Tag Archives: anna eakin

Sunday 24th April 2022 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… my walk this afternoon took me around the medieval city walls to see what was happening around there.

And so while you admire the progress that they have been making with the repointing of the medieval city walls in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux and the Rue du Nord, I’ll tell you all about my rather quiet day today.

“Quiet” was definitely the word to use because it didn’t actually start until 11:40 when I finally fell, not without a great deal of difficulty, out of bed.

And even then I wasn’t really in all that much of a mood to do very much for a while.

repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022After brunch I eventually buckled down to work and the first task was to pair up the music of the next radio programme.

That didn’t take too long and then I turned my attention to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

There was a war on. The whole system of supply chains and everything was totally disrupted and nothing was being produced anywhere. One person organised something that churned out tonnes of stuff much quicker than anything else had ever been churned out and was rescuing people from cars (including a girl in a wheelchair whom I know), all kinds of things. It became some kind of by-word on the TV what he was doing but someone actually went behind the scenes afterwards and showed loads of collateral damage that had been done. This was really something that could only be done once because they couldn’t afford the damage that was being committed to the infrastructure and everything in doing it. There was litter and junk abandoned all over the place that couldn’t ever be used again. Barges were just emptied and dumped and didn’t go back for return loads etc.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was also something about a delivery service something like ours … “whose?” – ed … that had all kinds of weird and strange rules about delivery. They were catching people out because of the volume of stuff that they were sending. There was one case where they were sending stuff to be collected by a young family on behalf of a relative but were totally overwhelmed with packets. They had to bring in someone from the company to try to deal with all of these deliveries and deal with all of these children as well in this family who were being disturbed by the continual flow of parcels etc. Again there were parcels dumped all over the place. It was like a runaway juggernaut type of situation with these kids in a pram or pushchair and this guy from the parcel company trying to control them and the parcels, trying to obtain all of the address details changed etc. These two dreams were extremely stressful.

Finally there was a group of soldiers, an informal group who rode into a fort in order to help defend it. They eventually found where the colonel’s office was. He was totally intoxicated rather like the colonel in THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY. He told them to take their place wherever they thought fit. Having had a tour of the walls with the colonel, the guy in charge took a huge lump of bread and some cheese, pickels etc and went back to his men. He started to talk to them about the defence of the city and the battle and shared out the food amongst them.

When I listened to what was on the dictaphone, I was quite surprised. I was convinced that there was much more than this too. I had the feeling that I was awake for much of the night dictating into the dictaphone. I know that in the past I’ve caught myself dictating into my hand instead of the dictaphone and I wonder if I’ve been doing that again.

All of this took me up to the time when I would usually go for walkies around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But as I had made up my mind to go around the walls this afternoon I made a little diversion to have a look over the wall at the end of the car park to see who was down on the bach this afternoon.

Although there was quite a strong wind it was really bright and sunny this afternoon and so there wre quite a few people down there, not that there was an awful lot of beach to be on right now.

No-one actually brave enough to put their feet in the water though. It wasn’t actually that warm. That will probably be for another time later on. There are a couple more Bank Holidays coming up imminently

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While I was out there looking down at the beach I had my roving eye looking around out at sea.

Although there was quite a haze out there and not even the Ile de Chausey was visible, there was plenty of activity just offshore. There was a cabin cruiser and a couple of speedboats for a start, and probably a few other things that I couldn’t make out.

No fishing boats though – they must all be having a day off today.

So I pushed on … “pushed off” – ed … along the path down past where they were repairing the medieval city walls, dodging the English family with the dog who were trying to negotiate the scaffolding.

But the repairs are continuing along the Rue du Nord right now, even though the big crack in the walls where they have been repairing is filling me with some kind of concern.

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022From the Place du Marché aux Chevaux I passed through the arch and along the path underneath the walls where I used to go running all that time ago.

Down at the viewpoint overlooking the beach at the Plat Gousset I stopped to have a look down there to see what was happening.

The summer season hasn’t officially started yet. The promenade cabins haven’t arrived on the Plat Gosset yet and the diving platform on the pillar hasn’t been put back. I imagine that that’s for some other time later on.

The tidal swimming pool is looking nice though, although no-one is taking advantage of that right now either.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022From there I continued on to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Maréchal Foch.

As well as the vertical-axis wind turbine spinning around in the foreground, we had lots of people milling around on the beach and on the Plat Gousset. The fine weather has certainly brought them out in their droves.

Even the seagull that bombed the photograph on the extreme left-hand edge seemed to be enjoying itself too as it prepares to alight on the roof of the casino down there.

seagull nesting rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While we’re on the subject of seagulls … “well, one of us is” – ed … it’s that time of year again.

The town’s gardeners have been out cutting the grass and the seagulls have been collecting it. They’ve built all of their nests on the roofs of the houses and they are now settling down to lay their eggs.

In a couple of weeks we might catch sight of the eggs and then we can watch the seagull chicks slowly growing up. I shall have to make a note to come by this way more often in order to watch the events as they unfold until the chicks are ready to fly away.

planters square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Here in the Square Maurice Marland there have been a few more developments too.

A few years ago they spent a lot of money renovating the square and then the let it run to seed somewhat. At one time just recently it was looking quite shabby.

However, while I’ve not been paying attantion, they have been slowly bringing it back into condition.

These planters are quite new. They certainly weren’t here before. I wonder what we’re going to see planted in them.

marité belle france ch711273 hermes 1 ch651332 hera ch639451 philcathane ch642969 Galapagos sm734551 hermine Bastien Steeven pl626645 Le P'tit Caprice port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Back into town there wasn’t anything happening so I went to have a look at the port.

With having seen no fishing boats out at sea this afternoon I was expecting to see them all in the harbour. And they certainly were there too.

Quite a few whom we have seen before, like Hermes I, Hera, Philcathane and Galapagos but there are a couple there who are strangers. SM734551 is called Hermine Bastien Steeven, the SM telling us that despite her Dutch name, is from Saint Malo, and PL626645 is called Le P’tit Caprice, registered down the coast at Paimpol in Brittany.

Marité and Belle France are in there today too which is a surprise. They ought to be out at sea earning their keep with a couple of loads of tourists.

Back here I had a coffee and then sat down with the guitar. On the playlist earlier, the song ROLL ME AWAY had come round. When I listened closely to it, I reckoned that it was a fairly simple chord progression so I sat down to work it out.

And it works too. So for my next trick I’ll work out a bass line to it.

Regular readers will recall that I said in the past that I won’t add any more songs to my own acoustic playlist set until I can master the ones there, but this particular one has always been a favourite of mine and it has a certain significance.

“Stood alone on a mountain top
Starin’ out at the Great Divide
I could go East, I could go West
It was all up to me to decide”

Doesn’t that remind me of when I was standing up there on the HIGH PLAINS OF WYOMING in 2002?

And what about
“12 hours out of Mackinaw City
Stopped in a bar to have a brew
Met a girl and we had a few drinks
And I told her what I’d decided to do
She looked out the window a long long moment
Then she looked into my eyes
She didn’t have to say a thing
I knew what she was thinkin’
Roll, roll me away
Won’t you roll me away tonight
I too am lost, I feel double-crossed
And I’m sick of what’s wrong and what’s right
We never even said a word
We just walked out and got on that bike
And we rolled
And we rolled clean out of sight
We rolled across the high plains
Deep into the mountains
Felt so good to me
Finally feelin’ free
Somewhere along a high road
The air began to turn cold
She said she missed her home
I headed on alone”
?

And the air certainly was cold where we were at the time that all of this was going on. Yes, one day I really will, I promise you, write about those three missing days on my blog.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Tea tonight was, as usual, a vegan pizza.

After lunch I’d taken out a lump of frozen dough from the freezer and it had been happily defrosting during the afternoon. When I’d finished what I’d needed to do I rolled it out and when it had proofed I assembled it.

After last week’s unsatisfactory attempt when it was overcooked, I turned the oven down slightly today and that produced a much better effort. I didn’t break any teeth this evening.

But I’m off to bed in a minute. An early start and a radio programme to complete. And two to send off – I mustn’t forget that, as I’m not here next week.

Well, in fact I’m not all here at any time but let’s not bog ourselves down in semantics.

Sunday 17th April 2022 – THE MYSTERY OF THE …

photo credit interlink a changing canada Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… mysterious booklet is solved. All I had to do was to look in the photo credits on the final page.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few months ago some company or other bought a photograph from me – a photo of a small isolated community on the “forgotten coast” of Québec

The photograph has been published in the booklet and they sent a copy to me as a courtesy.

Perhaps I ought to add that much of my photography is no better – and probably a lot worse – than many other people’s but it’s all to do with the fact that I’m quite often wandering around, boldly going forward where the hand of man has never set foot.

Consequently they are of interest more for their curiosity value and content rather than their technical merit.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But be that as it may, it’s been another beautiful Spring day today.

The crowds were out in force this afternoon. And they had plenty of beach to be out there upon this afternoon.

Hordes of people swarming around down there this afternoon, all over the beach as well, not just in the shadow of the cliffs waiting for the tide to come in.

There are quite a few people out there in the distance hanging around the water that is retained in the medieval fish trap. Maybe they are looking for whatever might have been retained in there as the tide is on its way out.

hang glider people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Crowds of people swarming around on the path on top of the cliffs as well.

And as you will probably already have noticed, not a single face mask anywhere in sight. Except of course the one that I was wearing. I managed to remember to bring it with me today.

You will also notice that yet another Nazgul has come to grief over there too. And it doesn’t look as if the Birdman of Alcatraz is in any hurry to either take to the air again or to “fold up their tents, like the Arabs and as silently steal away”

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022A couple of days ago I mentioned that this weekend is one of the periods where the tidal coefficient is one of the greatest of the year.

And seeing as that coincides with the holiday season, we can reasonably expect to see crowds of people down there having a go at the pèche à pied and we are not wrong either because there were crowds down there today having a go.

So good luck to them too. As long as they remember to spread it out amongst their friends. Flexing your mussels, you might say.

Last night I certainly flexed mine while I was in bed because I covered a great distance while I was asleep. There was plenty of time to do so too because even though I didn’t go to bed until about 00:20, I didn’t actually raise myself from the dead until 12:00 this morning.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages, and then it was time for brunch – porridge and hot cross buns again. I have to celebrate the Easter season and I do love hot cross buns.

Having eaten, I turned my attention to the masses of notes on the dictaphone from last night. We started with something about the refugees coming back from Paris or Brussels. We had to walk to an adjacent station to catch the train rather than the station where we usually caught it but I don’t know how this finished because this was all that I dreamt about it.

Then this dream advanced to be something to do with the army. There was a huge depot full of all vehicles – dozens of Ford Anglia estates, stuff like that. They were all being sent for scrap. There was an ERF artic tractor, etc. An ex-girlfriend was there. She pointed to a smashed-up Ford Transit van and said that that used to be hers but it had been hit by a lorry when they were moving it around. They were all talking about these vehicles. She pointed out a couple that had the new green log books but he wouldn’t let them go for some reason or other. There were a few cars parked over there. I thought at first that they were Sunbeam Rapiers or Humber Sceptres but they turned out to be Citroens of some description, saloon cars. We were talking about them and we said “why don’t we take them back as a taxi? Why don’t we ask him?”. That seemed to be the logical thing to do for me but there were dozens of stuff here. They all had a big white cross painted on the side, stuff that was being sent for scrap.

Later on we were back in a big railway station that I recognised as the Gare du Midi (although of course it wasn’t). The refugees were actually leaving, flying by aeroplanes that were taking off from the roof. They had some kind of volunteers down there who would call the train times out and marshall the volunteers to bring them up onto the roof where they could then walk across to the terminal building to catch the ‘plane.

And thenI was at one of these American colleges and I’d been watching American football. They were talking about their own particular college that everyone was expecting them to post a 9-6 season but were on the verge of posting a 10-5. They were talking about the quarterback there who had had a better season than expected. I asked them what they thought about the clubs in their Conference and where they thought that their team was going. We had a chat about that. They pointed out about one young lad sitting there – he was actually their 3rd-choice quarterback and they were saying that when it neared the end they should have put him on to give the 1st choice a rest as the match was clearly won and he would avoid injury for him ready for the next couple of games. They talked about the match, that was actually broadcast on TV that went on until about 03:00 or 04:00. I was doing something that night otherwise I might have watched it but even so it was still quite late. The previous one finished an hour earlier because of the time difference in the USA where they had been playing and I’d missed that one as well. While we were chatting the clock was ticking down, about to come into the 2-minutes where they could take a knee and stop the game. They were all counting down the time while they were talking to me and I bet that you are all as impressed as I am that I can discuss technical phrases and tactics in American football games while I’m asleep

However I forgot to mention that there was something involving pizzas in there with all of the students sitting around eating pizza at this particular moment.

Now that all the Palestinians are safely aboard their train we now had to bring all of their luggage across to the new station. That wasn’t easy because there was just a couple of us on the Metro doing all of this. Eventually we arrived and we had to sort out the luggage into the various stops so that the correct luggage would be put out at the correct station. That brought me back to years ago when I worked in travel for Shearings

Interestingly, I was in Crewe last night in a Cortina mkIV or mkV, a red one that was really nice. I turned up Gainsborough Road into the side street to park. There was a policewoman there with a kid chatting so I thought that i’d better park tidily and properly while she was there. The steering was rather stiff because the car had just had a new steering rack fitted so I had to maul it round. When I got out she came over and told me that even though I had both feet on the floor they weren’t on the floor in the right place. In theory she could give me a ticket but she just wanted to make me aware. I found that hard to believe that your feet had to be in a certain position on the floor of your car but apparently so anything is possible in Tory Britain. We had a little discussion about things. Eventually she told me that there had been a police meeting yesterday. I said that I’d heard about it from someone else, and that there had only been 2 policemen on patrol for the whole of Crewe during the day yesterday while this meeting had been on and most of the policemen were there. That she agreed to

Finally I was living with someone in France. TOTGA had run away from home and came over to France to the town or village where I was living. She settled in a cave. For one reason or another she didn’t come to live with the two of us which must have been a great disappointment for me. We used to take her food etc. Then it was starting to become winter. There were a few more days to go before the school holidays so in the end we talked her into going to register for school for the next term. We told her that every child living in France has the right to education whether they were legal immigrants or not. eventually she went and took the plunge. She went to the local school to register. The school started to give her all kinds of help about who to see and where to go etc.

