Tag Archives: anne-marie hanevy

Monday 28th March 2022 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what it is with me but having had the news a few weeks ago that Kaatje, my “support worker” (really, my psychiatrist) at Castle Anthrax, is leaving her post at the end of the month, I had the news that Sonia my physiotherapist has decided to leave her post too

It seems to me that they are all sussing me out sooner or later.

Whoever is going to replace Kaatje remains to be seen but I bet that at the physiotherapist’s, they have some retired Bulgarian weightlifter lined up to take over. That is usually about par for the course, isn’t it?

repointing wall rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, in other news, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been keeping an eye on the repairs to the medieval walls, of which there are several miles thereof about the town.

One of the things that they did was to replace the brick capping on top of part of the walls and then leave it unpointed for all of the damp, humidity and frost, whatever else you like to infiltrate.

Anyway, today, they had a bricklaying class out there and to my surprise, they have made a start on repointing the brickwork that they did ever so long ago.

Not that they made much progress this afternoon, so I imagine that they’ll be back over the course of the next few days to complete the task.

scaffolding rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Something else that I mentioned the other day was the scaffolding that they have built over the Rampe du Monte à Regret.

As I was going down the hill I noticed that it was still there so I took a photo of it just for the record. It looks as if it’s going to be there for a few more days yet as they were busy moving the scaffolding around to different parts of the wall.

But anyway, be that as it may, I actually managed to haul myself out of bed just after the alarm went off at 06:00, which surprised me more than it surprised anyone else.

And after the medication, I made a start on the radio programme that I wanted to prepare today.

No records today though, because I was actually working on two at once. Having written the notes for the programme over the last week, I wrote them for the next one this morning and then dictated both one after the other.

There were several interruptions too – for the coffee and for breakfast, and also for the nurse who came round to inject me with my Aranesp ready to go off on my travels.

That prompted me to telephone the doctor for an appointment as I now have run out. That’s for Wednesday morning at 09:30.

Nevertheless, I’ve only prepared the one though. I’ll nibble away at the other here and there over the course of the forthcoming week and see where I end up.

When I finished the programme, I had a listen to it and also to the two that I’m sending off today. Yes. That’s right. I’m not here next week so I need to make sure that my programme will run next week without me.

During the three hours that it took for me to listen to the three programmes I attacked the photos from the High Arctic in 2019. I shifted a good pile of them too and now I’m just arriving at the abandoned RCMP post at Dundas Harbour on Devon island in the Canadian high Arctic.

During a pause here and there, I went and had a shower to clean myself up. I have to look my best for my physiotherapy.

After lunch I carried on with my photos while I listened to the radio programmes and then headed off out.

classe decouverte calean, spartiate, trafalgar, chant de sirenes, black pearl, charlevy fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was going on.

There was plenty of excitement there too this afternoon. All of the trawlers are coming in to unload and I can identify Calean, with Spartiate behind her. Then a couple of unidentified fishing boats with the blue, white and pink Trafalgar behind her.

Just coming in alongside the others is Chant de Sirenes with Black Pearl behind her, and then Charlevy just entering the harbour to the right.

Also on the quayside are several groups of school children.

One of the things that is quite common here in France is what they call the Classe Découverte – the “Discovery Class”.

They take groups of kids away from their natural environment and put them in another one for a week or so in order that they can experience life elsewhere. So what we probably have here is a bunch or two of kids from some inner city schools somewhere who are staying in the Youth Hostel in the town to find out about life in a fishing port.

And with all of the work going on down there with the seafood being unloaded into the vans, they will be learning a lot today.

And I learnt a lot on the way down into the town today. There is a series of steps that I use to test the force in my right knee and I found to my surprise that I could actually haul myself up them today. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do that.

la grande ancre swimming pool freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down in the harbour it looks as if we are going to be having one of the Jersey freighters in port very soon.

One of them has the contract for transporting the swimming pools out to the Channel Islands and with them being expensive items, they won’t want them to be lying around on the quayside for too long.

At least it won’t be going off on board la Grande Ancre. She won’t be taking them but the fact that she’s there in the loading bay means that they will be loading something onto her.

Down into the town I went and then up the hill on my way to the physiotherapists. And the walk wasn’t all that difficult today. Over the last week or so, things seem to have improved from that point of view and I don’t know why.

roofing rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Halfway up the hill I did come to a halt. But not for a breather.

They have been ripping the roof off this building here and they are currently in the process of replacing the woodwork. They certainly seem to have picked the right weather for it at the moment.

At the physiotherapist’s she had me on the couch with her electro-massage thing, followed by five minutes on the cross trainer and then a few exercises. And she showed me an exercise that I can do at home.

After she threw me out I staggered (and it was a stagger too) up the hill and round the corner to Lidl for a few supplies. But to my surprise, they don’t sell baked beans at Lidl and I fancied sausage, beans and chips for tea.

scaffolding on crane new building rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back I went past the building work that’s going on at the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo.

They had the Rue Victor Hugo closed off and they were unloading some scaffolding into the bucket that’s attached to the hook of the crane so I loitered around planning to watch them hoist it up.

When they had finished, they lifted it about a foot off the ground and then they all knocked off for a tea break, which seemed to be a rather strange thing to do.

Dodging yet another classe découverte I ended up in the town centre and picked up a few tins of baked beans from Carrefour. Can’t do without my baked beans.

On the way up the hill I bumped into one of my neighbours coming down, so we had a good chat for a while. I’m not usually the sociable type, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but I have to make an effort seeing as I live amongst them.

person in sea beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went back into the apartment I went to see what was happening down on the beach.

Not too many people down there today with it being a school day, but even so one of our intrepid adventurers had taken to the water. So hats off to him today.

Back in here I had a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone. I started off in Russia. I’d been collecting photos of steam trains and I had a couple of books to identify them. There were hundreds abandoned all over the place that I had photographed. But then the Russian authorities – something had happened and they didn’t want me to take any more photos. They made me sit on a bench in a station to wait for a train back home. The train was going to be in ever so many hours and hours’ time. all I had to do to thumb through were these photos and the couple of books that I had. Somehow something had happened and I ended up in some kind of industrial town in Northern England with terraced houses. The kids there were playing a game in the street. Even then, this was being gradually subsumed into this Russia thing where the kids were having to hang around in the street for hours and hours and amuse themselves which is difficult when you are bored, until something happens. It was very much the same scenario as me being in Russia

And then I was at work again. I’d set out to go to work fairly early but I’d gone off to do something else on the way. I arrived just before 10:00 and put my things on my desk and went into the assembly. When we all came out and went to sit at our desks there was a discussion going on about food and bread. Someone had been overcharged for his lunch sandwich etc. I already had my lunch sandwich for today but I had one for Friday which I was going to have for my breakfast because I hadn’t had breakfast yet. A girl with whom I used to work came over and said that someone saw me out at Peruwelz this morning on my way into work and wanted to know why I didn’t arrive until 10:00. We had a chat but I didn’t actually tell her the reason and I was intrigued to know who it was who had seen me. I was in a car a little later. I was driving and she was with me. We were going down this road that I don’t recognise and through a couple of speed limits. We wee chatting about nothing in particular.

