Tag Archives: bala town

Saturday 23rd March 2023 – A FEW MONTHS AGO …

… I bought a cheap hamburger press, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. It was rather like an old flat iron made of plastic, with all kinds of sizes that fit inside each other like a Russian doll

It was rather cheap, both in price and quality, so I didn’t think that it would be all that much good. However I have to say that despite all that, I really am impressed with it. Almost as impressed as I was with my galvanised steel dustbin, and that will stir a few memories from times long-gone.

Actually my friend in Munich sent me ages ago a packet of dried stuff that he’d found in a vegan shop down there and posted it to me. So today I added water and mixed it, left it alone to do its thing and then out came the hamburger press

It actually made a nice, professional job of the rehydrated stuff and I now have four big, really solid burgers and as I said just now, I’m almost as impressed with them as I was with my galvanised steel dustbin.

“Whatever happened to that?” I asked myself. The last time that I saw it, it was being used as a brazier to burn a pile of weeds down the garden when I used to have my raised beds and vegetable plots. It’s probably now thoroughly and completely overwhelmed with weeds and been pulled into the soil.

It’s 10 years ago since I last planted any veg down on the farm. I had quite a lot of stuff there that year too. The following year I cracked on with the bedroom all the way through the spring and summer ad finished it – and actually moved in.

But we all know what happened in the autumn that year, don’t we?

It was almost 10 years that I lived full-time down on the farm and despite the primitive conditions I really enjoyed it. I keep on thinking – and hoping – that I’ll go back to live down there once more but I doubt that I’ll ever see it again.

For a start, I can no longer drive, and that’s always going to be a serious consideration. And then regular readers of this rubbish will recall the photos of when I was last there and it was overwhelmed by brambles. I no longer have the energy to fight my way to the front door.

Last time it took three of us – Rosemary, Ingrid and Yours Truly – a whole afternoon to reach the front door, and the time before that it was with Terry and he had brought his industrial-scale equipment to clear the path.

Still, as Dan Quayle once famously said, "It’s a question of whether we’re going to go forward into the future, or past to the back"

So I shall go past into the back and say that for a change I was in something of a hurry to go to bed last night. I didn’t hang about at all.

It was another good sleep as well and I was fighting fit (well, sort-of) when the alarm aronsed me from my slumbers.

First thing was, as usual, to check the blood pressure. 15.1/9.0 this morning, up from 14.5/9.3 last night. So something must have annoyed me last night. And if you want to know what it was, you’ll have to read on.

After the medication I came back in here, but not for long. The nurse, having been late yesterday, was early today. Today’s moan was that the plastic bag I’d put out for him wasn’t big enough and that I need to wash my puttees. I wonder what tomorrow’s will be

The bread for my cheese on toast was delicious. I had a really nice breakfast later this morning. And then I had a pleasant relax and watched a film.

Another film that has come out of copyright is HELLZAPOPPIN’ so I spent a very pleasant 85 minutes watching it, and it was nice to relax for a change.

It’s not a film to everyone’s taste because it’s partly a musical and "YOU’RE NOT GOING INTO THE SONG WHILE I’M HERE" but where its interest lies is that if ever you want to know where all of the humourists of the 1960s and early 70s like Monty Python and Marty Feldman obtained their ideas, it’s all here, everything and much more besides, and it was done in 1941.

As far as comedy and humour goes, it was light years ahead of its time and will still run the course today.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night. We’d all gone out as a family together. We all had lifts with various different people so we were all spread out amongst the cars etc. A guy in a mobile home, the type that’s a shell that fits onto the back of your vehicle, took a fancy to one of my sisters. He persuaded her to travel with him. They disappeared but the rest of us kept going in a kind of convoy. We ended up stopping for the night somewhere at the side of a river. Just then this guy appeared with his camper. He wound down his window and said that he was terribly sorry but something had happened to our sister – some other people had come along, taken her, kidnapped her and carried her off. My mother said “I bet that she’s in the back of your camper”, just strode over there and wrenched open the door. My sister was in there on the bed lying down. She began to tell her tale of woe about everything that had happened to her, with my mother and brother becoming more and more angry as the story unfolded about this kidnap.

So there you are – that’s the reason that my blood pressure was up. I had the family round last night. I don’t ask them to come to visit me during the night but they always seem to, far too often for my liking. Why can’t I have Zero, TOTGA and Castor round as often as them?

But kidnapping my family members one by one sounds like a good idea. But you can all think of an idea for the ransom note – "pay us £5,000 or we’ll send them back".

That reminds me of the time when I fuelled up in Stoke on Trent only to find that I’d left my wallet behind at home. I had to leave my friend at the petrol station as hostage while I went to his house to fetch some money

When I told his wife what was the problem she told me not to bother going back, and to leave him there for good

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed we had a taxi job to do, to drive someone up to Newcastle upon Tyne for a meeting and then take them on to Edinburgh later. There was only one daytime driver and me about. The receptionist left a note for the daytime driver “be in the office 04:40 ready for a long trip”. I thought that long trips and office workers all on account etc don’t pay very much in tips if anything so I’d go to do that and let the driver carry on doing normal jobs. The only car we had was an old two-door Japanese thing from the late 1960s or early 1970s. It made something of a racket but I’d been out a few times in it and it seemed to do the job. A good long run like that would probably do it good. Of course Edinburgh – I had my niece in Edinburgh so I could go to see her. I tried to contact her but there was no luck. I thought “should I just turn up at the University there and speak to her?”. I thought that that’s probably not a good idea. But I was impressed that we had this job, going all that way but I was really disappointed that we didn’t have a better car available other than this old Japanese thing.

And that was an age-old problem too. We’d occasionally have some really high-quality work to do but never seemed to have a decent car available to do it, and when we did have a really decent car we’d never have the work. At times I despaired.

This afternoon I went a food-making.

Firstly, as I said, my friend in Munich had sent me some burger mix so I added the water, stirred it all in and then left it to fester for 20 minutes as according to the instructions

There was a box of do-it-yourself falafel powder on the shelves as I discovered when I did some tidying up a few weeks ago. So I added some water to that and left that to fester as per the instructions.

While that was doing its stuff the first lot was ready so with the hamburger press I made four really good and solid burger-types of things. They are busy freezing even as we speak.

As for the falafel, I divided that up into little balls and they are busy freezing too, along with a couple of balls that I made from the left-over stuff from the first mix.

But I’m pleased with this hamburger press as I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … It’s really simple and cheap but it made some really solid burgers and it gives me much more confidence about making more burgers from ad-hoc ingredients.

Finally there was the home-made mayonnaise. And once again, that seemed to work in spades. I made it rather more liquidy than before so we’ll see how that works out. It ended up making quite a lot more than I can use in its shelf-life, so I’ve sealed to top on the jars quite tightly.

Yes, having learned my lesson, I’ve put the mayonnaise in a better container or two.

Then we had the football – Y Bala V Connah’s Quay Nomads in one if the Welsh Cup semi-finals, played at Llandudno’s picturesque ground. And it was actually being broadcast on foreign carriers too after the disappointments of the last few games.

The first 75 minutes of the match were nothing to write home about, but it’s really hard to play creative football in a tornado.

However both sides made a couple of substitutions with 15 minutes to go and that kickstarted the game dramatically. Those last 15 minutes wee much more like the football we’d expect to see and Aron Williams scored a late winner to push the Nomads into the finals.

But spare a thought for Josh Ukek of Y Bala, who will probably go down in the record books as being on the field for the shortest period of time ever.

He came on as a substitute for Bala late in the game but almost immediately Kieran Smith, a central defender, was sent off for two bookings. Now a central defender down, Colin Caton, the Bala manager, now wanted to send on a central defender off the bench to shore up the defence.

And Ukek, who had only just come onto the field, was the man who was withdrawn to make way.

Tea was as usual a salad, baked potato and breaded quorn fillet. I know that it all seems to be the same, but I happen to like it so I don’t care.

And now rather late this evening, I’m off to bed. There’s an alarm in the morning for the nurse is coming (so I’ve washed my puttees already) so I’ll feel like death for the rest of the day. Today, I actually fell asleep for five minutes during the football.

But before I go, that story about tightly closing the lid on the mayonnaise jar did remind me of the guy who rang up his doctor
"You know those pills that you gave me to give me strength?"
"Yes" said the doctor. "How are they going?"
"I don’t know" replied the man. "I can’t get the top off the bottle".

Saturday 9th March 2024 – GUESS WHO …

… forgot to switch his alarm back on last night?

It goes without saying that Bane of Britain was up to his usual tricks.

But what was so surprising was that I awoke at 07:35. None of this stuff that we experienced last weekend. And I was wide awake too – to such an extent that I was actually up quite quickly. And that’s even more surprising.

First thing that I did was to check the blood pressure. 16.7/9.4. and don’t ask me what it was last night because I forgot to take it.

But next time that I go to the hospital I’ll be taking my blood pressure machine with me. The figures at the hospital are nothing like the ones that I’ve been recording here. They are much more normal. So I wonder if there’s a fault in my machine or I’m not using it correctly.

If we can compare readings when I go back, that might help. And so will a little practical instruction. It’s not actually very likely that things will be worse here than at the hospital – that is, in respect of anything that’s likely to adversely affect my blood pressure

But fancy forgetting to record it last night. It was actually quite a relaxing late evening watching the football highlights from the games that took place. Nothing really exciting, except that TNS continued their monotonous, relentless march by stuffing second placed Connah’s Quay 5-1 – at the Quay’s home ground.

As I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … I’d be really proud of TNS’s achievements in the domestic game in Wales if only they would transfer some of that form to the European games that they play. But regularly and consistently (or should I say “monotonously and relentlessly”?) they are knocked out in the first round.

Wouldn’t it be nice if they could make it to the group stages of a European competition some time soon, and give us all something about which we can cheer? I mentioned the other day that depressing, dismal game in Sweden where we had to sit through 90 minutes of tactical ineptitude by a manager who is out of his depth at this level of competition.

Anyway, I digress … "again" – ed

In the kitchen I collected the medication together and shovelled it in, piles of it. And it’s going to be even worse on Monday after my cleaner has been to the chemist’s with the new prescription. As if I don’t already have enough stuff in here.

But I’m glad that it’s the cleaner who goes to the chemist’s these days. I’m too embarrassed after the last incident that we had.

That time, I’d been to buy a pack of condoms. "What would you like?" she asked. "Ordinary? Or the new washable ones?"
"I’ll try the new washable ones" I said.
A week later, I went back to the chemists
"Can I have another pack of condoms, please?"
"What happened about the washable ones you had last week?" she asked
"Well, I’ve had this rather offensive letter from the laundry"

Having taken my medicine I went to make the bread for the weekend. And I forgot that it wasn’t Friday and that I wasn’t here, so I made three bread rolls as usual. So anyone who says that I don’t even have a clue what day it is is actually quite correct.

John Bongiovi TELLS THE DAY BY THE BOTTLES THAT (HE) DRINKS but I tell the days by the medication that I take, I reckon.

The bread still isn’t rising as well as it ought to, even though I’ve now moved on to a new type of flour. However, it wasn’t the abject failure of a couple of weeks ago and I suppose that we can be thankful for that

I tried baking it for slightly less time too, and that seemed to make a difference. But of course my oven is very much hit and miss so I can’t say with any certainty that it will be like that next week.

But anyway, it made a really nice toasted cheese sandwich, which was the name of the game anyway.

And that reminds me – me waxing lyrical about air fryers combined with a special offer on sale at LeClerc means that Rosemary has now joined the little air fryer community. As I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … I’d be lost without my air fryer.

Next stop was to transcribe the dictaphone notes, not that there were all that many. There was a cute little girl at school who for some unknown reason seemed to attach herself to me, not that I minded particularly because I never did much at school except roam around. She caught me one day coming out of the school canteen. I asked her how she was. She wouldn’t say at first but in the end said that she’d failed her exam which I thought was something of a shame so I gave her a few encouraging words. Then she told me that she’d failed another one too so I didn’t think that things were going too well for her so I tried to boost her morale a little but I could see that she was rather sad. Then she asked, out of the blue, “do you want to be a GE?” which is the first level of work as a British diplomat in the Foreign Service. I asked why and it turned out that there was a meeting for schoolkids to hear a talk given by someone in the Foreign Service about careers with them. I thought to myself “I have to do something after I finish my exams, haven’t I?” so I said “yes, OK, I’ll come with you. I’ll be your invitee”. She said “you’re my second”. I asked “who’s the first?”, fearing the worst. And sure enough she mentioned the name of a student with whom I didn’t get on at all, who I thought was completely and utterly pretentious etc. She said “I’ve invited him”. I sighed and said “ohh well, OK” and said that I’d go with her to make her feel better. At least if she had two people coming with her it would do her some good in her exams which aren’t going too well anyway.