But imagine that! TOTGA living in a cave nearby and me not being able to take her in.

red powered hang glider baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022all of this took me up to the time when I go off for my afternoon walk.

And no sooner did I set my foot outside the building here when I was overflown by one of the aircraft that buzzes around overhead.

It’s our old friend the red powered hang-glider that we have seen quite often. and it has a passenger on board this afternoon too.

And all of this reminds me that we haven’t see the yellow powered hang-glider or the yellow autogyro for quite some time. I wonder what they are up to these days.

F-GBAI Robin DR 400-140B baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And that wasn’t all the aerial activity this afternoon either.

Buzzing along overhead was F-GBAI, a Robin DR 400-140B that belongs to the local Aero Club. She took off at 15:25, did a lap around the Ile de Chausey, flew down south to do a lap around Mont St Michel, and then back up the coast where she came in to land at 16:00.

And seeing as my photo is timed at 15:54 (adjusted for summer time) then that sounds about right.

By the way, this was the fourth of five voyages that she undertook (so far) today. They have certainly been keeping her busy.

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As was the case yesterday, I was surprised to see so few boats out there this afternoon.

It’s certainly true that there would be quite a while before the harbour gates would be open but I would have expected, given the fact that it’s a Bank Holiday weekend, the crowds are thronging around and the weather is so nice, to have seen all kinds of water craft milling around offshore in the bay.

Instead, all we can see today are a couple of cabin cruisers moored offshore, with the occupants probably having a good fishing session. And that was the lot. The weather was quite clear this afternoon and I could see for miles. And there was no other boat that I could see.

pointe du roc objects floating in baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That wasn’t everything that was visible in the water.

As I walked around the corner and across the car park I could see something bobbing up and down just offshore from the Pointe du Roc.

This area is frequented by a few varieties of sea mammals, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall and I was thinking that I might have been lucky enough to have caught the head of one of the aforementioned bobbing up and down.

However, no such luck. It looks more like a plastic 25-litre drum of some description floating around out there and that was disappointing.

cabanon vauban people on bench watching peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022A little earlier, I mentioned the pèche à pied today.

There were quite a few people down there on the rocks this afternoon having a go at harvesting whatever there is to be harvested.

Furthermore, there were spectators to the events too. Apart from the usual people wandering around on the paths there were a few people sitting on the bench down by the cabanon vauban watching what was going on.

So from there I pushed off along the path on the other side of the headland.

anakena chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022My route took me along towards the harbour where I could see down into the chantier vauban to see what was going on there.

There are no changes to the occupants down there this afternoon but my eye was caught by what was going on with Anakena.

Part of the stern drops down to reveal a step into the water. That’s presumably for the passengers to step into a zodiac or something when it’s out on tour.

And, one assumes, for passengers to leap into the water for the “Polar Dip” when she’s up in the Arctic. And we’ve seen people do that quite frequently on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR

That reminds me of when Castor and Pollux tried to entice me into water at a sub-zero temperature in Cambridge Bay
“I can’t with this catheter in my chest” I replied.
A short while later, someone who had overheard the conversation asked me “had you not had the catheter, what would you have done”?
“I’d have found another excuse” I replied.

Not even Castor could entice me into the water at that temperature. I’ve been in twice up to my knees – on one occasion at just 700 miles from the North Pole – and I’m not going in any deeper than that.

bouchots de chausey port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Another boat that we have seen quite frequently is Les Bouchots de Chausey.

Shes often seen pottering around loaded to the gunwhales with shellfish that she passes over to the tractor and trailer that come to the harbour to meet her but today her crew is having a day off.

She’s been left to go go aground in the silt with all of her fishing equipment on board this afternoon now that the tide has gone out.

With nothing much else going on, I headed off through the crowds back to my apartment for my afternoon coffee and a decent session of music on the guitar.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022After lunch this afternoon I’d taken some pizza dough out of the freezer and left it to defrost throughout the afternoon.

later this evening I kneaded it and rolled it out onto the pizza tray. And when it had proofed sufficiently I assembled my pizza and baked it.

It was rather overcooked around the edges this afternoon but nevertheless it was quite tasty and filled a gap in my stomach.

So now that I’ve finished my notes I’ll have a little relax before I go to bed. Although I have a radio programme to prepare, it’s a Bank Holiday so i’m having another lie-in.

And maybe go off on a few more travels too. having had the pleasure of TOTGA’s company last night, it must surely be the turn of Castor or Zero to put in an appearance.

We shall have to see.

Tuesday 12th April 2022 – IT’S BEEN SOMETHING …

jade 3 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… of a nautical day this afternoon when I was out on my rounds.

So while you admire several photos of the Trawler Jade III out there fishing just offshore in the Baie de Granville (and you can tell that she has a good haul on board from the crowds of seagulls that are flocking around her) I’ll tell you about my less-than-exciting day today.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 it goes without saying that I didn’t actually leave the bed at that moment. Mind you, I did beat the second alarm to my feet, although there wasn’t much in it.

In fact I actually felt like death this morning.

philcathane jade 3 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022So while Jade III and Philcathane cross each other in the bay, I had my medication and then sat down to deal with today’s radio programme that I should have done yesterday.

And although I’d already done half of it previously, it took me much longer than it ought to have done.

At about 09:20 I had a ‘phone call. “You told us on your questionnaire (for my MRI scan tomorrow) that you worked in metal.”
“That’s correct. But I’ve not done any welding since 1997 (when I welded up the exhaust on my old Passat) and only some very rare moments of grinding ever since”
“Nevertheless you need to come here for a brain scan. And bring your prescription with you”

jade 3 trawler speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And so I had to rummage through a pile of paperwork to find the prescription and then Caliburn and I set out for the Radiology Centre.

For a change, I didn’t have to wait too long to have my skull x-rayed but I had to wait for an hour for the results. Consequently I went down the hill to the Leclerc to do a little shopping – like sunflower seed, peppers, mushrooms and some flour.

Back at the Radiology centre they gave me my photos. “We gave you a brain scan” she said “but we found nothing” and that’s the most depressing thing that I’ve heard for quite some considerable time.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Back here I cracked on with the radio programme and it took me almost until lunchtime to finish it off. It really wasn’t a good day.

At least the bread that I had taken out of the freezer was nice and fresh, and that soft Greek vegan cheese that Alison found for me is absolutely delicious. It’s amazingly like fresh mozzarella. I’ll be buying more of that in due course.

Once I’d finished lunch I spent a short while organising some more photos from August 2019 and my trip to the High Arctic. Right now I’m in a zodiac roaring up Dundas Harbour at Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic, trying to out-manoeuvre a polar bear that was there to keep a close eye on a family of seals.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022When I’d gone out earlier this morning it was quite a reasonable day. But this afternoon it had gone really cold and it was raining.

Not the kind of day that I would have expected to have seen anyone down on the beach, but nevertheless there were some people down there this afternoon, and there were some more people coming down the steps from the Rue du Nord to join them.

No-one in the water though, and that wasn’t a surprise at all.

While I was down there I had a look out to sea to see what was happening, and you’ve already seen Jade III and Philcathane out there in the bay having a good trawl around.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was quite a racket going on this afternoon from the work that’s being undertaken on the medieval wall at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

They are pushing on with the pointing over there and they seem to have made it as far as the huge vertical crack and that’s going to take some filling.

But it’s not going to be done right now, with one of the workmen sitting on top of the wall eating his butties or something.

Having dealt with all of that I headed off down the path towards the end of the headland. Despite the rain and the cold weather there were quite a few people walking around on the path this afternoon. I suppose that they have come here for a holiday and don’t have anything else to do.

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022A little earlier I mentioned that it was something of a nautical day today.

You have seen trawlers and yachts and speedboats out there at sea but right now we have a cabin cruiser going past as I walked around the end of the headland. It was moving rather quickly too as if it was on a Mission from God.

As for me, I was on a mission too, which was to find some shelter from this rain. There was no-one sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon, and that was no surprise, and so I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

le roc a la mauve 3 anakena chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022First stop was to see what was going on at the chantier naval this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw it in a long-distance shot from a different viewpoint yesterday so I wanted to see it from this point of view.

Of course, Spirit of Conrad has now gone back into the water but Le Roc à la Mauve III is still there where she has been for quite a while although her paint job is well advanced.

Anakena is there too. We saw her lifted out of the water a couple of weeks ago. There are a couple of people working on her this afternoon despite the rain and with the tourist season about to start, I bet that they are in a hurry.

jade 3 chausiaise joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022In the meantime, Jade III has finished her fishing session is on her way into the harbour, minus the flock of seagulls that accompanied her out in the bay.

Also in the port today, over at the ferry terminal, are Chausiaise, the little freighter that goes over to the Ile de Chausey, and one of the Joly France passenger ferries.

In the background in the port de plaisance we can just about make out the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

There were also several people with nothing better to do in the miserable weather lounging about looking over the sea wall at nothing particular.

le styx lysandre charlevy chant de sirenes catherine philippe port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That’s because all of the activity is taking place on this side, over at the fish processing plant.

From front to back we have Le Styx, Lysandre, Charlevy, an unknown boat, Chant de Sirenes and Catherine Philippe just coming in to tie up.

And there’s quite a crowd over there on the quayside watching the activity. There’s plenty of it going on.

Back here I had a coffee and then, rather regrettably, I fell asleep. So there was half a mug of cold coffee and some in the percolator when I awoke.

and it was freezing cold too. Not even an extra jacket helped so I switched on the portable electric heater for a while.

That was the cue to make a start on listening to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. And I’d been quite far, as it happens.

Last night I met some Russian apologists who were excusing the violence and everything that was taking place but before I didn’t go very far into this before it petered out.

Then there was going to be the World Cup and there the organisers of the Welsh FA were on stage and with a crowd inside. They were drawing out of a glass bowl the names of players who were going to represent Wales. They started off with 30 but were choosing 23. They were pulling out these names of players and they were all players about whom i’ve never heard and I didn’t have a clue who they were or where they played. I had no idea exactly what was going on and why they had even thought about selecting some of these names to be in this pool.

And next I was on a station in Germany watching a Trans-Europe Express pulled by one of the NEZ CASSÉ French locomotives of the 1970s. I don’t know anything about this other than that I was on the station.

We were also going on a coach holiday. A girl whom I knew was coming with me – a really big girl (and I do mean “big”). It wasn’t until we were assembled ready to go that I realised just how big because the two of us sitting in a coach seat would be rather problematic. They were discussing all of the holiday but I wasn’t listening very much because I was too busy making a list of things that I had forgotten, including my raincoat so I was going to have to do some shopping when the coach stopped. They we had to board the coach so I took my suitcase but no-one else was bringing their suitcase. I imagined that there was someone collecting them in the office so I had to walk back to the office with mine, against the flow of traffic to leave my suitcase there and then come back. That probably meant that we wouldn’t get a good seat together on the coach. That really suited me because otherwise I would have had to sit next to her and there wouldn’t have been any room on the seat. But I can’t believe that I was coming away on a holiday and i’d left half of my important stuff behind like I had.
Actually, I can because it wouldn’t be the first time. Most people usually make a list of what they need and pack accordingly. I normally just pack and then when I’m away I make a list of what I’ve forgotten
So we all walked back to the coach. I was one of the last to board. Luckily the girl was sitting right at the front next to someone else which was great for me so I walked a few seats back. There was an empty seat next to a young girl who turned out to be Castor. so “hello Castor after all this time. Isn’t it nice to see you?”. I sat next to her. She was busy trying to pass her headphones to the girl in the seat behind her so that she could listen to the sound for the film that was being shown on the coach. Castor wasn’t talking to me yet. She was telling the girl behind her that she used to get up very early and go for a wander around and then go back to sleep for an hour. That was basically how I existed at that time so I thought to myself that with sitting next to her on this trip I might be able to strike up a good relationship with her, and isn’t that some wishful thinking?

We were in Crewe somewhere on the Wistaston Road estate although it was supposed to be somewhere round Pym’s Lane – Minshull New Road area. There were people preparing to go to school. There was a young girl there busy adjusting her cardigan, tying it in a knot at the bottom because it was a warm summer day. There were other people getting into a car to be taken to school because their school was actually on the Middlewich Road. I was walking past all of these people heading down the bacnk but I’m not sure why

Did I dictate the story about the girl who was preparing to go to school adjusting her cardigan as I was walking down the hill where I thought was the Wistaston Green Estate but was somewhere round by Pym’s Lane – Minshull New Road and there were all these people there preparing to go to school as I was walking past them … “yes you did” – ed. What I meant to say was we were now heading back towards the coach. I was one of the last on. Luckily this girl had found someone else by whom to sit, right at the very front seat wedging this person in. That was fine by me. I went back a couple of rows and found an empty seat. It turned out that I was sitting next to Castor so “welcome back Castor”. She was busy passing her headphones to the person in the seat behind her so that person could listen to the sound on the film that was playing on the coach. She was saying that she was a very early riser, awoke in the morning, did a few things and then went back to bed for an hour. That was the kind of thing that suited me because that’s how I behaved. I was hoping that I could have a really good rapport with her during the course of this voyage on this bus.

And I’m surprised that I dreamt the same dream twice a good distance apart and it all sounded almost the same even with the sidelong remarks.

