other kids so she didn’t socialise easily but she fitted in well where I was living with my friends from on the Wirral as the mum and dad. I don’t know what i was doing there but anyway it was now time for me to leave. The father, who has now turned into my niece’s husband was working on the car that would take me back into town to pick up my bus and he had to get the car out and give me time to be washed and ready but the time went so quickly that the mother had to call me. As I was going downstairs she said “do you want to go back upstairs? There’s some suntan oil in my bathroom cupboard. I replied “there’s no need for any of that”. She explained to our exchange student, who really WAS our exchange student from Summer 2019 by now, that in between living in the Wirral and where we were living today she’d lived in the USA for a while. Then we started to get the car ready for me and I thought “well, I’m being rushed a bit here and they are running me out of the house a bit”. This was making me a bit wary about what was happening and I don’t know why.

And at some point in all of this, Castor appeared in this dream – playing cards or doing a jigsaw with someone in a room upstairs, something that filled me with dismay and has more of a significance than any casual reader might realise.

So another exciting night and having had a shortage of pleasant nocturnal companions for quite some considerable time, I end up with a plethora thereof, all at once. I wish that my real life was this exciting.

What was exciting was that I actually managed to finish the magnum opus that is my account of the history of Chateau Gaillard. Well, it’s not finished – it’s merely the rough first draft and although it’s on line it’s going to be edited quite considerably before I publish it.

tractor trailer fish processing plant trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was of course the afternoon walk around the headland. And in the beautiful weather too because although it was cold, the wind had dropped and we actually had a bright sunshine.

What surprised me about that was that many of the fishing boats were tied up in port this afternoon. Having seen the weather through which many of them had struggled over the past few days, I would have expected them to have made the most of the good weather today and been out there in droves.

But there must be someone out at sea because the tractor and trailer that hauls the shellfish around the local area is parked on the ramp, implying that they are waiting for someone to arrive.

chausiais joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was no change in the chantier navale either – the same four boats.

And over at the ferry terminal, there was nothing happening either. Chausiais and one of the Joly France boats that provide the ferry service over to the Ile de Chausey are still there, moored up and aground with the low tide.

But no Channel Islands ferries. They are moored in the inner harbour where they have been since services were suspended with the virus. And it’s unlikely that we’ll be seeing them up and running, because I’ve heard a story that unless the Channel Islanders dip their hands in their pockets to subsidise the service, something that they have so far failed to do, then the ferry service won’t be restarting.

Back here I had a hot coffee and, fighting off the waves of sleep that were somehow overwhelming me despite the long lie-in that I had had, I finished off the Chateau Gaillard and then had a very depressing hour on the guitars. I wasn’t there with it at all.

crescent moon rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was then the evening run of course after I’d finished the guitars.

Here’s a view that we’ve seen on several occasions, but not quite like this. This is the Rue du Nord looking back towards the Place d’Armes in the background over to the right. But tonight we had a beautiful sliver of crescent moon to light up our path a little.

From there I disappeared down through the gate and along the path underneath the walls, part running and part walking. There was no storm tonight whipping up the waves down at the Plat Gousset so I pushed on … “pushed off, he means” – ed.

replacing gas main rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route took me at a run across the Square Maurice Marland on the way home.

having seen everything that was going on with the machinery yesterday I reckoned that I would go and investigate the Rue St Michel to see how they were doing. And they haven’t been hanging around either. They’ve dug quite a trench already so they won’t be long in doing this.

Unfortunately the alleyway was closed off at the other end so in order to make it to the walls I had to turn round and go the long way around.

la grande ancre fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was all quiet at the fish processing plant this evening. But I was lucky enough to catch La Grande Ancre (for it is indeed she) moving away as if she has just unloaded her catch.

Once she’d moved away I moved away and ran for home and for tea.

Tonight I took a frozen aubergine and kidney bean whatsit from the freezer and ate that with pasta and frozen vegetables, followed by more of my jam pie. That was a really good invention, that was. I’m pleased with how that turned out.

Although it’s not early, it’s earlier than it has been just recently so I’m off to bed. I really must try to do better than I have because this is all beginning (well, not beginning – well-advanced, actually) to bring me down and the last thing that I need to do is to bog myself down in a depression with all of this going on.

Look for the positives! And who knows? I might even find one one day.

Thursday 19th November 2020 – I FORGOT …

… to mention last night that my great little niece (or is it my little great niece) Amber has been offered a place at the nest University in the World. So well done her. I know that you will be ready for Antigonish, but will Antigonish be ready for you?

And well done me too. Just for a change I managed to haul myself out of bed before the third alarm. It was touch and go – I was sitting on the edge of the bed with my feet on the floor when it went off, but at least it counts as “up”.

And plenty of stuff on the dictaphone too. Some friends and I – Hans in Germany was one – were planning on going out to the High Arctic last night on a voyage and needed to research as much information as we could. I noticed on my friends list that there was a woman who was an Arctic explorer who had been with us on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR during one of our trips and I’d get in touch with her. I typed her a message asking her if she could contact me some time and posted it off. I expected a reply in about a month. 2 minutes later I noticed that there was a message on my screen and she said “hello” in nice argotic Danish. I replied in English again and told her who I was and that we’d been together and that I was planning to go to the High Arctic. She said “well done, that’s very nice and challenging, all that kind of thing. I was on the point of mentioning that we’d been together and that I’d be requiring certain information but then I suddenly awoke.

There was something too about going off on our holiday, camping somewhere and a couple of young girls wanted to come with us too. One was a tall, thin girl with her hair in two plaited braids down the front of her body. And I’d loved to have known where that was going to go.

After the meds and the dictaphone I had a shower and then went out to the shops.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd, as seems to be usual I didn’t get too far before I ground to a sudden halt.

We have a visitor in the harbour this morning. Thora, the smaller of the two Channel Island freighters, has come into port on the tide to do a quick aller-retour with a pile of freight. She certainly wasn’t in port last night anyway while I was walking around the headland.

