Tag Archives: baked potatoes

Saturday 13th May 2023 – I WAS RIGHT …

… when I said that I couldn’t go to bed last night. My head was still spinning and everything was still churning up inside and it was 02:30 in the morning and I still hadn’t gone to bed.

At some point afterwards I finally did manage to stagger into bed and then it took me an age to drop off.

Surprisingly, when the alarm went off at 07:00 (because I forgot to switch it off) I awoke quite rapidly and although I turned over to go back to sleep, it was pretty pointless and it wasn’t long before I arose from the dead.

Had I remembered to switch on the immersion heater yesterday I would have had a shower but as I forgot I had to content myself with a cold water wash.

Despite everything else that was going on I decided that I’d go to the shops to pick up some stuff even though I didn’t need all that much. I couldn’t face Noz though so I went straight to LeClerc.

Not that I needed much but they had a sale of personal cleaning stuff like shampoo, shower gel and the like when they do ridiculous discounts for bulk, so I bought a pile of stuff to keep in the bathroom cabinet for whenever, totally forgetting that I did that last time that they had a sale and the stuff is still in the bathroom cupboard as yet untouched.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … two things happen to you when you reach my age

  1. you forget absolutely everything
  2. I can’t remember what the second thing is

One thing that I did remember was the fresh ginger. I’ll now have to find a good recipe for honey and ginger biscuits.

Back here I had a coffee and some cheese on toast, and then came in here to recover from my exertions. To my surprise (and yours too) I managed to keep on going all day without crashing out despite the rather short night, although I didn’t actually accomplish anything.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too, and that was surprising. I was living with someone but I can’t remember who it was. She’d had some friends round. I had to go out to do something and when I came back, fed up, cold and miserable and I thought that I’d go and have a bath to warm myself up properly. When I arrived there her friend was having a bath. She turned to me and said “so-and-so is having a bath now. You’ll just have to wait”. She turned round and walked away. I was already in a foul humour. There was a huge jar of catering-size mayonnaise on a table on the edge of a balcony. I kicked the jar off the table. it rolled onto the floor, rolled over the edge of the balcony onto the floor downstairs with a great big “smash” and spread mayonnaise everywhere. I remember thinking “that’s rather too bad, isn’t it?” and went to find some more stuff to kick over and generally disturb. There was much more to it than that but I can’t remember now.

Rosemary telephoned me later on and we had another one of our marathon chats. She’s having a few issues right now and although she knows how to resolve them, it’s a case of talking them through with people so that thoughts can be marshalled in the correct order

This led me nicely up to the football this evening. Haverfordwest County were playing Y Drenewydd for the final European place. In a match of few chances the score after 120 minutes was 1-1. This led to a penalty shootout and Haverfordwest’s New Zealand international keeper Zak Turner did it again, saving a shot from Aron Williams to put them through.

The first time that Haverfordwest have been in Europe since 2004 and it’s nice to see that former Hull City coach Tony Pennock has managed to accomplish something for the club after many years out in the wilderness.

Tea was a burger on a bap with a baked potato and salad. It was quite a nice tea too. Those vegan burgers that I found in Avranches a couple of weeks ago are quite nice.

Tomorrow I might even feel like doing some work. I’m always quite exhausted after a visit to the hospital at Leuven and it does take a while for me to recover.

However, my posting that “I couldn’t even run for my life” yesterday has brought forth a couple of invitations from some of my friends to go with them on another expedition or two to the High Arctic.

Don’t be misled by this. It’s not a gesture of solidarity. It relates to something else completely.

It’s a complete fallacy that in order to escape an attack by a polar bear, you have to be able to run faster than the bear. In fact, all you need to do is to run faster than one other person in your party. And I suppose that the thinking behind Mike’s and Jerry’s invitations is that if I go with them they will all be quite safe.

Saturday 4th March 2023 – MY CURRIED LEEK …

… and potato soup today was delicious.

In a large saucepan I fried an onion in olive oil until it was almost black, and then tipped in some minced garlic, two chopped small leeks, four small diced potatoes, half a teaspoon of nutmeg, half a teaspoon of cumin and a good dollop of ground black pepper, and fried all of that.

Then I covered it with water, added a vegetable stock cube and left it to simmer for twenty minutes.

Finally, I added some soya cream and whizzed it all up into a purée.

Totally delicious and furthermore, there’s enough left over for tomorrow lunchtime too. I’ll have it with the other half of the crusty baguette that I bought this morning.

While we’re on the subject of this morning … “well, one of us is” – ed … this was another morning when I arose from the dead before the alarm went off. I forget how many consecutive days this is now.

Mind you, it was another miserable night when I had a lot of difficulty going to sleep. My sleeping issues are really causing me a few problems right now.

But anyway, after my medication I went off to the shops – LIDL in fact this morning – and did a rather complete shop. It worked out to be quite expensive too, and for no good reason. There wasn’t much that I bought that wasn’t on the “usual” list.

Back here I made myself a nice strong coffee and then made my soup. Delicious as I said previously.

That gave me time to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. There was quite a lot of stuff on there going back to when I was in Belgium just now and one of these days I’ll transcribe it. But last night there was something going on about some photos. It led to doing some green-screening overlaps with a girl of about 5 years old

Later on I was watching the football again tonight while I was asleep. The Man of the Match was awarded to a player who didn’t even play in the real game.

Finally, we’d demolished part of an old building and had gone to rebuild it. We suddenly realised that certain key elements were missing. We had to scavenge through the pile of rubbish to try to find these missing bricks and special tiles etc. We found 1 or 2 but a couple were eluding us and this pile was enormous. There was a small girl there jumping up and down insisting that something particular was exactly what we wanted. We couldn’t understand what it was she was meaning. We were actually looking for some roofing tiles that had on them pictures of girls who had been martyrs for some reason or other and been sanctified. This girl insisted so much that in the end someone picked up this tube and unrolled it. Sure enough it was a picture of a girl on a lead tile. It wasn’t the girl we wanted but it was from the right place and the right era so the one that we wanted had to be somewhere in the immediate vicinity unless we’d scattered them much further than we thought. We had to carry on searching. It was strange that she had tried to insist that where we were was what we wanted yet for some reason or other we hadn’t paid any attention at all and she turned out to be although not right, pretty close to it.

That wasn’t all that went on last night either, but whatever else there is, you really don’t want to hear it. Not if you’re eating a meal right now.

And we’re on the subject of football … “well, one of us is” – ed … there was more football on the internet after lunch. The other Welsh Cup semi-final between TNS and Penybont.

This was actually a better game than last nights, with much more skill and not quite as much thunder. TNS were always on top in this game but Penybont kept them at bay for most of the game. However two moments of madness leading to two defensive errors in the Penybont defence just before half-time and that was regrettably that.

It’s hard enough to get a result against TNS as it is, without handing them two goals on a plate.

Later on this afternoon I went back out to Caliburn to bring in some more shopping. I tried an experiment by going out with just one crutch instead of two.

It was easier to carry the shopping but I was quite unsteady on my feet and I can understand now why the physiotherapist insists on me using both crutches. However I had been moving around so much easier this morning after all of the exercise I’ve just had, so it was worthwhile having a try.

Tea tonight was a breaded quorn fillet with a delicious salad and some potatoes baked in the air fryer. And once again the air fryer came up with the goods. I’m now toying with the idea of trying to find some kind of container that I can put into is to that I can roast vegetables in there. I’m really getting the hang of this, I think.

As I said a few days ago, I’m determined to have a try at baking a cake in there too when I can find a cake mould that will fit in there. Exciting times ahead, I reckon.

But that’s for later. Tonight I’m off to bed and hoping for a good lie-in to recover from my exertions. There’s some pizza dough to make tomorrow as well as some fruit buns for the rest of the week. And so it’s not going to be a relaxing day tomorrow. I’ll be busy.

Still, high time I did some work.

Saturday 18th February 2023 – THAT FOOTBALL MATCH …

… this afternoon was actually quite entertaining.

Considering that the teams were second-bottom and third-bottom of the table, it was quite a skilful match, all thing being considered and I quite enjoyed watching it.

But you can see why Aberystwyth are struggling down in the basement. Leading 3-1 going into injury time, Pontypridd pulled two late goals back to equalise by the final whistle.

As well as that, midway through the first half they had two gilt-edged chances within a minute to score but one shot went wide and the other one went over the bar. And the first goal that they conceded was the result of a careless error.

It’s stupid things like this that has dragged them into the relegation maelstrom and unless they stiffen up at the back and cut out the silly errors they will be out of the league for the first time since the league was formed in 1992 and that will leave Y Drenewydd as the only ever-present.

While we’re on the subject of dragging … “well, one of us is” – ed … I had a hard time dragging myself out of bed this morning. I’d had a pretty rough night yet again, taking hours to go off to sleep and then going off for quite a few travels that must have disturbed my sleep. I started off at some kind of farm or somewhere like thatg with someone who may have been my father. Someone bought a pile of shopping which had been stacked up outside. We were having to wait until about 20:00 when something would happen or someone would come so we were loitering around outside. I was trying hard to find something to do. In the end I went to put the shopping away but found that my father had beaten me to it. Then I thought that I’d go into the washhouse and see what was happening in there. He said that our sister had her boyfriend in there so maybe it wasn’t a good idea. At that point she opened the door and asked if anyone knew how to fix the little light that was in there. I went in there, trying to figure out what light she meant. She had one of these tea lights inside a glass lantern type of thing. She passed the latches to me. When I opened the box it was smoking so I told her about putting used matches back in the box. It was dangerous. I lit the tea light for her inside this lantern. She’d covered the lantern in black plastic so I told her that that would need to be removed too or it would all melt and make a mess.