Finally it was the school holidays again so we were back there and I was working on the railway station at Koln or Aachen. A train pulled in and the people started to alight. It turned out that one of the people was a girl whom I knew so I said “hello”. She wondered what I was doing here because she knew me from Brussels. I said that i’d come here to change trains. I asked where her train was going so she told me but that wasn’t really anywhere near the one that I wanted …indistinct…. but there was some detail on it that I could keep.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice and veg. And it was delicious as usual.

And now that I’ve finished my notes, I’m off to bed for a decent sleep.

So Castor came back last night for the first time for ages. She’s been missed while she’s been away. But even so, it it didn’t look as if she was taking much notice of me. I hope that she’ll be back tonight and I can see more of her.

Thursday 17th March 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… several photos of the excitement that we had out there in the Baie de Granville this afternoon, let me tell you about the somewhat less-than-exciting day that I had today.

It started off rather badly when I switched off the alarm at 07:30 and … errr … went back to sleep. I awoke with a start at 07:59 and I just about managed to put my feet on the floor as the 08:00 repeat went off.

Mind you, it’s my own fault. I did say that I was planning to have an early night but I picked up the guitar for a quick strum and that, dear reader, was that.

Somehow, from out of nowhere, I managed to start to transcribe the dictaphone notes. That was the first thing that I did once I’d taken my medicine.

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022They were collecting goods for refugees again. I was wandering around trying to find a place where I could set up to co-ordinate the relief and find an office. That means finding a house where there was someone and finding a lorry and driver, all that kind of thing. I could do some driving myself but for some reason no matter where I walked there was always something getting in the way. There was even some moment where all of this became extremely violent but I can’t remember very much about all of this particular part of a dream etc. Just walking past these lorries and not being able to go into a house and the feeling of violence that was going on with this as well

Again, I was doing something else for refugees and I was absolutely tired out completely so I went to bed. When I awoke halfway through my sleep I noticed that halfway through the head of the bed were things like bottled from old-age pensioners and messages from old women. I thought that they had donated but they hadn’t donated. Instead, there were all kind sof things like bottles of spirits and (… I fell asleep here …) so when I awoke all those bottles were empty. Obviously someone had left them there to incriminate me or frighten me or something like that but it wasn’t going to work. I was going to carry on.

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There were four of us who had been out working for the local council in a lorry. We had been doing all kinds of things, cleaning up places and so on. But tempers between the two drivers were becoming really frayed. One was working inside the cab of the vehicle so the other grabbed a can of spray paint and aimed the spray at him from the other side of the window. The first guy instinctively ducked and banged his head which made the other guy laugh. But now we couldn’t see out of the windscreen. We had to go back to the depot. I’d warned this guy not to use the spray can but he wouldn’t listen so I said that when we arrive at the depot there will be quite a row about this. He said “so you should” because he’d sprayed something like “vegans rule OK” and they’ll all think that it’s me. I was totally disgusted. The fourth guy decided that he was going to go home so we all decided that we would take the lorry back. The fourth guy was only a young apprentice so I told him that I hoped that he wouldn’t really get into any kind of trouble at all over this. I hoped that I wouldn’t either and maybe we would see each other again but this was a terrible note some kind of day’s work, trying to drive home in this lorry when we can’t see out of the windscreen because of the paint etc. I felt dismayed that these 2 guys, after I’d told them about losing their temper between themselves had gone and done this kind of thing that would land us all in all kinds of trouble

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022We’d had some kind of family meeting. My brother was there and so were some others. I suddenly noticed the time. I only had something like 45 minutes to go home, change and reach the airport before my flight on holiday departed. When the meeting came to an end I had to dash out quite quickly, picked up my suit and thought that I’d find a hedge behind which I could change while I’m on my travels. I picked up my things and overtook them as they were wending their way home. I found what looked like a likely place. Now there was only something like 40 minutes to my flight. Just as I was about to go behind the hedge to change into my suit I suddenly realised that I didn’t have my suitcase. That was at my brother’s shop. Of course he’d now locked up and gone straight home. I would have to go there first but I wouldn’t have time and if he hasn’t gone straight home I’m never have my suitcase. It looked to me rather regrettably that I wasn’t going to be leaving on this holiday to the Far East.

An East German bank had a large sum of gold on hand. A group of people set out from the UK to try to rob it. They had to work out all kinds of things such as guards tea-breaks, changes of shift and everything so that they could pass frontiers without very much inspection etc. When they arrived at the bank they raided the vehicle that was carrying it only to find that it was empty. It turned out that what had happened was that the bank had put it on deposit with a bank back in the UK to use as collateral for some kind of financial deal that was taking place. There they were in the middle of the street with a double-decker bus full of their own men, raided this place. They had some of their own men tied up as decoys etc. Now they were arguing about what they were going to do next. Were they going back to the UK to raid this British bank or would they try to raid somewhere else in East Germany or were they just going to abandon the whole thing and go home?

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022So, once more, none of my favourite young ladies came to visit me, although I did have a very strong feeling that TOTGA was around somewhere last night and I was surprised to hear nothing about her on the dictaphone this morning.

The rest of the day has been spent, such as it was during all of the other interruptions, in catching up with the outstanding entries from when I was in Leuven. I’d just done some basic rough notes at the time but now they are complete.

As for the interruptions, we had coffee, and breakfast, and lunch, and taking out a huge pile of rubbish. I’m having a good sort-out here and all kinds of stuff that I’ve been keeping for no good reason have gone the Way of the West.

A few phone calls and booking a few hotels for a little journey I’ll be making were also a few tasks that I also accomplished today.

Another thing that I’ve been doing is to have a think about rearranging the kitchen. In the back of Caliburn are the cupboards that I bought ages ago that will replace the stuff that I’m using as an island. But I’m planning on doing something about a wall unit so that I can have a proper oven.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And then there was of course the afternoon walk.

And I hardly had time to step out of the front door when I felt the cold hand of doom on my shoulder.

It’s that time of year again. The sun is out and there’s quite a wind so it’s brought out the Birdmen of Alcatraz in numbers. One of them flew past on his Nazgul as I went outside.

He was followed by several of his mates as well. Not quite the Nine Riders but it was pretty much almost. Legolas would have had a few easy targets this afternoon.

people entering water beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And once he was out of the way I could wander across to the end of the car park to see what was going on there.

A reasonable amount of beach there this afternoon and there were several people down there on it.

Even this intrepid pair of pedestrians looking as if they are going full-tilt headlong into the water.

As I said just now, it’s a nice sunny day. But it’s not that nice. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the only water that interests me from a bathing point of view is water at 37°C

When we were out in the High Arctic in 2019 Castor asked me if I would like to jump into the sea with her.

“I can’t” I replied. “I have a catheter in my chest”

Someone who had overheard the conversation asked me later “Had you not had the catheter, what would you have done?”

“I’d have thought of another excuse”. Sea water at -0.5°C might be interesting for some but not for me. Not even Castor could drag me in to water at that temperature.

trawlers returning to port de Granville harbour baie de granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I was having a good look around out at sea.

There was probably about a dozen trawlers heading back into port right now. The viewing conditions were absolutely perfect today and I could see for miles out to sea. There have been days just recently when I wouldn’t have seen anything at all quite like this.

The tide isn’t far enough in to open the harbour gates right now but I imagine that it might be by the time that they all arrive in the outer harbour. They won’t have to wait long, I reckon.

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You’ve seen plenty of photos already of the Dassault Falcon 50M that was flying around in large circles out in the bay.

This is the type of jet that started the genocide in Rwanda when the one carrying the Rwandan and Burundian Presidents was shot down at Kigali, but this particular one here is one of the 8 Falcon 50M machines owned by the French Navy and used for maritime surveillance.

So what’s it doing here? It certainly had a great deal of interest in what was happening out at sea and was circling around the bay for quite some time

We’ll probably have to wait until tomorrow to find out.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, this was quite an interesting situation.

There were two trawlers here outside the outer harbour waiting for more tide to come in and they seemed to have stopped to have a chat.

It’s not often that you see them as close as this in the open sea and I was wondering if maybe one of the had wanted to borrow a cup of sugar from the other

However, when you see two lots of extremely strange activity taking place in more-or-less the same place, like the Falcon circling around and these two trawlers, you have to wonder if the two events are somehow connected.

joly france sm735890 lysandre ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022We’ve seen the larger trawlers loitering around outside the harbour waiting for the tide, but there’s enough water in there already for the smaller ones.

Coming a-chugging into port is Lysandre, the little shell-fishing boat that is registered in St Malo but now just recently seems to have taken up residence here in Granville.

There’s one of the little port runabouts out there too, heading towards the Joly France ferry that’s moored up at the Ferry terminal.

There must be something exciting going on over there too because there’s a small crowd up on the harbour wall having a good look.

le roc a la mauve 3 la granvillaise charles marie spirit of conrad chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Whatever excitement that might have been going on in the chantier naval is well and truly over now

The unidentified yacht that we’ve been seeing in there for the last few weeks has now disappeared.

We’re now just left with Le Roc A La Mauve III nearest the camera, and then La Granvillaise and Charles-Marie.

Finally Spirit of Conrad on which we sailed down the Brittany coast nearly 2 years ago. A few days ago I was talking to her skipper. She’s off on a circumnavigation of the UK quite soon but I have desisted.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Yesterday I mentioned the freight that was on the quayside.

It’s still there today, and it’s not alone either. Another pile of stuff has come to join it And by the looks of things, there’s a third lot that’s just arrived on the lorry that’s parked behind it.

Back here I finished off my journal entries and then had an hour or so on the guitar. I seem to be much more relaxed than I have been just recently.

Tea was one of those meat turnovers with potatoes and gravy and it was really delicious too

For a change, I ate earlier than usual because I wanted to do my notes and have an early night but as you might expect, Rosemary rang me up for another one of our marathon chats. Consequently it’s much later than I would have liked it to be.

Tomorrow I have a letter to write. I hate writing letters at the best of times and this one has been loitering around for a few months.

Monday 14th March 2022 – THERE HAS BEEN …

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… some rather bad news about the fire in the house in the Rue du Midi on Saturday evening.

Yesterday evening, the firemen finally worked their way through the rubble to the ground floor where they found the missing person. And as you might expect, they found him far too late to be of any use.

It’s a rather sombre note on which to start today’s journal entry, but I suppose that there are times when sombre notes will creep in to everything at some time or other. There but for the grace of God go we.

Wherever I went on my travels last night is something else completely. For the first time since I don’t know when, one of my young ladies put in an appearance – Zero, as it happens.

And do you know what? I can’t remember why she was there or what we did.

How disappointing is that?

Anyway, I’m sure that you are all dying to know about where I went last night

I started off at a well-known square in Paris – I can’t remember which one – and it had some kind of weird fence and turnstile arrangements to control the flow of pedestrians but that’s all that I remember about this.

And later I was with Zero , for the first time for years, and her father last night and I can’t remember very much of what it actually involved (and isn’t that a disaster?) with them, but it led to me thinking about going to buy a motorbike so maybe I could take Zero around on the back of it. I went into a shop in Hungerford Road Crewe that used to be an old Co-op but was now selling motorbikes. They had a couple of Kawasaki 414 bikes in there for sale but they were more expensive than I was planning to pay although they looked quite nice. I thought that maybe something like that would be quite interesting. I had a good look around their shop but they didn’t really have very much at all. They had a few cars outside of course but it was the motorbikes that were interesting me more because I could go into Stoke on Trent on a motorbike, leave it to be serviced, overhauled and MoT’d while I was at work during the day, that kind of thing and probably Zero would enjoy going for a ride around on the back of a motorbike every now and again but there was nothing there that I liked.

There was something else as well. I was leaving work so I wandered off down the maze of corridors following the yellow arrows and yellow tape as I usually did. At one point I took a turn and found that the yellow arrow didn’t actually go that way which surprised me because I was pretty sure that it was the route that I took all the time I went back and followed the yellow arrow and suddenly found myself in a completely different security room. There was no way out. There were all kinds of security guys in there doing things. In the end I turned round and found another door that took me out. I could see that I was in a completely different place outside than where I would normally be when I was leaving the building. There were a few other people whom I knew around there as well so I went over for a chat and told them about the changes. They couldn’t understand what was happening either. Some girl came along and joined in. She was saying that she was now one of those people whose salary was a secret but she didn’t agree with that because it creates distrust amongst all the other employees. Someone else turned up with 3 daughters. She was talking to 2 daughters about giving their names to someone else and preparing for Christmas but for one daughter it was too late that they didn’t have any of what it was they didn’t have. They didn’t say. Then a couple of others turned up. One of them had had a dramatic cut in the salary that he was receiving as a Life Insurance broker so he was trying to chivvy up all of his friends and contacts to do something about increasing their insurance cover so he could receive a higher commission to offset his decrease in salary.

In fact, all told it was rather a bad night, and for many reasons too. I was tossing and turning around in bed for much of it and that’s guaranteed to set me off on the wrong foot.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 it was a struggle to leave the bed but I did manage – only just – to leave the bed before the second alarm.

The radio programme was the task for this morning and despite a couple of breaks for coffee, breakfast and so on, by 10:45 it was finished. And in a major departure from usual procedure, I’ve reused a song that I first used 18 months ago, simply for the reason that it seemed to fit so well with what I was doing.

“I have been around the world looking for that woman-girl who knows love can endure. And it always will”. And in my case, it endured for all of three days, didn’t it?

There were several phone calls – some of them long-distance – that I had to make and that took me all the way up to lunchtime. And the net result of all of those phone calls was … errr … nothing.

After lunch I had a shower, set the washing machine off on its cycle (a clever washing machine, mine) and then went out for my physiotherapy session.

chant de sirenes joly france belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Of course, the first port of call when I’m on my way to town is to check the camera at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne where the viewpoint overlooks the Fish Processing Plant.

The tide is on its way in right now – not far enough for the gates to open to let the larger boats into the inner harbour, but far enough for the boats with a lighter draught to pull up at the quay here to unload.

