Tag Archives: bad night

Wednesday 1st December 2021 – ONCE AGAIN I HAVEN’T …

… done anything like as much today as I had wanted to.

There have been a variety of reasons for this – not the least being that I had yet another dreadful night, wide-awake at 05:20 and lying there waiting for the alarm to ring at 07:30. I tell you – I’m thoroughly sick of all of this.

As you might expect, it took a good few minutes for me to summon up the energy to leave my bed this morning and then I was pretty much wasted for the rest of the day.

After the medication I had a shower to clean myself up and bang on time Laurent came round for me. We went off to meet Thierry and then the three of us went off to meet Father Christmas and his blasted elves.

As I thought, the interview turned out to fall rather flat. I could understand the logic (whether I agreed with it or not) of submitting the questions in advance, I totally disagreed with the idea of “suggested replies”.

Children have a really fertile imagination and they need to be encouraged to develop it. And sometimes they can come up with some fascinating responses. But having them blindly reading off a script is a pretty dismal activity and it destroys the spontaneity of it all.

Having them all sitting around a table was another bad idea too because it’s always the more powerful ones who are heard. I would have interviewed them one by one where the kids could have responded without any peer pressure and chosen the pick of the answers.

In other words, this affair was micro-managed to an overwhelming degree and Laurent and I were quite disappointed about how it turned out. What had given us the idea for this was that two years ago wandering around the streets one night we had come across Father Christmas and subjected him to an off-the cuff interview. That was a resounding success.

While I was there I took a few photos of Father Christmas and his elves but I can’t publish them of course.

Back here Laurent came in for a coffee and we had a good chat about a few things, and made a few plans for the future.

After he left I went outside to wipe the rust-proofing liquid off the wheels and dry them, but painting them was out of the question. There was a howling gale again and it was sleeting.

Lunch was late again and afterwards I had the morning’s photos to edit and send off. They’ll choose one to illustrate our programme when it’s ready to broadcast.

trawler thora arriving at port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Once I’d finished that it was time for me to go off for my physiotherapy session.

The wind was if anything rather worse than it had been earlier and it was rather difficult to walk.

And I wasn’t the only one having difficulty moving around either. There was a trawler out at sea battling with the storm to come into port and behind her, Thora was being thrown about by the elements.

When I took this photo she was actually being blown sideways by the wind and was coming into port rather like a crab.

pointing wall Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Down at the wall at the Rampe du Monte à Regret the pointing of the wall was proceeding apace.

Mind you, I’m not sure what was happening there earlier. On our way back from Father Christmas there was an ambulance and a police car parked up at the side.

The personnel of the vehicles seemed to be quite interested in what was going on down below but as I wasn’t driving and as we had other things to do, I couldn’t go over and have a look.

If it’s anything interesting or important, it’ll be in the local paper in the morning.

Halfway up the hill towards the physiotherapist’s, I had to stop. Not because I was out of breath but because we suddenly had another torrential downpour. I had to nip into a doorway and put on my rain jacket.

It reminded me of how Superman and all of these other superheroes used to dash into telephone boxes and emerge seconds later with their underpants on outside their trousers. Where do they go to change now with the rise of mobile ‘phones and the demise of telephone boxes?

And then of course, there was my brother. He was often seen with his underpants on outside his trousers, but that was less to do with any superhero status and more to do with the fact that he didn’t have both paddles in the water.

No tilting platform today. There was the usual 5 minutes on the cross trainer and then a load of kinetic exercises that somehow took their toll of me.

She had me once more walking along this narrow beam and throwing a ball about. She was impressed with my reflexes co-ordination but as I have said before, my previous life as a goalkeeper and wicket-keeper had a lot to do with that.

father christmas decorations Place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021On the way home I came via the Place General de Gaulle.

On the way up to the physiotherapist’s I’d seen a few council workmen on up on ladders working on the trees and I was interested to see what they had been doing with them.

By the time that I returned, the workmen had gone but I noticed that some of the trees were now festooned with decorations. And if you ask me my opinion, it’s all a load of balls.

christmas decorations rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of years ago Strawberry Moose reckoned that the Christmas decorations in the Rue Paul Poirier WERE ALL BALLS too.

THis year though, there’s been a change, and not before time either. This year we have the street lined with artificial “Christmas Trees”.

Now what was I saying a few days ago about them recycling the same old decorations year after year and wishing that they would make a change?

Clearly, a great many people are very interested in the contents of my pages and pay them a great deal of attention.

La Bavolette Ii thora marité belle france joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021A short while ago we saw Thora having a bit of a struggle to make it into port.

Well she finally arrived, as you can see in this photo, moored up at the loading bay in front of Marité, with Belle France and the newer Joly France ferry – the one with the smaller upper-deck superstructure, moored alongside her.

The little trawler in the background is an interesting boat. She’s called La Bavolette II – at least, for the moment. And I mean that too because in the past she’s been known by several different names.

She was built in 1982 out of wood and displaces 40 tonnes

philcathane l'ecume II port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021This trawler is much more interesting though.

Not Philcathane, of course – not that she isn’t interesting in herself but she hasn’t had the adventures that the other one in the photo has had.

You can tell by her registration number – beginning with “J” – that she’s a Boat from Jersey and how long is it since we’ve seen a boat from the Channel Islands here in port with all of the shenanigans that are going on right now?

There’s a great deal of talk about illegal fishing right now and this trawler – she’s called L’Ecume II by the way, can tell you an awful lot about that because on two occasions about which I know, her crew has been in the dock and emerged with their pockets far lighter than they were when they went in.

And not only that, 18 months ago she found herself stuck on a sandbank because her helmsman had fallen asleep at the wheel.

In other words, she’s quite a well-known boat, for one reason or another.

storm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021However I wasn’t going to hang around and admire her for too long.

As you can see, out in the Baie de Mont St Michel there was quite a storm brewing up and the gale-force wind was blowing it my way.

As a result, I wasn’t going to hang around. I was going to head for home and a hot mug of coffee, and make plans about what I was going to do for the rest of the week. I actually have a day at home without any interruptions at all – but just you watch all that change.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Before I went in I went to have a look at the beach

And that was rather a waste of time because there wasn’t any beach to look at today. The tide was right in now and the water was at the foot of the cliffs. All I had for my pains was a good battering by the wind.

Back here I had my coffee and sat down to try to do some work.

Checking my messages there was a mail from my Welsh course telling me what ingredients I need for the Christmas Cake I’ll be baking on-line on Friday evening. Treacle isn’t available here so I ended up asking Liz for advice on a replacement and chatting to her for quite a while.

For some reason, tea was quite an effort tonight. I’m experiencing brain-fade – not quite as bad as the nonsense I was churning up last night – but I couldn’t think of what to have for tea. I’d really run aground.

In the end I settled for a burger and pasta. That was the best that I could do.

Right now, although I haven’t crashed out today, I’m thoroughly exhausted so I’m off to bed where I hope that I’ll sleep until I awaken.

But not much hope of that, I’m afraid. All of this is really depressing me.

Monday 22nd November 2021 – REGULAR READERS OF …

painting shutters bar la civette rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021 … this rubbish will recall that at the start of the lockdown in March last year one of the bars in the Rue Paul Poirier, La Civette, took full advantage of the enforced closure by ripping out their shop front and replacing it with a nice new modern one.

It’s had a drop-down aluminium shutter to close it off after hours, but when I walked past today there was an elderly gentleman painting a scene of Granville Harbour on it.

It’s a beautiful job that he’s made, and so on my way past to the physiotherapist I went over and told him how much I appreciated his effort. It’s the kind of thing that the town needs to brighten it up

vehicles blocking rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that there are several regular features on these pages, one of which is “pathetic parking”.

And so when I saw this lorry and trailer parked on the pavement with a van parked (it really was parked, with no driver in it) in the middle of the street blocking it, I was in my element.

After all, not only is this the main route up to the old medieval walled city where I live, it’s a bus route too with service buses coming up here every so often. I was all ready to write something extremely offensive about it.

cherry picker rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021However, as Proverbs Chapter 16 Verse 18 tells us, “Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall”.

And that was certainly the case here. Further down the hill I noticed that the street was closed off and there was a cherry-picker doing something to the electric cables that feed the Christmas illuminations.

So I slunk off ignominiously down into town and onwards up the hill to the physiotherapist. I had a feeling that it wasn’t going to be my day today.

And I was right too. I had another awful night but you are quite used to those now so I shan’t trouble you any more about it.

What I can say though is never mind an 06:00 alarm call. I was wide awake at 04:53 this morning wishing that I was fast asleep. Even though it was a late night last night, I still had difficulty sleeping.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages and then launched myself into the radio programme that I need to prepare. And I would have set a new record for completing it too except that half-way through I had a ‘phone call.

The nurse who gives me my fortnightly injection just happened to be in the building taking a blood test and so could he come up and inject me while he was here instead of coming later as usual.

The place was looking like a tip with my stuff from Leuven scattered around the place, and I hadn’t had a shave or a shower for a couple of days, but if he’s here he’s here and he’ll have to take me as he found me.

When I finished the programme I had a listen to the one that I was to send off today and then had a listen to the one that I had prepared just now.

While I was doing that I was sorting through the mess of photographs that I’d discovered the other day, sorting out everything into proper directories ready to go through and weed out the duplicates of which there are more than enough.

There was a little break while I went for a shower and then I went one better than David Crosby and actually did cut my hair. Not that it was very long but it just so happened that for a change I wasn’t in a dreadful rush after my shower.

After lunch I made a start on identifying duplicates in the collection of photographs and by the time that I’d finished, 86GB had gone into the bin and I’ve only scratched the surface of it.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was a break for me to go off to the physiotherapist and as I said the other day, I’ll go today through the town to see what’s happening with the work that’s taking place here.

First stop was the medieval city walls were a couple of months ago we saw a big hole at the foot of the wall. You can see that they have made considerable advances in repairing the wall down there.

They have built themselves a nice mobile shelter as the advance along the foot of the wall. We saw the other week that the workmen working above had a nasty habit of leaving their tools on top of the wall and so some kind of protection against objects falling from above is essential.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On top of the wall it’s all quiet. There wasn’t anyone around working here today.

But they haven’t made a great deal of progress over the period since I’ve last passed by.

You can see the size of the coping stones that go on top of the wall and you will notice that several are still missing. If while they are refitting them they happen to drop one over the top while the men are working down below, then that little flimsy protection that they have built isn’t going to me of much use.

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But what I really came here to see was what was happening in the Rue St Michel now that they seem to have finished and the workmen’s compound has been dismantled.

This is pretty awful isn’t it though? When they build the medieval town here in the early part of the 15th Century they went to all the trouble of surfacing the streets with some nice stone setts, but what they have done here is to just throw down a layer of asphalt.

It seems to me that despite the advances in technology over the last 100 years or so, the skill of relaying stone setts is a skill that has long-gone.

But this is a work that has been undertaken on behalf of the town council. Can you imagine what they would say if I as a private individual did work like this on a historic or listed building?

Anyway, I headed off to physiotherapist and she had me doing exercises and then some time on the tilting platform. And as he rnext patient didn’t need the tilting platform she let me stay on for some overtime.

On the way back I stopped at the Carrefour for some pears and a few other bits and pieces. They had more of those potatoes at €0:99 for 1.5kg and seeing as I’ve run out, I grabbed a bag of those as well.

Instead of going through the town centre I took the back way, the way that I took on Saturday, and it was much less busy.

tractors and freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Halfway up the hill in the Rue des Juifs, I had a pause. Not to catch my breath but to drink the drink that I’d bought.

While I was there I took a photo of the quayside. As well as the shrink-wrapped boat, there’s another pile of freight as well, and two tractors parked up on the far side. It looks as if they are going to be busy down there very soon.

From there I walked straight back home and just as I was reaching the door of my building A young boy ran over to me and asked me if I had the time.

Had it been the young girl who was with him who asked, I would have asked her if she had the inclination but things don’t happen to me like that these days.

And that reminds me. Just recently they have installed a clock factory in the leaning tower of Pisa. They thought that seeing as they had the inclination, they may as well make the time.

Back here I made a coffee and carried on with my photos, with such intensity that it was 20:15 when I noticed the time. Too late to make a stuffed pepper so I had pasta and vegetables in a cheese sauce.

Eventually I managed to listen to the dictaphone and judging by the amount of stuff there, it really must have been a disturbed night. Something had happened and we’d gone round to arrest a guy who was a film star. We’d taken a guard dog with us and also a woman who was an actress. She was in charge of the party. When we got into his house we found where he was sleeping. He was fast asleep so we were expecting this police woman to come along and awaken him and arrest him. But she seemed to be doing everything she could to avoid going along to arrest him, checking over this first and checking over that first, checking over the times of plays, running orders, all sorts of things. There was one thing there, one film and she was saying that she expected it to be a little longer than it was, all this kind of thing. The dog was starting to become restless so she told me to keep the dog under control. I told her that she ought to be arresting this guy and it wouldn’t be an issue but she was still putting off arresting this guy as much as she could.