There seem to have been a few cute young girls attaching themselves to me during the course of the last few nights. I’ve no idea what’s going on here. I wish it had really been like that when I was at school.

And I wish that I knew who they were, so that I could see if it’s the same girl coming back, or a different girl each time. I’m intrigued to see how this serial ends, as I’m sure that you are. Doubtless though, one of my family will come along and shove le baton dans la rue at a crucial moment.

Like my brother, for example, who was “teacher’s pet” at school
"Why? Did teacher like him?" – ed
No – she kept him in a cage at the back of class.

But really – could you imagine me in the Diplomatic Service? It wouldn’t have been a shoe that I’d banged on the table as Nikita Khrushchev is alleged to have done, it would have been the heads of a few of the delegates.

It’s all very well these leaders pronouncing wars and all of that, but they aren’t the ones who have to fight them. It’s always the young and the poor. As the Communist Party once said about the First World War, “a bayonet is a weapon with a worker at each end”.

In my opinion, if someone wants to start a war, there should be vote. And all those who vote in favour should be given a rifle and tin hat and sent to the Front to fight it while everyone else stays at home.

Next on the agenda was the football. Y Bala v Caernarfon.

Two teams challenging for fourth place but it didn’t look much like it. The gale-force wind had something to say about the standard of play, I suppose, but in all honesty it will be one those games that will be forgotten quite quickly.

There was a good crowd there, as there always is when Caernarfon play, but I think that they were probably expecting more for their money than a tame, lacklustre 1-1 draw.

The rest of the day, apart from 10 minutes when I was away with the fairies, was spent chopping up sound tracks. Only about 30 or 40 hours remain before I can start to attack the stuff that the Shrewsbury Folk Festival sent me at the start of the year.

And I shudder to think of how much there is to do there. I’ve told you before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … that i’m far too busy to die

Tea was baked potato with salad and one of the breaded quorn fillets that I like. And my home-made mayonnaise from the other week is still keeping on going. The garlic in there hasn’t dissolved the bottle, despite how muc I put in it. I really should put somewhat less in there than I do.

So having finished my notes, I’ll wait for it to go quite than do my dictating. Two programmes that need re-dictating and a third that I prepared last week. It’ll all be a right mess when I finish

Tomorrow there’s an alarm call – 11:00, which might be late for some but it’s early for me on a Sunday. I always stay up quite late because it’s only when the streets are perfectly quiet that I can dictate the notes properly

And then there’s pizza dough to make, and anything else that I can think of. I’ve not made any biscuits for ages, have I? Chocolate biscuits are always good but it’s been years since I’ve made any oat and honey ones. I might think about that.

Right now though I’m going to relax for a little while and find something interesting to read, like that friend of mine who read all of these horrifying reports on the effects of smoking.
"They frightened me so much that I gave up" he said
"Gave up smoking?" I asked
"No" he replied. "Reading"

Saturday 17th February 2024 – I DON’T THINK …

… that i’ll be sleeping too much tonight, given the amount of sleeping that I have done today.

There have been at least two occasions when I’ve been stark out of it today. I really don’t know what’s the matter with me these days.

It’s not as if I was in bed all that late last night. Later than some, it’s true but not so late as to work about it. And then I had a relatively peaceful night.

The alarm went off at 06:40 and I thought “that can’t be right”. I must have dreamed the alarm yet again. Not that I could go back to sleep even though I was in the middle of an interesting dream. Instead I just lay there half-awake, half asleep until 07:00.

And how I didn’t want to leave the bed at that moment but nevertheless I forced myself out of bed and took the blood pressure. Last night was 17.8/10.3 but this morning’s was 16.0/9.6. I suppose that that’s a slight improvement over how it has been. It’ll be interesting to see what it’ll be like in a few weeks.

Next stop was the medication. And I had to sort out some of the stuff that the cleaner had brought for me. There’s tons of it and I feel so sorry for the cleaner who has to haul it all back for me.

Back in here I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. There were three of us, two guys and a girl called Deakin or Deacon. We’d somehow gone behind enemy lines and infiltrated into this person’s body. We’d eventually been caught but had managed to make our escape and pass down the bloodstream of thi person and eventually find our way out through the eyes. But then we had to go back in to look for this Deakin girl because we couldn’t find her anywhere. We eventually came across her and managed to bring her back to the area behind the eyes but had to wait for the correct moment to try to come through onto the other side but there was some kind of machine gun battle going on on the outside of this human being so we had to wait for the best moment there too

There was something about two girls who had been appointed to become Prime Minister and lead the country. This had happened after the present Prime Minister had resigned. These girls tried to do a couple of things but it didn’t work so in the end they resigned. It meant a whole overhaul of Government and Civil Service and almost everything had to be undergone before these girls would take power again. This brought a whole raft of changes everywhere that many people found difficult to understand

Later on, whoever was Prime Minister of the UK had been making a big mess of things for a while and had resigned. Someone else had taken over and things were not going too well at all. The Far Right organisations were slowly rebuilding. All of a sudden this guy abandoned power. There was a huge power vacuum as people tried to jostle to fill it. Government was being done by decree because there was no-one in the Palace of Westminster. The Far Right made a sudden surge so people started to move out of certain areas where the Far Right was likely to take control. This led to a mass exodus of population around the UK as people were going to different rural places. The future was looking really totally bleak. The only mainly civil, normal people had lost control and there were very few of them left standing for election at the end of all of this. It looked as if the UK was heading for total disaster

Choosing a couple of girls at random to run the country sounds like a much better way of doing it than the way they have gone about things in the UK and the USA over the last 8 years or so when you look at some of the people who have been chosen over that period by their peers. You have the feeling that what has happened in those countries over that period, and one day they are going to wake up and say “April Fools” and return to normality.

Back in PREVIOUS YEARS when Dennis says to King Arthur STRANGE WOMEN LYING IN PONDS, DISTRIBUTING SWORDS IS NO BASIS FOR A SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT, I wonder what he would have said after he had seen the election to power of Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Thick Lizzy?

The Far Right has certainly risen to the top these days in the UK, the USA and Russia and these countries are all the same. I’m hoping that we don’t end up with a Far-Right Government here.

If you ask me, I blame the left wing myself. As soon as a Government is elected they begin to attack it. It never proposes any other solution though but simply sows the seeds of discontentment. And then along comes the Far Right with a “solution” and job done

The Far Left doesn’t realise just how much it’s been infiltrated and being manipulated by the Far Right, but it’s been the case for over 100 years and they still can’t see it.

When the “alarm went off” there was also something about a female footballer who was putting up some outstanding performances, so much so that one or two people were wondering whether “she” was actually a “he”. The President of one Football Association called for an investigation and threatened that next time he encountered her, he would strip her to verify his beliefs. She then published a notice warning people that in any attempt to remove her clothing by anyone else, she would not be responsible for the violence that followed. The other girls too made similar declarations and they began to prepare for a confrontation. This started a similar movement among some members of the crowd too.

Not that I’m a big fan of women’s football, I’ve seen a few women players who would be quite at home in the Premier League. I hadn’t seen a women’s game for years and then I STUMBLED BY ACCIDENT ON A GIRL’S GAME at that High School in Burlington when I was in Vermont and was totally taken aback by how standards had improved.

And they’ve improved considerably since.

There were several radio notes that needed completing and so for the rest of the morning I completed tham. So that’s another one all ready to be dictated tonight. There’s quite a pile of them building up now, dictated but not edited and completed, but that will give me something to do, I suppose, during my week in hospital at the end of April.

And it’s a good job that I completed them this morning because I crashed out completely and definitively round about lunchtime. I’d done a few tidying up bits and pieces, put a few things away, had a really good wash and change of clothes, and that, dear reader, was that. I came in here, sat down and wad gone completely.

The football had already started when I awoke but it was on a recorded stream so it was just a case of going back to the start of the recording.

Y Bala of the Premier League against Mynydd Y Fflint in the North-West Ardal League, or 3rd Division North-West (even though Mynydd y Fflint is actually Halkin, on Deeside in North-East Wales.

The result of a match like this is pretty much a foregone conclusion, although Mynydd y Fflint have four players with Premier League experience, centre-back Aaron Simpson and three players who I would pick for any side in the Premier League today – keeper John Danby, winger Rob Hughes and striker Mike Hayes.

Rob Hughes is the mercurial type with that little touch of magic that can turn a game in an instant and he showed some beautiful touches today. But his problem always has been his self-control and managers have a hard time keeping him on the pitch for 90 minutes.

And so it proved today. I don’t know what he said to the referee after 60 minutes but it was worth a red card.

Not that it really mattered though. They were already 2-0 down and ended up conceding another later in the game. However, they did have their moments. They hit the woodwork once or twice and had another shot cleared off the line.

When the game was over I prepared a quick buffet of home-made hummus, some crackers, olives and pickles as my neighbour was coming round to see me.

As well as finding out how we were doing, she had a few suggestions that might help me and she told me something that she had learned about my apartment downstairs.

Once she left I came back in here and would you believe it, I crashed out again

However, I awoke in time for tea – baked potatoes with salad and breaded quorn fillets. I do love those and I hope that I can keep on getting them.

So now I’m going to loiter around until later at night when hopefully everyone has gone to bed and I can dictate my radio notes. And then add them to the pile that need editing. Frederick the Great once said "we are made for action, and activity is the sovereign remedy for all physical ills"

However he said that 200 or so years before I was born. I prefer the counsel of Matt Dillon’s girlfriend in “Gunsmoke” – "Sunday is the one day of the week a man can get up at noon and sit around with his boots off without anybody hollering at him about it"

That’s much more in my line of country.

Saturday 28th October 2023 – FOR THE FIRST …

… time since I don’t know when, there wasn’t anything on the dictaphone from the night and that’s not something that happens every day. I must have had one of the deepest sleeps that I’ve ever had.

Mind you, I didn’t go to bed until after 04:00. I was quite wound up and stressed out after my travels yesterday.

What I used to do in the old days when I drove taxis was that when I would finally return home I’d go out for a good run to tire myself out

That wasn’t anything that I could do after I married because I never had the time to unwind but when I moved to Brussels and was chauffering, I would go out running again. And I must admit that I was sleeping better after I started running yet again after I moved here.

Of course, all of that is well in the past now.

As I expected, the phone never stopped pinging during the early morning but I tried my best to ignore it. Nevertheless I abandoned all hope and staggered to my feet at 11:40.

Today, I’ve been quite busy. For a start, I’ve had to back up the main computer with all of the amended files that accumulated on the portable computer while I was away at Ice Station Zebra. And there were several hundred of those. It took ages.

There were several discussions on the phone and the internet too. Rosemary rang me and we had another one of our marathon chats. Liz and one or two other people sent me messages but the most surprising, and one of the most welcome, was a chat that I had with someone with whom I usually only have interaction during the night when I’m asleep.

We had football too – TNS v Y Bala. And as you might expect, it was more a case of “when” rather than “what”. The fact that Y Bala held out for 35 minutes before conceding was something surprising.

TNS scored a second too but Y Bala held out until the final whistle. And that was a much better effort than the last time that we saw TNS play Y Bala, when the latter team folded up so dramatically in the final few minutes last summer.

Sure enough, TNS are on their usual relentless stride to the championship with no real opposition from anyone.

Many people think that it must be pretty boring with TNS winning everything every year since the money came into the club, and whether or not that might be the case, the fact is that the race to catch up has improved the quality of the matches and the quality of the players dramatically.

In recent years we’ve had 4 full Welsh internationals, several under-21 internationals, a Zimbabwe international and internationals from Malta, New Zealand and one of the Caribbean nations plus many more besides. There was nothing whatever like that 10 years ago.

Tea tonight, later than usual, was chips (potato and sweet potato) with salad and one of those breaded quorn fillets that I like so much.

So bedtime now, and maybe if I’m lucky I’ll go on a wander about again during the night. I missed my night-time voyage.

Tomorrow I have pizza dough to make and then maybe I’ll have to start work again. I’ll have to do that some time.

Friday 5th May 2023 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

… a slightly better day today. Towards the end of the afternoon I started to feel a little more like it and actually managed to do some work.

Not that I was expecting to of course, because we had another depressing night. I was rather later than intended going to bed, and then although I was asleep quite early on I awoke a couple of times. Once at 06:30 when I couldn’t go back to sleep so by the time that the alarm went off at 07:00 I was up and about already.

Well, sort-of. I wouldn’t have said that I was wide awake.

Something that I’ve done today that I haven’t done for quite some considerable time was to have some breakfast. Over the past year or so I’ve been cutting down considerably on what I’ve been eating as I’m not as mobile as I once was.

Desserts and breakfast were the two things that were struck off my list but this morning I’m not sure why but I went for a bowl of cornflakes.

