Tag Archives: bar ephemere

Thursday 26th May 2022 – I’M QUITE SURE THAT …

… this physiotherapist is doing her best to finish me off. This afternoon our session finished with 10 minutes on the exercise bicycle and she programmed it so that the final few minutes were at the maximum resistance and I really struggled to make any headway.

The other day I mentioned something about staggering out of the building close to death and that’s just how I felt today.

But all in all I’m feeling pretty dismayed by what is going on with me right now. For the last few sessions she’s had me standing on one leg balancing with my eyes closed, something that has been a dismal failure.

And there I was in the past, scrambling over scaffolding, along beams and rafters, reroofing houses, reflooring bedrooms without any problems of balance at all. I don’t know what’s happened to me just recently but it seems as if I can’t really do anything as I used to in the past and all the enjoyment that I had out of doing things like this has gone. I’m in a bad way.

At least it seems that having abandoned that medication I can actually get up in the morning now. Once again I managed to leave the bed as the first alarm call went off at 07:30. That’s certainly an improvement from 10 days ago so I suppose that I ought to be thankful for that.

And after the medication I spent most of the day working on my Welsh course, making a table for the past and future tenses of the most common verbs and trying my best to learn them. And it’s not easy because I have a teflon brain. Nothing sticks to it.

Rosemary rang me this morning for a chat as well and we had another one of our marathon sessions on the ‘phone. As well as breakfast and lunch and a coffee here and there, I also had a shower. I must make myself nice and pretty for my physiotherapy session.

gerlean l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Eventually it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk across town for the physiotherapist.

And once again, we seem to be playing “Musical Ships” this afternoon. Gerlean is still there from yesterday but Nais who was there the last time that we looked has now disappeared.

In her place, L’Omerta was now coming back into port to tie up at the fish processing plant where we usually see her. I don’t suppose that she can keep away.

There’s another smaller boat tied up there in front of Gerlean but I don’t think that she has anything to do with the fishing trade, and neither does the van that’s pulling up on the lower level, unless she’s going to be doing some repairs on one of the boats.

cranes freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022We’ve seen a couple of the little Jersey freighters in port over the last couple of days.

Thora in there yesterday and between her and Normandy Warrior, they seem to have cleared away all of the backlog of freight that had built up over the last week or two.

But those two little mini-containers are quite interesting. They are of the type that Thora carries on her deck, presumably to transport high-value goods, and they have been dropped onto the quayside waiting for someone to come and take them away.

And no Marité. I don’t know where she’s gone but she’s making a good trip of it.

chez maguie bar ephemere place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And finally, the Bar Ephemere, Chez Maguie is open on the Place Pelley.

It’s been installed for a couple of weeks now but today was the first time that I’ve seen it actually open with the crowds of clients loitering around. But no boulonauts this afternoon, which is a surprise.

Going down the Rampe du Monte à Regret, I was almost squidged by a cyclist who took it upon himself to cycle down there. They seem to think that everything is permitted here in Granville.

And it wasn’t just me either. It’s a Bank Holiday today so there were crowds of people in the town today, all at risk from errant cyclists.

kiddies roundabout place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And here’s a thing!

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there has been quite some controversy about the kiddies’ roundabout that appears every now and again on the Place Charles de Gaulle, with claims that it’s over-size and forcing pedestrians to walk in the road.

The on that is the subject of all of these issues is a pink one, but today we have another one, a yellow one, and this is definitely smaller than the pink one.

So the question is, is this a permanent replacement for the pink one or just a temporary one? Watch this space.

The walk up the hill to the physiotherapist’s was a struggle this afternoon. A real struggle. And apart from that I found that I’d forgotten my fitbit, forgotten my pouch thing with my wallet and cards, forgotten almost everything.

And my physiotherapist is away for a few days so she’s had to shuffle my schedules around.

When she finished with me she threw me out and I staggered off down the hill in agony. I’m really not doing too well right now

royal enfield motorcycle rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022It was a long and weary road going through the town and back up the hill towards home.

But at least there was something for me to admire while I stopped to catch my breath. A more modern version of an early 1960s Real Oilfield.

When they stopped producing them in the UK in the late 60s they sold the design and the presses to India who manufactured them and once they had ironed out the notorious British quality control issues, began to import them back into Europe.

My friend in Munich has one and I’ve mee mulling over the idea of treating myself to something like this or even a Triumph baby Trident but I can’t even pick myself up if I fall over, never mind a motorbike as well.

cap lihou port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There were a couple of trawlers on their way into the har bour as I walked up the hill.

One of them went off to by the Fish Processing Plant but the second one came into the inner harbour to tie up at the pontoon here.

She’s Cap Lihou, a trawler whom we have seen on several occasions in the past. By the looks of things she’s one of the last trawlers to come into port this afternoon.

Having recovered my breath for a moment and waved “hello” at one of my neighbours heading down the hill, I carried on with my struggle up the bank towards home.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Instead of going inside for my coffee I carried on across the car park to have a look at what was going on down on the beach.

Surprisingly, because it wasn’t a very nice day this afternoon, there were quite a few people down there on the beach this afternoon.

It’s probably something to do with the fact that it’s a Bank Holiday in France today. The Month of May is full of Bank Holidays – we have May 1st, and then VE Day, and then Ascension followed by Pentecost. That explains the crowds.

There were crowds of people on the path up here too, and judging by the number plates of the cars, I bet that half the cars on our private car park were nothing to do with the occupants of the apartments either.

trawler fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022While I was up here I had, as usual, a look out to sea to see what was happening there

There was the last of the trawlers over there on the left on its way back to the harbour and there was one of the shell-fishing boats making its way back too but that was about that.

So having satisfied my curiosity I headed back to my apartment for a coffee and where I rather regrettably fell asleep for a short while. And cold coffee isn’t my cup of tea, I’m afraid.

Once I’d recovered I had a listen to the dictaphone. The first voyage had something to do with Spanish exploration in the Golden Age with the three cities of Asturias … “which is actually a Province” – ed … Barcelona and I can’t remember the third that were on some kind of promontory or peninsula. All the boats had set out from there and gone off and discovered all different parts of the World and so on. These towns are really famous as far as Spanish history went as a result but I awoke quite quickly in this dream so I couldn’t really find out much about it.

And then I was in Stoke on Trent at a big factory complex that had been built in an old quarry. They were demolising it and as they were knocking it down to the ground where this quarry had been infilled they were pulling out all kinds of lorries, plant and machinery etc that had been used as infill. I was astonished by all of this stuff. I thought that it was brilliant. They told me that part of the grounds had been an old Primary School and when the area had become depopulated they had taken it over and demolished it. They told me how they had demolished it. The wall had gone and it had turned into a nature garden before completely removing it to make it into an industrial property etc. It was really quite fascinating. But I couldn’t get over all these lorries that were buried in the side of this quarry as infill and had been backfilled all around.

But when the alarm went off I was busy telling Liz the story about someone I once knew in Stoke on Trent who had bought a few houses for cash in a subsidence zone. They were really dreadful houses but he was hoping to build up a property portfolio of them. They really were in awful condition. That was as far as I reached when the alarm went off.

