Tag Archives: apple turnover

Monday 21st June 2021 – I’VE BEEN EXTREMELY …

… active today, and that has surprised me as mush as it has probably surprised you.

sanding down of hull yacht rebelle chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn fact I’ve been down to the chantier navale this afternoon to have a look around the two boats that are in there.

The yacht Rebelle is still in there of course. It looks as if she is going to be having a new paint job. There’s a guy over there busy sanding down her bottom with one of these big industrial sanders and so I imagine that Rebelle is going to be in there for a good while yet.

But what is interesting about her is her port of registration. She’s registered in London so I’m curious to know what she’s actually doing here in Granville. It’s a very long way to come for a refit and a repaint.

gwenn ha ruz chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe fishing boat that we’ve seen for the last couple of weeks is actually called Gwenn Ha Ruz

And in case you are wondering what Gwenn Ha Ruz is, it’s actually Breton for “White and Red” and presumably relates to the colour of her hull and superstructure.

And whatever you do, you must not confuse it with Gwenn Ha Du, “Black and White”. These are of course the colours of Brittany and it is also the name of one of these organisations like the Free Wales Army or the irish Republican Army who led a very active life fighting for the liberation of Brittany and doing things like blow up statues and burning down Prefectures.

Although the Organisation was dissolved after World War II, it inspired the Talbenn Dieubiñ Breizh or “Liberation Front of Brittany”, a society that gained a lot of publicity in the 1960s and early 1970s during criminal trials against its leaders and led indirectly to a revival of the Breton culture and language.

But be that as it may, let’s start at the very beginning. Once again I was up at the sound of the first alarm and after the medication I cracked on with the radio programme that I was doing.

Despite stopping for a coffee and a little later for breakfast, I had it all finished and ready to go by 11:45, and I’ll go with that any time.

While I was listening to it and to the programme that will be broadcast this weekend (another live concert) I sorted out the music on the computer. There are piles of various albums and I hadn’t a clue who half of the artists were so I did some research and edited the file names of the songs to add in the artists.

Ad there’s another “various artists” album added to the collection now. I’d bought one in Canada a couple of years ago and hadn’t digitalised it yet. But I have now!

After lunch I spent a very pleasant hour or so editing photos of my trip to Wyoming in August 2019. I’m now in Wind River Canyon on my way back to Winnipeg, where I might arrive in a couple of days given a bit of luck, God’s help and a bobby.

But right now I have to go out to the shops.

patrol boat baie de mont st michel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd I don’t get very far before I’m side-tracked by some activity out at sea. In fact, probably not even 100 yards.

Just gently passing by the harbour entrance is what looks like one of the French Government’s patrol boats. There is one, called Les Epiettes, that loiters around here and we saw that in July 2020 when we were on the Spirit of Conrad out at the Ile de Chausey but of course I’m not able to tell you whether it’s the same boat.

Whoever she is, she’s towing some kind of boat behind her. That’s not her lifeboat of course – it’s rather too big for that so I wonder what that is all about. It might account for her coming up to the pleasure port – to drop it off at a pontoon.

trawlers waiting to enter inner harbour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further on along the street I was brought to a shuddering halt again.

It looks as if I’ve arrived here just at the right moment. The harbour gates that control the mouth of the harbour are closed but judging by the gaggle of trawlers hanging around down there, the gates are about to open.

Once the gates are open the trawlers will swarm through into the inner harbour and go and unload round the back of the Fish Processing Plant.

Down the hill in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers I went and ended up at the chantier navale where I took the photos that you saw a little earlier.

From the chantier navale I headed off into town.

diver with aqualung port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hallmy little trek was interrupted by this strange sight at the inner harbour.

It looks as if one of the boats needs some work doing below the waterline because we have a diver complete with aqualung walking around on the pontoons. And so I said to him “don’t you start away, uneasy. You poor old sod, you see it’s only me”.

Down the road I went towards the town centre. At the Super U I bought a lettuce because that which I had brought home from Leuven was dead, and also some of that dried and candied fruit that I stick in my fruit bread. I’ve run out of Liz’s cake so I need to make some more fruit bread.

Over the road I went to the pharmacy where I stocked up on medication with the prescription from my GP. And it’s a good job that I didn’t collect that three months’ supply in Leuven because my GP has prescribed me three months’ worth of medication. Now I have enough to sink a ship and that’s exactly what I wanted.

While I was out there I kept on colliding with a couple who must have visited every shop in the town trying to find some “Eskimo” ice cream.

swimming pool port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallLoaded up now with more stuff than I intended to bring home, I climbed up the hill in the Rue Des Juifs on my way home.

Half-way up the hill where the viewpoint is overlooking the loading bay I had a look down there to see what was going on. The swimming pool is there so we can assume that Normandy Trader has yet to put her sooty foot in the harbour.

However there seems to be nothing else lined up on the quayside so maybe she isn’t going to be coming in for a few days yet.

While we’re on the subject, on a few occasions Thora used to come into port with a load of scrap iron – old lorries, tractors, all kinds of metal. But I’ve not seen any of that lined up on the quayside for quite a while. Perhaps the price of scrap has dropped.

demolition of unsafe staircase square potel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, there’s some kind of activity going on across the road in the Square Potel.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in early summer 2020 the stairway that led down to the Square from up on the wall was closed off to the public as being unsafe. A while later, the spending plan of the town stated that restoration work on the stairs and the repointing of the wall would take place in 2020.

But looking at the little low wall around the Square, that’s been renovated and repointed, and the stairs have been brought down, presumably by that digger that’s there. So they are getting going with this earlier than planned, by the looks of things.

In a couple of weeks time it will be interesting to see how the square will look as the renovations proceed.

While we’re on the subject of proceeding, I proceeded on up the hill towards home.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I arrived at my building I carried on across the car park to look down onto the beach to see what was going on down there this afternoon.

There’s even less beach than there was yesterday but nevertheless there are some people down there on the rocks. They look as if they have been in the sea for a swim and they are braver people than me.

Back in my apartment I made myself a coffee and then went to listen to the dictaphone. There is stuff on there for the last four days which I transcribed and one of these days I’ll add in the detains to the previous three days whenever I can find a moment. I might actually have done it today but I … errr … had a little relax while I was riding the porcelain horse.

As for last night I was playing in a pop group last night, playing bass. I’d gone and bought myself a new cabinet, a 300-watt combo things. I was working out first of all how to make a cover for it out of plywood or something. Then I took it up onto the stage, took the cover off and took the plug out of my little amp and plugged it into the back of this big machine and started to play. The sound was so much better, as you might expect for the money but there was a flat spot where I played two notes but you could hear it waling down the street. Some guy had brought a …. I fell asleep here for 7.5 minutes … so where was I? Anyway, I had this bass cabinet and was playing it. Some Irish guy had this weird mouth harp thing but he was playing it but wasn’t getting any sound out of it. We were all joking about him getting more and more frustrated until suddenly he opened the top of it and found that he should be inserting a battery in there – a big PP9 battery from the 1950s.
But while I was asleep just now I was in Caliburn and I was in a seaside town looking up on a cliff. I was driving back to the town but I lost my way and ended up on a street full of semi-detached bungalows, obviously second holiday homes, all closed up and everything. Then I went back to the main road and back down the hill. There was a big chalk quarry with a couple of huge trees that had been blown down with the explosives and there were probably 1000 hunters there with guns. I had to thread my way through as I was on foot by this time. As I reached the other side I met two people – they might have been two people from work. I said to Lucien “I don’t fancy anyone’s chances here. As someone sees a squirrel there is 1000 people shooting at it. The skin is going to be no use for anything and the meat is going to be riddled with lead. But they were really lucky because they saw something moving and they were just about to shoot and it turned out to be a cat. Some little kids had to go and try to catch the cat or chase it away.

There was the hour on the guitar while I picked my way note by note through the bass lines of one of the tracks that I need to learn, and then for tea it was veggie balls with pasta and veg followed by apple turnover, which was delicious.

Now I’m going to prepare some dough for my fruit bread, and then I’m off to bed. Welsh lesson tomorrow – the last of the Academic year – so I need to be on form.

Sunday 20th June 2021 – HOW LONG IS IT …

citroen traction avant 15 boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… since we’ve featured an old car on these pages?

So here’s one that I saw today and you don’t need any introduction to they type of vehicle that this is because you’ve been introduced to its LITTLE BROTHER on several occasions.

And when I say “little brother” I really do mean this because whilst mine that’s in the back of my garage at Montaigut-en-Combraille is one of the smaller lightweight four-cylinder 7CV models, the one that’s here on these pages is the Real McCoy, the big heavyweight 6-cylinder 15CV models, as you can tell by the badge that is proudly displayed on the right-hand mudguard.

citroen traction avant 15 boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn fact we can actually put a date to this one, assuming that it’s all correct.

The boot lid features the shape of the spare wheel. That was phased out in late 1952. But it has straight bumpers instead of the curved “whiskers” type. That type was phased out in early 1952

But the real Real McCoy, the Holy Grail of all Citroen Traction Avants that I know existed at one time and which were never put into production, and I’ve no idea if there are any left, are the model 22s.

22 is of course twice 11 and so you might be expecting something special, and indeed you are right. It’s an experimental model fitted with a V8 engine made of two of the four-cylinder 11 engines. If only I could find one of those I would be in heaven, but let’s be honest – it’s not very likely.

What else that wasn’t going to be very likely is me being up anything like early. With having crashed out so definitively in the afternoon I couldn’t sleep and I was still up working at 04:00 this morning. Being awake and up and about at 11:30 on a Sunday was something of a surprise.

There had been enough time for me to go off on my travels during the night. We were looking after 2 children about 8 or 9, a boy and a girl. They were rather unruly and it was hard to keep control of them. As it was nearly bedtime I took them outside to let them play around for a while. That was the idea – I brought a ball with them. I left them out there for what was going to be 10 minutes but turned out to be longer than that. They must have gone to bed on their own so no-one said anything. The next morning I went to awaken them. They asked “what are you going to make us do today”? I asked why and they replied “if we’re going to play football we’re just going to make a noise”. I replied “in that case I’d put one of you up here and the other one somewhere else and you can make as much noise as you want”. When we went outside they had made a snowman only it was the two of them kneeling down stroking a big snow cat. I thought that it was wonderful. I asked “who made that”. They said that they did and some of the cats helped. So I made the kids kneel down by this sculpture and went to find as many cats as I could so I could give them to the kids to hold so that they would all be in the photo. But trying to round up a herd of cats at any one time is pretty impossible as anyone who has a large number of cats will tell you.

After the meds, much of the day has been spent going through the music and sorting a few things out. And in a spectacular burst of energy I paired the music for the radio programme that I’ll hopefully be doing tomorrow.

And then I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing to do while I was out was to go and stick my head over the wall at the end of the car park to see what the score is down on the beach this afternoon.

And while there wasn’t all that much beach to be on because the tide was well in, there were still hordes of people clinging on to the rocks like seabirds, or rather like King Canute trying desperately to turn back the tide. There were even some people looking as if they had been into the water too.

That must have been quite a brave thing to do this afternoon because while it’s summer tomorrow, it was rather like an April day out there right now. The heatwave that we had at the beginning of the week seems to be well and truly gone and that seems to be our lot.

people fishing from boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot that that would ever seem to bother a certain part of our society. The fishermen seem to be always there either on the rocks or in their little boats just offshore. That is, if they aren’t right out at sea in a big trawler or two.

Today we have Jerome K Jerome’s “Three Men In a Boat” out there armed with fishing rods and heaven alone knows what else, but probably not a dog called Montmorency. One of the guys has his rod in the water but as the boat is moving along, it’s going to be very unlikely that he will be tempting any of the local sea bass to come in and take the bait.

Of course, fishing is actually very much like having sex. You get your rod out and you never know what you are going to catch.

I’ll get my coat.

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the fishermen in the boat weren’t the only people out there hoping to catch a bite to eat this afternoon.

There are a couple of birds of prey who loiter around in the air around the edge of the cliffs here at the Pointe du Roc. As well as the lizards and mice and all of the usual kinds of wildlife that inhabit the cliffs, there’s a colony of rabbits and I would imagine that a young baby rabbit would be just the thing to feed a growing family of vultures or whatever they are.

But while he was swooping up and down a few times, I didn’t actually see him catch anything either although I reckon that he would have far more animal cunning than the fishermen.

crowds of people on footpath british flag pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd so I headed off on my walk along the path on top of the cliffs, in amongst the crowds of people who were also out there for their afternoon stroll, most of whom were not taking a blind bit of notice of the order from the Préfet that masks are compulsory here until 30th June.

But there was something interesting down by the war memorial to the Resistance that I noticed for the first time since I came back. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that they were flying the German flag down there the other day but this afternoon I noticed that it had gone and in its place is the Union Flag of the United Kingdom.

“Is there a story behind the substitution of the flags?” I asked myself when I saw it. I would have expected the British flag to have been the more likely of the two seeing as we are celebrating the Normandy landings, but the German flag was flown first. So why the change?

yacht speedboat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was pondering over that conundrum I noticed something moving out in the Baie de Mont St Michel and as it looked rather like something a little weird I went to investigate.

It was a yacht that was out there this afternoon and while there wasn’t really anything in the way of wind today, it was careening right over at quite an angle. There must have been quite something of a wind blowing out there to sea to have caused it to go over at that much of an angle. There isn’t the wake of another boat or anything that is causing it.

The little zodiac that looks as if it’s coming over from the Ile de Chausey looks as if it might be having a few yachtsmen dropping in for a coffee if the yacht goes over much more.

speedboat joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here’s some much more exciting activity going on around the headland in the Baie de Mont St Michel so I wandered off around the path to meet it.

That little speedboat or cabin cruiser with the fishermen in it that we saw earlier is heading back into port at quite a speed, and here it’s about to collide with the wake of one of the Joly France boats that has just left harbour and is heading over to the Ile de Chausey to presumably rescue some holidaymakers from there.