Later on I was working as a lorry driver last night. I absolutely hated the job so I decided to leave. I went up to the dormitory and waited around until everyone had gone to sleep. There were two other people who knew how much I hated it. I decided that I would leave and let them in on my secret. Once everyone had gone to sleep I crept over to the door and they were there. The door was closed so we had to open it very quietly. Someone made a noise, but we were through and out. The lift dor wasn’t closed so we had to close the door, call the lift, get into the lift and press the button for the ground floor. The lift descended but as I looked up I could see one of my colleagues looking down on the lift and shouting into the dormitory “I can see the lift moving and it’s someone who looks like him on it”. With these other two guys we were talking about how we could exchange information about photocopying files and everything, even doing that with LPs. I said that that would have been really good with my programme of digitalising my radio equipment and everything. Of course I had half an eye on what was happening elsewhere because I was convinced that my escape had been noticed. I wondered what was going to happen next.

Finally I was leaving work again. I’d gone to the lift only I was on my bike so I cycled into the lift. Just as it was about to go down I heard voices so I pressed the door to close quickly. Unfortunately I pressed the door open and two of my colleagues, young girls, came in. They were cursing because they thought that they had missed the lift. We went down again and went out but I had forgotten my bike so I had to go back to fetch it. I ended up at the junction of Broad Street and Hightown. There I bumped into Derek Guyler, the Men From the Ministry. He and Richard Lamb were in a car going to buy some food. I’d already said to someone whom I’d met that I was on my way to buy an Indian meal for tonight’s tea. I ended up in this car with them. From the noise that it was making, one of the wheel bearings was going. Derek Guyler dragged Richard lamb out from behind the steering wheel and drove himself. We set off and ended up driving down this country lane. At the last moment I could see that part of the lane was cordoned off so I shouted “turn right”. At the very last minute he did. We went down this side road and should have turned left immediately but I forgot. We carried on driving for a while. We came across a group of Romany, women and children, who were throwing bread at horses but the bread was still in its plastic bags. We went past an area that was lined with targets for bows and arrows. We then came to a road junction where of course we would have to turn left to continue on the way that we were going. This looked like the main road between Whitchurch and Chester. I thought that if we are going to have to get to Wrenbury to pick up this meal we’ll have to do some manoeuvring down this road and I’m not quite sure of the way.

But now at last I’m going to bed. I have my Welsh class tomorrow and I really do need to have a decent sleep beforehand.

Saturday 20th November 2021 – IT SEEMS TO ME …

… that you’ either getting photos or dictaphone entries right now – one or the other and not both.

But over the course of the next few days things will be brought up to date. But then that’s the story of my life these days, isn’t it?

gare montparnasse rue du départ paris France Eric Hall photo November 2021And while we’re on the subject of photos and stories of my life, look at this photograph.

For four and a half years I’ve been struggling through the underground labyrinth from the Gare Montparnasse to the metro station, going up and down flights of stairs like there’s no tomorrow, struggling with suitcases and all kinds of luggage.

Today, I walked up two half-flights of stairs and then up an escalator, and then you can see what I have to overcome in order to reach the Gare Montparnasse. Down at the end of the Rue du Départ in the distance you can see the station, one street that’s straight and level, with the only issue being to wait for the traffic lights so I can cross the road.

How easy is this compared to how I used to travel?

It might have been even easier had I had a good night’s sleep last night. But I don’t sleep very well at all in the beds at this place in Leuven and last night was no exception.

martelarenplein leuven Belgium photo November 2021It didn’t take me long to tidy everything up, make my sandwiches and pack, and I was on the road by 05:35

When I arrived in Leuven on Wednesday I had intended to take a photograph of the Martelarenplein in the daylight but I forgot and so I took a photo on my way into the station.

Of course, you can’t see the work very well because there is a fence and a covering all around it and I have to poke the camera through whatever gap I can find.

martelarenplein leuven Belgium photo November 2021And the work has now spread pout right onto the front of the station building.

They are uprooting all of that now and it looks as if they are about to replace it with a different kind of paving block, and as for why they would want to do that I don’t know.

In the foreground we can see some more tactile pavement of the type that we saw on Monday, and in the background you can see the fence with the covering over it to stop nosy people like me poking cameras in to photograph the work.

08187 class 08 electric multiple unit gare de leuven railway station Belgium photo November 2021It was 05:55 when I set foot on the station platform.

Having completely forgotten that it was early on Saturday, I found that the next express to Brussels was at 06:33 and it was freezing. However there was a local stopper, an 08 class multiple unit, leaving at 06:08.

Although it arrives at Brussels-Midi at the same time as the express, it’s a lot warmer and more comfortable inside the train than sitting on the platform so I clambered aboard. And so I did, and we set off bang on time.

Thalys PBKA 4306 gare du midi brussels Belgium photo November 2021Our train pulled in at 07:00 and my train to Paris doesn’t leave at 07:43 so I had to loiter around in the cold for a while because like most railway stations, Brussels-Midi is a freezing, draughty station with nowhere to sit out of the wind and the cold.

The train was one of the PBKA – Paris Brussels Cologne Amsterdam – units and although these are quite old now, the are quite comfortable and I was glad to be able to be allowed on board early.

It was packed too, with hardly and empty seat. It seems that the 07:13 that I used to catch is no longer running so everyone piles on board this one. I had a young lady sitting next to me but she didn’t say a word throughout the whole journey.

Well, not that I would know too much about the whole journey because I was … errr … resting for about half of it.

As I mentioned earlier, the trip from the Gare du Nord to Gare Montparnasse was the easiest that I have had to date, but when I reached Gare Montparnasse, the wheels came off.

There’s already a 75-minute wait on the freezing, draughty concourse of the railway station but I did notice that the train that I should be catching hadn’t yet arrived from Granville. We were supposed to leave at 10:54 but it hadn’t even come in by then.

By now I was frozen to the marrow so I went of to buy a coffee and as usual, exactly as you might expect, while I was distracted the train pulled in so I had to struggle on board with a suitcase, a laptop bag, a bag with my lunch in it and a full mug of coffee and just two hands to hold it all.

84569 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As a result I couldn’t take a photo of my train – I’m not an octopus – and of course it had to be the rear of a two-trainset unit so I had to do the best that I could at Granville.

It was 11:36 when we eventually set off and for a change I was feeling rather dynamic and I’m not sure why, but I actually did some work on the train back home which makes a change.

Another thing that I did was to finish off reading a book that I had started to read a long time ago, the account of Parry’s voyage in Hecla and Fury which resulted in the latter being left behind on a beach on Somerset Island in 1829.

Her anchors were recovered and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we went TO SEE THEM IN 2014

84567 84565 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Having left Paris 40-odd minutes laten we were just over an hour late arriving in Granville and that filled me full of despair. I really could have done without that.

First thing that I did was to take a photo of the front bit of the unit on which I travelled. And then I took one of the front of the unit that was pulling me along. That’s the one on the left.

Being so late they had hauled another unit, the one on the right, out of the sheds to do the return trip back to Paris.

On the way down into town I called in at the Carrefour. Whatever else that might or might not happen, I can’t do without my mushrooms for my Sunday pizza. Not at any price.

For a change I took a new route through the town centre to avoid the crowds and thus it was maybe a little easier to walk.

It was still necessary for me to stop a few times on the way up the hill towards here, one stop of which was at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

marite belle france joly france philcathane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021We have Belle France and one of the Joly France boats, the newer one of the two with the step in the back, moored together just down below.

Marité is down there too of course and over on the far side is the trawler Philcathane, moored where the gravel boats used to tie up. It looks as if we’ve seen the last of them.

And on the quayside is another shrink-wrapped boat. This kind of work is proving to be quite lucrative for the little Jersey Freighters.

boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way up the hill I noticed that the diversion signs had gone and the Rue Cambernon was open to traffic.

Accordingly I glanced down the Boulevard des Terreneuviers to see what was happening to the workmen’s compound. And there it was! Gone! And never called me mother!

What I shall have to do on Monday on my way to my physiotherapy is to go and see how they have finished off the work there.

Back at the apartment I struggled up the stairs into the apartment and crashed down in my chair for a good while to recover. I’d had a long hard journey.

Having backed up my computer with the files off the laptop I then went for tea. I had some falafel left over from Leuven so I finished them off with some pasta.

No washing-up tonight as the water is cold. And it won’t be warm until tomorrow. Anyway I’m too tired to do it so I’m going to vegetate for a while and then go off to bed. A good sleep will do me good but that remains to be seen.

And next morning (well, afternoon actually) I was able to bring up to date the journal with details of my voyages. On Friday night I was in my Welsh class. There was a teacher and a girl and then I turned up. That made two of us. At first I couldn’t understand what was happening because my screen was just so different from how it normally was but I eventually settled down. The girl had to leave nut another guy turned up. We were talking about going to the restaurant but he asked me “have you eaten anything yet? Are you going for a meal afterwards?” I replied “I don’t have any plans as such”. Then the girl came back by which time we had a man teacher, a change from a woman and we had to go back to read this article that we had just read a couple of minutes ago.

Later on I was with Shearings and a meal that we were having as though we’d all been away for a weekend somewhere, all the employees. I worked out where the girls were sitting so I picked a seat that was behind there so I could see them. I put down my stuff and went to find some bread to toast. Someone turned up and sat at my seat. I made myself some toast and went back and had them clear off and I sat down. I wanted some more but couldn’t find any bread. In the end, in the kitchen I found a pile of fruit bread and made myself some toast from that. Someone else came and sat down on my seat again. I thought that I would move them again in a minute. Then there was no coffee left, no orange juice left. In any case these girls hadn’t come down. I thought “this is turning into a right old mess, this is”.

Wednesday 17th November 2021 – HERE I ALL AM …

… not exactly sitting in a rainbow but sitting on the settee in my little room in the Dekenstraat in Leuven. It’s that time again.

After having a really bad night yet again, I was up and about fairly early and it didn’t take too long for me to sort myself out, make my sandwiches and coffee and do a little cleaning up (only a little) before I headed off towards the railway station.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Before I went too far, I wanted to check to see that the NIKON 1 J5 was working properly and the dull sky of the early morning was a good time to try.

At the viewpoint at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne overlooking the Fish Processing Plant. The plant was illuminated as the refrigerated lorries were loading up and I reckoned that if it would produce something reasonable out of this, there would be no need to nip home and fetch another camera.

And when I looked at it later, it’s come out much better than I expected. I’ve said before that it’s not that the camera is a bad camera, it’s that I’m pushing it to the limits of its capabilities.

baie de mont st michel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021The photo encouraged me to have a little tinker with the settings and try to push the camera on a little more.

Here’s a nice wide-angle photo of the northern part of the Baie de Mont St Michel. The light on Le Loup is quite clear, as if a little blurred (which is hardly a surprise in this light at this speed with a hand-held shot) and the street lights around the bay from St Pair to Carolles are quite clear too.

It seems to me that the repair that I’ve had done to the camera is working well enough and now I’m tempted to send away the old NIKON D5000 that has never worked properly since I dropped it on A CONCRETE FLOOR IN QUÉBEC

The steps down the Rampe du Monte à Regret are still closed so I had to walk all the way down the Rue des Juifs and the Rue Paul Poirier which adds a few minutes to my time. But in compensation, the climb up to the top of the hill was much easier than it was the last time I dragged a suitcase up here.

There were only one or two stops to catch my breath and in reality I suppose that I could have pushed on regardless had I tried.

gec alstom regiolis 84563 gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021The train wasn’t in yet so I had to wait for about 20 minutes for it to arrive.

It was just a 6-car unit today and there weren’t all that many passengers on board. I had a pair of seats to myself and that enabled me to back up my computer in peace and quiet for a change.

There was even 15 minutes when I could have a comfortable little doze to make up for what I didn’t have during the night.

The train pulled into Gare Montparnasse on time and once more I tried the route all the way down the Rue du Départ to the metro entrance. It really is much quicker and easier than going down into the labyrinth and clambering up and down all these flights of steps.

There was only one person in the queue at the kiosk at the bottom of the steps at the Metro entrance so I thought that this would be the moment to buy another pile of tickets as I’m running low.

However the woman in front of me, a Spaniard, was having difficulty with her French and was there for ages trying to understand what the guy behind the window was trying to tell her.

Eventually I managed to be served and I dashed down onto e very crowded platform where I had to wait a few minutes until an equally-packed train came in. We all scrambled aboard and I was lucky enough to find a seat.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4551 PBA gare du nord paris France Eric Hall photo November 2021At the Gare du Nord I was still earlier than I used to be despite the encounter at the ticket window.

Consequently, as you might be expecting, we had to wait for an age for our train. There was already one trainset standing at the platform, one of the TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt “Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam” trainsets, but it was too much to expect that this was going to be mine.

Our train was going to be a two-trainset unit and the rear portion arrived from Lille rather late and had to be cleaned and tidied before we could board it.

TGV INOUI 216 are TGV Reseau Duplex gare de lille flandres railway station lille France Eric Hall photo November 2021It goes without saying that I would be right down at the far end of the train. However, although it took me longer to walk right down there, it means that I have less distance to walk at Lille.

It’s one of the TGV Reseau Duplex trainsets, and so once again we are travelling in a hybrid train made up of two different types of trainset. That’s becoming more and more of a regular occurrence.