And that was a pity. Had I started to tell that story a few minutes earlier, I might actually have met up with Zero. I’ve not had any of my young lady friends accompany me for ages and I’m missing them terribly. I really must improve my aim

Tea tonight was steamed veg with falafel with vegan cheese sauce, and very nice it was too. But right now I’m off to bed. Wishing myself sweet dreams but somehow I don’t seem to have the same enthusiasm that I had a while ago.

And don’t forget, on Friday and Saturday at 21:00 CET, 20:00 UK time, 15:00 Toronto time, one of the five best live concerts of all time. BO NOT MISS A MINUTE

Thursday 19th May 2022 – JUST IN CASE …

… you’re wondering, which I’m sure you aren’t because I’m as fed up as you are, there wasn’t any change today in the way things worked out.

So there wasn’t all that much of a morning to do things in but I was working out a couple of plans for later next month. My Welsh exam is on 17th June and then I might go off on my travels for a while. I’m not doing much good here so I may as well not do much good somewhere else.

While I was at it I managed to fit in the time to go for a shower and a good clean-up.

After lunch I had a Welsh conversation class which wasn’t as long as it ought to have been because firstly I had to finish early to go for my physiotherapy appointment and secondly it took an age for me to connect up to the chat. It really was steam-driven internet here today.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022So eventually I had to wander off out for my physiotherapy appointment this afternoon.

As usual I went for a look down into the port from the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

And for a change we haven’t seen L’Omerta settled down in the silt for the last few days. She must have gone out to sea to earn an honest living.

Incidentally, you are probably wondering what the “2E et 202E de Ligne” refers to in the name of the street. It actually refers to the “2nd and 202nd (Regiments) of the Line” – the two infantry regiments that were housed in the buildings here where I live when they were military barracks before the army sold them off in the late 80s.

marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022With nothing much else going on around here I headed off down the hill towards the town.

And for a change just recently, Marité is tied up at her berth this afternoon. It looks as if she might be having a day off today.

There are a few people loitering around on the quayside but I don’t think that they will be going aboard because she doesn’t have a gangplank out to the quayside.

And the speedboat that was there yesterday is still there today. No-one has been in from Jersey with a freighter to take it away so far today.

bar ephemere place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Things seem to be happening at Chez Maguie, the Bar Ephemère that opens every summer on the Place Pelley.

Never mind the boulonauts, the café tables now seem to have grown some orange parasols to shelter everone from the sun and, more likely, the torrential thunderstorms that we’ve been having this last couple of days.

As seems to be the case these days I didn’t enjoy the walk up the hill to the physiotherapist. I’m not doind as well as I did a couple of weeks ago and even then, that was nothing to write home about.

The physiotherapist put me through my paces again this afternoon. I’m sure that it’s a case of “kill or cure” with her. She’s certainly having a good go at finishing me off.

electricians working rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022At the end of my session I staggered out into the street and reeled off down the hill into the town centre.

The last time we came by this way, which was on Monday, we saw the electricians at work laying cables in the conduits under the pavement. And they are still at it today, but their tent has moved a few feet down the hill to another manhole.

The walk up the hill towards home was another desperate struggle with me having to stop for breath on several occasions. I was thinking that if I’m like this after just 10 days of being without my hospital treatment, what am I going to be like after 13 weeks?

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022When I (finally) reached the top of the hill, after much binding in the marsh, I didn’t go straight home.

Instead, I went down to the end of the car park to have a look over the wall to see what was happening down on the beach this afternoon.

It had been a lovely day – in fact I’d been out to the physiotherapist in just a tee-shirt without wearing a jacket or a jumper – so I was expecting to see the crowds down there this afternoon so it was rather disappointing to see so few people.

There wasn’t anything going on out at sea either. Mind you, I only had the NIKON 1 J5 with the standard lens so even if there had been something happening, the tide was so far out that I wouldn’t have been able to see it anyway.

hang glider plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022However in the distance there were couple of bird-men of Alcatraz trying their best to take to the air with their Nazguls.

They seemed to be having an enormous amount of difficulty so I waited for a while to give them a chance to approach me but in the end I ran out of patience and went indoors for a strawberry smoothie.

And then I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was something about spies. We were actually catching a spy in Wales on the Lleyn peninsula. Right at the very end we put his body back in the water hoping that the current would catch it and take it out to sea. There was much more to it than this and I remember thinking that this would have made a really good plot for a book. Then there was Mildred Murfin and two men a bit like the Men from the Ministry. She was planning on going on holiday with them but of course they weren’t used to going on holiday. It was all a bit of a mess, packing and preparing everything etc. One of them turned up at her apartment dressed in his pyjamas saying that he wasn’t going. He didn’t think that it was him so she had to cajole him along to try to take the few final steps to prepare his things ready to catch his flight. They were all typical British holidaymakers of the 60s going abroad with no idea what to expect, no idea what to do or what to take etc, all very naive and all really rather a sad dream watching them try to prepare to leave on this holiday of a lifetime.

There was a married couple, two kids and me somewhere in Central Europe. They were something like a Romany family. We were all going off to stay somewhere in a caravan for 2 weeks. I was driving and I didn’t recognise the car that I had. We were all going to this caravan by the sea somewhere. I can’t remember anything about it at all, what was happening. I know that in the end everyone ended up leaving the car, leaving me in it. There were a couple of little girls who had come to meet the youngest of these two children to go to a dancing class. There was going to be a football match with all the kids against the adults but that’s all that I can remember.

We were listening to a Gospel-rock song by “Arrival” although it was in fact mostly “Alquin” musicians with Dyan Birch singing. For some unknown reason the guitar solo wasn’t what I wanted at all. I had an earlier guitar solo for that track stashed away somewhere so I edited out the guitar solo that was being played and superimposed the one from earlier in its place. I mentioned to the musicians that I’d changed guitar solo and the guitarist was distraught. He was unhappy with his own playing rather than anything else. I explained that it wasn’t a case that the playing was bad, simply a case that it was inappropriate for what I wanted. He was still inconsolable about it but I went ahead and changed the solo anyway. The other group members didn’t seem to be all that concerned at all.

This is about the 6th attempt at dictating this. I’d had all of the motor insurance renewals for France and I’d noticed that the premiums had gone up quite a lot so I’d gone round to the broker’s. They told me that much of it related to the yellow Cortina saloon because with it being parked up the premiums had gone up because some actuary had worked out that cars are more at risk of accidents when they are stationary than when they are actually moving. I thought that that was absolute nonsense. Maybe they disagreed with me but they couldn’t agree with the actuarial report. It was a girl with a cleft palate who saw me so it was very difficult to understand what she was saying. The thalidomide girl was involved in the discussion as well at some point. I learnt as well that they were going to drop down and possess part of my yard where the building was, taking away 1500m² that I owned there so that they could make a by-pass around the town. That was going to be even worse for me because I had nowhere else to keep anything. This was turning into a very bad situation for me. I wasn’t enjoying what I was hearing at all today. The boss was very unhappy with the fact that I was complaining but I thought that I was well within my rights to complain about this kind of thing.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap with a baked potato and veg – well, only half the veg because the other half ended up on the floor. It’s not my day today, is it?

and the fridge needs defrosting so I’m going to deal with that before I go to bed. One of these days things will start to go right for me, although God knows when that might be.

