Tag Archives: blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 21st November 2021 – AFTER YESTERDAY’S EXERTIONS …

… I ended up not going to bed until after 01:00. I reckon that it’s very hard to unwind after all of that effort to make it back home.

And it seems that I must have had some part of a decent night’s sleep somehow because there was nothing on the dictaphone until 07:00 this morning.

All kinds of things were going on last night but I can hardly remember anything of it. At one time there was some kind of fashion show that I was preparing but that’s all that I cam remember. There was also something about a young kid with a knife. It looked as if he or she was going to commit suicide but again I can’t remember anything about that.

Later on I had a big green Vauxhall Victor in my garden. There was some boy who used to hang around watching what I was doing, trying to help, that kind of thing. One day I came home and he had the bonnet open. I asked him what he was doing. he didn’t say anything but it turned out that he was trying to steal it. he had managed to open the bonnet but had snapped the bonnet catch. I told him to collect his stuff and clear off. he was going around telling everyone how had-done-by he was after all the help that he’s given me but I’d just thrown him out. Of course when I was asked I explained the story about trying to steal the Victor.

There was something else about me having 2 apartments, renting out one of them. There was some issue with the tax people about it and the tenant was not being very co-operative which was a surprise because he had co-operated 100% up until recently. I had no idea what was going wrong now

And later still I was in hospital, one of these recovery places. There was a girl there with me. We were sharing a room. There were all kinds of people coming through, visiting, schoolkids even. We were chatting about the people who ran the place. I was saying that they were quite quick to spot talent and had some of the inmates working for them doing various things. We went out and sat upstairs on the city walls. There were crowds of people and it was a nice afternoon. There were all kinds of things happening. There was an aeroplane flying overhead with a trawler slung underneath it. I looked and it was the same style as the ones being built by this firm in Turkey. I tried to take a photo but the camera shutter stuck and it didn’t work out. There was a girl chatting to us, wearing a very short skirt with a bikini on underneath. There were a couple of houses. We noticed that they were numbered 1,3 and 4. We wondered where n°2 was. Then we saw a narrow set of steps going up in between 3 and 4 so we imagined that there might be a bungalow or something at the top of these steps that would be n°2. Why it was n°2 and not n°3 we didn’t know. I had to go off to do something. On the way back I was very unsteady on my feet and everyone coming down this path was bumping into me and I was staggering all over the place. When I returned to where we’d been sitting, the girl had gone and I couldn’t see where she was.

Although it was about 09:30 when I finally awoke, it was about 10:30 when I left the bed. No point in rushing myself, especially on a Sunday after I’ve returned from Leuven.

Having checked my mails and messages and had a little chat on my social network I set about transcribing the dictaphone notes from Friday night/Saturday morning WHICH ARE NOW ON LINE and then from last night, which you have read just now.

When that was out of the way I sat down to pair off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow. That didn’t take all that long and I do have to say that it was one of those very rare occasions when all of the joints between the tracks went together perfectly.

After brunch I spent an hour or so working on updating the journal entry from Wednesday when I set out to Leuven. I didn’t finish it then because I had to stop to make some more fruit bread rolls as I’d run out just before I left.

And for once, I don’t know what happened but I managed to make a perfect dough and that doesn’t happen all the time, does it. If they bake as well as they look, they will be wonderful.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While the dough was “resting” I went out for my afternoon walk.

From my vantage point at the end of the car park overlooking the beach I could see that there was plenty of beach to be on. However despite the beautiful sunshine this afternoon, a far cry from when I awoke and it was teeming down, there weren’t all that many people down there.

That might possibly be connected to the fact that it was howling a gale out there. I spent much of my walk clinging onto my cap, thinking that it won’t be long before I’ll be bringing out the woolly hat to go on my woolly head.

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There were several other brave people walking around the path on top of the cliff.

But those of us up there were not as brave as whoever it was who was out at sea in a small cabin cruiser.

This was the only boat that was out there this afternoon and that’s hardly a surprise with this wind and this sea.