I forgot to mention that somewhere in all of this I’d bought a black Rolls-Royce for £3500, a runner apparently. I had to go to pick it up at some point but I had nowhere to leave it. If it was a runner I could park it in the street or even park it in the place outside my building but I don’t know.

Regrettably, but not unexpectedly, I crashed out later. And for an hour too. Having made 90% of my daily activity today with having had a good session on the cross trainer, that’s enough to finish me off for today.

For tea, I fancied sausage beans and chips but one look at the sausages in the fridge told me that it wouldn’t be sausages that I’d be eating today. Instead, I had a burger with my beans and chips and, as I suspected, the beans from Carrefour were appalling. Not even pepper, grated cheese and rosemary could improve the taste.

So now that I’ve written my notes I’ll have half an hour on the guitar and then go to bed. I’ve had a busy day today and I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow. 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.

Friday 17th December 2021 – THAT WAS HORRIBLE

Thy injected me with some kind of radioactive material, and then added a tracer to it. This material stimulated my heart and it becan to beat quite rapidly.

And while all of this was going on that had all kinds of leads attached to me monitoring my stress levels.

After about 20 minutes of this, they put me in a waiting room for half an hour and then fed me through one of these Stargate time-tunnel things for 10 minutes.

Having done that, they then threw me out saying that “we’ll be in touch”.

They didn’t actually throw me out of the hospital though. I only made it as far as the corridor where I had to sit for a while and gather my strength

And I bet that I’ll be glowing in the dark for a few weeks after all of this.

Considering that I had to leave my bed at 06:15, I thought that all of this was rather excessive.

At least the walk to the hospital was rather easier seeing as I didn’t have anything to carry. But it was a strange walk up there in the thick fog that was hanging around everywhere. And even though it was extremely cold I was sweating like a pig. I seem to be pretty hot stuff these days.

On the way home I called at the Origin’O health food shop for some vegan sausages and some seitan slices, and then to the Delhaize for some more banana drink.

This afternoon I alternated between fighting off sleep and choosing the music for the next series of radio programmes. I’m doing my best to get well ahead, for obvious reasons.

There was the disctaphone too. There had been all kinds of adventures taking place on the final day of our trip on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR when a couple of cruise ships docked at the same place and everyone went ashore to wait for the tide to sail out for their big ships home. We were having all kinds of games in the snow and everything but I can’t remember anything about them now

Later on I was getting ready to go on my holidays and wanted to borrow a roof rack for Caliburn. I noticed that last year I borrowed on and it turned out that I’d borrowed it from Anne-Marie so I telephoned her to see if it was available but it wasn’t now because she was married and it was on the roof of her husband’s car. Ahh well, fair enough. We had a little chat and apparently she was having Monday off work and they were going to look at a new house at Mount Pleasant in Winsford – not a new house but new to them. We had quite a little chat.

Tea tonight was a bag of chips from the fritkot across the road and some baked beans with a couple of the sausages, just for a change.

Now I’m going to do some packing and then go to bed. There’s an alarm call set for 05:00 because I’ll be on my way home.

Tuesday 9th June 2020 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… I actually beat the third alarm to my feet this morning.

hang glider pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallSo while you all admire the Birdman of Alcatraz who came to grief on the lawn at the Pointe du Roc this afternoon. I can tell you all about it.

Actually, I cheated. That’s because I went to bed earlier than usual – something round about 23:40 if I remember correctly.

But, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall because it’s happened a few times just recently, including once just the other day, I awoke at about 04:30 and couldn’t go back to sleep again.

hang glider pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBut then, there’s a reason for that too.

Last night I’d been on numerous voyages, starting off walking through the hospital into the downstairs part of the waiting room where the haematology patients went, where there was a small swimming pool. The weather was really rough, raining and storming and there was even storming in that swimming pool. There was a dead body of a man with longish black hair and moustache, white shirt and beige trousers floating in it. He was clearly dead so I had to get hold of a telephone and telephone the police but I couldn’t get through so I telephoned the switchboard. They wanted to know exactly where I was but I couldn’t get out the words properly. In the meantime other people started to come into the area where there was this swimming pool. No-one else noticed this body except me so I was wondering whether I was really seeing it or whether I was having hallucinations.

hang glider pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBut having complained the other night about the lack of congenial company on my nocturnal rambles, I was joined last night by a girl with whom I used to work who could accompany me anywhere, as she did on one occasion skiing in Bulgaria and on another occasion skiing in Italy.. We were in the EU and I hadn’t long started and we were discussing all kinds of different things. How it started was that I’d gone into work on a Saturday. They asked me where I was going so I said “to such-and-such company”. Just at that moment this girl walked out of the door and I said “yes, where she works. Ohh yes she knows me and she’ll vouch for me, all this kind of thing” so they let me in. I went up the back but I couldn’t remember her room. I bumped into one of the directors and I’ll tell you his name in a minute, not Barros or Moratinos but a German guy (and not Heusgen either). I asked if he could point me in the direction of this girl’s office and he said “come with me” I asked him where she was so he took me downstairs onto the 5th floor and said “it’s just that office over there” and I thought “that’s the office that she used to be in before she moved up to the 8th floor – useless type”. Then I bumped into another girl and I was telling her about this. We ended up talking and this is where this other girl suddenly transformed herself into my friend again. We decided that we would go out for a walk. She started to run so I ran after her. We ran up some steps and down this fine gravel path. We were talking about work and how she had started. A lot of people had started but they wanted to get rid of some so they gave them all kinds of crappy work hoping that they would get fed up and leave pretty quickly. She said she stuck it out and I came a few months later. So off we went for a run. We were running for a bit. She said “are you comfortable running?” I said “well as long as it’s on the flat and the thing about Brussels is that it’s always on the flat, so yes, I’m comfortable running”. Se ran and did some strange exercises a bit like Castor would do strange exercises when she was running about. She ran a bit further on and slowed down for a walk. I slowed down to a walk and rather tentatively put my arm round her. She said “I’m going to go over there” pointing to somewhere off the path amongst a couple of trees. It was dark by this time. I said “shall I come with you?” She said “yes” and went off. She had some kind of coconut matting blanket and put it down on the floor and sat down. I sat down with her.

And there you are – the bird on my plate, just about to get my fork stuck in it, and I flaming well awoke!

It’s always the case, isn’t it? You could bet your mortgage on it.

But obviously my subconscious is telling me something. And I wish that I knew what it was.

Anyway, I didn’t leave the bed at that point (well, I did, actually. I went for a ride on the porcelain horse). I did all that I could to go back to sleep and step back in to where I left off, but to no avail.

Actually, I did go back to sleep, but I’ve no idea where I went – if anywhere at all.

Mind you, as I explained, I did haul myself out of bed before the third alarm and went and had my medication.

After transcribing the dictaphone notes, I had a few things to do. First was do hunt down a couple of digital copies of albums. I’d been provided with a couple of clues as to where I might find them, and this was indeed correct.