Tuesday 19th April 2022 – THINGS ARE MOVING …

cherry picker rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… at the site of the huge fire in the Rue du Midi the other week

On my way down into town for my physiotherapy appointment this afternoon I came across a rather large cherry picker parked in the Rue des Juifs.

With some men up there with a load of building material it looks as if they are starting the repairs to at least one of the houses that was badly damaged in the fire.

Of course, they can’t leave them open to the elements for too long. If the rain sets in there will be more than just the roof than needs replacing.

What else was moving this morning was me – a good few minutes before the first alarm went off as well. Never mind being able to do it when I have to, this just goes to prove that I can do it when I don’t have to as well.

So why can’t I do it all the time? That’s what beats me.

Once I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages I settled down to deal with the slowest radio programme on record – at least since I have been properly organised. It wasn’t finished until after I returned from the physiotherapist and I still haven’t heard it yet to make sure that it’s OK.

And that’s despite the fact that I’d written some of the notes over the weekend as well.

What happened today was that I was plagued by a whole series of interruptions. I was actually making good time, regardless of coffee and breakfast breaks, and then Rosemary rang me. It goes without saying that that threw all of my plans into a cocked hat because we are quite capable of chatting about nothing at all for several hours.

As it happens, Rosemary has a real problem right now, a problem relating to her health, and she needed a shoulder to lean on.

After we had finished I had to dash around and steam-clean the apartment. It’s been a good few weeks since I’ve done that and I have visitors this afternoon so it needs to be something like.

After lunch my visitor arrived. He has plans to set up a ratline bringing Ukrainian refugees from the Polish border to Normandy on the train and we wanted to pick my brains, such as they are

He’s not actually going to find it as easy as it might be because there are a lot of variables in all of this and even knowing the ropes, doing research, having the contacts and the accommodation (because you aren’t going to do it in an 18-hour railway day) I still ended up having to wait around for hours

Moving small groups around is reasonably straightforward, especially if I’m going that way anyway, but he’s talking about doing it with large numbers and that’s completely impractical, especially on the Paris Underground.

My advice was to go to Moldova and hire a coach and a couple of drivers.

No problem with finding accommodation there. Everyone can sleep on the coach as it’s travelling. Two drivers can do a 28-hour shift between them and that’s all you need to come up from Chisinau. I’ve done that a couple of times in the past when the roads and the coaches were nothing like as good as they are now..

After he’d gone I had a shower and cleaned myself up, and then set out for the physiotherapist.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As my appointment is later than usual today, it was round about the right time for me to go and look down onto the beach so I headed off in that direction.

Of course, it’s no longer Bank Holiday so quite a few people are now back at work. Consequently I wasn’t expecting to see all that many people down there on the beach this afternoon.

And I was right too. There couldn’t have been more than a dozen people down there. Mind you, it was extremely windy again, but that’s not usually enough to keep people off the beach when it’s nice and sunny.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Next stop, as usual, is the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was happening down at the port.

The three boats that we saw moored up at the quayside down there yesterday have moved on but there is another, different boat moored down there this afternoon.

And no prizes for guessing who she is either because we’ve seen her down there on dozens of occasions in the past. It is of course L’Omerta, one of the big shell-fishing boats.

The tide is well out so she’s going to be there a few hours yet at least until she can float off elsewhere.

reroofing rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Having taken my photograph I headed off down the hill towards the cherry picker in the Rue des Juifs.

From here, we can see what is going on and why they have the cherry picker. There are a couple of people up there in the nacelle taking roofing material up there onto the roof. The repair work to that house seems to be beginning in earnest.

As for the ruins of the burnt-out one next door, there isn’t really all that much that anyone can do to it. I imagine that they will have to pull it down in the end. The stench of burnt wood would be enough to put off anyone from living in there again.

bar ephemere place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And on that note I carried on down the hill into town.

The last time that we were this way we saw them beginning to set up Chez Maguie, the Bar Ephemère or “temporary bar” that is set up on the corner of the boulodrome for the summer.

It’s pretty much all set up now and I imagine that it will be opening up before too long, although I would have expected it to have been open in time to catch the Easter trade, especially as Easter is so late this year.

Nevertheless, the presence of the Bar Ephemère isn’t putting off the boulonauts. They are still carrying on around all of the other activity down there. It takes more than this to put them off their stride.

road closed rue roger maris Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On my way up the hill towards the physiotherapist I noticed that the Rue Roger Maris was still closed.

What I’ll do will be to go that way home and find out why. There didn’t seem to be too much going on to cause it to be closed for so long the last time I was there.

Today I had a new physiotherapist. She explained the results of my MRI scan and it doesn’t sound as particularly serious as I thought it might have been. Still, we’ll see what the doctor has to say next week.

As for my treatment, she gave my knee a massage with the electric machine and then had me doing a few exercises.

rue roger maris rue du boscq place des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Having been thrown out until next Monday, I headed off to find out what was happening in the Rue Roger Maris.

And what I could see was “nothing at all”. There doesn’t seem to be any reason why the road should be closed.

However what I could see was that they had been putting sets of studs in the road, presumably to mark out a pedestrian crossing of some description. But that’s all completed now anyway so the road ought to be open.

There wasn’t anything of any interest going on in the town centre so I pushed on up the hill.

marité belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On the way up the hill towards home I stopped for a look down into the harbour.

Marité is down there, back from her overhaul. But I’m surprised to see that she’s not out working this afternoon. There are plenty of people around and so there’s a marketing opportunity that’s being missed here.

Not that it surprises me. I’ve made several remarks in the past about the staff who run the operation who seem to be much more interested in chatting amongst themselves rather than dealing with customer enquiries.

Belle France, the new Ile de Chausey ferry, is down there too. The other two boats are missing though, presumably running out to the Ile de Chausey.

government boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was something else that caught my eye while I was looking around the port.

Over there on the right is a boat that I haven’t seen before. She’s in the colours of the French Government so she’s presumably an official boat but I’ve no idea what she’s doing in the harbour.

And in the background there’s a mechanical digger doing some work. That’s something that has escaped my notice until this afternoon. I’ve not seen anything about that anywhere either.

But while we’re on the subject of the port and the redevelopment, the story that I mentioned yesterday of the Big Wheel not coming to the town is creating all kinds of controversy and I expect that there will be much more to say about that in the near future.

trawlers fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Another thing that I noticed was what I thought was some kind of strange phenomenon on one of the trawlers just down there.

At first I thought that it was a trick of the light, some kind of prismatic effect creating all kinds of arrays of colour, but a closer examination revealed that it’s just a collection of plastic boxes.

The chute and pipework at the side of the trawler by the way is an ice chute. The trawlers fill their holds with ice before they leave and that helps keep the catch fresh until they return to port.