And that’s the older of the two Joly France boats. You can tell that by looking at the windows. They are rectangular but in “landscape” rather than “portrait” mode.

aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat’s not quite all of the fun that was going on out there this afternoon.

While I was out there watching the activities of all of the boats off the end of the headland and in the Baie de Mont St Michel I was overflown by another light aeroplane. Unfortunately it was far too far out for me to be able to read its registration number.

And as you might expect, the records of the control tower at the airport here were of no use whatsoever. No planes were recorded as having landed round about this time so I couldn’t even check to see if a flight plan had been filed or if it had been picked up by radar at any point during the afternoon.

yacht rebelle fishing boat chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo I pushed along the path on top of the headland round to the viewing point overlooking the harbour, dodging the unmasked millions as I did so.

From the viewpoint there’s a good view looking down into the chantier navale. I was expecting to see some changes down there over the period while I had been away, but apparently not so. The yacht Rebelle is still down there, up on blocks at the side of the harbour where Aztec Lady lived for so long.

The fishing boat that moved in there not long before I went away is still there too, so there have been no goings, and no comings either, unless I missed them while I wasn’t here.

And there was nothing else going on very much so I went to look at the Citroen on the car park.

One of the things that I did earlier this morning that I have yet to mention was that I made some bread dough. On my return I gave it the second kneading, shaped it and put it in the bread mould.

Then I made a pile of pastry mix, lined a pie dish with some of it, made a filling out of diced apple, raisins, desiccated coconut, cinnamon and lemon juice, and then covered the pie with the rest of the pastry. It was then sealed, brushed with milk, dusted with brown sugar and priced to let out the steam.

With the pastry that was left and the filling that was left, I made an apple turnover.

That lot went into the oven and while they were baking I attended to the pizza. I’d taken the dough out of the freezer earlier and now I kneaded it, rolled it and put it in the pizza dish to rise. After an hour or so when it had risen I assembled the pizza with that I had (which wasn’t much).

apple pie home made bread vegan pizza apple turnover place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here are the finished products. The pizza is delicious even if it was undercooked because I forgot to turn up the oven after the bread.

As for the rest of the food you’ll have to wait until tomorrow because I had no room for any pudding or any bread tonight after the pizza. I shall look forward to that with eager anticipation.

So now that’s all done and I can think about going to bed. Despite the late start I’m ready for an early night what with having to do my radio programme in the morning. And that reminds me – I mustn’t forget to switch the alarms back on for tomorrow morning otherwise I’ll be in a right jam.

But not a jam pie. Thats maybe for a few weeks’ time.

Monday 1st March 2021 – DYDD GWYL DEWI HAPUS.

daffodils place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s Saint David’s Day today so Happy St David’s Day to everyone from Wales who is a regular reader of this rubbish, Rhys.

When she came to visit me yesterday, Liz brought me some daffodils that she had plucked from her garden. They weren’t open but I’d left them in a glass of water overnight and this morning I was greeted with this gorgeous sight.

In fact, I have quite a lot of Welsh blood in me – more than you realise – because it’s only because of Welsh bedroom practices that I’m here. Like most people back in the 1950s, my father was a great believer in the use of Welsh letters.

And if you don’t know what a Welsh letter is, it’s a French letter with a leek in it and you need to say that out loud in order to understand it.

This morning, to my own surprise as well as to yours, I actually beat the second alarm, never mind the third alarm, to my feet. Mind you, I was in bed before 23:00 for the first time for ages so I suppose that that might have had something to do with it.

home made ginger beer mandarine kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing that I did was to vent the gases out of the kefir that I made yesterday.

You can see the bottles on the right here with the new batch that I’m brewing in the large jar at the back. And if you look very closely you can see what I mean about the stoppers on those two cheap bottles that I bought. I’ve replaced the washers with some that are more substantial and while they are certainly working much better than the cheap plastic washers that were on them, the stoppers still aren’t fitting correctly.

On the left is the remaining bottle of ginger beer. That’s definitely a success and I’ll be making more of that. I’ve seen a reference to orange ginger beer and I have some orange juice loitering around that I shall try.

After the medication I attacked the next radio programme and having done some of the work while I was in Leuven I’d completed the work aby about 11:40, only to find that I’d done the wrong programme. But it’s not a big worry because I’m several weeks ahead of myself so I can do the one that I missed next Monday.

For the rest of the morning I did some work on the photos from Greenland. Not very many of those because having now arrived in Qaqortoq in Greenland I needed to find a map of the town in order to identify some of the places that I had visited as I walked around the town.

But even if I do just 20 per day, it’s still going to be decent progress.

One thing that I ought to mention as well is that having edited some of the photos on the little travelling Acer and then on the laptop that I’d bought in North Dakota, the results were pretty dismal because of the poor quality of the screens and the graphics cards and I had to start again with them on this big machine.

But the ones that I’d done while I was in Leuven on the machine that I had repaired were just as they are supposed to be and look quite good on this machine.

All of this is making me think again for the moment about repairing one of the small laptops. This one that I fixed seems to be doing the business and with the CD drive that’s in it, I think that the extra 0.6 kilogramme won’t be such of an issue when I compare the advantages of the machine.

After lunch I had a form to fill in about my Welsh exam, the next radio programme to send off to the tech team and then to carry out some research into the big desktop computer.

The big machine is running with a 256GB solid State Drive as a C drive, a 1TB drive as a data drive and a 4TB drive as a back-up drive. Space is starting to run out on the C drive and the data drive so I’m planning to replace the 256GB SSD with a 1TB SSD, take out the data drive, convert the back-up drive to be the data drive and then add the largest possible drive as a back-up drive.

Or even add more drives in if I possibly can if there are more SATA slots on the hard drive.

It’s also running 8GB of RAM and I’m thinking of upgrading that to 16GB or even 32GB.

All of this means that I have to contact the manufacturers for some further information.

There was also the dictaphone to deal with.

I was up in Canada last night. Darren, one of his daughters and I were in an Artic heading down to somewhere in Maine with a tanker on the back. I was saying how good it was to be back in Canada after all this time. Darren was telling me what he needed me to do. he had a plate off a vehicle and was going to put it on another and I had to block something with this other vehicle so that he could do something with the lorry without having other vehicles inconveniencing him and getting in his way. I didn’t quite understand it but it would all become very clear in due course. We pulled up at a transport café and went in. While we were queueing up in there for something someone pulled up with a Mk I Cortina with British plates on it. I thought that this was really surprising. I had a look at the vehicle and it had some publicity on the side. I went to take a photo with the NIKON J1 but it wouldn’t photograph. We’re back to this thing about photos again and they aren’t working with the J1 (not another occasion with the failed camera!). I was trying for ages. When I looked again it had gone and another vehicle was there with French plates on it, a kind of flatbed mini lorry or something. A couple of minutes later this Cortina was back but with a different number on it now. Someone was playing around because the number ended with “40 G” and someone had written something to do with a lady’s anatomy after the G. Again I tried to photograph it but again the camera wouldn’t work. Those two wandered off out there and I was still trying to make this camera work. One of the guys at the till said something like “they’ve rung up and you have to go”. I made myself a quick coffee but the kettle wouldn’t boil. In the meantime I put milk in the wrong mug so after a couple of minutes and nothing was happening I just tipped it all away and ran off to go back to the lorry to join them again.

Later on I was working in an office and I was being sent on a mission to Germany somewhere. I’d been allocated a room on my own more by accident than design but then we found out that one of the people coming was a woman and they were wondering how best to accommodate her. I suggested that she could have my room and I’d share with someone else. I wasn’t really happy about sharing but there was nothing much you could do in a situation like this. For some unknown reason I couldn’t get them to hear what I was saying. They said “yes that’s the first thing we thought of” but started off on some other rambling explanation that I didn’t understand at all. it seemed such an obvious thing to do so I couldn’t understand why they were going through such a performance and rigmarole and ritual to try to think of another way round this solution. Then I returned home and told my partner whoever i was with that I was off on a mission to Germany. She asked “where in Germany?”. I replied “I don’t really know”. “What do you mean?” she asked. I replied “they are just sending me to Germany, that’s the important thing, that I’m going on a mission and it’ll all work out”. She was surprised that I wasn’t really interested in knowing which town it was that I was going to.

crowds on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallToday was another gorgeous, summer day with a bright blue sky and not a single cloud up there to obscure the view.

The kids are still out on half-term holiday by the looks of things as there were plenty of people around. The beach was swarming with people out and about this afternoon and I can’t say that I blamed them.

While I was out there, I bumped into one of my neighbours and we had quite a little chat about this and that. She told me about the new tenants on the ground floor and one or two other things besides.

However I couldn’t stay out there chatting all day, I had to carry on with my walk.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I reached the end of the headland by the lighthouse I discovered why there were so many people out there on the beach today.

The tide is miles out today so of course it must be the Grand Marée, the highest, and hence also the lowest, tides of the year when the water drops below the level of foreshore that are let out to commercial exploitation. And so everyone swarms onto the sands and the rocks for the peche à pied, scavenging about in the sand and the rocks for whatever they can find there that’s edible.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we did a radio report on the Grand Marée last year that went down really well.

lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the situation in the chantier navale.

Yesterday we saw it down from street level but today I’m up on the cliffs on top where I can look down into the yard. We can see Aztec Lady over there on the right-hand side where it’s been for several weeks now without very much happening to it, and over on the left is Lys Noir up on the blocks where it’s been for a while too.

But that’s all there is today. The fishing boat that has been there for several weeks has gone and while I was in Belgium the yacht that has been there for months on end also left the yard.

But where it’s gone to, I really have no idea.

diggers tractor men working in port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s plenty of excitement going on down in the outer tidal harbour today.

While I’d been walking round the top of the cliffs I’d noticed all of the tracks of heavy machinery out there in the silt and I wondered what was going on down there today. But here, there are several heavy diggers down there together with several workmen in attendance and a tractor with a large trailer attached thereto.

There was nothing about that would give any indication of what they were doing, but if anything were to be done in the tidal harbour, the time of the lowest tide of the year would be the right time to be doing it.

topiary trimming trees boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was other work going on in the vicinity this afternoon too.

At the weekend I’d seen “no waiting” signs up on the car parking spaces in the Boulevard Vaufleury and so I suspected that something would be going on there this week. It seems that we’re having a pile of topiary on the trees right now.

It’s quite possible that they are leaving it rather too late though. We’ve already noticed that the birds are starting to build their nests and I can easily imagine that they’ve trimmed out the odd nest or two from the outer branches of a few of these trees.

vegan coffee cake place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack here I made myself a hot coffee and unwrapped the birthday present that Liz had brought me yesterday.

A gorgeous vegan coffee cake made with her own fair hands and so I cut myself a slice to see what it was like. And here’s another one that receives 10 out of 10. It’s absolutely delicious.

The rest of the afternoon, such as it was, was spent working on the arrears of my voyage around Central Europe. But shame as it is to say it, I fell asleep. And how! I was out like a light for a good hour or so and I’d even managed to go off on a ramble while I was out.

I was doing some work at home when Nerina suddenly announced “We’ve forgotten Lil (one of the staff at the Oddfellows Club whom we used to take around in our taxis)”. I said I’d go straight away but she said there’s no real rush. Finish what you are doing. So when I’d finished what I was doing I leapt into a car and set off. I turned up at the pub, the Ash Bank, in Minshull New Road on the Badger Avenue roundabout but it was actually a mirror image of the pub on the other side of the road. When I arrived it was in total darkness and the last two people were getting into a car which then drove off. I looked at the time and it was 00:12 – I was almost 45 minutes late. I followed the car up Minshull New Road where it turned right into West Street. I was quite annoyed that we’d lost a passenger. Had I checked the time I would have dropped everything and gone out straight away. Nerina should have had more of a sense of urgency and I should have paid more attention to the time.

When I awoke, I was totally unsteady on my feet for a good while. I even missed my guitar practice.

Tea tonight was the rest of the pizza with a baked potato, followed by the apple turnover that I’d baked yesterday. And it was all quite delicious. And now I’m off to bed. Welsh class in the morning so I need to be on form.

I wasn’t really feeling much like it last week and I’m hoping to be in a better mood and more enthusiastic about it tomorrow.

Sunday 28th February 2021 – SPOT THE …

lys noir chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… difference between this photo and any other photo that I’ve taken of the chantier navale over the last few months.

Yes, as you have probably noticed, the yacht that’s been over there at the far end for the last I don’t know how long has now disappeared, presumably having gone back into the water at long last. I was beginning to think that she was going to be there longer than I’m going to be here, but there you go.

What else didn’t go on as long as I was expecting was the amount of time that I stayed in bed last night. There are some days when I have an alarm to help me to be up and about and I still can’t be on my feet by 08:10 so the fact that I can do that on a Sunday when there’s no alarm is something quite surprising.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. I’d had a very big row with the people for whom I drove coaches at one time. I’m not sure whether I ended up being sacked or resigned but they were sitting there calculating my wages and then ended up owing me 29 days pay for days in lieu of notice. They said that I’d get it in due course. That had all been arranged and they said “what about these Friday nights where we start to sort out the yard so you’d come down and do the office while we do it?”. I made a very non-committal reply to that and wandered off. I ended up playing cricket again, a girls’ cricket team and I was keeping wicket. The girl who was bowling was a pretty wild bowler but she took this long run-up and the ball in the air took this beautiful swerve and caught me on the left shoulder where my catheter is instead of in the gloves. I have the ball back to her and she started off on her run again so I asked “where are you off to? Nantwich?”. She stopped for a minute and burst out laughing. Another girl who was fielding at slip started to move back behind me. I said “no, don’t go behind me!”. I explained that these balls swerving around so much, she’s likely to get one in the face the further back she stands. Someone else turned up from the office where I was working and said to the girls’ captain – he gave her a form and said “just fill this in for Eric, will you? I want to see how he gets on now that he’s in a higher age group” so they started to fill it in before they took their next ball. He asked “what shall I put your occupation down as? Are you still a bus driver with (those people I mentioned earlier)?”.