And excuse the somewhat blurred photo. Once more, I forgot about the strange focusing of the NIKON 1 J5 – it seems to focus on the nearest object rather than on the depth of field when the settings button has changed and I haven’t noticed.

So I planned to take another photo on the way back.

puky childs' bike Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I walked past here the other day I noticed these bikes parked up here in the Boulevard Aristide Briand.

And I’m glad that they are still here this week so I can photograph them, because II have to say that I don’t think too much of the kiddie’s bike either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that years ago I vowed never to make fun of people’s translations into English as mine into a foreign language are even worse. But in view of globalisation, professional organisations ought to be very careful and pay good money to make sure that their products are marketable throughout the whole world.

Lidl was packed and to make matters worse, the entrance door was under repair so we had to fight our way in past the tills. I didn’t want much so I needn’t really have gone out, except that the walk once a week does me good. I didn’t buy very much, except they had a punnet of raspberries at €0:99. It was worth that for an experiment to see if they would go nicely in my next batch of kefir.

There were butternut squash too, so I bought one, and I’ll try to contact Liz to pinch her recipe for butternut squash soup and I’ll give that a try.

chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way back to the apartment I went past the harbour to retake the photo of Thora.

But to my surprise, she had gone! That was what I would call a quick turnround. It’s hardly any surprise that I haven’t seen her very much if she’s been in and out as quickly as this today.

But there moored underneath the crane right now is Chausiais and she’s being loaded up too. It looks as if there’s a nice load ready to go out to the Ile de Chausey later this morning. But she’ll need to be quick if she wants to get out while there’s still enough tide here and on the island. That’s not always very evident.

Back here I made a sort-of desultory start on dealing with the arrears from my trip around Europe. Only a desultory one though. For some reason, despite the early start and the exercise I wasn’t feeling in the mood.

Lunch was a little later than usual, and then I had work to do. A pile of carrots needed peeling, dicing and blanching, and then the sourdough needed to be fed, as well as the pressure being relieved on the new kefir that’s fermenting. I was trying to get away from commitments like that.

On my walk this afternoon in the gale force wind I was accosted by a couple of the brats who asked me “have you seen a briefcase around here?” I replied that I’d only just arrived but then they cleared off before I had the chance to interrogate them about the orienteering or whatever it was that they were doing. That was a shame.

person taking photograph seafarers memorial pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I’d been out last night I noticed that they’d laid a new bed of gravel around the monument to the lifeboatmen who have lost their lives.

Of course last night it was too dark to take a photo of it, so I planned to take it this afternoon. And my luck was in. Fate was certainly smiling down on me today because, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, one thign that features on these pages almost as often as pathetic parking is photos of people taking photos.

Sure enough, a passer-by whipped out her phone to take a pic just as I was about to snap. Perfect timing, I reckon

lighthouse semaphore war memorial to the resistance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I had my equipment out I was having a good look around.

It occurs to me that while you may have seen a great many photos of the lighthouse, the semaphore and the War memorial to the Resistance fighters, you haven’t seen them in a photo all together, and certainly not from this kind of angle. And so I duly obliged and it all came together rather well. It’s a shame, though, that the flagpoles are obscured by the large tree in the centre of the image.

From here, I let the gale-force wind blow me home to a nice hot mug of coffee. I was certainly ready for it and no mistake.

This evening I really enjoyed myself on the guitar. For the bass, I picked 6 numbers that I knew fairly well and with some backing tracks I had a little concert, following which I did the same with the acoustic guitar. I can see that if I carry on I’ll have to get myself out there and look for a group, but this area is a bit barren when it comes to things like that.

Tea was a slice of frozen pie with veg, followed by more apple crumble.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on tonight I was on my own again outside.

My running was really difficult tonight because of the gale that was blowing. I had a push off down the road setting out but that was as good as it got. I struggled against the wind all the way down at the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch I could see that we were in for a rough time with the spray splashing about everywhere.

All in all I stood there for about 5 minutes and took several photos, without very much success because for some reason I was having blurring issues.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is the only other one that really worked, after a fashion. And I wouldn’t like to be those two people standing right there on the edge of the sea wall.

With no-one else about, I ran on home as best I could, even though for most of the way I was running into a roaring headwind. And once back here, I wrote up my notes for the day.

It’s much later now than it ought to be. I ended up having a good chat with my friend with the Covid and also with another one in the Borders of Scotland who is also having health issues – or, at least, different health issues.

But now I’m off to bed at long last. Tomorrow I need to find out about Caliburn and if he’s ready, go and pick him up, which shall hurt my bank balance enormously.

If he’s ready, I’ll go and do my weekend’s shopping tomorrow while I’m out and save myself a journey. And I mustn’t forget my travel arrangements for Leuven either. That’s come round quicker than I was expecting.

Sunday 24th May 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change I had a really nice day today.

Not that I did very much work of course, but there again, isn’t that what Sundays are for? Everyone should have one day of the week where they can do whatever they like – even nothing at all if they want – and not feel guilty about it.

As for me, I was in bed at about 00:15 this morning and slept though, with just a couple of awakenings, until about 09:30. Mind you, it was round about 10:00 when I finally saw the light of day and I don’t have any issues at all with that.

Plenty of time therefore to go on my travels. I was in a van driving down Middlewich Street last night. Middlewich Street was a wide 6-lane highway and as I was driving down there, there was a little Tesco’s delivery van in front of me. I went to overtake it and he swerved out across me so I went to overtake it on the inside and he swerved back. he kept this up all the way down Middlewich Street. There was another car as well that was involved in this. When we got to the traffic lights under the Cumberland Bridge these guys got out of their van to park it up and go home so we had an “exchange of pleasantries”. I had to be at a certain venue like a church or something like that as there was a service starting at 09:00 and the radio was broadcasting it. I turned up at the church with half an hour to go but I couldn’t get in to put my microphone between the walls – there were too many people there. I heard one of my colleagues start up the broadcast and I still hadn’t put my microphone in between the walls. It was important that we had been there for this service – it was something to do with the war I think. Anyway I awoke at that particular time in a sweaty panic.
later on I was round at my niece’s and I’d been for a run with someone else, the two of us. When we came back everyone else had started their meal. I had my meal and when it came to dessert there was some vegan sorbet. I got a bowl, put some fruit on it and went to look for the vegan sorbet. It wasn’t in the freezer at all – it was just sitting on the worktop somewhere. I noticed that one of her daughters had had some sorbet so I made some remark about it. My niece was annoyed and told me off for making this remark but I said “seriously, the girl had had the sorbet but didn’t put the bowl back in the freezer – it invited some kind of remark didn’t it?”