The view was really clear this afternoon but I didn’t go and stand on top of the bunker to take a photo because I would have been blown off there and my camera has already had a lucky escape up there once.

people at pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021My route from near the lighthouse takes me down the path and across the car park to the end of the headland.

Down at the bottom on the lower path are the bench and the cabanon vauban and there were a few people loitering around there this afternoon.

They weren’t sitting down on the bench as most people do, but they seem to be quite interested in whatever it was that was happening lower down on the beach and the rocks below.

But whatever it was, I couldn’t see what had attracted their attention.

men fishing pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021It wasn’t just people on the end of the Pointe du Roc either.

We had a couple of fishermen out there this afternoon casting their lines into the sea from out on the rocks. The water isn’t particularly deep out there so they won’t be going for anything big.

The waves won’t help them very much either. The wind has stirred up quite a sea and the fish will be far too disorientated in the shallow, turbulent water for them to concentrate on any hook and bait that the fishermen might be casting.

fete de st clement seafarers memorial pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I was here I had a good look at the seafarers’ memorial.

It’s the Fête de St Clément today. He was one of the very earliest Popes and because of his beliefs he was exiled to the Crimea by Trajan in 100AD or thereabouts

However, according to legend (which is disputed) he continued to practise his beliefs and tried to evangelise the other prisoners on board the ship. As a result, they tied him to an anchor and cast him into the sea.

He is therefore the patron saint of mariners and they have been decorating the monument in his honour.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021My walk continued along the top of the cliff towards the viewpoint overlooking the outer harbour0

Although I said that I wouldn’t be posting anything about the chantier naval until there is some kind of movement or change of situation, I couldn’t for a moment remember where I was up to the last time that I saw the portable boat lift.

As a result, I took a photo of it so that I can compare it with the last photograph that I took of it to see if there has been any work done on it while I was away.

And I couldn’t see anything obvious. They must still be waiting for parts.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Meanwhile, over at the ferry terminal, there wasn’t all that much going on there this afternoon either.

Moored over there is one of the Joly France boats. This one is the older one of the two. You can tell that by the windows in landscape format, the larger upper-deck superstructure and the absence of step in the stern.

There isn’t much else going on over there. A couple of cars were parked up on the quayside but I couldn’t see anyone loitering about. And at least they’ve managed to fold up the crane correctly.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Moored in front of Joly France is Chausiaise, the little freighter that goes out to the Ile de Chausey.

But neither she nor her friend moored behind her will be going out to the island for a while until the tide comes back in, despite the crowds on the sea wall waiting with eager anticipation for something exciting to happen.

Before I set out for my walk, I had set the coffee machine on the go ready for when I came back so I hurried home for my coffee.

The problem with my machine though is that it doesn’t heat up the coffee enough. One of these days I’ll buy an expensive machine that will keep the coffee piping hot for hours.

While my coffee was going cold I finished off Wednesday’s journal entry and that’s NOW ON LINE as well.

Later on the fruit buns were now ready to bake so I bunged them in the oven.

vegan pizza fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While they were cooking I assembled my pizza. I’d taken the dough out of the freezer earlier and rolled it out after I came back from my walk.

Once the fruit buns were ready, the pizza went into the oven too.

The fruit buns look absolutely delicious, but I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow. The pizza on the other hand actually was delicious and I really enjoyed that. Not the best that I’ve ever made, but pretty close to it

No dessert though. It was rather filling.

Now that I’ve finished my journal I’m off to bed shortly. I’ve an early start tomorrow and a lot to do, as well as going for my physiotherapy session so I need to be on form.

Saturday 20th November 2021 – IT SEEMS TO ME …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 7th November 2021 – IF YOU THINK …

… that going to bed at 23:40 and staying there until 11:15 means that I’ve had a really good night’s sleep, then a look at the times of the files on the dictaphone will tell you a completely different story.