Back here I had a coffee and listened to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

it started off with something about Ukrainian people coming to Shavington for shelter, all loaded up with all kinds of fishing equipment but I can’t remember any more about it than this

And then there was a prison break organised for a town in Mexico with some young boy in soldier’s uniform who had gone to see a bandit chief about smuggling 3 revolvers into the local prison so that they could escape. 3 American women came into town and ended up working at some kind of job in town where they could watch everything and keep an eye on the prison break. They set up the town so that there were all kinds of weapons like machetes and daggers deposited in certain strategic places so that if these guys escaped but lost their guns could grab hold of some kind of weapon to defend themselves as they tried to make their way out of town.

Later on I was browsing through a newspaper and came across an advert for a Suzuki GS550 4-cylinder for sale for £1000. It said “ex-Shearings” on it so I was rather tempted by that. My brother rang up the garage in London and yes, they still had one. He said that it was a 1987 model so I took over the phone and had a talk to them about it. It had had new shock absorbers all round and a few other bits and pieces so I said that if I paid £100 deposit could they keep it for the weekend and I could come down and listen to it. If it was making any strange noises I could have my money back otherwise I’d pay the balance. They agreed to that so I gave them my details where they could send their details. Then I spoke to my friend from the Wirral and asked if he fancied a trip down to London on Saturday. He said that he had something to do but he could do it early in the morning then we could go down to pick it up. One of the young girls there said that we had to take 2 cars because she didn’t want to see a motorbike so I had to sit by her and ask her what was the matter with motorbikes, why she didn’t want to see one and what problems she had etc.

Finally I was in Virlet last night. There were quite a few of us round at my house including my brother. He was spending all his time tormenting the next-door neighbour’s dog. In the end I told him off and told him to leave the dog alone. The next-door neighbour came out with his dog and a couple of people who were there and we all started to go for a walk. They came round to where we were standing and had a little discussion. Then we went off for this walk having something of a chat. We ended up back at my house. A little girl who was with us and one with them went and sat next to each other and started to play. The guy asked questions about my tomato plants that I had growing. A girl with me borrrowed my pen and wrote out a note for him. It all started to become reasonably friendly. I thought that this doesn’t sound like my normal neighbours to me. I wonder what’s the matter with them.

And I wish that my brother would clear off. It’s rather annoying having my family hanging around like this. I ran away from home 50 years ago this summer in order to put as much distance as possible between me and the rest of them and I really can’t do with them keeping on coming back like this to haunt me during the night when there are many more people, like Castor, zero and TOTGA for example whom I would much rather see.

As I have said before … “and on several occasions too” – ed … I don’t mind Nerina putting in an appearance every now and again. After all, I did quite happily invite her to share my life, for better or for worse, and I would much rather have her about than quite a few people I could name.

Tea was the stuffed pepper that I should have had last night – well, in actual fact it was one that I found from the previous week that I had forgotten but found when I was vacuuming out the vegetable trays. Still, it was just as delicious. I put a bit more chili powder in it and that gave it something more of a kick.

Tomorrow I have my travel arrangements to make. I’m going a few days earlier, for reasons that will become clear in due course.

But if fortune smiles upon me which I hope that it will, something for which I have been hoping for the last 30 years will surely come to pass, and there might even need to be a name-change somewhere along the line.

Monday 11th April 2022 – I REALLY SHOULD …

… have put my mortgage on it yesterday because, the way that things were panning out, it was inevitable.

Sure enough, at 08:20 this morning the doorbell rang. “Mr Hall, I’m in the building. May I come and give you your injection?”.

So there I was, hurriedly trying to dress myself while he was banging on the door. After all, I don’t want to give him an inferiority complex.

digging up road rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Something else on which I should have bet my mortgage was “how long will it be before they dig up that brand-new road on which they spent all that money just recently”?

It’s been completed and opened for traffic for just about a couple of months but sure enough, here they are with half of the width coned off and someone hacking away at the surface. It was inevitable, wasn’t it?

Anyway, back to where we ought to be.

Last night I fell into a very cold bed and that was the last that I remember of anything until this perishing ring on the blasted bell this flaming morning.

No-one was more surprised than me to find that there was some stuff on the dictaphone from last night because I didn’t remember a thing about anything So after having taken my medication I sat down and transcribed them.

I started off with something to do with a radio show. I bet that I’ve missed out lots of it. It was that I couldn’t do all of my radio programmes this week and so they had done some kind of message to say that I’d been unwell or injured myself climbing onto a railway station platform or something like that although they didn’t elaborate why I would want to climb onto a railway station platform. There was the inference that it was something to do with refugees or something and they didn’t want anyone to know that I was doing that kind of thing so they had to invent some kind of excuse.

Later on the 4 of us had gone off for another weekend. I can’t remember where it was now. We’d been looking at hotels but because of the budgetary issues we were looking at hotels further out of the city. I’d done some research and I’d come up with 4 that fitted the bill in the same kind of neighbourhood. They were miles from anywhere. We reached the 1st one which was a brand new chain hotel type of thing. Its budget was like €55 per night but they looked at it and decided that it would be far too expensive for us even though I told them that it fitted in with our budget. They still thought that it was far expensive so we went to the next one. To my surprise they only booked 2 rooms. It seemed that the girls were sharing the one and the boys (me and whoever) were sharing another. Across the road was another hotel of a similar type but it was blue. I’d stayed there once the very first time that I’d started out on my travels and thought that it was expensive for what it was supposed to be. They asked about restaurants but there weren’t all that many in the area at all. Nevertheless we booked in. We had to take a table and banqueting stuff out of our room so we carried the headboard out. It was enormously heavy. The guy who was with me carried it first but he almost dropped it so I had to help him. One of the waiters came along. He had a tray and put the coffee machine on it and the sugar in the bowl. It was quite interesting the way he put the sugar in the bowl. He had 2 spoons, 1 with white sugar and 1 with brown and he poured it into the sugar bowl so that it was half-and-half. He put some milk onto the tray. Another woman came in and began to hurry around. She prepared a second sugar bowl and put it on the tray so we made some kind of funny remark about that.

The rest of the morning, once I’d awoken, was to back up the computer – to copy all of the files that I had created or changed on the laptop while I was away and then load them up onto the big machine. There were quite a few of those as well and it took me a while to organise it all.

With what time was left before lunch I went for a shower, and I’ve put back all of the weight that I’ve lost over the last few months despite all of the walking that I did while I was away. I also had to organise the clothes ready for washing, which I’ll be doing while I’m out at the physiotherapist

There have also been several in-depth discussions on the internet too about the events of the last couple of days.

As well as that, although the trip was a success to the extent that everyone reached Granville safely and without losing anything along the way, there were several aspects that needed to be improved. Whatever you do, it’s always a good idea to sit down afterwards to see how things could have been accomplished better.

rocalamauve le styx port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And so on that note I headed off to the physiotherapist for my Monday afternoon session.

As usual I paused at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to check that the NIKON 1 J5 was working and also to see what was happening down there this afternoon.

There were a few fishing boats down there this afternoon. At the front is Roc A La Mauve and at the rear is Le Styx at the rear. I can’t see who the boat in the middle is.

