Tag Archives: atlantic wall

Wednesday 13th July 2022 – AND THE WINNER …

… of yesterday’s sweepstake is “whoever suggested Nerina”.

She came to accompany on my voyages around and about last night – or, at least, part of them. It was pouring down with rain and we were on our way to our cabin. She was telling me that she thought that it was all wrong, what we were doing with the solar panels and wind turbines. We should have had a job where we could have worked and just spent the weekend and our spare time doing up the house and everything so that we could at least have had some money behind us. I said that there’s little point in arguing now because we were so well advanced. Things were going along anyway. It was pouring down with rain and we had 2 people with us. We were walking down this asphalt path towards our cabin. The path ended and it meant walking across a field. It was extremely muddy in places. These other 2 people found the muddy bits but Nerina and I were lucky. It was pitch-black the sky, daylight but it was so dark and raining that Nerina wanted to know what the batteries were doing. I could see through the window that there was just a faint glimmer of an orange light so I said that there was some charge in there. She thought that the fact that we could see everything through the window meant that it wasn’t really burglar-proof and we should have done more to try to hide everything from the public view when they were gazing in through the window.

There was much more than just that last night as well. One of my father’s friends had been sent to prison for something or other for a couple of months. He was now out and living near Worleston. One of my family but I can’t remember who – one of my sisters – needed a wheel bearing changing on her car so I suggested that this guy would do it. I tried to give her directions to Worleston but it wasn’t easy for some reason and I couldn’t understand why. It was a pretty straightforward place to go to from where we lived but she couldn’t understand the directions and mine were probably much more complicated than they would be in real life. In the end I thought that I’d drive over to see him so I went. He was there with his wife in his house. We had a little chat. He asked me how I was doing, whether I was off to University now that school had finished etc. It was very hard for me to talk to him because I didn’t want to ask him many questions about how he’d been and what he’d been doing because I didn’t imagine that he would want to talk to me about his 3 months in prison so it was an extremely stilted conversation, very difficult.

There was something similar about an Infant’s School that had been created in an old monastery or similar, that kind of building, but I can’t remember anything at all about that or who was there.

While I was round at that guy’s house, which had now turned itself into some kind of luxury apartment, there were all these girls coming over asking if we could do something to their cars. It was very nice, seeing all these pretty girls but as time went on we came to the conclusion that there was something going on about which we didn’t know anything that was bringing all these girls here. We were sure that it wouldn’t be car repairs

Finally I’d bought a new expensive guitar and I’d gone to the bank to see whether I had the right to reclaim the VAT on it. There was quite a queue, a couple of women in front of me doing all kinds of different things. Then some guy turned up and pushed in front to start to argue with the woman behind the counter about something. I didn’t speak German well enough to tell him to clear off but I was really annoyed by this and I made sure that he knew it. Eventually it was my turn and the clerk was away for ages. She came back with a huge sheaf of papers and pointed out all kinds of things that I’d bought in the past. She explained to me that I’d reached my limit for duty-free purchases and I wasn’t able to claim the tax back on this guitar which was extremely disappointing.

When the alarm went off this morning I was out of bed quite quickly and after the medication checked my mails and messages as usual.

First task this morning was to make some more fruit buns, otherwise I wouldn’t have anything to eat for breakfast.

home made fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022300 grammes of flour, a pile of ground brazil nuts into a kind of coarse flour (and if it’s “coarse” you want, then in the words of the late, great Bob Doney “I’m your man”), some desiccated coconut, sultanas and raisins, banana chips, dried tropical fruits, some salt and some yeast all mixed up with 125ml of water and a ripe banana.

The mixture was well-kneaded, rolled, shaped and then left to proof for 45 minutes. Then it was all brushed with milk and sprinkled with brown sugar and baked for 35 minutes.

And when it was all baked, it looked delicious. And tasted delicious too. I think that I’ve mastered this process for now. One of them makes a lovely breakfast with some hot strong coffee.

After breakfast I had a few things to do.

Firstly I had to check all of my hospital appointments for 4th August and then make all of the necessary reservations on the train.

What I have done is to make an executive decision (that is, a decision that if it’s not the correct decision the person who made it is executed) that I’m not coming and going via Lille. It costs me more but the trek across town from Lille Flandres to Lille Europe is quite uphill and I don’t fancy that very much at the moment.

There have been changes too at the place where I stay. The smaller, cheaper rooms are now only available on long-tern let so I’ve had to pay for a more expensive room. Still cheaper than anywhere else in Leuven though.

One good thing about it is that I finally managed to make my Belgian credit card work and that will save me quite a bit of anguish in the future.

Rosemary rang me as well for one of our usual chats that go on for hours. Surprisingly, we managed to steer clear of politics. There is no doubt that having to deal with the issues that arise from caring for a family of Ukrainian refugees is a whole new way of life and a full-time occupation.

She also told me that little Miss Ukrainian is a little better, which is good news, and that one of the local boys who lives nearby asked her to come with him while he took his dog for a walk. Yes, I can remember when I was barely a teenager too and I think that it’s sweet.

Having had a good session on the guitar this afternoon I went out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022As usual I went across the car park, having said “hello” to a neighbour, to the wall at the end of the car park to look down onto the beach to see what was happening there.

There’s rather more beach there today but surprisingly, nothing like as many people. That’s a surprise because it was probably the warmest day of the year today and I was expected to see hordes of people taking full advantage.

Only a handful of people in the water too. I don’t know where everyone has gone to this afternoon. There is nothing else happening around the town today.

hang gliders place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022While I was watching the people on the beach I suddenly felt the cold hand of doom on my shoulder.

Never mind the odd one or two that were passing by overhead, there was a whole squadron of them assembling down by the field next to the cemetery.

By the looks of things it was the entire force of Nine Riders together with several reserves. Give them 10 minutes and they’ll all be heading my way so I cleared off down the path so that they wouldn’t sweep down on me.

Where is Legolas when you need him?

l'omerta baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022No prozes for guessing who this shell-fishing boat is. After all, we’ve seen her often enough.

Right out there in the Baie de Granville over towards the Ile de Chausey is our old friend L’Omerta. For a change she isn’t playing a new game of “Musical Ships” today but is out there at sea working.

When I saw her out in the distance I couldn’t identify her at that kind of distance but back here when I enhanced and enlarged the photo I could distinguish her silhouette quite clearly with her winch assembly on the stern.

people with kite pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There weren’t all that many people wandering around on the path this afternoon so I had it pretty much to myself this afternoon.

But on the grass by one of the old bunkers from the Atlantic Wall defences of the Second World War was a young family having a great deal of fun flying a kite.

That reminds me of a time when I was with Laurence and Roxanne at the seaside on the “Costa Stella” in Belgium when Roxanne and I managed to put a kite quite high in the air. Roxanne was delighted until it crashed down into someone’s picnic.

The two of us had loads of fun together in the three years that she was my “daughter”.

f-gykl Robin DR400 160 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The kite and the Nazguls weren’t the only things flying around in the air this afternoon.

While I was admiring the kite a light aeroplane went flying by overhead. She is F-GYKL, a Robin DR400-160 and one that we haven’t seen here before.

She took off from Cherbourg at 15:09 and disappeared off the radar near Avranches at 15:35. She was next picked up near Granville at 16.21 (I saw her overhead at 16:12) and went back to Cherbourg, so it’s probably someone else clocking up the flying time on a nice warm day.

victor hugo baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Now here’s a thing.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve complained … “surely not!” – ed … on several occasions that I’ve yet to see Victor Hugo going out to sea on a ferry trip to St Helier.

But here she is today, out in the bay with her bow pointing in the direction of the Channel Islands.

However if you look closely at the photo you’ll see that there is no wake. In fact she didn’t move for all the tima that she was in my field of vision. So there’s definitely something not quite right.

It’s always possible of course that she’s waiting for the tide to come in at Granville so that she can dock at the ferry terminal but she’s facing the wrong way for that.

fishing boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022With nothing happening at the end of the headland I wandered off around the headland to the port.

On the way I had a look out towards the Baie de Mont St Michel to see what was happening there. No sailing school out there this afternoon but there were several of the smaller shell-fishing boats waiting for the tide so that they could come into port.

This perhaps give some kind of credence to the idea that Victor Hugo is waiting for the tide to come in even if it might be facing the wrong way.

la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Someone has however made it into port at some time just recently.

That is, unless we are having a new competitor in our game of “Musical Ships”. Moored over there and settled down in the silt is La Grande Ancre.

We’ve seen her quite often loaded up with crates of shellfish and we can see that there are piles of crates on the quayside up above her.

We’ve also seen her doing other things too. I recall on one occasion seeing her coming over from the Ile de Chausey carrying an old wreck of a tractor and probably a few other things as well

monaco du nord 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There’s also a new arrival in the chantier naval today too.

Philcathane who was in there when we came back from Germany left some time after Monday afternoon so the yard was empty but today we can see that Monaco du Nord II has been brought in.

And “Monaco du Nord”? That’s the nickname that is given to Granville, and not without reason either. Firstly we have the kind of weather that allows certain kinds of palm trees and the like to flourish here.

Secondly, the Monegasque royal family has people from Granville in its family tree. In 1715 Jacques François Léonor de Goyon de Matignon who lived in the old town here and whose house we have seen on the corner of the Place Cambernon on several occasions married Louise Hippolyte Grimaldi.

yellow autogyro place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Having seen all that there was to see out in the harbour I headed for home and my banana drink.

On the way back I was overflown yet again. This time it was the little yellow autogyro, complete with passenger, going by overhead on its way back to the airfield.

Back here I mixed myself a banana drink with plenty of ice and came in to drink it. Instead though, I crashed out for an hour. It looks as if I’m slowly going back to where I started off a few weeks ago.

When I awoke I had another session with the guitar. I’m trying to find some more stuff to play with the bass but I seem instead to be finding more acoustic tracks. In fact another 5 have been added to that playlist today and if I’m not careful I’ll end up with 200 songs in it.

What this might seem to indicate is that my acoustic guitar playing is improving. God help us!

Tea tonight was a burger on a bun and for a change I had a salad with my potato. Plenty of salad stuff around here seeing as I’m not eating lunch these days and I have to use it up somehow.

Later on I had a nice long chat with Liz. It seems to be my day for speaking to friends. Can’t have too many of those. We talked about all kinds of things, including my little voyages during the night. She hoped that I would find some nice and interesting companions to accompany me on my travels tonight.

another night with Zero would certainly be nice and interesting but that’s probably expecting too much. It’s pretty much like pot luck these days and I’m very lucky indeed if it works out as I would like.

Friday 28th January 2022 – I FOUND OUT …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 27th January – I FINALLY MADE IT …

work on flagpole base monument de la resistance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… outside and off around for my afternoon walk around rhe headland – the fist time since a week last Sunday.

And there have been several changes since I was last out and about. There was a council workman over there by the base of the flagpoles having a ply around so while his back was turned I took a quick photo.

It looks as if things might at last be happening with the concrete base of the flagpole that was uprooted in the gales several weeks ago. So watch this space for further developments.

inside bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Another thing that I wanted to do was to button-hole someone involved in the clearing-out of the bunker that they opened a few weeks ago.

Just my luck of course to find no-one in attendance this afternoon. Either they have finished what they were doing or they’ve cleared off early for home.

The skip has gone but there’s still plenty of rubbish in there that needs removing, including several empty bottles of wine and the like. But whether they are related to the war-time occupants or the modern cleaning crew I really couldn’t say.

However I do know that farther down the coast they’ve uncovered yet another bunker from the Atlantic Wall. The cliff there is in danger of slipping so they had a crew out there to clear it of all of the mass of overgrown vegetation so that they can erect a net to hold back the rocks.

And that’s when they found the bunker.

bottom mine pointe du rock Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But this is totally new. We haven’t seen it or even heard a whisper about it before.

One look at it will tell you what it is. It’s a bottom mine, as you can tell from the flat bottom. These are laid in or dropped into shallow water where they sink and sit on the silt on the sea bed until some marine craft activates them by passing overhead.

This one was actually found here in the harbour in Granville quite a while ago and has been floating around the town with no fixed abode ever since. They have apparently decided to locate it here as one of the sites of interest around the town.

My bed would have been a site of interest this morning because I was still in it until 10:00.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 I just couldn’t drag myself out. And neither could I for the second alarm at 08:00, and so in the end I gave it up as a bad job and went back to sleep again. It’s really disappointing, especially as last night wasn’t even all that late.

When I eventually did come round into the land of the living it was something of a stagger around until I found my bearings. I’ve lost my marbles a long time ago of course and they won’t be ever found.