Until about 04:25 it seemed to be quite a peaceful night, and then it all went wrong from then on. I started off last night somewhere in Asia climbing up into the Himalayas. I came across a tribe or ethnic group high up who were very secretive. I went into their village. They were admitting other people of Asian Burmese or whatever descent from another ethnic tribe. Gradually I managed to slip away and carry on climbing up the mountain. I came into a kind of shop, a bazaar or something or other. They were very interested to see me and kept on telling me to climb higher up. In the end I was climbing up these stairs into some kind of claustrophobic attic with this guy wondering what on earth would happen next because I have a horror of confined spaces and this attic looked quite confined to me. They started to show me all products that they had that they wanted to get a foothold into the French market. They had a house somewhere and a warehouse, and access to a ship. I interviewed them all about their ship to make sure that it fulfilled all the required regulations and so on. From there they showed me all their products and were talking about sheep. He showed me a boat that was no more than a small yacht and asked if he could get 1500 – he said “muttons” – on there. I replied “you probably wouldn’t get more than 100 on that one”. He said that they had 1500 sheep, or “muttons” as he put it, in Canada and could bring them over. I knew someone in a slaughterhouse buying sheep in at £12 or €14 per head and that didn’t include the fleece. We had a lengthy discussion about this. Then they paired me up with this young girl who was going to be my contact with the tribe. We had a pile of things so we went back to my house, this girl and I. There were other people, my brother and so on, in there searching around for something and also the police searching around for something. I beckoned my brother over and told him and his friends that they would have to leave for 10 minutes. One policeman said “you want to be alone with this girl, don’t you?” I replied “I’m not going to be alone am I, because you’re here”. This girl started to become very nervous and wanted to leave as well but I hung on to her and brought her back into the bedroom. I started to unwrap one or two of these parcels that I’d brought back with me from the bazaar in this country high up in the Himalayas.

A little later I’d gone to see Morton play at East Fife, one of the one-sided wonder stadiums. It ended up that I met this girl again who I’d met earlier this evening. We started on about going back to my place again, everything but I can’t remember how this carried on from here. It was pretty similar to the one just now.

Later still, David Lloyd George was there later on with his wife Georgina and I was still there with this Burmese girl. Everyone’s eyebrows were raised about this, the fact that I was with him and also with this pretty young girl

There was also a little later on some documentation that needs certifying from Burma here. I put it with the others.

Later on I was at Rachel’s. Most people were there. We were having a meal and then all sitting around and talking. They were talking about someone who had just come up from Boston for half a day just to bring them a wedding present or present for their honeymoon. I said to Rachel “I’ve always admired you capacity for money-making” and she replied “I got it off you”. We carried on talking. I was still dealing with this thing about this Burmese girl when Hannah came in. She had some pullovers on but they needed washing, she said. I said that I’d do it but it was only the body because she’d rolled up the sleeves so they weren’t dirty. I asked if she had anything else. She replied “no, it’s fine” so I went to wash it. I then sat down on a chair and just out of my eyeshot just around the corner a girl sat down. I knew who she was but I can’t remember now. I was trying desperately hard not to fall asleep and desperately hard to pretend not to notice her because I was hoping that she’d come over and chat to me. There was a woman there talking about what we’d been up to today and a few things that I’d done. I was waiting for it to be dropped into the conversation that I was here but for some unknown reason she didn’t. I was really trying to fight so hard to stop falling asleep.

And how many times now is it that I’ve awoken and gone back to sleep into this dream about being in Burma or with this Burmese girl? I’ve slipped back into dreams where I’ve left off on a couple of occasions but usually only once. But this is five times. So what’s going on here?

We haven’t finished out voyages yet either. I’d gone round to say goodbye to Nerina as I was going back to France. She was living in Wistaston but I missed the turning and ended up somewhere else. I had to find a road map to help me find my way. I didn’t stay long. She expressed surprise that I had French number-plates on Caliburn – thinking that living in France I’d have English number-plates on him. She expressed surprise about the train that I was driving. That had French number-plates on it as well. She asked about it and I told her that it was an HST. As I went to leave, the train set off and left one motor carriage behind. I had to get in the motor carriage and chase after my train. it was going all the way up the hill through this shopping arcade. I eventually caught up with it as it went into the toilets. I remember something about when people see a train going up through a shopping centre there’s obviously something wrong happening somewhere.