Breakfast was consequently rather late, which is not of course of any importance. And then I finished off the web page that I’d half-done yesterday.

TOTGA was on line too, and as we hadn’t spoken for a while (and she hasn’t accompanied me on a voyage during the night since I can’t remember when) we had a good lengthy chat.

Feeling rather brave, I attacked another web page afterwards and rewrote that one too.

After lunch I went for a nice long walk . Not to Durham to care for my children like anyone else defying the best scientific advice in order to be a caring father but all the way around the headland, down onto the harbour, all around the harbour, everywhere, and checked over quite a few things that I wanted to see.

All in all, I took about 30 photographs and they will take some anotation so you aren’t going to get to see them this evening unfortunately.

But everything that we’ve been asking ourselves about things down there has been pretty much cleared up as much as it can be, so keep on checking back to this page over the course of the coming week to see where I am with them

And I did something that I haven’t done for about a year. And that is that I bought myself an ice-cream. The cafés are now open for take-aways and there’s the one in the Rue Lecampion that has vegan sorbet scoops.

It was such a beautiful day today, actually feeling like summer. I was in my shirt sleeves with my jumper tied around my waist and had I had a hanky I would have knotted the corners and stuck it on my head. An ice cream just set it all off perfectly.

Back here, I peeled and diced half of the carrots that I’d bought on Saturday, blanched them and drained them. They are now in the freezer happily freezing themselves. And I’ll do the rest tomorrow.

While I was doing that, there was football on the TV. The Welsh Cup Final of 2016-17 between Bala Town and TNS.

Compared to some of the matches that we have been watching from years gone by, the leap in quality of the players and the facilities was evident. We saw a few weeks ago one match played at Bangor City’s old ramshackle tumbledown Farrar Road a few weeks ago. This one was played at Bangor City’s new state-of-the-art ground at Nantporth and it was light years ahead.

The football was excellent too and it was really nice to see someone other than TNS win something for a change. Quality football is so much better when it’s played on a decent pitch than encourages ball control and skill rather than aimless hoofs upfield out of the mud and divots.

For tea tonight, I was brave. I had a spare shop-bought pizza base and decided that as I was now comfortable with my own pastry and bases, I would use it and get it out of the way.

It didn’t turn out as well as it ought to have done, and it wasn’t until I’d almost finished it that I realised that I’d had the oven turned down for the bread and hadn’t turned it back up.

rabbit pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallLater on I went for my evening walk and runs.

There has been a lot of talk about wildlife reclaiming the streets of the world since the virus condemned us (except high-ranking Tory hypocrites) to detention à domicile. We had a deer in the harbour a couple of weeks ago (I missed it) but I’ve seen a couple of rabbits scampering around. Today I actually managed to photograph one.

In all the time that I’ve been here I hadn’t seen any until all of this started. Will we see any more now that everyone is out and about? Or is it a case of hare today and gone tomorrow?

zodiac baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOne thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing on several occasions is the bright yellow zodiac that appeared here a few days ago and has been circulating around since then.

Here it is again. As I walked around the headland it came out of the haze and followed me around the corner.

One of these days I’m hoping to catch some of the people who belong to it in order to find out what they are doing. It’s something of a mystery to me why they should be here. They don’t look like the ordinary run-of-the-mill maritime employees.

joly france ferry terminal trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was plenty of activity in the port too.

Earlier in the day I’d been over to the Ferry terminal and it was deserted. This evening though, both of the Joly France ferries were tied back up so they must have been out at the Ile de Chausey during the day.

And the fishing boats were leaving port too. There were three or four in line astern heading out into the sunset for the evening catch. One of these days I’m determined to go out for a shift on one of them

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving exchanged pleasantries with a neighbour running past, I carried on with my runs and ended up at the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord.

The sun still had a good 15 minutes to set so I just took an evening photo and ran on home again.

So I’ve plenty of work to do over the next few days because in my misguided enthusiasm I also signed up for a free music course, reckoning that I’d have the usual four weeks to prepare – only to find that it started on Friday so I’m already falling behind.

Interestingly, the organisation running the course wanted to know my e-mail address. So they sent me a mail to ask me for it.

You might want to think about that for a moment.

There’s my Welsh homework to do too for Tuesday, as my tutor politely reminded me this afternoon, so that’s a job for first thing tomorrow.

My accountancy course starts this week too so that’s something else to worry about as well.

It’s all go here, isn’t it?

Wednesday 29th April 2020 – I MISSED …

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… a few things that I intended to do today.

Perhaps the most important was the first run of the evening, but there’s a good reason for that and if you’ll look at this image just here you’ll understand.

Not only do we have the rainstorm, we have a howling gale blowing outside, right down the road towards me where I do my first run. And it was difficult enough to walk, never mind run up the hill in this

The second thing that I missed was the third alarm. I definitely heard the first two but I must have gone back to sleep again because when the third alarm went off I was still deep down under the covers.

But I wasn’t too far behind myself which was good news.

