Tag Archives: bank holiday

Thursday 14th July 2022 – WHILE I WAS …

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… writing up my notes for yesterday I was still talking to Liz.

She was telling me that tonight’s full moon was going to be excellent so I decided that before I nipped off to bed I would go off and have a quick look.

There had been a firework display over at Sp Pair sur Mer and there were still crowds of people milling around who had been watching from the clifftop here, including one of my neighbours and we had an intersting chat for quite a while.

And then I wandered off to take a few photos of the moon.

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022 There was quite a lot of cloud out there so I took a comfortable seat on the wall overlooking the harbour and waited for it to rise up through the clouds.

So while I’m waiting for the moon to rise, I can tell you about the rest of my night last night once I’d gone to bed.

I had a really long dream but when I awoke I forgot most of it immediately. I was with Nerina last night at some kind of wedding. There were lots of people around there and gradually they started to go. Most of them were going by some means and I don’t know what it was but there were still people there and all the children were dancing etc. It was really sad to see the people disappearing one by one and even Nerina was quite disappointed when some people whom she knew started to leave. In the end someoe came over to me and said “there are all these cars here. You can take whichever one you like”. I thought “I have all my stuff in Caliburn so I don’t want to start taking it out at this time of night and changing it over so I reckon that we’ll go in Caliburn anyway”. There was much more to it than this but I really can’t remember any more.

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Later on there was another dream as well involving a few kids being totally obnoxious. We had a lot of things to do and not much time to do it so we were doing things on the sly like when we were trying to deal with this party of people even though we weren’t allowed to use the kitchen we were still doing it all the same so everyone had to keep really quiet but that was absolutely impossible. Everyone was coming and going. There was no control whatsoever over anything. I had some food to make for a little boy. In the end I made him a sausage sandwich. Cooking the sausages was exciting. Half the bread fell into a wash bucket so I had to use a different kind of bread for half of it. All in all it was just absolute total chaos. It ended by some young boy in his early teens having to ring his girlfriend to tell her something important and all he got was her on an answerphone message so that didn’t work out particularly well. Again, there was much more than this that I can’t remember.

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022I was having a really happy time with my little girlfriend who worked on Saturdays at the library in Nantwich. I was round at her house with her parents talking about all kinds of things including alarm clocks. Of course I have the alarm on the phone that wakes me. Then we went out for a walk around the village laughing and joking. There had been some kind of story where a family who were extremely religious had gone for a pizza on Sunday which of course is not the done thing in religion so we all laughed about that “if we aren’t careful we’ll end up with a pizza”. We ended up looking around in a shop full of surplus clothing, catalogue returns etc. I don’t know what she was looking for but she had a really good look round. Then she saw some radios of the type that she had to awaken her so she wanted me to go to look at them. I did out of politeness. I was looking at the range of Mhz that the radios covered and the bands. If I could find a short-wave one with a decent coverage I might think about it but there wasn’t anything. I couldn’t even pick up my niece’s husband’s private radio station on medium wave on it, his was set so low. The salesman was extremely pushy etc. In the end we walked away hand-in-hand and skipped off down the road again. It was all very nice and very pleasant.

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The idea that I would be talking to her parents is unfortunately rather amusing.

They hated me with a passion which is not a surprise because I was a different person as a teenager or a young adult … “not THAT much different” – ed.

But she was lovely. She worked in the library on Saturdays and she would go through the new arrival LPs. Any that she knew that I would like she would smuggle out and I would tape them, for her to return the following Saturday.

Christmas 1977 when we were totally broke and had no money, we devised a cunning plan. Audlem, the village where she lived, was a strange village of two halves, the rustics and the well-to-dos. We made up a pile of expensive-looking Christmas cards out of bits and pieces and then took them round to deliver to the well-to-dos.
“Oh, how nice. Thank you very much. Do come in and have a drink and a mince pie”
We were totally gone with the wind by the end of the evening and it didn’t cost us a penny. That was a really good night.

However, her parents took an extremely dim view of the proceedings and that was the final nail in the coffin of our relationship.

We did go out (as friends) to a few rock concerts later but that didn’t reignite our relationship.

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022A few years later I was driving a coach through Shropshire and stopped to go to the bank for some cash.

And who should be serving behind the counter?

We had a brief exchange of pleasantries because I was in a rush but I went back a few months later only to find that she wasn’t there. She was training at that branch when I met her and no-one would tell me where she had gone.

Yes, she’s another one who had a lucky escape from my evil clutches and I’ll give all that I own to speak to her again if she ever were to surface. She had rather an unusual name but it never came up on the internet. I tried.

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022She’s not the only one to have been on the end of a broken relationship due to alcohol.

When I was 17 and my girlfriend at the time was almost 14 (and that’s a long story too) Lindisfarne were playing at a private members’ club in Crewe. Too young to be a member myself, I borrowed the membership cards of my older sister and her husband and we both went to see them.

She hadn’t ever drunk alcohol before, as I found out far too late to do any good, and you can’t take it out once it’s gone in.

So that, dear reader, was that once her mother came to pick her up.

I was round at my niece and her husband’s house last night. It was somewhere nothing like their place at all. A whole group of us was on holiday. I was talking about work again saying that I’m over the retirement age now so if they annoy me which they had done during that week I’d turn round and not go in at all on Monday. I was outside the shop working. What I’d done was to draw a picture of what I had seen outside their shop and was busy trying to paint it. Things weren’t going too well and I’d made a big mess of the rear of a car. I was in all kinds of messes with that. Just then a couple of girls came over and started to ask me questions about myself and to chat to me. I had a little chat with them. Suddenly I looked at my watch and saw that it was 08:55. I thought “God! I have to be at work shortly!” so I had to get myself ready, grab my things and go. This picture only undeleted part of the mess that I’d done. I hoped that the rest of the undelete etc would still be in there when I came back this evening otherwise this picture is totally ruined and I’d have to start again

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022So when I’d finished photographong the moon, I came back home.

On the way I looked behind me and saw the moonlight reflecting on the water in the harbour. It looked quite picturesque so I took a photo, although it’s rather a shame that it’s over-exposed.

Back here I finally went to bed and ended up in the arms of Morpheus and wandered off into the dark recesses of my mind. It was quite a mobile night as you can tell, and I was quite exhausted when the alarm went off.

It was a struggle to leave my bed when the alarm went off but nevertheless I managed to go for my medication without too much trouble, even working out that I was a medication short in my pile.

Back here I transcribed the notes for my nocturnal voyages and then rather regrettably I fell asleep. And not just for five minutes either.

When I finally recovered I’ve been bashing out the rest of the photos from June. It took much longer than I expected too because I had to research one or two locations as I had written them incorrectly in my notes.

bad parking place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Soon enough, it was time for me to go off for my afternoon walk. Not that I went very far though at first.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I have commented in the past that I won’t go on quite so much about bad parking but sometimes it just can’t be helped.

It’s not actually the fact that this person has taken up two parking spaces that is so annoying. It’s the fact that this is a private car park and whoever is the driver of this vehicle isn’t a resident of the block.

This is just plain ignorant.

But as an aside, just WHEN are they going to come and repair our entrance barrier?

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022In rather a foul mood after that, I wandered off towards the wall at the end of the car park.

Down below, there was plenty of beach this afternoon. The tide was quite far out today.

Surprisingly there weren’t all that many people down there enjoying it. Despite the wind, which was quite strong this afternoon as you can tell from the whitecaps, it really was a nice afternoon and I’d expected to see many more people down there.

No-one in the water as far as I can see either. In fact, I’m surprised that surfing hasn’t become a major pastime here.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Despite the high winds and rough seas, there were several trawlers out there this afternoon.

This one looks as if it might be fishing because although it was too far out for me to see if it had its nets out, it was travelling quite slowly with its stern to the French shore.

As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … since the recent fishing disputes flared up, they seem to be trying new fishing grounds much closer to home.

There were quite a few people wandering around on the path today. They were making the most of the warm weather. I joined them on their trek down to the lighthouse.

fishermen peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There was nothing going on down at the end of the headland this afternoon.

No-one on the bench at the cabanon vauban but there were several people down there on the rocks. We have a fisherman with rod and line and also a couple of dozen people at the pèche à pied.

From here I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland and, surprisingly, there was nothing going on at the port.

Just Monaco du Nord II in the chantier naval and no-one at the ferry terminal or playing “Musical Ships” at the Fish Processing Plant.

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022In the inner harbour we saw Victor Hugo moored at the quayside.

We saw her yesterday out at sea off the Pointe du Roc but she has eventually made it into port. And it doesn’t look as if she’s going back out this afternoon.

Back here I had the last of my banana drink and then spent a couple of hours with the guitar that would take me up to teatime. And the timing of “Born to Run” is very difficult to grasp.

Tea tonight was veggie balls with pasta and vegetables, mixed with a nice spicy tomato sauce. That was really nice.

It’s cloudy tonight, otherwise I might have been tempted to go out and look at the moon. Instead I’ll have an early night ready for tomorrow.

It was a Bank Holiday today of course, Bastille Day. And we all know why the French stormed the Bastille on the 14th July. That ws because with it being a Bank Holiday all of the shops were closed and they had nothing else to do.

Sunday 26th December 2021 – IT REALLY IS …

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021 … unbelievable, isn’t it?

Look at all of the crowds here walking along the path between the College Malraux and the Pointe du Roc. Hordes of them, and not even one single face mask to be seen.

Yesterday we had almost 105,000 cases of infection here in France and much of it is heading our way on the holiday trains that I saw at Gare Montparnasse at the weekend.

As well as that, there’s a Prefectorial Arrêt ordering the wearing of facemasks in public in the Manche, and no-one (except me) taking any notice whatsoever of it all.

If they all catch Covid, it will be no surprise, and won’t the World be a much better place when these people are no longer on it? Serve them all right, the lot of them.

But in much more interesting news, while I’m typing out these notes, I’m letting my evening meal cook itself. And in news that will come as a complete surprise to regular readers of this rubbish who will recall that Sunday night is pizza night, I’m not having a pizza.

Yes, as it’s Boxing Day, I’m cooking another Christmas meal.

With it also being Boxing Day, I had a nice lie-in this morning. All the way up to 10:30 which was really pleasant. I could do with a few more of these although I doubt that I will have any more for a while.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages and sent out a few replies to messages that I had received over the last day or so. And then, I had a relaxing morning doing next-to-nothing except sorting out this old hard drive. Another 2.3GB of duplicate data has bitten the dust and there’s still more to go. It’s hard to think that my first home computer back in the 1980s worked on 2x 5.25″ floppy drives of 256kb each and at a push I could make it work on just one.

There was a ‘phone call immediately after 12:00 – someone is well-aware of my habits. A friend of mine is writing a book and needs a letter writing in English to a “witness”. It’s an extremely complicated and crucial letter so he’s asked me if I could write it for him.

Not a problem – after all, he’s helped me out on numerous occasions, so he’s going to come round tomorrow at 17:00 for me to do it.

The work is piling up, isn’t it?

After my Christmas brunch of beans, sausage, potato fritters, toast with mushroom pâté, I sat down to pair off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow (yes, I’m still working). And to my surprise, the joints went together perfectly – they couldn’t have been better.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk, especially after yesterday when I didn’t go out at all.

What was disappointing was that there wasn’t anyone down there on the beach at all. I must have missed the mad stampede into the sea down at Donville-les-Bains this afternoon.

No-one down on the beach here either, although over there we can see plenty of people walking around on the path underneath the city wall and over on the promenade at the Plat Gousset.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021So with absolutely nothing whatever going on out at sea, I turned my attention to the Ile de Chausey.

There was something of a sea mist over there in the direction of the Ile de Chausey so we couldn’t see it as clearly as we have done just recently. It was all hidden in some kind of light blue haze.

But even more interestingly, there weren’t any boats at all out there at sea this afternoon. I would have expected there to have been quite a few out there right now as people sail off their Christmas pudding. I’ve no idea where they all are.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021A little earlier I showed you the photo of the crowds of people milling round on the path.