There was also something about me being in the swimming baths and a cinema but I can’t remember very much about that except that there were a couple of girls there so i was making sure that I was swimming near them because they looked quite nice and interesting. There was yet more stuff too that slipped my mind as soon as I awoke, as well as some other stuff that you wouldn’t thank me for reading if you are eating your meal.

As it happens, I’ve never been to Burma (in fact I’ve never been further east than a little way beyond Moscow back in the early 80s) but I did once have a strange encounter with a Burmese girl called Warwar Soe about 20 years ago when I had the Opel Omega.

She sent me an e-mail right out of nothing to say “I’ve arrived in Belgium but I have no papers and I’m a clandestine. Can you help me?”

How come she had my information and how she thought that I could help her I really had no idea but naturally my curiosity got the better of me so I arranged to meet her. However her immaculate hair-do and tailored jeans and jacket made me smell a rather oversize rat and so I was intrigued to find out what her game was.

We met a couple of times subsequently because at the very least there might be a possibility of some indoor alligator-wrestling at some point in the proceedings and she was quite an attractive girl, but it gradually petered out and nothing ever came of it.

She did ring me back after about 6 months to say “I actually did have some papers” and that intrigued me even more but I was never able to find out any further information, to my regret.

Anyway, I digress … “as usual” – ed. After I had my medication (and how far is all of that from any indoor alligator-wrestling?) I came and checked my mails and messages and then paired off all of the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing (with a bit of luck) tomorrow.

That all took me nicely up to lunch.

After lunch I pressed on with the arrears of the journal from my time at Leuven and there are two further pages, SATURDAY’S and SUNDAY’S.

And Sunday’s was rather an unfortunate one because it touched rather a nerve with me.

Once more I have run out of Pizza dough so I had to make some more as well, and that turned out to be a very good batch. I think that I’ve got the hang of all of this now.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021By the time that I’d finished the dough it was time to go walkies.

And no sooner had I set foot outside the building before the shadow if the cold hand of doom fell upon me.

Actually it was another Nazgul going by overhead. There was some reasonable wind and that seemed to bring them out in force this afternoon. There were plenty of others that I could have photographed.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Once he’d flown off elsewhere I could go over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

And this afternoon there was plenty of beach for it all to be happening upon because the tide was well out right now.

The sunny weather today had brought out the crowds and they were thronging down there in their masses, some even brave enough to go for a paddle in the water.

Over here we were in the shade but across the bay near St Martin they were having glorious sunshine.

people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021It wasn’t just down there on the beach at the Rue du Nord where the crowds had gathered.

There were plenty of people who had walked further along by the Place d’Armes. You don’t usually see many people this far along because there is no way back up the cliffs except by the steps at the Rue du Nord, but they don’t need to worry about the tide just yet.

And neither did I. I could travel along the path up here and only had the crowds of people to worry about.

hang glider brought down to earth pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Other people had more to worry about than I did, though

Something or other, probably a sudden change in direction of a gust of wind, had brought down a Nazgul and its passengers. Either that or Legolas hiding in the bushes had had another lucky shot with his bow and arrow.

This time I was quick enough to seize the advantage in this situation. I went over to them for a chat and now I know where I need to go and to whom I need to speak in order to go for a lap around the headland on board a Nazgul.

hang glider taking off pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I walked away down to the end of the headland our gallant bird-man of Alcatraz and his passenger were busy untangling their Nazgul.

When they were finally ready and the wind was blowing in the correct direction they took to the air, cheered on by a crowds of enthusiastic watchers, and disappeared off into the sky.

My route continued down along the path and across the car park towards the end of the headland.

35ma light aeroplance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021At this point I was overflown by an aeroplane heading off into the sunset.