After the medication it was the dictaphone. For some unknown reason last night I was in my cabin last night on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour playing acoustic guitar to a Creedence Clearwater song but I can’t remember which one. But when I looked I could see that the doorway was blocked and I realised that someone had put outside the doorway a sack with everything – all my food and everything in it that I needed for the next few days while this virus went round. And that’s all that I can remember of it anyway.
But here’s a thing. Yesterday I was writing something for the radio and the subject of a certain former girlfriend turned up, so I included in my article a little anecdote about her.
So who should turn up in my night-time meanderings but the aforementioned. I’d been somewhere and I’d bumped into her although I hadn’t, because she walked right past me as if I wasn’t there. I hadn’t given the matter a great deal of thought but a couple of days later I was sitting in Woolworth’s in Crewe and she was walking through Woolworths and went out of the door that was about 10 feet away from where I was standing. I waved as she went past but again she totally and utterly ignored me. I went to write her an e-mail to ask if I’d done anything to upset her or whatever. In the end I thought “sod it” and I telephoned her. She answered and she was down the street somewhere in Crewe and we ended up having a chat. It was a friendly-enough chat but you could feel that there was something there and I couldn’t understand what it was. This gradually evolved into one of the daughters of my niece and she said something to her mother on the telephone about she won’t be home for supper so could Eric bring it round in his van? Seeing as I was going to a place that evening that was near there. She had never asked me but seeing as it was near the place where I was going it didn’t really bother me that she was proposing me to do something without even asking me first.

After breakfast I made a start on the file digitalisation. For one album there was only one track that I found, which was a surprise because it’s a quite well-known album.

However I found another two to do and it didn’t take long. They were quite quick in digitalising and there were only one or two that “stuck”. But so quick were they that I only had time to do 20-odd photos from July 2019.

But now I’m just pulling up at the Vatnajokull Glacier in Iceland.

One of the photos was a very good one of Rosemary so I posted it to her. As a result she rang me up for a chat and we were on the phone for ages.

All of the time that I’d saved evaporated just like that, but isn’t that just life? Still, taking time out to talk to friends is very important and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Most of the day after that was spent mainly in finishing off the radio project. I finished editing the speech, chopped it into segments, assembled everything together, worked out the time remaining, knocked off 30 seconds for the final speech and then found a final track to fill in the remaining time.

And much to my surprise, it all went together like clockwork and fitted to within a second or two, and I soon fixed that. I could have fixed it earlier too but I was … errr … away with the fairies for half an hour or so, which was quite disappointing.

There was cooking to do too – well, cooking of sorts. I didn’t do the hummus as there was enough for lunch so I’ll do that tomorrow and it’ll be nice and fresh for lunch. It’ll be roast pepper in one batch and sun-dried tomato and olives in the other

But there were the 2kgs of carrots that I had bought on Saturday.

They are all peeled, diced, blanched and in the freezer. I don’t know what it is about shop-bought frozen carrots but they taste ptetty miserable. Mine, or any other home-frozen ones always seem to taste better.

While I was putting stuff away (yes, putting stuff away!) I came across a 2gb memory stick that I had somehow managed to overlook. I copied a pile of music from the recently-digitalised recordings onto that to play on the hi-fi in the living room, and then merged the sound files into the general fun of music.

Once the new memory sticks come out of quarantine there will be some more being moved out of the temporary diirectory so while I was at it, I made a start on a new collection, labelled FF, with the “new” artists who weren’t in any previous collection.

That’s 6 collections with different groups and musicians in each, which means basically that there’s now 7 or 8 weeks (including the monthly live concert) before we complete the circle so a group is only featured at the most once every 7 or 8 weeks.

For my hour on the guitar I tried a new track. I did the bass first followed by the six-string and that seemed to be a better way round. Before I put them away I can have a run through a couple of numbers that I know well and that lifts my spirits.

Tea was lentil and tofu pie with vegetables and gravy followed by the blackberry pie with almond soya. Really delicious stuff, it was too.

rocks marker buoy english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd then “once more unto the breach, dear friends!”

Just me out there tonight, not another soul about. So I struggled up the hill at a walk and then ran down to the clifftop to see the sea. Not as wild as I was hoping, unfortunately, but the tide is a long way from high – not until almost midnight – so it should be good by then.

And 10.3 metres high too. A long way from the highest of course, but good enough to put the wind up the sailors.

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallYes, if this is what the storm is like now with the tide three hours out, imagine what it’s going to be like later.

It’s a shame that it’s going to be dark at high tide because I won’t be able to see it.

So instead I carried on with my run. There was no change in the situation at the chantier navale. Still the same four boats, including the new black and green one, so I didn’t trouble anyone with a photo.

trawler fishing boat storm high winds baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThis was worth a photo though. In the dark and way out in the distance out to sea so it’s come out rather blurred but that can’t be helped.

It’s one of the little fishing boats right out there in the baie de Mont St Michel struggling against the waves as it slowly tries to make its way towards harbour.

And I have said before … “on many, many occasions” – ed … my hat goes off to those out there in weather like this trying to earn a living in boats like that. It’s not easy by any means.

builders material on quayside port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThis is interesting too.

On the quayside over there by the crane is a pile of builders’ material – wood and these bags that have sand or gravel or stuff like that in them. That can only mean one thing and that is that we are about to have a visit from either Thora or Normandy Trader.

It’s quite likely that I won’t know about it either. What with current developments, their turn-round in the harbour is quite rapid, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall and with me only being allowed out for an hour every day, I’ll almost inevitably miss their visit.

floating pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallSomething else that I’ll be missing from now on will be the floating pontoon.

It’s not there now – the ground’s all flat – in the water but dismantled into its sections and hoisted out on the quayside over there ready for removal.

The big crane isn’t there either. Gone! And never called me mother! Whatever they will be doing now isn’t going to require too much lifting by the looks of things and all of the supporting pillars are now in.

Or are that? What did they do with that offcut that was around there?

But I’ll find that out another day because right now I’m off to bed. It’s not early but it’s not late either, but I have to go shopping tomorrow. Supplies are getting low. So I need to be on my best behaviour and on good form.

Saturday 21st March 2020 – “I FEEL RATHER SILLY, REALLY” …

21 March 2020 queues or not lerclerc hypermarket granville manche normandy france eric hall… said one of the three security guards at LeClerc this morning.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day in Belgium there were queues of people stretching right across the car park at the Carrefour at Mont St Jean, and they had set up something of a similar crowd control arrangement here to keep the masses in order when they swamp the Hypermarket.