That actually led to a late lunch of my fruit bun and fru it. It did me good to wait for a while before eating. I’ll get to my target weight yet.

This afternoon I had a listen to the dictaphone. I was with a couple of people last night. We were planning on going somewhere in Wales. I was going t drive and take these 2 other people with me, a man and wife, but the wife insisted that we went via Reading instead of via Chester. I said that that was stupid because it’s hundreds of miles out of our way. She explained that she knew the way via Reading. I said that I knew the way via Chester. I lived in Chester (which I did, between 1972 and 1974) and I travelled through Chester dozens of times. She was absolutely adamant. This led to the most surprising argument etc. She was really in a fury. In the end her husband said “look, let’s go with you. I’ll persuade her and talk to her”. In the end they agreed to go with me but she said “he’s not having anything when he arrives”. I thought that at this stage I couldn’t really be bothered. We set out. When we were in Chester fuelling up at a petrol station I asked “what time did I say that we’d be in Chester?”. Someone replied “09:35” so I asked “what time is it now?”. It was 09:36. I said “it just goes to show, doesn’t it?”. On the way back we came to a road junction on the Calveley Straight. I turned left and found myself going back to Chester. I thought “God, here we go. She’s going to go off”. Everyone else thought it quite funny. We had to find somewhere to do a U-turn. There was a house with a large drive up ahead but I was going too fast. I ended up on the lawn and it was wet and slippery. I said “for God’s sake don’t let the car stop now”. But we did stop and slid up to the edge of the lawn. We all had to exit the car and lift it up over the edge onto the driveway so that we could drive away again. We were then in a garage of some description, all having to tidy it up. It seemed that the more we tidied it the more rubbish we found. In the end we were just brushing stuff into bins and bags etc. I had one guy brush a whole load of nails and tacks into a big plastic bag.

There was something else later about a debate as to whose car we would go in. In the end we agreed to go in mine so we all piled into it. It was when we had to be fully clothed to be outside. I remember thinking how lucky we were to be mainly together. On the way home my partner’s husband had died so she wanted to go that way to see him. I explained how they made the shine on but she wasn’t in the least bit interested. I said “but you’ll be finding out soon about this once you qualify” but no-one paid much attention …. and at this point I fell asleep. I’ve probably mentioned before that I’m actually asleep when I’m dictating but at this point in this dream (which was actually in places a meaningless jumble of indistinct words) there was dead silence followed by me snoring.

Finally, I was in work last night in an office, and this is a recurring dream, isn’t it? For some reason I just wasn’t accomplishing anything – rather like my life at the moment as it happens. I couldn’t concentrate. In the end I gave it up as a bad job. It was coffee break so I went to the coffee room. There was some kind of party there with lots of food. It took me ages to get a coffee by which time most of the food had gone. I picked up something to eat and sat down. I must have fallen asleep because the next thing that I knew, the room was empty, everyone had gone and all of the food had been taken away. I had to redress myself quickly. I couldn’t find my clothes at first, then I couldn’t find how to switch off the TV. For some reason the remote control wasn’t working. In the end I left it and walked to the head of the stairs. I leapt over the handrail and dropped down onto the floor below. Then I couldn’t remember where my office was. I had a pnaic attack at that moment. I walked down the corridor and someone nearly ran me over with a trolley. A guy smiled at me so he obviously knew who I was. I thought he looked familiar but I couldn’t remember who. I eventually found my way back to my office where the people weren’t really concentrating. They were singing at their desks etc. It was all extremely weird. I thought “I’m just not getting anything done at all. I can’t concentrate. I’ll have to sit down, put my head down and work, maybe work all the way through my lunch break to make up for the time that I’ve wasted so far this morning”.

The rest of the day was spent finishing off the notes that I started the other day for a forthcoming radio programme. There wasn’t much to do but finding the motivation was the big issue here. Anyway, that’s all done and dusted and I’ll dictate them late tomorrow night when it’s all quiet.

Tea tonight was a salad with chips and some of those miniature vegan sausage rolls, the latter two cooked in the air fryer. And there’s definitely something wrong with my palette because they didn’t taste as they normally do either.

And then we had the football. The first of two semi-finals that shall eventually decide who’ll accompany TNS, Connahs Quay Nomads and Penybont into Europe. After their mauling at the weekend Y Bala were hoping to gain some consolation and we had quite an exciting match against Y Drenewydd.

The latter were the better team but Bala never stopped running and pushed them all the way. The big difference was that a coupke of shots from Y Drenewydd that hit the woodwork found their way into the back of the Bala net, whereas a couple of shots hitting the Drenewydd woodwork went out for goal kicks.

4-2 to Drenewydd was the final score and although they deserve their win, the scoreline was rather flattering. The winners will go on to play the winners of Saturday’s match between Cardiff Metro and Haverfordwest.

But that’s tomorrow. Tonight I have one or two more things to do and then I’m off to bed. Shopping in the morning and I don’t need much as I’m off to Leuven on Wednesday. Here’s hoping that I feel better.

Friday 3rd March 2023 – HERE I ALL AM ..

… not sitting in a rainbow but sitting on my comfy seat in my bedroom. I’ve made it back home.

With just the usual problems, such as losing my keys on the train and having to rouse the staff that was asleep in the office at the station. A good job that it was at the terminus and there was still another train to come in otherwise I would have been well and truly snookered.

And that reminds me of the old French joke –
“Frappe! Frappe!”
“Qui est là?”
“Lost”
“Lost qui?”
“Oui”

Anyway, after another miserable night’s sleep, I was awake yet again before the alarm went off. And after the previous night there was nevertheless plenty of stuff on the dictaphone to be going on with

I was out with an American policeman last night driving around California. he was showing me all these mountainous areas where people had moved in and put cabins. These were in some of the routes taken by wolves during their migration and the cabins were blocking the routes. I awoke quickly after that.

Later on I was at one of these competitions on TV about 2 items. There was an explosive shell. For some reason I began to look inside the shell casing. I dropped it and all of the gunpowder went everywhere all over the film set. We tried washing it away with water but of course that didn’t work. It froze immediately. Some girl was about to skate off and go right through it

I took a girl to the airport last night in a taxi. I don’t know who she was but I ought to. We were discussing the airport, saying how handy it was for us. She said that her father ran some kind of taxi service in the airport area. He’d bought a couple of limousines, a black one and a silver one with the idea of trying to get hold of some high-quality airport work. The chat went on for quite a while. We arrived at the vicinity of the airport. I grossly undercharged her for going and I’ve no idea why that would be. I only ended up charging her £6:00 or something like that. Going to the airport cost a lot more than that back in the day. It was an extremely interesting chat about her father and his 2 silver K135 cars

We were in Walsh class last night reading a paper on changing roles in society. It listed probably 10 roles like mending a fence, mending your roof, taking money to the bank etc. The discussion was about how modern people are now changing their way of thinking. The key word here was “remuneration”. We’re all older in our Welsh class. I was saying that I was up on my roof in August. Someone else said that they’d fixed their own fence the other week. It seemed that we were bucking a trend about this question of changing DiY into paid remuneration.

And so I was up and about and ready to go out of the door at 07:00. The train that came in at 07:10 was another push-me-pull-you double decker and I have a hard time climbing on board them. Someone having chained his folding pushbike to the disabled handrail didn’t help matters at all.

At Brussels Gare du Nord I left the train and found my way onto the concourse but the lift downstairs was out of order so I had a very delicate walk down the stairs. I’ll tell you something for nothing and that is that no matter how much better I’m feeling, it’s a totally different kettle of fish with a backpack on my back.

My bus was due to leave at 08:20 but there was no sign of it. All the others were in and gone, and ours finally staggered into the loading bay 40 minutes late. But there’s one thing about being a disabled passenger and that is that even though it’s difficult to climb up the steps into the bus, they let me on first so I can have the pick of the seats.

Between Brussels and Lille I had a very charming young lady sitting next to me and we had a lengthy chat all the way. It’s a long time since I’ve had such an erudite companion so if you read this, Pauline, un grand bonjour.

She alighted at Lille and I had another companion as far as Rouen. He didn’t have much to say for himself but he picked up my phone for me when it fell to the floor.

From Rouen to Caen I was on my own but we did have a moment of excitement when we were stopped in a police barrage and the bus was searched for drugs. Two people were taken off the bus to be interviewed but they were allowed back on afterwards.

It’s no surprise to anyone that I missed the 16:10 train to Granville. But there’s another one at 17:10 so I was able to grab a nice hot coffee. I hadn’t had too much to drink on board the bus, on the basis that what doesn’t go in won’t want to come out. 8 hours on a bus is a long time and the toilets are really inconvenient for people with mobility issues.

As we pulled into the station at Granville I checked my keys and put them into the outside pocket of my coat so that they were handy. When I reached Caliburn on the car park I no longer had them. In the confusion of organising myself to leave they must have fallen out.

It took a while to awaken the people in the station. Presumably they had gone off for a coffee before the next train comes in, but eventually they arrived and we did the necessary so that I could collect my keys. Serves me right for being disorganised.

Back at Ice Station Zebra I made a drink because I had a thirst that you could photograph. And then I watched the football. Connah’s Quay Nomads v Y Bala in the Welsh Cup semi-Final.

The Quay took the lead after just 35 seconds and from them on we had a right full-blooded cup-tie that was played with an extraordinary amount of skill. A really good advert for the Welsh Premier League.

In the second half Bala scored 2 quick goals to take the lead but with 10 minutes left the Quay equalised. We were heading for penalties when Bala popped up with a third and despite Connah’s Quay throwing everything including the kitchen sink at Bala in the dying seconds of the game they couldn’t find an equaliser.

They did actually have the ball in the net right at the end but with Jack Kenny holding down Alex Ramsey in the Bala goal, there was no way that the goal would be allowed.

And how I wish that Jack Kenny, who is one of my favourite players in the WPL, would stop moaning and protesting every time a decision is given against him. He’d be a really good player, one of the best in the league, if only he would stop being so petulant.

On the bus I’d eaten some of my butties so at half-time I fetched the leftovers and demolished them with a pear and a banana. And now I’m off to bed.

Tomorrow I’m shopping, and as I missed my St David’s Day, when I return I’m going to make some leek and potato soup for the weekend to vary my diet a little. I’m quite looking forward to that.

And I’m looking forward to my own bed as well. The hotel bed was comfortable, but it’s not mine.

And just a word before I go. Travelling everywhere on crutches is difficult, yet it would have been much more difficult without all of the help that I received from all kinds of people who showed me some extraordinary kindness as I went around on my travels.

It’s the kind of thing that restores my jaundiced faith in humanity and I am really grateful to everyone who helped me along the way.

Saturday 28th January 2023 – THERE WAS NO …

… danger of sleeping through the alarm this morning. This new phone has the loudest alarm that i’ve ever heard – loud to the point of being uncomfortable. But at least I know that it works which is good news. The way I am these days, I’d be totally lost without an alarm.

So when the alarms went off this morning, I was actually up and about for the second alarm and that makes quite a change. And after the medication and checking my mails and messages I had a quiet morning without doing all that much. Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone though. I must have had quite an active night. I can’t remember much about this first one though, except that I dropped a pile of spaghetti down on my trousers while I was eating my evening meal. That’s about everything unfortunately

And then I was out last night looking at apartments. Not for myself – I was with someone else. We’d been employed as investigators by some kind of TV company to go to look at apartments that were to let and look at the condition, examine them closely, find out what regulations were being broken, how the landlords were getting round the rules etc. It was quite interesting. There were plenty of landlords who refused even to be seen and conducted everything by phone or standing behind a door etc showing us these places. We said that we were questioning them but trying to make it sound that we were interested tenants. One actually said that I should be in politics, something that brought a guffaw of laughter from me and whoever I was with. Then Jimmy Clitheroe went out to look at an apartment and made a report on it too. It was all something extremely interesting.

There was something else going on last night of which I can only remember a little bit. It was to do with money and receipts, whether I was receiving money from being self-employed etc. This was the last time that I was receiving the money so I had to finish off my account book. That meant drawing a few vertical lines in it which I tried to do with a ruler and pencil but for some unknown reason it wouldn’t follow the line of the ruler and going off at slight diagonals somewhere making the whole thing look untidy when I’d been doing my best to try to keep it neat. One of the things was a payment that had been made to Nerina that needed to be included. Again, where her entry had to go was this problem with making these vertical lines for the columns. There was a lot more to it than this but it all evaporated away.