It’s our old friend 35MA having taken off from the airfield near Donville les Bains. But there’s no point my trying to tell you where it’s going because it hasn’t filed a flight plan, it’s not picked up on radar and its registration number isn’t in the database to which I have access.

There was nothing whatever going on in the bay this afternoon, presumably because the tide is well out so all of the port gates are closed so nothing can leave or arrive.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021From the end of the headland my walk took me down the path along the top of the cliffs towards the port.

Nothing going on in the chantier naval of course because the portable boat lift is out of action. And it does look sad standing there in the middle of the yard without its wheels.

Here’s hoping that they fix whatever is wrong with it quite quickly and the chantier naval is back in action soon.

There wasn’t anything happening at the ferry terminal either. Everything is either out at sea or tied up in the inner harbour.

l'omerta fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But L’Omerta is there in her habitual place, settled in the silt at the side of the fish processing plant.

She seems to be living there now, when she isn’t in the chantier naval. And that’s a mystery as to why she isn’t tied up in the inner harbour like everyone else.

Back at the apartment the pizza dough had risen nicely so I split it into three portions, oiled a couple and put them in the freezer. The third I left for a moment because the ‘phone started to ring.

Rosemary was on the line wanting a chat so we had a good discussion and then I had to go and deal with the pizza, roll out the dough and put it in the tray to rise ready for tea.

While the pizza was rising I was transcribing dictaphone notes for the next few days. I have to catch up before I go to Leuven in 10 or so days time so I’m going to be pretty rushed.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Later on I assembled the pizza and put it in the oven to bake. And when it was finished it lookd really delicious.

Furthermore, it tasted just as good as it looked as well. One of my more successful efforts although I do with that the underneath would cook as well as the top. I can’t lower the rack in the oven any more than it is.

So now that’s eaten, the washing up is done and the journal entry is written, I’m off to bed. It’s an early start and a long day tomorrow dealing with the radio programme and going to the physiotherapy.

With all of that going on, I need to be at my best.

Friday 5th November 2021 – I’VE BEEN …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you in the morning.

Saturday 9th October 2021 – I DON’T BELIEVE IT!

Yesterday I posted that I had a really good sleep all the way up to 04:41 in the morning.

Anyone care to guess what time I awoke this morning?

Yes, you’ve guessed it. 04:41. Someone round here somewhere must have an alarm clock set for an early start, unless my body clock is playing tricks with me again. It can’t be a coincidence.

Although I was once more in bed early yesterday evening, the big difference is that I had a wretched night. I spent most of the night tossing and turning in my bed it it didn’t seem as if I had slept at all.

Mind you, the dictaphone tells a completely different story because by the looks of things I travelled miles during the night.

After the medication and checking my mails, I prepared to fight the good fight with the dictaphone. And I wasn’t joking about the miles either. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

We were at school, primary school and we’d had a test. Then the teacher sat down and started, we thought, to read through it and give us the answers. No-one understood what she said about question 1 and she didn’t mention question 2 so I asked “could we have the answer to question 2?”. She replied “you’re supposed to be writing down the answers”. We said “we’ve done that. We’re waiting for the answers”. She replied “the next person who makes a noise will be beaten”. Just then one of the children had been playing with something, a traffic light or something, and the lens fell off. She grabbed hold of the child and took it into her room and prepared her cane. There was another teacher there and they were discussing this child’s anatomy about where they were going to give it the cane. This wasn’t the first time that this has happened. I remembered seeing it perhaps on some other occasion the previous day or something. Of course, all the children there were quite distressed by this.

Later on I was playing bass with a guitarist and I just couldn’t find the opening note. It was one of these heavy metal power trio things like Robin Trower. My bass playing was awful. Eventually he told me that the opening note was E which I didn’t think it was, but that was what we started to play.

There was something else about some people. There had been a raid on a camp somewhere and they had found a steel door. Behind the door was a pile of illegal immigrants or asylum seekers. They had gone through and processed them, and found that there were some valuable workers there with them. They were then going to embarrass a few other countries by pointing out what they had found in this batch of asylum seekers.