So that’s two more from the “outstanding” pile now added to the collection. And now that I’ve acquired a tape player (thanks, Liz) there will be a few more very soon.

Next stop was to prepare for my Welsh lesson. That involved not just reviewing my notes from last week and examining those for this week, but also tidying the kitchen end of the apartment.

That’s the big issue with video conferencing. I don’t want people to see the disorder in which I live.

And that reminds me – there was a headline in one of today’s digital newspapers about “the clue to alien life maybe found in dust”. If that’s the case, there must be loads of spacemen and Tory politicians sharing this apartment with me.

After my lesson it was time for lunch. And I do have to say that while there is plenty of room for improvement with my bread, this loaf is what I would call a success and I’m impressed with it.

It they keep on coming out like this I shan’t complain too much at all.

After lunch I had work to do.

Despite having already done one radio project this week, I wanted to do another. And by the time that I came to knocking off at 18:00, I’d chosen the music, combined the music in pairs and written half the notes.

So that’s the task for tomorrow I reckon – finish that lot off and if there is any time left, do my tax return and so some of my music course.

Really though, I could have made more time available by doing more today but I … errr … had a little relax for a short while.

trawlers buoy english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallBut never mind, there was still the afternoon walk to undertake, even if I didn’t feel much like it after my slumber.

The sea was heaving today with all kinds of traffic out there. mainly fishing boats of course, because it’s during the week and many people are now back at work with no time for pleasure-boating.

It was difficult to count how many fishing boats were out there today but here’s a couple as an appetiser.

people on beach pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd it wasn’t just on the water that there were people either.

Although our photos of our birdman don’t show it, there were dozens of people loitering around the Pointe du Roc, and even down on the beach we had people walking around, studiously obeying the injunction not to “install oneself” on the beach.

The only surprise about this was that even though it was a nice day and the tide was quite a way out, there were so few people down there this afternoon.

air sea rescue helicopter pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWe saw our Birdman of Alcatraz just now. I didn’t actually see him come to grief but he sailed past me at a very low altitude and when I went around the corner he was already on the ground trying to take off again.

What was so amusing was that just a few seconds after he had become unstuck – or, rather, stuck – the Air-Sea Rescue helicopter came roaring past. It made me think that it had come by to rescue him from his plight.

But there was no need because he eventually managed to take to the air again – and without flapping his arms either.

fishing boats pleasure boats chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd so I carried on with my perambulations around the Pointe and along the walkway at the top ofthe cliff.

From there I could see down into the chantier navale and there’s been a change of occupant today. There’s a small fishing boat now appeared on the left-hand side of the row of boats.

Having made a note I wandered back to my apartment to carry on with my work. This kind of thing doesn’t get done on its own and there’s no-one else here to do it for me. HIS NIBS isn’t that well trained as yet.

Knocking off at 18:00 I had a session on the guitars. And the time on the base was spent playing along to Jimi Hendrix’s “Red House” and “Foxy Lady” – numbers that I used to play when I was in a rock group in the 1970s.

Of course, “Foxy Lady” – the name as well as the lyrics – has a much more recent significance, as regular readers of this rubbish who followed my antics in the High Arctic last summer will recall and it certainly ignited a flame that had been doused for quite a while.

For the fist time for a week, I had a hot meal this evening. A handful of pasta and a vegan burger – one of those that was running out of date.

So two meals today, for the first time for a while. I’m getting over this illness which is good news. It comes in cycles, so they say, which I suppose is better than coming on the bus.

And that reminds me of the sperm bank that opened in London a good while ago which was a total failure. They only had two potential donors but one of them missed the tube and the other one came in a taxi.

speedboat rocks english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallOn that rather sad note, I suppose that I’d better call it a day and go for my evening walk.

Outside here down below, the tide is now in,, and we had a speedboat with several people on board who seem to have more than just a passing interest in the rocks just there.

It goes without saying that I’ve no idea why, and it wasn’t possible to ask them either. I just shrugged my shoulders and set off on my run.

zodiac fishing english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWith no-one hurling gratuitous abuse this evening I ran all the way up the road to my resting point at the end of the hedge – a little easier than last week – and then stopped for breath.

Having recovered, I ran down in a blistering headwind past the itinerant who was comfortably installed in his little spec, down to the clifftop to see what was going on.

And it’s pretty easy to guess what these people in this zodiac are doing here. The rod and lines are quite a giveaway. At least – they look like rod and lines from here but you can never be sure.

trawlers baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallA little earlier I mentioned about all of the fishing boats out on the sea this afternoon.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we’ve seen the fishing boats starting to exploit new and (as far as I am aware) previously unexploited areas of the oceans. The Baie de Mont St Michel tonight was crowded with fishing boats yet again and there are three of them in this photo.

There were probably nine down there in all, hard at it this evening as far as I could see

la grande ancre port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy run carried on along the top of the cliff past the chantier navale and down to my next resting point.

Unfortunately, it seems that I was just a couple of minutes too late. It looks as if the harbour gates have just opened and a whole line of fishing boats was streaming into the inner harbour, led by our old friend La Grande Ancre, although it doesn’t look like fish that she has on board right now.

And there’s a lorry down by the loading bay for the Jersey freighters. Is he delivering more stuff? Or taking stuff away?

trawlers fishing boats granville manche normandy france eric hallOf course, what goes in must come out too.

And while there was a line of boats waiting to go into the harbour, there was an equally long line of boats waiting to go out. Here’s a group of three of the seven or eight that were waiting for the gates to open.

The small boat in the middle looks quite cute just there. And you can also see another three fishing boats working away down in the Baie de Mont St Michel

trawler with fishing gear baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallBut this was interesting and it took me somewhat by surprise.

This would seem to be one of the boats that has just left the harbour but if you look very closely he has his dredging plates out already, judging by the cable out at the back.

Not that I eat shellfish anyway – or any kind of fish for that matter, but if I did, I don’t know whether I’d be wanting to eat any shellfish off the sea bed right by the harbour entrance. Not with an endless stream of boats passing directly overhead.

trawlers fishing boats fish processing plant refrigerated lorry port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe next stage of my run took me all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury and 20 metres beyond my usual mark. Then I walked back to check on the port activities.

It’s clear that they are expecting a bumper haul of seafood tonight. Down there at the fish processing plant there are no fewer than 5 refrigerated lorries waiting to carry away the catch as well as a handful of smaller lorries and vans.

And the fishing boats are still coming in too. there are a couple of them here coming into the harbour to pull up at the quayside and unload

trawler sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallfrom there I ran on round to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord to see the lie of the land out there.

We had the sun obscured by clouds unfortunately, but there was a small gap in them right over some of the outlying islands of the Ile de Chausey and the effect was just as if they had been illuminated by a spotlight.

That fishing boat just creeping onto centre-stage was very picturesque too. I had to wait a few minutes for it to take up position but it does set off the image nicely.

picnicking on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThere’s only about an hour and a half before high tide but that’s not stopping our picnckers from partying tonight.

There were a couple of groups out there tonight and I was particularly impressed by the little group who have managed to lodge themselves onto a shelf halfway up the cliff. I’m not sure if that’s going to be out of the water in 90 minutes time.