So what’s this thing about me going back to playing cricket and keeping wicket doing reappearing just now? That’s what’s bewildering me at the moment.

But somewhere along the way I was watching a very large pair of aeroplane wings with four engines falling out of the sky on fire and hitting a tower block, destroying the block and there was debris and all kinds of things all around. Later I talked to a few of the passengers who had been seated in what remained of the fuselage.

There was quite some time left before my visitors arrived so I worked on the notes for my trip to Central Europe back in July and I edited a couple more days.

Liz and Terry turned up at 11:30 and they brought me a lovely present, a nice vegan coffee cake that I’ll be trying out with my afternoon coffee during the course of the coming week. And I have to provide feedback on the recipe and the cake itself as it’s a new recipe that she hasn’t tried before.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen we had drunk our coffee we went out for a walk in the beautiful sunny early afternoon.

There were plenty of people down on the beach which wasn’t any surprise at all given the weather. It was quite warm for February, rather like an early May afternoon. There was not a single cloud in the sky anywhere and, just for a change there wasn’t all that much wind.

Liz, Terry and I had a lot to talk about as we walked around the path. I think that we’ve only ever seen each other once since the autumn. I’ve been on the road to Belgium quite often since October and they were stranded in the UK for quite a while.

english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the things that we discussed was the colour of the sea.

It’s a beautiful emerald greeny-blue colour in this kind of light, the kind of colour that you don’t see very often. It was rather unfortunate though that there was such a haze. It would have been the kind of weather where you might have been expected to see for miles down the coast and miles out to see but today you couldn’t even see the Ile de Chausey, never mind the Channel Islands or the lighthouse at the Cap Frehel.

For a change, we went down the steps at the far end and right around the headland on the narrow path. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been that way.

people on beach rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe crowds were out around there too, walking around the path making the place look rather busy.

The people sitting on the old concrete gun emplacement with their feet dangling into the void was quite interesting, and there were even people sitting on the rocks against the harbour wall. There were a few people picnicking higher up in the cliffs, perched like seabirds on their little nooks.

We ended up back at home and Liz prepared lunch. She’d brought with her some vegan sausage rolls and a salad followed by a sticky lemon cake. It’s nice having good friends who look after me when it’s my birthday.

As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I don’t have many friends but those whom I do have are the best friends anyone could ever have in all of the world. Quality, not quantity.

We also had some of my ginger beer. And that was what I call “fiery” without any doubt.

After they had left I went and sat down in the bedroom and that was that for about an hour or so. I was well away with the fairies, right out of it and it took me quite a while to come round to my senses, which is quite a surprise seeing as these days I don’t have all of that many senses to come to.

Later on when I recovered I went off and started the weekend’s cooking, hours late.

First task was the pizza. I’d taken some dough out of the freezer earlier and that was now defrosted so I kneaded it again, rolled it and stuck it into the pizza tray to proof again.

And while that was doing, I made myself another batch of kefir, with the last of the mandarines from Christmas. I used those cheap mechanical bottles that I’d bought a while back but replaced the seals with some of the spare ones that I have which were more substantial.

While I was at it, I set another batch off on its way ready for next week.

Some pastry was next and I made myself a jam pie with some of the leftover strawberry jam. And with the pastry that was left I made a quick apple turnover.

home made vegan pizza jam pie apple turnover place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now the pizza base was ready so while the pie and the turnover were baking I assembled my pizza. I had no fresh mushrooms so I drained a tin and dried them in the oven for 10 minutes. While the pizza was baking I fed the sourdough and the ginger mother solution.

Having had a big lunch, I wasn’t all that hungry so I only had a couple of slices of the pizza, and it was quite delicious. I’m going to have the rest with a baked potato one night this week. That should make quite a nice tea.

Tonight I’m going to bed early. There’s a radio programme to be prepared tomorrow of course and while I’ve already done some of it while I was away, it still needs a good deal of work.

And for some reason or other that I don’t quite understand, I’m feeling rather more optimistic about this coming week.

That’s a feeling that I can’t explain.

Tuesday 23rd February 2021 – I’VE BEEN BACKING …

… up my computer all afternoon – and a major back-up too, seeing as I haven’t done a proper back-up since August.

It’s not as bad as it sounds because I have a travel laptop that comes to Belgium with me, so that’s only at the most, 3.5 weeks behind. And then there’s a 128GB memory stick in a USB port and every night before I go to bed I copy all of the day’s data files onto it.

What I did do at one stage though was that at the end of the month I’d take a mirror of the data drive in this machine (it has 3 hard drives in it) and store it on an external hard drive. But I’ve not done that for a while, so I set about doing it this afternoon.

It’s also given me an opportunity to merge in some of the stuff off some of the more ancient back-up drives that I’ve had lying around here since as far back as 1999. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a year or so ago I went through all of them and uploaded them to one of the drives in this computer and little by little, I’ve been merging them all in.

That’s a job that’s destined to go on for ever too, but a fair-sized proportion was dealt with today.

We had another day of actually being up before the third alarm, and if I had actually put my mind to it, I could have beaten the first one. But with my Welsh lesson looming, I thought it important to at least have some semblance of a repose.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see if I’d been anywhere during the night. A few of us had been out walking last night and we came to a canal. It was the middle of winter and we were walking along the canal. Everything was frozen and it was really cold, and we were taking a few photos but I went just over a bridge and there we had the most glorious effect of the sun in the clouds and everywhere you could see, there was proper pack ice out in the sea. This was really the most incredible winter scene. I had never seen pack-ice like this. I ran back and fetched the others. There was a girl about 5 or 6 so I put her on my shoulders and we ran back. One was a woman from my Welsh course. We reached a place where we could see it but the sun had gone so the scene wasn’t half as gorgeous as it could have been. We climbed up the towpath on this bridge and had a look. We couldn’t see the really good view that I had seen 2 minutes earlier. Walking back, you could see some of it and I took a photo. It was just so disappointing because it had been so beautiful. I was disappointed for this little girl who I was going to show it too as well. The other 2 people with us, my course-mate and another girl, they were saying that the couldn’t see the photos on their camera after they had taken them because that was a function reserved for men, not for women. They had to upload them to their computer in order to see the finished effect. I said “pass your camera to me and I’ll try to do that for you to enable it to be seen by them.

It took me a while to summon up the energy to start my Welsh preparation. Not even a strong, hot coffee could get me to start up and so I was very unprepared for the lesson and it didn’t go all that well. But there’s an exam in June to test us on the work that we will have done by Easter and I’ve enrolled in it all the same.

And the laptop that I fixed over the weekend worked perfectly with a Zoom program for a whole 150 minutes.

This afternoon after lunch I started on the back-up of the computer and that’s absorbed most of my efforts today.

There was a break for my afternoon walk though.

picnic on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallToday has been a really beautiful day today. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

The tide was pretty far in and there wasn’t all that much room left on the beach. But there was still enough room for some people to have a picnic and a little play around among the rocks.

With the schools being on half-term this week, there were quite a few kids running around, all told. The car park just outside the apartment was swarming with them this afternoon. It was like playing rugby trying to dodge and weave between them on my way out

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe sea was quite rough too this afternoon, as you can see in this photo. There was quite a gale blowing yet again, as if we haven’t had enough wind right now.

With the tide being well in right now there were plenty of trawlers and other fishing boats either in or near to the harbour. I was lucky enough to see this trawler sailing in towards the port. No hordes of seagulls swarming around the hold but I bet that she has quite a good load on board this afternoon.

She’s not a boat that I recognise and I can’t read her name but she has a CH (Cherbourg) registration so she’s a local boat.

moon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I mentioned earlier, it was a beautiful afternoon, a bright blue sky with not a cloud in the sky.

And there was a nice moon too this afternoon so I took a photograph. I’d much rather photograph the moon in the dark but of course these days we aren’t allowed out after 18:00 and it looks as if that’s a state of play that’s going to continue for the foreseeable future. No matter what they do here, there’s no sign of the Virus abating.

With the sky being as clear as it was today, I wasn’t expecting anything at all of a light show in the Baie de Mont St Michel this afternoon, so I wasn’t disappointed. No ships or any other activity out there eitier so I carried on around the headland.

yacht lys noir chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd there’s a change of occupancy in the chantier navale.

We’ve seen the same four occupants in there for several weeks now but as I walked along the path at the top of the headland I could see a new arrival. Nothing particularly exciting like a large trawler or one of the charter boats that hang aronnd the harbour but a small pleasure yacht having a little work done upon it.

And despite the hive of activity going on around the big yacht yesterday, it’s still there and there doesn’t seem to be much change in its condition. There were a couple of people working on there this afternoon though so you never know.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s also another new arrival down there today – in the port.

Normandy Trader has been in once or twice recently but I’ve missed her, but this afternoon I was lucky enough to catch Thora who has come in from the Channel Islands. There’s still plenty of work for the two little freighters even if some of their freight has to be dropped off at St Malo due to the new Customs regulations.

Back here I had a hot coffee and carried on with the back-up and then had my hour on the guitar. I’ve been trying to work out the chords to Al Stewart’s “Swiss Cottage Manoeuvres”, a song that reminds me of a night that I spent not too long ago and about which, one of these days, I actually might write something when I can think of how to express it.

Tea was the rest of last night’s stuffing inserted into taco rolls followed by an apple turnover. And while it was cooking I fed the sourdough and the ginger.

But now I’ve stopped the back-up and I’m off to bed. I’m off to Leuven in the morning and I don’t feel at all like it.

Monday 22nd February 2021 – WELL THAT DIDN’T …

… work out as planned, unfortunately.

Fitting the new hard drive into the little Acer laptop went quite easily in the end, but I went for double or quits in changing the RAM while the laptop was in bits. Dismantling it further to access the RAM went fine enough, but in reassembling it, I broke a pin holder on one of the data ribbons. They were a lot more fragile than I was expecting.

The laptop switches on fine but no matter what, the screen won’t light up and there’s no evidence that the disk is working. I put the old disk back in and that’s noisy enough to be heard when it fires up, but that’s not doing anything either.

Tomorrow I’m going to take it apart and swap the RAM back and see if it’s a RAM fault. If it still won’t work, all that I can think of is that the pin holder that I broke isn’t for the touchpad but for something else more important.

It was a shame, altogether, because it was looking so good. But you can’t win a coconut every time.

What was even better was never mind the third alarm or even the second alarm, I actually beat the first alarm out of bed this morning. And it’s been a long time since that’s happened. And having prepared a pile of music when I was in Leuven last time, I bashed away at the Radio Programme straight away and by 12:15 I’d almost finished.

“Almost”, I said, because somewhere along the line I’d miscalculated and I’d over-run by a whole minute. So I had to sit all the way through it and edit out a whole minute’s worth of speech. Luckily there are always little bits here and there that are specifically designed to be edited out if necessary if the programme over-runs but by the time that I’d found an excess minute I was scraping the bottom of the barrel.

After lunch I attacked the little laptop and we all know how that went But while I was doing that I was downloading and printing out all of the paperwork that I need for Leuven this week. Including the Belgian Government’s Passenger Location Form. Now that they are checking them at the station I mustn’t forget to take it with me.

And, unsurprisingly given my early start, I had a little sleep during the course of the afternoon too.

We had the afternoon walk today of course.

le pearl trawler english channel islands jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a really thick, heavy grey cloud out there this afternoon. Anyone looking out there would have immediately known what is meant by “leaden skies”.

However, although the cloud ceiling might be low today, the view was nevertheless quite clear as far as distance goes. There was a trawler right out to sea just about within range so I took a photo of it and to my surprise, I could see in the background the island of Jersey and even the buildings of the town of St Helier.

And considering how far away the town of St Helier is, the buildings have come out quite clearly. One of these days I’m going to nip over there on one of the freighters and inspect things for myself.

drain place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was leaning over the sea wall looking out at the trawler and the buildings of St Helier in the background, I found something else that I hadn’t noticed.

There’s a grid somewhere along the footpath but I hadn’t really thought about where it went and where its outlet was. But today, I noticed that there’s a pipe running from from where the grid might be, out over the cliffs.

Not that the pipework is going to be doing much good because, as you can see, it’s seen much better days. And I’m also intrigued to wonder why they bothered to drill a hole to pass it through the rocks down there.

And it’ll be interesting to see what’s happening to it when it’s pouring down, because it doesn’t seem to drain the pathway very much.

people lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving satiated my curiosity with regard to the goings-on around the Place d’Armes I set off on my walk around the headland.

The schools are out this week so there were crowds of people walking around this afternoon. Not as many as there were over the weekend but the weather was so much nicer then, despite the high wind. It had dropped quite considerably today but the overcast weather and the cold weren’t conducive to hanging around out there for long.

And you can see the sky pretty well from here. It’s all heavy, grey and miserable although it’s quite clear away in the distance down the Brittany coast.

frogmen in zodiac english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallCrowds of people about on the footpath going up to the lighthouse at the Pointe du Roc but that wasn’t all that was going on either.

There was a zodiac roaring up and down the English Channel just offshore and what was bizarre about that was that there were three guys in wetsuits astride it. And I wouldn’t have been surprised if they had snorkels flippers and aqualungs to go with it too.

They went back and forth out there for a few times as I watched, but I wouldn’t see what they were trying to do and they weren’t leaping out into the water. But the zodiac looked like an official one to me, something that the forces of Authority might use.

Having seen a trawler out at sea in the English Channel I was wondering whether there might have been anything exciting going on in the bay, so I headed off that way to look.

cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing at all of any note, but we do have here a good example of how there are the heavy clouds in the sky but in the distance the view goes on for ever. The town of Cancale is quite clear over there this afternoon, silhouetted on the clifftop across the bay on the Brittany coast.