So the French were interested in these people as resistance fighters from start to finish yet the British were more discerning looking on them as sex objects, that kind of thing.

There was a family barbecue and everyone was buying everything. We were all there at 09:00 lined up outside the supermarket. I was the first one away and took my stuff to where this was being held. My brother was in charge of the camp and I noticed that he had 10 litres of petrol stored somewhere and was planning to burn down some undergrowth near where this petrol was. I went back for a second load. I had a Landrover chassis but it wasn’t really – no body on it and you sat in it rather than on it, towing a trailer. We returned and my brother was there by this time and one of Lynette’s children had stayed with me. We started to unload this stuff. he was fetching out his petrol and putting down a circle ready to burn. I said “don’t be stupid! You have all that fuel there and some gas. He asked “what do you mean? The first lot has already been burned”. I can’t remember who I looked at but I said “thank God I wasn’t here at the moment when you did that.

All these pretty girls (which pretty girls?) were a pile of water too at the port (if that makes any sense) and I wanted to send them away because much as they were very attractive and helping to keep the male/female ratio a little closer than it might be, they were distracting me from anything else going on.

There was some kind of downhill water racing course in a machine, like a series of rapids or something like that. You go down there and when you reach the lake at the bottom you have to swim underneath the water in a tunnel and come out at the other end where the finishing line it. I did it 3 times and filmed it, including the bit of me going under the water down this tunnel which of course is an astonishing thing for me and made a collage together of how the film would be. Nerina was in here somewhere and I was showing this film to her and actually going ahead and doing it for her although I can’t think why. I can’t remember where this went or what happened about it afterwards.

We were off on board the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR again and it was lunch, or evening meal and we were queueing to get it. There seemed to be two queues, one for the normal meal and another for the fish or cheese variety. I had a look at the cheese variety that turned out to be a white square of fish in cheese sauce with toast. I thought that I would try that but I couldn’t find the vegetables. I managed to grab plenty of toast but there were some people chuntering about “all these people pushing in, doing this and doing that”, whatever. Despite the fact that I had to pay 20p extra my meal was looking like a washout. I went over to where Liz was sitting and asked if this looked right to her, my meal I had to choose a place to sit and there wer e2 seats, one either side of her, that were free. The one on the right was opposite another seat of course. I could see that the seat facing Liz was the handbag of the mother of Miss Stoke On Trent. The seat next on the right had someone else’s handbag on, and the seat on the left facing the seat on the right of Liz had nothing on it. I wondered if that was where Miss Stoke On Trent was going to sit so I decided that i’d sit at that seat facing there in the hope that it would be the case.

And that’s not all of it either. There was other stuff too but I’m sure that you wouldn’t appreciate my posting it as you are probably eating your meal right now.

It took me all morning to type out all of that – right up to lunchtime. But there was a reason for that.

home made bread fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Yesterday saw me almost reach the end of the bread, so seeing as I wasn’t going to go shopping this morning, I decided to do some baking.

There were only two or three fruit buns left too, so while I was at it, I made half a dozen of those. If I make some space in the freezer somehow (don’t ask me how) I can freeze half the load and three of the fruit buns for when I return from Leuven.

And I shall too, because this batch has turned out really well. The buns look really good and believe me! The loaf is excellent!

After lunch, there was football on the internet. Connah’s Quay v TNS.

TNS are way out in front of the table but Connah’s Quay, despite winning the league for the last two years in succession, are stuck in mid-table and their manager left in midweek. Nevertheless it was a pulsating, exciting match decided by a penalty for TNS not long after the start of the second half.

Mind you, it could have been completely different had Connah’s Quay been awarded a penalty for what looked like a pretty clear handball earlier in the game.

Both sides had a player sent off for fighting later in the game and we carried on into no less than 6 minutes of injury time that came from God Knows Where because this is the first match that I have seen for ages where neither first-aid attendant was required to enter the pitch.

Connah’s Quay actually had the ball in the TNS net in the dying seconds of the game but it was ruled out for offside.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021This took me up to walkies time so I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed off outside.