Later on I had to go out into the suburbs of the extreme south of London. I was in the north of London at the time so it meant catching a local train into Euston station, a metro down into the centre and then I could walk the rest of the way. I reached the underground station but I couldn’t find a money-changing machine. In the end I had to negotiate with a woman who was keeping one of the bars there. She gave me 4x50cents for a £2:00 coin. I worked out how to get onto the station. There were 5 platforms here. I had to work out which platform I wanted. As I approached the first platform a train to Kings Cross pulled in so there was a huge stampede of people for that train. It was amazing how quickly the station cleared. They all clambered aboard and their train went. She started to announce the next one, the announcer did, which I hoped would be mine.

And then Nerina turned up. She was in bed so I made breakfast in bed but I’d left it rather late. We had to be in church for 11:00 which meant leaving here at about 10:00 but that would be impossible as she would only have 15 minutes to eat her breakfast and prepare herself. I had a look round and found that there was a service at 12:00 because it was Pentecost so I told her to take her time. When we went out we had to go right the way across London on foot all the way out to the suburbs at the extreme south of the city. That meant catching a train from the north into Euston station, a metro on the Northern Line so far and then walking the rest of the way. We reached the station and had to hunt around to find out where our train was, which was on Platform 5. Something cropped up and as a result we were late and missed our train. We had to catch another one. This was right towards the end of the service. I went down to Platform 5 with Nerina. Of course I wasn’t even sure now that the next train we wanted would be at Platform 5. 2 TGVs went past then a couple of local trains. None of them stopped. A couple of buses pulled in so we went to find out about these buses. One was packed and the other was going somewhere that I didn’t recognise. I thought “if we’re not careful we’ll end up having to walk all the way from where we are. That’s going to take us another couple of hours to reach our destination in the end than it would do if we’d caught the train, the metro and then walked and that was long enough

It’s quite strange really how the second part of the fifth one is quite similar to all of the fourth one. I’m not sure whether or not that classes as stepping back into a dream or not.

After lunch there was football. Connah’s Quay against Y Bala in the Welsh League Cup Final. For a game that finished 0-0 after 90 minutes it was actually quite exciting. In fact both sides were unlucky to finish with 0 necause Jack Kenny up front for the Nomads and George Newell up front for Bala each missed a bagful of chances

Both sides finished with 10 men too, Bala after one of their players had thrown a ball at a spectator. and there was a little 10-minute period where on another day a couple of other players could have joined them in the dressing room for an early bath.

We ended up with penalties, which Bala won 4-3.

But some of the substitutions that Neil Gibson made from the Nomads bench were bewildering to say the least. I’d have played the last half-hour completely differently than he did.

The rest of the day has been writing notes for the radio programmes and one day I’ll have them finished, whenever that may be.

Tea tonight was one of those breadcrumbed tofu slices with baked potato and salad. I’m getting quite into these salads to make a change from vegetables, and tonight’s meal was totally delicious. I’m not sure what I’m going to do though when I run out of this vegan mayonnaise with garlic. I shall have to find a good recipe and give it a good go.

Tomorrow I have a couple of things to do which shouldn’t take me all that long on a good day, but I’m not having too many of those right now. In that case it will probably take me all day and then some more. But I want to finish these 2 radio programmes on Monday no matter what so the more I do tomorrow the less I have to do on Monday.

That of arrangement would suit me fine.

Friday 26th August 2022 – DOESN’T CAP LIHOU

cap lihou chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022… look smart?

One thing about the chantier naval is that they don’t mess about. When they repaint a trawler they slap it on good and thick.

There have been several trawlers that have gone in there looking like drab caterpillars and come out like gorgeous shining butterflies and it looks as if Cap Lihou is going to be the latest in a long line.

It’s a far cry away from how she was looking A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO when they started grinding off the old paintwork

Not quite a far cry away from how I was a couple of weeks ago but how many days now is it that I’ve gone without crashing out?

Having mentioned it now is rather like tempting fate but a run of several days of keeping going is worthy of note all the same.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while you admire a few photos of the Nazguls that flew by overhead, I’ll tell you about another busy day today.

Once more we started off with a struggle for me to leave my bed just after the alarm went off. I beat the second alarm to my feet although not by much, and then I went off in search of the medication.

Back in here, once I’d gathered my wits (which takes me far longer than it ought, seeing how few I have these days) I had a little listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

As you’ll hear in a moment, I knew that there was some stuff on there because I was awake when I dictated it. But there was some other stuff on there too.

hang gliders pointe de lude Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Someone tried to smuggle a woman onto a camp last night. It was a man probably in his 50s respectably dressed with a top hat, rather like a circus ringmaster trying to bring in a woman. But the people on the camp were discussing the football, how Rhyl had risen from the ashes and made it to the Welsh Cup Final where they’d been playing Newport and had a 1-1 draw at the end of 90 minutes and how we were going to see 30 minutes of extra time, and hats off to rhyl if they manage to pull it off from their position down in the flames a couple of years ago.

And Rhyl have done that too. A few seasons ago the owner closed down the club and abandoned it. A group of fans reformed a shadow club from nothing and with grit and determination, and a series of successive promotions, have now hauled themselves up into the third tier of Welsh football.

Bangor City have done exactly the same thing, by the way and are also in the same third tier league after successive promotions. It’ll be an interesting season with the two of them slugging it out for just the one promotion spot to the second tier

There was then something in the local newspaper about how some newspaper or other was going to take this expensive car for a drive if they could obtain permission from the maid of this particular family.

When the alarm went off, I was likewise in the middle of a dream so I dictated it as soon as I awoke, hence knowing that there was stuff on there. There had been me, a girl and a few other people. She was talking about her past and how at one time she had a menagerie of animals but there were only 2 that she loved. The others she liked but just the 2 that she loved and she only had special hugs off those. She was so disappointed about that that I gave her a hug and said something like “I’m sure that they all liked you”. She replied “yes” but she was talking about something different. But this was a long dream that went on for ages, interrupted by the alarm. As soon as it went off I forgot almostt everything off it.

Once I’d settled down, I made a start on things that needed doing and now all of the entries for when I was on my travels around Leuven ARE ONLINE for you to peruse at your leisure.

There were plenty of interruptions too. Breakfast of course, and Rosemary telephoned me again. She’d forgotten to tell me something yesterday that was quite important so we had another one of our marathon chats and then I had work to do

While I was at it, it reminded me that there was something else that I needed to do. As it doesn’t seem as if I’m going anywhere in the near future and as you lot seem to think that I ought to get out more, I put some steps in motion.

And lunch as well. Mustn’t forget my fruit.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And the afternoon walk, which meant dodging the low-flying Nazguls while I nipped across the car park to have a look at the beach.

The fact that there were plenty of Nazguls out today wil tell you what the weather was like. Clear and quite windy. And that had affected the numbers of people down at the beach.

With the Festival of Working Sailing Ships being a much better attraction, everyone had presumably gone off over there this afternoon leaving just the hard-core sunbathers taking the waters.

And “taking the waters” they were as well by the looks of things.

While I was checking on the beach I was looking around out at sea at the same time.

sailing ship english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There wasn’t anything special in the immediate vicinity but out in the distance in the English Channel behind the Ile de Chausey there was something exciting that looked like a large sailing ship.

With the idea of checking it over when I returned home, I photographed it And having enlarged the photo and enhanced it back here, I’m still none-the-wiser. I’m not even better-informed.

There were dozens of sailing ships of all different sizes out there according to the radar, and amongst them were La Cancalaise and Le Renard, either of whom might fit the bill. You’ll have to make up tour own mind.

It wasn’t just the Nazguls overhead that were taking advantage of the weather up in the air this afternoon.

f-gicp Piper PA-28RT-201T baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022

While I was walking down the path towards the end of the healdand I was overlown by a light aircraft coming from the direction of the airfield.

Her registration number is clearly visible as F-GICP and that tells me that she’s a Piper PA-28RT-201T

It’s one that I can’t recall having seen before. She first appeared on the radar at 09:40 this morning somewhere just to the west of Paris and then disappeared off the radar somewhere between Vire and Villedieu les Poeles

Since then she’s been flying around Western France only being picked up intermittently on radar and as far as I can tell, she hasn’t stayed anywhere for too long. She’s not recorded at the airfield here .

f-guxf F-GUXF - Robin DR 400-120 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Another mystery aeroplane went flying by overhead almost immediately afterwards.

She’s F-GUXF and that information tells me that she’s a Robin DR 400-120. She’s owned by the Aeo Club at Caen and for that reaosn I think that we might have seen her before.

What she’s doing though I can’t say. I now have access to the flight records at Granville, Avranches and Caen and she isn’t featured on any of them and she wasn’t picked up on radar either.

Mind you, according to the list of old German World-War II airfields that I found, there are quite a few around here that even though they might no longer be in use, something could be happening there

group of dancers pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While we’re on the subject of mysteries … “well, one of us is” – ed … what’s happening here is a mystery too.

There are about twelve people and one group leader or monitor, and they are all standing round in a circle whilst the leader demonstrates some kind of dance move that they all repeat. I’m half-expecting them next to all join hands and dance around in a fairy ring.

This is something else that it is better not to know too much about I suppose and is somewhat similar to the Conservative Party annual conference where all of the attendees gather round, hold hands and try to contact the living.

green grass around base of war memorial pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022This though is quite interesting and extremely topical.

We’ve had very little rain for a couple of months and it’s like a desert here. What has fallen has been absorbed straight into the bone-dry soil and you wouldn’t notice it.

Where the rain has fallen on concrete the water has slowly run off and that is why the grass and plants at the very edge of the concrete look so much better – that they have had the benefit of all of the run-off water.

It’s a similar situation in the High Arctic. There’s always a more luxurious plant growth around the bases of big stones.

That’s not simply because of the run-off of water either but also because the birds perch on the rocks and their droppings are washed off in the rainwater so it’s extremely nutritious for a plant.

fishermen pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There were quite a few people loitering around on the car park so I had to fight my way through to the end of the headland.

And having a look down onto the rocks there was just one fisherman today. However he must have seen me coming because as soon as I arrived he picked up his equipment and began to move away.

It’s the same kind of effect that I seem to have on most people. As soon as they see me coming they pack up and clear off rather smartish-like.

Maybe I should change my deodorant.

cabanon vauban people leaving pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And I’m not joking either.

There were also a few people sitting on the bench down by the cabanon vauban but as soon as they saw me coming they cleared off too and headed for the hills.

Mind you I don’t know what they were doing down there because there was absolutely nothing to see out at sea today.

There was someone next to me showing off to his friends pointing out the sights, telling people that Cancale was St Malo and stuff like that. I was half-inclined to correct him but I didn’t want to start a fight.

vapour trail pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And so instead I cleared off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

It was a really strange day today though. Plenty of wind down below but up in the upper atmosphere ther emust have been no wind whatsoever. Just look at this beautiful vapour trail left behind by a high-flying jet airliner.

Uusually there are some very strong air currents up there and vapour trails don’t usually last long before they are shredded by the wind. But this one was there for ages and was one of the most beautiful that I have seen.

painters boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022This wasn’t anywhere like so beautiful.

At the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval we had a group of artists painting the scene. One of them – she on the far right, had set up her chair right in the middle of the path completely blocking it and the only way round was to walk on the lawn.

When I reached there I asked “is it OK to pass?” because her tutor was blocking the rest of the way round. “Ohh there’s plenty of room” she replied.

With youths and kids there’s a certain level of incivility because of poor – or even absent – parenting but there is really no excuse whatsoever for incivility from people of my age

festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Before I went back home I had a look down at the Festival to see how things were doing.

Marité wasn’t there. She was out at the Ile de Chausey. But the crowds were. They were having a right old time down there. You might say that this Festival is a success.

Back here I finished off the chocolate milk and finished off the blog entries from my leuven trip.

Tea was a quick tea of sausage, beans and chips (done to perfection in the air fryer) because there was football on the internet, Y Bala v Y Drenewydd.

Both teams qualified for Europe last season but so far they have been well off the pace. Y Drenewydd played really well up until the final 10 yards in front of goal where they just couldn’t find the killer touch. I felt sorry for Louis Robles who is supposed to be a striker but spent most of the time out on the wing going to collect the ball.

Y Bala weren’t any better but the contrast was that they had the killer touch and a 3-0 victory for them was a great exaggeration. Still, that’s what counts in the end – getting the ball into the net.

Having said that though, there’s obviously a new definition this season as to what is and what isn’t a foul. From wat I saw, a blatant push in the back is considered to be fair game. If I’d seen it missed once I’d have shrugged it off but to see it four or five times, including in the build-up to two of the goals, makes me wonder what is going on.

So now I’m off to bed. A good night I hope, and then a shopping trip in the morning. I’m not expecting to go another day without crashing out but I’ll do my best. I have plenty of stuff to do anyway and just because I’ve dealy with one lot of arrears doesn’t mean that I can relax.

There are still another 99 to go.

Friday 15th April 2022 – WHAT I SAW …

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… this afternoon on my wander around the headland.