But it’s now about 09:30 and you can see the crowds of people fighting their way in. We were about 50 people all told in there.

One woman to whom I chatted in the car park later said “isn’t this wonderful? We’ll have to invent another virus scare when this one is over”. I didn’t realise that any French people had my sense of humour.

As for me, despite an early night, I missed the alarms and it was 06:45 when I hauled myself out of bed. And I’d been doing so well just recently too.

After the medication (now that I have supplies) I had a look at the dictaphone.

I was round at TOTGA’s last night and we were having one of these big deep discussions about all kinds of things. There was someone else there but this other person was being sidetracked out of it. We were talking about things, how she never imagined me with Laurence and that kind of thing. She asked “where did Laurence live?”. I explained that she lived on the edge of the city at one time then had an apartment in town – she asked where Laurence lived and I told her she had an apartment on the edge of the city at one time and then moved in. This discussion rambled on. Then her husband was there and some other guy and I’d already got my breakfast and thought “maybe I ought to get TOTGA’s breakfast as well”. But she’d wandered off into another kitchen somewhere and came down with a big breakfast of scrambled eggs, stuff like that. Then she asked for something else. I thought that it was for her so I got some fresh spinach and sprouts, one or two other things and put them on a plate. She said “you’ll need to wash and polish the vegan knife” and told me where it was. I took the stuff over to her and she added that onto her plate to eat it. This discussion skirted on and it was a case of “how long is this going to go on before we get to the point of what is probably going to be the real issue” because it was a talking all that time about nothing and there must have been something else going on that had made all of this happen and it was another one of these “teetering on the clifftop” kind of things again, not able to go d=forward and not able to go back
This was another one of these dreams with TOTGA in it. We were together in this house and talking about things. She had never imagined me in one situation she said she never imagined me in a situation with Laurence and Roxanne. She asked where Laurence lived so I explained that she had an apartment outside town then moved into the city at one time. This conversation drifted on and on. There was a third person and I can’t remember who it was but they weren’t involved in this. She came down into the kitchen with her husband and she had a plate full of something or other to have for breakfast. She sat down – she said “I’ve forgotten (whatever it was that she said), I’ve forgotten”. So i went into the kitchen and said “I’ll get it for you. What do you want?” She said “fresh spinach” which they had got, some bacon, baked potatoes, stuff like that.I had to microwave them in oil, I couldn’t cook them any way and then take them to her. Her husband was there but it was quite clear that TOTGA was on her own in this situation without anyone else. I was wondering when she was going to get round to broaching the subject about why she had got me down there. I thought that any minute she was going to come out with it or not. It was another one of those things without any exit, without any end. I wondered when it was going to be that she was going to ask me the question that was bound to be asked about the future of the two of us and she was just drifting on talking about anything that came into her head and wasn’t actually approaching the situation.

Now – do you spot the similarity between the two? And there would have been a third one too exactly the same except that I awoke in the middle of dictating it.

So the question is – “did I really dream it on three separate occasions, or did I just think that I did?” It isn’t ‘arf confusing.

After breakfast I was planning on a shower and so on but I had a ‘phone call. Someone had decided to have a group radio meeting on-line to discuss an idea that someone had.

With us not being able to meet up and go out, half of our radio programmes have fallen into dust. No surprise there. But how do we replace them?

One of the people has had a marvellous idea – why don’t we each keep a diary of how our life has changed. The discussion rolled on, and it set me thinking. Instead of a simple diary, why not an “audio agenda?”

Everyone has mobile phones these days and these have recording facilities. That’s half our work done before we start and it’s realistic and authentic. I hate these artificial things with a passion, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. People don’t want to hear a monotonous drone of an emotionless translator. They want to hear the real person, mistakes and all, in full flight and full of emotion! Authentic radio as it happens!

On that note, I went out. About half an hour later than I intended.

No NOZ today. It’s classed as a non-essential business and has thus been obliged to close its doors. Straight to LeClerc.

While it’s totally wrong to say that I’ve been panic-buying, there are three or four (yes, just three or four) more tins here than normal (small kidney bean and small chick pea tins), an extra roll of pastry, a three-pack of crackers as well as a loaf of bread which has gone into the freezer.

My difficulty is that I live so far from the shops, my favourite bakery has already closed its doors and then, of course, I have my health to think about. While I’m feeling pretty good right now, that’s not going to last.

Regular readers of this rubbish, my family in Canada and several people on board The Good Ship Ve … errr Ocean Endeavour were witness to how quickly my health deteriorated after three months without medication at the end of August last year, and I have a lot more than that to look forward to this year.

6 months minimum is what I’ve been told, and it may well be more. What kind of state will I be in after all of that? And will I be fit enough to travel? It doesn’t bear thinking about.

Back here afterwards, I reached a significant milestone. The last of the complete digital sound-track file was cut up into its individual tracks. And that has pleased me greatly. There is in fact just one left, but that’s an impossible one to deal with as it’s just a mix of segments and no complete tracks.

All that remains are the … gulp … 200 or so for which I couldn’t find any digital soundfiles, and I’ll have to plan another way to deal with those.

After lunch, I decided to do some work.

On my travels this morning I’d been having a little think about our phone call this morning. And I’d had another idea, which we discussed on another group chat.

As a result, I contacted a few people throughout the world and a couple of them have agreed to participate in keeping an audio-diary. It’ll be interesting to hear how kids in the UK and Canada are coping with a change in their lifestyles due to having to stay in at home. Doing it in French will be a challenge of course, particularly for one little girl who has only been learning french for 18 months, but the challenge will be good for them and bring them along.

While I was at it, I rang Rosemary and we had a good chat. She’s signed up to my little project too – may as well cast the net around. I’d rather have too much stuff than not enough.

And while we’re on the subject, if YOU fancy keeping an audio diary of how your life has changed due to this virus – what projects you’ve had to drop, what new ones you have started, how you are passing your time, what laws have been applied in your country, I’ll be pleased to hear from you.