Although we were late setting out from the Gare du Nord, the train made up the time by the time we reached Lille Flandres railway station. That was good news for me because I wasn’t in the mood to run down the road.

And the walk to Lille Europe was easier than last time too.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4519 PBA gare de lille europe railway station lille France Eric Hall photo November 2021As I walked down the steps (the escalator wasn’t working) into the station at Lille Europe, the train for Brussels pulled in at the same time.

That’s not an issue because there’s a 20-minute wait while they uncouple the front trainset so there wasn’t any panic. The trainset that was left behind was another TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam trainset.

Our train set off on time and I had a nice relaxing journey reading a book on the laptop all the way to Brussels

We were a few minutes late arriving in Brussels so I had to run for my train to Leuven.

push me pull you gare du midi brussels belgium Eric Hall photo November 2021However I gave that up when I found that the escalator to the platform was out of order. I wasn’t up to running all the way up the stairs with my suitcase. Instead I went and waited for the next one.

That one was one of the pushme-pullyou trains that run between Eupen and Oostende and as usual, the locomotive was at the rear end pushing the train along.

It was only 10 minutes behind the one to Hasselt and Genk so I didn’t have to hang around too long and for a change at the Gare du Midi it wasn’t too cold and draughty standing on the platform.

class 18 electric locomotive gare de leuven railway station leuven belgium Eric Hall photo November 2021When we arrived at Leuven I had to hang a round for a couple of minutes to see what the locomotive was.

As I expected, it was one of the Class 18 electric locomotives behind (or in front of) which we travel most of the time. They provide most of the motive power to the long-distance Inter-City trains.

Once the train had pulled away I went to the supermarket at the back of the station for my drink and, for a change, my bread too. I’m not going to have time to go to the supermarket this evening so as long as I have my stuff for breakfast I’ll be fine.

cherry picker martelarenplein leuven belgium Eric Hall photo November 2021Outside the railway station across the road in the Martelarenplein, there was a cherry picker parked up.

That can only mean one thing – and that is that the Christmas decorations will be going up any moment soon. It’s that time of year already.

The walk down to my little room was easier than it has been of late, and as I arrived I bumped into the centre manager. We had a little chat. After all, it’s been a few months since I’ve seen him last.

After a little doze I had a shower and washed my clothes and then went out to meet Alison. We went back to her house for falafel and chips, and a nice long chat..

Now I’m back here and I’m off to bed. I’ve had a hard day and I’m exhausted as you might expect. A good sleep will do me good and hopefully I’ll be fighting fit for my appointment.

And an early trip out to buy a breadknife as there isn’t one here and I’ll be struggling to cut the loaf that I had bought.

Monday 15th November 2021 – NOW THAT REALLY WAS …

… a bad night. Had it not been for the fact that there was something on the dictaphone I would have said that I didn’t go to sleep at all. It certainly didn’t seem like it at all.

But during the night I was wandering around Crewe at the back of Delamere Street and Market Street. There was an area of houses that had been condemned and the roofs were off and everything like that. One had been a bar and one a café. I’d gone there with my desktop computer and I’d set myself up in there, doing some work as well as having a little sleep on the bench that was there. After a while I went off to do something quick but when I returned this place was pretty busy. It was advertised as a bar but it was still open. There were some people sitting on the bench where I’d been sitting and working so I had to have them unplug my computer and pass it over to me. They weren’t very happy and neither was I. It was a right grumpy situation there at that bench where I was.

The alarm didn’t go off with its usual serenade this morning at 06:00 and I don’t know why, but as I was awake anyway it didn’t make much difference.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages and then set about dealing with the radio programme that I needed to prepare.

There weren’t any records set today though because there was a continual series of interruptions, mostly to do with the radio interview that I did on Friday night. And I do have to say that in the time it took me to sort out everything, including yesterday’s work, I could have made the programme myself and had it up and running ready to go.

While I was listening to the finished product and the programme that will be broadcast this weekend I was having a play around with the new ZOOM H8.

And now I seem to have somehow enabled it to record in stereo with one microphone, and now I can’t remember how I did it and can’t return it to mono. I’m going to have to learn so much more about this machine, I reckon.

After lunch I went and had a shower and then prepared myself to go to the physiotherapist.

fishing boats waiting to go into port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down to the corner of the city walls I went where I could see what was going on down in the Harbour.

And by the looks of things, it seems to me that the gates of the inner harbour are about to open. That’s judging by all of the fishing boats coming into the outer harbour right now.

There will be plenty more of them coming in within the next few minutes but I’m not going to be here to watch them because I’m running rather late as it is. I’ll probably catch them on the way back.

boats freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Further on down the hill I paused at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a lorry loaded with a couple of shrink-wrapped boats pull up on the quayside. When I looked this afternoon I could see that the boats are now down there waiting to be picked up.

Neither of the two Jersey freighters has been in today, and they’ll need to come in soon because there’s quite a pile of builders’ material building up down there too and they’ll be struggling to get everything on board if it builds up like this.

The walk through town and up the hill was one of the easiest that I’ve had for a while. I didn’t stop at all and I wasn’t in as much distress as I have been just recently by the time that I reached the physiotherapist’s.

Today she had me doing a few more kinetic exercises and then a good 15 minutes on this tilting platform thing.

drains fitted abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home I came back by the Parc du Val es Fleurs to see how they were doing with the engineering work.

Last time we came this way we’d seen them doing something with a load of drainage pipes. They now seem to have laid them and buried them in because there are now some drainage access points that have been installed.

This gives you some idea of how high they are going to be building up the road surface. And you can also see the electric conduit that they have fitted. It looks as if we are going to be having some street lights down here too.

workmen working on abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little bit further on I could hear the sound of a cement mixer.

From where I was standing I couldn’t actually see what was happening but there definitely was a cement mixer working away by where they were standing.

Now that winter is arriving, it won’t be possible for me to sneak down there in the evening and spy out the land because by the time that they will have knocked off it will be far too dark to see anything.

When I come back on Saturday, I’ll have too much stuff with me to come back this way.

sports equipment parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing last time that we were down here was the workmen installing some sports equipment.

By the looks of things it’s all here now, installed and ready to use. And according to a notice at the side, there’s even an application that one can download to work out some kind of exercise routine.

Had I not just come from having a go on the cross trainer in the physiotherapist’s, I might have bbeen tempted to have had a little play on the one here myself.

concrete shuttering abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Whatever those guys were doing with e cement mixer the higher up the track, it must have been something to do with this.

This looks like another load of concrete shuttering that they are installing on the edge of the track. There was someone there working on it so I had to wait until he turned his back before I could take a photograph.

And how I wish that they would show some initiative and imagination and use something else. But on that depressing note, I headed off down the street towards the town

workmen parc des docteurs lanos abandoned railway Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at what used to be the Parc des Docteurs Lanos or whatever it is called, the work is still continuing.

And they are really churning it up into a right quagmire. It seems to be the material store and as I watched, an engine with some kind of fork lift attachment came by and picked up a pallet of kerbstones.

He made quite a difficult task of it too, with two wheels off the ground at one time.

With all of this going on here, I imagine that this will be the very last area to be completed, whenever that might be.

concrete reinforcement matting rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But this across the road is absolutely awful, isn’t it?

You can see that all of the area over there, except for some very small parts of the surface, are covered in concrete reinforcement matting. This probably means that they will be pouring concrete all over all of it.

If we are lucky, the small areas that are not going to be concreted might well be reserved for planting trees. That will at least be something, I suppose, but it’s nowhere near enough greenery for my liking.

workmen working on roof rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Now that the border of the road on the left-hand side is fully concreted, I walked along there on my way down the Rue du Boscq.

Half-way down I came across some more workmen. With a rather large cherry-picker or skyjack or whatever it is, they are carrying out some work on the roof of this building down here.

But the machine that they have is a useful piece of equipment and I would have loved to have had something like this when I was down on my farm. I could have had hours of endless fun with this.

concrete reinforcement matting tactile pavement rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the far end there is yet more concrete planned.

They’ve filled all of this in with concrete reinforcement matting so they will be pouring concrete down there any day now.

But you can also see the slab of tactile pavement that has already been installed. Regular readers of this rubbish in one of its previous guises will recall that I once met the girl who worked for the RNIB whose claim to fame is that she was the person who invented tactile pavement.

At one time I could tell you exactly how many times of tactile pavement there were and what the different shapes indicated, but that’s something that has long gone out of my head.

boats freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021The way back up the hill towards home was much better than it was a few weeks ago.

Although I did stop halfway up, it wasn’t to catch my breath but to take a photo of the freight on the quayside, totally forgetting that I’d taken the same photo earlier.

Something else that I forgot when I arrived back home was to go and take a photo of the beach at the Rue du Nord. I went straight back home instead. And I suppose that you are grateful for that.

Back here I had a coffee and there were a few things to do but after the events of last night, I ended up drifting off into the Land of Nod for about 10 minutes. And that makes a change from a few months ago when it was well over an hour, and sometimes even two hours.

Tea tonight was a curry made up of everything lying around in the fridge. And there was enough for two nights too, which is good news because it means that I don’t have to cook very much tomorrow.

And now I’m off to bed. I have my Welsh class tomorrow so I need to be at my best. I’m hoping that tonight I might actually go to sleep.

Saturday 6th November 2021 – I DIDN’T HAVE …

… such a productive day today as I did yesterday. I found it very hard to make a start yet again.

It should actually have been a much better day today because for once I was actually wide awake a 07:15 – 15 minutes before the alarm went off – and I should have taken full advantage of it but once again, being awake is one thing – actually leaving the bed is something else completely.

Anyway I eventually crawled out of bed and went off for my medication.

Back here I ended up deep in conversation with someone on the internet.

In my possession is a very limited-edition copy of David Hill’s AN ATLAS OF ANGLO-SAXON ENGLAND but unfortunately there are several pages missing.

The person with whom I was chatting had been a student of David Hill at Manchester University and had a copy of the Atlas himself so he copied the pages for me and sent them to me, along with several maps showing the distribution of Royal lands in South Cheshire, North Shropshire and the Maelor, my old stamping ground of course, and a copy of his thesis on the Domesday Book entries for that area.

That really was a wonderful gesture and I was very grateful for all of that. It’s restored a little of my faith in human nature.

boats heading out to the ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021After breakfast I headed off out to do some shopping. No Caliburn so I went on foot to the local shops in town.

And by the looks of things I wasn’t the only one going out and about this morning. There was a relentless stream of boats heading out to the Ile de Chausey this morning.

That suggests that the gate at the entry to the port de plaisance opened a short while ago and everyone is taking full advnatage.

boat yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Of course, some boats are quicker away than others.

This one was right out in the bay going past the Ile de Chausey and by the size of the wake that he’s creating compared to the size of his boat he must have le feu dans ses fesses as they say around here.

On the other hand I don’t believe that the yacht to the right has gone out at that kind of speed. Either she’s been out all night or else she’s come from a non-tidal harbour, if there is such a thing around here

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021My route today was to go around the headland and down into town that way.

And I hadn’t gone too far along the path before one of the Joly France came around the corner.

One look at the stern is enough to tell us that she’s the older boat of the two. The newer one has a step cut into the stern.

There’s quite a crowd of people on board the boat as well. It’s not the best day to be going out to the Ile de Chausey but at least it’s not raining.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2111/21110044.html”>boats heading out to the ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As I walked down the path and across the car park I could hear this dreadful racket coming from the water and I wondered what it might be.

At the end of the headland I found out that it wasn’t just one boat making a noise but a whole collection of them.

It looks to me as if the whole world is heading out to the ile de Chausey this morning and I’ve no idea why it should be so popular. I haven’t seen anything in the local newspaper.

And while we are on the subject of the local newspaper, the helicopter was scrambled yesterday to rescue two people stuck in a tidal swimming pool but a pleasure boat beat the helicopter to it.

fishermen boats heading out to the ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And that’s not all of the water craft either.

As I went down the steps to the bottom I noticed that there were three fishermen setting themselves up on the rocks down there.

And they were having a grandstand view of everything going sailing past them this morning.

And they can consider themselves lucky too. Many people would pay good money to see a spectacle like this and we are all having it for free.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021I walked along the path at the foot of the cliffs and that brought me down to by the chantier naval.

We can have a closer look at the portable boat lift and see how sorry it’s looking without her wheels. It must be some kind of serious repair that’s had her holed up like this in the middle of the yard.

But we can do with getting her back on her feet – or her wheels, at any rate. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … a proper functioning boat repair yard is vital to the success of the port.

fishing boat with tender leaving fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Tanking of the success of the port … “well, one of us is” – ed … there was a small fishing boat unloading as I was walking along the quayside.

It didn’t take her long and, hauling her tender alongside her, she was soon off on her way again.

Her name was clearly visible on the wind deflector over the cabin but it was written in some crazy Gothic script that I couldn’t decipher. And as she doesn’t have an AIS beacon, I can’t check her registration number against my records.

crab left behind by the tide port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was something else of interest in the tidal harbour this morning.

What he’s actually doing here I really don’t know. Whether he’s fallen out of a basket from a boat that’s unloading or whether he simply fancies going for a walk is something of a mystery.