You can see the crane unloading Roc A La Mauve and the pile of boxes full of shellfish on the quayside already unloaded.

trawler chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And as I watched, another trawler came chugging into port

Unfortunately she’s far too far out for me to be able to say with any certainty who she might be but I can see that the seagull over there was having a really good look.

Over there to the left at the ferry terminal is Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs over to the Ile de Chausey.

There’s something over there in front of her too – probably one of the Joly France ferries. It’s holiday time for the next two weeks so I imagine that there must be plenty of custom for a trip out to the island.

marite belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Whoever it was over there at the ferry terminal, it isn’t Belle France.

She’s down there tied up at the quayside in the inner harbour. There can’t be that much trade over to the island today.

But I was more interested in seeing Marité back in port again. She’s been away for the last while or so having her annual overhaul. She can’t be overhauled here in the chantier naval because the portable boat lift over there doesn’t have the lifting capacity to lift her out of the water.

There’s also a swimming pool over there. That means that one of the little Jersey freighters will be coming over in the course of the next few days.

boules bar ephemere place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022One thing that we usually see down on the Place Pelley during the summer is the Bar Ephemère, the temporary café that they erect on the boulodrome.

It’s here already and they are busy unloading it and erecting it all, ready for the Easter rush.

And it’s not disturbing the boules players at all. They are still managing to fit in a few games around all of the goings-on.

One of my friends had asked me to find out if there were any golf courses near here so I went to the Tourist Information Office. That was a waste of time because there were crowds of people in there and of the assistants, two of them were helping one client and all the rest of the assistants were Miltonists.

And in case you wonder what a Miltonist is, there’s a line in Milton’s poem “On His Blindness” that goes “They also serve who only stand and wait”.

road closed rue roger maris Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On my way up the hill in the Rue Couraye I noticed that the Rue Roger Maris was closed off to traffic so I made a mental note to go back that way to find out why.

Not now though. I pushed on to the physiotherapist.

She had me on the couch again with the electro-massage machine and then I had the honour of being the first to have a go on the new electric bicycle. And finally a few kinetic exercises before she threw me out.

Back again on Wednesday for my last session with her before she moves on to her new job. She’s fixing me up for sessions with one of her colleagues.

place des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Who remembers the Place des Docteurs Lanos?

The last time we saw it, it was a huge mess of mud that had been churned up by all of the vehicles that had been on there while they had been using it to store the building materials.

On my way to find out why the Rue Roger Maris was closed, I had a look to see what they had been doing there and as you can see, they have made quite a bit of progress there since I was last down this way.

But as for why the street was closed off, there wasn’t anything evident that I could see, apart from the guy digging up the road around the corner in the Rue du Boscq.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022My route took me back through the town and up the hill in the Rue des Juifs towards home.

Near the top I stopped because there was something interesting going on out in the bay. One of the sailing schools was out again this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve promised that I’ll be out there with them one day soon but the way things are with the physiotherapy, the Welsh lessons, the radio and my trips to Leuven it’s difficult to know when I can fit anything else into my programme.

You can see that most of the fishing boats are now back home too and tied up in the inner harbour.

anakena rocalamauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While I was here I had a look to see what was happening in the chantier naval.

Spirit of Conrad has now gone back into the water. I saw her moored up in the inner harbour. La Roc A La Mauve III is still there though, up on the blocks. How long has she been there now?

Also in there is Anakena. We saw her being lifted out of the water the other day just before I set off on my voyage. She has a programme of voyages out to the North so I imagine that she’s having her annual overhaul too.

One of the places that she’s visiting is Greenland, according to the local newspapers of a while back, so I sent a mail to her owners to see what the plan was because I’m keen to get back to Uummannaq and my little Inuit friend Heidinngauq but they never replied.

That’s the story of my life. People complain about there being a recession but how many times have I sent out mails to enquire about products and never received a reply?

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As has been the case in the past, I can’t go back into the apartment without seeing what was going on down on the beach.

With it being holiday times and reasonably good weather I was expecting to see the crowds down there and I was right as wzll. The place was heaving. No-one actually in the water though.

One thing thatt I did while I was out was to make sure that Caliburn started. We have to go out on Wednesday and with him having stood around for over a fortnight it’s as well to check.

Back here I had a good play on the guitar and then organised my photos from today. I have to stop letting things hang around here for as long as I do. Especially as I may well be off on yet more travels some time soon

And regrettably, I also crashed out for half an hour too.

Tea was a disappointment. It should have been steamed veg with falafel and vegan cheese sauce (now that I have some) but the veg was over-steamed which is quite rare these days with my steamer that doesn’t seem to work as I would like it.

So having written my notes I’m going to hang around for a while and then go to bed. I have a radio programme to do tomorrow seeing as there is no Welsh course tomorrow.

But it’s not going to be a 06:00 start. That I can promise you.

Monday 31st May 2021 – HERE I ALL AM …

… not exactly sitting in a rainbow, but sitting on my seat in the office in the comfort and security of my own home. And am I glad to be back after all of this?

Blasted out of bed at 05:00 by the alarm, I’d made a coffee, filled the flask, made my butties, packed my bags and cleaned the digs by 05:30 and I was ready to roll. But it was far too early because I didn’t want to loiter about on the draughty Brussels Midi station so I relaxed for a while

At about 05:55 I hit the streets and walked off down to the station. And I’m not used to it being so bright so early.

martelarenplein gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will remember the Martelarenplein – the Martyr’s Square – just outside the railway station.

A lot has been said, mainly by me, of the pedestrian pace at which Belgian (and French) builders seem to work. Much of that is reflected in what’s going on here. It’s been under repair for a good couple of years and by the looks of things they are still a long way from finishing it.

Surprisingly I was on the station for just after 06:10 which meant that I had the choice of a couple of trains that were running earlier than the one that I intended to catch, and that’s always good news.

1904 class 18 electric sncb locomotive gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric HallThe train that I caught was the 06:19 to Oostende and that is my favourite choice of train if I’m ever allowed to choose.

It’s a rake of double-deck coaches pulled by one of the top-line electric locomotives of the SNCB stable, and I’m not disappointed. Despite its number, this is one of the Class 18 locomotives built by Siemens between 2009 and 2011. There are 120 of these locomotives in total and they have displaced almost every other type of electric locomotive from front-line duties, although we’ve ridden on a few others just recently.

There was a lady ticket inspector and she seemed to be quite satisfied that I’d correctly installed the SNCB app on my mobile phone and displayed the ticket correctly. I’m making great strides with this technology stuff, aren’t I?

The train pulled into Bruxelles Midi bang on time and to my surprise my train was actually indicated on the departures board. So I went up to the platform and there was a TGV already there. Not mine though. This one was going to Marseilles. Mine would be a-cumen in once this one had cleared off, so an attendant told me.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4539 gare du midi brussels Belgium Eric HallShe wasn’t wrong either. About 10 minutes later our train did indeed pull in.

It’s one of the TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt trainsets, the PBA (Paris Brussels Amsterdam) sets that we have occasionally, and the fact that it’s pulled up so far down the platform seems to suggest that there will be a train set coming from Amsterdam that will be coupled up at the back.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw them coupling up on another occasion that we were here just recently.