Having finished my exertions I ran on back to the apartment to write up my notes. There’s plenty to do.

There’s plenty to do tomorrow too. I’m supposed to be retired but you would never think so, given all of the work that I have to do these days.

An early night would do me the world of good but then I’d just awaken at 04:30 so it really defeats the purpose.

Sunday 3rd May 2020 – IT’S A GOOD …

… job that it’s Sunday and a Day of Rest, otherwise this could have been a disaster today.

A Day of Rest and a lie-in is one thing, and all very well too, but 11:15 is probably something of an exaggeration.

Mind you, that’s hardly a surprise when I listened to the dictaphone because during the night I’d put in a whole load of miles.

I’d started off with this virus in full swing and I’d been on a ship. I’d been asked if I could perform with the guitar for some people somewhere in Spain so I agreed to do it. I came off the ship with the guitar right in the middle of this raging illness. People were asking about me and asking about it but I can’t remember now very much more about it than that.
But later I’d been to Manchester for a job interview. I had NMP, the MkV automatic. It was a strange job interview because the woman was speaking to me in French although her French was pretty dreadful. She said that it’s no good applying for this job if you haven’t had this driving test here. I said “oh no I actually haven’t had my driving test here”. She said “what are you wasting my time for when it’s so important that you have a British driving licence?” I said that I had one. “When you said ‘here’ I thought that you meant ‘here in this town or whatever'”. By now we had transformed into Stoke on Trent (I was getting confused) and so this interview went on and I came out and got into the car and set out to drive home. At a certain point the road narrowed from a wide two-lane road into two narrow-laned roads to go through some kind of barrier. There was a big concrete post in the way in between where the road narrowed off and I hadn’t noticed. I thought that it was two lanes so I went to go into the outside lane and push on and put my feet down and I came across this concrete bollard. I went up and over it and had to reverse off. I was sure that this have done quite a bit of damage but I carried on driving. I had to go round in a circle now to get to where I was going so when I got to where this concrete pillar was again I could see the block covered in oil and an oily patch where the car had stuck so I imagined that it had damaged the gearbox and broken a casing and there was oil leaking everywhere. The only thing to do was to try to get home. So I set out for home. I noticed that the speedo wasn’t working and one or two other things. I was having to go quicker than normal, driving past these bridges where there were these schoolboys going back to school and a load of teachers hanging around outside chatting.
Still in connection with this I was back driving with a girl with me this time. We’d stopped at some town or another for a break and a coffee. As we were getting back into the car we noticed a Ford Cortina that was parked behind us. It was a yellow tobacco-leaf coloured convertible and it had written on the back “white wedding”. Of course that immediately caused a bit of laughter and so I went to get the camera to take a photo of it but the car pulled off before I could do so. There was another car there – a Bentley of some description, a mini-Bentley type of thing. There was a man and woman in it and they were asking where to go. Someone said “go that way because the other way is far too touristy”. We got into our car and went to start it. I noticed that from one of the gear lever rubbers or somewhere like that there was a small flow of water coming out of it and going straight into my box of food. I had a look and thought that i’d better take the bonnet up but I didn’t want to take the bonnet up because I didn’t want to see the damage that had been caused when I went over that concrete bollard but I had to do it. I lifted up the bonnet and there was all steam coming everywhere out of the joints so the car was obviously extremely low in water. I thought that the next step before I got home was to fill it up with water.
In the meantime there was something going on with an electric cooker. It required a four-way cable so that had to be rewired. So I’d done that and so I was trying to find out how to plug it into the circuit because of course I had a four-way plug but there was no four-way socket anywhere that I could see. For some unknown reason this led to a discussion about ventilators and children in a particular area of South Wales – the deaths of children had gone up 80% overnight.
Anyway, I was on a train. Somehow on a train heading to the city of London on an Underground train. For some reason that I don’t understand I got off at Wandsworth, I’m not quite sure why. I realised that I didn’t really want to get off at Wandsworth – I wanted to carry on to the City, to Victoria. So I got back on the platform and one of these limited-stop express trains pulled in so I had to run, dragging my case behind me towards it. So I ran but I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. Terrible. I was running as fast as I could but I couldn’t seem to move. The train seemed to be further and further away. In the end the guard shouted “come on, come on” and I struggled to get there and just as I got there he closed the door but he opened it so I got on and then there was a woman with whom I’d been travelling with previously – it might have been someone I knew in Brussels, it could have been anyone. I sat down next to her and the train pulled out. After a few minutes I thought that it was getting remarkably rural for the City of London. I’d seen a few signs. We came to a hill and by this time we were driving on a road and came to a hill. I thought “God, this hill is familiar”. “I’ve been here in a dream” I said, “with Nerina. And she was on a bike and I was on a bike and the hill was so steep that Nerina got off and walked down the hill as I carried on cycling down and I cycled off and left her”. This girl said “naughty thing” and so I asked “are we heading out of the City?” She saud “yes, we’re just coming up to (somewhere, I can’t remember the name where there was a Motorway Service Area on the edge of the city)”. I said “God I’ve got on the wrong train, I’d better get off somehow”. There was a bit somewhere in this where we were on this road, a narrow road, and a whole fleet of orangey-red single-decker Duple coming towards us and our bus had to pull off on the wrong side of the road to let them pass. Anyway we all got off. There was another girl with us and we were walking. This girl I was with – she was talking about the things that she’d done and here in her house was a kind of tricycle she’d built out of a horse buggy. She was telling us about how the tyres had been moulded from a bread case, all that kind of thing. I made a remark that the rear end was a bit light as there was a front-end snowplough, don’t ask me why. She said “when Kevin Ayers was here he said something or other”. I thought “God, Kevin Ayers been here? Soft Machine? That’s incredible
Nerina was somewhere about in this too. We were walking down a street on a 1930s housing estate and she came up behind me with a small dog on a lead and we chatted about that.

It’s hardly a surprise that, with the late start and with a stop for breakfast, it was the middle of the afternoon when I finally finished doing my notes. And no wonder that I was in bed for so long too.

There was more than that too but as you are probably eating supper or something, I’ll spare you the gory details. But all that I can say is that why don’t I have exciting things like this happening to me during the day rather than to rely on some kind of vicarious pleasure.

There was time to digitalise an album though – another one that I did manually. This one was very, very straightforward now that i’ve worked out how to do it.

But it was an album that meant a great deal to me and took me back to 1975/76 when I used to hang around in Congleton so out came the acoustic bass and, to my surprise, after a couple of minutes, all of the old bass lines came back to me and I was well away for over 50 minutes doing that.

vegan lentil tofu bean pie place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallThe rest of the afternoon and evening was spent in culinary activities.

You can’t see the rice pudding that I made, but here you can see the lentil, tofu and bean pie that I made.

Yesterday I explained how I’d made the filling and I’d left it to marinade overnight. All of the liquid had been absorbed and it was stone cold – necessary when using it with pastry.