The next was, according to what I dictated at the time, a dream that produced one of the best nights that I’ve ever had. I was with a friend from Cheshire. I’d been playing around with my 3D programs. Someone else had come along. It might have been Nerina who was talking about designing dresses etc. I began to tell her about the 3D programs for making 3D objects. She suggested it herself so I tried to give her some information about it without letting on that I knew too much. Suddenly my friend from Cheshire became rather belligerent. She tried to pretend to everyone that the two of us were a couple. Then my friend from Cheshire and I ended up on the floor. She had fallen and I’d fallen with her or something but this discussion with half a dozen people went on all around. Then we decided that we’d have to go. Someone asked my friend from Cheshire if she wanted to have some maths lessons to improve her position. She snapped back in a manner that really offended me and probably offended a lot of other people too. We all set off to walk. I tried to hold on to my friend from Cheshire to stop her doing anything rash but as we made our way from one lift to another to go down this building she wrestled away from me and pushed herself forward after someone who was with us. As we all crammed into a lift some of us were left behind including me and another person and a small child who belonged to someone. That was bound to disrupt all kinds of proceedings now that a small child had become separated from her mother. I tried to take hold of the child. This led to all kinds of confusion about getting into the lifts. We were disrupting the other passengers. I could immediately imagine a scenario where I’d be taking the child down in one lift and the mother would be coming back up in another lift to pick up her child again. I could see that this whole evening had descended into total chaos.

But why I would say that this was one of the best nights that I’ve ever had I’ve really no idea.

And then I was with a couple of other people in a house somewhere waiting for my father to come round. I knew that he was due any minute so I thought that we’d go to stand outside but I couldn’t attract their attention enough to make them stop what they were doing and come out. Then I saw Caliburn in the distance turning into the drive that led up to this house so I tried to round them up again. They didn’t move until Caliburn pulled up outside the door. It took them so long to be ready that by the time I’d set foot out of the door my father had become fed up and had driven away. They were all furious but I tried to explain that that was just how my father was . So what happens now? I said “if it’s left to me I’d easily walk after him but you lot go back in the house and I’ll be back in a few minutes”. They seemed to take this as some kind of personal insult. You could tell by the determination on their faces that they intended to go marching down after him, catching up with him and giving him a piece of their mind, maybe more. I thought that that was something that would only inflame the situation even further and make things even worse than they already are. I was extremely unhappy about how this was going to unfold.

Later on there was a dream about Sherlock Holmes who was going back to college to study something. Lestrade was taking the mickey out of him for doing that. I awoke just as I was about to dictate and everything was immediately wiped away from my mind about what was going on in this particular dream. I couldn’t remember anything at all.

At one point Hercule Poirot was undertaking an investigation. He’d invited everyone to a meeting. Someone made the point that maybe in mentioning the past it was his aim to enquire about the present. I told them that it was usually the other way around. When people have a meeting and start to enquire about the present, usually it’s because they want to know something about the past. Someone is trying to put everyone at ease by asking the question about the present.

Finally, I was in work, and not threatening to retire either which makes a change. It was time to go home so we all flooded out of the place into the car park underneath. I went to find my car but in the position where I’d parked it was a Ford Anglia 100E hearse. I’d actually come in the same but a saloon. The hearse was black and all mildewy with dirt and cobwebs whereas mine was at least black and tidy. I spent a good 10 minutes prowling around trying to find mine and wondering what on earth was going on. The I came across the Senator. I thought to myself “did I come here in the Senator instead?” I was confused about the car. In the end I got into the Senator and set off to drive. Going down the road was a car parked at the bottom, a gold Ford Cortina MkIII. It left practically no room to get through. It was a real squeeze for me to get the Senator through. I brushed down the side of this car with the Senator. When I looked there was someone actually sitting in the passenger seat. I thought that this will lead to a few problems now because there’s no insurance on the Senator but then the guy shouldn’t have been sitting there anyway. When I went round the corner some woman flagged me down and muttered something. I wondered what she wanted. After about 3 or 4 times it turned out that what she was asking for was whether the speed limit in here was 30mph or 40. I couldn’t understand why she wanted to know that. What I’d been doing in the office was writing an essay for my University course. I’d actually finished as much as I wanted to write except for the conclusion. I wanted to check that I had enough words. When I turned over the page to write the conclusion I found that I’d already written stuff in about something completely different. It seemed that I’d been writing out this essay in my notebook so I was going to have to go home and copy it all out onto some fresh sheets of paper and add my conclusion at the end before I could submit it.

With all of that, it’s hardly any surprise that I was totally exhausted this morning. But nevertheless, I did manage to beat the second alarm.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I pushed on and completed all of the text for the two radio programmes. And before I go to bed tonight I’ll dictate them. It’s not been possible to do that as yet because with Carnaval and the crowds in caravanettes on the car park, it’s been too noisy to dictate anything. I’ll have to wait until the noise outside dies down.

After the football I didn’t really do very much. After all it took me long enough to type out all of the dictaphone notes. But then I’m entitled to take things easy every now and again.

Tea tonight was quite late. I was chatting to someone on-line and let the time run away with me. But when I finally managed to go for it, it was delicious. Baked potato and salad with one of those breadcrumbed soya fillets. They are really nice and as luck would have it, they had some more in LIDL yesterday so I bought a couple more for the next few weeks.

Tonight I’ll be having a lie-in. It’s Sunday tomorrow and all of my work will be done so I can take it easy. I might even have a go at baking some bread in the air fryer to see what happens. That will be interesting and no mistake.

Saturday 11th February 2023 – I’M ABSOLUTELY WHACKED!

Yes – not only did I walk (well, hobble) down into town this morning on my crutches, I walked (well, hobbled) back as well. How about that?

Last night I said that I would give it a try anyway and that was on my mind when I went to bed last night.

And I must have spent a lot of time thinking about it because it took me an age to drop off to sleep, lying there tossing and turning for much of the night. Having that stabbing pain in my foot again didn’t help.

Nevertheless there was time for me to go off for a little voyage here and there during the night. At one point I was having a discussion with my brother. We were 2 small children. We ended up talking about religion and a few things came up. A short while later our father came into the room. He said that he’d heard that we had been talking and come out with some fancy long words. Could we write them down for him? He said something like “covent” which of course immediately reminded us of the Covenanters from the south of Scotland etc. We said that we’d do that.

And then I’d gone on a coach tour around the USA last night, one of these Coach America things. It was our first night and we stopped at this hotel. It was a really expensive hotel but was all included in our price. We registered and I was given a room. Next morning we were being picked up at 09:30 so at 08:30 I left my room and suitcase to go to find where to check out and where to go for breakfast etc. They were talking about the optional extras. They asked me which ones I was doing. I replied that I wasn’t doing any. They looked surprised and asked why. I replied “firstly I’ve seen the USA before and secondly I’m on the economy budget package”. I wandered off to find the checkout. It was miles away but mys suitcase was doing really well rolling and pushing it was no problem. I didn’t have much in my backpack. I found the reception desk and checked out. There were no extras to pay, which pleased me greatly. I started to wander back. I suddenly realised that I didn’t know where to leave my suitcase and didn’t know where the bus was going to pick us up – whether it was here at the main part of the hotel or over in the part where we had our rooms and where I had to go for breakfast etc. I thought to myself that I’m not being very well prepared for this holiday anyway.

When the alarm went off I was out of bed quickly enough, and after I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages, I prepared myself to set out on my walk.

It wasn’t easy going all that way on crutches but it was downhill all the way. I went carefully and took my time and made it to the chemist’s slowly but surely.

Surprisingly, I didn’t actually feel in much discomfort and with at least half an hour before the next bus was due, I decided that I’d give it a try and walk back up the hill towards home. It was very slow, very agonising and very painful. There were plenty of stops and pauses on the way back up the hill but I made it all the same.

Mind you, I was glad to be back home. I made myself some toast and coffee and checked the time. What would normally be a 20-minute walk had taken me an hour and a quarter . That told me everything that I needed to know about my efforts.

But what I’m going to try to do is to walk down into town carrying a backpack with stuff in it. It’s annoying that the bus that stops outside the door doesn’t go to the railway station. Those buses run from the centre of the town so if I need to go to the station I need to take the bus from down there. if I go to Leuven again I’ll have to take stuff with me so I need to know that I can carry it.

Having had my breakfast I made myself comfortable on my chair and it’s no surprise to anyone to learn that I dozed off to sleep.

Mind you, I awoke in time to watch the football on the Internet, Cardiff Metro against TNS.

And while there’s no denying that the money that has been sunk into TNS by the owner has done a great deal to improve the standards of the club and the chasing pack who are obliged to invest heavily in their teams and facilities in order to keep pace with what goes on down in the Marches, it’s still quite boring to watch an endless procession of TNS victories and Championships.

So when they roared into a 0-2 lead after just 15 minutes everyone could be excused for thinking “here we go again”. But then the unexpected happened. The Met pulled one back just before half-time. And just after half time they scored again.

Even more surprisingly, they scored a third after an hour and despite a lengthy period of injury time and mystery time that would have made Alex Ferguson jealous, TNS couldn’t pull a goal back.

That’s the first time that TNS have been defeated this season in the league and I did have to work hard to conceal my delight.

After the game I finished off the radio notes and then did some more work on preparation for my 200th programme later in the year. I didn’t ever think that I would get that far before I would keel over and peg out, but it is coming closer and closer and I have to crack on and do something about it.

Tea tonight was another delicious meal of baked potato, salad and one of these breadcrumbed soya fillets. And I’m definitely pleased with how the salads are panning out. However at some point I’m going to start to run out of vegan mayonnaise and I need to give some thought about how I’m going to make some more if I don’t go to Leuven to buy it.

So before I go to bed tonight I’ll dictate my radio notes so that I really can have a day off tomorrow. I have some pizza dough to make so I’m thinking that I might have a go at making some bread and baking it in the air fryer to see what happens.

It should be interesting, to say the least.

Saturday 24th September 2022 – I REALLY DON’T KNOW …

… how to start today. I’ve been trying to think of some significant event that could open up today’s entry with a bang, but I couldn’t really think of anything.

It’s been that kind of day today.

35ma light aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So while you admire a couple of photos of a few light aeroplanes that were flying around this afternoon, I’ll start at the beginning.