Once I was properly awake, the first task was to sit down and transcribe all of the dictaphone notes. I’d travelled miles yet again during the night. I started off with my Greek lady-friend. We’d started off by obtaining a TGV timetable for trains that went to Austria and Switzerland. Gradually our journey began to evolve – talk about everything that I was wanting to bo and she was wanting to do. Little by little we were adding little railway journeys in until finally we reached Greece. The question of swimming in the sea came up. She said that she’d been swimming in the sea while I’d been asleep. In the end I suggested Corinth because it’s a town that I knew and it’s still keeping away from Athens. We had a look on the map that I just happened to have handy and saw loads of holiday resorts and beaches etc all around Corinth. She thought that that wasn’t a particularly good idea. I said “it can be anywhere really al long as we can arrive by train and it has a sea. I mentioned Corinth because it happened to be somehere that I knew” so we started to have some kind of discussion about where in Greece we might go^

I was with a couple of people later on last night driving through the USA. The difficulty that I have with other people is that you can’t keep stopping to take photos and so on so I wasn’t really enjoying myself all that much. We came to a place where there was a stunning view across mountains and valleys so I indicated a place where I would like to stop to take photos but they just drove straight past it. We came to some place that was a kind of museum about some early locksmith who had come to the area so we parked and went in. I picked up a brochure as did these 2 people. Then they announced that it’s time that the museum was closing and everyone would have to leave. I said “there’s no objection really, is there, if we wander around the outside?”. They replied “oh yes, we’ve been told that we have to limit access to internet types like you”, something that totally astonished me. I’d never heard anything the like of that in my life. Of course it brought fits of laughter from my two friends and me but these people were apparently serious. Anyway, was they say, it’s all very well telling us something but how are you going to stop us? They certainly didn’t come round to try to stop me as I was wandering around on my way back to the car

And I stepped back into that dream again later .While we were at that museum there was something about a dog. We didn’t have a dog but I ended up taking this dog for a walk around the field thinking to myself “I’d like to see the people who run this museum try to stop me with this dog”.

Finally I was driving taxis again last night and there was a pick-up from halfway up Middlewich Street. I drove up there and there was an old man standing there at the end of the footpath. I asked him if he’d booked a taxi. He said yes but it wasn’t me, at least that’s what I understood because he had a terrible speech impediment. I radioed into the office. They said that it was some girls going somewhere or other. I waited around for a couple of minutes, they the guy got in. I really couldn’t understand where he wanted me to take him, whether it was the North Ward Club, somewhere like that. His speech impediment was awful.

After lunch I went to clean, dice and blanch 2kg of carrots. I was ony intending to buy 3 or four yesterday to see me through to the weekend but 1kg of loose carrots were €1:39 and a 2kg bag was €1:29. So what would you have done?

Where I’m going to fit them all is anyone’s guess but the freezer is bursting right now. Perhaps there will be more space when I take out the other half of the loaf on Monday, but that’s a long way off.

Definitely First-World problems, aren’t they?

seagull on windowledge place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022By now it was time to go off for walkies. “Now or never” I mused. It’s been ages since I’ve been out.

And there was someone just outside to greet me too. We’ve seen the seagull before, up on one of the window ledges by the other entrance to the building, and it’s here again to say hello as I walked past.

By the look of its plumage it’s one of the younger ones. Nevertheless, I would have expected them all to have found their feet a long time before this. But that’s the window with the toy bird on the other side looking out, so maybe the seagull here is trying to chat up the toy one with a view to starting a family.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It’s been quite a long time since I’ve been over to look down onto the beach to see what’s happening there.

Not much beach this afternoon. I’ve missed quite a few cycles of the tide of course. And there wasn’t anyone down there that I could see making the most of whatever beach there was.

Actually, I would have expected that there might have been some people out for a walk down there. It wasn’t a particularly nice day but 9°C out there is warm for January and the kind of weather that should usually bring out at least some of the crowds.

Mind you, with the way that Covid is going at the moment, I’m glad there weren’t all that many people out there this afternoon.

concrete flagpole base monument de la resistance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And so in the company of a couple of joggers I headed off down the path towards the lighthouse.

A little earlier I mentioned the Council’s builder. I had a little chat to him when he wasn’t doing anything. They’ve laid the concrete base as you can see, and now they are going to leave it to cure for a few days or so, and then they’ll drill it and replace the missing flagpole.

And so I wished him the best of luck. It wasn’t very windy at all this afternoon but as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we can have some devastating winds up here at the Pointe du Roc that’ll make short work of anything that’s not fastened down securely.

gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Passing by the bunker that we saw earlier I walked down the path towards the port.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the chantier naval so I was keen to see what was going on down there. And to my surprise, Gerlean is still in there, not having moved by the looks of things since I passed by here last, and a good few weeks before that too.

She has company too. The boat to her left is one that I don’t ever recall having seen before in port. And there’s a small one over on the right too.

Unfortunately I can’t read their names or registration numbers from here so I’m not able to identify them. I’ll have to try again tomorrow to have a better look.

crane on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However, there’s so much more excitement going on over at the loading bay.

There’s a large lorry with an even bigger trailer, and then we have the huge portable crane that we see every so often here in the harbour that looks as if it’s just unloaded a rather large piece of machinery from the trailer – something with caterpillar tracks.

The other material on the quayside suggests that one of the Jersey freighters is going to be in port in the very near future so I wonder if the large machine is destined to be joining them and they’ll all be going out to Jersey together.

Quite possibly the machine is beyond the lifting capacity of the dockside crane, hence the portable crane.

trawler returning to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Before I leave the dockside for home, I heard a familiar rattle from behind me so I turned to see what it was.

The harbour gates are closed right now but it seems as if it’s not going to be long before they open. This looks like the first trawler to make it back home ready to unload its catch, whenever it can come in to tie up.

Back here I made a coffee and then finally after much prevarication over the last week made another start on the big radio project. I actually finished one speech too, with all of the amendments. Only another 4 or 5 to do, so I’m hoping that I can keep the momentum going tomorrow – including an early start.

Tea was some of those small soya fillets in breadcrumbs, and with some of those and some more veg gone I manage to squeeze in one bag of carrots to freeze. There’s another one to go in, but that wil have to wait for some other time.

And now I’ll try for an early night. High time that I had one, and had a decent sleep too. Nothing is being done around here and that’s driving me to distraction.

At least the afternoon’s walk has blown away a few cobwebs. But I wish that I knew what I had to do to dispose of the spiders that are crawling around inside me.

Sunday 16th January 2022 – NO WONDER …

… that I’m exhausted. I must have travelled miles during the night.

One of these days they’ll invent an ethereal fitbit that will track my travels when I’m off on my nocturnal voyages and I bet that the distances that I travel will be interesting.

Anyway, last night I had a very disturbed night (as you will discover as you read on) and despite being awake on several occasions at some kind of ridiculous hour, there was no danger whatever of my leaving my stinking pit until I was good and ready – which was about 10:15 this morning.

After the medication I had to download a few files off the portable computer that I take with me to Leuven, and then I could pair off the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. They went together quite well too, but not as well as they did a couple of weeks ago.

For a few hours afterwards I had a little laze about not doing too much, except for having my brunch. Porridge and thick slices of toast with strong black coffee.

Round about 15:00 I wandered into the kitchen and made a big load of pizza dough, seeing as I’d run out. And I do have to say that for some reason that I can’t understand, it turned out to be one of the nicest doughs that I have made.

Nice and soft and smooth and silky.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022having put the dough on the side in order to rise, I went off for my post-prandial perambulation around the promontory.

First port of call quite obviously was the beach to see what was happening down there today. It’s been a good few days since I stuck my head over the parapet.

Plenty of beach this afternoon but there wasn’t anyone down there on it, although I did notice a couple of people walking down the steps from the Rue du Nord going off for an afternoon ramble.

And while I was at it, I was being photo-bombed by a seagull on its way out to sea.

rainstorm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was there, I was having a good look around out to sea to see if there was anything happening there.

There wasn’t a single boat that I could see out there this afternoon which was a surprise because it was actually quite a nice afternoon, for a change. And after the last few days of winter, it’s warmed up somewhat and now much more like March again.

But there was a rainstorm brewing out at sea in the bay. You can see it out there just offshore, obscuring the Ile de Chausey. Luckily there wasn’t very much wind to speak of this afternoon so there wasn’t very much danger of me being caught in it.

rainstorm sun on sea baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022This afternoon we were having yet more beautiful lighting effects. It’s one of the things that I like about this time of the year.

We were having another one of these really nice TORA TORA TORA light displays where the sun comes streaming through the gaps in the clouds.

And with the rainstorm that was going on out at sea it was producing some quite interesting effects. It was a shame that there were so few people out there watching it. There can’t have been more than a dozen or so people out there on the path up to the lighthouse this afternoon.

sun baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And out in the Baie de Mont St Michel things were even nicer.

As well as the TORA TORA TORA effect we had a spotlight or two illuminating the water as the sun shone brightly through a gap in the clouds.

The rainstorm in the distance was obscuring the Brittany coast but the sea was nice and bright there.

Wouldn’t it have been nice to have caught a yacht or a fishing boat sailing through the beams of light? But you can’t have everything of course.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There actually were some people down there admiring the view as well.

Sitting down there by the cabanon vauban was someone on the bench watching the sunset. And someone further out sitting on the rocks at the end of the headland. It’s a shame that there weren’t any boats out there for us to see this afternoon.

But on another more depressing note, the way things are these days, we have to keep a lose eye on people sitting like that on the rocks. The events of mid-November are still etched quite firmly in my mind.

container pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But never mind that for the moment. There were things that were much more interesting going on that require some investigation.

The skip that’s down here on the headland gives us a clue, and my hat goes off to the driver who dropped it off here.

What is going on right now is concerning the group of people who are planning on opening a museum in one of the abandoned World War II bunkers. They have been given permission to go into another one of the closed-up bumkers and clear it out of 75 years-worth of debris and see what they can find.

pivot for cannon bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022and almost straight away, they uncovered something interesting.

This is the pivot of a field gun – either a 105mm or a 128mm quite likely, that would be used as coastal defence to protect the area from either an invasion landing or a commando raid.

Mind you, when the Germans launched a commando raid on Granville on 9th March 1945, whatever artillery was here in the bunker didn’t do much good to repel the attack.

And, I suppose, as they go further into the bunker, the more and more artefacts will be discovered.

interior of bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But at least they have cleaned the walls of the bunker we can actually see the markings that the Germans painted on the walls.

These are presumably unit identification marks, although I don’t know which units are being indicated.

What I’ll have to do is to have a wander around the area during working hours and hope that I can lay my hands on one of the people clearing out the bunker. The fact that the skip is still here seems to indicate that they will be back here using it at the beginning of next week at least.

And so I’ll make a mental note.

storm waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022although I said that there was very little wind today, there must be something going on somewhere out at sea.

As I walked around the headland I could hear the sound of the waves smacking into the harbour wall so I was keen to see exactly what was going on. Consequently I pushed on along the path towards the post.

It wasn’t much of a show, unfortunately. The waves were more powerful that I was expecting in view of the weather conditions, but they weren’t producing anything spectacular when they crashed into the wall. There was plenty of noise but none of it to any great effect.

les bouchots de chausey unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, over at the fish-processing plant, there was plenty of activity going on.

Les Bouchots de Chausey, one of the little inshore shell-fishing boats, was in port this afternoon, working on a Sunday. And she must have had quite a good catch today.

She’s busy unloading her boxes of shellfish onto the trailer at the back of the tractor over there and you can tell from the amount on there that she’s had a profitable day.

A few weeks ago I encountered the tractor hauling the loaded trailer off through the town and out towards Donville les Bains. And one of these days I’ll follow her to find out where she goes.

gerlean chausiaise joly france chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022When I came back from Paris yesterday I could see that there was little change in the chantier naval.

As we can see, Gerlean is still in there. All on her own, too. No-one else has come in to join her while I was away.

Over at the ferry terminal however, we have the usual suspects over there. Chausiaise, the little freighter, is at the head of the queue and behind her is the older of the two Joly France boats – the one without the step in the stern.

ch638749 pescadore ch907879 l'arc en ciel ch898472 cap lihou l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back home I went to look at the boats moored in the inner harbour, not the least of the reasons being that L’Omerta was actually tied up for once at the pier.

We also had Pescadore, L’Arc-en-Ciel, Cap Lihou and a couple of other boats that I didn’t recognise tied up down there too.

And of course there were the two Channel Island Ferries, Victor Hugo and Granville, moored up in the background looking as if they aren’t ever going to move again.

Back here, I made myself a coffee and then sat down to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night.

In the middle if the night I awoke as I was counting something and trying to write down these numbers with a pen but I couldn’t find a pen that worked. But I can’t remember now what it was that I was counting and I have no idea. It was like a table of numbers or something and this was just one particular row of these numbers but I can’t remember what they were for.