The train was actually quite empty and we all had plenty of room to spread out which was nice. I could get on with some work. And once more, the electronic ticket on the SNCF app that I presented to the inspector passed muster too.

And to my surprise, I passed muster at the Paris Gare du Nord Railway station as well. The gendarmette who inspected my Covid declaration from the hospital and my carte de sejour and waved me through without comment can detain me for further questioning any time she likes.

The metro was crowded – it seems as if despite the President’s entreaties, France has gone back to work. The casualty figures show me that this virus is very far from being beaten here and it’s all going to end in tears.

84556 gec alstom regiolis bb7200 507219 nez casse gare montparnasse paris france Eric HallAt the Gare Montparnasse what I reckoned would be my train was already in. It was the only Normandy train in sight.

Parked next to it is one of the BB7200 class of electric locomotives, the nez cassés or “broken noses” of the SNCF railway system. These, and their half-brothers used to be the mainstays of the high-speed long-distance SNCF railway network but now they are used for less glamorous purposes since the arrival of the TGVs.

It’s a long walk from the metro station to the railway station (they moved the railway station so that they could build the Tour Montparnasse on its site) and so I was exhausted. But I found some more seats that I hadn’t noticed before and one of them was vacant so I could sit in peace.

It is indeed my train – the back half of it in fact because it’s 2 trainsets coupled together. And I’m sitting in the rear trainset. The train is busy but I could still have a pair of seats all to myself which pleased me greatly.

And here’s a surprising thing. The ticket collector came up to me and instead of asking to see my ticket he asked “what’s your date of birth?”. So I replied and he said “bon voyage, Monsieur Hall”. This SNCF app clearly does more than it lets on that it does.

In the past that kind of thing would have bothered me greatly but everyone’s privacy has long since been eroded away. 30 years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of writing like I do but the authorities know where I am and what I’m doing no matter how hard I try to disguise it

84559 gec alstom regiolis Bombardier B82790 gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe pulled into the railway station bang on time too and found ourselves parked up next to one of the Bombardier trainsets that works the Caen-Rennes line. At least I could photograph the front trainset from here

It had been a pleasant journey and to my surprise, despite the 05:00 start I’d only dozed off for about 10 minutes. But I’d only had some hot coffee, not anything cool to drink, with me and so having set out at that time, I now had a thirst that you could photograph.

That was what I would call rather bad planning, but seriously, you’ve no idea how much stuff I usually have to bring back and I simply couldn’t carry any more. I had quite a job carrying this lot.

Going down the steps to the Parc de Val es Fleurs was okay but even on the flat I was struggling. I wasn’t looking forward to the hill up to my place. But I cheered up watching a grockle try to park his motor home in a completely empty car park. I really don’t understand some of these people.

water leak rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the foot of the Rue des Juifs there were temporary traffic lights and water all over the place. It looks as if there has been a burst pipe.

But surprisingly, despite the emergency and the big hole and the traffic lights and the vans, there wasn’t a single workmen (and not a married one either) about anywhere. It was about 14:15 so they all should be back at work after lunch.

The hill up the Rue de Juifs was not something to which I was looking forward. It’s pretty steep at the best of times and here I was, loaded up, not in the best of health, and I’d had an emergency operation a week or so ago and the stitches were still in.

But I shan’t get home just standing here looking at it. There’s no other solution but to press on.

people playing bowls bar ephemere place pleville pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s most unlike me, I know, but I had to make several stops on the way up to catch my breath.

One of these stops was looking over to the Place Pelley where they usually play boules. There’s quite a crowd down there right now, presumably also taking advantage of the bar ephemere, the temporary bar in the shipping container that comes here in the summer and which we saw them unpacking a couple of weeks ago.

If I had had any sense I’d have come home that way and stopped off for a cold drink but I was in a hurry to go home. I took a deep breath, girded up my loins and continued on my weary way back homeward.

builders compound place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd what’s going on here then?

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen over the past few weeks a corner of the car park of one of the other building in the Place d’Armes used as a builders compound but they all cleared off just before I came away and left the place empty.

But it seems that there is some more work going on somewhere presumably in the old walled city and they have set up the compound again. I see that I shall have to go for a walk out that way one of these days and have a good look to see what’s going on, and where.

You’ve no idea the size of the sigh of relief that I emitted when I sat down in my chair in the office, back home. It’s been a long hard slog in the 12 days since I was last here and I don’t want to have to go through all of that again. I transferred the files over and merged everything in – that’s the limit of the work that I did.

And despite the short night, I did actually manage to go off on a couple of nocturnal rambles here and there. And more than just a few too. I’m surprised that I kept going for as long as I did today.

First off was about a boy who lived just up the street from me when I was a kid. Last night he got divorced. I’d forgotten to tell everyone on the day but about a day or so later I remembered it. Anyway we were sitting around the table at lunch ansd he came along with his ex-wife and sat down at our usual table. A couple of other people who were usually there picked up their knives and forks to go away and he sent some kind of scathing comment after them. Of course I didn’t say anything at all. He looked at me and started talking to me about how well I knew Sandbach. I said “yes, I knew it quite well”. He asked “enough to take me somewhere tonight?”. I replied “yes”. So he mentioned a street called Volunteer Avenue (that’s in Nantwich by the way, not in Sandbach). “Do you know where that is?”. I said “yes” so he added “you can take me there and there’s a lot of money in it for you” – something to do with jewellery. He said “we have to leave at 04:00”. That was a bit inconvenient for me but I’d go because I don’t believe this story about money than anyone else. So I leased some sort of dummy office and fitted some kind of dummy recorder because I expected some kind of strange visit. While I was out fetching a coffee and people were talking to me a girl who I’d known and I knew her very well too (and I wish I’d remembered who she was) just walked up to my office as if she was going in. I thought “what on earth is happening here?”. She saw me so I said “what are you doing here?”. She replied “I’ve come to see if such-and-such an office is convenient for me and my boss”. “Really?3 I asked. “Why don’t you go in and have a look?”. “I can’t” she replied. “I don’t have the keys. It says that it’s locked for painting”. So I asked “why did you come here if it was locked for painting?”. She stammered some kind of silly answer at that point and I thought “yes, this is all just so crazy”.

Next up, I was in an office somewhere. I was overhearing a conversation from another desk about a woman who was trying to arrange some kind of exchange visit with a Government department in Germany about tourism. My ears pricked up and I said that I would be extremely interested in that. This woman looked at me with a puzzled look on her face. She had a little chat with me while she was having a chat with this other person. When she’d hung up on this other person she said ‘here’s my number” and it began with 5 zeroes, not 0049 as you would expect, and then a couple of other numbers “and I’m on extension 37 at the moment but this afternoon I’ll be on extension 38. Why don’t you give me a ring?”. So I asked her name and said “yes, OK”. I don’t think that my employers would agree to it but it was still an interesting thing to overhear.