As usual, the first port of call is the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach to see what’s happening there.

But I needn’t have bothered today. There could have been Godzilla and the Loch Ness Monster down there for all I knew, and I wouldn’t have seen them in this rolling sea mist that’s coming off the water.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have had sea mists before, but nothing quite like this one. It reminds me of the STRAIT OF BELLE ISLE between Labrador and Newfoundland.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Something else that I saw on my travels as I peered through the fog was one of the Birdmen of Alcatraz whose Nazgul seems to have come to grief here on the headland.

So while you admire a few photos of the pair of them wrestling with each other and the elements, I’ll tell you something about my day.

And with no alarm, I was expecting either an 06:00 start or another 12:30 rude awakening but to my surprise, and probably yours too, it was a much more sedate and realistic 09:40 when I finally crawled out of bed.

First stop after the medication this morning was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Again I think that I missed out a lot but I was in Brussels last night – although it wasn’t Brussels – living in an apartment building. Underneath where I was living was a casino. There was a group of us talking about the EU and one or two of the rackets that went on there in the 80s and 90s that were exposed. Someone was running a Social media page called “EU rackets” but it was titled in German where it listed everything that was happening. One of the girls there was a German girl whom I knew. She was saying that she took part in this page to help the guy to run it but he was just as much a racketeer as the rackets that he was exposing. He lived in the building and was into large-scale gambling. Although they weren’t allowed to do it in the building where he lived, he found another way. That was when I mentioned the subject of this casino at the foot of the hill where my apartment building was. We spent a lot of time chatting about gambling and that kind of thing.

And then it was Welsh Cup quarter-final day. I was talking to someone about the games. There were 4 of them of course and were being played two at the same time with one before and one after these two. I couldn’t remember who was playing where and kept on being confused. I was talking to someone but I couldn’t come out with the correct venues and correct teams. We ended up outside a stadium for a match Aberystwyth against Cardiff Metro. We looked in and saw that the game had already started so I said to the people with me that I was going to stay and watch the game. Then I could go to the second and then to the third instead of watching it on the TV. So I went in and said goodbye to the people as I’d be staying here. Someone inside the ground asked “what did you say?”. I replied “I’ll be staying here”. They asked if I had a ticket. I replied that I could walk round and pay for one. There was a cat walking around on the stands so I picked it up for a stroke and went over to talk to someone but they had a lion. The lion expressed a great deal of interest in this cat so I pulled the cat away thinking that the lion might eat it but someone said “no, put it back” so I put the cat back and the lion started to wash the cat.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022This was a continuation of a dream that I’ve had before a long time ago so I said to myself in my dream. Someone was running an office somewhere and a young guy turns up for an interview. Although there’s no vacancy they feel sorry for him and fit him in for a couple of hours because it fits in with his life as a single father and offer him some work. I don’t know where it went from there but tonight it turned out that this guy had been an actor and had played Jesus in some kind of film or play. There was some kind of stigma over him and a couple of other people knew about this and they were doing all they could to keep out of his way. he was pushing his trolley with his possessions on it heading right for these 2 people. They were wondering how on earth they were going to get out of meeting him when suddenly a girl exclaimed “oh, it’s Jesus” and ran over and started talking to him. He started to tell his hard luck story. Someone else who was around interrupted them saying “aren’t you going to deliver those objects that you have?”. He said to this girl that he had better push on and do his job. These 2 objects were destined for the room in which the other 2 people were hiding. They were now panicking about where they could go to keep out of the way of this guy while he stuck these 2 parcels in this room

The rest of the morning was spent working on the photos from my trip around the Canadian High Arctic of 2019. Despite having dealt with a few dozen, I’m still on my zodiac in Dundas Harbour on Devon Island where I look as if I may be until doomsday at this rate.

After a lunch of porridge and hot cross buns I had a few things to do, a session on the guitar and a chat on the internet with someone or other who shall be nameless but you all know who it is, and then, much earlier than usual, I went out for my afternoon walk.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022You’ve seen the weather conditions today so I wasn’t expecting much in the way of photographs.

And the Birdman of Alcatraz and his Nazgul weren’t expecting much of anything either because after having wrestled with each other for a while, he imitated one of Longfellow’s characters and “shall fold their tents, like the Arabs and as silently steal away”.

Frankly, I don’t know what he must have been thinking, having come out in this kind of weather. I would imagine that, being uniquely wind-powered, you would need a good few hundred yards of room to manoeuvre your Nazgul if you are to avoid catastrophe and the visibility wasn’t anything like that good.

Being out in a rolling sea mist is a recipe for disaster if ever I saw one.

cabanon vauban people bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022It’s not a Bank Holiday here in France but nevertheless there are plenty of people on holiday, wandering around here and there.

And even a few down on the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban too. Although what they might be expecting to see down there is anyone’s guess because I couldn’t see anything.

Actually, I think they realised after a while that it was pretty pointless being down there because, as I watched, they slowly packed up their things and began to move away. Not that things are much better anywhere else, that is.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022In the newspaper this morning it said that one of the highest tidal coefficients of the year would be this weekend.

That can only mean one thing – the pèche à pied. With the high coefficient, it means that the public area of the foreshore will be uncovered at low tide so it will be a free-for-all as everyone swarms down there to see what they can find.

There are already a few people down there making their way to the water’s edge. And if this blasted fog would lift we would probably find that there are a few more people further out as well. When we did a radio programme from down there a couple of years ago there were hundreds of people.

ch721430 le styx ch922344 le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022So leaving them to it, I headed off down the path towards the harbour to see what was happening there.

And there’s a change of occupant – or, rather, an additional occupant at the chantier naval this afternoon too. We’ve seen the trawler Le Styx on a few occasions just recently unloading at the fish processing plant but here she is today up on blocks undergoing servicing.

Le Roc A La Mauve III is still there too. At least, I think that it’s her. I can read her registration number from here now but strangely, it isn’t in the trawler database that I found. Perhaps she’s been brought in from elsewhere and is being reregistered.

ch642969 galapagos port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Another trawler that we’ve seen once or twice on our way around in the past is Galapagos.

She’s over there by the fish processing plant, settling down in the silt and waiting for the tide to come in. By the looks of things she must have missed the opening of the harbour gates because she’s not one that usually loiters around over there.

As for me, I’m not loitering around either. There’s a good reason why I’ve gone for an early walk this afternoon and I’d better get a move on and head for home otherwise I’ll be late.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But the way things are, I’m not going home quite yet.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw Chausiaise tied up at the pontoon where the trawlers usually tie up. That would be bound to lead to complications.

Anyway, she’s cleared off somewhere else now and the trawlers are tied up where they belong.

But still missing from our photo are the two Channel Island ferries Granville and Victor Hugo. The last I heard of them, they had been hauled out of the water at Cherbourg.

But that was a while ago. If the service to the Channel Islands is to restart, they ought to have started it now while the crowds are here for the Easter break.

weeding porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022One final thing before I go back inside.

It’s the time of year when they send the gardening crew out. Today, they are pulling the weeds out of the rocks in the medieval walls by the Porte St Jean. If the roots penetrate between the rocks they’ll loosen the stonework and bring it down.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I had to repoint the whole back wall of my house in Virlet when I puled the ivy off.

Interestingly, you’ll notice that the van has the old-style number plates. That means that it last had a change of owner prior to 2009. So the local council has owned it for at least 13 years.

It’s not like the UK here where people change cars every couple of years. That’s why second-hand vehicles are comparatively more expensive.

Back at home I settled down in front of the computer to watch Y Bala v Y Drenewydd in the battle for second place. And just as the whistle went for the kick-off Rosemary rang. So that was the first half effectively out of the window.

That was a shame because the first half was the better of the two with both teams going for it. The match finished 1-0 for Bala which was about the right result. Apart from my favourite player Mwandwe, Y Drenewydd didn’t offer much up front today. Bala’s defence was quite effective.

But SPARE A THOUGHT FOR THE WOODWORK at the town end of the Oval Stadium at Caernarfon. I bet that it has a headache this evening after this afternoon’s match against Penybont.

For tea tonight I had the curry that I’ve been trying to have for a day or two. And of course it was delicious. It couldn’t be anything else.

So shopping tomorrow. I don’t need all that much, I suppose, but it’s been a while since I’ve been and I need a few supplies, as well as to see what’s on offer in Noz. I need to vary my diet again, I reckon.

Friday 18th March 2022 – AFTER ALL …

filming at civic rooms place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… the excitement of yesterday, there’s been even more today.

Unfortunately not quite of the same calibre, but nevertheless it beats the monotony. Especially when they lay down a red carpet at the Communal Rooms at the back of my apartment and set up a film camera to film whatever was going to make use of it.

Whatever or whoever it was, though, I’m not able to say. I had to go out to the Post Office before it closed and so I missed it.

If we’re lucky, there will be something in the newspapers tomorrow, but I’m not all that hopeful. There wasn’t a word about what the Dassault Falcon was doing yesterday.

fire brigade rue des juifs burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022At that wasn’t everything either.

This afternoon it looked as if it was the local Fire Brigade’s annual outing. There they were, complete with vehicles, standing around and chatting, looking up at the ruins of the houses that were devastated in the fire.

While we’re on the subject of “devastated” … “well, one of us is” – ed … I was pretty devastated this morning.

It ended up being a much later night than I was expecting or hoping, and when the alarm went off at 07:30 I switched it off and … err .. went back to sleep. But it wasn’t as bad as yesterday. I managed to make it out of bed a good few minutes before the second alarm.

Not all that much on the dictaphone through the night either. I must have had something of a decent sleep. I was out somewhere last night on the road that runs between Newcastle and Shrewsbury. I don’t know where I’d been but I ended up down some kind of side road somewhere. I stopped and I’d had a piece of cake and a coffee, standing in the middle of this farm track drinking it and eating the cake while the farmer was driving around in his tractor somewhere. Something had gone wrong but I can’t remember what it was. I looked at the time and I thought “God! I only have 20 minutes to get to work!”. I thought that I’d never reach work on time at all from here because I’m on foot. I put down my mug and plate down in the middle of this track and walked down to the main road thinking that I’d hitch a lift. I walked back towards the road junction that would take me to Crewe which was 4 miles away. First of all a bunch of school kids went past, then an old Austin A40 Somerset followed by an old BMC lorry. I then found myself in this village As I walked through this village I thought that I’d never seen such a village. I didn’t know that there was a village like this on this road and I know it so well. By now I was in Caliburn and. There was some road work in the town centre. Everything was being dug up. There were rocks being cut up with a disc cutter. They were even dynamiting small small rocks. I was just driving over everything, machinery, the lot in Caliburn. Some guy was even putting his feet against the glass windows to stop them vibrating when the dynamite went off.. There was this really sharp U-bend by an expensive estate agent’s. I thought that things were becoming really bad. Some woman went past and said “you’re going to be terribly late for work. It’s 2 days running for me that I’ve had to call in with car problems”. I was back in Caliburn again and came across an auto-electrician. I drove into his workshop. I had to straighten a carpet. A guy came over so I asked him to go to listen to the starter while I turned the engine so he could see if there was a problem with the starter.

Later on I was out near Tarporley in a small village … “Tiverton;” – ed. I bumped into a girl whom I knew but I can’t remember who she was. She had curly ginger hair and I don’t know a girl like that in real life. She was telling me about a family whom I knew who lived by the traffic lights at the Rising Sun. She was saying that they’d all cashed in their chips, sold up and moved on. I asked if she knew where they had gone. She told me of a couple of them but there was one whom she didn’t know. She mentioned his name and I knew the name. He’d gone to Toronto. She said “yes, I remember now. He’s bought a racehorse”. I looked surprised and asked “what’s he doing with a racehorse?”. She didn’t actually know. In the end she said something like “if you’re going to take a chance on buying an unknown racehorse for £1:00 or something you’d buy it from a member of your own family rather than from a complete stranger” but she couldn’t see the purpose of this racehorse. I asked her if it was identical to any others that he owned because there’s always the old “run a slower identical horse in a few races to build up a bad reputation then switch the real one in for an important race once the other one has a bad name”. She said “no, it’s not at all like (she mentioned the name of another horse)” so I thought that perhaps it might be an identical horse or something where in this case this one might be slower. I was about to ask her the question when the alarm went off.

After the medication and transcribing the dictaphone notes, I spent most of the rest of the morning working on the photos from the High Arctic in August 2019. We’re now back on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR after our little walk around Qikiqtarjuaq.

That was where Dennis Minty and I bumped into a local Royal Canadian Mounted Police “Mountie” who gave us a lift in his pickup up to the top of a mountain on the island where we took some superb photos which you will see in due course.