French is good, but English is good too if you have a story to tell. Use the “contact me” button at the bottom right of the page to register your interest and I’ll tell you what’s involved.

Having done that, I did a little more organising and then it was time for tea. The second half of the curry from yesterday followed by the last of the rice pudding, and this was when Brain of Britain realised that he had forgotten to buy his cooking apples

deserted place cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallOn my walk tonight I was almost all alone. There were two people sitting in different places along the walls smoking cigarettes, and that was my lot.

The Place Cambernon was absolutely deserted which is bizarre for a Saturday night. But then it’s a sign of the times, isn’t it?

At least, I managed to fit in my two runs. And on my second I was well up the second ramp before I ran out of steam. It’s a shame that it’s so steep because that’s what is stopping me pushing on.

So now I’ve had a chat with Amber and one or two other people, and I’ll finish my blog. A lie-in tomorrow which will suit me fine and then I’m going to change the habits of a lifetime and do some work.

Today has been a lazy day when I’ve not done anything like I hoped. I need to put that right.

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.

Thursday 10th October 2019 – I DON’T UNDERSTAND …

… why, but I am just totally stressed out right now to an extent that I didn’t know was possible.

There has been an “incident” (which I’m not going to relate) that not only is nothing to do with me, but doesn’t even relate to me at all and doesn’t even affect me in the slightest, but for some reason it has got deep under my skin.

One thing that the doctors told me is that in order to prolong my life as much as possible I have to avoid all kinds of stresses and strains and any kind of emotional impact.

With having such a low blood count as I do, my heart is having to beat twice as fast and i have to breathe twice as fast to provide enough oxygen to my vital organs. It’s only because I have a coeur de champion that I have kept going for so long, but if I keep on going like today my days are definitely numbered.

I need to get a grip.

And that doesn’t apply just to this particular incident either. Despite an early night, and despite sleeping right through the alarms this morning, it was still 07:20 before I surfaced.

All of the rubbish needed taking down to the street for the dustmen so I took it down before breakfast.

Another leisurely morning and then I went up to the tire depot. Things weren’t quite so busy today and rather like my namesake the mathematician, I did three fifths of five eights of … errr … absolutely nothing. I ended up sleeping for most of the day and that is worrying me intently.

Well, I didn;t actually do absolutely nothing. I taught Zoe to use the new tyre comparison program that I uploaded, and even found a few new features on it too.

Another thing that I did, which ought to have made my blood boil but didn’t, much to my surprise, was to give someone a piece of my mind down the telephone.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I ordered a chip for Strider to deal with his excessive fuel consumption. It was sent back to the supplier because “insufficient address”. A week or so ago I telephoned the supplier, amended the address slightly and so they posted it again.

Only to have it returned a second time.

I telephoned the maildrop place in Mars Hill, just across the border in the USA to ask why they keep on returning it.
“But you don’t have an account with us”
“What do you mean ‘an account’? We’ve been having stuff sent to you for as long as I can remember (which is at least 18 years) and we’ve never needed an account”.
“Well, you do now since we’ve taken it over”
“So if that’s the case, why didn’t you ring up and tell all of your customers that the procedures have changed? And why did you refuse my parcel when my phone number is on the address label and you could have invited me to come over and open an account?”

No answer.

But the suppliers are very understanding and they are sending it now by post direct to Canada (which is what I should have done in the fist place), and it’ll arrive after I’ve returned home of course.

Trying to save pennies here and there is ending up costing me a fortune. It’s false economy.

And people complain about a recession and how things are tight. That guy in Mars Hill has just lost $7:00 because he’s too lazy to pick up the phone and make a phone call.

Later on I gave Darren a hand with the one-tonne Dually which he drove home while I took the post to the Post Office, and then I drove him back to the garage to pick up the three-tonner.

And if you are wondering whether that means that we finally have all of the cars and trucks (except the two twenty-tonners and the artic tractor of course) back at home (first time since I don’t know when) then Rachel’s Golf has had to go to have an exchange driveshaft exchanged once more. Nothing seems to last like it did, but even so, 18 months for a driveshaft is rather extreme).

Rachel cooked a lovely meal for tea and then I helped with the washing and drying. Now I’m sitting in my bedroom not doing all that much right now.

Except to listen to the music. It has a very calming influence on me, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and Tinsley Ellis’ “Mystery To Me” is about as good as gets. I’ve been teaching myself to play the lead guitar break (the one from 03:10) on the bass as a way of organising myself.

Here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow. The only thing wrong with today though was my attitude and I need to do something about that.

Wednesday 9th October 2019 – WE’VE HAD …

… another tremendously busy day down at the tyre depot.

This morning, with nothing much to do although everyone else was rushing around, I filed away all of the bills, invoices and charging sheets. And that wasn’t the work of five minutes either. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we’ve been very busy just recently and done a lot of work.

This afternoon involved even more of an effort on my part. I had to go off down to Bristol and the auto spares shop for parts for not one but two jobs that were ongoing in the garage.

And then we had an extremely complicated enquiry about tyres.

Someone has a pick-up with tyres on it that have long-been obsolete and reliable heavy-duty ones can no longer be obtained – except at some kind of silly astronomical price for “specials”. We managed to source a set of wheels of a different diameter and then we had to hunt down a set of tyres for those wheels that would have exactly the same circumference as the original tyres on the original wheels.

It was a good thing that I made the old laptop work yesterday because I could sit down and hunt for a tyre conversion program on the internet – and in the end I found one – and having downloaded and installed it, I could get it to work it gave me a choice of half a dozen different tyre sizes.

And this will please the guy intensely because one of the sizes of tyre is a much-more mainstream size of truck tyre, and even with the cost of new wheels for his truck, he’s going to come out ell on the right side.

I ought to be on a commission.

But that wasn’t all the excitement. yesterday as we were closing a guy came in for a new wheel that he had ordered and to have a tyre fitted on it. All in all, there wasn’t much change out of $1000. When it had been done, he just threw it into the back of his truck.