Later on we were a group of impresarios organising musicians and dancers and all that sort of thing for different concerts all over the place. Roxanne was there and I told her a joke about Aunt Mary – Aunt Mary had died and it was actually quite funny but the answer to this was silence, which was one thing that no-one would ever have got. Roxanne delighted in telling it to everyone. We were trying to get this act together with these 3 or 4 dancers and so on. Roxanne told this joke to TOTGA but she didn’t understand it. There was something about ballet in it and I surprised TOTGA and Roxanne by actually being able to do these ballet steps without even thinking about it

Tea was burger and pasta followed by chocolate sponge (to my surprise it’s sill good) and coconut soya dessert.

And now having written my notes, I’m off to bed. And quite right too. I’m absolutely whacked. Tomorrow is Welsh lesson and then I have to look at these hospital appointments and condense the timescale because I have no intention of being away for another 12 days, that’s for sure. I can’t keep on going like this.

Tuesday 18th May 2021 – I REMEMBER HEARING …

… a story about a destroyer in World War II. It was ordered to join a convoy that was sailing into a battle zone where there were a couple of U-boat wolfpacks. The destroyer signalled “mechanical problems prevent joining convoy” and the convoy commodore signals back “this is not the time for destroyers to be breaking down”.

And this is not the time for me to be breaking down either. The day before I have a long tiring journey to Leuven and I have had a dreadful afternoon. Crashed out on the chair in the office for 2.5 hours, missing guitar practice, missing absolutely everything.

There was even the mug of coffee from after my afternoon walk, half-drunk and freezing cold, as I discovered when I awoke.

This is absolutely no good at all and if I can’t pull myself together soon I’m going to have a real struggle on my hands.

It wasn’t as if I had had a late night last night either. I was in bed by 23:00 And had a decent almost-uninterrupted sleep all the way through until the alarm went off at 06:00. And then, I leapt out of bed with alacrity. Well, almost, but you know what I mean.

After the medication I came along to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. And surprise! Surprise! Having complained the other day about the absence of congenial company on my nocturnal rambles, Zero put in a welcome appearance.

I’d been working at the house of a former friend of mine and it was time for me to go home. They very kindly made me breakfast which I had and then I got up. While I was organising my things his wife asked “Eric do you have any washing that needs doing?”. I thought “my clothes are a bit dirty” but I asked if it would be ok and she said yes so I went to the van to fetch some clean ones – there are always clean clothes in the van. Zero was there and where I’d been sitting was some kind of hair clasp or something. I looked around again and she was sitting there having breakfast. I said to her “have you seen your hair holder, your thing?”. She replied “yes thanks” I said “it’s there with your doll”. She said “yes” and carried on eating. There was something else on the settee so I went over to it and asked if anyone had put anything there about these pearls that they had in a necklace that was there but how nice it was” and Helen Whatshername from the Open University, Scots girl, joined it and really told me off for noticing them which I thought was a strange thing to do.

There was much more to it than this but it deteriorated rapidly after than and as you are probably eating your tea or something right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

Most of the rest of the first part of the morning was spent revising my Welsh and working through the notes for the forthcoming lesson, although I did take 20 minutes off to go for a shower and a good clean-up.

Armed with a mug of hot chocolate (made properly with real chocolate) and a slice of my sourdough fruit bread, I went for my lesson and it passed quite quickly and for a change I didn’t have too much trouble.

Well, I did, but not with the lesson. My laptop hung up in the middle and in the end I had to go and fetch the other laptop and fix it up. It would be nice if I could make the mike function on this big machine work, but that’s a job for again, I reckon, when I upgrade the hard drives.

We finished quite late, as usual and I had some work to do and a letter to write so it was something of a latte lunch today. and then I could go off into town.

boats in port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the street I could look out over the harbour and see what was going on down there this afternoon.

The tide is in so there were plenty of boats bobbing up and down in the harbour right now. And just outside the harbour the sailing school was in full swing with the little boats being led out to sea by the pilot boat. And I haven’t forgotten that I have to contact the sailing school one of these days to find out about when I can go sailing.

But not right now. I have things to do in town so I headed off down the street. I cast my eye on the pointing on the wall at the head of the Rampe du Monte à Regret and noticed that they hadn’t advanced any further than when I last noticed.

And the workmen and apprentices weren’t there either. They don’t seem to be all that keen on completing the job, which is a bit of a shame. I could have had this job finished all on my own right now.

bar ephemere place pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever there is plenty of action on the Place Pleville where all of the layabouts play boules instead of doing an honest day’s work.

Summer is definitely acumen in and lhude sing seagull because the bar ephemere, the temporary bar, has arrived. It’s an old shipping container that has been transformed into a temporary bar and by the looks of things it’s just been dropped off in its usual temporary summer home.

You can see the owners talking out the benches and tables from the inside of the container and setting them up ready to receive their clients.

The post office was my next port of call where I dropped off the letter that I needed to send and then wandered off to the bank for my appointment.

And I didn’t understand why they had called me in for a chat because there wasn’t anything that needed doing or needed signing. It seemed to me that the bank clerk just wanted a chat.

He got that, all right, and I managed to deal with a little issue here and there that needed doing, although they don’t seem all that interested in pushing on to the next level which is a bit of a surprise. That’s the problem with these little provincial banks and it’s one of the reasons why I keep my accounts open in Brussels.

Next stop was the public library where at long last I was able to find a map of the town in the early 1950s. Although the tacot, or “rattletrap”, the old narrow-gauge railway network had been ripped up by then, there was still evidence of the earthworks so I could at least trace its course, but only to the town boundary.

It seems that I shall have to cast my net wider if I’m to find out more about it.

articles on quayside awaiting transport port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving left the library I wandered off down to the port to see what was happening down there these days with all of the changes going on.

And there is some activity going on in the loading bay as supplies of wood and so on and a couple of tractors are now parked up. It looks as if Normandy Trader or Thora, the two little Jersey freighters, are expected in the port soon enough to take them away.

But there is still no news on what is happening with the shellfish of the Jersey Seafarers’ Co-operative. That looks as if it’s well and truly blocked from being landed here in the port.

When Normandy Trader came into port the other day – minus the shellfish – she was met with a couple of jeers and catcalls but that was about it. I imagine that had she come in with the shellfish, the reception would have been a darn sight warmer.

seats on granville jersey ferry covered up port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThese are the seats on board Granviile, the newer of the two boats that (in theory at least) provide the ferry service from here to Jersey. As you can see, they are all covered up to protect them from deterioration from the sun.

There was some kind of fitter on board doing something so I engaged him in conversation. Apart from a period of about a week last summer, they haven’t run out since March last year at the start of the pandemic. I asked the fitter if there were any plans to restart the ferry soon and he replied “maybe at the start of July. We’ll have to see”.

They know about as much as I do about the future of the ferry service from here. I hope that they set it up and are allowed to start running again. It’s good for the town of course to bring people here from abroad. They spend their money here and provide employment, and you can’t have too much of any of that.

spirit of conrad black mamba port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust a little further along the quayside Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which I went down the Brittany coast last summer, is moored. She has Black Mamba tied up behind her and an unidentified boat that I didn’t recognise tied up at her side.

Pierre, her owner, was there and we had a chat. He has 3 trips organised all the way down the coast as far as Ouessant and my ears pricked up at that. I made further enquiries but it turns out that the first trip is going on Friday when I am in Leuven, the second clashes with my Welsh exam, and the third one clashes with my next trip to Leuven.