Almost immediately I felt the icy hand of death upon my shoulder, but what had happened was that a Nazgul had gone flying by overhead. A two-seater Nazgul too.

In fact, I could have photographed any number of them this afternoon because they were out there in force. probably about half a dozen that I could see at any one time and I bet that there were more than that as well in total.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Having dealt with the issue of the Nazgul, I wandered off to the end of the car park to see what was happening on the beach.

And with the tide being out this afternoon, there was plenty of beach to be on. And there were crowds down there too – more than we have seen on the beach for quite a while.

That wasn’t really a surprise because despite it being October and there being a fair bit of wind about, the day was the warmest that we have had for a couple of weeks and once I was out of the wind I was obliged to remove my jacket.

aerial ballet hang glider powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I was watching the people on the beach, another Nazgul flew by overhead.

And around the corner from behind the College Malraux came the little red powered hang glider that had been out for a spin.

As they closed up on each other, they performed a really delightful aerial ballet – they really did. Not a danse macabre as we have seen the trawlers in the harbour do so often but a proper little dance.

powered hang glider baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021So having performed its little pas de deux with the hang glider, the powered machine headed off.

Its route took it out to sea across the Baie de Granville and I could follow it for quite a way. But then it headed off towards the airfield to come in to land.

The little scene had been witnessed by the crowds of people who were out there this afternoon. It seems that the whole town had come out up here for a walk.

hang glider falls to earth pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I fought my way through the crowds of people I had a very unexpected sight right in front of me.

Another Nazgul had gone by overhead and as I walked along the path he came tumbling out of the air and touched down right on the very edge of the cliff. With the camera already in my hand, it was an instinctive shot into the sun, hence the overexposed image.

My intention was to go over there and buttonhole him and ask him about his association and how I can blag my way up into the air, but as quick as he came down, he leapt of the cliff and was away, long before I could catch up with him.

digger heavy machine laying pipeline baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I was walking over the path towards the car park, I could see that there was plenty of activity going on in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

It’s a Saturday of course today, a weekend, so no-one was more surprised than me to see the heavy tractor thing and the digger out there working on this pipeline. It’s very unusual for this kind of work to be carried out at a weekend.

Obviously the tide is playing an important role in this, and with the lowest tides of the season being round about now, they must be paying the workmen a good bonus to have the work done.

Crowds of people out there too having a dab at the pèche à pied while they have the opportunity.

SNU Service National Universel pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There were three Gendarme vehicles and a pile of gendarmes on the car park and they seemed to be dealing with this group of people, one of whom was carrying a banner.

Thinking that I might be witnessing some kind of exciting incident I sidled up to one of them. “Who are you?” I asked.
“We’re the SNU” he replied
“What’s that?”
“The Service National Universal#34;
“And what’s that all about?”
“We volunteer” he said, and at that he wandered off. Talk about informative!

Anyway, having made my own enquiries subsequently I can tell you that this is a French Government initiative aimed at kids between 15 and 17 who want to “participate in the construction of a society of Engagement built around national cohesion”.

And don’t blame me. I’m only quoting. I don’t write rubbish like that. I have my own brand of rubbish to write.

F-HFMS Robin DR 400-160 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And while I was talking to that young person, I was overflown by a light aeroplane from the airfield.

And she’s a new one. We haven’t seen her before. We’ve seen plenty like her though because she’s a Robin DR 400-160 like some of the aeroplanes at the Aero Club de Granville, but this one is owned by the Aeroclub d’Andaines, near Alençon and is registered F-HFMS.

With no flight plan filed, I can’t tell you where she was going from here at 16:20, or even how she’d arrived here, but she was picked up on radar at 19:33 somewhere in the vicinity of Vire and did a big loop towards Alençon.

She disappeared off the radar at 19:59 not too far from Alençon somewhere near her home airfield at Rives d’Andaines.

trawler pescadore yacht chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Having spent a lot of time out there this afternoon, I headed off back down the other side of the headland overlooking the Baie de Mont St Michel.