When the alarm went off I was in a University lecture and the lecturer was reading out the conditions for a test. The way he calculated the marks to be awarded only led up to 80%. he said “don’t worry. The other 20% will be awarded depending on how well you got on watching a couple of films”. Of course that didn’t seem right to me. he started to give the instructions but I was busy drawing flowers on the whiteboard that I had. he came out with something and I made rather a lame joke about it. Half-way through, the invigilator came in to ask him if he was ready to start. He said “I have them wound up. They are already cracking jokes “. I thought that had I known, I would have cracked a better joke than that.

light aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022It wasn’t a very enthusiastic start either.

Although I managed to beat the second alarm, it wasn’t by much. I was still dressing when it went off.

But after I had taken my medication I wandered off for a shower and a general tidy-up.

And then it was time for a quick trip to Lidl. I didn’t want much today because I have something organised later in the week and shan’t need much food – at least as far as LeClerc goes, so there wasn’t much point in going there.

It actually took much longer in Lidl than it might otherwise have done. Only one queue open, and some doddering old woman was having a dispute with the cashier.

She seemed to think that the cashier had failed to charge the reduced price for a short-dated item and nothing that the cashier would do to convince her and it took an age for the matter to be settled. Of course, the cashier isn’t going to print out the receipt and give it to the customer until the bill has been paid.

And when it did come to paying, the old woman had to dig deep in every pocket and bag that she had in order to find the right amount of cash.

There was a lot of words being said by those of us who were stuck in the queue.

f-gnnx Pierre Robin DR400-120 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So while you admire F-GNNX, a Robin DR400-120 belonging to the aero club at St Brieuc that came to pay us a visit this afternoon, I was eventually finishing my purchases and driving home.

Having sorted out my purchases I came in here to check my mails and messages.

Do you remember the saga of Not My Cat from the other week? A friend of mine was followed home by two kittens yesterday. They came into her house and settled down. She added “despite leaving the front door open they didn’t want to return outside at all”.

Anyone who knows anything about cats will realise that the cats have now adopted their human and that is that.

Armed with a coffee and some cheese on toast, I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

You’ve already read one note from the dictaphone but there was something else too. We were back in the war. The area of Russia where we were living was invaded by the Germans. I’d been caught as being away from my own place when I’d been talking to this girl. I ended up having to work for the Germans but I eventually found my way back home again. There was a second wave of invasions and I was caught yet again away from home so we decided that I’d pretend to be a flatmate of this girl and I’d be having singing lessons. This is how it started. Of course the military came to raid us again. It turned out that the guy who was in charge of the military was the guy who raided the place where we lived the first time so that didn’t work and we were all taken off.

So no TOTGA, no Castor and no Zero last night. But no-one else to disturb me so I ought to be thankful for small mercies.

After lunch I was idly surfing the internet, like you do … “like YOU do” – ed … and I came across a live football game – Wales under-19s v Republic of Ireland under-19s.

It was pretty short of skill as you might expect but a couple of players impressed me. I don’t think that anyone would ever get past whover was Ireland’s n°4.

There were a couple of distractions while it was going on, which meant, would you believe (and knowing how things usually pan out with me, you probably would), I missed the two goals that Ireland scored. 2-0 for Ireland, the final score, which rather flattered them, I reckon.

As the final whistle sounded, it was actually bang on time for my afternoon walk so I hopped outside.

people taking photograph on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a regular feature that runs through these pages is one of photographs of people taking photographs.

Sown on the beach we had some guy posing at the water’s edge with some kind of dog that seemed to be a fashion accessory at his feet while someone else was taking photographs with a mobile ‘phone.

Not exactly what you would call the height of artistic endeavour but it makes some kind of unusual subject.

And just as well too because as far as I could see, they were the only people down there on the beach this afternoon.

jersey shtandart baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And while I was up here by the wall, I was having a look around to see what was going on out to sea.

And look who’s back in the neighbourhood. Right out there in the bay a good few miles offshore is our old friend the Russian sailing ship Shtandart. She’s come back to haunt us.

And I can tell that it’s her for the simple reason that there is no AIS signal from anyone out there in that direction. Had this been any other sailing ship she would have had her AIS transmitter functioning but regular readers of this rubbish know all about her switching hers off.

And look at Jersey in the background. On the extreme right we can even make out one of the offshore Martello Towers but I can’t make out which one it is from here.

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022That prompted me to take another look at Jersey, without the distractions of Shtandart.

Over on the right we can see the blocks of flats at St Clément. As you’ll see when I finally add the photos from my trip to Jersey there are four fourteen-storey blocks of flats one behind the other on the seafront there and they show up quite clearly.

And then to the left we have various buildings in and around St Helier. It’s not easy to identify which is which because the sunlight is rather bizarre today.

But what I will do is to cadge a lift over to Jersey in Normandy Trader and film a video of the approach when the identity of the buildings will be much clearer.

And while we’re on the subject of Normandy Trader, Nathan her skipper tells me that he came into port on Wednesday while my friends and I were out to pick up those dumpers that we saw at the quayside on Sunday, and then had to come back the following day for more agricultural equipment.

la grande ancre baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There was some other stuff out and about too this afternoon.

One of the boats was instantly recognisable. I didn’t need the zoom lens on the NIKON D500 to tell who she was.

Sure enough, it’s another one of our regular customers, La Grande Ancre returning from a day’s fishing out at the Ile de Chausey.

The other boats were too far out to have any realistic idea of whom they might be, so I ignored them for the time being and headed off for my walk – or “hop”, more like.

wedding pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The path along the clifftop was really busy this afternoon. There were quite a few people walking about.

However what had attracted my eye was this large group of people on one of the lawns at the end of the headland by the car park.

While I’d been watching the football earlier, one of the distractions was the noise of motor horns coming from vehicles at the Public Rooms presumably attending a wedding. What looks to have happened now is that all of the guests had adjourned to the lawn to carry out their celebrations in the open air.

They even had a couple of cars parked on there, decorated with flags and the like. You can see one of them over on the right.

kayakers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022It actually wasn’t all that much of a nice day for it, no matter how it looked in the previous photos.

And I’m sure that the guys in the two kayaks down there would be able to confirm it. It was cold to the extent that I had on a sweater, and there was quite a wicked wind blowing – one that was certainly rocking the boat.

This would have been the kind of weather that had I been out there on the water I would have wanted some kind of heating. But it’s never a very good idea to light a fire in a canoe for as you know, you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

I’ll get my coat.

cabanon vauban person on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022What with all of the activity down there this afternoon, once more I’m surprised at the insouciance of some people.

Here we have a big wedding, a pseudo-Spanish galleon, a couple of kayaks, some fishing vessels and several aircraft flying by, all of which in a very strong wind, and here we have someone else sitting in a ringside seat on the bench down by the cabanon vauban and he is far more preoccupied by something else.

Maybe it’s his telephone, maybe it’s a good book, but there’s that much other stuff happening that I would have thought that he might have taken more of an interest in it.

la grande ancre baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Especially as just a minute or two later, La Grande Ancre goes sailing … “dieseling” – ed … part.

When I’d seen her earlier, she seemed to be pretty-much loaded up and I was really interested to see what she might have been carrying.

So here she is, and just look at all that shellfish. and not even a single seagull launching a dive-bombing raid for a free lunch.

It certainly must be profitable out there on the Ile de Chausey with all of that on its way back to the Fish Processing Plant, so I hope that they don’t hit any rough seas otherwise all that lot will come sliding off.

chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022having seen la Grande Ancre I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

Yesterday we had seen Le Poulbot in the cradle of the portable boat lift waiting for the tide to come right in so that there would be enough water to float her away from the quayside. Anyway, she’s now cleared off back into the water than that is that

There’s still that empty place though where Pierre de Jade was until earlier in the week. I suppose that someone will come along to claim it in due course

In the meantime, Gerlean and L’Omerta are still where they were, over on the right of the yard.

ch922398 Gwenn Ha Ruz port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022By now, one of the other boats that was out in the bay has come into port.

She’s one that we have seen before – CH922398, otherwise known as Gwenn Ha Ruz, which means “White and Red” in Breton.

There’s quite a load on board her too so it must have been a really good day out there today from that point of view.

By the way, don’t confuse Gwenn Ha Ruz with Gwenn Ha Du, “White and Black” in Breton. That is the colour (and nickname, incidentally) of the flag of Brittany. And you can see the similarity between the Welsh and the Breton languages.

Back here I had a play with the radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. It’s going to be a special programme because there’s an event that needs to be celebrated so I spent quite a while trying to find some appropriate songs.

But now I have my 10 and one or two extra to fill in at the end. But I’ll need to make sure that there wiil be plenty of stuff to cut out of the text because I don’t have the same room to manoeuvre as I usually would for an 11th track.

Tea was a baked potato with veg and one of my breaded quorn fillet things. They really are nice. And as I’m having to ration the potatoes at the moment I had a slice of apple pie from the freezer. Dated September 2020, it was still quite nice.

And now before I go to bed I need to make a start on a mega-back-up. It’s been ages since I’ve done a complete one for the travelling laptop so I need to think about that.

It doesn’t matter how long it takes of course because Sunday is a lie-in and I fully intend to make the most of it.

What could possibly go wrong?

Saturday 30th July 2022 – WE’VE HAD A …

wedding place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… wedding out here at the Public Rooms at the back of my building this afternoon.

It’s something that happens quite often but usually I don’t take very much notice but today, with having a rather late lunch, they poured out of the building as I was going into the living room so I took a few photos.

There’s a church just round the corner, L’Eglise de Notre Dame de Cap Lihouas regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and weddings take place there quite often because of the beautiful setting.

wedding place es Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022However since Laicité – the “Separation of Church and State” that took place in France at the Revolution and subsequently reinforced by a Law of 9th December 1905 there’s a civil ceremony that takes place in the public buildings in front of the mayor.

Thus everyone troops round here after the Church bit to complete the formalities with the mayor, and this is when everyone goes berserk.

Watching them all wildly celebrating reminded me of my lesbian friend from Shropshire who kept her sexual orientation a secret from her elderly relatives.

You’ve no idea how she felt when they all went up to her at every family wedding and said “you’re next! You’re next”.

So in the end she started to exact her revenge at funerals.