Later on there was a pile of girls, probably about 6 or 7 years of age having to stand in a line and talk about where they came from etc. One girl came from Africa but was a white girl said “Africa, yes, that’s me. That’s where I come from. That’s my home town” etc but I couldn’t help the feeling that this was being transferred over to me as well. I had ti edit the view of this concert because the ratio was wrong – something like 1.5:1 instead of 1.1. If I were to do that I would lose a lot of everything. I had to have the focusing right and the general screen capture size right in order to do it. And I’m impressed with the technical details and terms that I can spout when I’m asleep .

After that there was a girl aged about 10 or 11 or so in a swimsuit and bonnet. Suddenly she was attacked and killed. That cheered me up because it meant that there would be a place for me to go and live on an island so I put myself in the queue but there was someone there in charge, some fellow or person, who said “there are still too many people so the queue needs to be cut down by half” which meant that I wasn’t going to go this time. I would have to wait for something equally dramatic next time before I could go. And isn’t that all a totally gruesome idea?

Last night we were also prisoners of war in something like COLDITZ CASTLE in a high security room with a few of us in it. We tried to escape once but the guy in charge was not very good and not only had we all been recaptured before we’d even done anything he’d had some confidential papers captured too and he’d been shot although not seriously. We were there again and we tried to have another go at escaping. The idea was to lull this commandant person into a false sense of security then when one of his guards would go out to do something, we could overpower the reduced numbers and escape from the castle like Colditz. So one of the guards had to leave. As he pulled up the zip on his ski suit it passed a certain point that someone had indicated with a blue “X”. This meant that the escape was on. He went and someone pulled on the commandant a gun that he had hidden and gathered up quickly everything that they needed. Then it was a case of making the commandant unconscious so someone hit him with the barrel of the gun. It didn’t work so I hit him about 3 or 4 times but that still didn’t knock him unconscious so in the end someone else took over. We then set the room alight. Someone wasn’t happy about leaving the commandant there with this room alight. I replied that every time he flew over Germany he dropped one bomb that killed far more people than just one without any scruples whatsoever

Interestingly, later on we were all in this Prisoner of War camp in this high-security room with the commandant and a couple of the guards. We’d already tried to escape once but had been overpowered by weight of numbers and the guy in charge had been shot, not seriously. They captured all of our confidential papers and I tried to drum it in to the idea thatwe should keep all of the papers like that together so that they could be thrown into the fire early etc. In the end we made ourselves ready. One of the German guards was called away as we hoped leaving the commandant behind. When this guy’s zip was drawn up to a certain spot it was as if a blue “X” appeared on his zip when the two sides were drawn together. That was our signal so we overpowered the commandant and captured his papers etc and prepared to leave. We set fire to the room with some accelerant. Someone was upset about that. We should rescue the captain but I said that each bomb that they had dropped over German territory would kill far more people than just one and that they’d dropped that bomb without any scruples whatsoever. In the end they prepared to scramble down out of this building and this railway cutting on their way off. So what was happening there that I had an almost-identical dream twice I have no idea.

And then I had my house up for sale. There was a group of us round at my other place tidying it up because it was really dirty, building rubble and brick dust everywhere that I was trying to vacuum, not very successfully. My friend from Belfast grabbed hold of me and asked me what was going on about Luxembourg. I replied that they were worried that the whole world was going to be flooded with cheap labour from the Arab states. He asked what I propsed to do about it and I replied “put a tax on foreign workers”. He said that that wouldn’t go down very well with some people. I replied “never mind. It can’t be helped”. We had to keep checking the door to make sure that a girl I know from Luxembourg wasn’t overhearing. We came round to what we were going to do about the apartment that was for sale. Someone told me to be careful and not to accept the first offer I received. I replied “I’m well aware of that” and told them a few stories about apartments that had been sold. “I’m prepared to wait for the right moment” even if it meant leaving it empty or putting it down in ten, but I’d sell it”. Then we were all called together and had to collect our security passes. Helen’s security pass and Steve’s security pass, I’d been involved in the preparation of those and I still had the boxes in which their cards came so I had to be very careful to give the right number to the guy taking the details that whoever he looked at had, he would write down the right number, mine and not one of the other two’s, and that he wouldn’t duplicate the numbers and leave one of the cards out.

Finally there was something about a Land Rover. I was with a friend last night. We’d gone to see a van that I’d just bought – that he’d bought on my behalf. An LDV. We didn’t actually get to see the LDv – we were sidetracked as usual by a Land Rover that he owned. It was a diesel and we were taking about this diesel Land Rover. I mentioned that I owned a Minerva that brought a few smiles from around various people. In the end we ended up back at his wife’s. She was talking about his cars, saying that he had far too many and it was high time that he did a few things with one. Something came up about another Land Rover that he owned, how something had to be done with that so that the Land Rover that we had seen at someone else’s house could be brought home. he said something about going to fetch the van that I’d bought but I asked him “where are you going to park it?”. There was no room in his drive at all. he saw the wisdom in that and said that we can do that another time. By then the wife and I were out somewhere. We had Zero with us. We’d been driving around but I thought that we’d not been going the right way to get back to her house. Instead she took another way. We were waiting to turn right at a road junction but were there for hours, even with people passing on the right to go straight on. Eventually we reached this other house which was in total chaos worse than mine. She was telling these guys about her husband’s new Land Rover. Zero was there with these other kids, all playing with a huge pile of toys and everything. It just seemed to peter out at that particular moment, this story, which was rather a shame.

It’s no surprise that I was exhausted after all of this travelling about. And what a shame that the final voyage petered out just as it was becoming interesting.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But there was so much of it that I had to break off in the middle to go and deal with the dough.

It had risen beautifully so I split it into three batches. Two of them went into the freezer and the third one was rolled out and put in the pizza tray to proof for an hour or so while I carried on with “War and Peace”.

After the dough had risen nicely I assembled the pizza and put it in the oven to bake.

And when it was finished, it looked totally beautiful. And I do have to say that it tasted even better, even if I had forgotten to use the remaining half-pepper that I had brought out of the fridge.

So having written my notes, I’m off to bed. It’s a 06:00 start tomorrow as I have a radio programme to prepare. There’s the physio tomorrow afternoon too, so I need to be at my best.

But we’ll see how tomorrow unfolds, especially if I travel as far during the night as I did last night.

Saturday 3rd April 2021 – HAVING HAD …

… a rather late night last night, I’ve had rather a hard day today.

Despite all of that I was still able to stagger to my feet at the first alarm and take my medication. And then after that I dashed off another batch of photos from August 2019 and my trip around North-Eastern USA.

By the time I finished I was crossing over the Powder River and approaching the border between Montana and Wyoming on my way to Fort Phil Kearny, the scene of probably the greatest defeat of US forces prior to the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

A shower followed that and I set the washing machine off on a cycle (pretty clever, my washing machine) and I set off for the shops with Caliburn. And as I slammed the door the rattle and tinkle inside told me that the handle mechanism has disintegrated.

Now I’m having to scramble out of the passenger door until I can take the interior padding off the door and find out what’s happened.

old cars alpine renault noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut never mind that at the moment – let’s admire what I found parked up outside NOZ this morning.

It’s been quite a while a while since we’ve featured an old car on these pages, so here’s one to be going on with for now. It’s an Alpine Renault and by the look of the rear spoiler it’s an A310 fitted with the 2664 cc V6 PRV engine. The alloy wheels would date it from the late 70s.

The earlier models were fitted with the old Renault 1605 cc or 1647cc 4-cylinder in-line engine but it was woefully underpowered. The new engines made them go like stink but they had a great deal of trouble keeping the back end on the road – hence the rear spoiler.

old cars alpine renault noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was France’s answer to the baby Lotuses and German Porsche 911s but never really caught on. Its rather unusual rear engine and front wheel drive didn’t endear it to the public.

All in all there were about 9,000 examples of the V6 model sold, most of them sold in France. And the small numbers of sales and 40 years since the last one was manufactured make it quite surprising to actually see one still on the road in a place like this.

Now that I’ve taken my photos of the car I went off into NOZ to do my shopping. And it was rather a disappointment in there because there was nothing of any interest in there. All I came away with was a couple of cartons of that smoothie stuff. No Banana this time, just strawberry, but that’s nice too.

Having parked up in LeClerc I went across the road to Intersport where I bought another roll-up rain jacket like the one that I lost somewhere in Canada (a different one and a different place to the one that I left in a Hotel in Calgary).

Now that the weather is warming up I won’t be wearing my winter coat to Leuven. But I’ll still need something light, comfortable and durable to roll up in the backpack in case it rains.

Leclerc came up with nothing whatever of any interest so I bought the minimum that I need and then I drove on home.

But talking of driving, with France going in to a tighter lockdown tonight, the roads into Granville were in gridlock with Parisians fleeing to the coast to escape the lockdown, bringing the virus with them and infecting all of us. Going to the shops was difficult – going home was a nightmare.

Armed with my hot chocolate and slice of sourdough fruit-bread, I came back in here and ended up having a lengthy chat with Liz on the internet.

After lunch I sat down to start on the arrears of my Central European trip but unfortunately crashed out completely and definitely for a good hour or an hour and a half. This meant a rather late walk around the headland.

bathers coming out of water beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLooking down over the wall at the end of the car park down onto the beach, I was rather surprised to see a group of people running out of the sea.

Whilst I hadn’t actually seen them in the water I had no doubt whatsoever that they had been in there. And even if I hadn’t been as nesh as I am you wouldn’t have caught me being in the water today. Despite the sun, there was a howling gale blowing and it was freezing. I was dressed for an Arctic winter and I was still cold.

Despite the cold, there were hordes of people prowling around outside. Most of them tourists, I imagine, come over here from other parts of France. The car park for mobile homes was absolutely full and there were vehicles turning up and turning away, disappointed.

f-gbai Robin DR.400-108 Dauphin 80 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was walking along the path on top of the cliffs, I was overflown by an aeroplane flying in the other direction towards the airport at Donville les Bains.

This aeroplane is F-GBAI, another one of the Robin DR 400s of which we have seen plenty around here. This one is a model 108 Dauphin 80, construction number 1289 and is owned by the Aero Club de Granville. She took off from Granville at 11:11 this morning for an unknown destination.

She took off again from Avranches Le Val Saint-Pere Airport at 16:09 and landed back at Granville Airport at 16:25. That flight corresponds with the time that I saw her.

There was nothing at all going on out at sea that I could see. Not one single boat, so I headed off across the lawn and the car park.

bunker atlantic wall pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw the reinforcing in the concrete on the roof of one of the old bunkers here at the Pointe du Roc.

This is the actual bunker concerned. Unfortunately the entrance has all been filled in so it’s not possible to go inside it. But I was interested to see the round aperture just to the left of centre in this photo. It’s actually, would you believe, a periscope so that the people in there could have a good look around without exposing themselves to enemy fire.

And I was right about the tourists. Just looking at the number plates on the cars I could see reference to départements from all over France. It seems that so very few people here care whether they spread the virus around or not and that’s a real disappointment.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I would have had the army out patrolling the roads and preventing so much movement a long time before this.

With nothing at all going on out at sea I walked around the path on the other side to see what was going on in the port.

chausiais joly france ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver at the ferry port we have not only Chausiais but one of the Joly France boats that provides the ferry service out to the Ile de Chausey.

It’s no real surprise to see them over there at the terminal today. With all of the tourists appearing in the town today I would imagine that there are many who will be travelling out to the island today, some of whom will be staying for quite a while.

That would mean that not only will there be plenty of passengers wanting to travel out there as soon as time permits, there will be a lot of freight, like food for example, going out there too and for that they’ll need the services of Chausiais to ship it all out there.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut what doesn’t seem to be going out today are the fishing boats.

There are so many in the inner harbour that they are even having to tie themselves up in the loading bay underneath the crane. It’s a surprise because despite the wind the sea isn’t all that rough and it’s a bright sunny day, just the right kind of day to be out there hauling in the nets or the dredges.

It’s even more of a surprise too when we hear that the temporary agreement made a few weeks ago between the fishermen of Normandy, Brittany and the Channel Islands has been renewed for another short while, and also when there are so many tourists in the town who might be interested in trying some of the local produce.

Having seen or there was to see outside I came back in for my hot coffee and to carry on with my work until it was time to knock off for tea. Taco rolls with the rest of the stuffing from Thursday and followed by the last of the apple crumble with the remains of yesterday’s custard. Thoroughly delicious.

Bedtime now, and a nice lie-in because it’s Sunday. And with it being Easter, more hot cross buns for breakfast. I’m looking forward to that, I can tell you. And then I’m having a baking day, seeing as I’ve run out of pizza dough. I need to sort that out.