While I was up there on top of the bunker I had a good look around in the other direction down the coast.

The view was much clearer in that direction and even with the naked eye I could just about make out the lighthouse at the Cap Fréhel 70 kilometres away. The camera lens didn’t bring it out very much better than I could see with the naked eye, unfortunately.

sunset cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Another thing that I noticed while I was up there on top of the bunker was the sunset over the Brittany coast.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … one of the things that I like about going out for my walk at this time of afternoon at this time of year is the magnificent sunsets that we can sometimes have.

This afternoon there was another TORA TORA TORA effect with the rays of the sun streaming down through the small gaps in the clouds over there.

The nice round circle in the centre of the bay was most impressive.

cabanon vauban people at bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And as it happens, I wasn’t the only one out there enjoying the sunset.

It’s been a few days since we’ve seen people down by the cabanon vauban at the end of the headland but today with all of the crowds milling around on the paths I was expecting to see some people down there this afternoon.

Sure enough, we have four people down there right now. Not actually admiring the sunset but talking to each other with their backs to the view. But I imagine that they will be turning round in a moment or two to see the beautiful sight behind them.

light aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And while there was nothing whatever going on out at sea, we had a few things going on up above in the sky.

The usual sounds of machines in the air told me that there was something heading my way.

Unfortunately it was too far out for me to see its registration number but it doesn’t resemble any of the larger aeroplanes that loiter around at the airfield.

It’s probably one of the light aircraft there that isn’t registered on the main database and doesn’t file a flight plan.

red autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021The light aeroplane wasn’t alone either.

Following it very closely was one of our regular visitors – the red autogyro. It was following the aeroplane so closely that I imagined that they had been out together for a lap around the bay.

My lap around the headland was coming to a close as well so I set off down the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what was happening down there.

l'omerta port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021L’Ormerta was back in town today.

She was moored over by the fish processing plant, settling down in the silt seeing as the tide has gone out. There is a whole pile of fish baskets just above it on the quayside so it looks as if she is in the course of being made ready to go to sea.

At the chantier naval the portable boat lift was back in its position over the dock. The yard was still fenced off, however and there was no boat in there awaiting repair. I imagine that it will be getting back under way after the New Year.

articulated lorry fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And talking about the fishing boats being made ready to go out to sea, there was an articulated refrigeration lorry pulling up at the fish processing plant.

It looks as if they will be expecting a decent crop of seafood when the boats come back from their next trip out.

My trip out was drawing to a close so I headed back home. I’d put the coffee machine on the go before I went out and the coffee should now be nice and hot.

Back here I made a couple of ‘phone calls to wish a friend the season’s greetings but she was out which was a shame. I’m not having a great deal of luck just recently.

Tea was delicious as usual. But I have so many vegetables left over – leeks and sprouts – that tomorrow I’m going to have a blanching session followed by a freezing session.

And whatever else happens, I mustn’t forget last night’s voyages. They are really quite important. And there were plenty of them too. It must have been a restless night.

I started off in hospital. It was actually my old Grammar School building but it was a hospital. I was walking there. As I was walking through a ward of a corridor there was someone there who was not a medical staff but opened a door and pushed a rat into the room. Someone inside said “you’re cheating! This isn’t a minute!”. I chased him off and asked matron what was happening. She replied “he’s not a medical staff. He’s a friend of mine. I have a personal pet project that I’m following up”. I said “it doesn’t look very good to me”. There were some other kinds of slithering animals etc that were being introduced into this hospital for one reason or another that made me most uneasy. Outside there were a few kids messing around. Girls probably mid-teens. One of them started to talk about a Beatles song, Savoy Truffle. She asked whether something was in the song and I said that it was. She threw me something like a very small but heavy frisbee. I caught it and threw it back to her. She asked me about something else. I said “yes” so she threw it again. This went on for a couple of minutes. Then a couple of other girls who had been watching came down and it was as if they had put me in the middle, like a kid’s game to catch this thing as they were throwing it between themselves. Of course I caught it. One of the girls had a kind of wrestling match with me to to try to wrestle it from me.

Later on I was driving a lorry up to Scotland last night. I had a box with me that I had to bury, the ashes of one of my cats. I dropped off the cars that were on the back of this lorry, drove out of the yard and stopped at the side of the road to make sure that all of the straps were secure and weren’t going to fall off as I drove home. There, it was a lot of wasteland so I started to look around to find a place to bury this box with this cat’s ashes. A couple of little kids came round to see what I was doing. I explained it to them. In the end we found a few cemeteries where you could bury ashes but there were lots of people round there. I didn’t have a spade. In the end I thought that I would just throw it in a ditch on this wasteland. I thought that I could drop it in my old rucksack and leave that there. I wasn’t very happy but that was the only solution. I Went to the bottom of the rucksack and pulled out a few things that I’d overlooked and put the box in there ready to discard. Then I had another thought. I kept on having all these different thoughts of course but every time I tried something I ended up with some kind of problem so I would think of something else. That would create a problem as well

And then I was back on the taxis last night. After I’d sold it we were going through the paperwork. The boy who lived down Coleridge Way, we found some papers of his. I was back out again driving, sometimes in France, sometimes in the UK, enjoying things much better in France than the UK. Then I had to go to the station in Sandbach so I was driving down the A530 and came to the roundabout at the end of Bradwell Road. The car skidded at the roundabout, mounted the pavement, went through a pile of snow, missed a lorry and ended up facing the correct way down the correct street. Everyone gave a round of applause for that so I got out and bowed to everyone. I got into a different vehicle and started to drive back up there. I can’t remember now what happened after that.

While I was asleep in the middle of one of my voyages someone came past, banged on the door and shouted “alarm call for Madame -” (and said a Russian girl’s name). I wondered what she was doing sleeping in my room

Later on there was some kind of workmen’s or youth hostel where I was staying. There were dozens of people staying there but I always seemed to be pushed out on the margins for everything. I remember we would have our meal and then be in this series of common rooms and I would always end up being on my own. When the meal was finished there was this huge bowl of water that needed to be taken out and emptied and for some reason or other I would always do it. They would probably have to open the door for me while I took it out. There would be people hanging around the sink etc. I’d tip the water in down the sink. Gradually after I’d been there a few days I discovered the snacks, where they kept the fruit salad, where they kept the soya dessert. Gradually, wandering around I came to where they kept the fruit so things weren’t going to be too bad. The people there from all places and all nationalities but it seemed that everyone was speaking English which I thought was a shame. Then I thought that I would have to look for a couple of books, something like “500 Words You Never Knew In France”, that kind of thing and make more of an effort to improve my foreign languages.

There was more than that too but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

Having done all of that, which totally exhausted me, now I’m off to bed. I have an early start tomorrow as I’m preparing a radio programme. It’s later than I would like right now so it’ll be a struggle to leave my bed. But we’ll manage somehow, won’t we?.

Monday 1st November 2021 – WHAT A DAY!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My bad day hasn’t quite finished yet either.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 8th May 2021 – REGULAR READERS …

… of this rubbish will recall some rather spectacular lie-ins just recently when there has been no alarm call in the morning and with not going to bed until about 02:30 this morning one could be forgiven for believing that we would have another one today.

However I think that a new record has been set today because I seem to have taken it to some rather extreme lengths. I don’t know what else you would call 13:55 for an awakening. All I can say is that I must have been really tired. It’s a good job that it was a Bank Holiday.

There’s no alarm tomorrow either because it’s a Sunday. I hate to think of what time it will be when I awaken.

Of course, with it being such a late start I’ve done absolutely nothing today. By the time that I’d had my medication and let it work, it was time for my afternoon walk.

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual I wandered off to the end of the car park to look over the wall down onto the beach but instead today I was distracted by events out at sea.

Just offshore cruising along quite comfortably and slowly was Joly France. The holiday season must be well under way by now and with it being a Bank Holiday there are crowds of people about. The ferry company is thus making the most of it all by taking some of them for a lap around the bay to see the sights, whatever sights there might be.

We can tell from this angle that it’s the newer one of the two Joly France boats. The give-away is the shape of the window. On this one the windows are rectangular and deep whereas on the other one the windows are more square.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving observed the activity out at sea, I turned my attention to the beach down below.

There are crowds of people down there this afternoon as you can see, even if, with the tide, there isn’t too much beach to be on. And I’m not surprised today because it was quite possibly the warmest day of the year so far. There was something of a wind as well but for a change it was a warm wind, rather like the Föhn Wind that you experience sometimes in the northern rain shadow of the Alps.

There’s something else that you can see in this photo that’s interesting, and that’s at the bottom-right of the photo. It’s a stone outlet pipe that drains the water from the car park and cascades it down onto the beach below. It’s pushed so far out so that the water from the drain will fall down clear of the stonework and wash the mortar out of the joints.

joly france yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was something moving that caught my eye out there in the English Channel between the Ile de Chausey and the mainland.

It was quite a long way out so there was plenty of time for me to walk to the little butte at the back of the lighthouse where there’s the best view of the Channel. Dodging the crowds on the path, because everyone in Normandy seemed to be out there today, I wandered off along to there to take a photo.

Bach here I could blow up the photograph, despite modern anti-terrorist legislation, and I could see that it’s the other Joly France boat on its way back from the Ile de Chausey. They have been quite busy today what with this and that.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlthough the wind wasn’t all that strong today there was still quite a heavy rolling sea. I could see the waves breaking with some force onto the sea wall so I was keen to make my way round there to see what was going on.

First though I went across the car park down to the end of the headland to see what there was going on out there. And apart from the crowds of people around here and the people down on the lower path there wasn’t very much happening at all.

There was no-one fishing with rod and line off the rocks and there weren’t any fishing boats exploiting the resources of the bay today either so I wandered off along the path on the top of the cliff towards the harbour to see what was happening there.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHalfway along the path there’s a good viewpoint where you can see the waves breaking on the harbour walls.

The force of the sea isn’t as powerful as we have seen sometimes but nevertheless it was impressive watching these large, heavy waves come rolling in from the Atlantic. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … there is nothing between that sea wall and the North American coast several thousands of kilometres away so any storm out there will be picked up by the waves and brought to this very point.

But it was also quite interesting to see that the people on top of the harbour wall were taking absolutely no notice whatever of the waves breaking on the sea wall behind them

men with jetski port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey were obviously much more interested in what was going on in the harbour so I wandered off down the path to the viewpoint over the harbour to see for myself.

The first thing that I noticed was that the diving boat was there. So there’s something going on right now. Then there are the couple of people on the lower quay underneath the fish processing plant doing something with what looks like a jetski.

At the back of the jetski is a pile of disturbed water and a load of bubbles, just as if a diver has gone down over there and that had caught my interest. I waited there for a few minutes hoping that if someone had gone down over there, they would come back up. But no luck with that so I don’t know.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was waiting for the diver (if indeed there was one) to come back to the surface I had a look at the chantier navale to see what was happening in there right now.

And we’ve had a change of occupancy once more in there today. At long last, after all this time up on the blocks in there, Aztec Lady has now gone back into the water. Her repairs, whatever they were, have now finished. There’s just the little fishing boat in there right now but I imagine that that will change over the next few days.

The diver didn’t resurface so that made me wonder whether I was right about that, but after a couple of minutes waiting I went on home for a mug of coffee ready for tonight’s football which was about to start.

With TNS having won earlier this afternoon, it was vital that Connahs Quay Nomads won this evening in order to maintain their lead at the top of the table. I was delighted that Andy Morrison had picked an attacking formation because at times the Nomads have been quite impressive going forward.

Caernarfon aren’t all that strong on skill but there is a really good team spirit there that keeps them in a mid-table place but unfortunately they were no match for the Nomads. They went a goal down quite early on and although they held out after that they didn’t ever really threaten the Nomads goal.

The situation changed dramatically after about an hour. Jamie Insall was through the defence with the ball with only Lewis Brass in the Cofis goal to beat. Brass came off his line to try to win the ball but missed by about half an inch and brought down Insall.