There’s enough there for at least 8 helpings, so that’s food one night per week for a couple of months sorted out. I’ll try a slice tomorrow with potato, vegetables and gravy.

gena pizza place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallSo that’s tomorrow night’s tea. What about tonight’s?

Here’s a vegan pizza, with the home-made base that I made from the pastry last week. There’s not enough pastry – I think that I’ll need four mugs of flour instead of three for three pizza bases, but the freezing worked fine.

It turned out rather biscuity because the base was so thin, but more flour for the next batch should see that right. It’s a learning curve and I will get better at it over time.

home made apple turnover loaf of bread place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallI won’t know about the final product here until tomorrow either.

With the leftover pastry from the pie I made an apple turnover that I will have for pudding tomorrow, and then I went for the pièce de résistance – the loaf of bread.

I gave it the skewer test and it seemed to be done well enough, although it’s another armour-plated crust. But I’ll slice some of it tomorrow and see how it tastes with my home-made hummus.

And while we’re on teh subject of home-made stuff … “well, one of us is” – ed … the orange and gignger cordial was delicious this morning.

moon place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallEventually I made it outside, long after my usual time for an evening walk.

The moon had risen quite well already and so even though I didn’t have my tripod, I took a photo of it to see how it would come out.

Not as sharp as it might have been with a tripod but it’s not too bad, I suppose. I would have been very happy with a photo like this two years ago but I’ve learnt a lot since then.

trawlers english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallMy first run was down the rue du Roc and up the other end. half of it is up a steep hill and it kills me to do it but I have to push on … “or push off” – ed.

There’s a pause while I recover my breath and then I run down to the clifftop. And out there tonight were four or five fishing boats.

And not in the usual place either, but much further across towards the Brittany coast and I’ve no idea why they should be so far out over there. They must be working on some new fishing grounds because we’ve seen them in a few different and unusual places just recently.

trawler baie de mont st michel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallThere’s another one over there too – right across the Baie de Mont St Michel not too far from Cancale.

In all the time that i’ve lived here I don’t recall having seen them over there either.

But never mind, I carried on with my run and provided a little light entertainment to three kids who were stakeboarding on the car park on the Boulevard Vaufleury.

Not exactly what I would call “social distancing” but never mind. That’s their problem, not mine.

lights port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn the top of the cliff by the chantier navale I stopped to recover my breath.

Nothing any different going on in there so I left them alone, but over at the ferry terminal (still no new pontoons as yet) the lights were on and reflecting in the wet silt of the tidal basin.

They looked quite beautiful so I took a photo of them. And then carried on with my run.

The fourth run is the longest, and getting longer too. I can now make as far as beyond the second pedestrian crossing which is impressive. and with nothing else happening anywhere else I did my final two and then came home.

Tomorrow I’ll have to clean up the kitchen because it’s a mess and I’m too tired to do anything about it. My battery has gone flat right now.

An early-ish night is called for and I hope that it’s going to be as exciting as last night’s adventures.

Monday 11th February 2019 – THAT WAS ONE …

… of the nicest cheese sauces that I have ever tasted, never mind ever made.

Tonight, everything went perfectly and my steamed vegetables with vegan sausages and vegan cheese sauce were totally delicious, and I’ll eat that again any day of the week.

Another bit of news is that ever since I came back from the Arctic I’ve been trying to make an appointment to see some people. They finally replied in mid-January to say that there were no appointments just now, and the same e-mail has come every two weeks.

But today, I’ve had a different mail sent by a different person, and this has an air of being somewhat more optimistic.

However, that is just about all of the good news today. The rest of it hasn’t been so good.

It all started to go wrong as early as 06:00 this morning.

This was another one of these days where even though the alarm went off, I took absolutely no notice whatsoever. I turned over and went straight back to sleep. Not out of willingness, I hasten to add, but simply because I couldn’t wake myself up.

07:45 was much more like it, and leaving my bed at 08:30 was even more interesting. It’s not my usual modus operandi for a weekday as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but after the miserable day yesterday when I missed my lie-in, I must have needed it.

I’d been on my travels too during the night. And surprisingly (or maybe not, because it’s the whole point of doing all of this) it was a continuation of a couple of voyages that I had been on several years ago. I was in Brussels working in an office and I’d gone home for lunch. I decided to have a salad but a “fried” salad. So I tossed a lettuce leaf into a frying pan and it singed up around the edges. The rest of the salad I tossed into another frying pan but it was one in which my younger sister had just fried an egg and she’d used lard or dripping to do that. I left my home to head back to work but found myself right outside the city with the high-rise towers away in the distance and I was wondering however I would reach work in time to restart. But there – that weird American company for which I once worked – I was chatting to a former colleague of mine (from another employment) who was terribly upset. She’d received a copy of a bill that someone had sent in, on which she had been described as a “barsteward” – and this offended her deeply. Meantime, there were a pile of magazines lying around in the office. They were entitled “The Flame of Islam”, and although that might sound an inflammatory title, it was actually a Christian publication. Not many people knew that, which probably explains why they looked so astonished when I suggested that we go out and sell them to passing motorists in our lunch breaks.

First thing that I noticed this morning was that I had the kind of thirst that you could photograph. I downed about a litre of my Vitamin B12 juice straight off.

After a rather late breakfast, I settled down to wait for my passport to arrive.

And waited

And waited

And waited.

Meanwhile, I tried to concentrate on the work that I needed to do – such as the photo database and backdating the blog.

After much binding in the marsh I made the blog back to 6th January 2019.

But the photo database was rather slower today. I couldn’t really get going for some reason. But then I have days like this, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

hang gliding pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceAnd that’s not all the bad news either. I’m having camera issues yet again.

And that’s a shame because the bird-men were out in force today.

I’ve noticed for the last couple of months that the camera is having issues focusing, especially at night. And when it is particularly dark, I have to find a distant point of light to use as a focusing object.

hang gliding pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceBut today, the focusing is simply not working most of the time, and especially when the background is neutral, like a large patch of sky.

I can hear the motor in the lens engaging and the focal length changes, but it creeps in to the beginning and blurs out

hang gliding pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceAnd it’s not just with one of the lenses – it’s with all of them.

I’ve tried to adjust the focal settings and that’s not made any difference. I think that the camera is slowly dying.

But that’s not really a surprise. I bought it in Canada in an emergency, back in 2012. It was an end-of-range model then and I paid peanuts for it, so I can’t really complain.

It’s just disappointing.

lifeboat statue baie de mont st michel st pair sur mer granville manche normandy franceThe only way that I can make it work is to focus on a specific object that is sharp enough to register.

So anyway, I pushed on round the corner to see what things were like round by the lifeboat memorial.

It might look cloudy out there, but it was surprisingly warm. And that had brought out the crowds – especially as it seems to be school holidays right now.

river pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceOne thing that I have noticed is that there seems to be a spring of some sort here on the Pointe du Roc.

There would have to be, I suppose, otherwise they would never have put a fortified city up here. They would need a water supply in case of a siege.

But today was the first time that I had noticed the water evacuating out into the sea down below.

And here, I had a message. My passport will be delivered tomorrow.

night beach casino plat gousset granville manche normandy franceAfter tea, I went out for my evening walk around the walls.