After lunch I had a letter to write. It’s the reply to one that’s been hanging around here for quite a few months and someone somewhere is probably wondering if I’ve died.

“Snail mail” has all but died out for personal purposes but I still have the odd (and I use the term advisedly) technophobe friend who writes letters. Unfortunately, just like me, she has had a hand injury and so I have a great deal of difficulty reading her writing just like people have difficulty in reading mine, and it’s not easy to decipher it.

But anyway, it was eventually ready and in a mad fit of enthusiasm which has sprung up from heaven alone knows where, I actually set off to post it.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to check the camera and see what was happening down below.

As you can see, the tide is right out at the moment. It’ll be a while before it’s back in today. But there doesn’t seem to be anyone taking advantage of it and going for a bit of the peche à pied.

And if there’s anything going on at the Ile de Chausey this afternoon, they aren’t doing it aboard the Joly France ferries.

There’s one moored up over there at the ferry terminal in the NAABSA (Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground) position, and the other two are moored up in the inner harbour along with Chausiaise

charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As well as the Ile de Chausey boats in the inner harbour, there’s plenty of other stuff too.

One of the boats here is Charles Marie. We’ve been keeping an eye on her over the last couple of weeks while she was being serviced in the chantier naval but now she must be ready for the sea.

There was a trawler parked in the chantier naval where she was, but I couldn’t see who she was. I’ll go for a wander out that way tomorrow and find out more about her.

And by the looks of things, La Granvillaise wasn’t there either. She must have gone back into the water but she isn’t around in the harbour so I wonder where she’s gone.

There are tons of the containers in which they stack the sacks of shellfish over there on the quayside. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many.

road works abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Dodging the pompiers who were having their meeting on the pavement, I carried on down the hill to the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

The freight was still there but what caught my eye was the lorry and the digger over there on the track of the old abandoned railway.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw them working on the far end of that track in the town centre. They seem to have made rapid progress.

Down in the town I made rapid progress to the Post Office to post my letter. And then I went off to the Credit Agricole. I’ve received a cheque in respect of my Belgian State Pension but I dont now why. Anyway it has to be paid in to my account.

Now what can I do with €60:45? Spend! Spend! Spend! I suppose.

road works abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Walking back into the town centre on my way home I had a quick peek down where the old abandoned railway ran to see how they were doing.

And by the looks of things, they don’t seem to be doing a great deal. They have a compactor down there (which was more than they had on the 1800 miles of the TRANS LABRADOR HIGHWAY IN 2010 but the road surface doesn’t look much different than it did before they started.

And I’m half-expecting one of those boys to end up like an Austin Powers henchman if he isn’t careful. I suppose that the other boy there would refer to his friend as his “flatmate”.

I’ll get my coat.

So having dome my tasks for the day I set off up the hill for home, feeling rather pleased that I’d actually finished a couple of tasks.

Maybe it is these pills that are giving me energy, I dunno, but sometimes I really think that they could give you absolutely anything, tell you what the imaginary effects will be, and then you psyche yourself up to believe them.

kite surfers people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went back inside I went to see what was happening down on the beach outside my building.

Today was a really glorious May day today, really warm, but with a strong wind. And so while there were no Nazguls about, there were a couple of people down there kitesurfing. And having a really good time doing it by the looks of things.

Plenty of people walking around on the beach too having a good time. I don’t know where they have all come from.

One of my neighbours was outside the building too, soaking up the rays. he and I had a good chat before I came in for a coffee.

Later on, I had another session on the guitar. I seem to have rekindled my enthusiasm, having done very little since I fell into this depression several months ago. I quite enjoyed it too, although i’m dismayed at how much of my technique I’ve lost.

Tea was a quick falafel from out of the freezer with pasta and veg because there was football on the internet. Y Bala v Penybont in the first of the Welsh Cup Semi-finals.

And for a match then ended 0-0, this was probably one of the best and most exciting that I’ve seen in a long while. Both teams have star players but they managed to checkmate each other at every turn as the game roared from end to end for the whole 90 minutes. It’s a shame that there aren’t more games like this.

So bedtime now. I’m shopping tomorrow and then I’m going to try to do some exciting stuff. What, I’m not quite sure yet.

Who knows? I might do something wild, like take more rubbish out to the bins.

Sunday 20th February 2022 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… today has been one of those days when I have done nothing at all whatever of any importance.

In fact, it’s been so relaxing that I’ve even forgotten to transcribe the dictaphone notes, as I have just found out. That’s something that I have to do tomorrow after my radio programme is finished.

And when I did, I hadn’t realised just how much there was. I started off with my youngest sister last night but first of all we were in a huge house or something like a castle that was built on a rock. I’d seen a vehicle pull up and I knew whose it was and I knew whom he might have been to see down somewhere else in the building. Later on I climbed down the outside of the building and right the way down the rocks at the bottom where there was a courtyard and there were quite a few people in there having a party, including the woman concerned. It was the mother of a girl whom I know from the Auvergne and who had accompanied me on a few nocturnal rambles in the distant past. I could see that with this party she had obviously known that this guy had been here so I just briefly mentioned it in passing. Then we were chatting away. I thought that I might have been invited to this party but no I wasn’t. I went somewhere else from there and ended up inside and had my sister sitting on my knee. We were chatting about this and that and having quite a bit of fun because she was quite young and I like children of that age so it was all very pleasant. I asked if by any chance my niece and one of her daughters were coming over from Canada. She replied “no they aren’t coming over this year. They came over three times last year and and your brother (who she meant to me) had bean teasing that girl (she meant the one from the Auvergne) about she was having to go into boarding school”. There was a lot more to it than this that I can’t remember.

Something else bizarre happened last night. I don’t know what it was but these two people picked me up, dragged me off and started to interrogate me about something that had happened. I knew nothing about it but they were quite insistent that I did. In the end I had to sign all of these affidavits etc to say that I hadn’t done anything and they were going to give me some money. But they deducted some money for this and some money for that and some money for something else and I ended up with only about 60% of it. But then thinking on it was 60% more than I would have received anyway so maybe it was a good deal although it was something of anguish at the time and rather nerve-wracking as they were quite insistent. In the end I walked away with some cash so I don’t suppose that it could have been too bad and I’m still trying to work out exactly what it was that happened.

There was something else at some point too about a load of new people coming to work in our office so I’d been trying to wrangle a transfer. I was wandering, talking to a few people saying that I hope that they’ll give me a transfer but it won’t be to somewhere exciting like Caithness or Skipton or somewhere like that but to another one of our offices in Stoke on Trent somewhere and that won’t be any good at all.

Laurence and I had been out around Nantwich somewhere wandering around and we came to some kind of museum so we went in for 5 minutes for a quick look around. It was quite nice and I thought that this would be a good place to bring Roxanne. She said “but it would be snowing tomorrow”. I replied “I don’t necessarily mean tomorrow and in any case it’s indoors so she would probably enjoy it anyway”. So we went back out but there was a problem with the trams so we would have to catch a bus. It turned out that there was one in 4 minutes’ time, probably because there was something going on at the cathedral and they had the road up. She set off while I sorted out the tickets and then ran after the tram, which sometimes was a tram, sometimes a bus, and leapt aboard. There was a severely handicapped girl manoeuvring around but I was fighting my way in trying to find Nerina because I was with her now but she wasn’t there. Someone said something like she had just alighted but by this time the bus had started moving. I stayed on but people started to talk about Nerina. Then this vehicle ended up in the wilds somewhere because the normal way home through Wistaston, there was a fight going on between a big group of people and so we must take another way. All the people were running down the street trying to catch up with this bus or something. The driver told me that he was rather confused about where to go so I replied “if you turn right here you’ll end up in Ganshoren and go back over to Jette”. He turned right but it was a road that I didn’t know at all but I saw a sign for Woluwe so I assumed that we were somewhere along the correct road somewhere. All the time this nonsense was going on. We then came to a new part in this road that was even more confusing than what we had come to before and it was a case of guesswork as to which road to take when we reached a certain road junction.

And even later still I was on yet another bus in Belgium. There were a lot of people talking. The subject came round to petrol stations. Someone was saying that there are far fewer petrol stations in Belgium than there ever used to be. She pointed to a Delhaize supermarket that we drove past on the corner of the street and said that in the old days that used to be 2 petrol stations. The talk continued and I noticed one of the people looking at me so I said “excuse me but I’m a foreigner and I’m really interested in what you’re saying”. The carried on talking and in the end we arrived at the terminus and we all had to alight. Someone said to one of the girls “why don’t you take him (meaning me) and show him (something or other)”. She replied “OK” and took me off. It was a shop and she took me down into the basement. I had a wander round in there. Suddenly she started to bake a cake. I wasn’t taking a great deal of notice but when she finished I asked “how did you bake a cake without any eggs in it?”. She replied “I’ve just made this one without any eggs”. I suddenly realised that she had as well and I wished that I had taken more notice of what it was that she was doing. Meanwhile the server from down there came up and said “thank you for being so disorganised. You’ve made me miss my break and you’ve made me have problems serving one of the customers” to which we replied “maybe we’ll offer the customer a piece of cake and it might make them feel better.

After all of that it’s no surprise that I stayed in bed until 10:30 this morning, even though I was wide-awake a long time earlier than that. But Sunday is a day for mending the nets.

After the medication I sat down and paired up the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow. And a couple of the joints that I made are totally perfect and I’m well-impressed.

After lunch, I had a football match to watch. While I was in Aachen last Saturday I missed Caernarfon Town v Bala Town in the Welsh Premier League and I have deliberately refrained subsequently from watching any highlights.

This atfernoon I managed to track down the complete game on the internet and so I watched it. I shan’t say anything about the game because, quite frankly, it was one of the most exciting games that I have ever seen. Maybe some of my readers are football fans and if so, you’ll really enjoy this game. It’s at THIS LINK with, rarely, a commentary in English but, unfortunately, with a couple of holes in the recording.

One thing that I will say is that I found the comments of the commentators concerning the Caernarfon Town’s goalkeeper most inappropriate.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in my youth I was a goalkeeper, although nothing whatever like at this standard, and I’ll promise you that an 18 year-old kid keeping goal in a howling gale against grown men, some of whom have been capped for Wales, is always going to be advised to punch instead of catch when he’s surrounded by other players in a crowded penalty area, whatever the commentators might think.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022That took me up to the time that I usually go out for my afternoon walk.

As usual, the first port of call was the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down below. And to my surprise, there were dozens of people down there going for a walk around.

In this photo are just a few of them, but why this particular view is that there is something on the sand on the extreme left. It seems to be something with a handle but no matter how I enlarged and enhanced it, I can’t make out what it was.

It’s interesting to conjecture that it might be some kind of flotsam and jetsam tossed onto the beach by the storm but I’m not quite sure how likely that would be.

lighthouse semaphore people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As well as crowds on the beach, there were also crowds wandering around on the path on top of the cliffs

And strangely enough, despite the storm warning of the other day, I will bet that the winds this afternoon when I was out were stronger than those during the storm when I was out that afternoon.

There wasn’t anyone out at the headland though and that was no surprise. The wind certainly took away my breath and would have taken away the breath of anyone else sitting down there on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

There was a couple struggling along in the distance on the lower path, and “struggling” was certainly the word in this wind.

people on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Once I’d gone round the corner to the other side of the headland we were in a wind shadow so it was much easier to move around.

There were quite a few people walking around on the harbour wall too, and with the tide being right out it was probably as safe as it can be. But in a few hours’ time when the tide is right in it might be a different proposition entirely. The seagull was enjoying itself anyway.

One thing that I noticed was the hold hand-powered crane down at the end of the harbour wall. I must have seen it before because I’ve often walked down there in the olden days when I could walk places, but I don’t remember it.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Meanwhile, over at the ferry terminal we now have two ferry boats. The newer Joly France boat has come along to join her older sister.

They must have been quite busy this weekend despite the bad weather, so hats off to those who have gone down to the sea in ships.

Back in the apartment I had a hot coffee waiting for me and I couldn’t wait to drink it. Although it’s not cold, according to the temperature, I’m freezing.

And I’ve been freezing for several weeks and I don’t know why. I keep on thinking that I’m sickening for something but it’s certainly taking its time arriving.

After lunch I took out a lump of dough from the freezer and left it to defrost.

Later on this afternoon when it had defrosted I gave it a kneading and then rolled it out onto the tray where it proofed to its heart’s content.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022When it was ready I assembled it and stuck it in the oven to bake.

And I do have to say that today’s effort was the best pizza that I have ever made. Cooked to perfection (unlike my previous effort) and tasted totally delicious.

So now that I’ve written my notes I’m off to bed. I’m up early in the morning and I have a radio programme to prepare. And then there’s a letter to write, and I need to nip into town to post it.

No physiotherapy for 10 days though. She’s on holiday so I can have a few days off. And I need it too.