And while we’re on the subject of funerals … “well, one of us is” – ed … I felt like I should have been at a funeral today – in a wooden box being lowered into the ground. It has not been a very good day again.

When the alarm went off this morning at 07:30 I was sorting out a pile of medication and papers and things like that in my sleep and I must have leapt about three feet into the air. It took me completely by surprise. It was something to do with bridges over Germany and the heat. One of them had cracked and the asbestos was coming out so it was closed to passengers and pedestrians. People were having to cross by another one but they were limited in the number of times that they could go across and they had to show their ausweis. We were commenting on how Mother Nature is fighting back against the humans and how she’d eventually win, and I was shuffling these papers around.

As seems to be the case these days it took me a few minutes to stagger to my feet but once I was up, I was up. After the medication I set out quickly to Lidl for my shopping.

This was when Brain of Britain found that he’d come all this way without bringing his money with him.

However, years of very bitter experience has taught me better than this, and that’s why there’s €50 hidden in the back of my ‘phone case and another €50 hidden in Caliburn. However I didn’t have a coin for the trolleys so I didn’t buy as much as I would otherwise have liked.

It didn’t take me long in Lidl and I was back home by 09:40. I even managed to put everything away as well.

After a rather late breakfast I attacked the carrots. I was running low on frozen carrots so I’d bought so more fresh ones. I cleaned, diced and blanched them and set them to drain.

Unfortunately, they were only sold in lots of 1.5kg which was more than I was expecting so I was glad that I’d bought that extra-large casserole saucepan a couple of years ago.

And now the freezer really IS bursting at the seams, especially as I fitted the three packs of hot cross buns in there the other day. Nothing else can go in until a lot more stuff goes out.

But what kind of exciting life do I live these days when the highlight of my day is freezing a pile of carrots?

Sitting down here afterwards I drifted off into the land of Nod and that was that. Never mind my lunchtime fruit at 13:00. It was 14:50 when I awoke and round about 15:00 when I staggered into the living room to eat, encountering the wedding party on my way.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022After wards, I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

There was a large crowd of British people outside this afternoon looking at the Nazguls that were flying by overhead. Nevr mind the Nine Riders, there was probably about a dozen of them all together in all various stages of flight.

In fact it took them a considerable amount of time to come up and down the coast. They were still on their travels when I was going back into the building half an hour later.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022So having been overflown by a Nazgul or two I headed off across the car park to see what was happening down below on the beach.

We had the crowds again down there today making the most of the beautiful weather, although not as many this weekend as you might expect.

That’s because this is the weekend where everyone who has had their four weeks holiday in July will be heading for home and those who will be having their four weeks in August won’t have quite arrived yet. So there’s just that little quiet pause this weekend.

Mind you, I’m glad that I’m not on the roads or on the rails because that’s where we can expect to find a pile of chaos today.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Not much happening out at sea today either – at least in the immediate vicinity.

All of the fishermen were having the day off and there weren’t any ferries or freighters about. What we did have were a couple of yachts having a go at synchronised sailing around the bay.

We had crowds of people up here on the path creating quite a dust storm as they walked by so it was quite an uncomfortable walk down to the end of the headland.

Loads of brats playing around by the bunkers too. It’s almost as if there was some kind of organised activity taking place this afternoon.

sunlight reflecting off window brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of months ago I talked about the use of heliography by General Crook in his campaign against the native Americans in the late 19th Century.

The illustration that I used was the sunlight reflecting off a window down at the bottom of the bay over in Brittany.

This afternoon we had another example of the same thing. That’s about 20 miles away, I reckon, and reflecting off a glass window in the kind of strange atmospheric conditions that we have around here.

When you see things like this you can understand why Crook’s soldiers could send heliograph messages over 50 miles with a mirror in the crystal-clear weather conditions that prevail in the Arizona Desert.

While I’d been looking on the fleet radar earlier I noticed that the ferries Condor Voyager and Commodore Goodwill would cross each other at some point in the English Channel while I was out.

The former had left St Peter Port at 15:03 and was to arrive at St Malo at 17:00 while the latter departed from St Malo at 15:02.

sailing ship english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And so when I scanned the horizon and saw a large object away out on the horizon I took a photo in the hope that I’d caught them both crossing each other.

However, enlarging and enhancing the image reveals that I’ve caught something else completely – a rather large 2-masted sailing ship.

Don’t ask me what she is because by the time that I’d worked out what type of ship she was, the rader plots for that area had long-since dispersed and I couldn’t bring up any historical tracks with any accuracy.

Nevertheless, even at this distance she’s a magnificent ship and I really wish that I knew who she was.

With the crowds around on the car park it wasn’t easy to make my way down to the end of the headland.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022But with all of the people about, the display of heliography and the magnificent sailing ships right out there in the English Channel, it’s no surprise that there was something of an audience watching it all.

Down on the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon we had a couple of people enjoying the nice weather and enjoying the view that went with it

Plenty of people walking around the lower path looking as if they might go to join them but I wasn’t going to wait around. Instead, I was going to clear off down the path down the other side of the headland that takes me to the port.

open cockpit aeroplane baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There had been several aeroplanes flying by out at sea this afternoon but they had all been too far away for me to identify.

This one was also too far away for me to identify but the reason why I photographed it was because, quite rarely, it had an open cockpit.

We don’t see too many of those these days and that makes me think that she’s probably a light aeroplane whose registration number isn’t on the list that I have. I checked the arrivals and departures from the airfield for today and there was no-one whom we didn’t know out and about at the time that I took this photo.

gerlean l'omerta fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Before I went home I had a look down in the port to see what was happening there.

Marité had gone back out today but back in the port were L’Omerta and Gerlean who are playing “Musical Ships” down at the Fish Processing Plant.

Back here I made a coffee and had a listen to the dictaphone. I was in Security working at an airport. I’d been given a rifle because we suspected that someone was going to cause a problem boarding a particular plane. I ended up right at the back of the boarding place where I could see everyone in front of me. Sure enough, this woman started to protest and mount an objection. In the the end she was clambering through the false roof and fell through, falling to her death on the concrete floor of the terminal so everyone could go and board their planes. I had to put my rifle back which meant putting it in one of the rooms but all the doors had been locked. There was a way in there through one of the other rooms. This means going through a small gap but they had tiled over this gap so I was trying to work out how to enter the other room. Someone came along and began to take up the tiles. There was a metal tray underneath that they began to take up. There was the floor and then something else under that. I thought that this would take ages to do. Putting it back would take even longer and all that wanted to do was to put this rifle in the storeroom that should have taken 30 seconds. I couldn’t understand at all why I had to go through this enormous rigmarole just so that I could put back my rifle. Ther emust be a much quicker, normal way to do it than havinf to do all of this.

And then I was dealing with my medication, as I mentioned earlier.

There was time for me to have a play with the guitar and then I went for tea. They had some of those breaded quorn fillets in Lidl do I bought two packs. One of those with potatoes and veg was delicious.

Later on I downloaded some more radio programmes from that radio site that I mentioned the other day. I’ve finished all of the Paul Temple stuff and I’ve now found a batch of Tommy Handley “It’s That Man Again” programmes from 1943-44-45 so I have those on the go.

But I’ll be off to bed early. There’s an alarm set for tomorrow because I have things to do. That’s not like me, is it? I’m changing my habits so much these days.

Saturday 9th July 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

kids jumping into sea port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… a couple of photos of the local kids taking the Leap of Death off the harbour wall into the sea, I’ll tell you about my day today, such as it was.

It started off as I mean to go on, by ignoring the alarms when they went off at 07:30, 07:45 and 08:00. In fact it was at 09:30 or thereabouts when I finally crawled into the Land of the Living. That’s much more like it.

And so after the medication I sat down and began to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night. And if you are wondering why it took me all of the morning to deal with them, then read on. I haven’t crashed out yet today and that’s a surprise given the distance that I must have travelled during the night.

kids jumping into sea port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022I’d been with someone shopping and we’d picked some stuff out and we had a tub of ice cream. We couldn’t carry that so we put it on the floor by the freezer and took the stuff over. We came back and I put that tub back in the freezer and picked one from right down at the bottom that would be nice and cold and hard because it was a hot day. Then we bumped into this girl called Marie or Maria. In real life she was someone whom I knew from Woolworth’s in Crewe in the 70s. We were chatting and then I said I’d take this ice cream over to where there was a desk. She gave some kind of vague indication. When I arrived there I realised that I didn’t know her family name so I was looking for some French-sounding family names because I was sure that her husband was French. In the end I found 2 desks with 2 people the same family name, a foreign-sounding name. There was a girl working at a desk nearby so I asked her which was Marie’s desk. She said “if you had been here yesterday …” “which I wasn’t”. “No, but if you had been here yesterday …” and was on the point of giving me some really long lecture.

The guy in this dream lives with his mother, not in a flat, and is dating Marie. They don’t live together because she had something weird in her separation agreement with her husband about having guys staying over so they are a couple. We were out somewhere in Scotland in the Central Belt with baked beans and sausage on toast talking but I can’t remember what we were talking about now. It’s all gone out of my head.

belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022So while you admire a photo of Belle France doing a trip around the Bay, there was an unexploded mine that had drifted into a harbour where they were loading these ships with soldiers. I’d been detailed to take it to a disposal centre in my Cortina. A woman called Carol and I went to pick it up. We had to fight our way onto the quayside in this car. We eventually arrived at the end where we could hoist this mine up. In the meantime thousands of people were fighting to get into the Cortina to get away. We had to explain to them that if they got into the Cortina they would be travelling with an unexploded mine so they all left. We put this mine in the back of the car. A woman came over and asked if we’d seen a child’s coat. I said no, I hadn’t so she had a look in the back where we’d put this mine and there were two kids’ coats in there. She thought that one of them might have been the coat for which she was looking but could she order an extra coat from the stores just in case? I told Carol to make a note but she pulled a face. We had this mine safely aboard our car and had to turn round through these crowds of soldiers and leave for this mine disposal place

Somewhere in this I was at Marianne’s and she told me that I could make some tea. I switched on the oven and put a small mushroom pie in it. I had potatoes on the stove and some peas cooking in gravy. Later on she came to check and saw that I was doing OK so she went back to her book again and carried on working. She seemed to think that I was doing everything correctly and asked me if I wanted some Brussels sprouts. I replied “no” because she would overcook them terribly.

la granvillaise notre dame de cap lihou baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And while La Granvillaise and the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou do a lap around the Bay I was back with this little girl and her father … “which little girl and her father?” – ed … again. They’d been round an amusement park and looked at the gardens and now gone to look for their plants. He couldn’t find his radishes but his wife and daughter found their plants. In the end he found his radishes in the wrong place so he went to dig them up. Just then there was some kind of commotion and he and his daughter fled. They scrambled aboard a spaceship that was one of the exhibits at this park and set off down this waterway. After a few hours they stopped. The girl was really nervous. She didn’t want to stop as they could easily be caught if they stopped so when he lowered the machine down onto the water she pressed the lever and it took off again and they went somewhere else. Eventually they came to another place. When they landed there and went out for some fresh air there was another young girl watching them. They took this young girl and put her on the spaceship as well. There were now 3 of them fleeing from whatever authority it was that pursuing them over these radishes.