There was no-one around even though it was a pleasant evening. There was no storm tonight and the tide was quite far out, so we weren’t treated to the spectacle of the waves smashing on to the sea walls.

And so I didn’t linger long out there. I came back here instead.

And I’ll be trying once again for an early night. And this time, hoping that I can get out of bed at something very close to the correct time.

hang gliding pointe du roc granville manche normandy france
hang gliding pointe du roc granville manche normandy france

hang gliding pointe du roc granville manche normandy france
hang gliding pointe du roc granville manche normandy france

Thursday 5th January 2017 – I HAD A …

… slightly better night last night.

In fact, I tried the usual cure for insomnia – settling down in bed to watch one of the “Bulldog Drummond” films that I had downloaded from www.archive.org and, sure enough, 10 minutes later I was definitely gone with the wind. And apart from just one awakening during the night, I was right out until 06:50. It’s been a while since I’ve beaten the alarm to awakening, isn’t it?

And I was well away during the night too. I was out last night with a boyfriend of Anne-Marie on the way to her apartment. And it had been so long that I couldn’t remember which building it was. Twice now I had seen a building that I was convinced was the one in which she was living but it was not – instead we ended up at an old cottage in a residential area of the city. I vaguely remembered her living in a disreputable, semi-derelict house in just oen room but here were maybe half a dozen or more boys of the age of her boyfriend – they had gutted the derelict parts of the house and were in the process of installing some kind of kitchen there. Where we had parked was in the street right in front of the house, blocking the street to passing traffic and I was concerned that this might cause problems for Anne-Marie with her neighbours, but then I had to try to convince myself that it wasn’t my problem – I hadn’t been driving the vehicle and it was the driver’s problem and Anne-Marie’s problem anyway, nothing to do with me.
A little later I was out with Alison. We’d been into a neighbouring town to look for an electric kettle. We’d identified a place that might sell one and so we set out to pick one up. However our way into town took us in a different direction – and it was quite confusing to arrive in this direction for a start – and so we weren’t close to this shop with the kettle so we had to look again. We ended up in a market hall, a 1920s brick-build white-emulsioned place that was in a semi-derelict condition with planks of wood shoved through the windows and dead pigeons all over the place that had been killed by poisoned corn being used. Alison mentioned a place here that might have one to sell but I wasn’t convinced that this place would have one, and that we would have to find the place that we had already identified, but how we were going to do this we had no idea.

It might sound strange about Anne-Marie making an appearance, but yesterday, someone was searching her name on the internet and they fetched up on my blog, where she’s made a couple of appearances in my past. That particularly stuck in my mind, although it clearly stuck more firmly than I imagined.

I was having breakfast when the alarm went off this morning, and then back down here I had a couple of very long missives to write. That took me right up until lunchtime, when I nipped out to the supermarket on the corner for my baguette.

After lunch, I cracked on with my website. I’ve been reading a couple University theses on life in Labrador (the Metropolitan University of Newfoundland – note the “Newfoundland”, not “Newfoundland and Labrador” – has published many of their theses on line this last couple of years) and what I’ve read has enabled me not only to find tons more stuff on North West River (the farthest northern point of Labrador that it’s possible to reach by road) but to make additions to several other pages that I have written in the past.

The trouble with all of this, as I have said in the past, is that I’m spending more time researching than writing, and what started out as being a quiet little travelog is now becoming an epic of mammoth proportions.

Not only that, I crashed out for an hour too, which is hardly a surprise seeing my early start.

For tea I finished off the other half of the can of beans, some more croquettes and the last vegan curry-burger. I’ll have to think of something else for tea tomorrow.

And now I’ll try for another early night tonight. I have just one housemate and she seems to be quite a quiet personality – she was hunched over a book eating her tea when I went upstairs to make my meal tonight.

Let’s hope that it stays like that.

Monday 19th September 2016 – YEEUUUCCCHHH!

That was how I felt when I awoke this morning. One look through the window to the heavy grey sky outside was quite enough for me.

But my night wasn’t as bad as I expected. I was out pretty quickly but soon awoke. But not for all that long. And once I’d gone, I’d gone and that was how I stayed until 05:10. And having been for a walk on the parapet I was out once more until the alarm went off at 06:00

I’d been on my travels too – back to my days in Brussels. I was living with someone, but I can’t remember who the girl was and we were sharing a room with one of my former colleagues from those days as well as someone who used to hang around Pionsat football club. And who should turn up to see us but Anne-Marie, one of the girls with whom I worked and with whom I was quite friendly. This was followed by being back in Crewe and I had bumped into a couple whom I know who live on the Wirral but the husband comes originally from Crewe. They were living down at the end of a very tight cul-de-sac in Crewe that was crowded with cars. We were talking about house repairs and they were having to dig a trench six feet deep at the side of their house to shore up the foundations. I mentioned that I had a digger that they could borrow and although they said that they had already borrowed one, I could see the woman’s eyes light up when I mentioned it. They asked where it was because when they had been around to my house it wasn’t there. It suddenly flashed into my mind that Terry had borrowed it to take to Normandy, but that was not what I was worrying about. What was concerning me was how I was going to pull the trailer and digger through the maze of cars that were parked so tightly in the cul-de-sac.

There was no point in being in too much of a rush to be out of bed, and so I wasn’t. It was another bit of a lie-in. But when I did finally leave the comfort and safety of my stinking pit and had breakfast, I just sat on the comfy sofa and that was that.

About 10:00 the weather showed no sign of improvement and so I decided to go for a drive. Moncton and its shops were beckoning me and I may as well go this morning instead of on the way home. Who knows? The weather might be different by the time I come back.

It was an uneventful drive down there. The Salvation Army c&me up with a couple of books, for which I received a 10% pensioners’ discount. I must be looking my age. Value Village came up with a few more (but it’s not Pensioners’ Day there until tomorrow), and Princess Autos supplied a few more toys to take back home with me.

But at Home Depot, Ryobi came up trumps. They have a new design of portable Ryobi Plus One portable air compressor and I can find some use for that back home. That will suit me.

vegan chicken burgers sobeys shediac new brunswick canada september septembre 2016On the way back home, I called at Sobeys for some more shopping. It costs a fortune to do your shopping here.

But I did have some good luck there – they had some vegan burgers (complete with bread) that tasted like chicken. Not that the taste meant anything to me, but it was a change from my usual diet and it just goes to show the range of vegan food now on offer here in Canada.

I was right about the weather too. It had changed, just as I predicted, but changed for the worse. It was now absolutely streaming down. I had my butties right here in my room.

It might have looked better a little later and so after I’d had a bit of a crash-out, I went to the beach and sat under my shelter there, where I ended up chatting to a fellow traveller from the Motel. But I wasn’t out long. The weather opened up again and even under my shelter I started to become even more wet than I usually am.And so back to the hotel I headed.

I tried these new burgers with my beans and chips, and they weren’t too bad at all. I’ve had much worse than this.

So now let’s see what tomorrow brings me. That’s my last day because on Wednesday morning I have to leave. I have a choice of places to go, a choice of directions to take.