Friday 28th January 2022 – I FOUND OUT …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 5th November 2021 – I’VE BEEN …

… really busy today and accomplished quite a lot, what with one thing and another. And, of course, once you start, you’ll be surprised just how many other things there are.

Nothing important though, regrettably, but nevertheless it’s all helped.

home made fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Perhaps the most important thing that I did today was to bake some fruit buns.

The last one of the previous batch disappeared on Wednesday and being so busy yesterday, I didn’t have the opportunity to make any more. it was toast for breakfast yesterday.

But as soon as I’d taken my medication this morning I made a start on the next batch.

It took an age to mix the dough because I think that my banana wasn’t as big as usual so the mix needed more liquid, but as you can see, it has turned out some lovely fruit buns and I’m really happy with these, even if the dough has separated in the oven.

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021After a rather late breakfast I headed off into town to pick up my injections.

But straight out of the front door and looking down the bay, I was surprised to see just how clear everything was today. I could actually see the houses at St Helier, 58 kilometres away, with the naked eye and it isn’t every day that that happens.

Now that Normandy Warrior (more of which anon is up and running, I might yet have an opportunity to go out that way on board a ship to see what there is to sea on the coastline of Jersey.

trawler chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down the hill to the viewpoint overlooking the inner port I could see that Marité was still out and about on her travels

In her place there was one of the trawlers moored up there. Behind her in the loading bay is Chausiaise, the little freighter that goes over to the Ile de Chausey.

Ther eis still plenty of freight on the quayside after the two Jersey freighters were in port on Wednesday. This might mean that we’ll be having yet another visit some time soon to take it all away. Business seems to be picking up in the port at the moment.

sale of shellfish galapagos port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Of course it’s Friday morning, and that’s the day that it’s possible to buy fresh fish on the quayside.

The concession here is run by the owners of the trawler Galapagos and they are here every Friday morning, except of course when the trawler is in the chantier naval, as she was over the summer.

My first port of call was at the Medical Centre. I’d had my third Covid injection last Friday and I had to pick up my certificate. It was all ready for me so I didn’t have to hang around.

The pharmacy on the other hand was packed out with people and I had to wait a while before I could pick up my injections.

On the way back I almost – very almost – made it right to the way to the top without stopping. I was about 50 yards short and I’ve no idea why I stopped because I could have made it quite comfortably to the top. It was just an instinctive reflex action.

portable boat lift under repair port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But the mystery of why the portable boat lift is parked up in the middle of the yard is now resolved anyway.

As we can see in this photo, it’s had its wheels removed so it’s no longer a portable boat lift. It must be under repair for one reason or another and it’s rather difficult to work on it where it usually lives, with all of the dangers of falling into the sea.

Back here, I had the account for repairing the NIKON 1 J5. I paid that and then seeing as I had my bank account open, I paid another bill or two that were hanging around in the queue.

This afternoon I finished off the journal entry from Wednesday with its 20-odd photos and that’s now on line. And then I went and did one of the ones from when I went to Leuven last.

And that’s not all either. I made a start on transcribing a few dictaphone notes from a while back and they’ll be updating a few journal entries in due course.

Meanwhile, from last night, A well-known gangster like Edward G Robinson came round to the house and what went on resulted in him wanting to be fed. I was in charge of the cooking so I made a main course which was OK but for dessert everything that I was proposing that I knew I had in the freezer or the fridge had gone as if someone had come in and raided the larder one night. This led to an extremely tense situation with him getting more and more angry until in the end I found a tin of pineapple rings. I was able to open them. Even though he was looking at me with a look that could kill, I managed to conjure up something with pineapple rings and ice cream but it was extremely uncomfortable, all of this, with him being menacing like that.

I was recording and editing some radio programmes at some time last night too but I can’t remember now why or when.

Afterwards, there was a football match going to take place between two teams. One team decided that they would put a little bit of dynamite in the changing room of the other team to destroy their equipment before the game. They were setting this dynamite up on the clothes locker but the other guy had the cable wrapped round his leg so when it came to go, he couldn’t leave. This led to a frantic scramble as they tried to untangle this cable. The two of them finally managed to leave the building. Instead of it being a small explosion it was a massive devastation that probably flattened stuff within a quarter-mile radius. Cars were destroyed and everything. People who survived gradually streamed away. Of course all the police were there, everything like that. At some point I was preparing to watch the game, someone asked me if I wanted a game to kick around but I said “no” because of my health. They tried to persuade me. It was hard to understand how anything living had been within that radius. Out of the shelter of a wall came this boy and girl. They’d obviously been having a smooch or something. being in this little recess had saved them. Out of the next recess stepped these two boys, clothes pock-marked and burnt but they were still alive. They walked away, filtered through this police cordonn checked and seen that they were victims and walked on. You could see all the street lights in a blue haze because of the smog and everything. A little earlier I’d been talking to a girl. She’d gone off somewhere down the road so I thought that this would be a good excuse for me to go and talk to her and see how she was doing so that’s what I decided to do

A little later my brother and I were going to watch the Alex. We were considerably early so I’d brought my computer with me to do some work. He was wondering if we had to pay or if we’d get complimentary tickets but I was better than that. I had a key to get into the ground. We fought our way through the crowds up to the front. There was a guy from school there so I said hello to him out of mischief more than anything else, used the key and let ourselves in. We were searched by a woman who was … err … very thorough then I had to find a place to sit where I could work amidst all the crowds. By this time I’d lost my brother. He’d wandered off somewhere so I had to follow him around. There were so many crowds of people that we ended up being blocked and couldn’t move. Worse, it was behind the commentary box so you couldn’t actually see the pitch from there. I was standing there hoping that this was all going to clear in the next few minutes so that we could find somewhere decent to sit and have a good view.

Finally I was with a girl last night and we ended up in a bar. For some reason she was very unhappy and had her head sunk down on her lap. I put my head down on top of hers and whispered a few nice things to her and gave her a little kiss. After a while she asked “shall we go?”. I was wondering about “go where and why?”. Of course, with my curiosity getting the better of me I sad “yes, let’s go” and we prepared to leave.

helicopter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another thing that I did in the middle of all of that was to go out to look at the beach.

Not that I made it very far across the car park before I was called into action. Someone had his chopper out this afternoon and just as I walked out of the door it went flying past.

It’s the red and yellow one, the Air-Sea Rescue helicopter that is based at Donville les Bains. I’ll probably find out tomorrow what it’s been up to when I read the newspaper, unless it’s a training exercise. They aren’t usually reported.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Once the helicopter disappeared behind the college I went over to look at the beach.

There was quite a bit of beach this afternoon. The tide is well out yet and there were a few people down there taking advantage of the lovely afternoon because it really was nice as you can tell.

Considering that it’s the beginning of November the weather is unseasonably mild. It must be building up to a really hard winter I reckon. It’s been a while since we’ve been in the grip of an Arctic winter.

yacht jersey channel islands baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021So with the nice clear weather, the view out to the Channel Islands was just as good as it was earlier in the day.

What caught my eye was something white right out there off the coast of Jersey so I photographed it on the offchance that it was something interesting.

Back in the apartment when I enlarged and enhanced it I could see that it was a yacht. I was impressed that I could pick it out at this distance.

It was Ingrid’s birthday yesterday but I was rather busy so I rang her up to talk to her once I returned. She told me all of her news, some of which wasn’t very cheerful, and I told her of mine, ditto. We’re a right pair, between the two of us.

Tea tonight was a baked potato, a vegan burger and a tin of refried beans. I haven’t had refried beans since I was IN SANTA FE IN 2002 but I found a couple of tins in Noz a while back and they need eating.

If I were to tell you that in the football tonight Connah’s Quay Nomads put 4 past Bala without reply, you would think that there had been a right spannering going on. And when I tell you that Beriala finished the match with just 9 players, you’re probably not surprised that it was a 4-0 defeat.

But the damage was done long before Chris Venables and Keiran Smith saw red, thanks to probably some of the most clinical finishing that I have seen, and three of the best goals that you are likely to see this season.

Bala unfortunately offered very little up front except for a shot from Chris Sang that he really ought to have scored. In fact it was something of a damp squib performance compared to Connah’s Quay’s fireworks.

A Connah’s Quay victory, certainly, but 4-0 is nevertheless a considerable exaggeration.

Anyway right now I’m off to bed now after my very busy day. No shopping tomorrow as there is no Caliburn but I’ll go down for a walk to the market and pick up a lettuce and some mushrooms.

See you in the morning.

Friday 1st October 2021 – I’VE HAD AN EXCITING …

… day today. So much so that I’ve hardly done a thing of what I’m supposed to be doing.

It wasn’t very exciting at first though. The first job that I had to tackle was to get my entry from last night on line.

For some reason, access to my web host timed out last night every time I tried to access it, and in the end I gave it up as a bad job and went to bed.

The night was better than some that I’ve had just recently although I wasn’t too happy about being wide-awake at 06:40.

Nevertheless I waiting until the alarm went off, had my medication and then came in here to tackle a few tasks.

The web-host was still timing out and even clearing the cache and cookies on the (four!) different browsers that I use didn’t make things any better.

However I do have another browser that I don’t use too often, and for a variety of reasons too, but its big advantage (which at times is a big disadvantage) is that it automatically erases your browser history, cache and cookies and everything else on closedown.

On trying that, it worked perfectly (given its limitations) and I was able to upload the journal entry.

Then I had a rather onerous task to perform. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I was having some kind of issues about an insurance policy that I believed that I had and that other people disagreed.

Searching around in the apartment (and thank heavens that I have most of my papers filed neatly) I found exactly what I was looking for, so I sat down and wrote two letters.

Incendiary letters – the type that blister the paint off the walls of the office where they are opened – are two-a-penny around here, but the two I wrote today will probably beat most of those. And they were written in French too.

They will certainly provoke a reaction, although whether it will be the reaction that I want remains to be seen.

Writing those took much longer that it ought to have done because Rosemary rang me – not once but twice. She’s having difficulty dealing with a French administrative issue but because I can’t go into the site, I was unable to help her.

As a result, it was lunchtime by the time that I’d finished .

After lunch I had a shower (and my weight is now down to the lowest that it’s been for a good seven or eight months) and then headed off towards town.

baie de mont st michel joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down on the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne I stopped to have a look down into the harbour.

From here, I could see that they are up to their antics with the crane again. Parked up, fully extended like that, at the worst possible angle for it to be. All of the weight on the arm pressing down on the hydraulic seals. They won’t last for long.

Down there underneath the crane moored at the ferry terminal is one of the Joly France boats. The older one of the two with the larger upper deck superstructure and windows in “landscape” format.

dredger chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was here, I had a look down towards the chantier naval to see what was happening in there today.

No boats as yet, but there’s a much better view of the dredger that arrived here at the end of last week. And it’s definitely a dredger too, I reckon. We can see the grab quite clearly, and the pipework that discharges the waste water that the grab might pick up.

But when is she going to go into the water? And more importantly, where? They must have some task lined up for her now that she’s here, and I wonder what it’s going to be.

Time will tell.

belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021So from there I wandered off down the hill towards town.

For a change, moored up underneath the crane is Belle France – the new ferry for the Ile de Chausey that arrived here in the summer. She won’t be loading, of course, so I imagine that she’s just parked there waiting for a more permanent mooring.

Into town, I went to the Post Office and posted my letters. Recorded delivery with registered receipt. I’m taking no chances. Mind you, I did include the bill for the postage and my time when I wrote the letters.

Whether the recipients will pay me, I really have no idea and I doubt it very much, but at least it’s a menacing gesture.

The walk up to the physiotherapist wasn’t quite as exhausting as it has been. He put me for 20 minutes on this tilting platform thing and we went through several exercises to strengthen my knees.

Finally, he put me on this cross trainer thing and I managed to push my personal best up to 3:05 which is pretty good. Even more surprisingly, when I had a second go after catching my breath, I was so busy talking that I went well over 2 minutes without even noticing.

After he threw me out, I headed for home via the steps down to the Parc Du Val Es Fleurs.

soil parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There wasn’t a weird collection of signs at the bottom of the steps this afternoon.

Instead of the signs, we now have a huge pile or two of soil now deposited at the end of the car park where they had set up their little compound, with the signs hidden somewhere behind it.

It looks as if the renovations are progressing quite rapidly. That pile of earth wasn’t there last week, and this week, some of it has been removed already and presumably scattered about somewhere over the course of the work

digger on abandoned railway line parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And as for this beast here, I wonder if he’s the machine that moved it.

He was sitting on the abandoned railway line a short distance down from where everything was happening looking as if he was waiting for a signal from someone to go and do something else.

There was a driver in it and the engine was ticking over too, so he was clearly up to some kind of work.