But one thing is certain and that it’s very rare for a crab to be left behind by a receding tide. If he doesn’t get a move on, he’ll be on someone’s dinner plate this evening.

st gaud port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Yesterday from up above at the viewpoint overlooking the port I noticed that there was a trawler moored where Marité is usually tied up.

As I was down this way I went for a look to see who she was.

She’s the Saint Gaud, named after a former Bishop of Evreux. There’s a shrine dedicated to him at St Pair sur Mer that used to be a centre of pilgrimage where mothers would bring their babies to receive a blessing.

After his retirement as Bishop he came to live in the Forest of Scissy part of which is today the town of St Pair sur Mer.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Next to her at the quayside is the little Chausey freighter Chausiaise.

She has a sliding top that covers the hold, as you can see. It’s similar to a design that we did in the 1980s for an outdoor swimming pool where the sides and roof slide back underneath one another to make it an open-air one in good weather.

There’s no photo of her in the shipping database and as I maintain the AIS beacon for the port I feel that I’m in some way responsible for the local boats. This photo has come out quite well so it’s now been uploaded to the database.

By the way, up on the city walls just to the left of the French flag is the viewpoint that overlooks the inner port. And that’s the hill that I have to stagger up to go home.

Around the corner I bumped into the itinerant, still going strong. I’ve not seen him for a while so we had a chat and then I went off to buy the lettuce, a baguette, some mushrooms and a couple of peppers. And a can of drink for the journey back.

barbecue marché de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home I passed round by the market.

All of the smoke that you can see is from the legendary barbecue about which there was so much trouble two years or so ago. He uses charcoal to grill his sausages and the mayor at the time didn’t like the smell or the smoke so she tried to make him convert to gas.

He took her all the way up the heirarchical ladder of appeals and in the end he won his case, so he still used the charcoal. The Carnaval that year was … errr … rather cruel.

marché de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But as you can see, the market here on a Saturday morning is quite popular. It certainly pulls in the crowds.

For the first few weeks that I lived here I would come back this way from the shops on a Saturday morning but the first weekend that I tried it after the summer holidays started, I found an alternative route very quickly.

On the way back home I stopped halfway up the hill. Not because I was exhausted but rather because I wasn’t and I had my can of drink to drink before I returned home. It was nice sitting on the wall overlooking the port with a can of drink in my hand.

As I approached my buildiing I bumped into yet another neighbour and she held me captive for 20 minutes chatting about this and that. I reallt do seem to be popular right now and i’ve no idea what I’ve done to deserve that.

As a result it was almost lunchtime by the time that I came back inside.

This afternoon I’ve been working on the arears of the journal, adding in the photos and the dreams from when I was in Leuven last month. Now they are all up-to-date.

And after I’d done that I transcribed some dreams for a couple more days and I’ll be adding them in as I go along over the next while – just in time (presumably) to go into arrears again when I go to Leuven in 10 days time. It’s a vicious circle in which I find myself at the moment.

In the meantime, last night I was with my mother somewhere. I was in one room of the house. There was music on the radio so I was playing along on the bass but on one particular song the bass actually switched on and was really loud. When I looked, one of the potentiometers was glowing red-hot with sparks. I couldn’t get down there to turn off or turn down the sound

There had been a whole new road network opened from after Whitchurch to Shrewsbury and Market Drayton. It was quite late at night and I decided that even though I had things to do I would go to see if after someone had told me something about it. I set off and just as I was coming onto the new bit there was a telephone box so I thought that I’d stop and put all my papers in order because I’d thrown them into the car. I wanted to check on the ferry at 02:30 which was the one that I should have been on but then I couldn’t find my papers. The 2 people sitting in the back, I don’t know where they came from were having a rummage around in the car. Eventually they found something and I found the rest. I was sitting on it. Percy Penguin in the passenger seat read out the ferry booking number to me so I wrote it down. I found that I’d already written it once in my notebook. That meant that I could phone up about the ferry that I should have been on.

I’d been doing a coach tour. I’d had to go out, drive over 300 miles, pick up some passengers and bring them back to the depot and be back by lunchtime. I had loads of things that I’d brought with me, tools and everything and I had to get them into my red Cortina estate. That took me an age to do that. Then I had to set off and drive back home but I had a phone call to make, to ring up my niece in Canada. I parked my car at the side of the road and went to the phone box. The number wasn’t actually the number that I thought it was but it was there written down so I thought that I’d go to dial it. Then I noticed that my bike was missing. The car outside had changed into a bike. I went out to look for it and there were 2 girls there. One was Miss Stoke on Trent. She had my bike but she had hit something with it. I asked her why she’d taken it. She relied that 2 boys had taken it and had a ride on it but it was some stupid bike without a computer so they’d dumped it so she’d gone on it and gone for a ride. I had to go back and find a phone box and telephone Canada again. She came with me in the phone box. I started looking for my notebook which I eventually found. There was the number written down in it but it was the wrong number. I remembered that the last time the number had changed. I thought that I’m not going to be able to phone up because I only have one 10p. If I dial the wrong number I’m going to lose it and I won’t be able to call her again.

But here I am, stuck in a tiny, confined space like a telephone box with Miss Stoke on Trent who can’t possibly escape from my evil clutches and I choose that moment to awaken. You couldn’t make up something like that.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As usual I nepped out at 16:00 to go and see the beach.

At the moment the tide is well out as you can see so there was plenty of beach this afternoon. There were quite a few people down there as well this afternoon going for a good walk around .

The weather is quite cool and there’s a little wind, but it’s been windier and colder than this already so it’s not too bad for November. But I imagine that over the next few weeks winter will be starting to get a grip on everything and that will be the last that we shall see of the idlers.

hermitage promenade donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A few weeks ago I posted a photo or two to show that the beach cabins on the Plat Gousset have been taken away for the wonter to protect them from the storms.

Down on the promenade at Donville-les-Bains they don’t seem to be too concerned by that. The cabins are still there.

To the left is that big building that used to be a hotel but is now a block of apartments and flats. I had a look at a room that was to let there not long after I came to live here but it really was in bad condition and I didn’t like it all that much at all.

Back here I carried on work until tea time. Breaded burgers and veg with baked potatoes and it really was delicious. I must admit that I’m eating really well since I’ve been living here.

Now my journal entry is written I’m going to have a little relax and then go to bed. I can’t describe how much I’ve been looking forward to the lie-in tomorrow but the problem will be that having spent all weel working myself up to it, somethign will happen to put a spanner in the works.

We shall see.

Thursday 4th November 2021 – HOW LONG IS IT …

… since I’ve walked 110% of my daily total? It must be quite a while, I reckon.

This morning I took Caliburn for his annual service and controle technique and it’s a long way home – just over 6kms in fact. But apart from the final climb up the Rue des Juifs, what parts of it that aren’t on the level are slightly downhill so I thought “now or never”.

As it happens, just as I was walking past the bus stop about 400 metres from the garage, a bus came along and I could even have had a free ride home, but I persevered. And I’m glad that I did.

Mind you, I shan’t be walking back to pick him up when he’s ready. That’s not part of the plan at all.

Even more surprisingly, I’m surprised that I even thought about it after the night that I had. I promised yesterday that I won’t mention bad nights again so I’ll say nothing more.

It was however something of a very mobile and extremely surreal night. I don’t know why but I had just thrown a load of inflatable lifebuoy rings and toys and things into a swimming pool. Everyone had jumped in afterwards after them but thy were adults and even so they were making like whale things like squirting water out of a jet at the back of their helmets and that kind of thing, not being serious at all.

Later on there were 2 Viking ships doing a shuttle service between Norway and England. One of them was delayed for so long that by the time they prepared to leave the other Viking ship or Norse trading ship had come in to the harbour down the coast so they wanted to slip out to sea before the captain of that ship came to look for them to wonder why they had been so long. They slipped out on the tide at night and were caught in a fog. eventually they made a very rough landfall on some kind of island that might have been the Faroe Islands or something but was totally uninhabited. The ship was damaged so they couldn’t sail away so they had to sit and make the most of what it was that they were going to be doing on this island. There was plenty of driftwood for wood but that was really all about everything.

Some time later I was with a friend of mine in that old black MkV that I had and we were going into Crewe somewhere, just generally talking. This Cortina was running really poorly on about 3.5 cylinders and you had to work the gears pretty hard to get it to move. We went all the way down Mill Street where we nearly ran into the back of a car. I stopped by turning left and let some people cross the street, up past Oak Street into the town centre. The whole of the town centre had changed. There was still the pavement opposite the library but that was now a lawn but where the car park and the ring road used to be was now all buildings. I was having to find a place to park there but I couldn’t see anywhere to park. I was thinking that I would have to drive round for a bit in order to find somewhere.

There were plenty of other things going on too. We were on a coach tour going into Hungary. When it was meal-time the coach pulled up in Budapest, but it was no Budapest that I ever knew, something really modern. We all cascaded out and there was a restaurant there and it had absolutely nothing whatever vegan. We went to look at another couple in the vicinity and there wasn’t anything there either. By the time that we’d met up with a couple more off the coach who were looking for something to eat. We went back to the first place but to get there wasn’t easy. We had to scramble down this slope that looked very insecure. Down at this restaurant you had to make your own pizza, make your own sandwiches, take them to the till. There was nothing there that I could eat so we went into the restaurant to look for the tour guide. He wasn’t there. I was becoming extremely annoyed about this because I wanted something to eat but there was nothing there whatever that I could eat.

Finally there was an awfully interesting chat about camisole dresses and school sports days but I’m not quite sure what that was all about – something about rolling the camisole dress up like girls do when they go to school – roll the waist over to make the skirt shorter.

After the medication I went and assembled Caliburn’s door.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the door latch keeps sticking and sometimes I can’t open it from the outside. A few weeks ago I dismantled it and oiled all of the parts with WD40 and I left it half-dismantled to make sure that it works. Today I gave it another oiling and then put it back together.

Having dropped Caliburn off at the menders’, I set out for my marathon walk home. It was sunny but there was a cool breeze and I was very grateful for that.

calvary rue de la font jolie Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the corner of the street near the garage is a calvary – a shrine in honour of the Virgin Mary i reckon.

The plaque underneath it is very worn but the general message suggests that it’s to do with a pilgrimage to Lourdes in 1959

And this reminds me of a story that I have told before … “and on many occasions too” – ed.

In Québec many years ago they had some kind of competition for the design of a calvary. One designer sent in a drawing of John Wayne on his horse

Avoiding the temptation to take the bus, I carried on walking and I was glad that I did because we now have an Aldi open in the town. I popped in there for some energy drink to fuel me up and took advantage of the opportunity to have a good look around.

The place is bigger and has more choice than Lidl, so I can see myself calling in there every so often to stock up, especially as it’s not too far from Noz and LeClerc.

By the time I reached the bottom of the hill in the Rue Couraye I was beginning to feel the strain but I pushed on regardless.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021So much so that I actually made it half-way up the hill in the Rue des Juifs before I had to stop for breath.

Down there in the port, it was all quiet. The quayside was deserted – Normandy Trader and Thora had gone, taking the huge mound of freight with them.

Also gone from the harbour is Marité. Apparently she’s doing some filming somewhere, but I’ve no idea what or where it is.

When I returned home I made some coffee and toast and then came back in here to sink into my comfortable chair. And was I glad to do that! It’s a long time since I’ve been so exhausted and even so, I was really glad that I had accomplished it.

There’s life in the old dog yet!

But that wasn’t the end of my activity for the day either. There’s my appointment with the doctor at 13:30.

When I sat down on returning home I was feeling fine, but when I stood up to go on my way, I knew about it. I felt every inch of the journey down into town, and every bone and muscle in my body as well.

peche a pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As usual I took the NIKON D3000 with me on my walk. and I put it to good use just round the corner.

The tide is well out right now so with it being the school holidays, the crowds are out on the exposed beach having a go at the pèche à pied.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the foreshore between high and low tides is leased to commercial fishermen who harvest the shellfish. But at the very low tides the water drops right down below the commercial zone and anything found in this exposed zone is fair game for anyone who cares to harvest it.

The doctor gave me a good going-over while I was there. My blood pressure is up which is a surprise because I didn’t think that I had enough even to make a normal reading.

The chemists have to order the injections of Aranesp for me so when I recovered from the shock of the price (you won’t believe how much they cost) I told them I’ll be down tomorrow to pick them up. It’ll be a nice walk into town in the afternoon, to do something different instead of my usual walk.

While I was at the chemist’s I remembered that I have a free voucher for a flu injection. I handed that over as well and I’ll pick that up tomorrow too.

Back here again I had a very late lunch with my delicious bread, musing on the fact that had suddenly hit me that I’d walked all the way from town and right up the hill to here without stopping for breath even once. And if that isn’t progress, I don’t know what is.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But after all of this I was in no fit state to do very much in the afternoon.

I remembered to pop out (later than usual) too look at the beach. The tide is not quite full in but even so there wasn’t anyone down there, so I didn’t hang around much. I came back in to the apartment for another rest.

At some point I managed to go through all of the photos for yesterday and at some point when I have summoned up the energy I’ll write the text for them. But right now, I’m aching in places that I didn’t even know that I had.

Leaving my seat to go and make tea was exciting too. I can see me having a real struggle to leave my stinking pit in the morning if things carry on like this.