And over to the left at Cancale there is one of these builders’ tower cranes so someone is having some building work done over there.

And that’s really dismal in the sense that in the old days, they would have labourers, hod carriers and apprentices swarming up ladders carrying the bricks and tiles and the like. Nowadays with all of the automation there is no longer the demand for unskilled labour on a building site and it’s no wonder why there are so many unemployed people around.

Not everyone is able to be a financial consultant or a doctor or a telesales consultant.

people working on yacht chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe other day I mentioned that I’d seen a couple of people working away on the yacht in the chantier navale.

Today I walked on down the path on that side of the headland to see what was going on, and I was in luck because there they were again and I was lucky enough to catch them with the camera.

And there seems to be plenty of work going on with the hull at the moment. They seem to have patched it and it seems to be all masked off in places as if they are going to be doing some patchwork painting. That might account for them putting up that plastic sheeting at the side of it, if they are going to start on some respraying.

le pearl trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out there looking at whatever was going on in the port, the trawler that I had seen out there in the English Channel came sailing … “dieseling” – ed … around the headland.

What surprised me was that it was Le Pearl, the new trawler that arrived in port from the builders a few weeks before Christmas. In the few months that she’s been here, I haven’t yet seen her out at sea and as far as I’m aware she’s only been out the once. So seeing her out there, presumably having been out there working, is good news.

The flags that were waving around on her stern were of interest too. I was trying to work out what they were. They looked far too much like “Jolly Roger” pirate flags to me.

Maybe she’s been fishing in British waters.

aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving seen crowds on the paths around the headland and more crowds of people out at sea, it’s no surprise that there were also crowds in the air too.

A aeroplane went flying by overhead as I was there on the path overlooking the harbour. She was too high up for me to read her registration number and there were no details of any plane having taken off from the airport at Granville so I’ve no idea what she it.

Back here, I carried on with my less-than-productive work with the old laptop and when I’d finally abandoned my attempts I had a good play around on the guitars.

Tea was a stuffed pepper and rice followed by an old apple turnover from the freezer as afters.

Having finished my notes now I’m off to bed. I have my Welsh class tomorrow so I need to be on form. The photos from Sunday still haven’t been done yet so that looks as if it will be a job for when I’m in leuven later this week.

Not that I’m short of things to do, but it’s just one more raccoon skin on the wall.

Friday 8th January 2021 – TODAY WAS …

… the worst day so far of this little bout of ill-health that I’m having.

The alarms went off as usual and even though they awoke me and I was wide awake, I didn’t have the physical strength to leave the bed. It took me until about 09:15 before I could find the energy to leave the bed and for the next hour or two I was right out of everything.

When I finally pulled myself together I sat down and had a play with the dictaphone. And it seemed that I’d travelled miles during the night. Including one trip with one of my sisters, although I shan’t elaborate as you are probably eating a meal right now and I don’t want to spoil your appetite.

Somewhere along the line my wife and I had got back together and were living together. Things weren’t going too well and I had to be very careful about checking my post to make sure that no unexpected letters were being slipped in somewhere that I might have missed. I had to regularly keep an eye on the pile of paperwork for filing that nothing had been slipped in there. This caused one or two raised eyebrows when people started to work out what it was that I was actually doing. I had plenty of things to do the following morning but my brother was around living there I think talking about what we were going to do. He said that he needed some help to put some silencer paste on an exhaust and change a wheel over on his car. He showed me a wheel and the tyre had split. I had plenty of things to do myself that were pretty important but I would give him a hand for 10 minutes. One of the things that I needed was a new tyre for my car. I had a look at one that I had just taken off. It was completely perished and there was a huge split right across the canvas. I showed it to my brother and said “I wet down to London on this on Monday.

In the middle of all of this there was a story about me being in a lorry, a lorry driver and we were filming or rather watching a film of a route that someone had driven and I was trying to have some kind of indication or hints from this video about driving, a Youtube camera shot thing.

The third part of this was when I’d been working with something like Shearings or Adventure Canada and we were going on our Christmas Holidays. We’d each been given a place to go to. I’d been given a place that was only about 3 or 4 miles away from where we were which I thought was a bit miserable. I wasn’t very happy. I was sitting at a table with 3 or 4 old people and they were making jokes about Russian spies. One of them asked me a question “was I a Russian spy?”. I made some kind of sarcastic remark so he started to make a real issue out of this kind of thing. An old guy, Admiral of the Fleet or something. In the end I’d had enough of this. I stood up, threw down my napkin onto the table and said “I’ll tell you what. When I go from here I’m going to become a Russian spy and what I’m going to do will make you look a total and utter fool, and that’s not going to be difficult”. He went apoplectic. I stormed out. One thing that I’d noticed over the last few days that no-one was really speaking to me or giving me anything to do. Even a couple of girls whom I knew walked past. I said “hello girls” but they didn’t respond so I shouted “hello girls” and then they waved to me. 1 of the girls was coming with me. We were in the room where we were working and there was such a racket going on and suddenly one of the chairs caught fire. It had been right up against the heater and the heat had set it off. She switched a few switches and the noise immediately died down to just a noise. It was still annoying but a lot less than it had been. I realised that it had been the air conditioning or the heater fan or something that was blowing and making all of this noise. She was talking about the trip that we were going to go on, asking how long it was going to take us to get there and when would we be ready. I said that I’d be ready in half an hour because I’m not taking very much and if I’ve forgotten anything I can always come back here because we’re only round the corner anyway. I remember saying that the first thing that I’d be doing when I come back before I do anything else is to weld a sill on the red Cortina. That has its MoT very shortly.

As you can imagine, it took me an age to transcribe all of this and I haven’t really done all that much else. I did make the telephone call that I needed to make, only to find that with the Covid situation their office is only open Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The only other thing that I’ve done that can be classed in any way productive was something on the principle that if you can’t think of anything to do, or don’t have the energy to do anything, then just do something – anything – so I edited another pile of photos from Greenland in 2019. That’s not a productive day by any means, but I’m struggling with ill-health right now and I have to do what I can.

There were the usual interruptions today. Lunch of course with my delicious bread – and I forgot to mention that the fruit bread that I had with my hot chocolate this morning was delicious.

Another thing that I did was to peel, dice and blanch another kilo or so of carrots. They are in the freezer now freezing away to themselves.

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was the afternoon walk too, in the freezing weather. The temperature had dropped to 1°C overnight and had risen to about 3°C by this afternoon.

Not too many people out there today but one person who was there who I hadn’t seen for a while was our bird of prey – hovering around over the rocks at the headland looking for a tasty snack. He didn’t catch anything while I was there watching – perhaps I had disturbed the prey, I dunno.

So after a while, I cleared off and left him to it. I walked down along the path overlooking the chantier navale as usual but there was nothing going on there at all that hasn’t been going on before.

new door public conveniences pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days I talked about the new door on the public conveniences here.

Previously it was a kind-of roller shutter door, quite lightweight and it looked as if someone had kicked it in. And so they other day they came out and fitted a really heavy-duty sliding door instead. I’d love to see someone try to kick that one in.

However, as I mentioned earlier, there’s a design fault in it and they’ll be out to fix it again, sooner than you might think actually because there are already signs that it wont last long.

What they have done is put the staple for the padlock when the door is closed (on the right-hand side of the door itno the wall and cemented it. That means that any reasonably-sized iron bar can prize it off and there are signs that someone has already had a try. It needs to be in an L-shaped backing plate and screwed to the frame on the inner profile, so that no-one can get behind the screws to prize them out.

Back here I had a coffee and then carried on with some photos in rather a half-hearted fashion. I stopped for guitar practice of course, and that went somewhat better than last night.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOutside again in the freezing weather I set off for my walk – and four runs tonight. I’m slowly pulling myself up again.

It was too cold ro loiter around outside so I just took one photo of the Plat Gousset to say that I was out, and then I came back home – at a run again.

But to tell you the truth, there wasn’t anything else much to photograph tonight. It was singularly quiet, as it has been all day.

While I’d been out I’d turned on the oven again and was cooking a potato. When I came back I put a slice of pie in there and while I was at it, a frozen apple turnover. I cooked some veg and gravy too, and had pie with baked potato and veg and gravy, followed by apple turnover for tea. I’ll finish the apple crumble tomorrow.

Now that I’ve written my notes, I’m off to bed. Which is more than … gulp … 68,000 British people will be doing tonight. One person in every thousand in the UK has been diagnosed with Covid today. And apart from the 1325 who won’t be waking up tomorrow – a disgraceful record for a developed nation, my friend Erika from Atlanta and I were working out that in the USA the Death Rate from Covid is 1/59, yet in the UK, with its much-vaunted and magnificent NHS, the death rate is 1/37.

There’s something dreadfully wrong in the UK.

Friday 4th December 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change I had a lie-in today and didn’t leave my bed until about 07:30.

And it wasn’t necessarily through oversleeping either. When the alarms went off I was regaled by the sound of a torrential rainstorm and all kinds of wicked things going on outside and they certainly weren’t the kind of conditions conducive to constructive thought.

When I finally arose, I had my medication and then set a pile of lentils on the go in the slow cooker.

Back in the bedroom, I had a listen to the dictaphone. I was back at school last night. I had a girlfriend but one of my friends from school started dating her. After the first time he told me that he was going to be taking her out again. I told him that I wasn’t going to let that happen if I could. I would be taking her out. He started to turn all violent saying that he had all of the weapons arranged, all the oil and everything like that and he’d be dealing with it. But I stuck my ground and we ended up having this fierce argument.

Later on there was something to do with a dog. We’d come into possession of a dog for some reason. My brother, father and I were coming down Underwood Lane in Crewe and were talking about going to get some dog biscuits. We turned left into West Street but it wasn’t out of Underwood Lane but out of Minshull New Road. There was a pet shop right on the corner there so we stopped. But I couldn’t believe West Street. It was like the Blitz had hit it. Everything had been demolished and there was just the odd house here and there on the south side sticking up and a little Sprite 400 caravan with people living in it parked there with a washing line and a load of washing outside. We went into this shop and the woman asked what we wanted. My brother said that we were looking for dog treats. My father took out some money and it must have been a couple of hundred quid he brought out. I said “dad, what are you trying to do? Buy the shop or something?”. This woman put a pile of dog biscuits into a bag, this kind of thing and then a few packets of sweets, saying “this will do you right for Christmas” and charged I dunno about £20 or something for it. He took it and went outside but then started to give my brother a lecture about buying stuff. “What she’s probably done is given all kinds of stuff that aren’t suitable for the dog, stuff that’s past its sell-by date, all this kind of thing. We should have taken much more care about what we bought”. he started to go through it and found loads of stuff that wasn’t suitable. he decided that he would go back into the shop and renegotiate the deal. I was outside, looking at the road, how it went further on and zigzagged up this spectacular cliff like a wild west mesa or whatever. There were birds flying over there and a couple of dogs flying around. I thought that this was a really idyllic setting here but my brother and my father were in such a deep discussion about these dog biscuits that they failed to notice it.

By now, the weather had cleared up so I rinsed the lentils, put them back in with fresh clean water and flavouring, and then fried some onions, garlic, tofu and beans with more flavouring. When it was all cooked properly, I added it all to the slow cooker and left it in there to fester on “low”.

hailstones place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallGrabbing my rain jacket and the rest of my equipment I headed off outside for the shops.

And you can see here what was going on this morning. I thought at first that it was snow but in actual fact it was a mega-hailstorm that had descended upon us from a great height. Most of it had melted now but there were still a few vestiges left.

So leaving it at that, I set off into town. And before I’d gone a quarter of a mile the heavens opened again and I was absolutely, totally and thoroughly drenched. This was not what I was expecting at all. There had been blue skies 15 minutes earlier.

porsche 924 ford capri 280 gare de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall How long is it since we’ve had an old car on these pages? It must be a while, I reckon, so here are two for the price of one.

The red one is a Porsche 924, a model made from about 1976 to 1988. About 150,000 were made which was no surprise because for a Porsche, they were relatively affordable. However, it was its affordability and popularity that were its downfall because many people who bought one were mocked for being “nouveau riche” arrivists. Although the vehicle handled well, its actual performance was lamentable for a top-end sports car until they began to be fitted with turbos. And the turbos brought with them their own problems.

The blue one is much more like my car of course. A Ford Capri from the early 1980s, this one. It’s described as a “280” by which I imagine that it has the 2.8 litre V6 “Cologne” engine in it (Strider has a 4.0 litre Cologne engine in it). Of course, if I were to own such a car, which I wouldn’t turn down, it would be a black one and the V engine would be binned and replaced with a 2-litre Pinto engine

having done a lap around LIDL, then loaded up like a packhorse I headed for home. As well as the immense shopping list that I took with me, they also had a few Christmas dainties that I could eat and so as they won’t be there for ever, I grabbed a few.

new shop front bar la civette rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last few weeks we’ve seen them demolishing the facade of a bar, La Civette, in the Rue Paul Poirier, and then building a wooden wall around it while they worked inside.

It looks as if they’ve had the unveiling of the new facade since I last passed this way. It’s a big improvement on what was there before and, thankfully, it doesn’t resemble too much the other new facades going up around the town that all look the same.

And you can tell how the weather is doing right now. Teeming down with rain and it’s really dark. all of the lights oare on in the street, despite it being 11:00.

fresh fish stall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOf course it’s Friday, not Thursday, so there are different things going on in the street that I wouldn’t normally see when I’m out and about usually.

We’ve talked … “at great length” – ed … about the fishing industry in the town and all of the lorries and vans that go to the fish processing plant to cart away the catch. But some of the produce is sold locally and every Friday morning there’s a stall on the harbour where one of the local fishermen sells his catch.

Straight from the sea.