I just hope that I have another decent night tonight.

Sunday 13th March 2016 – PHEW!

When was the last time that I was up and about and eating breakfast long before the alarm went off? And on a Sunday too! And what has surprised me more than anything else is that after all of the travels that I was on last night, that I managed to make it back here in time.

But start as you mean to go on. And before you start, I perhaps ought to warm you that the sum total of my travels last night comes to something about 2200 words.

You have been warned.

I started off last night by falling asleep watching a film on the laptop last night and it wasn’t long after that at all before I was on the road. It started off at first as if I hadn’t done a great deal because I’d been away with a group of people. There was a timetable for us and on the first day we had to inspect half a dozen countries and on the second day another half-dozen, on the third, yet another half-dozen and so on. This didn’t leave me much time to be going off on a nocturnal ramble but then I found myself in Chester. I don’t know exactly where I was living but it was on top of a bunk-bed somewhere and this was quite a long way off the ground and difficult to climb on to. There had been a young girl that I had quite fancied in the past when I was younger, and so had a few of my friends, but she had started to go out with a boy who was older than us and quite a bit older than her. There was some kind of correspondence that had taken place between the two of them, and one of these letters had fallen into my hands. I was busy parcelling up this letter into a brown envelope and trying to write a letter to one of these friends of mine to tell him about this letter. Obviously the contents of this letter were interesting and I reckoned that it was worth a couple of quid for me to give him this letter to read and I could buy myself a pint of beer. The difficulty that I was having was to make my letter sound sufficiently encouraging and interesting to make him part with the money and it was taking me hours to think of the ideal form of wording.
The next port of call started off to be quite amusing. I was out and about with a dwarf and we were trying to book ourselves into a hotel. While we were there at the reception desk, a message came downstairs to the effect that a woman in one of the rooms required a companion. Of course, the ears of the dwarf and I pricked immediately up, imagining full well what might have been meant by that and so as soon as we had finished registering ourselves into our room, we shot off to the room that had been mentioned. In the room we found a girl who was totally surprised by our intrusion because that wasn’t the kind of companion that she meant. She wanted a companion to talk to and confide in. All three of us were taken by surprise at what had just unfolded. The dwarf then left the room to go back down to reception and arrange a room for himself I started to chat to this girl and it seemed that she was intending to stay not for just one night but until the middle of next week and so I jokingly suggested that I could check myself into her room for a couple of nights and see how it goes. I slid quietly into her bed (it was a big double-bed)while she was adjusting her hair and her night attire and she didn’t seem to mind at all.
I’m clearly going to have to keep up these injections and anti-allergy patches and so on if this is the kind of thing that happens to me during the night. I’ve never had this kind of luck when I’ve been on my travels in real life.
Anyway, after all of this, I made a guest appearance as Sherlock Holmes (not for the first time just recently either) in the case of a girl who had been murdered. There were five people who had been arrested in connection with this and the newspapers were making ever such a fuss about all of this, how there was some really rough street in Leicester (why Leicester?) where all of the criminals seem to live and how this case was connected with this. But it turned out that only one of these five people was connected with this street
I next found myself out and about with Terry and Liz, but it wasn’t Liz but my friend Helena from when she was quite young (and making her debut in these voyages too). We’d all been for a drive out and had stopped somewhere in the salubrious surroundings of somewhere that looked like a gent’s restroom and changing rooms for a sports ground, but somewhere that had clearly seen better days and was creosoted rather like an outdoor toilet of the 1950s. We were all hot and sweaty, having been for a really good walk and we were all thirsty. Terry produced a tangerine for himself and Liz (or Helena) said that she was going to have something else and no-one asked me what I wanted. This depressed me a little, but then Helena produced an orange, a really nice juicy one, peeled it and gave it to me, which I thought was really nice. She asked me to save her a segment, which of course I was only too happy to do. While we were here, we were listening to the radio. Speaking was Mike Harris, the chairman of the TNS football club. The club used to play at a ground in the village of Llansantffraid but had moved up the road to the old army football stadium at Park Hall near Oswestry. He’d offered to sell the ground to the local community on some kind of share basis, £10 per share. This was of course about 10 years ago and property prices had risen dramatically since then and now the local council was trying to buy the ground at the price that Mike Harris had asked for it 10 years ago, presumably to sell on for redevelopment and make a profit based on today’s values. It goes without saying that Mike Harris was not at all willing to sell it under those terms and conditions, and this discussion was the basis of the radio programme that was being broadcast. What was interesting about all of this is that from where we were, we could see the old football ground across the valley behind a shopping precinct in the distance (which incidentally bears no resemblance whatever to the actual site or situation of the ground). I immediately dashed to the car to fetch my camera because what was going through my mind was that if this broadcast was live, everyone would be down at the football ground right now and the ground would therefore be open. After all, the old ground at Llansantffraid is one of the places that I’ve yet to visit while I’ve been on my travels around the various Welsh football grounds (this is in fact actually the case). The others saw my camera and wondered what I was going to do, and so I explained. But I had to go to the bathroom first, and this was when I awoke – right at that moment, because I actually did have to go to the bathroom. And once more, I found all of my bedclothes all over the floor. Rushing to the car for the camera must have been the reason for that.
After the bathroom break, which was actually the Easter break for me, I found myself back at work. The first thing that happened was that one of my colleagues said “hello” to me, which took me completely by surprise. And all of the new vehicles had arrived – new white vans of various shapes and sizes (and “H”-registered too, which was something of a complete surprise). We were to swap our vehicles for the new ones but I couldn’t find the one that had been allocated to me, and I couldn’t find a place to park my own either as the car park was full. So I went back to my desk and started to chat to Anne-Marie, a chat that went on for ages while I was trying to do some work. And someone had put a pile of files on my desk with all kinds of post in there dating back to 12 months and even more, all kinds of legal stuff and so on, a problem that I solved in the good old-fashioned and well-tried way of simply “losing” the post somewhere inside the file and filing the file away on the filing racks, where they would be lost for quite some time. Once Anne-Marie had wandered off, I went to take my coffee things back but I couldn’t leave the office by the front as it was all closed in with windows rather like the front end of the upper deck of a double-decker bus. Walking back up the other end I came upon Anne-Marie and her two friends Caroline and Theresa, lounging about on one of the side-on seats that you find over the rear wheel of the lower deck of a double-deck Lodekka type bus. I said “hiya, girls”to them but they all turned their backs to me which I thought was rather impolite. What had I done now? So downstairs with my coffee things, I found myself out on the edge of a cricket ground where a match was due to be played sometime soon, somewhere out towards Stafford. There was a huge discussion taking place about this match and about the players. I hadn’t been selected (I don’t think that I expected to be) but it seemed that a couple of footballers from FC Pionsat St Hilaire, Gregory amongst them, were going to be playing and the person who was organising it, none other than Mark Dawson, was urging the rest of the team to welcome them. Mark had been waving around a yard brush which had a plastic handle, but people had been stubbing out their cigarettes on it and burning the handle, so I took it from Mark and put it back up against the wall. “It wasn’t me” said Mark. “I don’t smoke”. I replied that I knew that he didn’t, but nevertheless it was marked and so I put it out of everyone’s way. There was someone else there with a Velocette Venom which had become the subject of some discussion. The owner said that it had cost £129 new but now it’s worth about £66,000. The bike was being pushed around and so I put it up on a piece of hard-standing right by this little building where we were congregating. Someone said that we had been told not to park motorbikes up there but I replied that it was OK because it had its centre-stand up on a paving slab. From here I was heading off onwards down south past Stafford and I noticed that Mark didn’t have transport and so expecting him to be heading now for the cricket pavilion, I asked him if he wanted a lift. I was in my big old Senator so I opened the door for him and he told me to drop him off near the town hall in Stoke on Trent, about 10 miles away through the traffic in the opposite direction and that will cost me a couple of hours in time. But a promise is a promise so I bit my lip and set off.
And I still haven’t finished yet either. Because all of this ramble about me being at work seemed to have started off with me being on a wide-bodied jet aeroplane (and I do mean “wide” – it was rather like a cinema auditorium). I seemed to be the first on board so I chose my seat in the central part but against the aisle, and put my black fleece there. There were four air hostesses in a bunch over on the other side in the aisle and they waved me over, so leaving my jacket behind, I went over to see what they wanted. “Ohh, come over here and sit by us” they said. “Why? What’s up?” I asked. “Am I the only passenger on the aeroplane?” “Ohh no” they replied. “But you’re first on so you can sit here if you like”. And so I went and fetched my jacket, and then came back to sit by these air hostesses. I’d boarded this plane by chance, really, just looking to get away for a few days and this was the first plane in. It was flying out to the Channel Islands somewhere on this Friday late afternoon and was coming back on Sunday evening, which suited me fine for a short break.
No wonder it was a surprise to find me up and about so early this morning after all of that.