Friday 2nd April 2021 – IT’S BANK HOLIDAY …

… today. Good Friday – the day that follows Maundy Thursday, which presumably follows Sheffield Wednesday. And so I had a lie-in and didn’t surface until about 10:30.

Mind you, I didn’t go to bed until 02:30 this morning. And that wasn’t a wasted time either because I spent the couple of hours when I couldn’t sleep working on today’s batch of photograph and probably did about 20 of them too before I went to bed.

Plenty of time for me to go off on one of my travels. Abd hello, Rhys. It’s been a while since you’ve been on a nocturnal voyage with me. I was on a holiday with a group of people and part of this holiday involved a train trip across the USA. There was the opportunity to step out from this train ride for 24 hours and catch the train the following day so I made arrangements to meet Rhys. The train pulled into the station and I climbed out. A couple of other people climbed out as well and went their separate ways. I was waiting because I couldn’t see Rhys’s car. In the meantime I had my rucksack and everything so I took a photograph of the train. Then I noticed Rhys sitting in the bar with a pint of beer in front of him. We said “hello” and he got up to go. I said “no, we don’t have to go – get your drink, drink your beer”. he replied that it wasn’t his beer but the beer of a friend of his. He’d bought it though. Anyway so we came out and started to get my stuff. I had the idea that I would follow him in Caliburn because for some reason Caliburn was there. Then I thought that I didn’t have the insurance on Caliburn so it probably wasn’t a very good idea. We got my stuff and threw it into Rhys’s car. He asked “are you staying the night with us?”. I replied “I don’t have any plans at all” which was quite true. The train was a steamer and had a huge load of freight, oil tankers, that kind of thing on the front of it before you reached the passenger accommodation which was at the rear of the train.

After I’d had my medication I came in here and transcribed the dictaphone notes and then finished off today’s photographs. There was a break for breakfast of course.

With it being Easter I’d dragged out a pack of frozen Hot Cross Buns from the freezer. They’ll keep me going for the Easter period. After all, Easter isn’t Easter without Hot Cross Buns. A big thank you to Liz and Terry for bringing them to me from the UK at Christmas.

When I’d finished the photos I had to go back again and amend some of them. For some reason that I have yet to understand, I never synchronised the times on the two cameras that I was using.

With being in the car now, I’m using the NIKON 1 J5 much more than I did before while I was in the Arctic and there’s a one-hour difference between the time on that camera and on the big NIKON D500.

What’s happening is that I’m editing a batch of photos on one camera and suddenly discovering that I’ve missed a batch off the other, so I have to go back and do some renumbering in order to keep everything in sequence.

But anyway, now they are in proper order to date, I’m now heading down a dirt-track road near the border between Montana and Wyoming looking for the site of the Battle (if you can call it that) of Powder River in 1876.

After that I started again on the arrears of my Central European trip last year. By the time that I knocked off there are just another 12 photos for which I need to write the text, and then it’s all done and I can turn my attention to the trip on Spirit of Conrad down the Brittany coast.

There was a break of course while I went off on my afternoon walk around the headland.

man on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis particular guy down there on the beach is very well camouflaged and it’s difficult to pick him out amongst the rocks down there.

But I don’t blame him at all for being wrapped up like that because while the sun was bright and there were very few clouds, we were back with the wicked wind again and the temperature must have dropped 15 degrees since yesterday. There weren’t any people out there sunning themselves on the beach and I wasn’t surprised at all about that.

It might be a Bank Holiday in the UK but it isn’t in France so the schools are still in and there weren’t all that many people wandering around. I had the path on top of the cliffs pretty much to myself this afternoon as I wandered along.

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut while there weren’t so many people walking around on the ground, there was a lot of activity going on in the air.

As I was walking along the path I heard a very familiar noise in the air and, sure enough, a minute or two later an autogyro flew past overhead. I was expecting it to be our old friend the yellow one but in fact it’s one that I’ve never seen before – a bright red one. A different one, unless it’s the yellow one that’s been repainted.

She’s probably on her way to the airport at the back of Donville les Bains, although I’ve no idea where it is that she will have come from. She never seems to file a flight plan and flies so low that she’s underneath the radar.

concrete reinforcement bunker atlantic wall pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAcross the lawn I went, via a different route today that took me across the ruins of a bunker that housed 15 German soldiers during World War II.

What caught my eye was the wire meshing in the roof that reinforced the concrete that they had poured for the roof. It’s a good heavy duty stuff probably about 10mm in diameter and would withstand most things when set in concrete.

The construction of the Atlantic Wall was supposed to be Hitler’s great secret but what he didn’t realise was that he was betrayed by this even right at the very beginning. The company that had the contract for supplying the concrete was a Belgian company that was run by a guy who was actually a Secret Agent for the Russians, so he told the Russians and they told the British.

Of course the British never let on that they knew, because to admit that the Communists had helped them would have been a terrible thing to do, and it wasn’t until the British wartime papers were released in 1994 that the world knew about it.

f-hgsm Robin DR400 160 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs if the autogyro wasn’t enough, while I was there standing on the roof of the bunker an aeroplane flew past overhead.

This one is F-HGSM, Robin Dr400-160. She is owned by the Aero Club Des Grèves de Mont St Michel and took off from Rennes Airport at 11:49 this morning. She disappeared off the flight radar when she was half-way along the route to Granville so I imagine that she’s been doing a little bit of low-flying exercises as well.

Having photographed the plane I walked down to the end of the headland to see what was going on out in the bay. But the answer to that was “nothing at all” so I headed off along the path on top of the cliffs down towards the viewpoint overlooking the port.

lorry load of chains unloaded by pallet lifter rue du port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere was something extremely interesting.

There was a lorry parked down there with a pile of chains in the back. And there was this pallet-lifter nearby, and another small pile of chains on the ground at the back of the lorry. It looks as if the new mooring chains for the harbour have arrived at last and the pallet-lifter is taking them out of the back of the lorry.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw at least one of the diggers being taken away by a lorry. Today, it seems that both of them have gone now. I wonder if they will be back after the Easter Holiday.

joly france victor hugo fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe diggers might have gone from the harbour but most of the fishing boats are still here, tied up at the pontoons.

Now idea why they weren’t out working today. There was plenty of wind but the seas weren’t all that rugh so I would have expected them to have been out working.

The two Channel Island ferries, Victor Hugo and Granville are still in there tied up. They won’t be going anywhere for a good while yet, and not at all if the Channel Islanders refuse to put their hands in their pockets and contribute towards the subsidy to keep the ferries running.

And one of the Joly France boats is over there too. There must be nothing going on at the Ile de Chausey either.

Back here there was football on the internet. A really important match in the Welsh Premier League between Penybont and Haverfordwest County. This is the last weekend in the first half of the season. The League splits into 2 after this weekend – the top 6 compete for the four European places and the bottom 6 compete to avoid the two relegation places.

These two clubs were 6th and 7th in the league and whoever won would go into the top half and whoever lost would be in the bottom 6. From the kick-off it was quite clear that Penybont would win this – barring accidents of course. They were fitter, keener, much more organised and played the ball around between themselves with much more skill and confidence.

And I was right too. The final score of 2-0 to Penybont was exactly what I would have expected from the play. The only surprise was that Penybont were as low in the table as 6th because they looked much better than that today.

While I was eating my tea – more of those soya nuggets – I was at a party. My friend Esi was having a Zoom party and I’d been invited. It was nice to see her, even if it was via the computer, because we haven’t met since Christmas.

And while I was washing up, I dropped and broke a storage jar. I’m not having much luck with that.

So now I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow at Noz and Leclerc so I need to be on form. I won’t be having another lie in until Sunday and Monday. Can I survive until then?

Tuesday 9th February 2021 – IT’S SNOWING!

When I lived in the Auvergne all those years ago we would have snow, snow, and then more snow, sometimes from October to May, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Since I’ve lived here in Granville by the seaside in the prevailing winds, I reckon that I could count on the fingers of one hand, and probably just one of those fingers too, the number of times that we’ve had a snowfall here.

snow place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut today, we are having a snowfall, a proper snowfall too and a snowfall in spades as well.

The funny thing is that the weather service forecast snow at 18:00 this evening. And while I hadn’t noticed what the weather was doing at that moment, when I went to fetch my camera at 19:00 after guitar practice, it was snowing quite heavily.

That’s quite a thing, isn’t it? A weather forecast that’s pretty much accurate. It’s quite an impressive snowfall too, the kind of which we used to have in the Auvergne. It’s just like being back home there.

But in those days we were used to it and we coped accordingly. But just you watch the chaos in the streets here tomorrow as the motorists around here try to come to terms with it.

One thing that I struggled to come to terms with is being wide-awake at 05:40 yet again. And had I put my mind to it, I could even have beaten the first alarm. But as it happened, I contented myself with simply beating the third alarm … “‘simply’ he said” – ed.

During the night I’d been on my travels too. There was some kind of science-fiction thing going on last night – a large dome that was full of all kinds of things including some scrap cars and we had crept in there for a look around. We weren’t sure who it was who was running the place and which planet they were from. The next night I crept in again on my own and while I was there a digger came in with its bucket down to scrape the soil, being pushed by a grader. Averny now and again the bucket would dig in and the grader would pull it back and push it on again. I made sure to keep out of sight while I watched them and eventually they stopped near the cars and then began to cur up a dark red Ford Escort. After a while one of the guys said in a loud voice “we can see you, you know”. so I came out of hiding and went for a chat. They told me about the cars – that they cut up whichever was nearest. I asked them about what they did with they stuff and they told me that they “put it in the SAAR”. At first I thought the region of Germany but it turned out that it was some kind of collectors’ magazine. But these people were being quite friendly and sociable and it didn’t seem right to me. I was wondering when they were going to turn nasty, which was what I was expecting.

Sometime also in this I had a black cat rather like Tuppence but her coat was in much better condition. She had been sitting on the floor by the chair and I was trying to entice her on my knee but she wouldn’t jump up. But as soon as I stopped, she jumped up. Someone was telling me that another girl had picked her up and had stroked her, somethig that surprised me because she wasn’t the kind of animal that would let anyone else touch her except me.

Another thing was that I was in work in the EU as some kind of messenger but I had nothing to do so I was just standing there. I stood there for ages and no-one seemed to notice. There were people coming and going, talking about their plans for the weekend, going to play golf and whatever. So there I was for ages standing by this door waiting for someone to give me some work and no-one was taking any attention whatever of what I was doing.

After breakfast I worked on my Welsh ready for my lesson and I do have to say that I simply wasn’t in the mood for it. It was quite a dismal Welsh lesson in fact and I wasn’t on form at all. But luckily I wasn’t called on to do all that much so it didn’t make all that much difference.

After lunch I had a couple of things to do, one of which was to crash out for about 40 minutes. But afterwards I carried on with the notes about Oradour-sur-Glane.

people on atlantic wall fortifications pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy afternoon walk was pretty adventurous in this kind of weather because it was absolutely freezing cold.

There were very few people around, except for the guy standing on the old Atlantic Wall concrete machine gun nest over there on the right and the handful of people up there on the path.

It was absolutely taters out there and it’s a long time since I’ve felt quite that cold. In fact, my woolly hat was of not much use at all in this weather. My ears were freezing. I’m going to have to buy a new one the next time I go anywhere near a sports shop becuase it’s not going to be much fun picking my way through the snow to Belgium if I can’t keep my ears warm.

trawler and tree and atlantic wall pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis photo didn’t really do what I was hoping to do but the effect was nevertheless quite interesting.

Just as I started to cross the lawn a trawler out in the Baie de Mont St Michel put in an appearance. And while I was trying to focus the image on the trawler through the branches, I accidentally clicked the shutter.

There was nothing going on out there in the bay across to the Brittany coast and as you might expect, there wasn’t anything at all in the way of sun trying to pierce its way through the clouds so I didn’t hang around there all that long. I headed off along the path down the south side of the headland.

yacht chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the chantier navale there was yet more excitement.

The covering that was over the side of the yacht has now been removed after yesterday, and to be honest I couldn’t see anything different to how things were previously. So I’ve no idea what that was all about.

By now I was freeezing so I headed off back to my apartment and a nice hot coffee, which I thoroughly deserved. And then I carried on with the Oradour sur Glane stuff until it was time to go a-playing with the guitars.

The half-hour on the bass worked really well and I worked out a lovely bass line to David Bowie’s “Heroes” which I could actually sing as well at the same time. Things are definitely picking up there. But once again, I wasn’t able to concentrate all that much on the acoustic guitar.

Tea was a burger in a bap with potatoes and veg followed by rice pudding. And much as I have written out my notes this evening, I’ve also been watching the snow settle on the car park here.