It’s a far cry of course from the fish market in Oostende that we have seen before but nevertheless it’s an interesting venture. Seafood doesn’t get any fresher than this.

Back here I had a hot chocolate and a slice of my chocolate cake, and then had to speak to Rosemary. She’d rung me up to say that she was having computer issues. So I had to talk her through a remote session in order to fix it.

My Diploma in Computing does come in handy some times even though it was 20 years ago since I obtained it.

After lunch I had a look at the pie filling that was simmering away in the slow cooker. Far too liquidy and so to bind it and make it nice and glutinous, a couple of handfuls of porridge oats went in and were stirred around. That should stiffen it up somewhat.

Once that was organised I went and carried on with some of the arrears from Central Europe.

heavy skies english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on it was time for me to go for my afternoon walk. And it was just as well that it had stopped raining.

But just look at the sky over there down the Brittany coast. When you consider just how nice it has been at times, this is rather depressing, isn’t it? This is what they call around here un ciel de plomb – a leaden sky. And you can see that it lives up to its description.

All that I can say is that I’m glad that I’m not out there at sea in all of that. The Brittany coast must be taking quite a pasting at the moment.

rainstorm ile de chausey english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver towards the Ile de Chausey it’s somewhat brighter, but there is still a terrific rainstorm cascading down on the population over there.

And the wind is blowing it my way so I don’t want to hang around here. I’m the only person out here walking and I can understand why if all of this weather suddenly arrives. So I clear off around the headland to see what’s on the other side.

And nothing of any significance over there either, except for more of the same. Nothing of note, apart from the usual, in the chantier navale. But by now the rain has arrived and it’s starting to fall quite heavily so I don’t want to hang around.

lorries port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut there’s something bizarre going on down in the loading bay in the port.

Those two lorries shouldn’t be there unless they are delivering, and if they are delivering, we are going to be having an interesting nautical arrival down there pretty soon. I wonder what it might be. Still, we’ll find out in de course I suppose.

Musing on that for a moment, I turned and headed on home and a nice hot mug of coffee. And I can’t say that I didn’t deserve it. By now the rain was teeming down once more and I was soaked to the skin again.

Back here, I switched off the slow cooker and emptied the contents out to cool. A nice glutinous sticky filling. Just what I wanted.

So I made my pastry and put it in my mould. And when the filling had cooled down properly, I filled the pie base and made a pie lid out of some of the remaining pastry. With the pastry that was left, I made a quick apple turnover.

Now it was time for my session on the guitars. And I spent much of the time trying (and eventually succeeding) in working out the chords to Richard Thompson’s “Keep Your Distance”.

I’ve been feeling quite nostalgic for certain events that occurred over three nights on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour that one day I might talk about when I’m in the mood. There are a couple of lines in that song that really are quite relevant.

Half way through the proceedings with the guitar I’d switched on the oven and started off the pie and the apple turnover. Now, having finished the guitar, I came in and did a huge mound of washing up.

vegan tofu pie apple turnover Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were some potatoes left so I had put those in the oven too so I sorted out some veg – sprouts, carrots and runner beans, and put them in a small pan and cooked them in some gravy with some herbs.

Eventually the pie was done – at least on top. I wished that I had cooked it lower down in the oven and not on a metal tray as I had done. It’s a mistake that I always make, cooking too high in the oven and having a heat deflector underneath doesn’t help anything either.

But it actually tasted delicious and there are another 7 slices for the freezer for a later date. The apple turnover was impressive too. That worked really well.

It was time for me to go out on my evening walk and runs so I hit the streets, straight into the biting wind that made running almost impossible.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNevertheless I pushed on as well as I could but I eschewed the route down on the footpath under the walls due to the bad weather. And as it was by now raining quite heavily I carried on the route that I took yesterday.

From up on the Place de l’Isthmus I could hear the waves crashing down onto the promenade at the Plat Gousset so I wandered down the steps of the Escalier du Moulin a Vent to have a look at what was happening.

It was certainly wild out there. And it’s hard to believe that we are still a fair way away from high tide. What this is going to be like in an hour’s time will be anyone’s guess, but it certainly would be something to see.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut not for me, unfortunately. By now the rain was coming down in sheets and I was being soaked to the skin.

Braving the weather, I stuck it out just long enough to take a second photograph and then ran all the way across the Square Maurice Marland in the general direction of home.

Just for a change, I took the shortest route possible. I’d had my walk out to the shops and back, my afternoon stroll and now my evening runs so I was quite confident that I’d done enough today.

rue st jean place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallComing back the short way, I ended up in the Rue St Jean. And I reckoned that I haven’t taken a photo down here at this end for quite some considerable time. I’d better put that right.

And you can see the weather in this photograph. teeming down with rain and everywhere soaking wet. Including me.

And the Place Cambernon just down there with the Christmas lights peering around the corner.

having done that, I ran on home to write up my notes. 147% on the fitbit is good enough for me today.

Shopping at LeClerc and Noz tomorrow. And there will probably be other things that I need but which I’ve forgotten that I’ll remember when I return home. That always happens to me.

Wednesday 2nd December 2020 – THIS IS MY …

failed chocolate cake apple pie apple turnover Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… first culinary disaster for quite some time.

The apple pie and apple turnover that were in the fridge awaiting baking have turned out quite well but the chocolate layer cake has, unfortunately, flopped. And I do mean “flopped”.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the last time I made a chocolate cake with this vegan brownie mix recipe, it was far too thick, took about three times longer to cook, and then was totally crisp on the outside and very soft in the middle.

And so today I had a cunning plan. I cooked it in a long, wide dish so that it was quite shallow and thus would cook quickly, then I cut it in half, spread one surface of each half with strawberry jam; and then stuck them together. And in the meantime I had a go at making some icing..

But what happened was that the cake collapsed, rather like the edge of a cliff crumbling off, and the icing ended up being too liquidy. For the icing, it was possible that the cake hadn’t cooed down enough and caused the icing to melt, and that also might be part (but not all) of the reasons why the cake collapsed.

On the other hand, it could simply be that the mixture isn’t intended for this kind of construction. I’ll have to go to a Plan B which involves making individual little cakes in their own cake moulds. I have a batch of those.

But they say that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. And despite how it looks, the sample that I tried tasted 100 times better than the previous one. I seem to have the quantities correct this time and used the correct oil.

So plan B it will be next time, with this same mix, and see where we go from there.

And the proof of the pudding about my sleeping is also in the eating because this morning I was up and about (well, sort-of-ish anyway) before the third alarm, and that’s despite not being in bed until well after 01:00.

After the medication, I turned my attention to what went on last night while I was asleep. I remember waking up saying that I received a notice to quit the defensive wall as I was being moved out of my position because some attacking football team wanted to install a defensive wall. However I couldn’t understand what this was to do with as I don’t recall anything at all. There was some vague chat about baking and so on and me being in a similar situation to which I am now but that’s about it. I don’t know where this footballing thing came from.

And the more that I look at it, the less I understand about what I was actually discussing during the night. But that’s the one thing about these little rambles. Very often they make no sense whatsoever and it’s always interesting to try to work out what (if anything) was going on in my head.

While I was at it, I transcribed the mountain of arrears that had built up over the last few days. I’ll try to put those on line sometime this week too.

And then the cookery session which took up almost all the rest of the morning and I didn’t even have my mid-morning break which was a shame. The colza oil was much better and lighter than the olive oil and I used less cocoa because mine is too sweet. As well as that, I put a few handfuls of desiccated coconut in there too – I’m a big fan of coconut as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Anyway, we’ll have a formal tasting session tomorrow when I come back from the shops, and I’m sure that I won’t be disappointed.

After lunch I’ve been working on the arrears of the journey to Central Europe and at least I made some progress so I can’t complain too much.

fishing boat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut then of course it was time to go out for my afternoon walk. And several neighbours of mine were there today too and I couldn’t really get away from them for quite a while.

But eventually I managed to extricate myself and go over to the wall to look out across the sea. And there was a fishing boat coming back into port. It’s that time of day again, obviously.

Apart from my neighbours, there weren’t all that many other people out there. I walked on to the headland and then seeing as there was no-one else about I ran down along the path on top of the cliffs overlooking the port.

fishing boats coming into port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was nothing new happening in the chantier navale. Still the same two boats and that was that.

And so I turned my attention to what was going on down at the Fish Processing Plant. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when they dredged the harbour a few years ago they dredged a little channel up by the wharf at the fish processing plant so that the smaller craft can come into port even when the tide is quite low.

And sure enough, down there right now it must just be the right moment because there’s a queue of them. They have been waiting outside the harbour but as I watched, they started up and headed in to unload their catches.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s another visitor in port right now too and if you can peer through the gloom (because it was dark, overcast and misty) you can see Thora down there at the quayside underneath the loading crane.

She must have nipped in on the previous tide and hadn’t quite made it out again. But what I find intriguing is that if you compare this photo with all of the others that I’ve taken of her, you’ll find that she’s turned round.

Both she and her friend Normandy Trader tied up port-on and I’ve never seen them do any other in that loading bay, until today. But why it’s unusual with Thora is that she has her superstructure offset to one side – the starboard side – so moored as she is, they have to load and unload over the superstructure.

And that will be rather unfortunate if the load slips in the cradle as it’s up in the air.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving admired Thora for a while I turned tail and headed for home.

When I’d set out, the roofers were still out there on the roof so I’d made up my mind to photograph them. But in the time that it had taken me to do my lap around the headland they’d all cleared off and gone home. And as for me, I cleared off home too and made a nice hot coffee.

This evening I had my usual hour on the guitars. On the bass I just had a play around and a sing-along. On the acoustic I tried to play a lead solo to “Like a Hurricane”. That might sound adventurous but at the moment all I’m doing is, I suppose to pluck the strings individually while I’m holding down the chords.

Still, it’s progress from a while ago.

Tea was taco rolls and more apple pie, which really is delicious, I have to say. In fact it really was a good tea tonight.

trawler place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving had a little chat with my friend who is now well on the road to recovery I went out for my evening runs. And I was the only person out there tonight which is no surprise because it was raining.

And on my own I might have been on land, but there was some kind of activity out at sea. When I finished the first leg of my run I stopped at the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord and looked out to sea where I could see what looked to be a fishing vessel on its way around the headland towards port.

It’s not really possible to take much of a distance photo with a f1.8 50mm lens so it’s not come out with very much and I had to have three or four goes to get that one.

christmas lights place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom there I ran on down the Rue du Nord towards the footpath underneath the walls, but ended up having to go back and retrace my steps.

As I’d gone past one of the little alleys I’d glanced down and seen that at last they’ve illuminated the Christmas lights in the Place Cambernon. It makes the place look really pretty, but it’s a shame that with the lockdown there was no-one else but me there to see it.

Back on the footpath I ran all the way down to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch, but there was nothing going on there as you might expect.

christmas lights rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut with the Christmas lights being illuminated in the Place Cambernon, it’s odds-on that they will be illuminated elsewhere too.

Like down in the Rue Paul Poirier, for example. And I was right too. They’d switched them on too and from up here on th path just underneath the walls there’s a good view all the way down the street. One of these days I’m going to have to go for a good walk all around the town with the camera late at night and see what’s going on.

But that’s not going to be any time soon. With the lockdown we aren’t allowed to stray too far from home except for shopping and that isn’t done after dark of course. So we’ll have to see.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route took me across the Square Maurice Marland where I had a good run, and then up the ramp and through the gate at the far end up onto the walls.

And the fishing boat that we saw earlier? She’s now just about coming into port and at the same time there was another one making ready to leave, so we were treated to yet another nautical danse macabre as they waltzed around each other trying to avoid a tragedy.

So with no collisions or shipwrecks and nothing else to provide some entertainment this evening, I wandered off around the walls on my way home.

christmas lights place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot before I’d had another look at the lights in the Place Cambernon.

By now they were blue so they must have some kind of time controller there. It’ll brighten up the place and make it look very Christmassy, but I wish that they would refresh the decorations instead of using the same ones every year. Why can’t they swap with neighbouring towns? That’s what I want to know.

So I finished my walk and ran on the final leg home to write up my notes and then go to bed.

Shopping tomorrow so I need to be on form. After all there’s plenty to do and not enough time. But at least it was a better day today. Apart from the cake of course.

Monday 30th November 2020 – WHAT I SAW …

fog college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… when I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last night when I was out and about on my travels I noticed the fog creepign in to cover the harbour. When I went out for my afternoon walk you can see that not only did arrive, it stayed around too and slowly settled on the town. That fog isn’t going anywhere at all.

As for how long it has been there, I can’t really say. That’s because this morning when I left the warmth and comfort of my own bed, it was still dark. Despite not going to bed until 01:00 or thereabouts, I still managed to beat the 3rd alarm. And that’s quite impressive these days.

After the medication I listened to the dictaphone (I haven’t forgotten that there is still Sunday’s to do)

One of my sisters and I were together. We were the only 2 in the house and I’d made tea. I’d served it all up and set it out and we ate it. But I must have dozed off in the dream because I didn’t remember very much. But I suddenly awoke with a start and remembered that there was pudding to eat. I went to put the pudding out, a fruit pie type of thing. I cut a slice off and put it n a bowl for her and went to get the coconut dessert stuff for her, but found that she wasn’t there. I went into the living room and she was there drinking a cup of tea in the dark. I asked her why she hadn’t awoken me to tell me that there was pudding. She said she just fancied a cup of tea and came in to sit down.