It was clear to me that Brass was going for the ball and it was 25 yards out, well-wide of the goal but nevertheless the referee brought out the red card. And all that I can say is that if that was a red card offence then many other referees are being far too lenient.

With Caernarfon down to 10 men and with a substitute keeper in goal, Andy Morrison’s answer was to take off a defender and bring on another attacking player and the Nomads simply overwhelmed the Cofis and scored 3 more goals.

They were easily the better side but 4-0 was rather flattering. But the championship now goes all the way down to the wire. It’s all on the final match of the season.

Eventually I managed to catch up with the dictaphone notes, of which there were more than enough, from today. I don’t know if I’ve dictated this but I was out on a hike with my rucksack, a nice, rural rolling countryside. I came into a village and there was another girl or woman there with a rucksack obviously hiking. She was pouring over a map looking for somewhere. One of the locals was trying to help her so I asked if she needed any help. She told me that she was looking for a certain place where she hoped to find a place to stay for the night. Where I was headed was a Youth Hostel so I told her about that and invited her to come with me to this place but she decided not to and carry on and try to find the place where she was going to be staying. This was another one of these dreams where there was this mountain pass that we’ve been on on several occasions either skiing or walking, the very tall narrow pass, very steep. I was thinking that it’s quite a climb up there and down the other side and if the Youth Hostel there doesn’t have any room I’m going to have to come all the way back and I didn’t really fancy that at this time of the afternoon. But it was this pass again that was quite interesting.

I was with a woman and we had a big pile of kids. We were in Caliburn going somewhere and we picked up this big fat woman, gave her a lift. Suddenly she turned round to be extremely nasty and started to overwhelm everything, giving orders, this kind of thing. My response to that would have been to hit the woman with a trolley jack handle and all of us clear off but the woman with me said “why don’t we wait until we’ve crossed the border and then we can do that and dump her”. The we’d set off to go and fetch food or something. Coming back we found that this woman was 100 yards or so away from the woman, me and the van so I got in the vans and shouted for the kids to run behind the van as they were only youngsters and can run really fast and the big fat woman couldn’t run at all. I went about half a mile down the road and pulled up there waiting for the kids to come along and join us.

Somewhere during the night I was in an aeroplane, 2 of us in a Spitfire 2-seater. We had a radar set and we were supposed to be looking for mines. We were chasing 1 particular contact which turned out to be in the flat hills of South America. We landed our plane and went to look where the radar had indicated and it turned out to be a puddle with a few fish in it. The person I was with expressed surprise that the radar was so accurate that it had managed to pick out fish in a puddle and not mines in an ocean. I noticed that this puddle was at the side of a lump of concrete and as I explored it trying to work out what it was the person with me said that it was probably some kind of hard-standing for the farmer to park his tractor when he was here. I was looking at how it dominated a mountain pass and thought that if you had a tank on this concrete its gun would be firing straight up the road so anyone coming over the mountain pass, this tank could pick them off one by one. The rise of the hill on the other side would prevent anyone coming up the pass from firing back until they came over the top of the pass when of course they would be in full view of this tank. The guy with me didn’t think very much of my suggestion but I was convinced that that was what it was. This was what the radar had picked up, not the fish in the puddle at the side.
What linked these two dreams together – it was the aeroplane dream first – was for some reason we had a wheel off the aeroplane and some guy came over to have a look at us. He said “ohh a Spitfire” and talking, had somehow climbed into the cockpit 2nd seat while I was changing the wheel. We must have had a puncture or something. He started to play around with a few things. I asked “what are you doing?”. He replied “I’m undoing the handbrake” and the aeroplane which had now transformed itself into Caliburn or a van or something started to roll back ever so slowly, but slow enough that I could still get the wheel onto the studs and start to turn the wheel nuts on. As it rolled back I knew that it wasn’t going to go far because there was a tree behind us. Sure enough the van rolled into this tree and there it came to a stop so I could finish putting on the wheel nuts on it. It was somewhere round here where this guy turned into this big fat woman and we turned into this van with these kids and I had this woman with me

So having done all of this I’m off to make the first mix of my sourdough fruit bread and then I’m off to bed. I’ve not been up and about for long and I’ve not done anything at all. But there are occasionally days like this. We’ll have to see what tomorrow brings.

Saturday 1st May 2021 – GRRRRRR!

This morning Caliburn and I nipped out to the shops as is usual on a Saturday morning, only to find that they were all closed.

Of course it’s a Bank Holiday here today, but I’m not used to the idea of shops being closed on days like this. And had I known, I could have had a nice long lie-in and you’ve no idea how dismayed I am about that.

Instead, something strange happened this morning. I was away on a voyage and suddenly I awoke, sat bolt upright and got out of bed in something of a panic as if I was hours late. Looking at my watch, it showed 05:59 – one minute before the alarm was due to go off.

So what happened there then, I have no idea at all. It was all extremely weird.

After the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was up to my eyes in some kind of project that involved cowboys and indians. There was work everywhere that I was trying to do. I had a pencil but it was so blunt that it wasn’t writing and every time that I went to sharpen it I just broke the lead off it again. I wasn’t making very much progress. While I was there a girl came up and said that she had finished what she was doing and was planning on starting the next step. That was something that I particularly wanted to do myself and I’d organised someone else to help me but she was there ready so I basically told her to make a start on it and gave her my notes. She asked how much I would pay her, to which of course I made some kind of ribald comment and decided that I’d go back to my desk and sort out this information, get another pencil, try sharpening that and see if it will sharpen any better that I could use to write what I’m doing while I’m doing now.

Later on, I don’t remember very much about this but I’d captured a large German battleship like the Scharnhorst and I had it in a dry dock behind me. Some girl in whom I had some kind of interest came up to talk to me and totally failed to notice this battleship behind me which I found really surprising and I had to draw her attention to it. And this was when I suddenly awoke.

Once I’d finished the dictaphone I did some more work on the photos from August 2019. I’ve now moved on from my lunch stop ON COTTONWOOD CREEK and I’m on my way to one of the most exciting and important sites on the whole Oregon And California Trail

A little later I went for a good shower and a change of clothes and then went out for my abortive attempt at shopping. And with no bread in the house right now, I bought a baguette from a boulangerie on the way home.

The rest of the day back here I’ve spent a good deal of time scrolling through the 1911 census that has been put on line for free this weekend, trying to find some traces of my family.

That’s not easy because apart from the fact that some of my family was in Canada at this time, my family was somewhat disjointed. On my mother’s side, my grandmother was widowed from her first husband, married a second time, was in a hospital for 25 years after the birth of my aunt which meant that my mother and her sister were fostered out in various families before going to live with an aunt and uncle in Somerset.

And that’s just my mother’s side. On my father’s side it’s even more complicated than that.

That took up most of the rest of the day, what with having yet another hour crashed out on the chair. That was disappointing too because for the first time since I’ve been back from Leuven I was remarkably sprightly this morning and I thought that I was in for a really good day for a change.

There was the usual break for lunch of course, and the walk around the headland this afternoon too.

buoys people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs seems to be becoming quite a habit these days, the first thing that I did once I was outside was to go to the end of the car park and look over the wall down onto the beach to see what was going on today.

Surprisingly there wee very few people down there on the beach this afternoon. There was one person in my field of view down there, but he seemed to be very interested in what look like buoys down there at the water’s edge. There’s a blue one close by the person and a white one a little further out but I can’t see what they are attached to.

But apart from him – or her – that was that really. And that was a surprise. It was quite a nice afternoon, with the wind having dropped and for the first time since I don’t know when, I wasn’t freezing either.

yachts donville les bains baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was there at the end of the car park I had a look out to sea to see what was goign on.

And I noticed that the yachting school at Bréhal sur Mer was out there this afternoon. Not too many of their boats but they are having a good sail around in the nice weather and I wish that I was with them.

Instead I set off on my trudge around the headland. Not quite the weary trudge of the last couple of days but I’m still not back to my sprightly self. It’s really hard to imagine that it was less than a year ago that I was running all the way round my circuit.

Not that I would be running today either because although there were very few people on the beach, there were crowds of people walking around the footpath and I wouldn’t want to show myself up.

people standing on rock pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the headland I had a good look around to see whether we had any fishermen out there on the rocks today.

No fishermen today, but there were several people out there just standing about and chatting, including this group of three young people standing on a rock down there having a good chat. In fact, there were quite a few people around there on the lower path this afternoon going the long way round.

While I was there I had a look out to sea to see if there were any fishing boats in the bay but I couldn’t see any at all. But that’s not to say that there weren’t any. I can’t see all of the bay from here.

aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound the corner at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, I could see that there are many more boats anchored in there than there have been over the past couple of weeks.

I’m not quite sure if this is telling us that the dredging work is over now or whether it’s just a weekend thing and they’ll all be gone by Monday to give the digger driver the opportunity to carry on with his work throughout the next week.

Meanwhile, in the chantier navale things are as they were yesterday. the little fishing boat is still there and so is Aztec Lady. But no-one else has come to join them as yet.

digger port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further on there was ample evidence that the digging work in the harbour hasn’t finished.

If the digging were over they would have taken away the digger that’s been doing it but the fact that it’s still here would indicate that they will be carrying in next week.

But I carried on home to have a coffee and try to do some more work on this flaming census.

At 18:00 I knocked off as there was football. This social media blackout this weekend meant that I couldn’t access my usual source of entertainment. Instead I had to set un an account with the broadcast subcontractor so that I could access it from their website. And surprisingly, it was a much more stable platform.

Last Saturday we saw Connah’s Quay Nomads turn on the aerial performance to devastate TNS. Today in the return match TNS came out with three centre-backs and flooded their penalty area with defenders.

As a result we were treated to a dreadful match with aimless hopeful passes upfield going astray. TNS were a much more skilful and technical side as anyone would guess, but that counted for nothing as their attack was completely snuffed out by the Nomads defence and presented no threat whatsoever.

This was one of those matches that is best forgotten.

Then it was tea time. Rice and a curry out of a tin, followed by apple crumble and my home-made custard. Cornflour, sugar and vanilla essence. While it would be wrong to say that it was real custard, it was certainly acceptable.

Anyway now I’m off to bed. I’m exhausted but I’ll be having a nice lazy day tomorrow I hope. So I hope that no-one spoils it.

Monday 5th April 2021 – IT’S A BANK HOLIDAY …

… today so I celebrated by spending the morning in bed.

That’s right – an entire morning. Well, almost, because while I didn’t manage midday, it wasn’t until about 11:00 that my feet saw the light of day. And I deserved it too after all of my recent exertions.

It goes without saying that it was “somewhat later than usual” when I started on the radio programme. And as I write these notes it’s still not finished. It actually was at one point but when I listened to it afterwards I found a mistake in the editing and I will have to put that right before it’s ready for broadcast.

There were the usual interruptions of course. At lunchtime I had porridge, hot cross buns (the last of this present batch) and a mug of nice piping hot chocolate, followed by a couple of clementines.

And then I had my afternoon walk around the headland.

car park place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd having seen the hordes and multitudes of people thronging the car park outside here yesterday, I was taken completely by surprise by the fact that there wasn’t a single person (and not a married person either) wandering around there this afternoon.

In fact, the whole place looked like a ghost town this afternoon. On the path around the headland today I could have counted on one hand the number of people whom I saw on the path this afternoon.

So much so that as soon as I can find a spare moment I’m going to be checking the new quarantine regulations to find out what they are. I don’t want to leave it until I see a policemen to find out that I’m in breach of any new temporary law.

people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were some people out and about though, especially down here on the beach at the bottom of the Place d’Armes.

The tide might be well in right now but a little kid doesn’t need a great deal of beach in order to have a great deal of fun, but it does make me wonder if they are aware of how quickly the tide comes in here, because they risk being cut off from the steps at the Rue du Nord and won’t be able to escape from the water.