This is going to be a good morning tomorrow, I hope.

So bedtime now. And I’m wondering if I might make the hat-trick by having three days on the run before the third alarm. About time I did things properly.

Wednesday 25th November 2020 – THIS IS NO …

… good at all.

Never mind the three alarms this morning. I didn’t wake up until about 10:00.

This is a really sad situation to be in. But then, it’s probably my own fault. I was distracted after finishing off my notes and didn’t go to bed until 01:30. And so I was thinking that I would be lucky to be up at 06:15. Even so, I didn’t think that it would be this late and waste half a day.

Plenty of time to go on a walkabout during the night too.

By now things were advancing with TOTGA and we were definitely a couple. She was definitely living in Gainsborough Road with me. She had brought her animals with her, a couple of cats and a couple of dogs. The cats were very stand-offish as far as I was concerned. One night she went to bed and I had a few things to do so I stayed up. I was wondering about going to bed, and I thought “no, I have a few things to do and I can make the most of it doing them while it’s quiet”. We’d done a furniture removal and we could have removed all of the stuff out of my house with this van but it didn’t quite work out like that with people not being able to keep to a timetable and likely to run off or something like that. I ended up having to take the van back without moving my stuff but I’d removed the other person’s. It was 01:00 or 02:00 and I didn’t feel particularly like going to sleep so I’d done some some more stuff. But I’d made a mistake. I went to press the button on something but ended up pressing the doorbell and thought “God, I’ve awoken everyone in the apartment building now”. I carried on doing what I was doing. For some unknown reason a heavy lorry started up and drove away. I thought “I’m glad that’s not me waking the neighbourhood even more”. Then TOTGA came down and asked “are you going to come to bed or what?”. I had a little laugh and smile to myself and off I went upstairs. She’d changed all of the bedding in the bedroom so I made a remark about it. There was no room for me in the bed because of all these dogs and cats fighting their way around. Suddenly the alarm went off. I looked and it was only 05:00 instead of 07:00. I couldn’t remember how to switch off the alarm. In the end she had to come and do it for me and it was all. That was all very well – I’d lived in this place and she’d only been here half an hour, something like that. I went to get into bed and some of her cats were all curled up with my cats and it all looked like one big happy family until I got into bed when hers started to move. I thought “that’s just typical, isn’t it? It’ll take them a while to get used to me”.

So it wasn’t all bad then during the night. Not ‘arf it wasn’t.

First thing this morning (or what was left of the morning, should I say) was to make the booking for my trip to Leuven. And that’s not going to happen now either. All of the train across the border are cancelled and there’s just the repatriation trains. The one out is on Sunday and costs €155, which costs more than I usually pay for a return ticket. The one back is on Friday but I didn’t even check that.

In theory I suppose that I could drive there in Caliburn but it’s a long way and a lot of organisation so in the end I decided not to go.

They weren’t impressed when I rang them up to tell them but the way I see it, it was fine for them to annul my 4-weekly appointments for 9 months when it suited them so there’s no reason why I can’t annul a 4-weekly appointment for 4 weeks.

Time for hot chocolate and chocolate cake and then I could press on with work. And I’ve been doing another load of stuff of the arrears for my trip to Central Europe in the summer.

There were the usual interruptions during the day. Firstly of course there was lunch. And I do like my sourdough bread. I’m pleased with how it’s turned out although the shape leaves something to be desired. I need it to be taller and not as wide. But it’s no big worry – it’s all about learning as you go along and I’m doing plenty of that.

bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was also the pause this afternoon to go for my walk around the headland

It’s Wednesday of course so no brats out playing or orienteering this afternoon on the field at the back of the sports ground of the school. I can therefore take a photograph of the lawn and also of one of the bunkers of the old Atlantic Wall that are dotted about here.

That’s the one that they opened up about 18 months ago and about which there is some talk of transforming into a museum of the Atlantic Wall and, presumably, of the Resistance Fighters here.

Whether it will ever be a project that gets off the ground remains to be seen of course

ceres 2 new boat arriving in chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith nothing else of very great importance going on I walked on around the headland and then ran all the way down the path (seeing as there was no-one about) to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

And it looks as if there is going to be a change of occupant in the chantier navale today. We have one of the little inshore seafood harvesting boats being winched up out of the sea by the portable boat lift.

You can see that it’s only just come up out of the sea, with all of the water that’s dripping off it. And yet there’s a van parked by it and workmen who look as if they are inspecting something on the port side. So maybe it’s been in a collision with a rock or a mermaid or something.

And that reminds me. A short while ago I asked one of the local fishermen if he knew the ideal vital statistics of a mermaid. He replied “36 – 24 – €9:99 per kilo”

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s not all of the excitement going on down there this afternoon either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I mentioned the other day that there was a pile of equipment down on the quayside in the loading bay for the Channel Island freighters and so I expected one of them to be putting in an appearance some time soon.

And so it looks as if today is the day because Thora is down there this afternoon and by the looks of things she’s not long come into port. And I’m glad that I got to see her because with the rapid turnover that we’ve been having just recently I might otherwise have missed her.

And then you lot would be moaning on at me to improve my aim.

trawler cap lihou port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was there looking at Thora into port came another one of our old favourites.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the trawler Cap Lihou was up on blocks i the chantier navale for what seemed like eternity this summer. But here she is today, just having unloaded at the fish processing plant and now heading into the inner harbour.

But I headed off back home for a hot coffee and to carry on with some work. But my friend with Covid (or who had Covid, should I say) was on line so we had quite a chat again.

Anything to keep up her morale. It’s very important that she keeps a positive outlook. And in any case, I happen to like her.

My hour on the guitar was another one that was very enjoyable – playing along on the bass and singing to a few Hendrix numbers that I used to play in a group in which I played all those years ago, and then later playing lead guitar solos to “Riding The Waves” and “Whisky In The Jar”. I’m still rubbish at bar chords though.

Tea was an aubergine and kidney bean whatsit out of the freezer followed by more raspberry and custard tart. And this worked so well that it’s going to be added tot the menu for future reference.

Just as I was about to go out for my evening runs Rosemary rang up and we ended up chatting for 2 hours and more yet again. By now it was far too late to go out, what with the curfew and all of that, so I’ll have to write that off tonight. I can’t rely on the coppers turning a blind eye too often.

So I’l lgo to bed, still later than I intended. Shopping tomorrow and there’s quite a list so I need to make an early start. But late as it is, I’m not relying on a 6:15 start. I really need to do better than this.

Tuesday 17th November 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change this morning I managed to beat the third alarm. And reasonably comfortably too.

Mind you, I put that down to the fact that I didn’t go anywhere during the night – at least, not that I recorded anyway. By the looks of things it was a nice, relaxing night.

After the medication I did some work on the photos from July 2019 in Greenland and then prepared for my Welsh lesson. And the more we learn, the harder it becomes. I’m having trouble trying to keep abreast of it all.

Armed with a mug of hot chocolate and a slice of fruit bread, we had our lesson. And it passed quite quickly.

Of course we learnt some more words for “yes” and “no” – another 6 of them in fact. Basically, in a Celtic language, there isn’t a “yes” or “no”. If someone asks you “did you …” the answer is “I did”, or “will you …” – “I will” and so on. And when the verb declines as in Latin rather than there being a subject as in English, you can see how complicated this can become.

And we managed to have a break too. Basically we rebelled and decided that we had to go to the bathroom. Sitting straight through for 150 minutes just turns my head to jelly.

After lunch I was very busy. First of all, I peeled and diced some ginger very finely and then brought it to a slow boil in a saucepan. While it was simmering away, I peeled three oranges, put them in the whizzer just enough to extract the juice which I then filtered out (I like my new sieves) into a bottle and then whizzed the rest of it round into a pulp which I then added to the ginger and left it all to simmer.

As I suspected, the pineapple syrup was “off” so I whizzed up two pears and a pile of grapes into a very fine pulp and then filtered out the juice into the very large jug. The pulp I added to the ginger and orange mix which was still simmering.

The kefir was then strained through my very fine filter into the very large jug, all mixed well in and then strained back through the very fine filter into a few of the stoppered bottles. And while all that was happening I made some more kefir, with a dried fig this time

pear and raisin kefir orange and ginger cordial Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now the orange and ginger etc was well ready so the liquid was drained off, the remaining pulp was thoroughly whizzed and any remaining juice was extracted.. All of this juice was then filtered to take out the solids and then heated again lightly. A couple of tablespoons of honey were added, the orange juice from step one was added back in and all placed in another stoppered bottle.

And here’s the finished product, as you can see. A big batch of fresh kefir, two large and one small bottle of pear and grape kefir, and a small bottle of orange and ginger cordial.

And I can’t wait to give it all a try. I had a quick sample of the ginger and orange cordial and it nearly blew my cap off. It should be quite exciting after it’s stood for a day or two. And it will be a couple of days before I get round to the kefir but that should be good too.

people on beach Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBelieve it or not, that took me all the way up to walkies-time. I couldn’t believe just how quickly the time had passed by.

It was surprising to see so few people out and about this afternoon though. The wind had dropped quite dramatically and although there was plenty of cloud about it was quite a bright, warm day. yet there was just a handful of people down on the beach and no more than half a dozen pounding out the path around the headland.

When you think about it – a beach almost completely to yourself in the sun. That can’t be a bad thing, even in the High Arctic like the one that we found somewhere on Victoria Island that pleasant afternoon just as my world was about to fall apart.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t exactly all that much more lively out at sea either.

Away in the distance out in the English Channel I could just about make out two objects. Wondering what they might be, I took a photo at full-range. One didn’t show anything that I recognised but the second produced a stationary trawler.

What was even more interesting about this photo was that just beyond it are a couple of these bobbing buoys that we have seen every now and again which are either mooring posts for fishing boats or else markers for lobster pots and the like.

And that’s surprising because they are way out in the distance offshore.

child's sign in car pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut anyway, all of that will be for another time, maybe (or maybe not).

There was still a circuit to complete so I carried on with my walk along the clifftop and over the lawn at the back of the lighthouse. There was a car parked on the car park and this little notice attracted my attention. It’s a shame that part of it is obscured but nevertheless it was certainly something very different.

And why not? There’s not enough humour and levity in the world these days. We all need things to make us smile with all of this nonsense going on right now. These are very sad times in which we are living right now.

sun shining through clouds baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the car park I walked down the path past one of the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall to see what was happening out to sea.

And the answer to that was, unfortunately, nothing. At least, nothing of the moving variety. There was, however, a certain moment, one that didn’t last long, of the sun’s rays shooting out through a hole in the clouds and illuminating a spot on the surface of the sea, just like a spotlight might do on a stage in a theatre.

Luckily I had the camera to hand and all ready, so I managed to take a quick shot while the scene still worked. It’s all very well these professional photographers saying that you have more time than you think, but they have clearly never worked with children animals and nature.

trawler saint brieuc port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallPast the chantier navale and no change there. Still the yacht and Ceres II and no-one else.

But there’s something going on here though at the wharf next to the Fish processing Plant. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we had a discussion a while back about the registration number of boats – CH being CHerbourg (where boats from this port are registered), SM for St Malo and so on.

Here, aground on the mudflats with the tide right out is a trawler registered “SB” which, I imagine, is St Brieuc further on down the Brittany coast. And what it’s doing here, aground and unattended, I really have no idea. It really ought to be tied up in the dinner harbour.

Back here, my friend with Covid was on line so we had another chat. It’s important that she keeps up her morale in this difficult time and I’m trying my best to give her my support. And if that doesn’t work, she’ll have to buy her own.

The hour on the guitar was, for some reason, not as enjoyable as it has been just recently. No idea why. I think that I’m on the verge of what I’m technically capable of doing yet I can’t seem to push on any more. I’ve been trying to fingerpick chords without too much success. But I’m better than I was before I started, I suppose.

Tea was a stuffed pepper again, seeing as I had some stuffing left over. And strangely enough it was the best that I’ve had so far. No idea why. The apple crumble was good too.

beach at night Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOut in the streets tonight I really was totally alone. I didn’t meet a single person anywhere on my travels.

At the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord I tried a little experiment. With the camera wedged up against a corner of a wall I tried a shot on a longish exposure to see if I could capture anything of the beach in the dark.

The photo is not very good but it reminds me of Doctor Johnson’s story about the dog dancing on its hind legs. The surprise is not that it was done so badly, but that it was done at all. I didn’t really expect to get anything recognisable out of it at all.

And apart from that, there was nothing of any interest as I ran all the way round to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

steps escalier du moulin a vent Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers will recall that we see quite regularly the view across the Place down to the Plat Gousset, and the other day I took a photo of the view behind.