Not much luck there for me, so I asked him to keep me in mind for his next series of trips. I’m keen to get away for a week or two and a trip on a yacht will do me a world of good, I reckon.

victor hugo black mamba aztec lady anakena port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that I was hoping to do was to speak to the owners of Anakena to find out more about the boat and what her plans are for the future.

She’s moored here of course, where she has been for well over a year (apart from her sojourn in the chantier navale recently) and with Aztec Lady to keep her company. She was on her way to the Far North when she was held up in here when everywhere closed their ports to visitors and I was hoping to find out when – and where – she’ll be going.

However, rather like the Marie Celeste, she was completely deserted. There was no-one about at all so that was rather a pointless visit. She’ll be in good company here with Victor Hugo and Granville, the two Channel Island ferries in the background keeping her company as well.

And so I crossed over the top of the closed harbour gates to the other side and climbed up the steps to the top road, the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

fishing boat l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd there’s yet another fishing boat left at the quayside at the Fish Processing Plant to settle in the silt as the tide goes out.

She’s L’Omerta, one of the larger fishing boats that collects the shellfish. And I’m interested in whatever story there might be in her name. L’Omerta isn’t just Silence in Italian, it’s the name of the Oath of Silence that members of the Mafia take when they are recruited into the Society.

And another thing that interests me, as regular readers of this rubbish might recall, is why the boats are left to go high and dry at the fish processing plant instead of being moored in the main harbour or moored somewhere else out of the way.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that I needed to do of course was to go and check on the beach near the Rue du Nord to see how things were going down there.

And so when I arrived back at my building I went down to the end of the car park to look over the wall.

It had been a warm day today, the first really warm day that we had had, so it was hardly a surprise to see people actually settling down to soak up the sun. A day like today has been a long time coming.

A couple of my neighbours were up there on the car park talking so I joined in and had an exchange of pleasantries while I was about it. I’m not the sociable type as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but I can’t ignore my neighbours too much.

fishing boat english channel baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was also a fishing boat out there too, trawling away in the Baie de Granville in the gap between the Pointe du Roc and the Ile de Chausey. They are a lot more active in the local area these days, given the situation further out in the bay.

Back here in the apartment I made myself a mug of coffee and brought it in here to do some work, but the next thing that I remember is that it was 19:20. and it was another one of these occasions when I didn’t even remember going to sleep.

Anyway, girding up my loins, I made myself pasta and veg with a burger, one of the pile that I need to finish off. There a couple of dozen or so of those in the fridge that I’m going to have to eat sometime, not to mention the pile that are in the freezer.

When I come back from Leuven I’m going to have to go through everything and see what I have and what I need to make to keep the supplies going.

But not right now. I’m going off to bed. I’ve had a hard day and a bad evening and I’m off to Leuven in the morning. I haven’t even printed my rail tickets yet and I have to do that pretty quickly

Wednesday 16th September 2020 – AS I WAS SAYING …

… only the other day, having my body clock disturbed is not really a good idea.

And as I said yesterday, being awake at 03:00 isn’t a very good plan either. And going to bed at 04:15 (and not being able to sleep either) doesn’t help matters.

It goes without saying that I’d switched off the alarms. I wasn’t going to be out of bed by the third alarm and it’s pointless trying. It ended up being another 11:30 today.

There was something on the dictaphone but it seems that I hadn’t gone too far. We were on board a ship last night and the question came round about ancient Egypt. For some unknown reason I imagined myself as a young baby wrapped in a nappy being worshipped as a god or something like that, an immortal. And it was very like a voyage that I’ve had a couple of times in the past.

Or so I said. While there are plenty of examples of me going on nocturnal voyages on board ships, I actually couldn’t think of a nocturnal voyage that bears any relationship to this one with similar events to these.

While I was at it, I dealt with a few more of the arrears from my voyage around Europe. At least that is now getting down to manageable proportions from the 70-odd that were there at the start.

There wasn’t much time to do very much. I spent some time working on the notes for the live broadcast that I’m doing, but I had another thing in mind to do as well.

There are the albums to digitalise, but also some cassettes. I’d borrowed a cassette player from Liz for the task and while I was messing around with the big desktop computer, I came across an input socket on the front, one that I hadn’t noticed before.

And so I had a rummage around and came up with a stereo audio cable, plugged it into the earphone socket on the cassette player and the other end into the input on the laptop.

After much playing around with the selectors I finally managed to make the computer record a cassette – but in mono only. Yet again!

But the word “earphone” on the cassette player should have given me a clue. Sticking a set of headphones in, I found out that there was only one channel working, but that was broadcasting both tracks.

So that’s a mono output and consequently of not much use. I’m going to have to think of a plan B – which might involve having to bring the big hi-fi into here.

Failing that, I know that my DVD player in the living room will record, so maybe I could even plug the big hi-fi into the DVD, record onto the hard-drive, burn to a DVD and then copy it onto the computer.

But I’ll find a way.

chausiais port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAfter a shower, I had to set out on my travels. It’s that time of the year again – one of our three-monthly meetings of the radio station.

It’s a long walk out to the Centre Agora but it does me good. The road goes past the top of the harbour where I can look down and see what is going on. Normandy Trader has disappeared into the sunset, and a long time ago too, and her place has been taken by Chausiais.

After a nice long walk I ended up at the meeting where we had to listen to a few people taking several hours to say nothing at all. At one stage, on my notes I had written “Oh God! I wish that this woman would shut up!”

As I have said before … “and you’ll say again” – ed … these are the kinds of meetings that should be held, standing up in the open air in a rainstorm.

port de granville harbour by night manche normandy france eric hallThe weather was really pleasant later on and so I had a lovely walk, the long way around, back home.

It’s not very often that I have the chance to see the town in the dark and so I took a couple of photos on my way home. Like this one of the sea front looking across the beach and the port to the old town (where I live) perched on the rocks.

The photo was taken with the little NIKON 1 J5 which I take with me on walks like this. It’s quite compact and light, fits in a jacket pocket and does well enough in normal lighting conditions (but struggles in abnormal condition).

bar ephemere chez maguie square pleville port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy route went through the town and then up the Rue des Juifs.

From the top of the Rampe du Monte Regret there’s a good view down towards the port. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve mentioned the Bar Ephemère, called Chez Maguie, that has sprung up on the little square at the Square Pléville.

It’s open until quite late at night and it looked quite good from up here with all of its lights working so I took a photo of that while I was at it, to add it to the collection.

trawler unloading fish processing plant port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I continued up the Rue des Juifs to the viewpoint overlooking the port.

There wasn’t too much excitement there tonight, except that there was a fishing boat in the harbour, moored up and unloading at the Fish Processing plant.

When I arrived back, I hardly had time to take off my jacket before the phone rang. Rosemary rang me and we had a really good chat for 90 minutes, putting the world to rights, and I ended up missing my tea. But that will do me some good, I suppose.

So, later than I was hoping, I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow so that’s a nice early morning walk. And I have to go via the railway station to pick up my rail tickets, if I remember.