The Chante des Sirènes is easily identifiable with its mermaid painted on the side in a kind of green stripe.

Moored up at the ferry terminal in the background are Belle France and one of the Joly France boats.

repairing roof rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down in the town I walked along the Rue Lecampion towards the centre.

There’s something going on with the roof of one of the houses here. There’s a cherry-picker and a couple of guys doing something with the roof and a scaffolding.

Leaving them to it, I wandered off up the road and to the physiotherapist. And I don’t know why, but I haven’t climbed up the Rue Couraye as easily as I did this afternoon for quite a long time.

The physiotherapist had me on the couch and massaged my knee with her machine, and then had me doing some exercises.

And to my surprise, it was my left knee, not my right knee, that was hurting by the time that I had finished.

On my way home I called in at the Carrefour to buy something to drink. I had a thirst that you could photograph.

cable laying rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the town centre we had some more excitement.

There were some guys laying a cable in the duct under the street. The had the manhole cover up and had surrounded the hole with cones. And so an elderly woman in a black car drove over the cover and almost ended up in the hole.

And then she had the nerve to bawl out the crew. Some people really are unbelievable. I shan’t repeat on here what the crew replied to the woman. My journal is intended for all of the family, not just the over-18s.

place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Another thing that noticed was that the kiddies’ roundabout has now gone.

The carnival season is now over here and all of the fairground rides have packed up and gone off to their next engagement wherever that might be and we’ll be back with peace and quiet again until Easter when there will be more crowds descending on the town.

Bringing more cases of the virus with them, no doubt. This kind of thing really depresses me, especially as I don’t have the means to fight it.

fire engines rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I was up in the Rue des Juifs on my way into town the fire brigade was still there clearing up.

While I was in the town centre, they came through presumably on their way back to base. And it was extremely interesting watching them trying their best to negotiate the hole in the road.

And once they had gone, it was the turn of the school buses and that was even more interesting. The manhole covers and several cones took a right battering and there was what can best be described as “a frank exchange of views” between the drivers and the cabling crew.

repair facade rue georges clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While all of that was going on, I left them to it and wandered off down the Rue Paul Poirier.

The other day we saw them with a scaffolding outside one of the buildings in the Rue Georges Clemenceau and it had been intriguing me as to what they might be doing.

When I’d seen the carpenter’s van outside, I imagined that it might have been a roofing job but it actually looks as if they are working on the facade of the building. It could do with a good rendering and a new coat of paint.

ch933900 carteret port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the earlier photo of the boats in the harbour, I don’t know if you noticed a fishing boat that we haven’t seen before.

She was moored in the inner harbour with her crew working on the nets when I came back, and I could see her registration number from here.

It’s CH933900 – a number from this coast – and it’s so new that it’s not in the register that I have. But I was able to track her down from “other sources” and she’s called Carteret. She sails out of … errr … Barneville-Carteret.

She’s only 9 months old apparently and was built to replace a previous boat that was destroyed in a fire.

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back, I could have a closer look at the burnt-out house now that the fire engines and the crowds have gone.

It’s not just the house and the one to the right of it that have been affected, the one to the left has been badly-affected too. You can see that much of the roof there has been burnt away too.

This is an appalling thing to have happened. Apart from the loss of life which is a tragedy, the loss and damage is considerable and there are many people in these three houses who have been badly affected.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went home, I went to look at the beach to see what was happening.

The tide is now well in and there’s not much beach down there to be on. It’s no surprise that I couldn’t see anyone wandering about.

As I was looking down there, one of my neighbours pulled up in her car. She’s had some bad news from her doctor about her health and she told me all about it. Of course I sympathised, but there isn’t much that I could do.

Back here I made a coffee, hung out the washing and then came here to spend an hour on the photos from the High Arctic in 2019.

Talking about that, it made me all nostalgic and it reminded me of a poem about which Alison and I had chatted the other day

“Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?


That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again. “

Poetry at school was mainly awful with all of these depressing war poets and all of that. The only bright spark amongst all of that which we learnt was A E Housman and “A Shropshire Lad” is one of my favourite works.

Had I been born 5 miles away from my actual place of birth, I would have been a Shropshire Lad myself.

But seriously, when Housman said “The happy highways where I went and cannot come again. “, I don’t think that he had Covid and World War in mind. We won’t be going anywhere for a while yet.

In another mad fit of excitement I took out about half a ton of paper to the waste bin and then spent half an hour playing guitar. The first time that I enjoyed myself with the guitar since the summer. These pills must be working somehow.

Tea was a curry of leftovers and then I had to fight the good fight on the Internet. A discussion group of which I’m a member has become a very contentious place since War broke out and the Moderator was overwhelmed. She called for another volunteer and so I responded.

And tonight I’ve been dealing with a flame war – just like the “Good Old Days” on “First Class” – pulling warring factions apart, sending a couple of people to the naughty corner and … errr … “saying goodbye” to a couple of them. I’m surprised that I had time to write up my notes.

But now that they are done, much later than usual, I’m off to bed. I’ve a Welsh lesson tomorrow and I need to be on form.

Saturday 5th March 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… a few photos of the 120-odd people who turned up spontaneously outside the Mairie in Granville at midday for an impromptu show of support for Ukraine, I’ll tell you about my really miserable night last night.

And when I say “miserable” I really DO mean “miserable” because last night, in a sleep that went on theoretically for just a little over 8 hours, there were no fewer than 14 entries on the dictaphone and that must be something of a record in anyone’s language.

And so it will be no surprise to anyone to learn that when I awoke this morning with the alarm I was thoroughly, completely and absolutely overwhelmed with fatigue.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Although it wasn’t until very much later that I transcribed the dicatphone notes, it’s probably a good idea if I insert them here so that we can keep things in order.

Last night I was standing up but suddenly I fell forward and knocked over this tripod that had some kind of equipment on it like camera equipment or dictaphone equipment. Then I realised that I was wearing a soldier’s uniform and I’d been arrested or captured, something like that

And then there was something about a cucumber rolling around in the bed and I’ve no idea at all what that was all about.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And then later on I was out with a friend of mine from Brussels. We’d started off at work – we were working together – and then we decided that we would go for a walk. There’s a bride being married in a couple of days and she was having an exhibition so off we went. We had a lengthy heart-to-heart chat about all kinds of things that had happened between us 20 years ago. It was an extremely intimate discussion. She ended up saying “if only you hadn’t been married, if only you hadn’t been middle-aged” etc. It was a really deep discussion. The bride had settled herself down so we decided that we would go and look. I knew that there was a phrase that you had to use but I couldn’t remember what it was. We walked past this tent and a little head popped out – a little girl. I said “cuckoo, are you getting married?” and she blushed and went back, stuck her head back inside. I could see inside that the bride was asleep in the corner of the tent and there were 3 goats in there as well. I was trying to work out the ritual nature of all of this.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I actually missed out a few things in that story about my friend in Brussels. I can’t remember who I was with at first but we were coming in late for work and we heard people talking about the “Naz” department store. I arrived at work and asked someone what had happened about the department store. They replied that it had fallen down. I asked if it was any relation to the fire a few days ago somewhere. They said “no”. This guy was very interested in telling me so much more about so many different things but I wasn’t interested in hearing them. On my way back to my desk with whoever it was I said that we really need to be in work earlier because we are pushing the boundaries and we need to do better than this and make every effort to arrive at work earlier. When I was walking with my friend we could see in the distance a load of white smoke that might either have been from the collapse of “Naz” or whatever it was called or else the remains of this big fire

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022. Back at home later I was talking to my mother and one of my sisters. I said where I’d been and that many years ago when my blog was in hiatus I used to read books and I’d underline or highlight phrases in books that actually meant something. When I’d been writing my blog subsequently and re-read one of these books and came to a phrase that I’d noted, I’d mentioned it in relation to her. She’s read my blog and seen these references etc but was still interested in coming out with me for a chat. I thought “well, there’s hope yet, isn’t there?”

So there were pirates who stopped a boat and they put everyone ashore. There was a flag that they were flying that had five rings on it like the Olympic flag. I had no idea to engage in this fight so I didn’t go but they swarmed onto this other boat and started hacking the other defenders about to see whether it was going to take them

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And here I am doing it again – dictating a dream when I have no dictaphone with me. I was on a boat somewhere in the Indian or South Pacific Ocean and I was talking about the time that I’d been on a voyage of discovery with my Belgian friend – and fell asleep again in the middle of it – but basically what this was about was something about me being there and maybe taking a boat to Japan and back to the USA. There was a lot more to it than this but unfortunately I can’t remember anything and that’s really disappointing.

And later again I was out on the Pacific on yet another ocean liner with someone else when the subject of this girl in Belgium came up again but I don’t know where it went from here. But how many times last night was it that she put in an appearance?

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Next time I was in the American cavalry in a dark-blue uniform. There was a person of colour in the troop. We came across this girl and noticed her bounty of seventeen dollars which we thought was quite a lot for her seeing as she was an Indian so we resolved to kill her. She was killed in the struggle but handed her jacket all the same to create an entry to receive this money

And yet again dictating in my sleep but it was one on those things where the ones I was with would go and sort out some enemy checks or something like that so we set off in a car and drove. As we drove around the headland we saw the ruins of a castle across a bay that looked very close. We suddenly realised that we had gone within earshot of these particular people and so we’d better not say any more in case they overheard us.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I was at University last night waiting for morning classes to start and I’d been talking to Rosemary on the ‘phone and I said something like “why don’t you come up?”. When I finished I went back into the classroom and took my seat but suddenly Rosemary turned up. I had to go out to see her and talk to her. I sent her off to the cafeteria because our lecture was about to begin. Back in there the cat was on the windowsill so I went to stroke it. Someone said “that’s my cat” but I said that anyone could stroke it as far as I’m concerned. I found that someone else had taken my seat so I had to look for another empty one. Then I had to go through my timetable to find out what lessons I had for the rest of the week so I could go down when this one finished and talk to Rosemary. There were a couple of conversation lessons I couldn’t miss and one or two other things but there was still a fair amount of time so I had to sit down and think about making a plan that I could take to Rosemary in 40 minutes when this lecture finished.

beach rue ru nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After the medication and checking my mails and messages (and having a little relax too) I set off to go into town to do a little shopping. I need some mushrooms for the pizza tomorrow and also a baguette for my Saturday treat.

As usual, I went off to have a look at the beach to see what might have been going on down there today. And one look at what is supposed to be the beach will tell you that there wasn’t anything whatever going on down there right now.

And for an obvious reason too. The tide is right in today at probably its fullest extent and that’s put a stop to everything. You can see now how it’s possible for people to be cut off from the steps.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I was also looking out to sea to see what I could see.

Right out on the horizon in the Baie de Granville are a couple of yachts. At least, one of them is a yacht and I’m not quite sure what the other one is.

As you can see, it’s a beautiful day out there this morning but there’s plenty of haze around farther out and the Channel Islands are obscured which is a shame. I was hoping that we might have had a really good view of St Helier today.

And that reminds me – the ferry service is supposed to be starting up some time soon. I must make further enquiries.

cabin cruiser marker light baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022One thing that regular readers of this rubbish might recall is that a few days ago we say the marker on the rocks just off the headland here right out of the water.

Today of course, it’s a completely different story. You can see that it’s almost submerged and that will give you a really good idea of how high the tide is. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … we have some of the highest tides in Europe just here.

Of course, with the tide being as it is, the harbour gates will have been open for quite a while and that will account for the yachts, and also for the cabin cruiser that’s out there. At first I thought that it might be fishing but judging by its wake it’s in rather a hurry and presumably heading out to the Ile de Chausey.

pointe de grouin brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022The view out to sea might have been obscured by haze this morning but the view along the coast was one of the best that we have ever had.

Although I had to enhance this photograph quite considerably, it shows a really good view of the lighthouse at the Pointe de Grouin on the headland at the entrance to the bay on the Brittany side.

That’s of course where we spent our first night when we were out and about on the Spirit of Conrad in summer 2020.

It was here that I had a ‘phone call about the Demonstration at lunchtime so I abandoned my shopping trip and headed home for a shower and clean-up and to find some blue and yellow clothes.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On leaving the apartment I’m grabbed my ZOOM H8 to record whatever might be happening.

There wasn’t enough time to check the batteries – I use it on the mains here – and so it goes without saying that the batteries were flat. And so were the spare ones too.

But anyway the talk that we were given only lasted for a couple of minutes and that was that. I wandered around taking a few photos until everyone dispersed.

A couple of friends from the radio were here so we all went for a coffee and a chat.

On the way home I popped into Carrefour for the mushrooms and baguette and then crawled slowly (and it was slowly too because I wasn’t feeling too good after my bad night) back home where I had lunch.

This afternoon was pretty slow. Transcribing all of the dictaphone notes took an enormous amount of time and there was also at least an hour and a half when I crashed out completely, absolutely and definitely.

There was football too on the internet – Penybont v Caernarfon. Penybont hit the woodwork twice, had a stonewall penalty appeal turned down, had about 75% of the play and somehow managed to lose 3-0 in a match that they should have won at a canter.

Tea tonight was a couple of those small breaded quorn fillets with potatoes and veg and it was delicious.

This evening, something surprising has happened. Someone from Ottawa has contacted me and asked to be my “friend” on my social network.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I have plenty of family and friends in Ottawa. There are also plenty of people who have been with me on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR and of course a certain young lady who has accompanied me on several of my nocturnal voyages in the past.

Consequently I was intrigued to see who it might be and how I might know them.

It turns out that it’s someone who has found me “by accident” and wants me ” to always be open, honest and having free speech about everything, share your worries, your children and everything be that support group for me as I will for you, plan together, play together and treat me like I mean something to you, you don’t have to sugar coat anything, as adults, we can handle things. I expect you to treat me right, be truthful, and honest with me because I do believe in gospel truth and that is what I want. I want to feel true love and happiness with you and share everything with you based on love and understanding.”