But tea was good tonight. There were some leftover bits and pieces lying around so I made a curry with them and that was quite delicious too.

Anyway, shortly I’ll be off to bed and try again for an uninterrupted night’s sleep, if I can. The pace is hotting up in here with the work building up so I’m hoping to have a really good day at it.

Just watch someone come along and spoil it.

Wednesday 3rd November 2021 – I HAVE HAD …

… a proposal of marriage today.

And the worst thing about it is that I’m not sure exactly how serious it was.

On the way back from the physiotherapist I met one of my neighbours heading down the hill. We had a chat about the current situation in the town, one thing led to another and she asked me “do you have your French nationality yet?”?
“No I don’t” I replied. “Just my Carte de Séjour. Nationality is a long, complicated process”.
“We’ll have to marry and then it will take much less time” she continued.

And so in the best traditions of the (News of the Screws), I “made my excuses and left”.

But the regular readers of this rubbish needn’t worry. Since I’ve been ill and I’ve had all of these bits cut out of me, I’m no use to anyone. Not even to myself.

It’s all very well discussing people like Percy Penguin, TOTGA, Miss Stoke on Trent, Castor and all of the others but they’ll all be perfectly safe with me these days.

Particularly after the night that I had last night. I was in bed really early – not long after 22:00 when I went to bed, planning on having a really good sleep all the way through to 07:30 but it wasn’t to be.

And so I’ve decided that in the future I’ll mention my good nights rather than my bad ones. It’ll save more time.

So staggering out of bed I went for my medication and then came back in here to check my mails and messages.

Plenty of mails too about my radio project and I stirred the pot by sending out a pile more. That led to the odd ‘phone call or two and so most of my day evaporated before my very eyes.

While I was dealing with the radio stuff, I uploaded the recording from last night on our visit. Two microphones means two mono tracks, with one “major” sound channel and one “minor” sound track. I’ve run them together and created a stereo track which doesn’t really give the effect that I wanted but I’m a novice with this machine and I have a lot to learn as yet.

Some time during the course of the day I had a look at the photos from Saturday night. I’ve edited 27 so far and I’m surprised at how good one or two of them are.

During the night I travelled miles. I started off having to make declarations of imports to the Customs and Excise people at Newcastle upon Tyne. My first ones weren’t very good – not very-well completed but by the time that I came round to the second ones and subsequently I had it all down to a T and was busy , doing it quite well and I was quite pleased with that.

Later, I was in Chester and I can’t remember what I was doing there now. I had this really ancient 1920s motorbike with me. We’d gone to the station to meet someone and it turned out to be an old woman. I was there with a friend of mine who was on an old motorbike too. When we met this old woman we then had to go out of Chester. I lost my way all round the station complex. I couldn’t remember where everything was because Chester had been so modernised. In the end we made our way to Northgate Street more by luck than judgement. This old woman was lagging behind because we were setting quite a pace. In the end she was talking about going for a cup of tea so we found this olde-worlde café place and went in there. I left my motorbike outside but he took his in. There were probably 7 or 8 other old motorbikes from that era in there as well. Now we had acquired 2 children, a girl about 6 and a little boy. I went and sat down where my friend and this woman went to order the coffee or whatever.

Later still I was working in an office and I’d been up to the canteen at about 10:45 to ask for a coffee. The woman said that she would make one and bring it down. By the time that it was 15:15 it hadn’t come so I went back up to find out what was happening. When I went in there I asked and she replied that she wasn’t going to make one for me. There were several other people there, one or two who were also drinking coffee so I asked why she wasn’t going to make one for me when she’d obviously made one for other people. One or two of the people tried to get me to leave but I wasn’t leaving under any circumstances and it all developed into something rather unpleasant. She still refused to make me a coffee even though everyone else who had asked had been given one

trawlers ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021It was such a beautiful afternoon when I set out for the physiotherapist so I headed over to see what was happening in the bay.

And for a change this afternoon, there was quite a lot. The Iles de Chausey looked really nice in this strange sunlight and we could see plenty of fishing boats out there looking as if they were heading for home.

On the horizon though was something big and white. One of the ferries going from St Malo to Portsmouth, I expect. I made a mental note to check it when I returned but I forgot.

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was quite a bit of activity looking the other way too.

Down in the bottom of the Baie de Granville between Donville les Bains and Bréhal Plage there were quite a few boats out and about this afternoon – some yachts and a cabin cruiser, as well as a few others that didn’t make it into the photo.

But not that I was going to hang around to count them. I have things to do and other fish to be frying.

One of the things that I mentioned that I would do was to go and see what was happening in the old town with all of the rebuilding that seems to be taking place.

repairing medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Regular readers of this rubbis will recall that we have noticed a big hole in the medieval city walls near to where they are working in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux so I wanted to check up on that.

And the hole isn’t there any more – or, at least, if part of it still is, it won’t be there much longer.

The stone masons have now reached the hole and they are busy patching it up, with a handy shield up above their head to prevent anything dropped over the wall from hitting them.

repairing medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And there is actually a big danger of things being dropped down on their heads from up above.

Another worker has been raking out the loose mortar between the stones, so presumably that’s going to be the next bit that will be repointed once they have finished below.

And you can see why the men down below have erected a roof when you see where the guy up above has left his electric drill. That will make quite a dent in someone’s skull if it’s dropped 20 feet.

repairing medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021When we were here last time, they had dismantled part of the wall in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

Now it looks as if they have begun to reassemble it and with the fresh pointing it looks quite nice. When they refit the large stones on top, it will be a really good job.

But what will be the next job to tackle? There’s the one further along towards the viewpoint at the Plat Gousset that has been fenced off for as long as I’ve been living here at least, then then there’s the bit in the car park by my building.

But the smart money is on the Square Potel and the signs are up there already.

repairing rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another thing that we saw a couple of weeks ago was all the hieroglyphycs that had appeared on the road surface in the Rue St Michel.

They had been working in the Rue Cambernon close by, but now they have finished. They have gone on up the Rue St Michel and by the looks of things they are quite well advanced there.

But this road surface is dreadful. In the medieval city everywhere else is cobbled stone – except here. They can’t complain about people not keeping to the “epoch” in their own private renovations if they aren’t going to do the same with the official ones.

thora loading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Meanwhile, down in the harbour, I see that we have a visitor.

Thora, one of the two little Jersey freighter, is in port today and by the looks of things she has quite a huge load on board. You can tell that by how deep she’s sitting in the water.

It looks as if there are some vehicles on the deck too, but I’ll go for a look on the way back. I want to have a chat with the skipper anyway.

erecting christmas decorations avenue leclerc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Once more, I made it all the way up to the hill to the physiotherapist without stopping for breath.

There was however one stop, and that was almost near the top as well. You can tell that we are in November and the tourist season is over, because now they are putting up the Christmas decorations.

And this year, I hope that they are going to use their imagination and do something different than they have done over the past couple of years. They have been very samey, except that there seem to be fewer and fewer things to erect.

The physiotherapist had me doing kinetic exercises for my half-hour session and it does seem to be doing me some good. I can tell that by the fact that I seem to be moving about a little easier than I did when I first started. Not by very much, but it does take time.

working on abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home, I went to see how the major roadwork project is doing down in the Parc Du Val Ès Fleurs.

They are making some kind of progress where the old railway line used to be. It’s all graded and they have fitted the drainage system and the electric conduit.

It looks as if it’s All Systems Go there, but I doubt if it will be finished for when I need to go to Leuven in a couple of weeks time. I might have to wait a little longer for that but it will be a much easier way to walk once it’s finished.

workmen installing play equipment parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Remember the hardstanding that we have seen in the Parc Du Val Ès Fleurs in the past?

There are a couple of workmen down there doing something with it all today. I shall have to go for a closer look.

But there are still plenty of the concrete reinforcement matting sheets down there – if anything, more than there were last time. It looks as if we are going to be in for a serious amount of concreting which will be a shame. This much concrete must be bad for the environment.

workmen installing play equipment parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021So down at the bottom of the steps I could have a closer look at their doings.

In the absence of any indication I asked them what was the purpose of they were doing. “It’s for the sport” replied one of them.

And so it looks as if I might not need the physiotherapist at all once they have finished what they are doing. I can come and do my exercises down here. But they will need much more equipment than just this, that’s for sure, if they want the town to improve its fitness.

square des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There wasn’t much else that I could see happening on the trackbed of the abandoned railwy so I cleared off down the road towards the quagmire that is the Square des Docteurs Lanos.

And quagmire is certainly the word. It’s raining on and off at the moment and over there is just a morass or sea of mud. Nothing much has changed there over the last 10 days or so, except that we now have some concrete drain boxes dropped over there.

And do you notice in the bottom corner the concrete strip that they have placed across the road? It looks as if we are going to be having a sea of concrete all the way up to the end of the abandoned railway line at this rate, hence all of the reinforcement matting.

roadworks rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021That’s certainly what it’s looking like in the Rue du Boscq.

The concrete strip that we saw them pouring the other day has now expanded widthways to three times its size, for what purpose I really don’t know.

Ohh! For a long line of trees that should have been planted every 30 feet along there to bring some shade and greenery to people walking about in the summer.

On the other side of the road they have left the half-a-dozen trees that were growing there previously, and that looks as if it’s going to be our lot for now.

digger moving road roller rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But the excitement here isn’t quite over yet.

There’s a road-roller that has been stuck on the concrete and can’t drop off the end so they summoned up one of the diggers on the site.

He picked it up without too much effort and dropped it back onto the roadway where the driver drove it away. and then the digger picked up what looked like a generator and then cleared off down to the far end of the roadworks.

children's roundabout place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And as if in sympathy, I cleared off down the far end of the roadworks too.

The kiddies’ roundabout that we saw them installing the other day is still here. It’s planned to be here until 7th November but it may be on its way sooner than that.

Apparently it’s larger than it’s supposed to be, according to the plans that were submitted to the local council, and it’s forcing people to step into the roadway. The council is none-too-happy about it and there’s some kind of proceedings going on right now about the issue.

vans and builders material thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On our way out to the physiotherapist, we saw Thora moored at the loading bay and I mentioned that I’d go over for a chat.

However as I arrived, she was just casting off ready to go. And I was right about the vehicles that she was carrying. 2 vans with Dutch number plates heading off towards the Channel Islands along with about 40 large sacks of stone.

Obviously it’s too late to speak to her skipper to I shouted a message to him as he peered through his window. Whether he heard me or not is another thing completely.

thora leaving normandy trader arriving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021The reason for the rapid departure of Thora is that the loading bay is wanted by someone else.

As she disappears off into the sunset, right in behind comes Normandy Trader. I didn’t think that they would be able to fit all of the freight on the quayside into Thora.

It was sheer luck that I’d arrived at this moment because I wanted to speak to Normandy Trader‘s skipper too. But he had a considerable amount of work on the go, quite obviously, so I didn’t want to get in his way. I’ll catch him another time.

normandy trader unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But doesn’t Normandy Trader look nice in her new livery?

Her captain was telling me that he was fed up of everything being blue and so while she was out of the water the other week he’s had a lot of her painted red.

They started to unload her almost immediately so I stood and watched from a good viewpoint. And the unloading didn’t take long because, as you might expect with all of this going on, the Jersey Fishermen’s Co-operative isn’t sending any shellfish over to Granville right now.

rainstorm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little earlier I mentioned that it was raining on and off as I walked home.

As you can see, out there in the baie de Mont St Michel and on the Brittany coast they were having it much worse than I hwas having it right now. That looks like one impressive rainstorm that is cascading down over there.

The wind wasn’t blowing it in my direction but I didn’t want to hang around. Nevertheless it was round about here that I had my proposal of marriage.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little further on I bumped into another neighbour out for a run so we had a little chat and then I carried on along my way.

Before going inside, I went to look at what was happening down on the beach. And the fact is that there wasn’t any beach for anything to be happening on right now. The tide is well in.

A few minutes earlier while I was walking home Rosemary telephoned me. So back here I made myself a coffee and phoned her back for another one of our long chats.

Hence I am, us usual these days, running hours later than planned.

later on, I was out again. I seem to be in great demand today as well because I was invited to a soirée in the building. It’s not like me to be popular, is it? I took myself off upstairs but I only stayed for an hour or so. I just don’t have the time (or the inclination) to be nice and friendly for such a long time.

Back down here I had pasta and a burger for tea, and now I’ve written up my notes I’m going to bed.

While I was out I took over 20 photos. But you won’t get to see them until later because with running late, I haven’t processed them and in any case, I’m whacked.

Somehow (and I don’t know how) I’m managing not to fall asleep during the day as I did in the summer but at the end of the day I’m wasted, particularly when I’ve had a bad night. A good night will do me the world of good, although I don’t know when, if ever, I’ll have one.

Tuesday 2nd November 2021 – NO PHOTOS TONIGHT.

That’s because I didn’t go out for my afternoon walk today

Well, there are a few photos, but they aren’t for general publication because they were taken at a radio interview. But more of that anon.

This morning, after yet another turbulent night, I managed to awaken at the correct time, about 10 minutes before the alarm went off, which it did at the correct time.

What was disappointing was that I had made a special effort to be in bed by 22:30 with the aim of having a really good night’s sleep, so it was really disappointing that I wasn’t able to make the most of it.