So with all of this effort I had another day of sitting and vegetating. I mean – it took me all morning just to type up my notes from through the night.

But this afternoon, I finished all of the notes from September 2015 and I’ll soon be ready to start on the ones for August. And then, I have 2014 to do. Then, I can take the 2013 notes and merge all of them together in the appropriate places. It’s not going to be something that will be over in a day or so.

But with it being Sunday, Liz has been cooking. For lunch, we had home-made mushroom soup (made with real home-made mushrooms of course), followed by vegan carrot-cake for our afternoon snack, and then for tea we had home-made nut roast followed by home-made vegan chocolate chip ice-cream. As I have said before … "and you’ll say again" – ed … whenever (if ever) I’m fit enough to leave here, I’ll immediately try to find something else wrong with me.

And so on that note, I’ll leave you all. I’m not even going for a walk because I need the early night as I’m off to Montlucon and the hospital early in the morning and I’ll be doing more than enough walking while I’m there.

And if you’ve managed to read down this far then congratulations because it’s a mere 2474 words, a new record posting for a blog entry, and by a country mile as well.

Good night!

Sunday 23rd February 2014 – PHEW!

No wonder I’m so flaming tired all the time, if last night is anything to go by.

There I was in South-West London, renting a room in a house and to reach the area of London where the house was, there was a zig-zag climb up to a plateau rather like the way in to Marcillat from the Montlucon road only, of course, all built-up and urbanised.

I was talking to a girl who was something to do with a business, down at the business premises at the foot of the climb, talking about the house in which I was living, and she was expressing her astonishment that here in the inner suburbs of London there was a house that had three wind turbines powering all of the electricity (I do actually have three wind turbines here).

The conversation was interrupted as I needed to go to Brussels in Belgium. There, I met Anne-Marie in a café half-way up the Boulevard Léopold II near to the Simonis transport hub. She was wanting to see more of the parts of Brussels that she didn’t know, and the area of Molenbeek and Koekelberg (served by the Simonis hub) is an area that I know quite well.

But Anne-Marie. She joined the EU at about the same time that I did and was part of this little group of us that went around together. I had quite a soft spot for her and we went on a couple of skiing trips together. She would have been a good partner for me, I always reckoned, as she had a knack of bringing my feet back firmly to the floor whenever I went off on one of my regular flights of fancy. But as is usual, though, I would have been far too much hard work for someone “normal” and so nothing ever happened. Another “one that got away”, the lucky girl.

But let’s return to the issue at hand. Despite all of the contemporary stuff that was going on in the Boulevard Leopold II, it was in fact early 1914 and the eve of World War I. Some German notable, von Something zu Somewhat, was there trying to negotiate something with some Belgian politicians and my task, if I chose to accept it, was to find out who he was and what he was doing and who he was negotiating with and why. On the eve of World War I, everyone in Europe was nervous.

So once I had ascertained his name, I contacted MI6 to see if he was “known” to the British authorities. I didn’t receive a reply but it turned out that the principal reason why he was there was that he (only a young guy) had made a young girl pregnant because he needed a child in order to inherit something. But this girl was not ready to have herself “announced” to all the world. Therefore there was some machination about producing the baby, with a spurious mother, and producing the real mother at a later date.

I suggested that he should have produced a spurious baby as well and saved all of this pantomime, but this didn’t go down too well at all.

After all of that running around Northern Europe for 100 years when I should have been sleeping, I didn’t feel too bad about staying in bed until 10:10 this morning. And after breakfast I just mooched around for a while.

There should have been some footy this afternoon – I had a choice of the 1st XI at Lempdes – about a 90-minute drive away – or the 2nd XI at home against the Goatslayers, both kick-offs at 13:00. Of course, I chose the Goatslayers at home, and so of course the match was postponed, as I found out when I arrived at the ground.

But with the glorious summer weather today (180.1 amp-hours of surplus solar energy, 66°C in the home-made 12-volt immersion heater that I use as a dump load), firstly I aired all of the bedding that I use in Caliburn – it’s been in its suitcase in the barn since early November, and secondly, I had a look at Caliburn’s auxilliary electrical circuits.

The solar panel on Caliburn’s roof rack hasn’t been charging up the second battery for a while and neither has the split-charging relay that works off the main battery. It turns out that the cheap charge controller that I bought years ago in the UK has burnt itself out. Luckily, in one of these solar briefcase kits that I bought years ago and which broke when it fell off the LDV’s roof, there was a charge controller that was now sitting around doing nothing. Consequently, that’s now wired in the circuit and seems to be working.

As for the split charger, after much furkling arouns and bad temper and cursing, I found that there was a poor earth connection. Once that was all cleaned up and greased and sanded, that now works as it should.

But with having almost dismantled the auxilliary electric circuit, I decided to tidy it all up. It really was such a mess. Now it’s all shipshape and Bristol-fashion, bolted to the bulkhead as it should be, and out of the way of where I’m likely to trip over it. But I’m still not all that happy – I can do much better than this and I will do too.

But me? Working on a Sunday? Things are getting to me, aren’t they?

And this evening, no pizza. Not that I can’t make one, but that the temperature up here is 18.4°C, and that’s with no heating on either. If I light the fire I’d be melted out long before the pizza would be cooked.

This winter is thoroughly crazy.