Then I was in my bedroom and there was another girl here (and I wish that I knew who she was). We were talking about going somewhere. She moved her suitcase over to the wardrobe ready to pack it and my suitcase still had those hot cross buns in it so I had to go and make some room in the freezer to store them in there. When I came back in here she had gone. That awoke me with a start and for the first minute or two I was looking around the bedroom trying to find her, it was somehow so realistic that I thought it was real.

That was absolutely weird

kayak buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Later on, while this kayak rows past this strange buoy that has appeared just here in the bay, there was some kind of geography field trip. Half a dozen or so of us had gone to the site of some shale deposits and were searching through for all kinds of stuff. I lost interest after a while. I had these things and I had 3 foam-rubber cushions on which I’d been kneeling. I knew later on that afternoon that we were going to go home so I was simply piling them up in a corner ready to post them off but putting them so they looked tidy and I was just stirring stuff around to pass the time more than anything else. There was only really one person working, running out into the shale to pick up fossils etc. There was someone there with 3 vehicles, a black saloon, a red double-decker bus and a green double decker Bristol Lodekka bus. While I was walking around I suddenly had the thought that I’d never driven a service-bus double-decker so I went over to him but he didn’t stop. He kept on driving. I had to run round after him. I thought that this was pretty pointless. I was determined to have a go at this bus for about 5 minutes. It was like a farm track or something so it wasn’t going to be dangerous but the guy wouldn’t stop to talk to me. I had to run after him. I thought that this is going to be a pretty futile exercise, I could see this, but it was going to be my only chance to have a go behind the wheel of a bus like this.

I had some endives and a pile of Brussels sprouts that needed preparing, blanching and freezing. I prepared the endives but I didn’t like the look of the sprouts because they were all old and brown. Trying to find something nice in those would take me an age. There won’t be very much left to freeze if I do it properly so I was really not looking forward at all to doing that.

All of that and not a single TOTGA, Castor or Zero. I hope that they put in an appearance while I was away otherwise it’s going to be a pretty poor do. It’s been an age since I remember them coming to see me.

Once more, I’ve had no lunch. I’m trying my best to keep on top of my weight. There’s still plenty that I could do with losing to bring me down to what I consider to be my optimum weight. While I was in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2019 I actually made it too and I kept it off for a while until I was obliged to stop running.

This afternoon I made a desultory start on the photos from June and my trip around Europe. There are plenty to go at and I didn’t feel like pushing myself too hard.

And in case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been out to the shops today.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Instead I went out for my usual walk around the headland.

The first thing that I did was to go over to the wall at the end of the headland and look down on the crowds on the beach.

And crowds there were too. Plenty of people taking advantage of the nice warm weather and beautiful sunshine, even if there wasn’t all that much beach for them to be on this afternoon. The tide is well in right now.

Quite a few people actually brave enough to take to the water too. They were all having a whale of a time this afternoon, and who can blame them?

sparrowhawk pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There were plenty of people wandering around on the path up here on top of the cliffs too.

And that’s not all because we had one of the sparrowhawks too this afternoon. There’s a colony of rabbits down there in the cliffs and I imagine that the bird is on the lookout for a juvenile to take home for tea.

From what I’ve seen, I think that there are at least two of them working the cliffs around here. Usually there’s just one of them but I have seen two on a couple of occasions flying around there.

While I haven’t actually seen one of these here manage to catch something, I’ve seen plenty of them in the Auvergne when I lived in Virlet that were clutching some kind of rodent in their claws.

yellow gyrocopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022That wasn’t all of the aerial activity that was happening either.

As I wandered along the path I was overflown by our old friend the yellow autogyro.

It was heading towards the airfield when it overflew me but immediately afterwards did a rather dramatic U-turn and headed back down the coast towards Mont St Michel.

Apart from that we had a few full-size jets flying by overhead at 35,000 feet but I haven’t seen a light aeroplane for a while. With it being summer, I would have expected to have seen them out and about more-or-less permanently.

fishermen pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022However, there were plenty of fishermen out this afternoon.

Every rock seemed to have its own fisherman today. There were seven just in my field of view here at the end of the headland, although only three made it into this photo.

And with all of the activity going on out at sea today, because there was much, much more than that which you have seen in the earlier photos, there was no-one at all sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban enjoying the spectacle.

Having taken several photos here and there of the various water craft I wandered off along the path on the other side of the headland.

The kids were there on the sea wall leaping off into the sea so I watched them for a while and took a few photos. Apart from that, there was nothing else going on in the harbour that we didn’t see yesterday.

people on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022What we did see yesterday were a couple of marquees that hed been erected down at the far end of the harbour.

There was some music going on from down there this afternoon and quite a crowd of people around there watching whatever was going on. They all seemed to ba having a good time.

Back here I had a strawberry smoothie and then true to form, bang on cue, Rosemary rang me. I’m sure that she’s hidden a camera in here somewhere.

We had a good chat about all kinds of things including her adventures with her Ukrainian guests at the local Prefecture when they went to register.

And little Miss Ukrainian is ill, so I heard. That’s really sad because I quite like her. I hope that she gets better soon.

Tea was a baked potato with veg and one of these breaded quorn fillets that I like so much. I’m running quite low on those now and that’s a shame. I don’t think that Noz will have any more of those.

So I’m going to have a relax before I go to bed. Tomorrow is Sunday so I’m having a good lie-in. It’s been several weeks since I’ve had a really good interrupted sleep and I am quite looking forward to it.

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.


Monday 7th June 2021 – EEEUUURRRGGGHHH!

It’s been another one of those days where I’ve not been able to progress very much today.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I staggered out of bed and went off to find my medication. Luckily that hadn’t been moved about in the turmoil of yesterday so that wasn’t an issue. And then I came back in here to work

For some reason or other despite the fact that I worked quite hard without too many interruptions, except for having a desultory chat with Liz while I was working and also for making my hot chocolate and fruit bread, it took me much longer than it usually would.

By the time that I had finished, it was well after lunchtime so I don’t know what happened there because recently, having prepared the music while I was in Leuven, I’ve been finished by 11:30 and there had been plenty of time to do other things.

After lunch I started to look at the journal entry for last night but the next thing that I remember was that it was 16:20 and I’d been asleep for two hours or so. That was extremely depressing and I’m totally fed up of this. Whatever they did to me in that hospital obviously isn’t working from that point of view.

And so it was rather late when I went out for my walk

skip lorry place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd I hadn’t gone more than three feet outside my door before I stumbled across some activity going on in the builders’ compound just across the road.

There’s a skip lorry pulled up there and I was hoping that I was going to see him pull a skip up onto the back of his lorry. Unfortunately as I watched he pressed the button that lifted up the legs on his lorry so he must have just dropped one off and now he was going to go back to the depot empty.

There seems to be quite a collection of empty skips over there now so it doesn’t look as if the work that’s going on in the Rue St Michel is far from finished. That’s another job that’s been going on for far longer than it ought to have done.

person on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe beach was next. Not actually to go and walk upon it but to go and see what is going on down there this afternoon.

Off I trotted across the car park over to the wall at the end and I stuck my head over the wall to see what was going on. And while there wasn’t much beach for anyone to be on, there was still someone managing to find a perch on a rock down at the far end.

And I hope that the person down there was comfortable because the wind has got up again. It’s now blowing a gale again and I don’t think that we will ever see the back of this wind at this rate.

That’s something else that’s annoying me right now too.

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut the girl down there on the rock wasn’t alone – at least in spirit – because out there in the Baie de Granville there were plenty of boats there in the sea just off the shore from Bréhal-Plage.

Only one or two of the boats were moving, and so I reckon that the others must be there for the fishing. There are plenty of buoys out there so there must be either quite a few lobster pots put down or else they have been put down in the water for the purpose of anchoring the boats.

But there was no point in my speculating on that because I couldn’t see what they were doing from where I was standing. I headed off along the path towards the headland.

removing flagpole base pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the things that we have noticed in the past has been the four flagpoles that were up by the War Memorial to the French Resistance. A few months ago I noticed that there were only three there now – one of them had been removed.

They had however left the base of the flagpole behind but it seems that today they have started to dig up the base of the flagpole. I wonder if this means that they are reducing the number of flags to three.

And if so, why would they take one out of the middle of the row and not one at the end? It’s going to look quite odd with one missing from the middle of the row.

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was walking across the lawn to look at the flagpoles I’d noticed some kind of boat moored in the Baie de Mont St Michel by Le Loup just outside the harbour entrance, and so after having dealt with them I walked down to have a closer look.

It’s not possible to see what boat it is. The layout of its masts seems to indicate that it might be La Granvillaise but she usually tows her dinghy, not having it winched up. Spirit of Conrad, the boat on which I sailed down the Brittany Coast, had her dinghy winched up but she only has one mast.

But then there wasn’t anything else of note around the end of the headland so I walked off around the path at the top of the cliff.

addictive sailing catamaran port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe path along the top of the cliff takes me to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour but before I reached the viewpoint I saw this boat in the outer harbour and as it was about to disappear into the inner harbour I had to take the best photo that I could.