After the medication this morning I went off to revise my Welsh from my last lesson and to prepare for this one, and then I went to class. For some reason or other, presumably because of the bad night, I found it hard to keep awake but I managed. I didn’t make any silly mistakes either, which makes a change.

When I’d finished lunch I went for a shower and a general clean-up, then while I waited for Laurent to come to fetch me I made a couple of phone calls and spent some time working on the arrears.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too. We were on a big aeroplane going on our holidays. It was all confusion and getting the luggage on board and everything like that. I had a few bits and pieces. I was with Nerina again. When it was time to go up into the cabin I had to stay behind for some reason. later on when I went up they asked me to help with the stewarding so I had to go up and down sliding on my side between these plates of food, salad and everything. But the girl who was doing it was on her first trip and she didn’t like doing it at all. She wasn’t very happy. Something then needed to be delivered back to the office or somewhere so I went down to take it. When I came back no sooner had I clambered on board the aeroplane than the door shut and I had to run up these stairs and try to find Nerina in the dark as the plane was preparing to take off.

Later on we’d been to Paris for the weekend. I’d already taken a load of stuff with me but somehow managed to acquire some more. I ended up with tons of baggage that I’d no idea how I was going to get home. Packing it was something of a nightmare. I was just stuffing stuff into suitcases, backpacks and everything indiscriminately as I wasn’t really sure how I was going to do it. In the end TOTGA (and how nice to see her again) came to see what I was doing and to help if she could. We ended up having a dance. I had her in a really close clinch in this hotel … “if only” – ed. We were having a waltz like that

Later on I was round at a couple whom I knew from Stoke on Trent only it wasn’t their house but somewhere else. We were planning to go off somewhere and ended up in 3 cars. We shot away from the house and the wife and her daughter (who was Miss Stoke-on-Trent by the way) came behind, with someone else in the 3rd car. We left them way behind but were stopped at the traffic lights. By the time the lights changed they had all caught up with us. We drove on somewhere but ended up back at their house getting things ready to leave again. This time there was just the couple and me. He was telling me about all the stories that he had written about so many-prostitutes doing this and so many other prostitutes doing that, some stuff to keep him out of mischief. I said that he ought to speak to another friend of mine about that because that’s what he does. He was showing me the garden and saying about how one part of the garden they couldn’t do anything with because of a disease in the shrubs. Seeing the way that the sun was shining and the slope I thought that it would make a really good vinyard. They said that they had tried. At some point everyone was dancing together so I went to try to find Miss Stoke-on-Trent so that I could dance with her … “if only” – ed … because she was loitering somewhere in the background of the dream.

There was more stuff too but once again you won’t be wanting to read it if you are eating your meal.

Laurent and I then headed off into the wilds of the bocage to a small hamlet near Ger where we interviewed a subject for our radio project. She and one of her children had quite a good deal to say for themselves, which was very useful. Their interview will make very good radio.

After 90 minutes there we set off back for our long drive home and it’s strange that the journey home always seems to take less time than the journey out.

Tea tonight was stuffed taco rolls, using the rest of the stuffing left over from yesterday, and now that I’ve written up today’s notes, such as they are, I’m going to bed. Nice and early, with the hope that I’ll finally have a really good sleep. I have about 163 photos to edit tomorrow.

Monday 1st November 2021 – WHAT A DAY!

You might think that when I tell you that I finished my radio programme by 10:35 this morning, that I had set a new record. But unfortunately it wasn’t quite like that.

After yet another miserable night I sat bolt upright at 06:11 wondering why my alarm hadn’t gone off at 06:00. I fell out of bed, had my medication and dashed back to make a start with the radio programme.

And then, 40 minutes later when the alarm finally did go off, I was wondering what on earth was happening until I suddenly twigged. I hadn’t had a shower yesterday so I hadn’t plugged my fitbit into the computer to upload the data and synchronise itself.

Consequently it hadn’t adjusted to the change of the hour and I’d actually left my bed at 05:11

Making a start at such a time like that, I might even have finished a lot earlier too but today I decided that instead of using the ZOOM H1, I used the new ZOOM H8.

It is, as you might expect, much more complicated to set up and takes much longer to regulate but the quality is undoubtedly better. It was a really good experience to use it because it made sure that I understood how it worked and that I could produce some results from it.

However I won’t be using it again for my radio programmes – for the simple reason that to record in stereo I need to use two mikes and two channels otherwise it simply records in mono. The little Zoom records automatically in stereo.

Having done that, I had breakfast and then I had a few other things to do that took me right up to lunchtime – and my bread is absolutely delicious, just as I thought that it would be.

My bad day hasn’t quite finished yet either.

After lunch I put the heater on in the bathroom to warm it up ready for my shower and my general clean-up before going out for my physiotherapy session – and then I realised that today in France is a Bank Holiday and there is no physiotherapy today.

And with it being a Bank Holiday, I could have legitimately had a nice long lie-in instead of being up and about at that ridiculous time this morning.

Instead, I carried on with writing up Saturday’s journal entry, and listening to where I’d been during the night. Percy Penguin, who doesn’t figure in these notes half as often as she deserves, had paid me a flying visit. Instead of seeing her at the usual time I was having to see her at a different time. I came back from work, went to the canteen, had some lunch and went round to dump some stuff in her house. There were some people in there and she came and had cut her hair. It was just down to her shoulder blades and I felt very disappointed with that.

Later on I wanted to buy some shares so I had a cunning plan. To go to the Post Office, open a bank account and buy the shares at the Post Office and start to pay the dividends into that account. In the meantime that would enable me to close down one of my two accounts here in France. I arrived at the Post Office rather late and there was a queue right outside the door but I was seen quite quickly. I had to reduce my documentation which was a bit of a fumble. The guy found out that I already had an account there so the first part was quite easy and straightforward. Then he told me that they didn’t actually purchase shares – the office was somewhere else. It wasn’t in the locality where I had to go for them which was something of a disappointment. I should really have done this at the bank. I was preparing to leave but suddenly realised that he hadn’t asked me for the money to pay into this account, presumably because it was open already. I wondered what I was going to do about that.

Finally, there had been an airship that had crashed in north-west France. We’d gone out to investigate it. As we were investigating it we didn’t think that it looked quite right. We heard that somewhere along the route a pile of bodies and debris and everything had been found on top of a mountain along this airship’s route. Our immediate thought was that it had grounded out on some high point and ripped off the rear cabin. This was soon changed after a while when it seemed that the rear cabin had been in an explosion. A bomb had been planted aboard that had blown the rear cabin out and killed everyone in there whose bodies had fallen onto this mountain-top. Of course this had altered the handling capabilities of the airship and that was what had caused it to crash around where we were. We set off in a car to try to locate the spot where these bodies had been found. We were driving somewhere around the Chester way heading into North Wales. There was an old Ford Zodiac with a pile of aerials on it looking as if it was some kind of radio car that was in the hunt. We were heading into North Wales to carry on our quest for this first lot of human remains and so on into North Wales. There was something about someone had bought the site to erect a monument and the site had changed hands again and the new owner was trying to raise money for a monument.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was the break this afternoon for my walk, somewhat later than usual.

There wasn’t anyone down on the beach this afternoon, for the rather prosaic reason that there isn’t any beach for anyone to be on. The tide is right in now, up to the foot of the cliffs.

You can see what I meant yesterday about those people down there. It’s easy to be cut off from the steps that bring people up to the Rue du Nord.

There were very few people around on the path this afternoon so I had this part of my circuit at least pretty much to myself.

people pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Along the path and across the car park I came to the end of the headland.

There were a couple of people down there looking as if they were taking a photograph of themselves standing on the end of the headland.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, photographs of people taking photographs is something that features quite often on these pages.

There weren’t any fishermen out there this afternoon on the rocks, and no boats in the bay either. It was all quite quiet as everyone begins to go into hibernation for the winter, which won’t be long a-coming.

le styx unloading fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was no change at all in the chantier naval this afternoon – the portable boat lift was still parked up in the middle of the yard.

Over at the fish processing plant, we had one of the port’s trawlers, Le Styx, unloading over there onto the wharf. You can see one of the many electric cranes that they use to winch the loads up onto the top.

When she finished unloading, she cast off and pulled away from the plant, but I didn’t see where she went because I was moving off down the path towards home.

workmen's compound boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home I walked past the place where I could look down on the workmen’s compound in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

That job that they are undertaking in the Rue Cambernon is taking its time. They must be doing a thorough job on it, whatever it is. I shall have to go down that way on Wednesday on my way to the physiotherapist in order to have a closer look.

Back here I made myself a coffee and carried on with my journal entry from Saturday and now that’s on line. There are just a huge pile of photos now to edit, and I’ll make a start on that tomorrow.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice, and it was delicious as usual. And now I’m off to bed. I’ve had a long day and I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to be at my best. But no matter what I do, there’s little hope of that.

Friday 29th October 2021 – THAT WAS PROBABLY …

… the worst night of them all so far last night. And four files on the dictaphone tells you what kind of restless night it was.

There was a pile of dirty washing-up that needed doing. Some had already been done so my brother and I cracked on and finished it all. After we’d had something to eat there was washing up to be done and I didn’t bother to wash up but he insisted that we wash up. I refused. I only wash up once per day and that was before going to bed. This argument rolled on so I went outside. I frightened one of the seamen sitting on the steps of our ship who was looking at another ship close by. I asked him what was going on and he said “nothing in particular” and wandered off. There were 3 or 4 ships in the immediate vicinity, one a ship owned by Disney that didn’t have any superstructure like a barge. The people on it were speaking Russian so I spoke to them in Russian – “hello, how are you? My name is Eric” in Russian and they were overwhelmed that someone was speaking Russian to them and they actually came over on board our ship to talk to me. And it’s been a long time since I’ve spoken any Russian. I learnt some basic Russian from a local woman in Nantwich before I started taking coaches behind the Iron Curtain and I’ve probably forgotten most of it now.

3 of us, a guy a girl and I had to check out a disturbance on a common somewhere. There was no-one around but interviewing the locals it appeared that foreigners gathered there later on in the evening. The guy with me who was in charge told the girl to stay there on her own and make a report which I thought was strange. I expected one of the others of us to stay as well and pretend to be a courting couple. A single girl on her own would be rather prominent out there. Anyway, that was what we agreed to do and the 2 or us went away. We ended up being stuck in this huge queue of pedestrians at a roundabout. It seemed that it was Derby County’s birthday and there was some kind of celebration. We ended up in this charity shop and they had some Derby County ski suits that were really nice. I was tempted to buy one but I didn’t like the idea of carrying something with “Derby County” on it so I didn’t. We had a good look around but couldn’t see anything else. We went out and decided to go for a meal. I reminded him about this woman and said “when we go to pick her up we’d better take her a cup of coffee”. He replied “yes. hang on here while I go and fetch one”. I said “it won’t be much use now. She’ll need it at 8 o’clock when we finish. She’ll be freezing”. He said “yes” and came out with some other stuff that I can’t remember now.

Later on Liz had bought some furniture for her new house, a bed. The people in IKEA were showing up how it went together to demonstrate what it looked like. She quite liked it and said that she’d take it but it turned out that there was a 6-month delay for delivery. I said “stick it in Caliburn and we’ll take it round in Caliburn”. She said that there was no-one there to assemble it, Terry had gone to work. I replied “I’ll assemble it”. She said “you have other things to do, haven’t you?”. I replied “I can spare an hour or two to do this bed”. They couldn’t find the right nails or screws ro go with this package. I pointed out various piles of screws and nails on the floor by the bed and this was starting to become really complicated. it turned out that she had gone in to buy a bed for one of her grandchildren because the two of them were sharing a bed and it was most uncomfortable for them. She wanted to get them separate beds and saw this while she was there.

Finally, I’d made myself some muesli and was looking for a container to put it in now that I’d come back from being away. I had plenty of flower pots but couldn’t find them all. Eventually I found a large one so I took a bucket of water and washed it out and had it looking fairly clean. Then I don’t know why I did this but I tipped the bucket of water into the flower pot. Of course the water went everywhere, all over the table, all over the carpet so I had to pour the water back into the bucket quickly. My brother said that we ought to find a mop. As we were going through into the back room to fetch a mop the police were in there. They’d been looking for someone for ages who had disappeared and were wondering where he’d got to. It turned out that he was in the next room. He’d killed himself. They were puzzled because the electrode that he had used to earth himself when he gave himself an electric shock wasn’t actually attached to anything metal, just to a wooden chair leg so that wouldn’t in theory have killed him so they began to wonder about his wife’s involvement with this.

But seriously, how come my brother has been playing such a large part in my voyages for the last few days or so? What’s been bringing him into the equation?

As a consequence of all of this it was a weary crawl out from under the covers this morning when the alarm went off. Mind you, I don’t suppose that it helped very much

After the medication and checking my mails I made a start on continuing with the blog entries but I didn’t get very far.

Not long after I’d started I had a message – do I have any Greenlandic music?

Of course, I have a couple of rock albums from Greenlandic rock groups who sing in Inuktitut but that wasn’t what was required. Did I have any Greenlandic music that would do as the background for a radio programme?