Bit I needed to escape from the car park here so I headed off along the path on the top of the cliffs. We had a wicked wind and it was really cold although when I was in a wind shadow it was actually quite warm. But we’re not likely to see very much of that as long as this wind keeps up.

With absolutely nothing at all going on out at sea today and nothing to see at the end of the headland I pushed off along the path on top of the cliffs on the other side of the headland.

anakena hermes 1 lys noir chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the viewpoint overlooking the port, I could see down into the chantier navale to see what was going on down there.

There wasn’t any change in occupant today – still the same four boats, but I was more interested in what was going on with Anakena, Lys Noir and Hermes I. There’s a van down there and a few workmen doing a few things despite it being a Bank Holiday, but what is different today is that all of the masking tape and paper has now been removed from Hermes I.

She’s looking quite beautiful and resplendent in her new coat of paint, all bright and shiny. Ordinarily I would say that it won’t be long before she’s going back into the water, but I’ve not had very much luck in predicting the arrival and departure of boats from the chantier navale, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

fishing boat refrigerated lorry fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther down along the footpath I could see over into the outer harbour by the Fish Processing Plant.

Whilst most of the fishing boats are still tied up in the inner harbour, there’s a refrigerated lorry parked up by the loading bay at the Fish Processing Plant. They must be expecting a few fishing boats to be arriving soon with a pile of shellfish to take away. I don’t think that there will be an awful lot of shellfish on board the small boat that is tied up at the quayside just there.

But with no other boat down there just now and not having seen any while I was looking out to sea earlier, I think that the driver of the lorry is going to be in for a long wait.

Airbus A330-302 N826NW english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out there looking over the harbour I was once more overflown by a rather large aeroplane and I wondered what she was doing up there.

She’s actually an Airbus A330-302 owned by Delta Airlines, registration number N826NW and she took off from Paris Charles de Gaulle about 37 or so minutes ago. She’s Delta Airlines flight DL85 and she’s on her way across the Atlantic to Atlanta in Georgia.

She flew over my head at a height of 36,000 feet and a ground speed of 423 knots on a heading 270°.

At least it proves that despite all of the Covid regulations there are still plenty of long-distance flights going across the Atlantic. They aren’t ever going to prevent this virus from spreading, are they?

triumph tr3a boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving gone for weeks without seeing a single old or interesting vehicle we’ve now had two in three days.

As I was in the Boulevard Vaufleury on my way back to the apartment I was passed by a rather elderly Triumph TR3A passing in the other direction. And you can tell that it’s a TR3A and not a TR3 in that it has the full-width radiator grill and several other small modifications

The TR3As were built from 1957 to 1962 and were the cars to which I aspired when I was a young teenager, being a much more realistic choice than a Jaguar XK140.

That was really the last interruption of my walk and I was able to make it back home without any further ado.

Due to my late awakening this morning, I missed my hour on the guitar and also my evening meal which was a shame, but it can’t be helped I’ve done all that I intend to do and what I haven’t done I’ll do tomorrow, including the dictaphone, for there’s a pile of stuff on there.

And now that I’ve attended to that, I can finally post the details of where I went during the night. We had an occasion where Mick Matthews was driving a lorry. He wasn’t very happy so he told me a few things about this company and made it pretty clear that he wanted someone to take the matter further. He had to drive this lorry and they wanted a couple of repairs doing on it and he didn’t want to do them at all. They were cajoling him and pushing him into getting this lorry fixed so he told me about it and I told a few people about it. As a result another lorry was raided. I was somehow attached to this investigation. We came across a whole pile of faults with this vehicle, the operation of it. Basically an illegal compartment had been manufactured to go inside one of the trailers for contraband to be smuggled. The police had a big file on this. They had the owner and the manager, the company that had made the panel and a few other people and were preparing a case to bring to Court. I asked them about Mick Matthews. They said that once the matter had been dealt with the others, he would be unfortunately brought into Court but they would make it pretty clear to the Judge that there had been as much co-operation as possible from him. I ended up in an office with a couple of other police inspectors. I was holding a file which I offered to one of the others and asked “is this anything to do with you”? He just snarled and took it off me anyway so I just wandered back to the entrance door of the office where I’d come in.

Later on, one of the serving wenches in THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR was talking to me. I was sitting at a table waiting for all my friends to come down. One or two other people came down and sat at my table which was a bit disappointing. It was a hell of a mess and I had my elbows in all of the grease spilt on the table. The waitress cleared the table and looked at me and sighed when she saw my elbows and I tried to clean them as best as I could. Then everyone else came down so I nipped over to another table and we all sat there. There was a rumpus coming up from the far side and it was the fat woman Vera who was making a scene again. She had done this at every single meal so far. She was always going to create a scene. We were having our meal and one of the girls said that she had to fetch a bottle of water so I said that i’d go with her as it was going dark. We dashed off outside and she was showing me the torch that she had received as a gift, a little thing that clipped onto the keyring with a button-cell battery and I said “I have mine as well and they are great”. We walked down to pick up her bottle of water and they weren’t as good as the bottles that we had on the first trip because they were coconut water and they were so much better. She said that she needed something from her room, and could I go and fetch it for her? It was on the top floor so I set off up this spiral staircase. There were all kinds of overhanging bits and you had to be careful with your head. She was following me and asked me if I was OK. I said “yes, but I’d be better if you could hold these 2 things for me”. I gave her the 2 things that I was holding and carried on up. When I reached the top to go into her room you had to do some scramble through this really tiny aperture. It was a really difficult thing to do. I thought “I’m not going to get through this aperture”. I had a look and there was an opening a little bigger above my head. That meant climbing up this wooden framework that didn’t look particularly safe to me. I thought “how do people on the top floor manage to do this”? She said “don’t worry. I can go there because I need to get my accounts as well”. I said “I’m here now so I might as well work this out and have a go getting up through there”. She asked “you have a passport, don’t you”? I replied “yes”. She said “yes, a passport”. It was the way that she was saying it that was so strange that I couldn’t understand the implications of what she was trying to say about this passport.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 11th November 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change I managed to beat the third alarm to my feet. And that’s not something that happens every day these days.

And that’s not the best of it either.

Twice during the night I had to leave the bed – once to find the dictaphone that I had forgotten to put by the bedside as I went to bed, and the second time to look for the spare batteries when the batteries in the dictaphone went flat.

And considering that I’d had yet another late night consoling my friend on the internet, this is all pretty astonishing too, especially when you consider that today is a Bank Holiday and I don’t normally have an alarm call on a Bank Holiday.

With all of this going on, it’s even more surprising that I managed to find the time to go off on my travels during the night.

I was on a big cruise liner last night, an American one. There were loads of people on there and for some unknown reason I was feeling a bit tetchy and irritable like I normally do after a few days in other people’s company. These Americans were really getting on my nerves and it reached the stage where I could barely hide my contempt for them, something that regular readers of this rubbish will know about only too well. It reached the stage where on one occasion I had to go somewhere and the quickest way for me and a couple of other people with me was to unlock a kind of emergency door and step through that out to the other side. As we did that and stepped through we had to stoop down to do so there was a couple of other old guys there and they started to try to push us around. I spoke in some kind of derogatory term to them and this situation slowly started to escalate out of hand, if it wasn’t out of hand already.

This has quite a familiar ring about it doesn’t it? And even more so if you consider the events of early September last year that I’ll write about one of these days when I learn to moderate my language.

Later on we’d been out to the South Pole. It was the 19th Century and we had gone very far but hadn’t reached the Pole. We’d got onto the Antarctic continent and gone quite a way but couldn’t go any further so we turned round to go back to our base camp and set out back for the UK. We’d left Caliburn there and a few things had been left inside Caliburn including a book that belonged to Nerina. We sailed back. It was quite interesting by the way to see an aerial photo of the area a bit later on where a town had grown up etc and where we had been. We could see our route. When I returned to Gainsborough Road Nerina was being very sullen and offhand with me. What I did was to take her bookmark back that was in the book. She was extremely annoyed about this book. I said “don’t worry. We’re going back to get it next year”. There was some confusion about whether it was a library book. She’d had notice that it had already been renewed. I said “no, that was another one. This was such-and-such a book”. It had a duck-egg blue cover. She was just extremely offhand. Then she asked if I knew where a place called TK fasteners was in a certain town, a town where I was working. When she described what it was for – you could buy snowmobile bits there – I knew immediately where it was but it was very difficult to describe it. She’d been to the area once so I was trying to explain. “Which way did you come into the town?” because there were a couple of ways but she wasn’t really answering. Then she sat down and started to draw herself a map. “Oh, you’ve remembered, have you?” She replied “no, someone has sent me a photo and I’m copying it out”. When she finished that she stood up, picked up her coat and said “I’m going”. “Going where?” “Going home. i’m not staying here with you any more and you’re going to regret something”. “What?” “This 99”. “Regret what about 99?” “99 pence”. “Well, what about 99 pence?”. “You’ll find out” she retorted. “I suppose you’re going to be keeping the warmth, are you?” “I suppose so, yes” I answered. “That’s a shame. And it’s a shame about that lamp as well. I like that lamp”. “Well, take it with you”. “It was your friends who bought it for us”. “Well, take the lamp if you want it”. But she wouldn’t take it and just turned round and walked out of the house. I didn’t have a clue what was going on and what was the matter with her and what all of this was about. I was completely bewildered.

After this, I had an attack on the outstanding notes from my stay in Belgium. And now they are all transcribed and that’s that job finished. And right at that moment my friend came on line and we had a good chat while I soothed her fevered brown from this distance, poor kid.

With a few other things that needed doing, that took me up to lunch and more of my delicious bread (I’d had some of my wonderful fruit loaf with my morning hot chocolate).

This afternoon I sat down and finally made a start on finishing the radio programme that I had started in Leuven and by the time I knocked off for my guitar practice I’d just about finished it – another hour’s worth of music.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk, and I remembered to go around the old medieval walls today as well.

There was quite a wind blowing out there today so there weren’t too many people out there this afternoon. There was a lot going on out to sea though, such as this trawler heading back home to port with today’s catch.

It was having quite a battle against the waves too. The wind had whipped up quite a storm this afternoon.

And something else that was interesting was that we had the different coloured streak of water out there again today that you can see in the foreground.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe weather might have been extremely windy and so keeping a lot of people indoors, but there were some out there taking full advantage of the solitude.

The tide was only just on its way out so there wasn’t much beach to talk about yet these people here were making the most of what beach there was.

Having observed them for a few minutes, I set off – at a run – along the Rue du Nord until I encountered a group of pedestrians coming my way so I slowed down to a brisk walk.

tiberiade coelacanthe english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat caused me to look behind and see what there was going on behind me.

When I’d set out just now, I’d noticed a light moving about in the harbour so I suspected that there was a boat on the move in there. And sure enough as I watched, around the headland and out to sea came another trawler. I can’t tell at this distance if it’s Coelacanthe or her sister ship Le Tiberiade but it’s certainly one of them.

Doing her impression of Steve Harley, she went off riding the waves right past the streak of different-coloured water. And one of these days I’m going out to test the salinity of the streaky bits to see if it is indeed fresh water being discharged into the saline water of the sea. It’s a well-known phenomenon that’s been reported on on many occasions in the far north of Canada and places like this.

It’s another way of mariners being able to tell if they are near land when big rivers are involved, and I would love to prove this for myself.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom there I managed to break into a run again and push on a little way until I encountered another group of people.

Once they had gone, I broke into a run and went all the way down to the viewpoint over the Plat Gousset. The wind here on this corner really was wicked and I was surprised to see even a handful of people down there.

There were several people in the Square Maurice Marland too, so that put paid to any plans that I had to go for a run across there. But there was nothing else whatever of any importance or note going on so I walked on home to warm up with a nice hot mug of coffee.

Having finished the radio programme I had my hour on the guitars, which wasn’t as successful as it has been of late and then went for tea – steamed vegetables and veggie balls in a nice vegan cheese sauce, followed by pineapple and ice cream.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I stuck my head out of the door, I was glad that I’d had a few goes at my running this afternoon because the wicked headwind put a stop to anything in the Rue du Roc.