On a couple of occasions in the same dream (which dream do I mean? Have I missed something?) we were on a bus and I think that we must have done the same route twice. We were basically divided into 2 groups, the bus did one and then the other. There were these 4 Asian girls on there and 1 in particular caught my eye. She was gorgeous. Whoever I was with was a woman but only a friend, not a girlfriend. I made a beeline for this Asian girl as much as I could and we ended up sitting side by side on the seats at the back chatting. Then they stopped to take a couple more but everyone else got on and the bus was crammed. They were talking about they’d been out yesterday somewhere and I’d deliberately not gone on this particular group because I didn’t want to make it too obvious that I was after her. This girl was saying that they’d been doing some kin0n of primitive wrestling and was talking about the guys who wrestled with her. I thought “I missed my chance there didn’t I? I should have gone all the same regardless”. We drove out of this town up a hill past some fortifications and an old castle. For some reason I thought that it was Durham which was strange because it was a seaside town. Then we were walking somewhere on this railway viaduct and to get down we had to jump or else it was a really long and involved scramble. The jump was about 30′. The first time, the people who were with us just jumped down and I had to scramble my way around but the 2nd time there were just 3 of us, me, this woman I was with and this Asian girl. The woman I was with just took a running leap, leapt off and landed in a pile of dust and she said to this Asian girl “are you going to jump off?” She replied “yes” and she jumped. The woman I was with said “what about you, Eric?” I said “come on – with my knees?” (when I was an adolescent I’d broken my knees on three occasions – twice on motor bikes and once skiing, or was it the other way around?) and I mentioned her name – it was the wife of a friend from the Wirral so I went to scramble down. But suddenly out of nothing an Asian guy with a little baby sitting on his shoulders, he just ran down this embankment, which I thought was extremely dangerous, I wouldn’t have considered it, but he just ran down with this baby on his shoulders and made it look so easy.
One of the things that we were discussing was names of towns. She asked what was the English name for Abertawe (it’s Swansea by the way). For some unknown reason I didn’t really want to tell her, I don’t know why. Someone else piped up with a few long explanations that were totally wrong but I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t going to say anything to this girl about this.

There was much more to it than this but as you are probably eating your tea right now I’ll spare you some of the gory details.

pointing wall foyer des jeunes travailleurs place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst task once I got myself going was to deal with the sourdough that had been festering overnight.

But not before my attention was diverted by a noise outside. I’ve seen a van and a workman here on a few occasions just recently. It looks as if it’s a “nothing much else to do” job of cleaning out and repointing the old medieval walls near the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs. If you peer through the trees you can just about make out his flourescent jacket.

he was here for an hour or so raking out the joints, and then he cleared off. Next time it goes quiet, he’ll be back, I bet, to do another hour’s worth.

So I kneaded the sourdough again for about 15 minutes and shaped it, and then put it in a mould for the second stage of rising. Then I went back to attend to the radio programme that I’d started yesterday, armed with a mug of hot chocolate and a slice of my chocolate cake.

Round about 11:00 I knocked off and went to see how the bread was doing.

It hadn’t risen up all that much but it will have to do. I switched on the oven to warm up and while it was doing its stuff, I made an apple pie. Plenty of pastry left over so I made a much smaller one as well and whatever was left I prepared an apple turnover.

When the oven was nice and hot, the loaf went in, and when the apple pie was made, that followed it.

No room for the little pie and the turnover, unfortunately. They went in the fridge for whenever I bake my next cake. I really do need a bigger, better oven and I really am going to have to look into that pretty soon.

While everything was doing, I fed the sourdough and did the washing-up, a whole mountain of it too with everything that I’d been preparing.

home made apple pie sourdough loaf Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually, the oven pinged and switched itself off and I went to see how everything had done. The bread was rather depressing. It hadn’t risen all that much, and was rather lopsided, which I suspect points to uneven heating of my oven, even with a circulating fan.

On the other hand, the apple pie looks done to perfection and I’m quite impressed with that.

But as for the bread, it might not look all that much, but in fact it was exactly as it should be as regards texture. And it tasted delicious too when I had some for lunch, still warm out of the oven with my home-made hummus and salad.

It’s a shame that I can’t make it look nicer.

After lunch I finished off the radio programme and then I went for my journey into the unknown, my woolly hat on top of my woolly head. It’s winter.

seafarers monument pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhatever was going on out at sea, I couldn’t see it. It was pointless trying to do anything about that.

One of the things that I did though was to go and look at the seafarers’ monument to see if the wreaths are anything to do with commemorating any of the disasters. But apparently not. The two disasters that are commemorated on there are 23rd December and 10th January.

Having dealt with that, I went for a walk along the path on top of the cliffs to se what was happening in the chantier navale but that was rather a waste of time.

refrigerated lorry fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther along the path I could hear a racket coming from the direction of the Fish Processing Plant.

One of the refrigerated lorries that calls in there was just leaving and eventually, it came out of the gloom and onto the main road. I’ve no idea what it might have on board though because I wouldn’t have imagined that there would have been too many fishing boats out in this weather.

Groping my way through the clag I made my way back home for a nice hot mug of coffee. I felt like I deserved it after all of this.

The hour on the guitars passed quite happily. And I found that I’m beginning to ejoy playing the bass again, especially as I can now sing as I’m playing. A couple of weeks ago I spent some time trying to work out the bass solo in the chorus of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream”. Today I spent almost all of my little bass guitar session trying to sing in time to it.

It’s not at all easy but eventually I found that I could do it, although I’m going to need a lot more practice at it. The first time that I’ve really been able to do this for about 40 years.

Tea tonight was stuffed pepper. The stuff that I’m using instead of bulghour or quinoa is really different with a much better taste. And as for my apple pie, it was delicious

donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I went out for my evening walk and runs. By now the weather had changed. we had quite a strong wind,, the fog had gone from the immediate vicinity and it was raining.

With the fog having lifted somewhat, the view down the coast was fairly clear as far as I could see. The lights of the promenade at Donville les Bains were quite visible tonight from the viewpoint along the walls where I stopped for a breather.

Only one or two people wandering about so I managed all of my runs. And things might be looking up a little because instead of breathing in fours, on a few occasions I was breathing in sixes and once or twice in eighths A far cry of course from 25 years ago when I started running again and I was breathing in eighths for miles after only about a fortnight. I won’t ever reproduce that but it’s nice to think that just occasionally I can do it.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was much clearer in the port tonight too. Although there were no boats about and nothing moored up in the unloading bay, it made quite a nice photograph.

There was nothing else going on anywhere so that was the only other photo that I took. After my walk around the walls, I ran on home in the rain to write up my notes and then to have an early night.

Tomorrow I have my Welsh lesson so I have to organise myself and so I also need a nearly start. In the afternoon I’m going to have a go at baking another cake and as I have a recipe for biscuits and everything that I need, I might have a go at that too.

But let’s have this early night first.

Sunday 22nd November 2020 – I KNOW THAT …

… Sunday is a Day of Rest, but I do have to say that 12:30 is taking this to absurd lengths. So much so that I’m giving serious thought to setting an alarm for 10:00 on a Sunday morning just to remind myself that I have plenty of other things that need doing during the day too.

I could easily understand it if I hadn’t gone to bed until 05:00 or 06:00 (which has sometimes been the case) but going to bed at 23:30 is early by my standards. All I can say is that I must have been tired.

Plenty of time for me t go on a variety of travels, and so it comes as something of a surprise to learn that last night I didn’t go all that far. I’d been in France with Terry and we had to come back to the UK. Terry had his motorbike so we decided that we would go back on his motorbike. I remember that for some reason I was sitting on the front seat but he was sitting on the rear but he was driving. We made sure that we had absolutely everything and we set off. In no time at all we ended up back in Crewe and I don’t remember anything about the journey back except for tiny bits here yet we must have gone on the ferry, we must have stopped for fuel, all this kind of thing and surely did I fall asleep on the motorbike? He replied “yes, it took up 5 hours to come back”. I thought that that was absolutely astonishing. Anyway I ended up at home and had a few letters to post. I thought “I can do that tomorrow” so I went to the Bridge Inn at Audlem to see Alan Findlay. He wasn’t there so I thought that I’d take Liz Ayers with me there because there’s a woman in the bar who was her spitting image and it would be interesting to see their reactions if they were to see each other. But she didn’t come and this woman was looking more like Liz all the time. Then I met another couple of women who looked like her as well. I thought “God, if only Liz had been here this ould have been great”. I eventually tracked Alan Findlay down at his house and did what I had to do. That was when Liz had committed suicide and that was totally astonishing and the thought came over that she had had such a good time in France that to go back to the UK was bound to be an issue particularly with the health problem that she had.

But all of this is certainly weird. Liz Ayers popping up during the night and also Alan Findlay, a name from the past about 45 years ago and about whom I haven’t really thought all that much (if anything) ever since then.

So having wasted half a day there wasn’t really all that much to say about today. By the time that I’d sat down by the computer it was 13:00 and by the time that the paperwork was done it was about 14:00. That didn’t leave me much time because at 15:00 I had a Zoom meeting.

One of my friends, Jem Stuart, is an established poet and it was the launch of his latest book of poetry “No Limericks Left Overnight In This vehicle” today and he was having a “Zoom” party to celebrate. His sister has been a friend of mine for about 50 years ever since she was dating a friend of mine at school and so I’ve been following his career with some interest since we made contact again about 5 years ago. There were about 20 of us there and we had a good chat while he read some of his poems and told us a little story about them.

contemplating the ocean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat took me up to walkies time. Rather later than usual, but never mind.

There were several people out there walking around, and a group of them were pointing at something out on the rocks. At first I thought that it was a cormorant or a heron perched upon a rock but in actual fact, having enlarged the photo on returning home, I could see that it was someone quietly contemplating the state of the nation.

Not that I have too much time to do anything like that of course. If I’m not sleeping I’m working and I don’t really have the time to sit and relax. There are only so many hours in the day, and so many days in the year. And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I don’t have many of them left. I want to get up-to-date before I shuffle off this mortal coil.

lighthouse sunset pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd so accordingly I continued on my way along the path on top of the cliffs.

It was so late when I went out that the sun was on the verge of setting. A far cry from the days when I’d be out at 21:30 and 22:00 and the sun was still visible in the sky. The sun was so low in the sky that it had plunged the reverse side of the lighthouse into pitch-black.

There’s a project simmering away in the back of my head right now and I need a photo like this to illustrate a point that I will be making. So no time like the present.

sunset cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound at the end of the Pointe du Roc on the headland overlooking the Baie de Mont St Michel and the town of Cancale over on the Brittany coast, the view was even better.

What was really nice was seeing the church at Cancale (on the horizon on the left of the image) and the Ile des Landes (on the right) silhouetted right in the full light of the sun as it was shining through the hole in the clouds over there.

In actual fact, the whole effect was quite pleasing, in a different way from the other day when the sun was higher in the sky.

From there I tried a little run along the path on the clifftop on the other side but encountered only too soon a group of other people so I slowed down to a sedate walk and came on home.

Back here, it was time for baking and I do have to say that it was not a success. In fact, probably my first culinary disaster. The pie base worked well enough, and so did the apple turnover with the rest of the pastry. But the Chocolate brownie mix that I tried went totally wrong. it said “bake for a maximum 30 minutes” but I’d only made about 3/4 of the mixture and as the oven is rather unreliable I put the time at 35 minutes and 15°C over. Even so, when I pulled out the cake mould to check it at the end, I poured half of the liquid all over the floor.

Even 70 minutes didn’t bake it thoroughly so I dunno. I know that my oven isn’t up to much but I would have expected it to have been better than this. I’ll have to write it off to experience.

It goes without saying that, once more, there wasn’t time to make a sourdough loaf. I might start that tomorrow after I finish my radio recording if there is time.

Tea was a vegan pizza of course. I attacked that with gusto and it was good enough, and so I checked the pie base into which I had added the fresh raspberries and agar-agar before tea. And that hadn’t set either. In the end I resorted to some very thick custard to complete the task.

All in all, not a very good cookery day today. Instead I went out for a run, far later than usual as I was running really late, what with one thing or another.

rue jules michelet avenue de la liberation Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhat was good about this was that there was no-one else around so I could run to my heart’s content, at least, as far as my health will let me. And my fourth leg brought me as usual to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch. We’ve seen a few photos from here just recently, but I don’t think that we’ve seen the back of the square.

On the immediate left is what I think might have been an old hotel but is now a Convalescent home (in which, apparently are several Covid patients brought from elsewhere) and to the right is the Rue Jules Michelet, probably the steepest street in France I reckon.

Just imagine what it must have been like trying to take a horse and cart up there 150 years ago. Today, traffic goes up the serpentine Avenue de la Liberation to the right and cover three times the distance to arrive at the same spot.

tree square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route home includes a trip through the Square Maurice Marland.

By the memorial to Maurice Marland, which regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing on numerous occasions, there’s a solitary tree which has some lights set in the ground around it. Today those lights were actually illuminated and the effect was so eerie that I stopped to take a photo of it.

No-one about calling their dogs tonight so after I finished my walk around the walls I ran on home, rather late.

So despite it being still a little early and that I had a late start to the day, I’m off to bed. Back to work tomorrow and I really must press on instead of idling about like I seem to be doing these days.

There’s a radio show to do of course, and I need tocheck on another one that is due to be broadcast because I think that I need to make some changes to it.

And bread to bake too, and maybe something else if my chocolate cake has turned out to be a total failure.

It’s all go around here, isn’t it? When was the last time that I sat down to read a book or watch a film? I really can’t remember, it was so long ago.

Tuesday 20th October 2020 – AFTER ALL …

… of the exertions over the last few days I failed miserably this morning.

Never mind the third alarm – it was 07:20 when I left the bed – more than an hour of the day wasted.