She’s a catamaran, not a yacht, and she disappeared out of my view before I could make a note of her name. But a “sailing ship” called Addictive Sailing pulled into the harbour at about the same time that she arrived, according to my shipping radar so it could well be her.

Thinking that maybe one of these days I’ll go down to the harbour for a closer look and see for myself, I walked on down to the viewpoint.

35ma pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I was there, I was overflown by yet another light aircraft taking off from the airport at Donville les Bains.

And once more, it’s another one of our old friends – 35MA – who regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing yesterday when it flew over our heads then. And I wish I knew to which database her registration number relates so that I could find out more about her.

That’s a job for another time I reckon, but right now I have other fish to fry I’m much more interested in all of the marine craft that are down there in the harbour this afternoon now that the tide is well in.

boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd I was right about all of the boats. Despite the issues with the UK and with the Channel Islands, there is still plenty of fishing activity going on

The wharf underneath the Fish Processing Plant is crowded with the small boats unloading their shellfish. Most of the catch goes into the Fish Processing Plant but we can see down below the Fish Processing Plant a couple of vans that are picking up the shellfish from a couple of the boats there.

There are one or two private companies, like the local shellfish shops, who buy the catch fresh out of the water and have it straight on the slab within minutes of its arrival in port.

Turkish Airlines TC-JJY Boeing 777 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way home I was overflown yet again, but this time by something large and moving quickly, high up in the atmosphere creating a vapour trail.

She’s too high up to have come from one of the Paris airports so I went to have a look on my flight radar to see who she might be.

There was only one large craft in the area right now, and that is TC-JJY, a Boeing 777 from Turkish Airlines built in 2015 that is carrying flight TK1/THY1 which is their flight from Istanbul to New York, flying overhead at 34,000 feet at 450 knots.

Back here I had an outstanding journal entry to deal with so I made a start, knocking off for guitar practice which was quite dismal, and ten for tea. I had the last slice of vegan pie, with baked potatoes, veg and gravy, followed by apple crumble and nice thick, hot fresh custard.

But now that today’s and yesterday’s journal entries are done, I’m going to bed. Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to revise, and then I have my exam on Wednesday. I need to start revision.

Thursday 18th June 2020 – LOOK WHO’S BACK!

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall.She’s not been gone for five minutes either!

Well, she has, actually. But certainly not 24 hours, in one of the quickest turn-rounds that I have ever witnessed.

As I went out for my meeting this evening with the radio people, who should be tied up in the port but Thora, one of the two small freighters that plies between here and Jersey in the Channel islands.

Things must be heating up over there if they are now doing runs as frequently as this.

thora unloading car port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd as I watched, the crew put a pair of skids underneath the wheels of the car that was on deck and the crane driver lifted it off and onto the quayside.

There was quite a crowd watching it as well. It’s not every day that there’s a spectacle like this on the quayside. Free entertainment of any kind is well-worth having at the moment.

While all of this was going on, she was being refuelled too. I hope that none of the spectators was thinking about having a cigarette to pass the time.

But enough of this. Let’s return to our moutons. Just for a change I’m not going to mention anything about my early morning, except to say that it was another dismal failure – one of far too many right now.

And after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone. And no wonder that it had been a long night. I HAD BEEN walking around a headland somewhere similar to here. There was a race going on and we had a yacht that was entered in it – a big streamlined thing. It was all about this yacht and preparing it and getting it ready.
Later on I was out buying cars. I already had two red Ford Consul II things parked in my drive that I had recently bought, and I saw this absolutely beautiful Zodiac III something like that so I went out and bought it. I thought to myself “well where am I going to keep this without everyone getting upset because my father is really annoyed about me having these two”? I thought that I could move those two on and sell them if I want and keep the black one and in the meantime park the black one down the street and hope that no-one realises that it’s mine. This led to a discussion about the radio. We were having a radio meeting and I remember looking at the interior of the boot of this Zodiac during this time and the boot was absolutely spotless, really nice. It led in the end to me having to apologise to someone at the radio for doing something but I can’t remember what that was either.
A bit later on I needed my driving licence changing over to a new one. I had to have a medical but who should be there giving me a medical but my doctor friend from school which of course took me by surprise. he gave me a medical and told me that I was fit to go and gave me all of the forms so off I went. But I suddenly realised that I hadn’t thanked him or even offered to pay. So I went to retrace my steps around this building but I couldn’t find where it was where he was staying, which office he was in. I was wandering around this building for ages trying to find his office
Later I was off waling down the street trying to walk for miles. One of the places that I had been to was that old BP garage that has figured in my dreams before on the edge of London. This time it had been demolished only this time there was a huge pile of sand there. I was thinking that I had better get back.

There was even more to it than this but as you are probably eating your meal I’ll save it until later.

Having written my notes I then went and had a shower – and afterwards I remembered to put the clothes back in the washing machine with some perfumed fabric conditioner, for I was off to the shops.

roadworks drawbridge rue cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that there are roadworks or something going on somewhere in the vicinity.

So walking down the street I had a quick glance underneath the arch where the drawbridge is, and sure enough, they have a little mini-digger down there doing something and the road is closed off.

No time to go for a look now. I made a mental note to look again sometime today when I would be passing and see if I could find out exactly what is going on.

electric wiring rue lecampion granville manche normandy france eric hallDown into town I went, and along the Rue Lecampion.

There was a cherry-picker here from one of the local electricity companies. It looks as if they are restringing a cable between two of the buildings. Whether someone passing by underneath has snagged it, I couldn’t really say.

First stop for me was at the railway station. My old fogeys railcard has expired and I need to renew it.

But no I don’t. having waited for about half an hour in the queue behind some woman booking a load of railway journeys for all of her family, I was informed that all season tickets and cards are automatically extended by three months due to the virus.

Some good news at last and, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any.

At LIDL I just bought the basic essentials. There was nothing there that caught my eye particularly, especially as I’m not eating all that much these days. But on the way back I called at La Mie Caline for a dejeunette

bad parking rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd how long is it since I’ve featured some bad parking on these pages?

It used to be a regular feature but things seemed to have quietened down with the virus, but now they are kicking off again. This guy here is parked half on the pavement and half across a pedestrian crossing, making life difficult for all of the pedestrians.

This is a service bus route too and the road is already narrow enough as it is. The selfishness of some people beggars belief.

back home I remembered to tae out the washing from the machine. And now the place smells RATHER LIKE THAT TART’S BOUDOIR ON NEWFOUNDLAND where we stayed back in 2010.

For a good part of the rest of the day I’ve been dealing with my studies. At long last I’ve finished week three of my accountancy course and although I’m well aware of the principles it’s still quite taking.

As well as that, I’m deep into week 4 of my music course. We’re doing diminished scales and chords this week and I do have to say that the practical aspect of this course is now way beyond me.

However I never ever pretended that I could play the piano. I’m here for the theory and for whatever crumbs that I can pick up that have fallen off the table.

Lunch was taken, for a change, on the wall overlooking the harbour. It was a lovely day, even if there was a bit of a wind. And I wasn’t alone either. A lizard came to join me and he enjoyed the bits of my pear that fell to the ground

78 aqj aeroplane pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallLater on I went for my afternoon walk around the headland.

And it wasn’t just on the sea or on land that there were crowds of people. As I walked along the footpath I was buzzed by a low-flying aircraft. I couldn’t really read its number and one of the problems that I have now that I’ve been working with 3-D images is that I kept on trying to rotate the image to see it clearer.

Anyway, I’ll do some research into this plane at some point and see what I can find out about it.

fishing boats heading for home baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallMy perabulation continued around the headland to the Point by the coastguard station.

And it looks to me as if the harbour gates are now opening and there’s enough water by the fish processing plant because the fishing boats, large and small, all now seem to be making their way back towards the harbour to unload.

At least, I assume that they are heading back to unload. There isn’t the usual crowd – or cloud – of seagulls accompanying them as we have seen in the past when a loaded fishing boat comes into port.

fishing boats fish processing plant port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut if those two aren’t loaded, then it seems that everyone else is.

By the time that I had arrived at the fish processing plant everyone else had arrived and there was quite a queue at the quayside waiting to unload.

Quite a large collection of vehicles on the car park too. They are obviously expecting a bumper harvest today. And that is always good news for the port of course. We could do with all of the business that we could get.

heavy equipment leaving on lorry rue du granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd here’s a thing.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last week we saw some more plant and machinery being delivered to the boat ramp down on the rue du Port.

It looks as if I shall never know now why they were there and what is going to become of them. A lorry has turned up and is now taking them away again.

That’s a mystery to me.

lorry tipping rubble place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallBack here I carried on with my work and then headed off to this meeting.

On the way out I met a small lorry that was tipping a pile of rubble into the area that has been reserved for the workmen. It looks as if they are cracking on with whatever they are doing.

At the Grand Café I met the guy who wants to see me.

On the radio we run a series “Evenements et rencontres” where they interview people who visit the town or where there’s an important event taking place. And I’ve done a few of those, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

As it’s getting near to summer they need to build up a bank of programmes and as there has been no-one interesting or any important event taking place just recently they are scratching round for likely candidates. And they’ve decided that they want to interview me.

No idea why. I can think of 1000 people who have many more exciting things to say that I ever have. It rather reminds me of the legendary “Desert island Discs” programme where Roy Plombley learnt that Alistair MacLean was in tow so he dashed off to interview him.
After 20 minutes of dismal interrogation, the producer shouted down to Plombley “for God’s sake ask him about his books” only to receive the reply
“he hasn’t written any”.
It seems that the Alistair MacLean whom they had in front of them was the Alistair MacLean, President of a Canadian Tourist office and not the famous author at all.

A classic case of Omelette sur le Visage and the programme was never broadcast.

The meeting that we had tonight at the Centre Agora didn’t really accomplish a great deal, but we made a few plans for the future. Nothing that particularly effects me very much.

excavating steps rue lecarpentier granville manche normandy france eric hallSome of us went back for a drink afterwards at la Rafake. I stayed for about an hour or so – I have to do my best to be sociable even if I don’t feel much like it.