To the left there is of course the sea, but to the right there’s a stairway, the Escalier du Moulin A Vent, that goes all the way down to the Place.

There are loads of stairs and I counted them once. I think that I made it 128 or something like that. And at 4 steps to the metre, that makes ordinarily about 30 metres or so but there are several flat bits that have quite a steep slope so it’s a lot higher than that.

A run across the Square Maurice Marland, a walk around the rest of the walls and then another run and I was back home. And this last leg for some reason went pretty fluidly. Much more fluidly than I was expecting.

Tomorrow I must ring up about Caliburn. And then I have a really important job to carry out that I should have done 18 months ago and more.

Monday 9th November 2020 – I DIDN’T …

… manage to beat the third alarm this morning. But nevertheless I managed to tear myself out of my stinking pit fairly quickly so it wasn’t too much of a problem.

helicopter air sea rescue notre dame de cap lihou baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you look at some photos of the rather dramatic air-sea rescue that took place this afternoon out in the Baie de Mont St Michel I’ll tell you something about my day today.

First thing after the medication was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. And, more importantly, who had come with me.

And there was actually something there, so I must have been away at some point. And what I heard about my voyage took me quite by surprise because it’s quite a rare event, what happened during the hours of darkness.

helicopter air sea rescue notre dame de cap lihou baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall Last night I dreamt that I had gone to the local Council offices to talk about getting a French nationality. The woman had sent me into a room which was where I would have to wait but my appointment would be something like 09:30. After a while I noticed that they had been calling through people who had come into the room after me and I was starting to become a little concerned about this. I went back to the reception and told them. The woman there said that there were a lot of people to see of course but she could absolutely guarantee that I would be seen before 11:30 that morning. I thought to myself “OK, I’ll have to wait” so I went back. But then I awoke in this dream and found that I was actually inside an old van with a load of other people. I had a look at my watch and it was 10:45. I thought that I have to go and make this appointment. How long have I been away and what have I been doing in the meantime? So I shook myself out, climbed out the van which was something like a CA Bedford or J4 with sliding doors. Someone else wanted to come out behind me so I had to help them out, then the curtain in the doorway was getting in the way. Then I thought “should I take a book with me or something? But them I thought that I don’t really have time. I have to get all the way back to the Council offices and hope that I haven’t been called in the meantime and that I’ll be there before 11:30.

It was really weird, this waking up in a dream and finding myself still in a dream.

helicopter air sea rescue notre dame de cap lihou baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOnce I’d organised myself with the dictaphone I had a radio prgramme to prepare.

It’s the 69th issue of my programmes and now I’m deep into the obscure tracks, which was always the plan. Groups like Amazing Blondel, Brian Auger’s Trinity, Eyes of Blue and the Swedish musician Bo Hansson will be making their debuts when this programme is broadcast and there are plenty more of the same to follow.

And so round about 07:30 or so I sat down to make a good start.

helicopter air sea rescue notre dame de cap lihou baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall It took me less than 90 minutes to choose the first 10 tracks, remix them, combine them in pairs and add on the introduction.

Then I had to research the groups because with so many new groups, I didn’t have much in the way of prepared notes, and then I had to write out the texts and then dictated them.

Once I’d dictated them I had to edit them, split them into segments and then link all of the pairs of songs together with the segments of text in between.

That left 4:20 so knocking 45 seconds off for a closing speech, that meant a final track of 3:35. Having chosen one of the right length and remixed it, I then had to dictate a closing speech which I unfortunately overran and ended up having to trim down the programme by 19 seconds.

Nevertheless, buy 14:20 it was all done and dusted, despite having a break for hot chocolate at 10:30 (and my fruit bread buns were perfect) and for lunch (and my hone-made bread was pretty good too).

First task when I finished was to ring up to enquire about Caliburn. And, as I expected, the time limit that I was given was … errr … somewhat optimistic. They’ll ring me up when he’s ready, but I can see that it’s not going to be any time soon.

Second task was to sort out the rest of the radio programme that I’d started. I even started to type out the notes but I’m afraid that my early start proved somewhat too much for me and I ended up asleep on the chair for a while.

cormorants on rock Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallConsequently my walk outside this afternoon was rather later than planned, but I went out just the same.

For a change I forgot myself and ended up going off around the headland instead of around the walls. The tide was well in and out there sitting on a rock was a colony of what looks like cormorants.

They were just sitting there not doing very much, except one of them that was flapping its wings as if it was going out of fashion. The birds posed quite nicely for a good few minutes and then I pushed off to find out what the racket was all about out to sea in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

helicopter air sea rescue notre dame de cap lihou baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd out there, hidden in the spray kicked up by the rotor blades of a helicopter, was our local lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

As I watched, the helicopter made two or three practice runs towards her and then on the next one, she hovered quite close and as I watched, she lowered a person down on a winch.

By the looks of things it may well have been nothing more than a practice exercise but it was still exciting just the same.

With nothing else going on out there this afternoon, I wandered off back home again to do a bit more work.

Later on, I had a really enjoyable hour on the guitars. One of the things that I did with the bass guitar was to work out the bass line to David Bowie’s “Heroes” and I found, to my immense satisfaction, that I could sing it at the same time.

Back 40 years ago I could sing and play the bass but it wasn’t all that easy. Despite the fact that I still haven’t manage to recapture whatever skill I might have had, I’m finding singing to be so much easier and I don’t understand that at all.

With the acoustic guitar, I selected half a dozen songs and then had a little concert. As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I need to spend more time concentrating on maybe just a dozen songs and knowing them very well rather than dissipating my efforts over a hundred or so.

But one track that I’ve found that I can play and sing quite easily is Counting Crows’ “Recovering the Satellites”, although that song and “Heroes” that I mentioned just now remind me rather too much of a certain night back at the beginning of September last year and one day I might even write about it.

There wa san old burger in the fridge that needed eating so I had that for tea. And being fed up of pasta, I had a baked potato with tinned veg seeing as I have run out of carrots. And the veg was peas, peppers and sweetcorn from a tin that I had bought ages ago at NOZ. As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … rummaging around in the food mountain at NOZ does provide me with a varied diet.

Both Rosemary and TOTGA wanted a chat on the internet so I was rather late going out for my evening walk and run.

And to my surprise, not only did I manage 6 runs, I ran them without any effort too and I reckon that I could have pushed on even further had I wanted.

escalier du moulin a vent Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn between a couple of the legs I stopped for a breather at the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen plenty of photos of the Place Marechal Foch during the night, but it occurs to me that you may not have seen the view looking behind me

There’s the nice little flat level ground which is disfigured by a small bunker or two of the Atlantic Wall, and then the stairs – the Escalier du Moulin a Vent that leads up to the Place de l’Isthme. And while there is indeed a “Windmill Staircase”, there’s no windmill. although there used to be and I have seen an old postcard that shows a view of it.

trees lit up square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo-one about so I had a good run across the Square Maurice Marland.

It was all looking quite nice, the trees all illuminated by the lights and with no leaves to hide the effect.

And from there I continued around the walls and then ran on home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow I have my Welsh lesson so I need to do some revision in the morning, and then in the afternoon I hope that I’ll be able to finish off the radio programme that I started in Leuven.

Then there are plenty of other things to be doing and who knows? One of these days I might be able to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Just don’t hold your breath.

Sunday 8th November 2020 – TODAY I HAD …

… a baking day today and I’ve been hard at it today.

That is, such of the day that I saw because I had another long lie-in today. In fact, it was something like 10:20 when I finally saw the light of day.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone.

We were in Regency times last night, having a lecture about all of the dandies of the Regency days, how they set out to go gambling, womanising, all these other vices that they could have, how they had dissipated their fortunes and had to marry or seduce young girls who were heritees, all this sort of stuff. In the end it ended up with how the aristocracy amused themselves in the winter. We had like a game of darts with snowballs that they threw at a board and how they threw bowls at targets, all this kind of thing. We were well into these aristocratic winter sports when I awoke suddenly.

A little later on I was round at Stoke on Trent last night and met up with a former friend of mine. I was in a J4 van and we had a bit of a good chat. We ended up going back to his house, a big chalet-type place. We got back there and went in. I’d come down from London on the motorway. On the way down to London I would usually go all the way down the A5 but for some unknown reason I’d got on the motorway near Luton or Dunstable, somewhere like that, doing down the M1 a bit and off round the M25 anti-clockwise. But I’d always go home on the motorway. I’d stopped to buy a few things like a big bag of apples – I remembered this. I collected everything up and went to pay for it. I had to go into a little annexe type of place to pay for it. I went to pay with a credit card but it didn’t take cards so I had to pay cash which was a shame. I opened my wallet and there was loads of stuff in there like old ferry tickets, everything, so I took them out and binned them as I didn’t really need them. Then I got in the van and drove back to Stoke on Trent, parked up the van, went into this guy’s house and we could see out of the back. There were a few big hangars at the back. There was a load of old buses in one of them, double-deckers. Every time we turned away and turned back again there would be another double decker in it. In another hangar a bit further down was an old Duple coach from the 1960s. My friend was talking about this duple coach for I was extremely interested in it. The guy just did car repairs but that coach had been there for ages. Thinking on, he hadn’t seen the guy there for several weeks and was wondering if he was OK or something. These double deckers that were appearing were intriguing so we went out and started to talk to these guys about them. They told us a bit of a story. Just then my friend’s wife came and stood on the balcony of one of the bedrooms looking out, accompanied by Zero. I waved, and suddenly Zero came running out down the garden and leapt into my arms, saying “hi darling” so I swung her around for a bit. I thought “God I’m lucky. My lucky day here, isn’t it?”. We went inside and said hello. Someone wanted something and I realised that I had that in the van so I thought that I would go and fetch it. As I was about to go out, my friend’s wife asked “have you started to cook in your flat?” I replied “yes, I have”. “I was going to ask you to bring some fruit or something like that because I’m fed up of having just potatoes”. I thought “hang on, I have this huge bag of apples in my van. I’ll bring that”. I went out and I couldn’t see the van. It was like a no parking area in front of where he was living so I walked a little further down the street but couldn’t see it so I walked a little further up the street and couldn’t see it so I rang him up on the mobile phone “where the hell did I put the van?” “You parked it in the usual place” “Where’s that?”. By now it was pouring down with rain and I saw someone come out of his house. He started to run so I went towards him but it wasn’t him but another guy. Then he came out and he ran off up a completely different street so I set out to follow him.

As well as that, I transcribed a few of the arrears from when I was away and there are just two that remain. They will be done sometime later in the week and then I can bring them up to date.

After a bowl of porridge I prepared the dough for the bread. 250 grammes of plain flour with a banana, some desiccated coconut, sultanas, ground brazil nuts, dried fruit and a pile of sultanas.

Then 500 grammes of cereal flour mixed with several handfuls of sunflower seeds.

All of the dough, having been mixed with the yeast and water and kneaded together, was put on one side to proof.

Next was the sourdough. I took it from the fridge, strained off some of it and discarded it, prepared an equivalent amount of flour and water to what was left and mixed it all together. It didn’t take long to reignite either and by the end of the day it was bubbling away nicely.

Four oranges were then whizzed round in the whizzer and the juice extracted and put in my very large jub. Then the orange pulp was whizzed up again for several minutes and then strained through a fine mesh filter so that any remaining juice would then be added to that which I had separated just now. The remaining pulp was discarded.

The kefir that had been brewing for 10 days was then strained through my filter stack and added to the orange juice, and well stirred in. I then prepared another load of kefir with a fig, several slices of lemon, 40 grammes of sugar and about 2 litres of water. That will need to ferment for a few days.

The mix in the jug, I mixed it again thoroughly and then strained it through my filter stack and bottled it. That needs to ferment for 48 hours or so.

people drying off after a swim Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallTaking a break from my baking activities I took myself out for my afternoon walk;

Once again, there ere people down there on the beach drying off as if they had just been in the water for a swim. Had I gone out a little earlier I might even have caught them in the water like I did with that woman yesterday.

But as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … they can go into the water all they like but they wouldn’t get me in there joining them. It may have been a beautiful, warm afternoon but it wasn’t that warm. The water would need to be about 35°C before I would want to go into it.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith too many people wandering about to burst into a run, I walked down the path underneath the wall and round the corner to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

Plenty of people out there walking around this afternoon, both on the promenade and down on the beach too. And I’m not surprised in view of the beautiful weather.

From there I wandered slowly across the Square Maurice Marland and then round the walls back home where at the door I bumped into one of my neighbours who had gone out for a walk but was obliged to come back as she had forgotten her mask.

That’s two of my neighbours I’ve met today. I bumped into another one of them earlier on my way out of the building.

By now the bread had risen quite nicely so I gave it a good kneading again, shaped it and put it in the moulds. There was far too much fruit bread for the mould so with the excess I made three small fruit bread rolls. They should make a nice snack at some point during the week.