And when I listened to the dictaphone I recoiled somewhat too. All of these notes to transcribe. I was running the taxis and there was Doreen, Nerina and mme running the taxis on Saturday night. A job came in to go somewhere way up north and I Do mean way up north. In the end they decided that I should go, and go on a motorbike and that some other driver should come in. I went on my motorbike all the way up to the far north of Scotland to drop off this package and came all the way back. By now it was starting to get light next morning. I’d arranged to pick up Percy Penguin up after work so I guessed that she would still be asleep in her shop. I tried to ring her but my mobile phone wouldn’t work so I just went on round there anyway and she let me in. By now she had transformed into an old black woman who was going to come home with me to the taxi office. She had a couple of big bags of shopping and it ended up with me having to carry them. I was pretty much weighed down. When I got home Doreen was still there. She said that she was glad that she sent me on the motorbike because they’d been really busy throughout the night and had a really good night working non-stop. I had a quick glance through the sheets and saw that there was some ROF work there. I thought “did we have a contract with ROF these days? We used to”. She said “oh no, that’s some tuition that Nerina and I have been doing. We’ve been teaching some people from there”. Later on I was walking home through the streets of Brussels. There was a motorbike shop. It was pretty late at night/early in the morning type of going home but this place was open so I went in. I had a little sit on a Honda 50, a play-around and it transformed itself into a big motorbike. We ended up a group of us talking about motorbikes. Someone prepared some kind of soup and someone drank it. But someone warned “no, no, don’t drink that soup” but she drank it and transformed into soe kind of evil persona. We had to be very careful about what we’d do. But then a couple there said to another woman “come on, we have to go down to the Isle of Thanet to do something”. So they took her away. When she came back she was about 12 feet tall and her upper part was like a metal rod with a metallic design like a hollow shield for a head and also quite evil. It turned out that almost every one of these people had been transformed into some kind of evil thing through a drink or through a soup. So I started throwing the soup on the floor and drinks on the floor to break the bottles so they wouldn’t have to drink it but these people were laughing saying “Oh God it’s far too late now. You’re all going to be absorbed”. It led to a bit of a chase around this place. There was something too about a cake in an oven. I was eating a cake, the type of fruit loaf bread that I make. Meantime I was putting something else in the oven. People were wondering about that and having a laugh but someone else said “Eric? Ohh yes he really does bake and his baking is really quite good” which shut a few people up. But this battle thing with these weird people carried on until in the end there was only me and I couldn’t find anyone else who was sane. It was going to be a really stressful kind of situation. It’s no wonder that I awoke in a feverish sweat yet again.

But there was much more to it but I can’t remember any more now. And after all of that it’s probably just as well.

It left little time for any revision of my Welsh and as a result the lesson was something of a disaster. And I wasn’t the only one either. We were given part of a sample test paper for our exam and we all made a right mess of it. Mind you, we went 1 hour 50 minutes before we stopped for a break and my head had long-since turned to jelly by then.

Mind you, that’s not a surprise. There’s something – and someone – on my mind today. And it brings back memories of three late night evenings in, of all places, on the deck of a ship in the High Arctic where I changed the habits of a lifetime.

As Kris Kristofferson once wrote, “I’ll give all my tomorrows for a single yesterday”. And I will too!

But enough of my being all maudlin now of all moments. I won’t get anywhere dwelling on the past like this.

At lunch I finished off the last of the bread and the last of the hummus so it looks as it it’s going to be another food-making day too tomorrow morning. One thing that has also finished a long while ago is the ginger and lemon drink. That’ll have to be something else on the list too.

This afternoon I’ve had an exciting task.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I bought a new computer in something of a hurry in North Dakota last August when the little travelling Acer gave up the ghost. It was a sale item from Walmart heavily reduced but it came with Walmart’s splash screen and everything else on it that annoyed me but which I didn’t have the time right them to fix.

As I went along, I patched it here and there but it still wasn’t satisfactory so being fed up and having nothing better to do I did a “system restore” to “factory settings” and that involved deleting everything off the hard drive and starting again to reinstall everything.

And when I say “reinstall”, I say that advisedly because after about 6 hours of work it’s done about 88% of the operating system, never mind anything else.

repairing roof rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the middle of all of this, while the computer was festering away, I went out for my afternoon walk.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago in the Place du parvis Notre Dame we saw them set up a series of scaffolding in order to repair a roof on a house there. Today, they are attacking the side of the house that’s in the Rue St Jean.

And they aren’t using any scaffolding either apparently down the side of the house. All of the material seems to be being lifted up by the big machine there and that’s going to cause a few problems if something big comes down there.

Wednesday and Thursday we’ve been promised storm-force winds here (as seems to be usual these days). I don’t fancy being up there on a roof when they are lashing about. And I don’t fancy walking underneath where the guys are working either when there’s a wind blowing all of their stuff away.

peche a pied Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were crowds of people wandering around today taking in the air and I ended up chatting to one of my neighbours at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord.

After he had gone I had a look down onto the beach to see what was going on. The peche à pied is still in full swing as far as the tourists go. There were several more out there in amongst the rocks scavenging for what they could find.

As well as that, we had people milling around, walking their dogs, playing sports or even just taking in the air. After all, although the weather was cold and windy, it wasn’t unpleasant.

Marité Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe crowd had thinned out by the time that I reached the Square Maurice Marland so I had a good run across to the other side to rack up a bonus run.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday the harbour was empty – of water and of boats. Today though we have the water back, and also the boats. Marité has returned and is moored in her little corner again.

So I carried on along the walls and as there was no-one in the street I ran on home again. I may as well clock up some extra metres on my way around when I can.

Back here I carried on with the laptop and then had a break when Rosemary rang me up. While I was in the Auvergne in July I had set “certain steps” in motion and, much to my surprise, they had actually come to fruition . That means some more outlay and I have to do it because it involves several other people.

Tea tonight was veggie balls with steamed veg and vegan cheese sauce – thoroughly delicious. And the other half of my apple turnover was even better. It’s the best one that I have ever made and I’m really impressed with that.

Trawler English Channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy walk this evening was something of a surprise.

Well, not my walk, but my run. I was feeling much more like it tonight, much looser, and I ran on past my mark on my first leg with some comparative ease. Down to the clifftop and there was a trawler way out to sea with its bright lights blazing. Too good an opportunity to miss even though it won’t come out well.

It’s probably 5 miles out to sea as well so all in ill it’s not bad at all seeing as it was the f1.8 50mm lens. I’ll settle for that.

Fishing Boats Unloading Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo-one around at all, except for a couple of kids on the car park so I could do my third leg in peace.

At the viewpoint over the harbour where I stop to recover my breath, I could see all of the activity going on at the Fish Processing Plant. The fishing boats are starting to come back into harbour and there were already two of them down there unloading, with a couple more on the way.

One had carried on into the harbour but I missed her. Presumably she’s going to unload at the other side. But never mind. This one has come out OK so I’m not disappointed.

Chantier Navale Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIf I turn my head to the right I can also see into the Chantier Navale.

And here we have a change of occupant yet again. The new little boat that arrived a couple of days ago has now gone but we have been joined instead by a large yacht that bears a striking similarity at this angle to Spirit of Conrad, the boat on which we went down the coast a few months ago.

Of course in this light, it’s not possible to say with any certainty. I’ll have to wait until it’s light and have another look.

And so I ran on the rest of the way home, doing it in two legs as usual but even did an additional lap of honour round the building to push up the total even more.

Now that my notes are written and I’m off to bed. But before I do, just a quick “hi” to someone who made a dramatic reappearance this morning. I’ll be in touch as soon as I can organise myself, whenever that might be.

Sunday 18th October 2020 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

Vegan Pizza Home Made Apple Pie Apple Turnover Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… a baking day. And sure enough, I went with an apple pie in the end.

But first of all, there was the pizza dough to organise. I left it rather wetter than I otherwise would have done and quite frankly, it went up like a four-bob rocket. I’ve never ever had dough rise quite like this before.

Then I attacked the apple pie. Pie crusts made as normal, with sliced apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, desiccated coconut, sultanas, brown sugar and lemon juice. And when I’d but the top on the pie, I brushed it with soya milk and sprinkled with more brown sugar

With the pastry that was left over (and there was rather a lot) I made a rather large apple turnover. All of that will keep me going for the next 8 days, I reckon.

Next weekend I reckon that I’ll make a sheep’s head pie. And if I leave the eyes in the sheep’s head, it’ll see me through the week.

The amount of sleep that I had today should certainly see me through the week. It was not long after midnight when I went to bed and although I was awake at about 08:45, it was more like 10:15 when I finally awoke.

Mind you, I was probably exhausted after all of the places that I’d visited during the night. For part of the night it seemed that years of surfing on the Black Web had come home to roost. Someone had found out about something thanks to my carelessness and had launched some kind of enquiry. I was able to fend it off by a bit of bluff and good fortune, all of this kind of thing then someone came along again. They’d sent a memo out to fetch a file back from somewhere where it had been to search through some kind of Return of details for one year – it might have been 1969-70, I’m not sure. It involved someone called Nathan Somebodyorother and they wanted to find out if this Nathan person really did exist or whether it was a figment of my imagination. They were going to start by looking at this file. For once in my life I didn’t have a clue about what was going on about this – it was certainly no name that rang a bell with me and nothing that I’d been doing but it was just my luck that some other kind of unfortunate investigation would lead them to my door

Later on I was on the receiving end of a good hunting down back in medieval times. In the castle of Flint we were besieging it and for some unknown reason something actually came about something that I’d done years ago in the past so I was – people wanted to hunt me down and I had to think hard to keep one step ahead of them and not allow myself to be overtaken so I was slipping away all the food that I could find in the jungle – forest or something and gradually I would work my way back. But one day someone came and you could tell from his tone that he was actually veny much anti-what I had been doing, making all kinds of disparaging remarks about it. Then another question popped up and it was nothing to do with me at all. I hadn’t been responsible in any way but it was one of those things where suddenly something out of control happens and you end up falling foul of the system through no fault of your own and it can be devastating at times. That was just how I felt with this guy here putting in an appearance like this

At some point I was on the Isle of Thanet. I don’t know how it started but at some point we became separated and I ended up in the High Street of a town. There were all these signs about dog-walking which would take 20 minutes going round in one direction and 15 going round in another and so on. There was one that was to walk around the promontory 20 minutes but it takes much longer than that. Anyway I followed these signs and we came to some kind of doorway. I went in and there were 3 spiral staircases, 2 of which were really dark and gloomy and looking very much but the third one was lit and there were people down their picking up their bikes and carrying them down on their shoulders. I followed them, overtook some and carried on going down. In the end I became stuck behind someone carrying his bike down. We eventually reached the bottom, a kind of ante-chamber that was very dark. It was clear that this was sometime a Victorian tunnel under the town, something like that

And later still I’d been staying with this family for a while. Before I’d come out west I’d owed them some money and I’d posted them some, to the little girl. There was another cheque that I had to post but I didn’t have enough money on me at the time so I sent them half of it – to the hospital for something or other. I’d got that out of the way and gone to stay with this family in Canada. But then it was time to leave. They had all tidied things away the previous day and wanted to know where their father had put things . I was able to say that he had carried them upstairs so one of thz girls said “right, so that’s where it will be” and disappeared off. Before then, I was up early, sitting around raading a book and the mother was talking to the kids about me, saying “he’s either a very light sleeper or he’s (something else that I can’t remember) and that makes him get up early. As these two girls came back in and walked past me I said “it’s both”. They said “what?” so I explained what their mother had just said. We continued to chat on and off for a while. The little girl was doing her homework and asked “what’s the capital of British Columbia?”. I replied “Vancouver” but not really sure if it’s Vancouver or Victoria but I said Vancouver. She counted the letters and said “oh yes that must be right” and put it in. Then it came to time for me to go. I gave the eldest girl a piece of paper and asked her to put her e-mail on it, which she did. She gave it to the middle girl and she put her e-mail address on it too. Then I gave it to the small girl. She said “I don’t have an e-mail address” so I said “I’ll write to you. I’ll send you a letter”. She said “no-one has ever written to me before”. I thought “that’s strange because I sent a cheque to her before I came. I hope she’s got it or her parents have opened it and taken it or something and it’s not gone missing otherwise this is going to be really embarrassing for them”. Just as we were about to go a car pulled up in front of us to do a U-turn. It said “S3 Jaguar” but it was something like an XK 120. I grabbed my camera and went to photograph it but the camera wouldn’t work. I tried 3 or 4 shots before this car disappeared but it didn’t work at all. Then I started to mess with it to try to make it work but it just wouldn’t work at all and take a photo.
And here I must have been dictating into my hand again because I remember being back in Crewe, near Midland Rollmakers with my Aunt even though there’s nothing on the dictaphone. I’d received a bulky letter from the people in Canada but I didn’t really want to open it so I was going to send the woman an e-mail but instead I found her phone number so I rang her. I asked if everything was OK about the cheque but she said “no, the bank has returned it. The details are in the letter” so I opened the letter to look. It had been rejected on a technicality. Nevertheless I was surprised at the nonchalant way in which the woman was taking it all. But then I knew that it wasn’t a matter of lack of funds. Meanwhile a couple of Korean girls came up to me, girls whom I’d met in Canada. One of them, the nicer of the two, asked for my phone number because she’d tried to phone me but not got through. She said the “X” didn’t work. I looked and saw that a number that I’d written had been incorrect so I’d crossed it out but she had interpreted it as an “X”. I tried to explain it to her but I couldn’t make her understand so I took the paper and wrote my number on it for her. She wandered off with the other girl and my aunt made some remark about the two of them being “together”. That was a disappointment to me as I rather liked the one to whom I’d been chatting.

It’s hardly surprising that it took all of the morning to type out all of that. But it did remind me that I have a task to perform early this week – one that is filling me with a little trepidation because it may well have unforeseen consequences, but it has to be done all the same.

It’s another one of those moments where I hear Mia Farrow talking to Peter Ustinov – “One must follow one’s star wherever it leads, even unto hell itself” and, for good or ill, that’s been the story of my life and I’m too old to stop now. No-one can teach an old dog new tricks.

After lunch, or more like a late breakfast, one that was even later than lunch usually is, I had my bake-in that I mentioned earlier.

crowds on beach plat gousset Granville bouchot beds donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile everything has proofing, I went out for my afternoon walk. Not forgetting my face mask as it is now compulsory in many areas of the town, including within the city walls.