She will apparently “climb the highest mountains just to be with the one i love”.

So while you are all reading this, I’ll be waiting for the message when she will ask me to send her the air fare so that she can come to join me.

Saturday 26th February 2022 – YOU HAVE ALL MISSED …

earth and tyres dumped by farmers at leclerc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… the excitement that took place through the night at quite a few of the supermarkets in Normandy overnight.

It seems that the local farmers had been to pay a visit, and had dropped off loads of earth, old tyres and other assorted stuff all over the entrances to the car parks so that no-one could enter.

The cashier at LeClerc with whom I spoke about the matter couldn’t tell me what was the object of the exercise, but French farmers don’t need an excuse to be militant . They can do it as a matter of course

tractors and lorry removing earth and tyres leclerc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Some of the obstructions had been moved by the time that I arrived, and when I was on the point of leaving they were removing the others.

One of the workers had seen me taking photographs and came over to talk to me. He wanted to make sure that I knew that they had nothing whatever to do with the depositing of the load and that they were private citizens clearing it up.

Of course, I had no idea that they were anything else, but as they went to great pains to point it out, I thought that it was only correct that I emphasise the point.

Another point that I ought to emphasise was that I didn’t have much sleep last night. Not at all.

It was about 11:30 when I went to bed and with the alarm set for 07:30 I was optimistic that I could have something of a reasonable sleep. However I set off on my first nocturnal ramble at 01:24 according to the dictaphone and I didn’t stop after that. I started off in the north of Québec on a big Harley Davidson. It was winter and snowing heavily, and the only way that I could keep warm was to have my hood up on my jacket right over my head with just a small gap for my face. For some unknown reason the hood came down. I was riding along this autoroute and I was freezing – i’d never been so cold. There was snow and ice everywhere. On one occasion I lost sight of myself and looking on further down the road I couldn’t see where I was on this motorbike. Eventually I managed to catch up with myself and I had my hood back on. I arrived at the place where I was going, somewhere round by Québec or somewhere like that

And later we were back in Québec again, in winter again and at school. Again it was one of those things where my hood came down and I started to freeze to death in the snowstorm without putting my hood back up. Eventually, later on I relocated everything and I could put my hood back up. Then I could go to find the Governor and talk to him about some kind fo reciprocal arrangement for me to leave.

Amazingly, I was back a third time in Québec working in a butcher’s or a food-packing plant where we were putting boxes of food away in freezers ready for distribution. For some reason, in order to move fast, I was on a pair of roller skates and I’ve no idea why that was or how likely it would be and I can’t remember anything more about this, although I do remember that I went back into this dream at a later point but while it was pretty much the same dream my way of moving about this warehouse was a considerable amount slower compared to how it was previously when I was on roller skates.

The dream about the woman in the Ukraine dressed up on the second trip was actually after the Ukraine one that where everyone was freezing cold on the second trip. That’s what I dictated anyway, and what it relates to I really don’t know. Should it be maybe something connected to my second trip to Québec and does the woman relate to the part that I forgot?

It makes me wonder what else I might have forgotten or failed to note when I’ve been out and about at night, and whose visits have I omitted to record.

There was a deer that was wild but somehow it had come into a place where there were lots of people. It started jumping up and knocked over a woman in a bright blue dress before stamping off through the town. This was something to do with me being at work. I’d been absent for a considerable period of time. When I came back I plonked myself in a corner. people were making remarks about me being stuck in a corner. I replied that I’d just sat here to keep out of the way. if it’s someone else’s desk they have to tell me and I’ll quite happily go and sit somewhere else. In the end someone said that it was his seat. I was sure that it wasn’t so I had to gather all of my things. With all of the stuff that I have, it takes much longer than for someone else. Eventually I found that I had almost everything in my arms and stuck into bags etc. They found a place for me on a chair with no table sitting by a wall near a radiator. At least there was a bit of a socket there. One of the girls, Anne-Marie or someone, came to talk to me. “No-one likes Morales”, they said. “You should see his car. It’s parked 15 feet in front of a parking space” etc. That’s just the kind of person whom he is.

While we’re on the subject that vampires come up into this (and what this relates to, I really don’t know). Alison and I suggested meeting Jackie at a town that we know that was decaying, crumbling down where some really depressing things look as if they have taken place. There was something else about whales in an aquarium tank that I can’t remember at all

Finally, I was at some kind of meeting last night. There was some kind of talk being given and later on everyone went for lunch. When we came back out I was looking for a seat because someone had taken mine. There were these 4 statues right at the very front of the room. I patted one on the head and it said “hello” and started to talk to me. I realised that it was one of these pre-programmed things and the reply was based on what you said to it. I asked it all kinds of strange questions and was giving me some reasonably coherent answers, so much so that I was surprised. I was having quite a lot of attention from various people, my conversation with this statue. It turned out that the voice inside it was that of a girl and she came from the Soviet Union somewhere. I had quite an interesting chat with this pre-programmed robot statue thing.

So no TOTGA, Castor or Zero yet again, but having an interesting and exciting chat with a statue is something new. It sounds just about how my real life is these days. If I were to have a statue in here, having an interesting chat with it would make quite a change to talking to myself.

So after the medication I had a shower and then headed off to the shops.

All they had at Noz that interested me was some Italian alcohol-free beer so I bought a couple of packs of that and I’ll try one with my pizza tomorrow.

100 percent veggie food with eggs noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022But what was interesting, for quite another reason, was the 100% veggie Schnitzel escalopes.

Having been caught out on a previous occasion by one of the 100% veggie products that they carried, I check the labels these days and sure enough, it contains eggs. So much for the 100% veggie.

But I thought that the “yellows of eggs from free-range hens in powder” was rather extraordinary. How can powered hens, free-range or otherwise, lay eggs?

At LeClerc’s, apart from forgetting the Vitamin C tablets yet again, I didn’t buy anything special. It was just a normal shop this week. Quite a change from last week.

tractor removing earth and tyres leclerc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As I was leaving the supermarket, the tractor that was helping to move the rubbish turned it.

At first, I saw the tyres so I thought that it was coming to drop some more rubbish off but then I saw that those tyres were stuck on the prongs

On the way home I was listening to some SIMPLE MINDS. It’s another one of these albums that always touches a nerve with me. There’s a time and a place for music like this in my life and unfortunately, it always comes round on the playlist at the wrong.

“Somewhere there is someone who can see what I can see”. Yes, and for three whole days (and nights) too.

Back here I had a coffee and a slice of my really delicious coffee cake, and then I transcribed the dictaphone notes, which you read earlier.

After lunch there was football on the internet – Y Drenewydd v Connah’s Quay Nomads. The Nomads won 2-0 but I’m not going to comment on the match for fear of being charged with bringing the Welsh Premier League into disrepute.

What I can say is that if Chris Hughes, the manager of Y Drenewydd knew Jim Finks, the manager of the New Orleans Saints back in the late 80s, he would be repeating his comments “We’re not allowed to comment on the lousy officiating”

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022On that note, it’s probably best that I go out for my afternoon walk.

And as usual I wandered off across the carpark to see what was happening down there on the beach. And I don’t know if the young girl down there is the same one who was down there yesterday but the wellingtons certainly looked familiar.

In fact there were plenty of people down there this afternoon. We’re supposed to be having the carnival but that has been cancelled. Nevertheless I imagine that many people had made arrangements to come here and they are here to make the best of it.

cabin cruiser fishing baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And as usual I also had a good look around out at sea while I was here.

The yellow buoy that we saw yesterday was still out there but I was more interested in the cabin cruiser that was right out in the bay.

By the looks of things it’s a fishing party that’s out there – a rod and line fishing party, I mean. There weren’t any trawlers out there this afternoon. When I went past the port earlier this morning they were all moored up at the quayside.

They must be having a day off today.

sea pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that one of the things that feature regularly in these pages is the water out in the bay.

We’ve seen a few good examples just yesterday of these variegated layers of water and yesterday we even saw quite a clear demarcation line where two currents had met.

But today, just offshore, we had another really good example of what I mean. There’s no physical demarcation but the colours are quite distinct.

On a completely different subject, there was a girl walking along the cliff edge filming herself and talking on the phone. I was inclined to go over to her to tell her to be careful. After all, I don’t want to be a witness at yet another inquest but she stopped her call as I approached and walked off.

She must have heard all about me from someone else.

yacht ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There was something else that was moving about right out in the bay off the Ile de Chausey so I went to stand on my bunker for a better look.

As I thought, it was a yacht returning to port after, presumably a sail out to the island. Not that I’m surprised because it was a gorgeous day. Quite sunny and just enough wind to move boats around out at sea but not enough to disturb those of us up here on the headland.

The sails were quite distinctive but it isn’t a yacht that I recognise. There were several seagulls keeping her company too so I hope that the crew had their headgear. The seagulls around here have an accuracy that puts Bomber Command to shame.

couple bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022The weather was so nice that I was expecting to see crods of people out and about around the car park.

The lower path that goes round the base of the cliff was crowded today and we even had a pair of lovers right out on the headland at the bench by the cabanon vauban and it looked as if they were having a good time.

And so was I, actually. It was nice to be out there in the sun without too much wind to blow me around off my perch. And so I headed off around the corner to the other side of the headland.

yachts le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel there were a several other people out there taking advantage of the good weather.

There were several yachts wandering around in the bay but these two particularly caught my eye and I waited until they were lined up perfectly with Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour.

Over there in the background there were several people walking around on the beach at the side of the road that runs between St Pair sur Mer and Jullouville. They were taking advantage of the nice weather too.

tiberiade la roc a la mauve 3 courrier des iles yacht chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Meanwhile, in the chantier naval it looks as if most of the people connected with the activity down there were having the weekend off too.

As far as I could see, there was just one person down there, working on La Roc A La Mauve III. But by looking around on the ground underneath Courrier des Iles you can tell that they’ve been sanding down her paintwork.

Back here I had a few things to do, such as unpack the shopping and put it away. And I actually found one of the burgers that I especially like.

Consequently, for tea I had a burger on a bap with potatoes and veg. Plenty of mustard and garlic mayonnaise.

So having done everything that needs doing, I’m going to change the bedding. I had a good scrub this morning and I’m feeling quite clean (for a change) so I’m going to make the most of it.

Wednesday 19th January 2022 – DAY TWO …

… of my enforced isolation passed quite uneventfully today.

And I’m glad that I decided to stay in because the news in the local rag was quite discouraging. 60 pupils of “a local High School” (and they didn’t say which one, but there is one just across the car park from here) who went on a ski trip last week have all come back testing positive for Covid.

Consequently, when I do decide to go back out to reconnect with the real world, it will be in the evening after everyone else has gone to bed, as I did 2 years ago at the start of the pandemic.

And going back out might be sooner than I imagine because I’ve felt much better today and if I can keep up the improvement, I might even return to normal by the end of next week, but that’s some long hope, isn’t it?

After going to bed last night just after 20:30, I was awake again at 04:40 and spend the next few hours drifting in and out of sleep until the alarm went off at 07:30.

After the medication I came back in here to gather my wits a little and make a start of some work, but I’ve no idea why, after all of the sleep that I had during the night, I dozed off to sleep again.

By breakfast-time I was awake again, and after my coffee and cake (and if I’m not careful I’ll run out of Christmas cake by the weekend) I slowly tried to wind myself up to do some work. And as it happened I made a start on the sencond run-through of some of the radio interviews.

But only a start. I’d rather not dwell too much on all of that. I was definitely not feeling myself today.

One thing that surprised me was that I remembered to ring up the physiotherapist to say that I won’t be coming today. I’ve no idea what it is that I’ve caught but I’m sure that they don’t want it.

As the afternoon wore on, I gradually pulled myself round, and I’m feeling better than I was this time yesterday – although that’s not saying very much at all. Mind you, I did realise round about 16:00 that I hadn’t had any lunch. I must be ill if I’m off my food.

Mustn’t forget the dictaphone either. Tons of stuff on there. It really must have been a disturbed night last night. We started off by me being given custody of a baby that a girl had had and of which I was the father so I had to collect her from school. We knew that this girl was unstable so we set a kind of trap in this hotel room where I was staying, me and three other people because we were sure that she’d try to come in. Sure enough a man appeared at the hotel at about 02:00. He hid inside a cardboard box and gradually inched it across forward into the hotel lift, went up to the 11th floor, left the lift and came back downstairs to the 10th floor. He burst into my room, but it was in fact the girl. She found one of the people sleeping on the floor but the other one stayed hidden under the bed and didn’t move out. She started to become violent so we were violent back so she just stood there and let us be violent to her. It didn’t seem to affect her in the slightest. We were hitting her with chains but she was just standing there. We were wondering how on earth we were going to get this girl organised. We couldn’t set fire to her clothes because the hotel smoke alarm would go off etc. The more we hit her, the more she just stood there and took it so in the end we were very close to giving it up as a bad job

There was a hot air balloon called “The Olga” that was to take off. There were people around there taking photos. I was taking some. Someone asked of there had been any other photos taken in the past. I didn’t have any. The balloon inflated and set off. Suddenly I remembered that I did have a photo of a balloon called “Olga” so I went to have a look. Sure enough, there it was but it was a different balloon in a totally different situation so it was clearly not the correct balloon which was disappointing.

I was also with someone last night but I can’t remember who. We ended up back in Gainsborough Road. I went in with this other person whose father came from Crewe but she came from Abergele. We went in, and my mother was there with some other woman. Se was doing her bes salesman role explaining about my house, everything. It really did look nice the way that it had all been finished off. In the end she said to me “why don’t you take this woman upstairs and so her around?”. I had to point out that first of all I had no idea what we were doing there anyway when there were tenants in there, to show this woman around upstairs, but I went upstairs. There was a kid asleep in the small bedroom and stuff all over the floor. There was another kid sitting on a bed in another room. I noticed that my fitted wardrobes had been demolished. There was a man in the bathroom so I explained the bathroom to the lady and told her about the central heating, so on. We went downstairs and Joanie and Malcolm turned up with their new baby. She’d brought lots of jars of coffee, stuff like that and I wondered what the hell was going on in my house, people just walking in like this even though there were tenants living in there who obviously can’t have been very impressed.