With some spare time on my hands I edited a few more photos from July 2019. I need to keep up with this project that I have let go for several months. They won’t be completed if I don’t do anything about it.

home made bread fruit bread orange kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy 18:00 it was time to put the bread in the oven for cooking. I brushed the fruit bread and the little buns in milk and dusted them with brown sugar first. They’ll take an hour or so to be ready and so in the meantime I had a rather pleasurable session with the guitars.

Anyway, here’s the “after” photograph. The main loaf didn’t rise as much as I would like but apart from that it looks very nice.

On the other hand, the fruit bread looks really nice and I can’t wait to get stuck into that in due course. The little buns especially, with some strawberry jam as a mid-morning snack with my hot chocolate.

home made vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEarlier on, I’d taken the last remaining pizza dough out of the freezer and left it to defrost.

I’d been kneaded it on and off during the afternoon and now I rolled it out and put it on a pizza tray. I prepared my pizza and when the bread was cooked I took it out and put the pizza in.

And when it was cooked, my pizza was delicious. One of the best that I’ve made, even if I had to use tinned mushrooms instead of fresh because I hadn’t been to the shops at the weekend.

brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith a few minutes to spare before curfew I took myself out and about for my evening run. It was a really beautiful if windy evening and I had a really good session tonight.

At the very end of the Pointe du Roc I had a good look out to sea across to the Brittany coast. It was one of those evenings where you could see for miles and the Brittany coast over there looked really beautiful.

Despite the wind, in the shelter of the bunker there was a good little spec to take a photo and even without the tripod the photo came out really well considering everything.

ceres 2 yacht chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the end of the Pointe du Roc I ran along the path at the top of the cliff down to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

There, sitting on the ramps in the chantier navale is the yacht that has been there for the last couple of weeks. And alongside her is the second boat that we saw from a distance the other day. Now that I can see more clearly, I can see that she is the Ceres II, an offshore installation maintenance vessel of 11 metres in length.

Her presence here may be something to do with the proposed offshore wind farm that they are talking about around here and which there has been some commotion across the bay, some of which we were sucked into when we were out there on Spirit of Conrad a few months ago.

Mind you, whatever she is doing here, her AIS transceiver seems to be still in St Vaast around the other side of the Cotentin Peninsula

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here at the viewpoint, I scanned the port to see if there was anything else of note going on there tonight.

Nothing, in fact. It was totally dead everywhere. Not even a cat was out there tonight. The port looked quite tranquil, bathed as it was with artificial light. And that reminds me – with lockdown and curfew, I would have expected that they would have turned off most of the street lighting to save a few bob. But apparently not.

Having seen what was going on – or wasn’t, as the case may be, I turned round and ran for home, a darn sight easier than I have done and I reckon that I could have pushed on a lot more than I did.

Tomorrow I’m back at work again. I have two radio programmes to complete this week. I’m hoping that this time, for once, I could pull myself out of bed by the time that the third alarm goes off, pleasant voyages and pleasant companions notwithstanding.

Another thing is to find out how things are doing with Caliburn and hope that he hasn’t gone into lockdown for the foreseeable future. That will be a catastrophe and no mistake.

Tuesday 13th October 2020 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… I was in bed quite early – long before 23:00. And it’s been a while since that’s ever happened when I’ve been feeling good.

Furthermore, I was up and about a long time before the third alarm too which is something that’s becoming less and less common as time passes by.

And nothing on the dictaphone either – I can’t have gone anywhere during the night too. But that’s not as relaxing as you might think because I woke up a few times that I can remember, tossing and turning about.

For much of the morning I was revising my Welsh. I missed last week’s lesson so I needed to catch up with it. And even though it is the language of my grandmother, I’m still bewildered about the fact that so far, after just 6 months of study, I’ve encountered so far about 9 different words for yes and 9 for no. There’s probably plenty more to go at in the future too.

It’s not the easiest language in the world to learn either. It has a thought path and a sentence and tense construction all of its own quite unlike any Romance or Germanic language.

But we had our lesson for 2.5 hours, learning yet another couple of words for “yes” and “no” and then I went for lunch.

After lunch I did some tidying up (just a bit – I don’t want to disillusion you all) and then dealt with a couple of knotty coding problems on my website which no matter what I do and what I try, I can’t get to work.

Rainbow English Channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt has really bad weather to stop me going out for my afternoon walk, so the rain that was falling didn’t prevent me from setting off, even if two of my neighbours out at the front door were less than enthusiastic.

And I’m glad I did because although the rain wasn’t all that heavy here, it was pelting right down in the immediate vicinity and out at sea, we were being treated to the most glorious rainbow in the distance. It was the kind of thing that made me wish that I had a shovel handy.

And that reminds me of Nerina who told me once that when I died she would come round and dance on my grave. And for that reason I’m going to be buried at sea. Although the last time that someone else wanted to be buried at sea, 5 gravediggers were drowned.

Compound Blown Down In Wind College Malraux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday when I was out in the evening I didn’t notice anything special about the wind, especially when compared to what kind of wind we’ve been having recently.

However it’s significant that there were no workmen working on the scaffolding this afternoon and that a large part of the compound seems to have been blown down. That’s some kind of indication that we’ve been having really bad weather for part of the day and I must have missed it

Mind you, when I was having my Welsh lesson this morning I noticed that the weather was going through a rapid sunny/cloudy cycle so maybe there was a strong wind that was driving all of that.

Atlantic Wall Rainstorm Baie de Mont St Michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I’m not going to miss this if I don’t get a move on.

Out in the Baie de Mont St Michel there’s a wicked rainstorm in progress and the wind is blowing it this way. It’s not going to be long before it makes the shore and then we’ll know all about it.

In the foreground on the right you can see one of the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall, the German coastal protection of World War II. And on the left are some of the remains of another one.

The story goes that the local demolition packed that one full of explosive and detonated, hoping to remove it. They apparently broke every window within a 50-mile radius and moved a hatful of concrete bunker about half an inch. So they abandoned the procedure.

Incidentally, while we’re on the subject of the Atlantic Wall … “well, one of us is” – ed … the story of the storming of the Atlantic Wall on the Normandy beaches has always been one of those jingoistic gung-ho episodes that’s gone down in British and American folklore, but it really is nothing like that at all. The concrete to build the wall was supplied by a Belgian company that was issued with the plans and dimensions in order to calculate correctly the amount of concrete needed. The company was run by someone who was actually in the pay of the Russians and he transmitted all of the information to Moscow who sent it on to the British who then became aware of every last detail about the fortifications.

Of course, it wasn’t politic to admit that the Soviets had contributed substantially to the success of D-Day on a couple of the more-heavily-fortified beaches.

With no-one around this afternoon, I broke into a run along the path on top of the cliffs. An extra run will keep me fit and besides, it’s going to rain in a moment and I want to be home when it starts.

Trawler Baie de Mont St Michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt seems that today I wasn’t going to be the only one heading for home in a hurry.

The fishing season is apparently now well under way again and with the pause in the bad weather the trawlers and other fishing boats are going out to work. And here’s one of them, heading for home across the Baie de Mont St Michel, presumably in the hope of making it home before the rain reaches here.

But it’s hard to work out if it has a catch or not. usually, the laden trawlers are surrounded flocks of seagulls hoping to catch a misplaced fish but this one looks as if it’s unaccompanied.

Crane Lifting Nets From Trawler Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA few weeks ago we saw Coelacanthe and Le Tiberiade having their nets taken off by one of the cranes in the harbour.

Here today we have another trawler up at the quayside having its nets removed. After she’d been stripped, Le Tiberiade ended up on blocks in the Chantier Navale for a week or two having work done on her. I wonder if this means that within the next couple of days we’ll see this one up there on blocks too.

On the other hand, they could simply be going to sew up the nets. We’ve seen plenty of nets in the past spread out on the quayside being repaired.

Chausiais Manoeuvring in Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I watched the activity in the harbour Chausiais, the little freighter that runs out with goods to the Ile de Chausey, started up her engines and slowly moved away from the quayside.

It could be that she has a run out there to perform this afternoon now that the harbour gates are open, or else it could be that one of the Channel Island freighters, Thora or Normandy Trader, is on its way into harbour and need the berth. The building supplies that we saw on the quayside the other day are still here.

And so was the rain now. It was starting to rain quite heavily so I decided to clear off home without waiting to see what she was going to do.

Back here I had a few other things to do around here and then ended up with my hour on the guitars which went a lot better than it did yesterday.

A quick tea tonight and then outside for my runs where I was nearly swept away by a car coming the wrong way down the one-way street.

Lights On The Promenade Donville Les Bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe footpath underneath the walls was still flooded out so I had to make alternative arrangements for my runs. In fact I ended up doing four lengths, not three.

Out at Donville les Bains those bright lights at the back of that old hotel are all lit up again. I’m not quite sure what they are. They might possibly be at the football ground where they might be training, but I don’t recall any floodlights the last time that I went to watch a match there.

Apart from that, there was nothing else of any interest so I ran on home. There was football on the internet.

Tonight was a top-of-the-table clash between TNS and Connah’s Quay Nomads. TNS won 1-0 which is no surprise seeing as I counted at least 4 regular Nomads first-team players, including their two main strikers, out injured. Despite being quite lightweight up front, they did the best that they could and it was an entertaining game, but TNS were always going to win this match.

So to bed now, not as early as I was hoping. And maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll be going off for a wander during the night. It makes quite a change to have a night in.

Friday 18th September 2020 – I’VE MANAGED …

… to make my computer record albums in stereo from the USB turntable. As I suspected, it was a question of configuring the input on the sound card.

But it’s rather disappointing because the album that I wanted to record is in fact two mono tracks superimposed side-by-side and the result is exactly the same as I managed to do with the computer the other day.

And I know that it’s an issue with the album because I went and recorded another one to check, and that has perfect (given the limitations of what I’m doing) stereo sound.

Unfortunately, the issue about the tapes is not so simple.

Recording from the hi-fi to a laptop doesn’t work via the headphone output and the multi-jack input, and neither does recording from one of my old hi-fi separates (stacked on top of the shelves with, evidently, the one that I wanted on the bottom of the pile) to the big computer, whether by the headphone output to the mike input or the RCA sockets to the mike input.

Playing about with the soundcard settings or switching the input setting from microphone to line in and vice versa didn’t make the slightest different – the program that I use won’t pick up any sound.

It seems that I shall be having to spend much more time on this to get it to work but I still have confidence – I think.

This morning I couldn’t quite manage to beat the third alarm but there wasn’t very much in it. It’s still disappointing that I couldn’t manage it.

As for the night’s events, I was doing something with some people and it involved getting some bits to repair a car or something but they were at Percy Penguin’s and I had to go round to their house. I didn’t really want to confront her parents so I would wait until everyone had gone to bed and I would slip into her house, get them and slip out again. This happened a couple of times but then I nearly stumbled uponhem on one occasion to I started to get cold feet. Next time I went I could hear them moving around so I hid round the corner but round there I bumped into Percy Penguin (who doesn’t feature in these pages half as often as she deserves) herself who was making a cup of tea. She said she hadn’t seen me for ages and wondered how I was. She had contacted the hairdresser in Shavington because she used to work in the chemist right by it and she asked to be disconnected from something. Anyway she was making a cup of tea so she invited me in. They were having a kids birthday party. Even though she had invited me in she didn’t stay with me. She was wandering around talking to all kinds of different people. The subject of of another name from that era came up. She said “what’s he been doing in our house?” Someone said “he’s fixed so-and-so’s car now” and something else he said that I can’t remember. I said that I have to go and get back to these people with these bits who were waiting for me. But I wanted to spend some time alone with her but this wasn’t going to happen the way things were working out at the moment with all this kids party thing going on. They pulled a great big wooden bench from against the wall and sat in the middle of the room for all of us to sit on. It was quite clear that we were going to be there for a long time and that wasn’t my plan at all.

There was time to spend working on some of the arrears as well. That lot is going down slowly, rather too slowly than I like.

The rest of the morning – right up to a rather late lunch, was spent dealing with the outstanding week’s course work. It involved plenty of work but I knew most of the stuff.

Nevertheless I did learn a few new things and SHOCK! HORROR! I have been awarded a Certificate, something that I find rather amusing because it’s a rather juvenile thing. It’s not going to change my lifestyle all that much.

The afternoon was spent trying to experiment with the recording issues, about which I explained earlier. I used the background time profitably too by editing a few more photos from my trip down the Brittany coast on board Spirit of Conrad in early July.

microlight ulm pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was the break in mid-afternoon for me to go for my usual afternoon walk.