And on the way back I went to check on the excavations at the rue Lecarpentier. I only had the small camera with me so the photo isn’t the best.

I shall have to go back tomorrow with one of the good ones and take a proper photo, and undertake a proper inspection of the works while I’m at it. Whatever it is that they are doing, it seems to be quite a serious undertaking.

trawler with nets out english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAs I passed the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord I noticed some activity taking place out to sea.

With only the small camera, I couldn’t do a really good job, but it seems that not only do we have one of the larger fishing boats out there, he had all of his tackle out there too.

A good close-up of his net dragging behind him would have made a really good photo and it’s always the case that I seem to be in the right place at the right time with the wrong gear.

Back here I was a baked potato with baked beans for tea even though it was late. Something quick and easy.

Following that I started to write up my notes but being overwhelmed with fatigue I left off and went to bed.

Tomorrow is another day and I can finish my notes off tomorrow.

Thursday 28th March 2019 – IT WAS A …

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy france… very busy day in the harbour today.

When I walked down to the town this morning, there in the harbour was Normandy Trader tied up to her berth.

She wasn’t in there last night, so she must have sneaked in on the early morning tide without my noticing her. and she looks pretty well loaded up too, so they must have been quick.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd the reason why they were so quick became evident when I returned from LIDL.

Normandy Trader had cleared off into the sunset and in her place we had Thora tied up there in her place.

And she had only just arrived, that’s for sure, because there were a couple of civilian-types busily scrambling up the ladder onto the quayside. And one of them was a lady of the female sex too.

Last night I wasn’t as early in bed as I was expecting and despite that, I was wide-awake yet again at 03:45.

It took ages for me to go back to sleep, but when I did, I certainly did. Although I heard the alarms go off, it wasn’t until about 07:45 that I actually came into the land of the living.

Plenty of time therefore to go off on a little voyage or two. last night I was driving a bus from Chester to Crewe. One of the people on board this bus was George Scane – and what on earth is he doing in my nocturnal rambles? I was dropping off people at places all around Crewe – dropping them off in all kinds of strange directions and strange places in some kind of strange order. Going past the end of McCorquodale’s Printers in Catherine Street in Crewe and everyone was coming out of work – hordes of them. I was surprised that it was 12:00 Saturday lunchtime knocking-off time already, for I had a doctor’s appointment at 12:00 and I had a few other things to pick up from there too. We had to hurry. I was talking to this guy about women, saying that the only women I seem to find these days are women in their 90s and there was no interest in sex. He replied that I should make the most of it while I can and while it’s still offered, allthis kind of thing. He said that he was 103 – or else it was someone else he know who was 103 but he was quite old as well. This was all quite strange. Eventually we reached the doctor’s and I had to go in to ask about what I needed.
Apart from that, I had a very difficult voyage involving my father, and I’ll spare you all the details as you are probably eating your tea right now.
And I was also involved in some football match – Wales were playing Spain and I was out there on the field. Right from the very first touch of the ball at the kick-off one of the Spanish players had to leave the field. We thought that he had broken his ankle and the bench made themselves ready with a bucket of cold water, but in fact it was his boot that had broken. This ended with our team playing the Italians. They had just three people on the field – two men and a blonde-haired boy of about three. And somehow we didn’t have the will or the courage to press home our game decisively like we should have done.

As a result of all of that I was rather late organising myself and I didn’t do anything at all. After breakfast I had a shower, put a load of clothes in the washing machine, and then headed out for LIDL.

repairing city walls medieval town granville manche normandy franceThe other day I mentioned that they were working on the city walls just around the corner from here.

They had a mini-digger with a breaker attached and it was breaking up all of the rock at the foot of the walls. Why, I’m not quite sure but if it was that well-fixed that they needed a breaker, there seemed no point in moving it.

But he was having a load of fun doing it.

At LIDL I didn’t buy anything at all special today. There was tons of stuff and had I been back on the farm I would have had loads of stuff. But not here though.

fishing boats leaving harbour granville manche normandy franceOn the way back home, I was round by the port again.

It was a beautifully warm, sunny morning – really nice to be out. And I wasn’t the only one enjoying being out. A couple of trawlers were just setting out for the fishing grounds

It made actually a nice photograph

fishing boats granville manche normandy franceWith the Normandy trader having left the harbour I went back up to the apartment and sorted out the big Nikon D5000 and the telephoto lens to see what I could see.

There was some movement out on the horizon, hidden in the mist so I took a speculative photo of it to see what it might be.

It’s actually a couple of trawlers though.

normandy trader granville manche normandy franceSome more movement a little closer to the shore had me taking a photo to see what it might be.

But this time I was in luck. It is indeed Normandy Trader, heading off out into the English Channel in the direction of Jersey.

It didn’t take her too long to come in, turn round and go out again. I reckon that I must have missed dozens of visits by the ships.

la grande ancre granville manche normandy franceThat wasn’t all either.

There were a few more ships out there doing something or other. One of them was La Grande Ancre and judging by the buoys out there around her, she looks as if she might have some kind of fishing net out there.

I’m not quite sure what she’ll be catching just there, but I’ve seen a couple of boats round about that spot. Perhaps it’s some sunken treasure.

Gribouille and his mum were out there too so we had a bit of a chat.

Back here, I made a start on the photos for the last few days. But I wasn’t there for long because it was pretty soon lunchtime.

After lunch I finished off the photos and now the last couple of days have their photos appended.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd then it was walk-time around the headland.

Thora has already gone back out, and that was really quick. And in the chantier navale we have a coat of heavy primer now added to the large boat that they have been preparing this last few days.

It should look really good when it’s finished.

classe decouvert port de granville harbour manche normandy franceA little further on we have a group of school children around the edge of the old, abandoned dry dock.

It’s round about the time that they have the classes découvertes where groups of children come to town and stay in the Youth Hostel, and then go round looking at the fishing industry – or, rather, what’s left of it after the collapse of the cod industry in 1992.

You can see the remains of the deep-sea fishing industry all over the place around here

victor hugo ferry channel islands jersey port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd although Thora has now sailed away, we have yet another visitor in the harbour.

Not exactly a visitor but more of a permanent resident, because it’s Victor Hugo, the older of the two boats that do the Channel Islands ferry to Jersey.

Ironically, they bought a new boat to replace her, but she’s nothing like as reliable as Victor Hugo.

Back here, I spent some time with the dictaphone notes, and then attacked tea.

leek and tofu pie place d'armes granville manche normandy franceMain course was really easy.

There’s some of the leek and tofu pie left over from the other day so I fetched a slice out of the freezer. I bunged that in the oven along with a couple of potatoes.

Real potatoes baked in the oven, with pie, veg and gravy.

apple crumble place d'armes granville manche normandy franceBut why I had the oven on is because I’ve been baking again.

This week’s effort is an apple crumble and although it’s not turned out as well as I hoped, it’s still delicious

Apple, grated coconut, raisins, brown sugar, lemon juice, nutmeg and cinnamon. Topped with a mixture of flour, oats and vegan margarine.

On my evening walk there was no-one around so I wasn’t out for long.

Back here I had a good chat with Alison, then Sue and almost immediately after, another chat to Rosemary. I seem to be in demand right now.

So as a result, it’s later than I wanted it to be. But it’s always good to talk to friends.

Tuesday 27th November 2018 – WHEN I TOLD …

potatomat everberg belgium eric hall… some friends of mine in Québec about this, they burst out laughing.

And it wasn’t about the crazy idea either, but in total disbelief that this place (and a few others of similar ilk) would exist.

But seeing that Alison and I were out and about in the vicinity this afternoon, we went off to track it down and to photograph it.

potatomat everberg belgium eric hallBecause it’s the kind of thing that you would only ever find in Belgium, and no-where else.

We have automatic machines that dispense drinks, and snacks, and even pizza these days, but only in Belgium would you find an automatic machine that would dispense potatoes.

So say “hello” to a Belgian Potatomat here on the outskirts of Everberg.

potatomat everberg belgium eric hallThe potatomat doesn’t just sell potatoes either.

There were apples and pears on offer, and even chicory too. And it looks as if, with a little bit of simple configuration, it could be programmed to sell a lot more different things too.

It has to be the automatic vending machine to end all other automatic vending machines.

This morning the alarm went off at the usual time but, after having done almost 150% of my daily activity yesterday, there wasn’t much danger of my leaving my stinking pit at that time.

07:15 was a much more respectable time for me to heave myself out.

After medication and breakfast, there were things to do on the laptop and that took me most of the morning.

Alison sent me a message round about 11:30. Did I fancy going out for a couple of hours? And so 15 minutes later I was standing on the corner, watching all the girls go by.

We passed by the Potatomat and then headed into Brussels. Alison took me to show me to a place where she had once lived, and then we went for a look at the offices of that weird American company where we had both worked together 12 years ago.

chateau robinson bois de la cambre brussels belgium eric hallSeeing that we were down in the south end of Brussels, we decided that we would go for a walk in the Bois de la Cambre.

Alison hadn’t been round here particularly but back in the good old days when I lived in Brussels I used to come here for a walk every Sunday with Marianne

And so I decided to show her around.

chateau robinson bois de la cambre brussels belgium eric hallIt was quite a misty afternoon and reasonably cold too, although not as cold as it might have been.

And we were somewhat too late for the leaves. We should really have been here a couple of weeks ago to see it at its best.

By now, the leaves had gone beyond changing colours and were now tumbling rapidly from the leaves and carpeting the forest floor

chateau robinson bois de la cambre brussels belgium eric hallAlison didn’t know about the Chateau Robinson on the island in the middle of the lake.

But despite the time of the year, the restaurant was open and the shuttle boat was running across the lake to the island

There were several people waiting to cross over, and so we decided to join them and go to have a coffee.

chateau robinson bois de la cambre brussels belgium eric hallAlthough they didn’t have soya milk, they did actually have almond milk.

And even more interestingly, they also had gluten-free flour and so they offered to make Alison some lactose-free and gluten-free pancakes.