But I made it around as best I could to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, even managing a couple of legs of my running. No change in the chantier navale today, and nothing special going on in the harbour either – quite probably because the tide was right out by now.

One of the Joly France boats – the older one – was moored up over there at the ferry terminal, and it looked as if Chausiais was tied up in front of her. But that was about it really.

rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was nothing happening in the inner harbour either tonight. None of the Jersey freighters had paid us a visit today.

But by now the rain and started and with the wicked wind out here it was as if I was being lashed by a rather vigorous cat-o’nine tails. And seeing as I was the only one daft enough to be out here right now – not even any kids on the car park, I took a photo of the Rue du Port and then ran all the way home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow I have to go shopping. With no Caliburn here I don’t have much in the way of fresh stuff so I can see me making two trips to LIDL – one tomorrow and the next on Saturday.

It’s rather inconvenient but it’s all in a good cause.

And then I can push on, update the journal for when I was in Leuven just now and then, hopefully, push on and catch up with yet more arrears from my trip around Central Europe earlier this year.

It’s high time that I put that to bed and got on with the real stuff.

Monday 1st June 2020 – WHAT STARTED OFF …

… as a really good day disintegrated pretty quickly into the usual chaotic mess and there’s now yet more stuff piled up in the queue of arrears to be dealt with.

boys jumping into sea plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallSo while you admire the photos of the young boys taking a giant step for mankind into the English Channel off the ramp at the Plat Gousset, I shall enlarge.

And I might even tell you about it too.

In fact, there was a hint if it all starting to go wrong last night when at about 23:15, halfway through writing up my notes, I was suddenly overwhelmed by fatigue.

That was the cue for me to call it a night and stagger off to bed. It wasn’t a worry because it’s happened before … “and it will happen again” – ed … and I’ll catch up with it soon enough.

boys jumping into sea plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallHowever, in what will come as a totaly surprise to just about everyone, I reckon, including me, I awoke with the first alarm and didn’t go back to sleep as I normally do.

As a matter of fact, when the third alarm went off I was in the kitchen mixing my morning cordial with which to take my medication.

And that’s not something that happens every day either, especially just recently.

boys jumping into the sea plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallNothing on the dictaphone either – I don’t seem to have gone anywhere during the night so it must have been a really solid sleep.

That meant that I could have a good half-hour or so on adding to my notes from yesterday before the medication worked and I could go to breakfast.

After breakfast I had tidying up to do because I was having visitors. It’s one good thing about having them, in that it does prompt me to clean up the place.

Sure enough, at 10:00, Laurent came round and we had a really good chat about all kinds of things and made a plan for a day out on Thursday. He knows of a few places that might interest me, like France’s answer to New Brunswick’s LePreau nuclear reactor, which is having a similar amount of success.

And if we take some potatoes with us, we can have fission chips for lunch.

After Laurent left there was a radio project to prepare.

Luckily I’d already done half a dozen live concerts in the past for another project when Liz and I ran “Radio Anglais” so I pinched one of those, wrote an introduction, dictated and edited it and merged it in to make an hour-long concert for this radio station.

Just like that!

yachts boat baie de mont st michel cancale brittany granville manche normandy france eric hallThat meant a very late lunch, unfortunately. And I was good and ready for it too by now.

It was a really beautiful afternoon, right enough, so I went outside and sat on my wall with my butties and my book. With the air being so clear these days we could wee right across to Cancale over there on the Brittany coast.

That’s about 18 miles away as the crow flies, yet you would never ever think so by looking at the photo.

fishing boats trawler baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe tide was coming in quite rapidly as I sat there. I could actually see it rising before my very eyes.

As a result one lot of fishing boats was heading out of the harbour to go to work while an earlier wave of boats was on its way back in to unload the morning’s catch.

There was the usual pile of pleasure boats too. Perhaps I ought to mention that it’s a Bank Holiday today and many people are off work.

Back here I made a start on the second week of my Accountancy course – but not for very long because it was time to go for my afternoon walk.

cabin cruiser marker buoy english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWith it being such a beautiful day, there were the usual crowds out there.

This cabin cruiser was sitting in the sea quite a long way out and if I possessed a boat I would be out there too in this kind of weather.

There’s another one of those marker buoys there too, over there to the right of the boat. It’s hard to see because it’s black, and that’s not the best colour to have in the sea because it’s pretty difficult to see.

What’s wrong with yellow or orange?

people on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallIt goes without saying that in this weather and a Bank Holiday too there are the usual crowds on the beach.

That means that in order to escape the madding crowds, people have to go further and further into the crooks and nannies in order to find some peace and quiet. And it doesn’t get much more isolated than the spot that they have chosen.

As an aside … “here we go!” – ed … I once told a friend that I had gone into the country to get a little piece and quiet.
“Don’t you mean ‘peace’?” he asked.
“No” I replied. “I mean ‘piece’, and I got one too, but she just wouldn’t keep quiet”

swimmer english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallStanding on the clifftop overlooking the sea I fell in with a neighbour of mine who was busy admiring the scenery

We spent quite a long time admiring the scenery and putting the world to rights, like you do. And our discussion was interrupted by the arrival of Captain Matthew Webb. Not exactly “swimming along the old canal”
“That carried the bricks to Lawley” though.

He was probably “paying a call at Dawley Bank on the way to his destination” but somehow missed his turning along the route.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallWe mantioned earlier something about the crowds on the beach and the necessity to find a quiet corner.

But there aren’t any crowds on the beach right now, and for the simple reason is that there isn’t much of a beach for them to be crowding on.

The tide is still well in and in a few minutes even that little bit of beach will be awash with water. Not that it’s stopping all of those people from taking to the waters. It was the right kind of day for it.

roofing place marechal foch granville manche normandy france eric hallRound at the lookout over the Place Marechal Foch I went to see how they were progressing with the re-roofing.

And the answer is “not as quickly as I was expecting”. They have done about two thirds of it and they have put some fancy galvanised covering over the dormer windows. But there is still plenty to do.

However it’s looking like a very neat job and it will be somethign to admire when it’s finished, sure enough.

yacht keeling over baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThis was interesting too. I wasn’t sure what was going on with this particular yacht but, sensing that there was a catastrophe in the making, I stood there with bated breath and the camera at the ready.

But I was to be confounded yet again because the crew on board the yacht managed to straighten out the boat after making their very tight turn and sailed off into the sunset.

Or, at least, they would have done had this event taken place a couple of hours later.

But I was impressed with how they managed to get their boat upright again.

yacht boat towing dinghy baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was plenty of other maritime activity out there this afternoon too.

There were the usual yachts of course, several of which we have seen already, but this boat that was slowly chugging past looked to be very interesting. I wasn’t sure whether it was a yacht with its mast down or a streamlined cabin cruiser, but it was making comfortable progress even if it was towing its dinghy behind it.

As for me, I had to make comfortable progress and came back to make myself a coffee.

There was also my Accountancy course to attack, but shame as it is to say it, I crashed out on the chair. Not just for five or ten minutes either but a really deep 45 minutes the like of which I used to have when this illness first took hold and which I thought that I had shaken off.

That’s a tragedy because I have so much to do and I’m just getting farther and farther behind.

When it came round to 18:00 I was still somewhere else in my head but I managed to get myself together and spend the usual hour on the guitars.

Tea was a stuffed pepper and rice, followed by apple pie and soya coconut cream.

cap frehel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd then it was time to go out for my evening runs.

With not feeling too goo, every step was agony but I made it all the way round on my normal route. But at the clifftop I had to stop and take a photo of the spectacular view.

And just why it’s spectacular is that over there is, I reckon, Cap Fréhel on the Brittany coast and that’s just a little over 70 kms away. It’s not every day that you can see that far down the coast from up here, and I had to perch up on top of one of the old Atlantic Wall bunkers to make the shot work.

joly france ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRound by the ferry terminal was my next port of call.

Both of the Joly France boats are moored up at the ferry terminal this evening. I did hear that there had been excursions over to the Ile de Chausey today.

But Chausiais has at long last moved from her ad-hoc temporary mooring against the harbour wall. And not before time either, as far as I’m concerned. We’ve seen how quickly the tide rises and falls here and where she was, she risked being dashed against the wall, and that wouldn’t have done her much good.

chausiais port de granville habour manche normandy france eric hallSo I ran on down the Boulevard Vaufleury, ignoring a ribald remark that was directed in my direction, and when I’d recovered my breath at my resting place, I went down to overlook the harbour to see what was going on.

As usual, nothing very much, but at least we know where Chausiais has got to. She’s back on her mooring spot in the inner harbour where she’s out of the way of other traffic and the rising tide.

So having recovered my breath I ran on back all the way up the hill to the viewpoint at the rue du Nord to see what was happening there.

picnickers plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd the answer to that is “not very much”.

But my picnickers are still out there having fun. And I’m sure that they must be multiplying because there are more and more of them.

Having made sure that there was nothing else happing I ran on home to write out my notes.

Having done that, I’m off to bed. I have more visitors tomorrow morning and there’s my Welsh class. And then one of these days I really do need to do somethign about all of these arrears.

This backlog is just getting out of hand. Its ridiculous.

Thursday 21st May 2020 – I HAVE EMULATED …

… my namesake the mathematician today and done three-fifths of five eights of … errr … nothing.

And quite right too, because it’s a Bank Holiday today here in France and I missed the two previous ones, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

trawlers fishing boats sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallSo while you admire yet another sunset, I shall explain to you my day. Or, rather, half a day, because it was about 10:00 this morning when I finally showed a leg, what with no alarm.

During the night I had been driving a bus into Audlem last night and it was down the road one house to the left a little further down than the Post Office. I had to drive down there and when I drove down there Nerina was already there. She was there with her aeroplane. She was working for this aeroplane company and they had given her this really old wrecked aeroplane like an 80-seater thing but with no seats in it. All the kids just played around in there while the flight was taking place. There was no way to dim the lights or brighten the cockpit lights and the sun was streaming in – there was no sun blind or anything. She was telling me about all her difficulties and i was coming up with all kinds of ways and suggestions to make things work, all that sort of thing. In the end I got to the stage where I said “do you want Terry and me to come and wire in some lights, that kind of thing?”. She said no, she’d manage. I looked in and I could see one of my curtains being used across the front of the ‘plane. I said “you have one of my curtains in there, haven’t you?” to which she gave a little embarrassed smile. Not that I’d been to Audlem Road Garage before – I dunno.

And if you want to know what any of that means, you’re out of luck I’m afraid because I don’t have a clue either.

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallLater on I was with my father and we’d gone to Hightown to where Chatfield’s garage was, but it was across the road from Chatfield’s. I had my yellow Cortina Mark III, VBH, in there having some work done on it and we’d gone to pick it up. The guy there was quite friendly and I used him a lot. I asked him if it was ready and he said “yes, round the back” – which was actually across the road down Samuel Street. I’d also mentioned something about tyres – I’d asked him about getting tyres for the van – winter tyres. I paid him and it came to driving the car away. he asked me about the black Escort that I was thinking of selling. I said “yes but at the moment it’s in having some electrical work done”. I thought “God, it’s been in that garage having the work done for over a month now and they must have thought that I’d forgotten all about it or something”. So i went with my father and there was the Cortina. I was in the Transit so I said to him “do you want to drive the Cortina home?” Father said yes but he didn’t really want to drive the Cortina so I let him drive the Transit. By this time the Cortina had mutated into a Triumph motor bike so I had to kick-start it to get it going but I couldn’t kick-start it. I noticed that there was a bright yellow new Triumph motorbike right by and and I was looking at this bright brand new Triumph motor bike and how nice it was. Then realisation suddenly hit me that I was going to have the Transit, about three Cortinas, I was going to have this Escort and this motorbike and they were all going to be back home and not a single one had any road tax on it and what was I going to do about that? I thought that when I get back I’d better get organised. There will be massive queues at the Post Office so I thought that I’d better investigate some idea of getting the road tax paid on line.