The Grand Marée was going full steam ahead too, with dozens of people wandering around on the beach with their equipment.

You’ll notice too that the bouchot beds out at Donville les Bains are all completely exposed out of the water today so I might have expected to have seen the harvesters out there making the most of it and gathering a bumper crop. But instead, we have the pecheurs à pied encroaching right up to the limit by the looks of things.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut the excitement is proving too much for some people.

It’s understandable that some people, exhausted by all of the scavenging that they do, will want to sit down, but I don’t reckon that a piece of cold concrete is the place to do at. And the yellow raincoat looks singularly out of place down there.

And the crowds were out there too today, many of whom haven’t obviously seen the new regulations about face masks. The promenade on the Plat Gousset is one of the areas that is covered by the enforcement measures.

grand maree Granville baie de mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy walk through the madding crowds took me through the Square Maurice Marland.

Looking out across the port, you can see how far the tide has gone out this afternoon. And there is a considerable number of people out there doing the peche à pied down on the rocks.

And the lifeboat is probably standing by because the tide comes in and out quite rapidly there – quicker than you can imagine and there have been plenty of people stranded out there by the tide in the past..

From there I came on home to check my pizza dough, which was by now doing an impression of Quatermass’s Experiment and planning to take over the World.

Taking it out of the bowl I weighed it and then divided it up into three equal portions. Two were rolled lightly in oil, wrapped in greaseproof paper, put in a plastic bag and put in the freezer. The third was rolled out and put on the pizza tray. The edges that overhung were rolled back into the tray.

There was still time to do a few things that I wanted to do while the pizza base proofed, and then I came back and switched on the oven. The pie and the turnover went in and I left them to their own devices for 50 minutes. Meantime, I made up the pizza base with all kinds of vegan stuff, topped off by some vegan cheese.

When the pie and turnover were cooked, they came out and the pizza went in for 30 minutes. And in the photo that you saw at the top of the page you can see the finished products. The pizza was delicious but as for the apple pie, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow because the pizza was quite filling.

On my walk and runs out tonight I had the town to myself. There was hardly anyone out at all, only the odd kid or two in the car park in the Boulevard Vaufleury and a family walking their dog late at night.

Joly France 1 Ferry Terminal Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallTaking full advantage, I managed all five of my runs tonight and I felt much better for it. As usual I stopped for breath at the viewpoint at the top of the cliff. No change at the Chantier Navale since yesterday but they seemed to be busy at the Ferry terminal.

Joly France I, the newer boat of the two looks as if it’s only just come in. All of the walkways over there are illuminated as if the passengers have just disembarked. The older Joly France is moored out there but in the shadows.

However I didn’t stay looking for long. I ran on for my next two legs and then came home to write up my notes for the day.

Tomorrow I’m back at work, and I’ll start off with another radio show. I hope that I’ll have as much good luck as I did last week but honestly that’s something unrepeatable. That won’t happpen again. But I do have a couple of treats for my listeners and all will be revealed in due course. I’m off to bed.

Monday 7th September 2020 – I DIDN’T …

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hall… do anything like I intended to do today. And while you admire the photos of this evening’s night sky, I’ll tell you all about it.

It all actually started off quite well though. Despite not going to bed until long after 01:00, I still up and about before the third alarm went off. And I bet that that surprised you as much as it surprised me.

Mind you, it would be wrong to suggest that I was leaping about raring to go. I was sitting on the bed with my feet on the ground but that was about all that can be said for it.

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving slowly come round to consciousness, I had my medication and then sat down to do the paperwork.

However I was interrupted by a ‘phone call. A few months ago, a newspaper reporter took my ‘phone number and said that he would ‘phone me some time.

Not having heard anything from him for a while I’d forgotten all about it. But he rang me up this morning to see if he could come round for a chat. That meant a really good tidying-up session, vacuuming the apartment and washing the floors.

All my plans for the day thus went right out of the window.

When he came round, we had a really good chat about the radio, about music and about all kinds of subjects. I was glad that I’d had something to eat before he came because he was here until about 15:30.

ship english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWith a few urgent things to do it was rather later than usual when I went out for my afternoon walk.

The afternoon was magnificent. It was quite warm with some pleasant wind. The sky was quite clear and you could see for miles. Right out on the horizon presumably on its way to the Channel islands was a ship.

It made me wonder if it was a ferry of some description but back here when i cropped and enlarged it, I couldn’t make out what kind of ship it might be. It’s quite possibly some kind of military vessel.

cap de carteret granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was an even better view right up the coast towards Cherbourg.

By my calculations, which may or may not be correct, that in the background on the horizon is the range of hills at the back of the Cap de Carteret and all the way up to Bricquebec.

It’s been three and a half years since I moved here and I don’t think that I’ve ever seen the coast as clear as this during all of this time.

cap frehel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallMy afternoon walk went all around the headland and back down the other side.

However at the end of the headland I climbed up on one of the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall to see what the view was like from up there. And sure enough, Cap Fréhel and the lighthouse were pretty prominent right out on the horizon.

What we could also see too was the coastline all the way up there, including the bay where St-Cast-le-Guildo, the port where we overnighted one night on our sail up the coast on Spirit of Conrad, is situated.

And I’ve only seen that once before, I think.

hang gliders pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThe bird-men of Alcatraz were out there yet again enjoying the good weather.

When the journalist and I were having our chat, I asked about the hang-glider who was injured on Saturday. He told me that he was still in intensive care with damage to his spinal column and it’s not clear what his future prospects are.

But all of that didn’t stop the current crop of hang-glider pilots from performing all kinds of aerobatics and so on right on the edge of the cliffs and right in front of the pedestrians strolling around the headland.

bird of prey pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWe were treated to another aerobatic display too while we were out on our walk.

This time though, it was a display of nature. That bird of prey that’s been loitering around the rabbit colony in the cliffs was back again hovering over the cliff edge. It remained stationary, beating its wings, for long enough for me to take a really good photograph of it.

There was nothing else going on during my travels so I came back home to have a closer look at some of the photographs that i’d taken, to see what I could see.

home made bread banana bread granville manche normandy france eric hallBack here, before I looked at the photos, I had bread to bake seeing as I’ve run out.

For some reason or other, the larger loaf of bread didn’t rise up as well as it has done in the past. It’s certainly better than the first two or three that I made, but not as good as the last couple.

As for the banana bread, that looks pretty good and I’m hoping that it tastes as good as it looks. I went to town with the sultanas and that’s given it some added oommph. As well as that, I brushed the surface with milk and sprinkled brown sugar on top.

While the oven was baking the bread, I stuck a potato and some frozen pie in there. What with some vegetables and gravy, followed by my apple turnover and coconut soya dessert, it made a really delicious tea.

Tomorrow I fancy a burger on a bap, I reckon.

street light illuminated trees square Maurice Marland granville manche normandy france eric hallOn my walk around tonight, I had the f1.8 50mm lens on the camera – hence the brighter images.

You’ve already seen the sky over the English Channel, but there wasn’t anything else of any importance so I took another photo of the Square Maurice Marland and the illuminated trees.

Altogether I did my three runs, and I almost walked on a young couple having a quiet moment in a darkened corner of the city walls.

So later than usual, I’m off to bed now. I’m hoping that tomorrow I’ll be on form to crack on with work. I crashed out today for an hour or so before tea, but I’ve also chosen the music for the next radio programme so at least I have done something.

But I need to push on with my work otherwise i won’t ever get anywhere.

Sunday 6th September 2020 – THE BIRD-MEN …

hang gliders place d'armes pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hall… of Alcatraz were out in force this afternoon.

And while this is not usually exactly any headline news, it is today. That’s because yesterday there was a disaster, if not a tragedy, involving them as one of them came crashing down to earth onto the rocks round by where the tidal swimming pool is on the Plat Gousset.

The air ambulance was called and the stricken bird-man was taken to hospital where he is in a life-threatening condition. Having seen them flying around as I have, I do have to say that sad as it might be, it is not entirely unexpected.

What else is not entirely unexpected is the fact that I was in bed until about 11:10 this morning. Flat-out until about 10:30 and then it took me about 40 minutes to summon up the courage and strength to leave my bed.

On the dictaphone was a very long and rambling, practically incoherent account of a nocturnal ramble. It didn’ make very much sense at all and I had to listen to it again (and again and again) until I could untangle it, and I’m still not sure that I’ve understood it.

I was with a group of young girls last night and we’d been to some kind of resort or holiday place. We’d been wandering around there. There was something about one particular girl. She had to take driving lessons but somehow she could only take 1 at that particular moment. I was hanging around with her and her younger friend or sister and another girl. We had walked past the port where the gates had opened and closed but were now open. Our route led us up into a small room. This room was open and they were wondering why it was still open and not closed so I explained to them about the tides, how it opened and closed with the tides. We went in and I had a look at my watch and there was about an hour left before it closed. There was a lot of noise coming from one of the bars. We couldn’t see it but we had a look but we couldn’t see what was going on but it was a load of boys being quite raucous as if they were drunk. This one girl said something about it and I said “we’ll probably get to meet them tomorrow when we’re going to be down there”. There was the question of her insurance and she had one driving lesson tomorrow and there would have to be others at some particular time and it drifted around quite like this.
Somewhat later, with a big gap in the middle as if i’d failed to dictate something, I played a tape of some driving instructor to this girl and I put it away but she was saying that she wanted to hear it again to learn it properly. I got it out and she sat at the table with her hands positioned as if they were on a steering wheel and I played the tape back. But it was about some kind of bicycle rally, about how a group of them on bicycles were going through the countryside making a very sharp turn, with a lot of people missing the turns and falling off. From this came a discussion about how to ride your bike on damp ground. I began to think that this is nothing like how to teach someone to drive a car at all. I’d put the wrong tape on, something like that. Meantime this girl fetched her bike and started to try to practise some of the things that they were talking about on this tape. I ended up at some point on a derelict railway station with this girl. It was pretty much overgrown but the platform was there. We found the milk-churn loading dock where they manoeuvred milk churns onto the trains by hand as they did back in the 1920s and 30s

There’s a good deal more to it than this but it’s not the kind of stuff that you want to read while you are having your evening meal.

What I can say however, is that when I awoke, I had the very strong feeling that Pollux had been accompanying me during my travels but surprisingly, there was no mention of her on the dictaphone so I’ve no idea as to the source of this feeling.

vegan pizza apple pie apple turnover granville manche normandy france eric hallToday has been a baking day and I’ve been quite busy.

First task was to make some pizza dough. That’s just like making bread dough but with a tablespoon or two of oil. I made enough for three pizza bases, and two of those I put in the freezer for again.

Then I made some pastry mix – 250 grams of flour and 125 grams of vegan margarine, all well mixed in and then a couple of tablespoons of water mixed in to make a very dry paste.

That was rolled out and a base but into a greased pie tin. Then several baking apples were cut up and put in there with some sultanas, desiccated coconut, nutmeg, cinnamon, all mixed in with lemon juice to bleach it.

The rest of the pastry mix was then rolled out and put on top, the edges having been damped with vegan milk. The top was then pressed down with a fork to seal it, and then trimmed.

The top was brushed with milk, sprinkled with brown sugar and then pricked with a knife to make vents to allow the steam from the apples to escape.

Whatever pastry was left was rolled into a square and I made an apple turnover with the remainder of the apple mix stuff. That was sealed, brushed, sprinked and pricked too.

hang glider pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallAll of that went into an over for 45 minutes on 230°C and while it was doing, I went for a walk.

As I said just now, the hang-gliders were out again. Despite the tragedy of yesterday that didn’t prevent one of them from doing an aerobatic display for the dozens of walkers who were out there.

What with one thing and another, I have a feeling that the events of yesterday will not be the last either. It all seems pretty reckless to me, some of the things that they do while they are up in the air.

le loup jullouville baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallNevertheless it was a beautiful day and that explains why there were so many people out and about, both on the ground and in the air.

The sky was pretty clear and the view went for miles with just a touch of heat haze. Le Loup, the marker light that is situated on the rocks just outside the harbour, was looking particularly beautiful today.

The town of Jullouville in the background was looking quite nice too. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been out that way and I’ll have to go for another walk down there when circumstances permit.

o'toole transport port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the area is often visited by the rich and famous.

Fans of the James Bond films will remember that in OCTOPUSSY there was a girl called Plenty O’Toole, named after her father of course.

Her father is a regular visitor to the town and he was back again, parked up on the quayside down there by Victor Hugo, the Channel island Ferry.

It actually reminds me of when I lived in Crewe and every day for about six months I had to walk past a big factory with “O’Malley’s Tool Works” on the side of it. I thought to myself “so does mine, but I don’t put up a sign about it”.

Back here I made my pizza and when the pies were cooked I put that in the oven. And it was cooked to perfection. Really beautiful.

And so filling that I didn’t have any pudding. No sense in forcing myself. Have I mentioned that my weight is still slowly decreasing and I’m within touching distance of the weight that I had when i was running every night in my youth.

trawler fishing boat english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will also recall that earlier in the year we couldn’t move out at sea for fleets of fishing boats out there.

One thing that I noticed since I’ve been back is that there don’t seem to be anything like as many out there. This evening I noticed that there was one with its gear out, somewhere in the English Channel between here and the Ile de Chausey.

There wasn’t anyone else out there either and there wwasn’t very much going on either, so I did my three runs and came on home.

That American car from Connecticut that we saw here a few days ago is still parked up in the same place. It now has a flat tire so it won’t be going far in the near future.

Back here I’ve finished my notes and, much later than I was hoping, i’m going to bed.

I doubt if I will be up at 06:00 seeing as it’s this late already and I still don’t feel tired, but I’ll do my best. I have plenty of work to do

And I’ll hope that I can make some sense out of last night’s voyage. I’m sure that it’s quite interesting.