“Not to hand at this very moment” was the obvious answer but I do have two Greenlandic friends, one of Danish extraction and the other a young Inuit girl who are musicians so most of the morning was spent talking to them.

Nive told me that I could help myself to anything of hers (of which there is quite a lot) that I could find in the public media and Heidinnguaq, the young girl whom I met in Uummannaq sent me a couple of songs that she wrote which she plays guitar and sings.

And so what was left of the morning was spent chasing down the various files, editing them and remixing them suitably for the radio shows.

While I was on a roll, as the saying goes, I contacted the son of the guy (now unfortunately no longer with us) who wrote “Grasshopper” – the song that I mentioned yesterday – to see whether his father ever left his notes about his song construction. We had quite a chat for a while but to no avail – there were no notes left behind.

And so, there’s no time like the present and I contacted my musical friend who lives in Germany and sent him the link to the song. He’s going to score it for me. I’ve worked out the melody on the bass guitar but many of the chords bear absolutely no resemblance to the root notes, so they must all be derivatives and that’s way beyong my capabilities.

To take me up to lunch, the nurse came round and injected me with my third vaccination for Covid. Now I’m completely up-to-date with my injections and I have a very sore right arm.

After lunch I had a ‘phone call from the guy who co-ordinates the radio. What am I doing on the 12th November?

Apparently there’s a big meeting taking place to formally open the “Greenland Week” here but the girl who has chosen to make up a radio programme of the event can’t make it. Seeing as I know Uummannaq and the people there so well, could I replace her?

Well, of course I will actually, but really I can’t find the time to do my own stuff, never mind anyone else’s.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021After all of that I went out for my afternoon walk.

Quite a few people down on the beach this afternoon, although nobody brave enough to tackle the water.

And that’s not really a surprise because the weather has now turned and there’s a strong with blowing in its usual direction from the North-West. So the fact that it’s reasonably warm for the time of year counts for nothing really in this.

storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As usual while I’m out looking down on the beach, I have one eye roving about offshore to see what I can catch.

And what caught my eye was this storm raging away out in the bay. Somewhere out there is the island of Jersey but you can’t hope to see it because of the intense rainstorm that is falling down right now.

It’s not any surprise that you can’t see any boats out there in that direction. having seen that huge storm approaching, they have presumably run for cover and I for one don’t blame them.

storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021A little further along the coast I came to where I could see over the Ile de Chausey.

In actual fact, where I couldn’t see over the Ile de Chausey very much because there was a massive rainstorm over there too.

This one was far more ominous because the wind was blowing it in my direction and I began to regret that I had come out without a jacket because I had a feeling that in a couple of minutes time I would be right underneath all of that.

people in zodiacs baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021as I walked further on along the path, I did eventually come across some maritime activity.

It looks to me as if it’s a couple of zodiacs in which these people are standing, and the marker buoy behind them is not one that would relate to a lobster pot or anything like that.

The conclusion that I drew from this is that they are frogmen – or maybe I should be saying “frogpersons” these days – going for a practice over the side. We’ve seen quite a few of them in the past just offshore.

yacht rainstorm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I walked down across the carpark to the end of the headland the storm arrived and I got the lot, just as I predicted.

And as it happens, I wasn’t the only one who was having a great deal of difficulty with the weather. There was a yacht out here in the bay battling had to overcome the elements and making rather … errr … heavy weather of it.

The rainstorm was absolutely wicked so I had no intention whatever of hanging around in it seeing how things would develop.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021By now, the wind had increased considerably in speed and velocity and I was expecting to see the results of it on the sea wall.

I’d seen a large wave crash into the wall and sent spray high into the air so I prepared for another.

However it’s usually every seventh wave that is the most powerful but by the time that I’d seen the second or third I was drenched to the skin and the camera was soaking wet so I took a photo of whatever I could get and cleared off.

It reminded me of the time that Kenneth Williams appeared in Bamber Gascoigne’s farce “Share My Lettuce”. He came on stage and described how he disguised himself as a tree in order to study more closely the birds that might nest in it. And he finished his description with “and then I unfurl an umbrella and hold it up over my head”
The narrator said “but the birds will see through your disguise, won’t they, and stay away?”
“Maybe they will” replied Kenneth Williams “but I’m not getting wet for a load of bleeding birds!”.

crane unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Had the weather been any better I would almost certainly have gone for a closer look at this.

There’s a large lorry with something heavy on the trailer, and a very large mobile crane either lifting it off or putting it back on. It’s a shame that right now it’s raining so heavily that I can’t see anything at all. Not even after enhancing the image.

Back at home I made myself a coffee and then dashed through the photographs. I needed a quick, early tea because there’s football on this evening. I ended up with baked potatoes, baked beans and a vegan burger.

You have to feel sorry for Aberystwyth Town though. Second from bottom in the JD Cymru League but against the team that was second in the table, Y Fflint, nothing seemed to go right.

When they remembered to keep the ball on the ground instead of long, aimless punts upfield, they played some really nice, attractive football that kept them going forward despite all of the pressure that they were under.

They did however ahve to misfortune to find Y Flint’s goalkeeper Jon Rushton in excellent form and he made half a dozen top-drawer saves to keep his team out of danger.

Y Fflint scored twice through one of my favourite players, Jack Kenny, who would be a top-class player if he would just learn to control his temper, booked yet again for yet another off-the-ball incident when there was really no need except his own misplaced pride.

Aberystwyth did score a goal – a marvellous goal worthy of any “goal of the month” competition when Rushton punched a ball out upfield and Louis Bradford lobbed it back into goal right over everyone else’s head. have a look at about ABOUT 1:41:25 ONWARDS OF THIS VIDEO

Not long after the football finished and I was writing up my notes, I fell asleep at my desk. I hauled myself off to bed instead, reckoning that I’ll finish my notes tomorrow.

Goodnight.

Thursday 28th October 2021 – NOW HERE’S A THING

man catching fish beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was out on my afternoon walk today I saw this guy bending down at the water’s edge with something in his had.

At first I thought that it was a carrier bag of some description but then I asked myself “is that a fish?”. Ohh no, it can’t possibly be a fist at all.

But when I examined the photograph more closely and enlarged and enhanced it somewhat, I could see that right in front of where he’s standing is a fishing net stretching out into the water.

And so the conclusion is that at long last we have actually seen a fisherman catch something out there and I bet that he’ll enjoy that with his cheap for his tea tonight.

Mind you, catching something with a net is one thing – catching it with a rod and line is something else completely and I’m not going to be really satisfied until I see a fisherman pull a fish out using his tackle and equipment.

Another thing about which I’m not satisfied is my sleeping just now. Last night was slightly better than the previous night or two but still not what I would call satisfactory. In fact, far from it.

And one thing that I never understand at all is that I’m lying in bed tossing and turning and not sleeping all the way up to 5 minutes before the alarm goes off – and then I’m out like a light for all of 5 minutes until I’m awoken.

That’s exactly how it was yet again today and once more, i wouldn’t actually call anything like “athletic” the way that I left my stinking pit.

There was still time enough to go off on my travels during the night I was with girl whom I’d met in Brussels for some part of the night. We were gradually working on our friendship and relationship. I was hoping that this time I might be able to make some kind of couple with her but it didn’t quite work out. And it didn’t work out in real life either, much to my dismay. I always seemed to find myself tangled up with these extremely religious people with high principles

Later on there was a game going on, something like “Just A Minute” where they were talking about repairing coaches. The girl sitting next to me used the term “panel beater” to which everyone objected. I told her that you could go into almost any garage in the country and find someone who would be described as a panel beater, painter and sprayer. She used this as the basis for her argument. In the end the presenter put it to the audience but before they could cheer or booh I awoke.

Later on, I’d gone round to see my friend near Munich. I’d bought myself a coffee from a van on the side of the road and gone to see him. We started to chat. I invited to buy him coffee so he ordered two coffees from this van. Then he disappeared. When he came back out of his house I asked him “have you drunk your coffee?”. He replied “yes, but yours is still over there on the van”. I had to go back to the van and pick mine up. There was something to do with a PA system that I’d seen for sale and I was wondering whether to buy it. he was going on about how nice a stack it was. Even though they were different components it all looked quite nice as a stack.

After breakfast I made a start on updating some of the journal entries from earlier in the month. That meant that the first task was the dictaphone. To my surprise several entries were missing. I’d copied them onto the portable laptop while I was away and instead of filing them to store afterwards, I must have deleted them.

There’s always some complication, isn’t there?

So firing up the laptop I found the files and I was in business. While I was at it, I also found another file or two that for some reason or other hadn’t been copied over when I returned home.

So now the first few days are updated, but this is going to be a long job. For example, only 29 other dictaphone files to deal with.

That took me up to lunch and then afterwards I had some post to be doing. I’ve received a few mails about my radio project and they needed answering pretty quickly. It looks as if I’ve been roped in for another event as well.

But turning my attention to more mundane matters, I really do wonder how I’ve managed to get to where I am today with some of the things that I’ve been doing.

Yesterday, the battery in the NIKON D3000 was flat yesterday, as I found out when I went to take a photo. Anyway, that went on charge when I returned home.

Today, just before I went out, I checked the battery in the NIKON D500 to be on the safe side. That was almost flat too and I wished that I’d checked it earlier so it would have had time to charge up.

And then I realised that a few months ago I’d bought two spare batteries for it. Only cheap low-capacity batteries but why they were important was that they came with a free charger that works off a USB port. I’m collecting USB items, like for example the AA/AAA battery charger that I found because they are lighter, easier to carry and just need the one cable.

So with one of the batteries now in the camera, I had another brainwave.

In the drawer is the old NIKON D5000 camera that worked for years until I dropped it, cracked the case and water ingressed and ruined the PCB.

That takes the same battery is the Nikon D3000 and the battery is still in it so I extracted that and put it on charge. We’ll see if it holds a charge and if so we’ll add it to the pile.

people on beach swimmer rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021So somewhat later than intended I went out for my afternoon walk.

And this afternoon the beach was comparatively crowded. It was a really warm, sunny day for the end of October and with it being the school holidays, everyone had gone down to make the most of it.

So much so that on the extreme left-hand edge of the photo you’ll actually see someone swimming in the sea. I don’t envy him one little bit. If the water isn’t at 37°C I’m not going in it.

The path was crowded with people this afternoon as you might expect so I had to fight my way through the crowds towards the lighthouse.

waves on sea wall baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I came out of the shelter of the College Malraux I was hit by the wind coming from a very unusual quarter – the south-west.

It was quite strong as well so I was expecting to see some excitement at the sea wall by the harbour as the waves will be picked up by the wind and hurled into the wall.

But this turned out to be something of a damp squib, didn’t it? The waves weren’t anything at all to write home about. Something of a major disappointment in fact. This was the best of a pretty poor lot of waves coming in on the wind

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was on my way along the path on top of the cliffs I noticed that the portable boat lift had been moved from its habitual resting place.

Thinking that it might be engaged in some kind of activity I hurried along to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what it it was up to.

To my surprise, I saw that it had been driven into the centre of the chantier naval, parked up and left there. There weren’t any boats about here at all.

All of this looks pretty weird to me. I’ve no idea what is happening with this. I certainly wouldn’t want to leave the boat lift here overnight where some motorist might drive into it in the dark.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Over at the ferry terminal, the two Joly France ferries are tied up there.

On the left is the newer one of the two with the smaller upper deck superstructure and the windows in “portrait” format. The older one of the right has the larger upper deck superstructure and windows in “Landscape” format.

And for once, the crane is folded up correctly.

Back at the apartment I made myself a coffee and had more things to do, like splitting a couple of albums into their constituent tracks. And that wasn’t easy for one of them as the tracks ran into each other and I’ll have to think about this carefully.

Tea was the last of the aubergine and kidney bean whatsit, and now that my journal entry is done, I’m off to bed.

But before I go, I’m going to have to try my best not to be so cynical.

Some books that belonged to my grandparents and great grandparents have been discovered and apparently (not that I knew until long after the event) there was a “family meeting” (to which I wasn’t, of course, invited). It was “agreed” that a certain member of the family should take them in and care for them.

My immediate response was “well, that’s the last that anyone will ever see of them”. I really must stop being so cynical.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 26th October 2021 – I’VE NOT HAD …

… a very good day today. I mentioned yesterday that I felt that I was feeling as if I was having something of a relapse and today I think that it caught up with me today.

Last night I was in bed fairly early and I had a very sound sleep – for a couple of hours, and then it all went wrong. Once I’d awoken, I found it very difficult to go back to sleep. That is – until about 5 minutes before the alarm went off, as you might expect.

During the night I’d been on my travels too. I’d been out for a meal with my niece, her husband and one or two of her daughters. We got to this Indian restaurant but I had to nip off and do something. There was an engine in the hallway in Vine Tree Avenue and I wanted to take it up to my bedroom to work on it but it was leaking oil everywhere so I had to wash my way behind it, clean up all of the oil and everything, stack it on newspapers and so on. Then I could go back to this meal. They already had their food and were well on their way through it so I apologised. My niece said something like “I don’t think I like you any more Eric”. It really was embarrassing because I didn’t have any meal at all in this restaurant.