And either I was early or the microlight was late because it wasn’t there this afternoon when I went outside the door. But it wasn’t long in coming. As I walked across the car park outside it came along behind me from the direction of Donville les Bains.

It’s becoming something of a regular thing to encounter the microlight and I wonder how long it’s going to be going on that I’ll be meeting it.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThe weather today has changed. The wind is back and the clouds have come along. The day was quite overcast.

It was still warm though. Warm enough for there to be more people out there on the beach again having fun. No-one in swimwear and no-one in the water either. It’s not as warm as that.

And no boats out at sea. I suppose that the tide being right out will have something to do about that, but it is rather strange given the last few weeks when we’ve not been able to move without tripping over a boat of some description.

old cars usa wartime ambulance pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThe kids are out there again today orienteering. This looks as if it’s becoming a regular occurrence too.

But there was activity at the old Atlantic Wall bunker that they finally opened up last year – regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we had a guided tour of it at the time. I’m not sure what they were doing there today but I admired the vehicle in which they arrived.

Maybe I should have gone to find out more about it but having offered my help to them last year and then let them down (I broke my hand and damaged my knee about 2 days later) it’s not the moment, especially as I don’t have the time these days to become involved.

seafarers monument low tide baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallInstead I went on across the lawn and around the headland.

Regular readers of this rubbish will have seen plenty of photos from this point of view. In the foreground down there is the memorial to the crews of the lifeboats that were lost during attempted rescues.

But in the background we have the Baie de Mont St Michel with the tide right out as far as it can go. The rock on which Le Loup, the warning light at the entrance to the harbour, sits is clearly visible today.

We’ve seen it almost totally submerged when the tide is right in.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd it’s all change once more in the chantier navale today.

My walk took me along the path on top of the headland over to the viewpoint where there’s a good view of the work going on. We had eight boats in there the last time that we looked, but today there’s only seven again.

And some of those are different too. It looks as if there has been considerably more than just a shuffling of the pack. The pink one in the mobile crane is new, and the blue and yellow one that has been here for a while is missing too.

Back here I had my hour on the guitars and then went for tea. Steamed vegetables and vegan cheese sauce followed by apple crumble.

place marechal foch granville manche normandy france eric hallOutside on my walk this evening I had to direct someone to the railway station. I’ve no idea why he thought it was up at this end of town. It smelt rather fishy to me but being just a couple of hundred yards from the fish-processing plant, everything smells rather fishy around here.

He was the only person who I saw while I was out. It was pretty quiet, and not only as far as people went, but as far as everything else went too. The only thing that I photographed was the Place Marechal Foch and that was more out of desperation than anything .

The wind was really strong again and brought me to a dead halt on one of my runs but for the other two, I had the wind behind me and that helped me home.

Saturday tomorrow, and so it’s shopping day. I don’t need too much but it’s still going to be an early start – I hope, if I can manage to beat the third alarm.

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 12th July 2020 – MY BREAD …

home baked bread place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hall… seems to have gone somewhat berserk today.

This isn’t cooked. This is it on its second rise in the windowsill. It’s totally overflowing the bread mould and about to expand onto the windowsill.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall my previous attempts at bread-making. I’ve never ever had bread perform quite like this. But then again it’s new flour and new yeast, and that must make a difference.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall So while you admire this evening’s sunset, let me tell you that the bread rose a darn sight better than I did this morning. Although for a Sunday, 10:00 is quite an acceptable time for me to be up and about.

There’s some stuff on the dictaphone too so I must have been somewhere during the night. Unfortunately what with one thing and another I forgot to transcribe the notes today.

You’ll have to check back tomorrow to see where I’ve been. I for one can”t wait to find out!

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallNo time like the present! First thing that I did was to mix the bread dough. 600 grammes of flour and a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds seeing as they were reasonably handy. A couple of teaspoons of salt in there too, all mixed together.

Meanwhile I’d heated 400ml of water to about 30 degrees or so, added a little sugar to activate the yeast, and then a sachet of yeast.

That went onto one side until there was a really good froth on top of the water to show that the yeast was working, and then tipped into the flour and thoroughly mixed together.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe thing about bread dough is that you know when it’s exactly right. It makes a lovely elasticky ball that no longer sticks to anything and takes all of the floury mess off your hands.

It’s something of a “trial and error” procedure so you need a bit of flour and a bit of water stabding by in case your mixture is either too wet or too dry.

When it’s done, you stick it on one side under a cloth for a couple of hours and let it do its stuff.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd while it was doing its stuff I was busy editing some more photos from my trip on the Spirit of Conrad. There are about 400 of those and if I’ve done a quarter I’ll be lucky.

For lunch I had breakfast – muesli with soya milk and some grape juice.

Following that, I made some pizza dough – basically the same recipe as the bread dough except that I add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. 500 grammes of that is enough for three pizza bases.

That went on one side while I greased my bread mould and put the bread dough into it. That went onto the side next to the pizza dough.

crowds pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallSunday is the day when I go for my very long afternoon walk and end up in town for my treat of the week – my vegan banana sorbet.

But with it being such a delicious hot day and all of the bright sunlight that goes with it, it had brought out the people in droves.

And no question of Social Distancing either. Crowds congregating as they wish. Anyone would think that this virus had passed and wasn’t coming back. But several hundred infections and several deaths every day ought to give someone a clue about what is happening.

yachts speedboats english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallAt least, out at sea, social distancing of a sort can be maintained.

And how many boats did you count out there in this photo? I haven’t counted them but there must be several dozen all jostling about in the English Channel in between the mainland and the Ile de Chausey.

We have yachts, speedboats, zodiacs, everything. You name it and it’s out there somewhere having a splash around at sea. And if I had the chance, I would be joining them.

yachts speedboat english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallBut it was a really beautiful day for photography.

The sky was hot, the air was clear and there wasn’t a trace of sea mist anywhere. It had all been burnt off. And so the view out to the Ile de Chausey was spectacular.

It’s not every day that you cans ee the colours of the buildings on the island as clearly as this. The lighthouse is there on its peak just to the left of centre, and the semaphore station is the square building on the ridge to the right.

st helier jersey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd it wasn’t just the Ile de Chausey that stood out really well in the afternoon sun.

The island of Jersey was looking quite spectacular too today. We can actually see the houses at St Helier too – and that’s at a distance of about 58 kilometres away.

Unfortunately we can’t see if either Thora or Normandy Trader are on their way to pick up that load of timber that’s still on the quayside here awaiting collection

cap frehel brittany granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd down the coast the weather is just as good too.

We saw yesterday the outline of the lighthouse away down the coast on Cap Fréhel but today we can even see the the Cape itself away on the extreme right of the image here.

As for the thing that’s farther over to th right, I’m still undecided as to what that might be. It could be a yacht or it could be one of the lighthouses off the coast of St Malo but I really have no idea.

1943 carving in concrete pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallAnyway, leaving that to one side for the moment I carried on with my walk along the top and then down the stairs to the viewpoint right at the end of the Pointe du Roc.

And here’s something that I don’t recall seeing before – or maybe I do, I dunno. A nice flat piece of concrete in the steps leading down, with a little design in it and dated 1943.

Probably a souvenir from when they were building the Atlantic Wall and there must be a story behind this if only I knew what it was. I wonder who inscribed it here.

seagulls on rocks in sea pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallAs it happened, I’d gone down there for a special purpose.

While I was descending the steps I noticed a huge swarm of seagulls on the rocks and riding the waves and I hadn’t a clue why. My first thought was that they might have been fishing but I didn’t notice any bird catch anything – rather like my local fishermen.

It wasn’t as if they were sleeping either. There was plenty of activity going on down there, so it beats me.

fishing from rocks pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBut talking of fishing … “well, one of us is” – ed … one of the rocks out there had a fisherman or two perched thereupon.

Jusding by the writing on the back of the tee-shirt – BELGIUM – they are probably grockles come to disturb the peace of the local inhabitants.

For a good few minutes I stood and watched them too but, true to form, they didn’t pull anything out of the water. As I have said … “on many, many occasions” – ed … I’ve yet to actually see any fishermen actually catch anything there

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy walk continued along the old road that eventually comes out by the chantier navale.

And dodging the swarming masses I finally made it down there to see what was going on. We still have six boats in there. I know that you can only see five but the sixth is in front of the two on the extreme left and you can’t see it.

There were massive crowds too on the quayside around here. Holiday season is in full swing and it was definitely a case of “dodge the covid-carrier” around here today.

portacabins gone from port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe gates across the harbour entrance were closed so it was possible for me to walk across the top to the other side.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago we saw a rack of portacabins over here for some reason or other – I never did find out why. But they have gone now so whatever they were doing is finished.

ulm microlight granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving dealt with that I walked through the port and then around the town in a glorious figure of 8, ending up at the ice cream parlour for my Sunday ice cream

But not before I was buzzed once more by yet another low-flying object. A microlight, or ULM as they call them around here, was flying by overhead disturbing the peace.

So having picked up my ice-cream I headed off once more down the Rue Lecampion and down the Rue du Port

buoys on boatd fishing boat port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe new car park down there is depressing me completely. A solid mass of tarmac without one blade of grass or any other greenery What a shame.

And that thought brought me along to one of the fishing boats here. Do you notice the buoys and the flags at the stern? Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve often wondered about those, but now I know.

The flags are an indication that a casier such as a lobster pot, is at the other end on the sea bed. And the round buoys can either serve that purpose too or otherwise they might be mooring buoys

coelacanthe tiberiade port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallA couple of our more well-know trawlers are in the harbour today.

Coelacanthe and Tiberiade probably belong to the same company, seeing as they carry the same livery, but they are in fact different types of boat.

Coelacanthe seems to be a bigger boat, with more solid superstructure at the side rails and with a different array on the cabin roof.

One of these days I’ll have to blag myself a ride out to sea in one of them.

Rosemary called me while I was out so I arranged to phone her when I returned home.

Back here, by now we’ve already seen what has become of the bread in the bread mould, and the pizza dough has expanded dramatically too.

In the meantime I phoned Rosemary back and we had a chat. And I worked out a cunning plan, more of which anon

So while the oven was heating up I prepared an apple crumble. The bread went into the oven when it was hot, followed by the crumble. But there was plenty of crumble mix left over so with another apple, I made a small apple crumble too. There will be enough for ages, I reckon, like that.

Once the bread and the crumble was under way I split the pizza dough into 3. One I rolled out and shaped to fit in the pizza tray and the other two were rolled in olive oil, wrapped in greaseproof paper and put in a plastic bag in the freezer for another time.

vegan pizza place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving left the pizza on its tray for half an hour, I then went and prepared it ready for the oven.

When I took out the bread and the crumble, I put the pizza in and let it cook for half an hour. And this is the result.

The pizza base had risen to perfection – it really had – and the toppings of course were the usual delicious items. I have to say that this was the best pizza that I have ever cooked – and I’ve cooked plenty of them, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

home baked bread apple crumble place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallAs for the bread and the apple crumble, then the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

And the eating didn’t take place tonight because I was rather full after my pizza and i’m trying to cut down on what I eat. So I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow.

One thing though – with all of this cooking there was a whole pile of tidying up and washing up to do. Not my favourite occupation at all.

later on, I went out for my evening run, dropping off the bin bag in the bin as I went.

people sitting in sunset pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWith a little effort I managed to extend my run up the hill another 50 metres again, and then having walked up to the corner, i ran down to the clifftop.

Nothing much going on there so I walked across the lawn to the other side. On the viewpoint was a couple watching the evening sunset. And quite right too because, as you have already seen, it really was beautiful again tonight.

The next stage of my run took me along the clifftop but there was nothing going on there very much.

striations colour variations in water pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWe did however have another case of the different colours in the water.

And while I was on the train the other day i was reading the account of the journey of Vilhjalmur Stefansson to the Arctic coast of Canada between 1908 and 1912

Of the Mackenzie River he wrote “The huge volume of fresh water in the spring (the river usually opens between the fifth and twenty-fifth of May) not only melts away the sea ice, but also by its current drives away any that happens to be floating about, so that none but the strongest ones from seaward can fill the immediate vicinity of the delta with ice. The volume of fresh water is so large, tluit the whaling ships in passing outside of Mackenzie Bay take water for cooking and drinking purposes that has not a taint of brackishness
even where land is not in sight from the masthead”.

Doesn’t that sound familiar?

people on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallI ran on down the Boulevard Vaufleury and having recovered my breath, I ran on round to the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord.

We’ve already seen the sunset out to sea and while there were no picnickers this evening, there were still a few people on the beach.

Crowds up here watching the sunset too so I didn’t hang around for long after the sun had gone down. I ran on home to write up my notes.

And having done that, much later than I intended, I’m now off to bed. It’s been a long day and I deserve a good rest.