There was some kind of dispute in Portsmouth about rerouting a bus route. It had taken up 2 parking spaces and led to a confrontation. They were saying that there was no other way to reroute these buses but there was in fact a road but where the bus would end up stopping was by a place frequented by a couple of gangs so the bus company didn’t want to stop there. I happened to be down in Portsmouth at the time, in a vehicle with a trailer on it. When we came to the bank that the buses would have to drive up – it was a dirt track – we couldn’t get the vehicle with its trailer up there. We uncoupled the trailer and drove the vehicle up, then we pushed the trailer up. But one of the guys was standing there looking at me while I was pushing this trailer and not lending a hand at all. We coupled up the vehicle and drove off down this dirt track. At the end was a fuel station so we stopped for fuel. I was with Nerina by this time. She was pointing out some beautiful parts of the town that she could see. I said “it’s not like that at all, really. There are a few nice bits but the rest of it is just mundane”. She replied “you could come here and have your hospital treatment if you like”. I told her that I was happy with Leuven. She saw some other buildings that looked nice but I said that they were industrial ones. We had to go to see someone. We were on our way to him. It seemed to me that she was doing everything she could to slow down our arrival there. he had a couple of daughters who were also concerned in what we were doing. She said “we can see them after 20:00, can’t we, on our way home? And these other people we have to see, we can see them later too”. I had a feeling that the rate we were going on meant that we would never ever get to see anyone. It was just dragging on and on and on, this journey.

Finally, I’d been in Spain. I had been in France and I was flying down to Spain but somehow I’d ended up with a car to hire. A black Alfa Romeo saloon. In it I had all my affairs, everything. When I parked it in this street I was busy doing something and when I looked round, the car had gone. I had a look around but couldn’t see it anywhere. eventually I found a public telephone box by a Formula 1 hotel so I phoned the police. I dialled 11 (as in 112) but someone immediately answered. It was a private person and she couldn’t help me at all. A guy standing nearby who had heard what I waid told me that the number for the police was 22 so I dialled them and explained as best as I could what had happened. They left me hanging on the line for ages and ages and ages. A policeman at his desk nearby wondered what I was doing so I explained it to him. He said there’s nothing much we can do, is there? If the car’s gone, it’s gone”. I said “yes, but no-one has even taken the registration number, the details, my details, all this kind of thing. I thought that at least someone would have come down and taken the information”.

Tea tonight was pasta and veg in a vegan cheese sauce. I fancied something light that would fill me and would be easy to digest. And now I’m preparing myself to go to bed.

But before I do, I saw a video about the snowfall that they have just had in Ottawa, so I sent a message to my family and friends who live there.

But of course there is one person there to whom I would like to send a message to see if she’s OK but it’s probably not good idea to go raking around in the ashes of a fire that was extinguished rather dramatically all that time ago. But as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m a big believer in the sixth sense and so if I send the message via the power of thought backed by sufficient force of character. I’m convinced that she’ll receive it.

Keep the faith!

Wednesday 5th January 2022 – REGULAR READERS …

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a lorry taking away the material that had been used in resurfacing the Rue St Michel.

At the time I said that if I remembered, I would go that way down to the doctor’s to have a look at what kind of job they have done of it.

Anyway, this will teach me to post vituperative comments about things like the quality of the road surfacing that they do, because while I’ve seen better surfaces finished than this, it’s not actually too bad.

They seem tp have been somewhat confused with the curves in a few places, but considering that this is the 21st and not the 15th Century, I don’t suppose that they have the skill that they used to have.

rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Mind you, I don’t think that they have quite finished.

A little lower down in the Rue Cambernon they are still in something of a temporary situation as they carry on laying the electric cables in the street.

When they finish the cable-laying, they might relay the pavé to the same standard as in the Rue St Michel, but what is actually making me wonder right now is what kind of electric cables they are laying, and for what purpose?

The hope is that we might finally be having fibree-optic cable, some 25 years after we had it in Belgium and 4 years since they started to install it here, but I’m not that optimistic about that. This is the kind of work that can go on for ever.

lorry trailer minidigger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But they obviously have some kind of plans for something, because the lorry, its trailer and the mini-digger were back this morning.

Not unloaded though, so I’ve no idea what was happening. But they haven’t apparently finished quite yet.

But never mind the pavé. After today, I’m pretty much finished. I’ve had another really bad day where I seem to have fallen deep into the pit and been paralysed by inaction. That’s not doing me any good at all.

It’s a shame really, because although I didn’t end up going to bed as early as I would have liked, I was optimistic that I would have as good a sleep as I had last night. But it wasn’t to be. Nothing like, in fact.

There were a few travels during the night and once more, I was blessed with pleasant company. I started off with a girl last night, a young girl. It could have been Percy Penguin, it could have been Castor, one of those two. But I was in the Navy when I met this girl and I was going to take her home so we set out and drove and ended up behind a convoy of farm carts pulled by a tractor. We couldn’t go past it because the roads were narrow and it was too slow. The rear cart was just bumping around hitting just about everything so I couldn’t get too close to that. Then it disappeared somewhere so we could carry on. Then we had to climb over loads and loads of brambles and rocks down this well overgrown path to reach my house. In the end I had to go first and trample down as much as I could and help her over. She was standing on my clothes so I couldn’t move and that was where we ended up. And I wish that I knew which one of my female companions it was.

Some time later, Zero and I went off together in a car to Blackpool. She did a few things on her own and so did I, and then we did a few things together before coming home. It was quite late now as we drove home, which was my old family home in Vine Tree Avenue. When we went into the house I hoped that the two of us would have some time to be alone together but her parents were still up, which was surprising. It was Christmas morning so they had started to celebrate rather early. Surprisingly they said nothing whatever about anything.

Later still I was at the hospital last night and I’d had a booster injection, then I had an appointment with someone. But the booster injection didn’t show up on my passport so I went to see someone at reception. There was already one person being served, then there was me, then a girl came up behind. Thea someone came and started to talk to this third girl so I shouted “hello” quite loudly making it clear that it was me next. I explained the situation to this receptionist and she replied in English that it takes a day or two to come through. That’s why when someone comes to the hospital asking for a pill for the temporary effects they always take a note of their name and number

There was more to it than this but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you any inconvenience. But nevertheless, Zero and either Percy Penguin or Castor all on the same night. My luck really was in for a change.

But talking of people who I met on my travels a long way from home, we haven’t seen anything of The Vanilla Queen for a couple of years. I wonder how she’s doing.

Leaving the bed was agony this morning, and I didn’t have long to hang around before I had to nip off to the doctor’s.

christmas lights place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It came to my mind while I was on my way out that I hadn’t seen the Christmas decorations in the Place Cambernon yet this year.

On my way to the Rue St Michel I went that way for a look as it was still just about dark enough to appreciate them. But they were nothing special. Just the same old stuff that they have every year.

So I took my photograph to add to my collection that one day when I’m feeling better (whenever that might be) and pushed on down the road towards the Rue St Michel, chatting with one of my neighbours whom I encountered on my way down.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022We have a visitor in the harbout too today.

We can tell that this is Normandy Trader by the little raised deck behind the bridge. She’s come in on the morning tide for what I believe to be the first trip of the year, and is busy loading up.

And that might explain the lorry with the building materials that was doing a U-turn in the chantier naval yesterday.

At the doctor’s, he renewed my physiotherapy and my Aranesp prescriptions, and delighted on showing his student doctor a photo of THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR and telling her all about my voyages.

He mentioned the radio too. I hadn’t realised that I was such a celebrity!

But he also mentioned something else. Apparently he’s had some kind of sneak preview of the report that the cardiologist will present to me next week. There’s something somewhere in my body that I’m supposed to have 50 units of, but which some people might have as many as 250. I have 2246.

No idea what it is though. Craig thinks that it’s the size of my spirit, but I reckon that it’s the number or people whom I p*ss*d off last year. anyway, I’ll find out soon enough.

Next stop was the bank. I’d had my cheque for the last 3 months of my Belgian pension so I needed to pay it in. It also had my Christmas bonus too, so aren’t I the lucky one? And now I can go off and paint the town red with that extra €32:00.

moving apartment post office place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But I didn’t let it lie fallow for long.

There are bills that need to be paid so I headed off to the Post Office to post off a cheque. And there was an interesting removal job going on from the apartment up above.

They could do with a couple of these lifts that are quite common in Belgium. That will be a much more convenient machine that the pallet truck that they are using.

Next stop was the chemist’s to give them my prescription. She’ll have to order them of course, and I can pick them up again later in the afternoon.

normandy trader leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way home we had even more excitement.

Having seen Normandy Trader loading up on our way down into town, we were lucky enough to catch her stern as she sailed off out of the harbour back to St Helier. That’s what I call a quick turn-round.

Back here, the first job was to book my trip to Leuven next week. And that’s not as easy as it might be either.

Covid (would you believe more than 330,000 new cases of infection today?) has decimated the railway network and the trains are not running as they usually would

With the choice of either sitting at Paris Gare du Nord for almost 3 hours or making an early start, I’ve gone for the early start option and I’m on the … gulp … 06:55 to Caen and then to St Lazare in Paris, the reverse of the trip that I took a couple of months ago.

This means that I actually arrive in Brussels at 13:00 but I need to visit my bank there at some point, so this seems like the perfect opportunity. Do it on Wednesday early afternoon while I can.

That took longer than it ought to have done, but nevertheless there was time to start to edit a sound file of an interview before lunch.

After lunch I sat down to carry on with this editing but this is where I ran aground. And seriously too. I need to snap out of this. And it’s not even anything to do with the news that I had at the doctor’s either.

And with the travelling companions that I had during the night, I ought to have a smile on my face and a spriing in my step for the rest of the day

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However not even the thought that Percy Penguin, Castor and Zero might be waiting outside for me made going out at 16:00 to pick up my Aranest any easier.

But once I was out, I was out, and first port of call was the beach to see what was happening down there. And there were a couple of people down there this afternoon.

One person was walking around along the water’s edge, but I have no idea whatever what the other person was supposed to be doing. It looked quite unhealthy to me.

There were a few other people walking around in the distance too but they were too far away for me to see what they were doing.

trawler jersey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The air was extremely clear this afternoon – one of the clearest days that we have had for a while.

As usual I had a good look around to see what was happening out in the bay, and in the distance right out towards Jersey I could see a couple of fishing boats.

And they looked as if they were heading for home too. The tide might be well out right now but by the time that they arrive in the vicinity it will be quite a way in and they’ll be able to come into harbour without too long of a wait.

There were several other boats further out towards Jersey but I couldn’t tell from this photo which way they were heading.

baie de Granville st helier jersey Eric Hall photo January 2022But you probably noticed how clear the air was in the previous photos.

The buildings at St Helier were quite visible with the naked eye even though they are 58 kilometres away.

And that reminds me that I must go over there one of these days to have a look to see which buildings are which. I’ve had a virtual drive-round with an internet program but that’s no substitute for going for a real walk around the town itself.

Talking about going for a walk around the town, I ended up at the chemist’s to pick up my Aranesp and then walked back up the hill towards home, with no drama whatsoever.

It’s still not as easy as it used to be but a lot better than it was in the summer. I’m not sure whether it’s the physiotherapy, the Aranesp or the heart medication that’s doing it.

peche à pied port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back, I did stop for a moment.

But not for a question of breath, but for a photo opportunity. There were some people out there having a go at the peche à pied. But if I were going to be having a go at it, I wouldn’t be at it at the entrance to the harbour where several dozen boats pass right over the top four times a day.

Back here I had a coffee, but that was that. I’d really run aground by now. So much so that I couldn’t even think of what to have for my evening meal. In a total state of indecision and confusion I ended up with a curry from out of the freezer.

It beats me where this depression has sprung from, but I know that regardless I need to pull myself together and drag myself out of it. I have far too much to do than to waste my time sitting around feeling sorry for myself.

Part of it is the inactivity, with all of this time slipping away without going anywhere or doing anything. But then, I’m not fit enough to go anywhere anyway and even if I could travel, I’d be far too tired and exhausted to do it satisfactorily and to profit from it.

So i’ve no idea what the answer might be. But whatever it is, an endless circuit of physiotherapy and shopping broken by a trip every month to Leuven isn’t it. And with Covid running rampant at the moment almost everywhere, it won’t be anything else.

332,252 cases of Covid in one day is a disgrace.

Saturday 1st January 2022 – HAPPY NEW YEAR

Here’s hoping that 2022 will be a far better year than 2021. Although today’s figure of almost 220,000 infections seems to suggest that the worst is yet to come.

people pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It’s this kind of thing that’s responsible for the incredible rate of increase in infections.

Having seen the swarms of people at the station 2 weeks ago ready to bring the virus out to the provinces and the seaside resorts, seeing people congregating like this without any kind of facemask or protection whatever will spread it like widfire.

The figures of infections and the rising numbers of deaths is well in the public domain and I really don’t know what it will take for people to grasp the seriousness of the situation.

But I console myself with the idea that if they don’t want to wear a mask, then nature will take care of them, as it usually does.

It didn’t take much care of me last night though.

It was about 03:00 when I finally went to bed. And it was about the first year since I don’t know when when I haven’t been out for a prowl around the town at midnight. I’m really not “with it” at all right now.

11:00 was a pretty good time to raise myself from the dead on a Bank Holiday despite the fact that I had been awake on numerous occasions during the night. That much is evident by the amount of voyages that I undertook during the night. I started off at a rugby match at a girls’ school and there were loads of girls there, like a couple whom I know from here and there and there was one who immediately sprang to my mind. They were playing rugby against another school. I had some of them sitting beside me and the rest were out on the field, swapping over now and again as you do. The one in particular who was in a really nice cape to keep warm who really caught my eye about all this.