They tasted differently, apparently, but Alison said that they were very nice. And, for a change, the chef came out to ask her if they were okay. Clearly a new experiment, but it’s certainly progress.

chateau robinson bois de la cambre brussels belgium eric hallAfter the coffee and pancakes we carried on with our walk.

We took the ferry back to the mainland and walked all the way around the lake and back to the car.

It was much more pleasant by now. The sun was doing its best to struggle through the mist and we were even starting to see some blue sky.

chateau robinson bois de la cambre brussels belgium eric hallWhile you continue to admire the photos of the Bois de la Cambre, we had other things to do.

Because we were down this end of the town we decided that we would go to pay our respects to Marianne. The Cimetierre d’Ixelles wasn’t all that far away and I hadn’t been to see her for a while.

It’s quite a poignant thing to do, and hard to believe that it was over five and a half years ago that she went off to meet her Maker

chateau robinson bois de la cambre brussels belgium eric hallWe wandered off from there out in the direction of Leuven, hoping to miss the afternoon traffic rush.

And I missed a photo opportunity as we were driving past a garage on the corner of the Chaussee de Wavre.

There parked up at the back of the parking area was a dark green first-series Triumph Vitesse 6 convertible. These are as rare as hen’s teeth in the UK. the chance of seeing one parked up here at a backstreet garage in Brussels are amazing.

chateau robinson bois de la cambre brussels belgium eric hallWe reached Tervuren and Alison took me to a café where there was an open fire and a good supply of coffee.

We needed it too because the temperature was dropping all the time. It’s going to be really cold.

And while Alison unlocked the cars, I watched in amazement as some woman on a bicycle with a baby on the back pulled out of the cycle track right across the main road in front of a couple of cars without giving a hand signal, without looking over her shoulder and without even slowing down.

I felt really sorry for the driver who almost squidged her

chateau robinson bois de la cambre brussels belgium eric hallWe came back to Leuven and Alison dropped me off on the corner.

I came back here and even though it was early, I made myself some tea. I hadn’t had anything to eat since breakfast.

Microwaved potatoes with a tin of spicy beans. And delicious it all was too.

chateau robinson bois de la cambre brussels belgium eric hallDespite only having walked 60% of my daily target, I was for some reason or other totally exhausted.

So there I was, flat-out on the bed for a good hour or so. I can’t keep on going like I used to.

What I’m going to be doing now is to do the washing up, tidy up and pack my bags. I have a very early start tomorrow so I need to be up and about quite promptly.

I don’t much like this idea of leaping on board the 08:13 out of Brussels but it saves me three hours on my day by the time that I’m back gome, so it has to be a good idea.

Monday 8th January 2018 – I’M CRACKING …

… on with the arrangements in here, I’ll tell you.

I had a closer look at the TV today. there’s a USB socket that, surprisingly, can be used to record TV programmes (not that this concerns me of course) but it’s also a data input socket.

And so Brain of Britain had a marvellous idea. He found a USB memory stick and copied a pile of black and white films onto it, and then inserted it into the USB socket.

Making the TV read the memory stick wasn’t the work of five minutes though, but eventually I managed to make it function, and there on the menu were all of my films.

The problem is, however, that the format of most of them isn’t supported by the television and that was something of a disappointment.

But not to be outdone. Where there’s a will there are relatives, so the old saying goes.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have an old laptop that runs perfectly well, apart from the smashed screen and keyboard. And it has come in useful at times too in the past.

But it’s having a dramatic lease of life right now. Because regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago I bought an HDMI cable in the NOZ for €1:99. And there’s a HDMI socket on the laptop and two on the television.

And so I connected the one to the other via the third, and spent the next considerable while trying to make the TV read the signal from the laptop.

It was easy once I’d figured it out, and then I had the delightful pleasure of not only watching all of my films, but a slideshow of my photographs and also some Youtube videos in full glorious technicolour.

Not only that, I reckon that the streamed football matches that I watch at weekend can be picked up on the old laptop and I’ll be able to watch them on the TV too and maybe even, if I can configure it properly, to record them too.

But I need a much longer HDMI cable. At the moment I’m having to make do with an old cordless mouse to control the laptop – or I would if I had any batteries. I must sort this out.

Yes, it’s all systems go here – even if it did take much of the day to sort it out.

For one reason or another I still had the alarm set at 07:30 this morning. But I did manage to beat it out of bed.

After breakfast and doing some paperwork and watching a couple of miscellaneous itemsfor which I was bidding (and winning) on an on-line auction site, I began my marathon odyssey with the television.

We had an interruption for lunch when I finished off the soup from Saturday, and another one when I went for a walk around the headland – first time for quite a while. And yet another when I stopped for half an hour on the guitar, during which I … errr … fell asleep.

Just for a change I managed a third meal tonight too. Baked potatoes with cheese stuck in the cuts and baked beans. The cheese melted nicely in the microwave and it was all delicious.

When the washing-up was finished I went for a walk around the city walls. And that’s the first for quite a while too. But that proved to be a little too much and it was something of a struggle over the last 400 metres.

So now I’m sitting listening to Led Zeppelin on my new hi-fi, with which I’m even more impressed that I am with my galvanised steel dustbin, and I’ll be off for a well-earned sleep in early course.

I really can’t stand the pace these days.

Friday 5th January 2018 – USELESS LOAD OF BANKERS!

I actually managed to struggle into town this morning.

And it’s just as well that I did too.

my early night didn’t work out as well as it ought to have done because I was wide awake at 05:00. Never mind the former times when the alarm used to go off at 06:00 (and it will again, starting next week) – by 06:00 I was sitting on the sofa having had my medication.

After breakfast, I had a shower and a good clean up, and then spent a good hour or two collecting all of the paperwork that I needed. And I’ glad that I did too because I had a nasty surprise.

But never mind that for a moment. First stop was the Police Station to complete the paperwork about my missing wallet. He had a grouch and a growl because, in his opinion, the work that they had done in Paris was bidon. But at least I now have a temporary driving licence so that I can legally use Caliburn.

And then we went to the Bank ready for a battle.

My bank cards are ready so I picked them up. And I paid a bill that need to be paid, and then battle commenced.

I shan’t bore you with all of the details. But a brief recap is that when I moved here, I went into the bank to open an account here, to close down my account in Pionsat, and to transfer all of my payments to the new account.

And then we’ve had the long sorry story of how everything seems to have gone wrong – a relentless stream of failures and incidents that have shaken my faith in the bank.

But today was the final straw. It seems that they haven’t closed the accounts in Pionsat at all, all of my payments have been paid in duplicate and I’ve been paying bank charges on two accounts that I don’t use.

Anyway I left them busily repainting the woodwork where the paint had blistered off in the heat. They are going to sort it out, so they say, but we’ll just wait until the next disaster. The Credit Agricole here in Granville is like lurching from one catastrophe to another, and my finances are catastrophic enough without any help from my useless load of Bankers.

But the most telling part of all of this was the question “who dealt with your affairs? Was it Madame xxxxx?”
Well, as a matter of fact it was. And having heard one or two stories, I’m not surprised that her name cropped up without any prompting.

Next stop was the Post Office to renew the redirection of my mail. That’s important because of my driving licence issues, more of which anon.

And here we had the delightful, typical Post Office scene of a crowd of people waiting in a queue while no less than THREE assistants dealt with one customer.

Everyone was fuming so I turned to the woman behind me
Our hero – “typical Civil Servants. No idea whatever about the Real WOrld. They should be made to take 6 months unpaid leave every five years and come and scratch around for a living like the rest of us and see what it’s like to live in the Real WOrld”
Woman behind me – “I’m a Civil Servant”.

Final port of call was at the Driving School.

To apply for a replacement driving licence on line, I nedd a special kind of certified official photograph and I had no idea where to obtain one. They would know, of course.

And indeed they did. So next time that I’m out on the town I can pay a visit.

When I returned home Liz was on line so we had a chat, and then it was lunchtime.

After lunch I did some tidying up and even had the vacuum cleaner out for a while. And I’ve made a few plans about organising myself better. If that works, I’ll be amazed because it’s never worked before. But all of this time spent hunting down paperwork is totally absurd.

Havng had a little (well, more than a little) snooze and an hour or so on the bass, I made tea. Baked potatoes and beans with cheese. And my vegan cheese slices will melt if I break them up and put them with the beans in the microwave.

And for pudding, some of Liz’s Christmas cake.

To finish off the day, I’ve been for a walk. It was slow and painful but I did it. So I’m hoping that I’ll have a decent night’s sleep tonight.

Final word must go to my former colleague and friend Anne-Marie. She joined the EU the same time that I did and we went round together for a while, even going on a skiing trip together for a week in Bulgaria. I’ve heard on the grapevine that she received her long-service medal from work the other daY.

Sp hats off to her.

Friday 30th December 2016 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… I’ve been out and about this afternoon.

But it was something of a bad night for me. I had all the good intentions of going to bed early but just as I was settling down, Paul Rhys came on the radio.

I mentioned the other day about him – the BBC’s 3-episode series of hour-long episodes of The Saint and what excellent programmes they are and how I can listen to them all night. Sure enough, one of them came on the air just as I was settling down and so I stayed awake to listen.

I had no change of sleeping after that and so I lay awake for ages. I must have gone to sleep somehow because it was the alarm that rocked me out of my reverie.

This morning I’ve been playing around with my 3D program and I’m going to have to expand my knowledge now that I have a computer that will enable me to progress. And to find more time too because I almost missed my lunch, I was that engrossed.

After lunch I prettied myself up a little because Alison came round and we went off for a coffee and a good chat to catch up on our respective news. She also bought me a tray of baked beans, some more gravy granules, some malt vinegar and some other stuff too. Now I’m going out to buy some frozen oven chips (well, not now, I mean that now I have beans and malt vinegar) and some vegan sausages so I can vary my food intake.

I’ve also been planning on microwaved potatoes for a change too. Anything to have a varied diet.

Later this evening I had a chat with Liz on the internet and I finished off my curry. My new housemates were in the kitchen too cooking tea. It’s quite exciting in there now.

So now I’m going to try yet again for an early night. Let’s see how we manage with that.