“Aren’t you going to strap it down?” asked Darren
“no” replied the guy. “It’ll be fine in there. Its own weight will hold it in”.
So Darren shook his head and came back in.

This afternoon the guy came back for some other things.
“You know that wheel and tyre that you sold me yesterday afternoon?”
“I do” replied Darren.
“Well, it’s in the river”.

Luckily he managed to rescue it otherwise that would have been very expensive.

Last night, with having not felt so good, I was in bed something-like and even though I heard the alarms go off, it was still 07:15 when I finally surfaced.

The girls had a ride in to school and so I had another leisurely breakfast followed by a nice stinking hot shower which made me feel so much better.

Plenty of time to make my lunch and then head off to the tyre depot. And I’d noticed that we were low on bread so I stopped to buy some another couple of loaves. Only to find up at the office that Rachel had also noticed that we were low on bread this morning and had already bought two on her way in to work.

Later this afternoon I fetched Amber from her cheerleading practice after school and brought her home. Rachel had gone to Fredericton so there were just us at home. Our little visitor had told us a while ago that she had a really good recipe for a vegan chili so we set her to work in the kitchen this evening.

And I’ll tell you all something for nothing – and that is that it really was excellent too. So much so that Darren, who isn’t usually a fan of exotic vegan cooking, helped himself to a second full helping.

I made a second visit to the pan too and decided that she can cook again for us!

So it’s bedtime now, and I’m looking forward to another decent sleep. I certainly need it. So goodnight to everyone, including my readers in Celbridge, Ottawa and Montreal. One day you really will have to introduce yourselves and say “hello”.

Meanwhile, I’m saying “goodbye”. Until the morning.


Tuesday 8th October 2019 – I’VE BEEN …

… Mr Computer Repair Man again today.

having revelled in my triumphs a few days ago about getting my old Acer Laptop up and running after it crashed out on me in the USA and being able to salvage all of the data, down at the office today Rachel bunged another old laptop at me to see if I could raise that one from the dead too.

I spent a couple of hours working on it and, as much to my own surprise as anyone else’s, it’s now up and running again with not only all of the data still intact but all of the programs too.

It’s an old 2009 Lenovo with a 1.3ghz processor running Windows 7, but now that it’s working again it’s quite sprightly for its age as long as you don’t try to do anything too ambitious with it, but for taking down to the storeroom to do an inventory (which is why it was here in the first place) it’s just the job.

And talking of the storeroom, I’ve checked again and we do have indeed a large supply of 165/80 x 13 and 185/70 x 13 tyres for Ford Cortinas, as well as several other obsolete sizes too for other makes, so I’ve been posting the info on various North American classic car groups to try to drum up the sales.

All in all, I’ve had quite a busy morning.

A relaxing morning too. Although I heard all of the alarms go off, it was about 07:00 when I finally managed to raise myself from the dead. And with no school run this morning I was able to have a leisurely start to the day.

Not to transcribe the dictaphone notes though. There’s a couple on there from during the night and I’ll have to copy those over as soon as I can.

For once, Cujo the Killer Cat co-operated with me so I was able to leave the house pretty much when I wanted to without having to hunt her down.

This afternoon was more running around. Taking the cheques to be posted (it’s that time of the year) mainly.

But I had another task assigned to me which I managed to accomplish. In the garage is a 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 pick-up with a major electrical problem. With my little home-made testing apparatus I can tell that there’s a live feed reaching the relays at contacts where no live feed should be. This points to a short circuit in the fuse box somewhere and these are impossible to repair.

The easy answer is to replace the fuse box but, to my amazement (or maybe not, because I’ve long-since ceased to be amazed at the antics of modern motor manufacturers) the part is “no longer available” from the manufacturers.

Consequently, with the repaired laptop (and I’m glad now that I repaired it), I’ve been scouring the scrapyards of North America and I’ve eventually tracked down a rear-ended Dodge of the correct year and model in a scrapyard in Colorado.

A photo of the part on that truck looks identical to the one here, and so that’s now winging its way northwards in our direction. And who knows? We might even be able to make this Dodge start properly without having to hot-wire it all the time.

Fighting off waves of fatigue yet again (and I’ve no idea why) I went to pick up Amber from cheerleading practice after school, only to find that our little visitor had stayed behind too. Never mind the crowded cab when we have half-a-million strong therein by the time we get to Woodstock, it was pretty cramped in there with three, but we managed all the same.

Everyone was out this evening so I made myself some potato thins with onions, carrots garlic and assorted herbs with some vegan sausages, and it was delicious. Especially when followed down by one of the vegan muffins from the weekend.

Later this evening after tea I retreated to my room. I’m not feeling myself at the moment … “and quite right too” – ed … so some peace and quiet will do me good. I’m beginning to feel the strain and I really need a couple of days in bed to haul myself up again, but I doubt whether that will happen any time soon.

Looking at my schedule over the past three and a half months, it would have been pretty hectic for a younger person in good health. For an older person who is slowly dying, it’s been taxing to the limit and beyond.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Monday 7th October 2019 – JUST LIKE OLD TIMES!

Just pulling into the yard this evening with Amber after picking her up after cheerleading practice when Rachel stuck her head out of the door
“Could you go down to the tyre depot and pick up Darren?”

So I dropped off my passenger and headed off to my next job, musing that I ought to fit a meter under Strider’s dashboard and a taxi sign on the roof. When I sold my taxi business in 1989 I thought that I had put this kind of thing well-and-truly to bed.

But no. It was just like old times.

However, if anyone thinks that I’m complaining or that I’m unhappy about it, then that’s far from the truth. I was actually enjoying myself being out and about, especially with some decent music churning away on Strider’s hi-fi.

Actually, one of my old Mancunian acquaintances had made an appearance on my playlist. And as I listened to the words, I realised that they are really quite appropriate to the situation in which I have found myself these days as I struggle with my illness and events associated with it all.