And later we were back again for the third time (what happened to the second time?) with these girls and all my favourite girls were they. Saying that what an effective fighting force they would make and they would worry most men if they started getting going

Later still I was in Leclerc again shopping and all of the girls from somewhere that I couldn’t decipher were walking down the corridor behind where all of the tills are. So fancy meeting them again, and I wish that I could work out where they were from!

Meanwhile TOTGA was having problems and her car was being repossessed, a dark blue Austin 1100 and so were her other cars, including the Vanden Plas Princes that I used to own (which I still do in real life of course). She was distraught. We’d been to a dance of some sort, a group of us. There had been a flare somewhere so she and everyone else dashed out to their cars to go to help out at this fire. She ended up with her car on fire but she was still driving. An ambulance had taken a short cut, come out of a side road into the main road and hit her. It wasn’t badly damaged so the ambulance sped on its way but TOTGA ended up going to the wrong house and fighting the wrong fire. Later on we were all in a night club and she wanted to plug in some electric but all the plugs were wrong. In the end she brought an adaptor. She said that other people had used this adaptor to plug whatever it was into the mains but it was totally the wrong type. She said that what they did was to hold it against the contacts in the wall. I tried that but I had blue sparks and shocks everywhere so she agreed that it wasn’t a good idea. However it fused all of the power in the power circuit, not the light circuit. The disco ground to a halt so I thought that we had better go as this will cause a load of problems in a moment. We went outside and she came out a little later carrying a fuel can that was on fire. I shouted “put it down! Put it down!” which eventually she did. She came over and got into her car, this blue 1100. Just as we were about to set off she noticed that coming round the corner was a boy she knew from school. “Oh God! Should I tell him that this car is restored? Shall I tell him … what shall I tell him?”. Just then I let out the clutch and hit the kerb with the car. I thought “Oh God! It’s not my day either, is it?”. Then we drove off.

We eventually ended up in a night club. There was a group of us there with Jools Holland on saxophone and flute etc. I was playing the bass, piano and guitar. However, by now I was with Castor. We were playing the same music and she was full of despair about something. I was trying my best to cheer her up. Then we had to go on the stage – Duke Ellington announced us. It was an old blues number. Sometimes we played it in a contemporary fashion, sometimes we didn’t and I couldn’t remember what kind of fashion we were going to play it in tonight –

We were back on the orphanage (whichever orphanage we were in before, wherever it was) and one of the girls got up to sing and play a musical instrument, the one with glasses. She’d been all wired up to the electricity somehow and cables everywhere but the computer completely spoiled her voice. I was there with Castor. She was very upset about something but I can’t remember. Then the entertainment started. It was another girl singing, again all wired up to the mains and so on. She wasn’t much good and I was thinking “Castor should really be up there singing with all of these”.

Later still I was on my way to Canada on holiday with someone and I had to stop and pick up some money. I pulled up at the bank that I knew. It was just 09:00 and it was opening but there would be a delay as the time lock doesn’t open until 09:10 to take the money out of the safe, which was quite surprising but that’s Canada for you. So I went in. It was a little Asian girl whom I know and she was telling me all about the stresses and strains she was under. I took her in my arms and gave her a hug. We had a bit of a chat and everything but then I had to prepare to leave. There was lots more to this but I can’t remember it because I awoke in the middle of it but it was one of these dreams that I wished would go on for ever.

Next morning it was New Year’s Day and prize-making time so we sent four girls, one of whom was the blonde-haired girl whom I happened to like quite a lot to get the prize ready and everything organised. While I was watching her, one or two of them came up to me for a chat but I can’t remember anything more now about this.

Yes, it was certainly interesting last night. Stepping out of dreams and back into them later, appearances by both TOTGA and Castor, what else would I need? Apart from Kate Bush and Jenny Agutter of course. I just wish that last night could have gone on for ever.

But using the ZOOM H1 while I’m asleep is … errr … challenging, and the recoding quality of the built-in microphone is appalling. I had to make a considerable amount of editing before I could even hear what I had dictated and it took me almost all of the day.

Brunch was very appetising, with my potato fritters, baked beans and vegan sausage followed by toast and mushroom paté with buckets full of hot black coffee. I really enjoyed that today.

There was a pause from my exertions with the dictaphone for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The first place to visit is of course the beach to see what’s happening there.

Although there won’t be very mcuh beach at all, given the state of the tide, I was still expecting to see hordes of people down there today, given what we had seen over the last couple of days.

But I was to be disappointed. It was really quite quiet down there. In fact I couldn’t actually see anyone down there today, which was a great surprise. Not even anyone going up and down the steps to the Rue du Nord.

buoy baie de granville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was looking down onto the beach I was also keeping an eye out in the bay to see what was happening there.

There wasn’t a boat of any description at all down there, but there was something out there that attracted my attention. It’s a yellow buoy of the type which we have seen before and relates, I think, to the yacht club over at Coudeville-Plage. But what it signifies I have no idea at all.

No-one on the beach or on the sea, but there were crowds wandering around mask-less on the path around the headland. So I set off to join them on my way down to the lighthouse at the end of the headland.

yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022So apart from all of the people down there at the end of the headland, what else was going on out there?

No fishing boats this afternoon because they are all still on holiday, but we did have a couple of yachts and what looks like a couple of zodiacs swanning around in the bay. When I was crossing over the car park on my way to the end of the headland I noticed them.

So there are some people out there who are making the most of the nice afternoon. I watched them for a minute or so and then carried on with my walk across the car park to the end of the path.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Earlier on with my notes I mentioned the hordes of people standing on the rocks by the bench at the cabanon vauban.

When I first saw them I wondered what it was that they were watching that had attracted their attention. When I had a good look, I couldn’t see anything particular but I did notice the beautiful sunset.

It was making a nice glossy streak of light all the way across the bay towards where I was standing. It was the kind of view that we see quite often at this time of year and it’s still quite magical even though we have seen it on several occasions.

And leaving it there to set even lower I carried on along the path on the other side of the headland towards home and my hot coffee.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Down at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, Joly France was moored up at the ferry terminal.

She’s the older one of the two, without the step in the stern. The other one is moored up with Belle France and Chausiaise in the inner harbour.

There were plenty of people walking around over there on the harbour wall too this afternoon and again, from what I can see, there were no facemasks over there either. I wonder what I’ll do when I find people wearing facemasks … “Find something else to moan about, I shouldn’t wonder” – ed.

sunset baie de mont st michel cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back home I had a look over my shoulder to see what was happening behind me.

Although the sunset streaming through the clouds was nothing like as impressive as it has been just recently, it was illuminating the Brittany coast and in particular the town of Cancale like something out of a film set.

Back at the apartment I had the coffee that was waiting for me, along with a mince pie (I still have a couple left) and then carried on with my dictaphone notes.

Tea tonight was another Christmas dinner with all kinds of steamed veg, roast potatoes and seitan slices. And so tomorrow there will be more leeks and sprouts to freeze, although where I’m going to put them is something else completely. There isn’t even half an inch of room.

But that’s for tomorrow. Right now, late as it is, I’m off to bed. It’s Sunday tomorrow so I can have yet another lie in.

Monday 27th December 2021 – REGULAR READERS …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now we are in the Lap of the Gods.

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

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

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

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

Thursday 25th November 2021 – I MIGHT HAVE BEEN …

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… rather hasty when I posted my rather vituperative comments the other day about the state of the road surface in the Rue St Michel.

As I walked past this afternoon on my way to the Post Office I can see that the workmen have come back.

While I watched, they were digging up the surface of the road down to a depth of about 30 centimetres, and they had some rather heavy professional equipment to move the soil, as you can see.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens next down there

workmen's equipment place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021However I can tell you what is happening next on the public car park outside my building.

Aapart from the equipment and material parked down at the far end, there’s a lorry with a skip and the dumper that you saw in the previous photo is bringing the soil to dump into it.

In fact it was the rather frequent passage of the dumper and its load up and down the street here this afternoon that actually drew my attention to the fact that there was work going on somewhere in the vicinity and I ought to be tracking it down.

At least it will give me something to do rather than to wade through mountains of sleep yet again because I had another miserable night. You can tell that my the amount and distance of the voyages on which I travelled.

We were living in London last night and a lad there was living in a house as a lodger. We suddenly found out that his landlady was someone really evil, in the style of Dracula or something so we rushed round there, made our way into his or her room. All of a sudden the woman appeared at the window and was making all kinds of uncomfortable gestures. The guy with me shooed her away and we played cards or something. Later, she came back and started to assemble a scaffolding at the front of the house. We chased her away again. The 3rd time we sent the dog out but it really didn’t do much so this guy went out with the dog, and the dog put an end to this woman. We carried on playing our game, a board game with this person although we were all very reluctant to sit by the window again in case this woman appeared even though the dog had finished her off

Later on there was something about trains being converted from diesel to electric power and running on electric lines in rural locations but I can’t remember that now. It’s all gone right out of my head.

There was a spaceship that landed on some ice. We went to see this spaceship and went on board. We were just about to go to bed when we heard a noise outside. We saw one of the people who had originally been on this boat and had somehow managed to escape. They were busy putting the leg of their boat or whatever back into position after they had moved it out of the way so that they could leave. We anticipated that there was going to be some kind of concert and right as this concert started under way I can’t remember any more about this
They had to start by untangling these jeeps and air passengers and so on, making a place on the stage for me to sing and where I could record but my voice seems to have gone down an octave and I couldn’t sing the parole as high as I used to
Later on I was on some kind of seaplane and it put us down somewhere in the far North of Canada on the sea. As we started to try to clamber off I looked out of the window and saw one girl whom I knew redirecting traffic and so on
“I fell asleep here” – ed
So I didn’t know then what was happening because I fell asleep again. Stopped wondering about what was going on, and then there was the missing one about being on board that seaplane that I added at a later date – and that really makes sense, doesn’t it?
There was a big party taking place and loads of people whom I knew where there. They were all doing exciting things. My German friend, for example, was cycling up a wall. Everyone was going around trying to find a friend, partner or something like that. I knew that nothing was ever going to happen to me. Who should turn up but a long-departed friend of mine. We had a little chat but because of my health issues the idea that I would have a partner was out of the window. We started talking, a couple of us there, and suddenly she burst into tears. I asked her what was the matter and eventually it was when we said that we can’t go on like this. I said “I can’t remember saying it”. She replied “you did, several weeks ago”. I thought that she meant that I’d said it today. Anyway, I tried to explain to her about my health problems, that I had other preoccupations at the moment but it was quite difficult for me to talk as she was in such a condition

Finally, Castor and Pollux put in a brief cameo appearance and it’s been a long time since they’ve done that, isn’t it? There was something about a major airport, it might have been Luton, that was having to close down because two big budget flight companies had collapsed so now the airport wasn’t having the custom that it had. Of course, whatever business we has was going to affect that very much. I said that Travel Agency was going to be the thing to get into because people like Castor and Pollux who were growing up are not going to be very happy sitting on a coach now for 10 days. They’ll be much more interested in sitting on a beach. Whoever it was with me was saying “that will change in the future”. I mentioned “we aren’t talking about the future at the moment, we’re talking about the way things are right now.

Once more I was wide-awake long before the alarm went off, although you might not think so reading all these notes, but even so it took me an age to tear myself out of bed.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I transcribed my masses of dictaphone notes and then set about dealing with these interview sound files. I ended up with two distinct interviews, and two for the price of one is always good value, even if it did take me until tea time, although with plenty of interruptions.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Not the least of the interruptions today was for the bread.

And isn’t this a magnificent-looking loaf? It’s certainly one of the best that I have ever made and when I tried it for lunch with my salad it tasted just as good as it looked.

This one was definitely a success and if I can produce loaves like this all the time I’ll be really happy.

It probably has something to do with the amount of time that I spent kneading it and shaping it. That probably contributed quite a lot to the success.

Something else that has taken up a lot of my time just recently has been a pile of correspondence that I have received today. An enormous box of papers has come to light relating to my maternal grandfather (who died in 1951) and his side of the family. No-one knew that they existed until recently.

Someone is currently scanning everything and sending them out in dribs and drabs. I’ve jhad a few loads just recently and another batch turned up today.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my maternal grandmother was a well-known Vaudeville and Music-Hall singer in Canada in the early post-World-War I era.

It turns out that my maternal grandfather was an accomplished piano player and singer, and taught at a private boarding school, Denstone College, near Rocester (and that, incidentally, explains why my grandmother died in the hospital in Stafford). Later on, he had a road haulage business in Wisbech.

The letters are fascinating stuff, in particular his castigation of his younger brother for having abandoned his own business when he became ill, totally and utterly ignoring the fact that he himself had abandoned his own two children to strangers when his wife was taken ill.

In fact, when the south-east of England was evacuated in World-War II he wouldn’t even take his own children into his safe house in Wisbech and they were cared for instead by his younger brother.

But anyway, I digress. But at least I now know why the members of my mother’s side of the family are nothing but a bunch of thespians.

There was tile this afternoon to write the two incendiary (not that it will do me much good but it makes me feel better) letters that I should have written and posted yesterday.

On the way down to the Post Office I had a call to make. We have several projects on the go for the radio right now, one of which concerns the Carnaval here, and not too far away from here lives a woman who is a costumier who makes the outfits for the carnivalers.

My task for today was to persuade her to be interviewed for the radio and after a chat of about 15 minutes she agreed. We’ll have to organise a date in the near future.

jade 3 victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way down into town, passing the Rue St Michel, I ended up at the viewpoint overlooking the port.

We have a trawler – Jade III – over there parked stern-on to the quayside. There’s a van parked next to it and a couple of guts working on untangling a fishing net. They are going to have hours of fun playing around with all of that.