At some point during the night I had the distinct impression thaT Cecile was there too but I’ve no idea why or how.

With the late start, everything else was running really late and I spent much of the day chilling out and talking to people.

For lunch, I tried the new loaf of bread. It’s still not light enough but it’s a vast, dramatic improvement on what has gone before and I have a feeling that I’m slowly getting there. I shall hit the supermarket tomorrow and see if they have any fresh yeast because mine’s getting to be a little old in the tooth.

sea fog plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAs is customary these days now that detention à domicile is over I went out for my afternoon walk.

There wasn’t really very much point, especially if sightseeing was what I had in mind, because there weren’t very many sights to see in this kind of claggy weather.

We’ve been hit by one of these rolling sea fogs that makes its way in every now and again. And on a Bank Holiday too. Still, the police won’t be able tos ee who is socially distancing and who isn’t.

tarpaulin roof place marechal foch granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd so I continued my walk around the walls to go and have a look over at the house repairs in the Place Marechal Foch – assuming that I could see that far.

It’s Bank Holiday today as I have said before … “many times” – ed … and so the workmen aren’t there. But they have put a cover over where they have ripped off the slates and battened it down so that the wind won’t lift it off.

But will they be back tomorrow to carry on? It’s the unofficial custom here in France chen the Bank Holiday falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday to faire le pont – “Make the bridge” – and take the day nearest the weekend as an additional day off.

equipment floating pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFurther on around the headland and down the other side of the walls into the Square Maurice Marland.

What I was doing here was looking for any signs of movement on the new floating pontoons. And while there was no-one moving around down there, I noticed that a pile of equipment of some sort has been dumped down there at the end.

This looks interesting. I wonder what they are going to be doing with it. I suppose that we’ll all know i due course so I’ll keep my eyes peeled fpr any action.

abandoned personal possessions square maurice marland granville manche normandy france eric hallBut this was interesting.

At the top of the ramp out of the Square Maurice Marland, it looks as if someone has abandoned their personal possessions. There was no-one at all about in the vicinity – I had a good look.

So whatever it was all about, I wouldn’t know. I hope that whoever they belong to managed to recover them quickly enough. Just imagine doing this in the UK – leaving your stuff lying around like this.

zodiac fishing boat port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was in the Square Maurice Marland I’d seen a few things further on down the road that made me prolong my walk to go along and investigate.

This was one of them. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen the bright yellow zodiac that’s been going round the harbour and the bay over the last few days.

Here it is again, skilfully negotiating a fishing boat that is on its way out of port. I still haven’t worked out who they are or what they are doing aboard her. There’s been nothing in the newspaper.

grounded fishing boat port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThis was interesting too.

Every so often we’ve seen the big fishing boats tied to the quayside wall so that they ground out when the tide goes out and the owners can inspect them. There’s another one here today, although I couldn’t see anyone around her working.

So on that note I came back home.

A day without doing anything is pretty difficult so I decided to show willing and attack a web page. The one that I started is half-completed, simply because there was a whole pile of stuff that needed doing to it.

As I remember it, I merely dashed it off in a few minutes simply to get it on line and it had a subsequent amendment, again in a hurry, in 2013. But I want to do it properly this time

There was the usual hour on the guitar of course, and then tea. An aubergine and kidney-bean whatsit out of the freezer followed by the last slice of redfruit pie. A good decision, that.

Tomorrow I can start on the apple crumble. I should also mention that my lemon and ginger cordial is excellent too.

crowds on lawn lighthouse pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallFor some unknown reason, my run tnoight seemed to go a lot easier than just recently. I don’t know what I’m doing differently.

Having recovered my breath I ran on down to the clifftop to witness the crowds of people gathered there partying and picknicking. The sea fog had cleared a long time ago.

No thought of social distancing of course, and I suppose that with just 251 new infections and 83 new deaths today, people are becoming complacent. I note these figures because I’ll check back on them every now and again and see what the curve is doing.

The USA and the UK are still posting horrendous figures and I’m really glad that I don’t live there. How are 96,000 deaths and 36,000 deaths anything to be proud of?

trawlers yacht english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe harbour gates here in the port mush have just opened because there was a very long line of fishing boats slowly chugging out into the English Channel.

There was a yacht coming back over from the Ile de Chausey so I waited for a while until I had the pose that I wanted. The sun off to the right of the photo silhouetting the ships against the surface of the sea gave the image some kind of supernatural, eerie effect.

And these ships weren’t alone either. You probably noticed in one of the sunset pics the crowds of boats of one kind or another out there this evening.

trawler fishing baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were still more fishing boats on their way out of harbour too.

Why this one caught my eye more than any othe others is because if you look closely at the image you’ll see a line running out from the boat off astern.

That looks to me very much as if it has its fishing tackle out, but it seems to me that the boat is going rather too fast for that.

The design of these boats is very interesting. We’ve seen plenty of them in the chantier navale. Short and squat but wiht a very deep hold for the catch.

kids picnicking on concrete roof atlantic wall granville manche normandy france eric hallWe’ve seen plenty of groups of people out partying in the evening just recently, but these girls brought on a smile.

They are sitting on one of the old concrete bunkers for the Atlantic Wall right on the end of the Pointe du Roc where they’ll have an excellent view of the sunset. I was thinking that one of these days that would be an ideal place for me to set up my tripod and camera.

But not today though. I carried on with my run.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw Normandy Trader in port.

Today it’s the turn of Thora to be here. She’s the other small freighter that runs the shuttle service to the Channel Islands and was formerly a Shetland Islands car ferry.

But will she be here tomorrow? We’ve seen some pretty rapid turnrounds of these ships just recently coming in as the gates opened and leaving before they close again. I wonder if Thora

fishermen speedboat yacht granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was musing over this, another boat hove into view.

This was the yacht that we had seen coming over from the Ile de Chausey. It had caught me up while I was perambulating around. There was a speedboat going past too and when I enlarged the image for a look, I could see that he was loaded up with fishing gear.

As usual these days I completed all of my six runs. The young people weren’t picnicking where they had been for the last few days – the tide isn’t all that far out as yet. And so I ran on home

Back to work tomorrow, I have a blood test, and I need to go shopping at some point too. It’s all go here. So i’m going to have an early night.

Friday 8th May 2020 – WHAT THE …

… heck happened here?

Running late yet again, and there was a football match planned on the internet tonight kick-off at 20:30 – a historic match from a few years ago in the Welsh Premier League between Bangor City and Rhyl – so I decided to forego tea, worry about that later, and watch the match in peace.

While I was waiting for it to come on, I busied myself with other things until I noticed the time – 21:35!

So what happened to the match?

A brief visit to the page of the broadcaster, and all mention of the match has been wiped off.

In fact, really, the match tonight should have been Port Talbot Town v Bala and the Bangor match last Friday, but regular readers of this rubbish will recall that it was that match that was broadcast last Fridat night.

There might almost have been another disappointment this morning too but I was saved on a technicality. The three alarms went off as usual but it was about 06:45 when I left the bed.

That might usually have counted as a failure, except that it’s a Bank Holiday here (Victory in Europe Day) and by rights there shouldn’t be an alarm at all.

But in a state of exhaustion I went to bed early-ish last night before I’d finished my notes so in compensation I left the alarm to ring this morning.

There was so much to write that it was 09:20 or thereabouts when I went for breakfast – that’s the penalty of not being focused – and so it turned out to be just like any other Bank Holiday afterwards where I didn’t do very much.

And there was nothing on the dictaphone from the night either.

There were some photos edited from July 2019 but not as many as I would have liked as I had to go back and change quite a few due to having become confused with the numbering. So I’m still on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour trying to get into the harbour at Vestmannaeyjar on the island of Heimaey just off the coast of Iceland.

Round about 12:30 I was thinking about lunch when the telephone rang. It was Rosemary who wanted a little chat. And when she finished, it was 14:21. We had a lot to say to each other.

By the time that I’d eaten lunch it was about 15:15 and that was effectively the day gone. I continued the task of sifting through the web server looking for files that shouldn’t be there, and I moved another few off that I had been looking for for ages.

All in all, it wasn’t a very profitable day and I could have done much better.

There was the usual hour on the guitars and then just as I was thinking about tea, someone with whom I had wanted to speak came on line so I was caught up in another chat.

Hence the running late.

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallWith no football to watch I pushed myself on outside for my evening run.

And just about caught the tail end of the sunset. It really was beautiful out there too, Everything. The sun, the wind, the calm, the quiet. One of the nicest evenings so far.

To my surprise too, the run all the way up the hill was the easiest that I’ve had to date. I’m wondering if that might be due to the fact that I had no tea tonight. I shall have to experiment

chausiais port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallI ran all the way down the south side of the headland and then all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury, well past my usual stopping place, and then walked back to look at the harbour.

There was nothing much going on as far as shipping went and it was too far to see if they had been working there today. However there were several people at the fish processing plant and they were making quite a noise.

Chausiais was there too, still moored in her usual place over by the ferry terminal ready, I suppose, for a voyage to the Ile de Chausey.

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving had a good couple of weeks of no movement whatever at the chantier navale they seem to be working at a frenetic pace just now.

We had five boats yesterday morning and then back down to four yesterday evening, but this evening we seem to be back up to five boats again.

But the boat on the extreme left of the row of four – if that’s not the one that was there in that spot for so long and had disappeared by yesterday, then it’s one very much like it.

trawler aeroplane beautiful sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving digested the scenery here, I carried on with my runs around to the rue du Nord.

While I’d been running around the headland I’d seen the Rescue Boat shoot out of the harbour as if it meant business and I wasn’t quick enough to photograph it. But now we have an aeroplane take off from the airfield at Donville which you can see in the upper left of the photo above the illuminated fishing boat.

That may well be the air-sea rescue ‘plane taking off to follow the boat, so it looks as if we have a naval emergency somewhere.

brehal plage donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallBut it was a beautiful night by the time tha I got down to the viewpoint on the rue du Nord.

It was practically going dark and I couldn’t see much, except the fact that it was looking really nice over to Brehal-Plage and Donville les Bains

That prompted me to take a photo of it. I had the big NIKON D500 fitted with the f1.8 50mm lens so at least it was the correct equipment for the job and the photo came out well enough considering.

rue st jean place d'armes rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBut this photo came out even better.

That’s the rue St Jean passing out under the medieval town walls and on into the Place d’Armes and out into the rue du Roc.

As for me, I ran off to my apartment and that was that.

Now it’s bed time and I’m glad because I’m tired. It’s been a rather pointless day today but tomorrow there’s shopping to do and I need to be on form.

There will be queues everywhere, I imagine, so I need to be at my best.

Some hope!

Friday 1st May 2020 – A STRANGE THING …

… happened to me during the night.

There was a group of us living in a house in Crewe and I had to get up and go to work to start a new job. But I was lying in bed and it suddenly occurred to me to get up and get dressed because the bus would be going in a few minutes time. I had to get dressed, and my fitbit came off somehow in all of this. I couldn’t find the tie that I had put aside. I was hunting high and low for this tie. In the end I went to the cupboard, opened it and chose another one. There were about 200 ties in there and everyone was looking at these ties and I said “yes I need to get rid of a few clothes, don’t I?” Someone said “oh yes. I haven plenty of stuff”. I actualy awoke at this point and found myself sitting upright on the point of getting out of bed to go to work.

There have been some really realistic voyages during the night here and there over the years, but this was certainly one of the best.

It had been one of those nights last night where I’d been running really late and I ended up going to bed instead of finishing off my notes.

And so in a break with usual tradition I set an alarm call for a Bank Holiday (it’s Labour Day here so everyone celebrates it by … errr … not doing any labouring) and in a break with even more usual traditions I actually beat the third alarm to my feet.