But I didn’t wait to see. I continued on my way down past the Primary School to the corner of the Rue du Boscq.

parc des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down at the end of the road on the corner by the Rue du Boscq I asked myself if this is where the big pile of soil is going.

After all, they seem to have just about everything else here – piles of gravel, piles of sand, and that looks like soil down there right by the yellow digger.

At the moment this all looks like quite a mess but then it wasn’t actually very pretty here before the work started. It was a rather sad place. And so I’m looking forward to see how it develops over the next few months.

It has to be an improvement on how it used to be.

new roadway construction rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The reverse angle shot from where I was taking the previous photo already shows signs of dramatic improvement.

Over the past few weeks we’ve seen the Rue du Boscq in all kinds of different states but right now we can actually see signs of progress. The stones are all down by the looks of things and there’s just a little bit of building up to be done before they add the tarmac.

Last time I photographed this, with the grader and the compacter here, I made some kind of remark about the Trans-Labrador Highway. If this had been Labrador, all of the construction crews would have been long-gone by now and they would be running heavy lorries on it already.

filling road markers with water rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down at the far end of the roadworks there’s quite a bit of excitement going on right now.

They are obviously expecting a storm here this weekend, because being carried on that digger is a pallet tank of 1,000 litres of water and the guy in the red fluorescent jacket is opening the tap and filling the red and white road markers with water, presumably to weigh them down.

Of course, for an extremely complicated job like that, there had to be a supervisor, doesn’t there?

There was qute an interesting storm in the Avenue de la Libération when I walked past. There was a vehicle dropping off a passenger in the Place Marechal Foch right on the corner, not caring less that there were three or four vehicles waiting to turn into the square behind the.

As the next in the queue was a large lorry, he was too wide to pass in the inside lane and consequently the traffic was backed up right the way through the town centre as this one person leisurely took its time.

trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The walk back up the hill towards home was a little easier than it has been of late.

There were only a couple of times where I had to stop for my breath. One of those was at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour. The gates were now open and this trawler was setting out for the fishing grounds, rather later than the others.

She must be one of the lucky 50% of the local fleet that has been given a permit by the Channel Islands authorities. Whether the remaining 31 temporary permits will be finalised or whether they will join the ranks of the 75 who have been rejected remains to be seen.

marité chausiaise joly france belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was there catching my breath, I noticed that there had been a change in position of some of the boats.

On our way out, Belle France was moored over there underneath the crane, but now her place has been taken by Chausiaise.

Belle France is now moored down here next to one of the Joly France boats. This is the newer one of the two as we can tell by the small upper deck superstructure.

Also in the photo is of course Marité. She’s in port rather than being out on an excursion, which is probably logical now that the summer season has come to an end.

trawler returning to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I walked further on up the hill, I noticed that there was something rather strange going on.

The trawler that we had seen earlier setting out to sea was now on her way back to port, like you do if you have forgotten your butties or your overcoat.

But instead of coming back into the harbour, she did a rather dramatic left-hand U-turn and headed off back out to sea, brushing along the harbour wall. And I’ve no idea what that was all about either.

workmen's compound boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And here’s something else about which I have no idea at all.

A few days ago I posted a photo of a workmen’s compound that had sprung up in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers, something that looked as if it might have some kind of connection to the electricity supply.

Although I have yet to see anyone working around there, we now seem to have acquired a large lorry and a digger, so it looks as if we are about to see some trench-digging beginning some time fairly soon.

That’s something else for us to monitor in the forthcoming weeks.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021On the way back home, I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to look down on the beach.

Actually, there wasn’t all that much beach for people to be on this afternoon, and that’s probably why there weren’t all that many people on it. In fact I didn’t see a soul.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, one of the things that I had intended to do this afternoon was to go and have a look at the builders’ compound that has sprung up in the Place d’Armes.

Instead however I fell in with one of the guys from the radio, we had quite a chat and I’m afraid that it totally slipped my mind. There’s always tomorrow.

Back here, I had a couple of things to do – including playing the guitar for the first time since for about ever. These days it’s very hard for me to summon up any enthusiasm.

Tea tonight was a baked potato, some veggie balls and the left-over pasta mix from last night. And I’m convinced that spicy food left to marinade for 24 hours improves its flavour considerably.

And then we had the football. Y Fflint v Y Bala.

Flint at one time were leading the league and with a front line of veteran striker Michael Wilde who is enjoying a resurgence wince his move, and Jack Kenny who I have always admired, it was no real surprise.

However they have gone off the boil just recently and were up against a Bala side that has always been a good, if inconsistent side that is enjoying a bit of a good run right now.

Most of the football was played in the Flint half and it was easy to see why – Bala were certainly the more skilful side.

However Flint caught them on the break with a good cross over to Michael Wilde to head home, and he almost had a second 5 minutes later when a powerful run, shrugging off four defenders, saw his shot strike the inside of the post but rebound to safety.

A couple of substitutions for Bala did the trick though. They wore down the opposition and scored twice later in the game to pull off a deserved victory.

Mind you, it ought not to have been. Bala scored one of their goals from a throw-in which absolutely everyone watching on the internet and in the ground except the linesman and the referee considered that it should have been awarded to Flint.

And where did I go last night? Mustn’t forget that. In fact I must have forgotten it because I remember almost nothing about this except that that there was some kind of special offer for families going for a 4-week speaking course in Welsh that was being offered as a taster. There was some issue about driving licences in these communities but that’s really all that I can remember.

So I’ll go off to bed and hope for a more memorable voyage during the night.

Saturday 21st August 2021 – I’M BACK …

… home right now, on one of the most uneventful journeys that I have ever had – at least, as far as the trains went.

Despite going to bed early I couldn’t sleep at all and I remember things like 01:00 coming round and I still hadn’t dropped off. Although I must have done at some point because there’s some stuff on the dictaphone. There had been an army patrol up in the High Himalayas, 2 jeeps and some soldiers. One of the jeeps had split off and gone somewhere and picked up 3 tyres. On the way back, one of the guys with the tyres had arranged to be dropped off somewhere so he was dropped off in this mountain pass which was quite a coincidence just as the other jeep came into view. The 2 jeeps carried on without him. he scrambled down the mountain which was honeycombed with German troops and the Germans were talking about the guys who were bringing the tyres, so this must have been a plan. In one of the buildings above the pass that the Germans were guarding was Caliburn. You could see from the German point of view that they were down there in the pass and on the hillside Caliburn suddenly rolled out of this garage, did a wheelspin start and was away. The Germans were throwing bombs at it and the windows broke but Caliburn kept on driving up this hill.

When the alarm went off at 04:30 I hauled myself out of bed feeling about as bad as I have ever felt, but surprisingly, it didn’t take me long to make everything ready.

The walk down to the station (and I do mean “down” because it is downhill) was pretty depressing – imagine having to stop to catch my breath when I’m going downhill. I’m clearly going downhill right now, and in more ways than one too.

Being rather early this morning, I was just on the point of entering the station when the 05:33 to Oostende pulled in. A carriage door opened right in front of me so I pushed my way onto the platform and scrambled aboard just as it was on the point of closing. No photo unfortunately but it was a Class 18 electric that was pulling it.

We pulled into Brussels-Midi with over an hour to wait for my train out to Lille so I had to loiter around. But then, I’d rather be hanging around at Brussels waiting for my train than in Leuven wondering if I’m going to make it to Brussels in time.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4525 PBA gare du midi brussels belgium Eric HallThe train this morning was, as usual, one of the TGV “Reseau 38000′ machines, number 4525 – or, at least, my bit of it was.

There are called “PBA” trainsets because they spend much of their time working the Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam route, although the 07:13 which I susually catch is a train that goes to Strasbourg.

It describes a wide arc going via Lille, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Marne-La Vallée, mainly because the direct route through the Ardennes via Luxembourg isn’t of the correct standard for sustained high-speed running and upgrading will be extremely difficult.

It was a delightful journey to Lille because I had the sweetest, cutest passenger that I have ever had sitting next to me. She wasn’t particularly talkative which was a shame but it was still a pleasant journey.

TGV Inoui 225 are TGV Reseau Duplex gare lille flanders railway station lille France Eric HallThe walk down to Lille Flandres was a struggle too

The train that was going to take me to Paris was already in at the platform at Lille Flandres, as it usually is. You’ll probably notice the time on the clock as well. I’ve done a lot already and it’s still early.

Once more, it’s a TGV Reseau Duplex double-decker but undortunately there were no comfy sofas in the lounge area. I had to cram myself in and it wasn’t easy either with all of the luggage that everyone had.

Most of the journey was spent having a sleep because the morning had caught up with me by now

TGV POS 4408 gare du nord paris France Eric HallOur train was made up of two trainsets and, interestingly, the front trainset wasn’t another one of the Reseau Duplexes, as I discovered when we arrived at Paris Gare du Nord.

Instead, we have been pulled to pulled to Paris by one of the old TGV POS trainsets. That’s not something that happens every day, is it?

At Paris I stepped onto the platform of the metro just as a train was pulling in – perfect timing again. I shall have to do this more often. Luckily I was able to grab a seat and have a comfortable journey across the city.

84580 gec alstom regiolis gare montparnasse paris France Eric HallIt was just as well that i’d had a good rest because the labyrinth in the cellars of the Gare Montparnasse, up and down stairs and walking along these long corridors just about finished me off.

Luckily there was an empty seat in my little corner behind the coffee machine by the platform where my train was waiting because I couldn’t go much further. I sat down and had a good rest.

For some reason that I don’t understand, the wait seemed to be much longer than it is usually, and I couldn’t wait to be called forward and to settle down on my comfortable seat – well, I hoped that it was going to be comfortable.

At long last the platform – which we all knew anyway – went up on the noticeboard and we could all move off to our train.

And actually, it wasn’t as comfortable as it might have been because it was packed to the gunwhales today – there wasn’t an empty seat anywhere. I’ve no idea what was going on down the line, but whatever it was, it seemed that everyone In Paris was going to it.

Once the crowd thinned out, I managed to eat some of my sandwiches but my appetite has definitely gone again for now and I’ll save the rest of my lunch for later.

84581 gec alstom regiolis Bombardier B82652 gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen we pulled into the station I gathered up my possessions and cleared off towards the exit.

As I reached the end of the platform, another train pulled in. There’s another line that passes through the station at Granville – the line from Caen to Rennes.

In the past it used to take the direct route through Folligny but when they did some excavating work a few years ago they found that the curve that connects the Granville-Paris line to the line towards Caen was in reasonable order, so they refurbished it and brought the trains here.

Bombardier B82652 B82650 gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd just after I clicked the shutter, another train came into the station.

One of those (and don’t ask me which because I don’t know) is the train from Caen to Rennes, and the other one is the reverse from Rennes to Caen.

They all meet up here a couple of times per day so that passengers coming from Paris can travel on easily to places like Avranches and Coutances, and vice versa.

of course, if there’s any vice involved, I’m bound to be interested.

As I left the station I debated whether I ought to wait for the bus to take me home. In the end I decided to walk which was not the best idea that I had. While going downhill into the town was one thing, the rest of the journey back up the hill on the other side towards home was a different thing entirely.

crowds at exhibition working sailboats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt took me an age to climb up the hill, with about a dozen pauses to catch my breath.

One of the pauses was overlooking the harbour. That’s interesting today because the festival of working sailing boats or whatever it’s called in now in full swing and there are quite a few people down there this afternoon enjoying it.

As for the greenery, it doesn’t ‘arf look nice, but wouldn’t it have been nicer decorating on a permanent that new car park that they resurfaced earlier in the year instead of having one big miserable mass of Macadam.

sailing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith events like this going on, the place is bound to be full of working sailing boats making an exhibition of themselves.

Down there we have Marité of course and the other boat bears a very strong resemblance to Charles Marie but I can’t see her name at all from here.

Having recovered my breath, I carries on up the hill towards home, much more weary than I was when I set out. I can see that if things don’t improve over the next few weeks I shall be going to and from the station on the bus in future.

Back here I put away the food in the fridge and made myself an ice-cold strawberry smoothie to cheer myself up. Next, I poured the rest of the coffee from the flask into a mug and brought it in here to drink. And when I awoke about 90 minutes later, it was right by my side, stone-cold.

Football on the internet later – Barry Town v Bala Town. A rather entertaining 0-0 draw but it was always going to be 0-0 because both teams were rather lacking in firepower up front and neither goalkeeper was really tested. I don’t think that either of these two teams will be challenging for very much this season unless they can come up with something in attack.

For tea I just had a handful of pasta with some veg tossed in garlic, olive oil and black pepper. And now it’s ridiculously late and I can’t sleep so I don’t know about tomorrow. I’ll just go to bed and get up when I awaken, provided that no-one disturbs me first.