Also over there are the two sad, sorry-looking Channel Island ferries, the blue and white Victor Hugo and behind her, the newer Granville. I wonder if we’ll ever see them resuming their sailings. It’s not looking very optimistic right now.

christmas decorations place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down in the town centre I posted off the two letters that I had written and then looked across at the Christmas decorations on the Place Général de Gaulle

There’s a cherry-picker down there this afternoon so it looks as if they are installing the Christmas lights. And I hope that they will be different from last year’s. I couldn’t ever understand why towns don’t meet up and swap decorations every year so that we have different ones all the time.

As for what’s going on round by Santa, we can’t see anything because of all the forest. It looks as if Birnam Wood has finally made it to Dunsinane after all.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way back home I stopped for a gander at the inner harbour.

It looks as if one of the Jersey freighters has slipped in without me knowing it because a lot of the freight that was on there last time we looked has now disappeared

But not to worry. There’s still a large pile of stuff accumulating on the quayside. It looks as if it’s all going non-stop at the moment and that will keep the little freighters busy. It’s good news for the port too as we are struggling somewhat now that the big gravel boats have stopped coming.

man fishing from beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way back home I remembered to go and have a look at the beach this afternoon.

Only one person down there this afternoon. he looked as if he was a fisherman but I couldn’t see whether or not he had a rod with him. He was however striding out into the water with some great purpose.

Back here I made myself a coffee and carried on with my reading 70 and 80-year old letters and editing the sound files for my radio intervals.

Tea was veggie balls and pasta tonight. I have mountains of those and they need to be eaten so I’m doing my best to polish them off. At this rate, I reckon that they’ll finish me off before I finish them.

Bedtime now, and tomorrow I have yet more work to do – not for me either but someone’s bunged a translating job on me at the last moment.

There are also these sound files to send off for some gap-filling, a pile of questions for a bunch of elves, some shopping to do (as I’m at a weekend Welsh School this coming weekend) and several other things before I even start to think about my own work.

There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 27th October 2021 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

… today that I haven’t done for many months.

And that is that I walked all the way from here to the physiotherapist’s by the railway station in one go without once stopping for breath. And it’s been a long, long time since I’ve done that, hasn’t it?

Mind you, the last couple of hundred yards were a killer but I was determined to keep on going and I made it in the end, staggering into the surgery on my last legs.

But one thing that I didn’t do was to take any photos today. Bane of Britain went out to the physiotherapist’s without checking the battery in the camera so it goes without saying that it was flat, wasn’t it?

“Never mind” I thought to myself. “I’ll take them with the camera on the phone on the may home”. However in the physiotherapist’s was one of my neighbours and when he finished, he waited for me and offered me a lift home.

Usually I don’t take lifts back home because I have to push myself onwards as best as I can and if I stop making an effort, I’ll never ever start again. But he had wasted 15 minutes of his time waiting for me so I couldn’t politely refuse.

Anyway, last night I went to bed at about 23:15 and had a really deep sleep, all the way through to … errr … 02:40. And at 04:50 I was still awake, regrettably. What a dreadful night.

However, at some point I must have gone back to sleep because I awoke, bolt-upright as if a bomb had gone off somewhere, about 10 minutes before the alarm was due to go off.

When the alarm finally did sound, it was a real effort to heave myself out of bed and as you might expect, I felt dreadful. After the medication it took quite a while to recover my senses, which is quite a surprise seeing how few that I have these days.

Once I’d gathered my strength I spent most of the morning playing with my new toy – a 12-channel ZOOM H8 portable mixer-recorder.

It’s much more complicated than my two-channel ZOOM H1 but I’m fed up of having to make do with equipment that isn’t up to what I’m trying to do. The little Zoom is fine for my own radio programmes but not for going out and about to meet people and interview them.

There was an interruption in the middle of all of this for one of my mega-chats with Rosemary who rang me up just as I was about to eat breakfast. And my fruit buns really are delicious.

During the night I was being a detective investigating someone about something. I’d been to his house and met him although of course I didn’t say why I was there. A little later I met a girl and I was around at the house where she lived. I noticed that on the wall was a photo of one of this guy’s flatmates. There was a group of us talking but everyone slowly drifted away until she was on her own. I drew her attention to the photo and told her that if ever she saw me in that house she wasn’t to let on at all that she knew me. Then a group of people came in. One of them was this girl’s boyfriend. They were discussing what they were going to do that night. They asked her and she replied that she was thinking of going out. This guy said “you aren’t going out with Eric, are you?”. She didn’t answer the question. Much as I would have liked to have asked her out, obviously with what appeared to be her boyfriend and a few mates there it wasn’t something that I was going to do at that particular moment although I was keen to know what she was doing in that house with that other guy whose photo she had and what was her connection with it all. I wanted to get her on her own and talk some more about it.

At another point I was working in a Government Office. A file came on my desk for someone who was described as a teacher and railwayman. I had a look and there was a big gap in his employment history so I was searching through some papers in his file and found that he was describing himself as a mandolin player with the Eurythmics. I thought “this sounds really interesting. I shall have to follow this up”.

After lunch I went for a shower and then spent some time sorting out my photos from when I was in Leuven the other day. It’s high time that I organised myself and caught up with the arrears of all of this outstanding stuff.

A little earlier I mentioned the Physiotherapist. I had a few kinetic exercises and then a spell on the rotating platform thing – the first time for ages. And I was glad to have a lift home as I was aching just about everywhere.

Back here I had a coffee and then did some more stuff for my project. This is taking an age and i’m not receiving anything like as much help as I expected or was hoping.

For tea tonight I attacked the European Burger Mountain in my fridge, with some pasta and vegetables. It’s all good stuff.

Strangely enough, after my dreadful night I didn’t crash out today so I must be improving somewhat, I think. But I’m taking no chances. I was just about to go to bed when onto the playlist came Man singing GRASSHOPPER from the album RHINOS WINOS AND LUNATICS.
“Now that night has taken time into its keeping
And thrown it in my face
We just lie here in the darkness counting seconds
And pack them in your case
I have given everything I had to give you
I’d give it all again
But I think the time has come for you to leave me
Tonight has been the last we will have”

“Night has a way of getting colder
Morning has come and I can’t hold her anymore
She will go today”

The lyrics remind me of a night a couple of years ago in the Canadian High Arctic and a certain young lady of my acquaintance. And those lyrics are exactly how it was, an evening that will never ever come again and one of these days I’ll actually write up the journal entry for that couple of days that are missing.

But that’s going to be quite a task as I don’t really even know and still haven’t worked out what actually happened that night.

What a thing to go to bed on, hey? I foretell another bad night.

Sunday 17th October 2021 – I WAS ONLY …

ile de chausey yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021… half-right about last night.

While you admire a couple of photos of maritime activity today, I can tell you all about it

It was almost 03:00 (in fact 02:50) when I finally fell into bed this morning but as for the “sleep through until tomorrow afternoon” bit, I was wide awake at 09:25.

There was no possibility of going back to sleep either and by 10:00 I was up and about and taking my medication.

Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone from overnight. I was with a friend from school and his sister, a girl on whom I had quite a crush at school and who has appeared in my nocturnal rambles on a few memorable occasions in the past. There was something going on about jeans that was happening or had happened in Shavington and she hadn’t seen us. I said that if I’d known that it was going to be in Shavington I’d have been there to see her (but I didn’t add those last three words on when I spoke to her). The conversation rolled on from there and she started to measure me for jeans. She couldn’t understand what was going on with my lower legs so she rolled up my trousers and saw my elasticated stockings and bandages and all the other kinds of paraphernalia and burst into tears. I took her into my arms to console her and said ‘you can understand why it is that I have said that I have had to give up so much of my activities just recently because of all this but don’t worry. I’m still here” – some consoling words like that. But that was a situation that I found extremely touching and I wish that things like that would have happened to me in real life instead of all of the fighting with which I had to contend back in those days. Some emotion expressed to my benefit would have been a wonderful thing for me, but I must stop trying to look backwards because that ship sailed a long, long time ago.

There was a girl called Marie Uriah, whoever she was when she was at home, if she ever was. I thought that something had happened to her as she was being treated by the doctors. When the doctors’ surgery split up her case was retained here for some unknown reason. She was a girl rather similar to Castor by the way. In the meantime we were=we were tidying out the garage. We’d had three cars in there. We’d been using one and then another then instead of the second we decided to use the 3rd and then the 2nd instead of the first. That meant swapping a load of stuff around. We’d been house-decorating and rebuilding it. We had tons of cheap plastic and copper piping so I was sorting that ut and putting it into the eaves of the garage. Nerina came home and asked what we were doing so I explained it to her. At first she couldn’t see why I was keeping all of this stuff but when we explained that we were going to need this for future she seemed to agree with it. We had a chat about things that we were planning to do so she said that she wanted to see this and this and this, and she wanted to see the file on this Marie Uriah and her National Insurance number. Another night sweat.

There was something to do with ice-skating rinks last night and I’d been asked to give evidence. Someone asked me in how many cases I’d given evidence to which I replied “probably 70-odd”. They asked why I considered myself to be an expert so I replied that I didn’t but everyone else did. There was much more to it than this but I just can’t remember now.

boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021With it being a Sunday I had a very quiet morning, not doing very much at all except vegetating.

After all, the journey home yesterday takes a lot out of me I had to recover my strength after my exertions, although that new route that I tried wasn’t half as exerting as the regular route.

Later on though, I finally galvanised myself into action and paired off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow.

And while I’m on the subject, I need to have a look round and see what Christmas songs I have for my programme that will be broadcast on Christmas Day

After lunch I had a pile of photos to sort through from my trip to Leuven. These are all now edited and when I transcribe the piles of dictaphone notes that accumulated, I’ll go back and edit the relevant entries.

No sooner do I catch up one lot of outstanding stuff, I fall behind with another. What upset everything was of course my having to go to the hospital on Thursday morning.

When I went to take out some dough for this evening’s pizza, I discovered that there wasn’t any. I must have used up the last lot last Sunday. As a consequence I had to prepare another batch and it didn’t turn out too badly.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021It’s been a long time since I’ve been out for a walk around the headland, what with being off on my travels, so I was keen to be out there again.

There wasn’t very much beach out there this afternoon. The tide is well in right now, as I discovered as I peered over the wall.

There were plenty of people down there as well taking advantage of what beach there was, and even some of them brave enough to go out into the water up to their waists. Braver people than I am, I have to say. You wouldn’t catch me in there quite like that.

yachts baie de granville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021It was a really nice afternoon out there, considering that it’s mid-October.

Quite sunny, not too much wind at all, the kind of weather that brings the people out in their hordes. And even out on the water too, as you have already seen. A couple of yachts, a couple of speedboats, a cabin cruiser or two. The bay was full of them.

And people over there on the beach by the airfield as well enjoying themselves in the sun, although I’m not sure about the tractors out there disturbing the peace.

film camera crew lorries place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021On the car park, the workmen’s compound that was there has long-gone but it seems that we now have other activity there.

Part of the car park has been cordoned off with a couple of rows of cones, and in that section, there are several lorries and trailers that are parked there.

There were the usual “no waiting” notices scattered about, and so I went for a closer look. Apparently that area is reserved for “film crews making a film”. It looks as if once again, the town is going to be the scene of another cinematographic epic.

It’s happening quite regularly these days.

fishermen in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Fighting my way through the masses this afternoon I headed off down the path towards the lighthouse.

As well as all of the other boats that we have seen already, there was a zodiac a way out offshore with a group of people therein.

Enlarging the photo when I returned home, I could see that they were fishermen having a go at whatever they would catch which, while I was watching, wasn’t anything at all.

There was on aerial activity this afternoon. Not even one Birdman of Alcatraz, so I wandered off around the end of the headland.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down the path and across the car park, I came to the very end of the headland.

Down at the bench near the cabanon vauban there was quite a crowd and I thought to myself that if they all intend to sit on the bench, they must be very close friends. But the perch of the guy on the extreme right looked rather precarious to mr.

It was here that I was buttonholed by a passer-by who asked me if it is possible to see the Mont St Michel from here.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we can see the hotels on the mainland from down by the bench, but not the Mont St Michel itself because the Pointe de Carolles is in the way.

yachts les epiettes chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021It’s been a long time since I’ve had a good look in the chantier naval so I was keen to see how things were developing.

My trip down the path on the south side of the headland brought me to the viewpoint overlooking the yard where I was disappointed to see that there was no change in there from before I went away.

The big yacht is still in there, as is the little Government boat Les Epiettes. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have seen a couple of trawlers in there as well? I’m missing the overcrowding in the yard.

la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Not very much happening over at the ferry terminal this afternoon, but there was something happening over at the Fish Processing Plant.

Just pulling away from the wharf over there was La Grande Ancre with quite a load of shellfish boxes on board, so it looks as if she’s off to try her hand herself at bringing a pile of shellfish back home.

Talking of “back home”, I wasn’t going to hang about too long. I could do with going back home and having a nice, hot mug of coffee. It might be warm out here this afternoon, but a mug of hot coffee is always welcome.

philcathane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Passing the inner harbour, I looked down to see what was happening in the inner harbour.

To my surprise, the dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie is no longer in there, and neither are the tubes that were floating about on the water. It’s all been happening while I’ve been away, hasn’t it?

Back here, I made myself a coffee and came in here to sit down for a few minutes. And later on I made a start at unpacking my suitcase from my trip. That was a good idea that was, taking the larger suitcase.

Later on, I went to assemble my pizza.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021No fresh mushrooms unfortunately so I had to make do with tinned ones. I’d drained them earlier and while the oven was heating up, I put them in the oven to dry out.

As for the pizza itself, it really was delicious. Not the best that I have ever made but it was certainly pretty good.

Now that I’ve written my notes, I’m going to have a quiet relax for a while and then go to bed. I’m up early in the morning because I have a radio programme to prepare and I need to be on form for that.

And I mustn’t forget – there’s shopping to do tomorrow when I finish or there will be nothing to go on my butties at lunchtime.