The killer lives inside me: yes, I can feel him move
Sometimes he’s lightly sleeping in the quiet of his room
But then his eyes will rise and stare through mine;
He’ll speak my words and slice my mind inside
Yes the killer lives

Angels live inside me: I can feel them smile…
Their presence strokes and soothes the tempest in my mind
And their love can heal the wounds that I have wrought
They watch me as I go to fall – well, I know I shall be caught
While the angels live

And I too, live inside me and very often don’t know who I am
I know I’m not a hero, but I hope that I’m not damned:
I’m just a man, and killers, angels, all are me:
Dictators, saviours, refugees in war and peace
As long as Man lives…

Because, make no mistake, I am starting to struggle now. I had a really miserable afternoon yesterday and even though I was in bed early and had (for once) a really decent night’s sleep, I wasn’t feeling much better.

Luckily the girls had a lift into school so that I could take things easy this morning. I was in no hurry to surface. I had some food for breakfast, and a coffee, and then a play around on the laptop doing some stuff.

Zoe had told me when she left that she hadn’t been able to find Cujo the Killer Cat, so before I left I tried to hunt her down so that I could put her in one of the rooms where there’s no alarm sensor.

45 minutes I spent trying to find that blasted cat and when I went to the front door to accept a huge parcel delivery, there she was sitting on the bonnet of Strider. Outside all the time!

For most of the day I’ve been running around western New Brunswick fetching parts. It’s been really busy at work today. What added to the confusion was that just as everyone had something important to do, we had a delivery of 72 winter tyres and they all needed sorting and stacking.

Not only that, I’ve been doing my salemanship efforts today. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m something of an expert in Ford Cortina Mk III, Mk IV and Mk V, having made my fortune with them when I ran my taxi company. There are one or two in North America and someone posted on a forum that he couldn’t find any tyres anywhere to fit them

This place where I’m working right now is like an Aladdin’s Cave of treasures dating back years so I had a good look around. And sure enough, there are a handful just the correct size stuck down the back of the depot. And so I put an advert on the appropriate forum.

Back here, still in the driving rainstorm, i went to the Post Office on the way home to post the letters and then came back for tea. Plenty of pasta left over from the weekend, and rice pudding left over from last week. A meal fit for a king.

And then out taxiing until late. Just like old times.

But that’s enough for tonight, I reckon. I’m going to bed and I’m hoping to sleep. I need to pull myself round if I can but then again it’s been almost four months since my last blood transfusion, which I’m supposed to have every four weeks.

But do I care? Of course not. I’ve had a good time. And who wants to lie in bed at home to sit and stare at the bedroom ceiling anyway?

Saturday 5th October 2019 – I’VE BEEN …

… a very busy boy today.

And that’s hardly a surprise because I had, for the first time since I don’t know when, had a really good sleep last night and I’ve not yet set foot outside the house.

A few items on the dictaphone, although what there is I really don’t know. And I was up and about by 06:40 too.

Rachel and Amber went to work this morning so I decided on a day off. A leisurely breakfast and a long chat with Hannah and our visitor and then I cracked on to work, with just a brief interruption for lunch.

During the course of the day, people were coming and going but I paid no attention whatever and by the time supper was served, I’d finished all of the blog entries for July (including the missing one when I was ill) and most of them for August too. There are only three or four that need to be added, I reckon.

And those that are there make interesting reading. As Kenneth Williams once famously said, “I’m often taken aback by my own brilliance”.

Or, as the Duke of Wellington once remarked about the Battle of Waterloo and which sums up my voyage completely – “By God! I don’t think it would have been done if I had not been there”.

But now Amber is down with the dreaded lurgy. It’s doing the rounds here so I’ll probably catch it the evening that I’m due to catch my bus back to Montreal.

A brief interruption though. US Granville’s match against C Chartres Football was televised this evening and I managed to catch the second half.

Hannah and her friend Journee made tea tonight. For we vegans, she made a stir-fry tofu in a creamy vegan sauce with pasta, and it was absolutely delicious. She followed that up with some vegan muffins that she had found in the Atlantic Superstore and which I will be visiting again.

So it’s bedtime now. No alarm and a day of rest. I’m going to be attacking the rear of Strider and empty out some of the stuff that I fetched back from Montreal. Some is for Darren, some is for Zoe and the rest is for filing under CS.

See you in the morning.

Thursday 3rd October 2019 – I HAVE HAD …

… one of the best Indian meals that I have had for quite a while in North America. Outside Montreal, of course, because nothing can improve upon the Indian cafe that I discovered at Cote Vertu in Montreal.

It seems that a family of Indians – “those” Indians, not “those Indians” = have recently taken over a motel in Woodstock (a phenomenon that I first observed about 15 years or so ago) and converted the restaurant into an Indian restaurant.

I had a vegetable biryani and it was excellent, as indeed was everyone else’s meal. The service unfortunately did not match the food, but I’m sure that it will improve.

And I felt like a good meal tonight too because I’ve had a harrowing day. It all went wrong during the night where I reckoned that I had hardly slept at all. Three dictated files on the dictaphone told a different story but nevertheless that was how I felt.

There was no school run either so I hitched a lift up to the office with Rachel so that I could pick up Strider. But then we had an urgent phone call. The boy who was taking Amber to school failed to turn up so I had to dash home. Amber isn’t a fan of Strider but she had no choice in the matter this morning.

Quite a few stresses and strains at the tyre depot today. It seems that everyone is having weekend blues a few days early. But at least the cashing up was no problem tonight – we were $0:90 over so we decided to Spend Spend Spend!

At lunchtime though I’d come home for a shower and a change of clothes, and also to salvage the Note-Tab clipboard libraries from the old computer – a task that I had forgotten. But that’s now accomplished. And I do have to say that the old computer now that it’s “fixed” seems to be working better than it ever did.

We all went down for an Indian meal tonight, all seven of us. And on the way back Rachel, Zoe and I went to visit one of Rachel’s friends who is on the point of leaving for the winter.

But now I’m set up in my room on my way to bed. Let’s hope that tomorrow will bring us some happiness. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any.