And this time it was for real too. I felt like that guy about whom Tommy Cooper used to talk –
“I knew a guy who dreamt that he was awake. And when he woke up, he was!”
But it wasn’t half a weird thing that in the middle of the night.

So after the medication I attacked the notes to finish them off. And that took much longer than I was expecting too. I’d resolved not to go for breakfast until they were finished and by the time that I was ready my stomach was thinking that my throat had been cut.

After breakfast it was the turn of the dictaphone to receive attention. I’ve already mentioned something of it but a little later I had someone staying with me overnight. It was another one of these panics to get up in the morning. I cooked a breakfast, toasted cheese, stuff like that and I was getting everything ready while whoever it was (and I’ve really no idea who it was either) was getting ready to leave. I made breakfast in my tiny room which was just like the cabin of The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour which was so small that I had to sit outside – there was only room for one at the table. However as a gesture of solidarity we both ended up sitting outside in the corridor. But my place quite clearly aroused some appreciation. “Yes, I wouldn’t mind retiring to a place like this at all either” so i was explaining the benefits of these homes and how there were people round but they only came if you needed them and apart from that they only came once a week to clean your room, emergency bell pulls, all this sort of thing. And there was general agreement on this.

There was something else on there too but you’re all probably eating your tea right now so I’ll spare you the gory details. But it concerned another voyage on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour, which certainly seems to be receiving an awful lot of my notional custom right now. It’s a good job that I don’t have to pay for these trips for real.

Having done that, I attacked the digitalising of my record collection – the last two albums as well. Whatever is left will have to be done by hand by me. One of those two albums almost ended up in that pile too, seeing that the only copy of one of the tracks was an *.mkv, which is something that I’m trying to keep off my computer, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

However, the light went on in my head, like it does on the odd occasion here and there, and I came up with a very ingenious solution to the problem. And to my surprise it actually worked!

So bearing in mind that one or two albums were shelved because all that I could find was *.mkv stuff, I might go back again and have another run through and see what I can do.

It’s a long process but probably quicker than digitalising them manually.

All of that took me up to lunchtime, would you believe, and there was time to do 30 or so photos. I’m now sitting in a zodiac in a lagoon at the foot of the Vatnajokull Glacier in South-East Iceland.

The hummus that I made yesterday was really nice and worth the effort that I put into it. And so was the apple and pear purée for breakfast by the way.

This afternoon has been somewhat … errr … leisurely. I’ve tidied up a little of the hard drive in here (only a little) and dealt with some outstanding correspondence. I’m not sure if I mentioned it but someone wrote to me about my University thesis for my “Historical Technology” module of my degree.

When it was finished I PUT IT ON LINE (I think that all research should be put on line for future scholars) and someone well-known in that area has written to me to give me some further information and to express his admiration (really!) for what I had written, which was certainly very nice of him.

As well as that, there’s some more radio stuff simmering away in the background, including something that might involve HIS NIBS, and so that required a little thought.

There was the hour or so on the guitars too during which I almost fell asleep, and then tea, which was a stuffed pepper followed by the final slice (not really the final slice because half of it went into the freezer) of the delicious blackberry pie.

And here’s something surprising (or maybe in isn’t). I’d sat down after the washing-up to digest my meal before I went out running and suddenly the football came on the internet. I’d completely forgotten that it was Friday.

A historical match – Port Talbot Town against Bala Town in a Welsh Premier League European playoff from 2013.

And how the standard of football in the Welsh Premier League has improved since then too. This was a “top 5” game yet you would never have thought so.

It ended 1-0 for Bala which was about right. Port Talbot were denied what looked from my viewpoint like two stonewall penalties, but Bala were denied on several occasions by some heroic stuff from my namesake in the Port Talbot goal and had already had a goal ruled out for a foul that was much more innocuous than the one committed on Cortez Belle in the 87th minute at the other end for which the referee waved “play on”.

But it was a very poignant match in one respect. The Spuds couldn’t maintain the momentum following this defeat and slowly slid down the table.

And then down the pyramid. Now they are in the third tier and the glory days of European football in the season 2010-11 when they went to Finland in the Europa League are nothing but a distant memory.

But here’s another thing. Bane of Britain has struck again!

Because of the football I was late – like 22:30 – going out for my runs. It was dark so I decided to swap over the lenses – put the f1.8 50mm lens onto the big NIKON D500 and the 70-300mm LENS onto the old NIKON D3000 and take the big Nikon with me.

So Bane of Britain swapped the lenses over well enough – but then took the wrong camera, as he discovered when he went to take a photo.

So no photos tonight, but at least I managed all of my runs which was good news.

It’s late now, so it’s bedtime. And shopping tomorrow – not that I need all that much but never mind. I wonder of the supermarket will be packed.

Monday 13th April 2020 – IT WAS HARD …

… this evening going for my runs.

It’s a lot colder than it has been of late and a pair of gloves and a hat would have made a great deal of positive difference to my comfort this evening.

But really what was to blame for it all was the howling gale. A couple of my runs, including the longest one, was right into the teeth of the gale and while I managed to accomplish them all, including the little additional extra metres that I’ve been doing. But I certainly knew all about it by the time that I returned home and I don’t want to have to do it again in a hurry.

A Bank Holiday today, of course. Easter Monday. And so I celebrated by having a lie-in. And in a change from just recently, it was actually only about 07:45 when I awoke.

Even more interestingly, it was 08:15 when I left my bed too. Not the best lie-ins that I’ve had, but some of them just recently have been somewhat excessive, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Nothing on the dictaphone either, as I found when I went to check it after the medication. So it must have been a decent night’s sleep too.

After breakfast (and my last hot cross bun) I made a start on the digital sound files. I’m on the cassettes now of course and by the time that I’d finished, I’d dealt with another 4 albums.

Three of them went quite quickly and I didn’t have time to deal with many of the Iceland photos. But of course there’s always one that is a struggle and it took me an age to sort it out, to find the files that I needed, to get them to download and then to convert them to *.mp3.

But having done that, I could start (better late than never) on the next two radio projects.

Despite having a stop for lunch, by the time I came to knocking off at 18:00, I’d chosen all of the music for both projects, joined them up into pairs as I would usually do, and even made a start on writing the text. I don’t know where this sudden energy has come from.

For my hour on the guitars, I’ve made a start on writing another song. I’ve been a bit quiet on that front since November. I was warming up, just running through a few chords, and a certain chord pattern caught my attention. I had a little work on it and while I was doing so, a lyric pattern that fitted it came into my head too.

So half an hour on the 6-string and half an hour on the bass working around it to see where I finished. There will be a lot more to it of course, and then I have to work out the drumming to it now that I have my electronic drum kit.

Tea was a stuffed pepper followed by some of the apple pie that I baked yesterday, with soya coconut whatsit. And it was all really delicious too.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThat was the cue for me to go outside for my evening’s exercise.

It was still quite light while I was out there and the sun was a good 20 minutes or so from setting. But there was a fishing boat out there, presumably having left the port and heading off to the fishing grounds somewhere out by the Channel Islands.

Here’s a nice photo of her, disappearing off into the sunset. And into the haze too.

trawlers baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallYes, nothing like as clear as it was yesterday which is a shame.

But regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last night there were the three (or four) lights of fishing boats down in the Baie de Mont St Michel where I wouldn’t really expect to see them. But there they are again tonight.

In the light and with the NIKON D500 and the 70-300mm LENS I could see them clearly. There are seagulls around them too so they are certainly out there working.

trawlers baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were another few fishing boats out there too, but I suspect that these two are hovering around the harbour entrance maybe waiting for the tide.

Mind you, their working lights are on too and they are also surrounded by seagulls. So even if they aren’t actually working right now, they must have full loads and they are sorting the cargo.

Struggling against the headwind as I did, I finally made it back to my apartment, totally wasted. And Rosemarie rang me up so we had a lengthy chat about nothing in particular. But then that’s what friends are all about.

And that’s why I’m late doing this – not that I’m objecting of course.

So tomorrow, back at a full day’s work, alarms and everything. And who knows? I might even make progress. Stranger things have happened.

Sunday 12th April 2020 – REGULAR READERS …

trawlers baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hall… of this rubbish will recall a short while ago that we saw a fishing boat heading out deep into the Baie de Mont St Michel, and I expressed my surprise, because I didn’t recalls eeing a fishing boat that deep in there before.

But if yuo look at those white lights just there, you’ll understand that what we are seeing is actually three fishing boats down in thz bay somewhere off the Pointe de Carolles. They are stationary with their working lights on, and that would indicated to me that they are working.

There was a fourth one too, out way off to the left close inshore, but couldn’t fit the photo to include it.

So there you go. It seems that they are starting to look around for more places to fish, and I wonder if that is something to do with Brexit.

What isn’t surprising of course is the fact that I didn’t see the light of day until about 10:30 this morning.

Not that I’m complaining today either, because it’s a Sunday and also a bank holiday so in effect i’m allowed two lie-ins.

It was just as well because just as I was thinking of going to bed last night an interesting track came round on the playlist so I had a bash at it with the 6-string guitar.

And not just any old how either. I plugged in the VOX AMPLUG, turned it full up and put on the headphones.

It was just like being in a studio or on a stage, and I was so carried away that I ran through a pile of the repertoire until getting on for 03:00

And do you know what? I don’t regret it for a minute.

This morning after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

I was in Gainsborough Road last night and the place was an absolute tip with stuff everywhere, tons of stuff all over the place. There was an insurance guy who was trying to sell me some insurance policy so he could come round to the house and I could tell him to clear off. Then I got to thinking about the state the place was in but before I could do anything about it the front doorbell went – a strange doorbell like a couple of dogs barking. I went downstairs and there was this guy. Of course the two cats and a dog in my house went immediately rushing out. He made a remark about a mentally-handicapped person, having a couple turning around. He indicated a couple of people to me – one was a young girl with long albino blonde hair. He pointed to her.
A little later I was driving a lorry, a big artic with a trailer with an old van and a pile of wood on it. I was doing all right – even in a narrow road I pulled right over to let a Polish bus come the other way. Suddenly the road petered out and I ended up in the wrong section of the road. I’d been right about which was the main road but I’d taken the wrong turning at a really confusing junction because I wasn’t sure. I had to reverse around in some yard. I did it basically without looking at first and just missed a parked car by about a quarter of an inch. The guy in the house came out and was quite cheerful about it. He told me what I’d done. I said “well I’ll turn it round but the difficulty is that I can’t see what I’m doing”. He put a light on but it wasn’t what I wanted because of course you have loads of blind spots on artics. He said “do you want me to do it?”. I said “no, I’m going to do it” I don’t know why, because I wasn’t at all confident and it was really tigh but what I wanted was someone to watch me. But he wandered off. While I was sitting there examining this I noticed that the van had come loose on the trailer. I thought that this was probably just the awkward positioning that it’s in and it will straighten out when I have the trailer straight again. That didn’t look right to me. This girl came out for a conversation so I thought I’d get her to watch, but I’d still rather have the guy watching.

There was more to it than this too but you’re probably having your tea or something like that right now, so I’ll spare you the gruesome details.

After breakfast, which was well after midday, I made a start on the digitalised file splitting.

As I suspected, I seem to have run aground. I’ve started to come up against albums that for one reason or another I can’t do right now – mainly though because the digital sound files just aren’t available.

They will need a good sorting out to see what’s what and for me myself to digitalise them as necessary. But that’s for another time. In the meantime I made a start on the cassettes.

What with one thing and another it was a long, weary early afternoon trying to sort all of this out and I didn’t have much opportunity to edit many photos from July last year. We’re just pulling into port at Akureyri and photo 0542. That’s probably about a quarter of the way around my July voyages.

Finally I was able to deal with the two outstanding radio projects. They are both now complete as far as I can go right now, and the final two tracks have been timed and chosen. I just need to write and then dictate the text, edit it and merge it all together.

But I think that I’ll do what I did last week and that is to choose the music for the next two radio projects, and then write and record all of the text in one go.