Later on I had my brother with me again in a car. We were going somewhere to meet a girl. We went along Bradfield Road and there was a garage on the right-hand side and there was one further on the left over the railway bridge. I asked if the one further on the left was open. Everyone seemed to think that it was so I went there but it was closed so I had to go back to the other one. I put enough fuel in to get us down towards Middlewich and then drove off. For some reason I had to go back and get more fuel. I went back but this time that garage was open. We fought our way in through the crowds to fuel up. There was a girl there who worked in the petrol station handing out 4x£1:00 notes to everyone fuelling up. I put in some fuel and grabbed my money. My brother grabbed some money too and in fact grabbed some more of another girl. We drove out and the subject came round to this girl. I knew who she was but I had to find out where she was. I had to look on this chart and everything. Eventually I found her. She was 56C. Then I thought “I’d better go back and get more petrol”. I asked my brother “are you going to come back with me?”. he said “no”, got off and went into a shop. I turned round ready to go back and get more petrol and hopefully get more money as well.

After the medication, I couldn’t find the energy to start work and ended up sitting here vegetation for several hours while I tried to summon up something. Eventually I ended up wading through a pile of photographs, sorting out the duplicates and deleting the unwanted files.

After lunch, feeling a little (if not very much) better, I scanned all of the documents that I’d received from the cardiologist as well as the receipts that related to my visits yesterday. I don’t want to end up like I did the other day with 18 months worth of receipts, some of them missed and some of them out of time.

Once that was done I made a series of ‘phone calls to Leuven. After being passed from pillar to post, I eventually, after much binding in the marsh, ended up with the secretary of the Cardiology Unit.

She told me to write a mail with all of my details and a resumé of my case, and attach the photocopies of the report that I had received, and that took much longer than it ought to have done as well.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021All of that took me up to the time to go for my afternoon walk.

First port of call is the wall at the end of the car park where I can peer over and down onto the beach to see what was happening.

There were plenty of people wandering around on the path but for some reason or other, the beach was strangely deserted. All I could see was this guy standing on a sandbank at the water’s edge.

There was what looked like a pile of clothes or a bag or something on the rocks nearby, but I couldn’t tell if they belonged to him. I couldn’t see anyone swimming in the water.

trawlers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Looking out to sea, I couldn’t see any boats of any description with my naked eye but there was a glint of sunlight on glass somewhere out there.

Consequently I took a speculative photograph with the idea of enlarging it and enhancing it when I returned home so that I could see if there was anything exciting happening out there.

In fact, it turns out that there were half a dozen fishing boats in that sector of the bay. With so many boats having been refused (for the moment) the right to fish in the Jersey sector of the Bay, they are exploring other avenues.

fishing boats ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Such as just offshore at the Ile de Chausey.

In all of the time that we have been living here, we’ve never seen fishing boats operating that close to the islands.

The issue about fishing permits is that the Jersey authorities are insisting on proof that the boats have previously fished in the bay, but many of the smaller boats are not equipped with radar or AIS equipment and so don’t have print-outs to show where they have been fishing.

Incidentally, this dispute has nothing to do with Brexit. The Channel islands, despite being a British territory, were never part of the European Union and fishing in the bay was regulated by Normandy, Brittany and the Channel Islands under the Treaty of the Bay of Granville 1834.

The Channel Islands have simply leapt on board the Brexit bandwagon to use it as an excuse to unilaterally revoke the Treaty and keep the fishing grounds to themselves.

But as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed …. the Channel Islanders can catch as much fish as they like but it all counts for nothing if they are prevented by the French fishermen from landing their catch at a French fish market.

Since this situation has escalated, I’ve not seen a single Channel Island trawler permitted to unload here.

35ma aeroplane place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was admiring the maritime activity, an aeroplane came flying by overhead.

It’s another one of these light aeroplanes with a registration number that is out of the run of the normal series.

We’ve seen this one on several occasions in the past. She’s registered as 35MA but apart from that, I’ve never been able to find out any more about her.

Now that all of that is out of the way, I could head off down the path towards the lighthouse.

sunset on water baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021another thing that I mentioned yesterday was that now that the sun is lower in the sky, we’ll be having some interesting effects out in the bay.

And sure enough, this afternoon we have another really good one. It’s not quite up to the TORA TORA TORA standard as far as the rays from the sunshine through gaps in the clouds go, but the reflection of the sun on the water is really impressive.

What was sad about this was that there was no-one else watching it. No-one was sitting on the bench down by the cabanon vauban this afternoon enjoying the view, and no fishermen out on the rocks either.

chausiaise joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Walking along the path on top of the cliffs, I came to the viewpoint overlooking the tidal harbour.

Over by the ferry terminal we have one of the Joly France ferries, the newer one if I’m not mistaken. Behind her is Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs out to the islands. She was parked at the loading bay under the crane when we last saw her.

The chantier naval was strangely deserted today. Since Yann Frederic went back into the water, no-one has come into take her place. It’s quite rare these days to see the yard looking so empty.

workmen's compound boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further along on my walk I could have a good look down into the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

The work must still be proceeding in the Rue Cambernon because the workmen’s compound down there hasn’t yet been dismantled and there seems to be plenty of activity with all of the signage, piles of sand and gravel and all of the machinery.

Back at the apartment I found that the postman had left me some presents so I brought them up here and made myself a coffee.

Having drunk the coffee I made a start on sorting out the paperwork for filing but regrettably I fell asleep. I thought that I’d gone through all of that but Sunday and today have been a big disappointment in that respect.

Tea was taco rolls with the remainder of yesterday’s stuffing lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans and then I came here to type up my notes.

Right now I’m absolutely exhausted and I’ve no idea why. It’s like the bad old days of a couple of months ago that I thought that I’d put behind me. I’m going to go to bed in the hope that I’ll sleep it off and have a better day tomorrow.

Friday 22nd October 2021 – WE’VE HAD AN …

F-PAIA - Henri Nicollier HN 700 Ménestrel II pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021… aerial day today. After having gone several weeks without being overflown, I seem to have hit the jackpot today.

The first aeroplane to oveflow me as I passed along the path on the south side of the headland was this one, registration number F-PAIA.

She’s a French Henri Nicollier HN 700 Ménestrel II aeroplane, the “II” representing the fact that she’s a 2-seater craft. They are designed for home building and this particular model was first built in 1969. She’s powered by a 60 kW (80 hp) Limbach L2000 flat four engine.

yellow powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The second object to flying by overhead is one of our old favourites.

As I was perched with my elbows on the wall taking a photo of the port area I could hear the familiar sound heading my way from the direction of the Mont St Michel and the only thing that I needed to know was its colour.

So today we have the yellow powered hang-glider going past overhead on its way presumably to the airport with a passenger on board. It’s nice to see a familiar face after all of this time.

hang glider plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The French have a saying “jamais deux sans trois” – “never two without a third” – and sure enough, there was something else in the air heading my way as I headed for home.

This time it’s one of the Birdmen of Alcatraz aboard his Nazgul going out for a quiet flap in the afternoon’s wind. Although the storms of earlier in the week have died out, it’s still fairly windy outside.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I’d had another absolutely dreadful night. And this time I suppose that I ought to blame all of the coffee that I drank while I was out radioing yesterday evening. It doesn’t usually affect me that much from a “lack of sleep” point of view but it must have done last night.

However I forgot to set the alarm this morning so it was 08:05 when I finally crawled out of bed and the extra time in bed must have done me some good.

After the medication I had to check the mails and messages and that took some time because there is plenty going on right now and there were several mails to deal with. And then I had to attend to yesterday’s journal entry. It was 23:30 when I came home yesterday evening and that’s far too late to start work.

My work was interrupted by a phone call. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I wrote a couple of blistering letters to a couple of people a couple of weeks ago. It’s now provoked a response and I have … errr … accepted a cash settlement.

But then I noticed that the glass bottle that exploded several months ago has cracked the screen on the TV. Not that I use it very much at all but it just goes to show that what comes in with one hand goes out with the other.

More stuff on the dictaphone too. Some bossy woman was organising a party. Crowds of people were there and a lot of my family were there. We were waiting and waiting, then the person with me said that we had to go as we couldn’t wait any longer. Regrettably I went to get myself ready but just then everyone turned up. People came in and more people came in. Everyone started to talk to me and mentioned that they would come along to my wedding in the morning. I thought that at this rate it was so late this this wedding was just not going to take place, is it? A baby had disappeared a couple of years ago and there was something else that went missing and we had to look in the barn for it. The barn was even worse and more untidy than mine. We entered the barn and started to look for it and found this mummified cadaver of this baby while we were doing it. There was something about the clothes that it was wearing. What we found with this baby was that it seemed to be wearing different clothes so we wondered if in fact it was the same baby or a different one. Everyone came to see how we were and some woman, this bossy woman came in and started talking to me. I said to her “do you know that we’ve found this baby?”. She said “really?”. I said “yes. You’re standing on it” which she actually was. She just went “eeww! I hate babies” and going on like that, not really concerned by the fact that this was a dead baby at all.

And later we were somewhere watching Boris Johnson or Donald Trump, I can’t remember now, ruining a grant. When I looked round, the person standing next to me shaking her head was Angela Merkel. We had a bit of a discussion about it but I can’t remember anything else now.

After lunch, I had my medical expense claims to deal with and you have no idea how many there were. In fact by the time I knocked off I still hadn’t done them all. But I’m going to have to finish them tomorrow because a couple will be timed out if I’m not careful.

And look for the expense receipts from October last year that seem to have gone missing.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021This afternoon I was only a few minutes late in going for my afternoon walk around the headland.

First stop is of course the wall at the end of the car park so off I trotted to peer over and down onto the beach.

Right now there is plenty of beach to be on, with the tide being so far out. And there were quite a few people taking advantage of it as well.

It’s also interesting to see that many of the rough ripples that were created by the storm earlier in the week have been smoothed out by the subsequent action of the tide.

peche à pied beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There wasn’t anything at all going on out at sea – not a single boat anywhere.

However there was something moving about on a pretty inaccessible part of the beach amongst all of the rocks so I took a photo.

What we have here is someone who has been at the pèche à pied, armed with a bucket and a scratching stick. And by the look of his bucket from here, I would say that he has a fair old load of shellfish in there.

That’s what they call “flexing your mussels”.

cancale brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There ere only half a dozen other people out there on the path this afternoon so I had a comfortable walk along the path to the end of the headland.

The sun is sinking quite low now over there to the west and the town of Cancale was looking really splendid silhouetted against the sky and the setting sun.

One of these days, when I can summon up the courage, I’ll carry on with my task of writing about my adventures on board the Spirit of Conrad while we were over there and I’ll show you all of the photos so that you can see exactly what it is that you are supposed to be able to see from here.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was at the end of the headland, I looked down onto the bench by the Cabanon Vauban

There wasn’t anyone sitting there this afternoon but there were a couple of people scrambling around on the rocks with their equipment for the pèche à pied.

Having seen the ripples on the beach the other day, what I imagine is going through the minds of these people is that all kinds of shellfish has been torn from the sea bed and thrown up onto the rocks so they are going about scavening to see what they can find for themselves.

storm damaged tree boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And although I don’t know for sure, I suspect that this is storm damage just here.

It looks as if the wind has torn a couple of branches off the tree here at the side of the Boulevard Vaufleury and they have been busy cutting it up ready to take it away.

had this been the Auvergne, there would have been none of that wood left there by now. It would have all disappeared off into someone’s woodshed drying out ready for next winter.

Wood is a pretty valuable commodity over there and people seize every possible opportunity to lay their hands on as much as they can obtain.

trawler chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021So I continued on my walk around the headland and down the path towards the port.

And there has been a change of occupant in the chantier naval since we drove past there yesterday. The big yacht and the Government boat (well, I assume that it’s a Government boat) Les Epiettes have gone back into the water.

Instead, there’s a trawler come in to take its turn in there. Although I can’t see her name anywhere, I can tell from her registration number that she’s the Yann Frederic and she sails out of this port.

We’ve seen her before – about 6 weeks ago when she spent a week or so in the chantier naval.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was here I had a look over at the ferry terminal to see what was happening.

There’s just one boat in there this afternoon – one of the Joly France ferries that go over to the Ile de Chausey. We can see that there’s no step in the stern so she would be the older one of the two boats.

And for once, they have folded up the crane correctly, just as it’s supposed to. And I suppose that the hydraulic seals are very grateful for the rest that they are having right now.

jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Just one more item caught my attention while I was out this afternoon.

We’ve talked a lot about boats being parked in the NAABSA (Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground) position, and here’s one in a position that we don’t see very often.

She’s Jade III and why she’s parked there I don’t know. usually it’s to carry out some simple repair or to empty some of the contents out of the boat into a waiting vehicle.

But what I’m imagining is the strength that must be in those ropes to hold her there like that. It’s a good job that she’s a catamaran.

Back here at the apartment I had a coffee and carried on with my medical expenses until teatime.

There was some stuffing left over from my stuffed peppers earlier in the week so I finished that off with some taco rolls. And now I’m listening to MY LIVE MUSIC FESTIVAL.

Don’t worry if you missed it, by the way. It’s repeated on Saturday night too – 21:00 CET, 20:00 UK Time and 15:00 Toronto time. Enjoy!