And I’m not sure if I mentioned, but I had a really lovely note from someone about our outside broadcast for the GRANDE MAREE VIRTUELLE, and for those of you who understand French, you can download the Podcast at the link that I posted.

Having had a good play about on the 6-string guitar late last night and here and there today, I just had half an hour on the bass tonight.

One thing that I’ve noticed thought is that with having played a lot just recently on the 5-string fretless bass, I found today that the Ibanez acoustic 4-string just isn’t up to what I want it to do.

In my old age, I’m becoming spoilt. That’s for sure.

apple pie apple turnover place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallWith it being a Sunday,as well as vegan pizza night, it’s also pudding for the week-making night.

having had rice pudding last week and having used a couple of the apple pie slices from the freezer during the week, I decided on a big apple pie and an apple turnover. What I don’t eat this week can go into the freezer to build up the stock again.

The pizza was delicious, and half of the apple turnover was equally nice. I shall have to make this again sometime.

It was really late tonight when I went out for my evening perambulations.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallOnce more, I ran all the way up to the end of the hedge and could have carried on, incorporating run n°2 down to the clifftop but I stopped to catch my breath.

Down at the cliff top, this fishing boat was going past on its way towards port. The fishing boats are still working out of Granville (as we saw in the first photograph earlier) whether they are working anywhere else or not.

They are even allowed to sell their fish directly off the quayside here, as I mentioned a while ago, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

night brittany coast st malo granville manche normandy france eric hallBut it really was a beautiful night and I regretted bringing the NIKON D3000 with me instead of the NIKON D500.

The sky was really clear and you could see for miles. The street lights of St Malo right across the Baie de Mont St Michel were reflecting beautifully from the sky and the extra versatility of the bigger camera would have done it much more justice.

What was sad about this was that I was the only person here enjoying it. There wasn’t another soul around at all.

coasthuard station pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd it was hard to say if there was even anyone manning the radar in the Coastguard station either.

There was certainly no shadow or anything moving around in there, so I continued on my merry, mazy way.

The same four boats in the chantier navale so I left them in peace, and carried on home. The usual 5 runs in total and although I’m totally wasted and sweating by the time that I return, I notice that I’m pushing on the distance, a couple of metres here, a couple of metres there

That’s quite important to me because I need to keep on top of my health as much as I can.

But it’s a Bank Holiday tomorrow, so no alarm and a lie-in. I hope that no-one comes along to spoil it.

Wednesday 1st January 2020 – HAPPY NEW YEAR!

May I take this opportunity to wish all of my readers (both of you!) a very happy New Year. I hope that you will receive everything this year that you wished on everyone else during the course of the last year.

It goes without saying, of course, that whatever you wished on Brexiters, the Conservative party, Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, the Republicans and Canadian Tories are exempt from this. If the World comes to an end in 2020, we’ll all know who to blame.

And for that reason, this song is going to be my anthem for the current year. I have often said … “and you will say more often” – ed … that if violence is the answer, then it must have been a very stupid question. And the question on the Referendum paper in 2016 is about as stupid as they come.

And the fact that 17.4 million people were stupid enough to vote for it, and 14 million people were stupid enough just now to vote for the Tories shows you that people still haven’t got the message.

The only way for you to tell them the message in a fashion in which they will understand it is –
1) to tell them about it slowly
2) on their thick skulls
3) in Morse code
4) with a pickaxe handle.

Yes, “if you want your rights you’re going to have to fight” and “we’ll walk hand in hand to the promised land” “if we bring down the Government now”.

On the subject of walking, as I mentioned last night, I went out for a walk at about 23:30 to see what was going on in town. Not hand in hand though. I was on my own and had a camera to carry.

night christmas lights rue st sauver granville manche normandy france eric hallThe harbour gates were open so I had to walk along the rue du Port and that way into town and just as the clock struck midnight, I found myself at the end of the rue St Saveur.

Having a think about it, I don’t recall if I took a photo of the street with its Christmas lights so I took a photo of it just now to complete the picture.

Mind you, I’m not sure why I bothered, because they aren’t really all that much to write home about, are they?

night christmas lights place generale de gaulle granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom there, my perambulations took me along the street into the place Générale de Gaulle.

This is much more like it. They seem to have pousseé‘d the bateau dehors a bit more here as we have seen before. The ski slope is certainly different, although I’m still not sure why they would want one.

But apart from that, it’s still pretty much the same as previous years and I do with that they would try to do something different next year.

night christmas lights rue lecampion granville manche normandy france eric hallAs for the rue Lecampion, I’m not quite sure what to say.

What certainly didn’t help was that they put out the overhead lights just as I was preparing to photograph the street, so we were just left with the lights up the sides of the shops.

The overhead lights going out was the cue for me to go home. And by the time I returned here I reckoned that I hadn’t even encountered a dozen people wandering around.

There were a few noisy parties going on – even one in this building, and so I was grateful for 1.2 metres of solid Chausey granite walls between me and the rest of the world.

Not feeling in the least bit tired, I did some personal stuff on the computer. And no-one was more surprised than me to notice that the time was now 03:30. Where had the time gone?

Bedtime by now, I reckon, even if I didn’t feel like sleep. I have to make an effort.

And sleep I must have had. No alarm and so I awoke at 07:00. Not the slightest chance of me showing a leg at that time of morning.

And neither was there any chance at 09:00. This is after all a Bank Holiday, no alarm, I’m entitled to a rest, and I’ve had a late night too.

What is much more like it is … errr … 12:15. That’s a REAL lie-in.

As for any voyage that I might have had, well, what’s this bit about hunting furs last night? I don’t remember very much at all but apparently someone living in France who could catch 60 squirrels and skin them had the same style of life as someone normal, which of course I found hard to believe and the people to whom I was telling this story they found it hard to believe too but apparently that’s how it went and that’s really all that I remember about last night.

Breakfasting at 13:00 is much more like it too and so seeing as I had my fig roll and (finally) some strawberry jam. Yes, jam today. And I hope that it will last so that there will be jam tomorrow too. Perhaps I ought to think about making a jam tart.

So once the breakfast was over, there was work to be done. And as I promised myself, I attacked Project 008 for the radio.

That’s now finished and, even though I say it myself, I think that it’s the best to date. It’s not just that my technique is improving, but that instead of speaking “off the cuff” as I would normally like to do, I’ve started to write scripts.

That means that I’m not umming and ahhing as much (which means that there is less stuff to cut out) and I’m not pausing the dictaphone as often while I look for material, so it sounds much more seamless.

pointe du roc cap lihou granville manche normandy france eric hallOnce I’d finished it and played it through to make sure that it was as I wanted it with no mistakes, I went out for my afternoon walk.

With having not been out for any bread this morning (I’d missed lunch of course) I took the long way out right around the new bit of path that they had excavated after the rockfall and where I had met my Waterloo in May.

Crowds of people out and about, even if the weather was pretty miserable and you couldn’t see a thing.

pecheur de lys chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOnce I was out, I was going to stay out, and well out too.

My trip took me past the chantier navale where I could see what was going on. Pecheur de Lys was back on dry land after her little sojourn through the summer in the water. She’s looking rather sad though and could do with a coat of paint.

Spirit of Conrad was there too, as were the other two fishing boats. But there was no-one out there working on them. “Knocked off for the holidays” I reckoned.

The tide was out so the harbour gates were closed, which meant that I could take the path over the top and across to the other side.

seagull with sea shell mollusc port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhere the fish processing plant is, there is a huge concrete apron and the seabirds here have learnt quite quickly to take advantage of it.

This gull is just one of many that will scavenge a mollusc out of the silt and fly over here to drop it on the concrete to break it open, and then dive down for a feast. It really was quite impressive.

The wildlife kingdom is amazingly versatile and can adapt to most kinds of environment – if only humans would let them.

lifeboat sauveteurs  en mer port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith nothing exciting going on in the inner harbour, I went for a walk over to the port de plaisance, the yacht harbour, to see what was going on there.

Not an awful lot, but there were a few boats that we have seen on several occasions, such as the lifeboat over there on the far side.

That has plenty of use of course and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw it disappear into an enormous wave during the storm that we had the other day.

lys noir port de plaisance granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHere’s another one that we have seen a few times in the past.

She’s Lys Noir, and when we’ve seen her moored up in the harbour, it’s usually been in the wet harbour at the back of where I’m standing, where boats like Thora, Normandy Trader and the gravel boats tie up.

So why she should be here, I don’t know. If she’s advertising cruises, she won’t have many people passing by to read the notices where she is.

la granvilllaise  port de plaisance granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThis is a boat that we’ve seen even more often than Lys Noir.

She’s La Granvillaise and immediately recognisable by the “G90” on her bows. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that she too spent some time in the chantier navale a while ago being given a good going-over.

But with all of these boats, there isn’t presumably much happening right now so they are laid up for the winter.

Nevertheless, with all of the tourists here right now, wandering aimlessly around the harbour, I’d have had them plastered with adverts for the summer season trips that they do, and put them where people could actually see tham.

rue du commandant yvon electric vehicle charging point mairie granville manche normandy france eric hallMy perambulations took me right along the seafront, such as it is here, through the new modern apartment complex at the end, and back into town via the rue St Gaud and the rue St Saveur.

But round the back of the Mairie in the rue du Commandant Yvon, whoever he was when he was at home, if he ever was, is another set of electric vehicle charging points.

Europe needs to get its act together with the phasing out of new internal-combustion engines cars by 2040, and it’s good to see that here in France they are organising themselves.

electric vehicle charging point public car park cours jonville granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd so I decided that I’ll keep a closer eye out to see what I could find, and I didn’t have to go far to find some more.

Not even 50 metres, I reckoned. Here are two more on the public car park around the corner off the Cours Jonville. So with the two that I saw at the railway station earlier this week, that makes 6 that I’ve found in Granville without looking too far.

And that’s not counting the half-dozen or so that are installed at the LeClerc supermarket on the edge of town.

porsche carrera strange number cours jonville granville manche normandy france eric hallAcross the road from the car park I noticed this old Porsche Carrera.

Nice and interesting the car might be, but it wasn’t the car that caught my eye but its registration number. It has the “F” for France on the number plate of course, but the registration is hors serie – out of the usual run of numbers, whether pre-2009 or post-2009.

It could mean absolutely anything of course, so I shall have to make further enquiries about it. I did look at the insurance sticker in the window and that was displaying a “WW” series number, indicating Trade Plates.

Back home, I didn’t do a great deal. After all, it is a Bank Holiday.

new year dinner setan onion gravy garlic roast potato peas carrots leeks endive brussels sprouts granville manche normandy france eric halllater on, I made tea though.

Same as Christmas night as well. Seitan slices roasted in olive oil with onions, garlic, gravy and herbs, with roast potatoes in olive oil and mint. Vegetables included an endive, peas and carrots, green beans, a leek and some sprouts.

Followed by Christmas cake for pudding, you really cannot even begin to imagine just how delicious it all was.

Plenty of sprouts and endives left to finish off, ad a leek too, but I intend to make a leek and potato soup with that sometime soon.

This evening I was all alone on my little walk around. Not a soul out there. I managed my run too, and made it to the top of the first ramp.

So I’m off to bed now. It’s not early, because I’ve been busy. I found a “live” concert from the BBC with only a small audience, and as I have a project on the back burner that needs a small audience, I was stripping out the applause to use.

But here’s a thing – the applause is evidently over-dubbed, without question. And as they didn’t have enough material for the spot, they’ve extended the applauses by adding three or four together.

None of that is the issue though. What is the issue is that they seem to have done it all on a two-track recorder in stereo and without the overdubbing facility that multi-tracking can give you, they have simply joined the tracks together – and you can see all the joins. Tiny little milli-seconds of silence.

What I’ve had to do is to edit the applauses after I’ve stripped them out, so that the joins have gone and it all looks pretty seamless.

Given the facilities they have there, it’s not very good at all, especially when even a home-based four-track set-up like the cheap affair that I have can produce a seamless show.

Maybe I’m in the wrong job.