And here in the chantier naval this afternoon we have another new arrival to accompany the yacht that came in here on Thursday morning.

She has her AIS beacon switched off so I couldn’t tell you her name at first but her serial number came up trumps. She’s Pescadore and why I didn’t recognise her was that she used to be blue and yellow before she had a new paint job.

She was in here a couple of weeks ago, so I wonder what has happened to make her come back.

l'omerta tractor trailer vehicles under fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Another one of our old favourites from the chantier naval is sitting on the silt over there at the wharf by the Fish Processing Plant.

She’s L’Omerta and was in the chantier naval for a repaint a couple fo weeks ago as well.

And it looks as if they are going to be expecting a bumper harvest of shellfish this evening when the tide brings in the boats that are out working. As well as the tractor and trailer in position, we have several vehicles on the concrete pad underneath the Fish Processing Plant waiting to take away the loads from their boats.

Back here I made a coffee and sat down for a relax. I should have gone up town this evening to watch the football but I wasn’t up to in. Instead I carried on with the updating of some of the journal entries for August to add in the details of my nocturnal voyages.

They are all now complete, so something positive came out of today.

Something else that I forgot to mention was that somewhere along the line I had a play with that desktop mixer and made it work after a fashion. But I need to do more work on it some time.

Tea tonight was a breadcrumbed vegan burger with veg and some more of those nice potatoes.

Now that my journal is finally finished, I’m off to bed, hoping that there’s no 04:41 alarm in the morning.

Today has been something of a bad day. As well as not having had much sleep, I’ve opened a letter, thrown the contents away and filed the envelope, made a mug of coffee without any coffee in it, and boiled the kettle without any water.

Here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow.

Friday 8th October 2021 – I WAS IN BED …

… last night really early – at about 22:40 as it happened, and I had one of the best, deepest sleeps that I have ever had, all the way through until … errr … 04:41. And then the wheels fell off.

When I awoke, I was drenched in sweat yet again (and isn’t this becoming a regular occurrence?), probably the worst yet, and then I spent the time until the alarm went off at 07:30 just tossing and turning in bed.

Staggering out of bed I went for my medication and then back here after dealing with my mails and messages I made a coffee and dealt with the dictaphone.

Yesterday’s voyages are now on line in the appropriate place and then I had a listen to today’s. I’d found myself a nice young girlfriend and I’d been round at my mother’s house with her. It was time for her to go home so I said “yes, you have school in the morning”. She said no, she wasn’t going to school. I asked 2 or 3 times but it didn’t sink in with me. We went to go out and it was pouring down with rain. My mother asked “what are you going to do now?” I replied “put our hoods up”. THe girl decided that it was rather too much so my mother said that she’d run us. I replied “I’ll drive – where are the keys?”. My mother refused and I thought that this was a strange turn-round from how things usually are. I got into the back of this Cortina estate and my mother and this girl got into the front and set off. My mother’s driving was all over the place, driving up the kerb and everything. I said to the girl “I told you that you’ll regret this”. We came to a road junction out of Vine Tree Avenue into Somerville Street in Crewe and I’ve no idea why we were there but my mother didn’t slow down. She just carried on. I shouted “aren’t you going to stop?”. She jammed her foot on the brake and the car slid across the road junction just missing another car coming the other way. I took this girl and we left the car and said “right, we’re walking”. This girl was rather unhappy about walking and said “we can always go to see Reg and have him drive us home” but he was just about walking as far in the other direction as it was walking her home to her house from where we were. I had this feeling again that here was something else that was slipping through my hands. That’s turning into a regular part of my dreams, isn’t it? Here I am with a bird on my plate and just as I’m about to get my fork stuck into it …

Later on I was back working in an office and who should start to work there but TOTGA? Of course I was very interested in that but she never seemed to have the time to talk to me, which was rather a shame. This affected me once to such an extent that I couldn’t concentrate on my work. I had the bougeotte, the need to move around. I went out of the office to go for a little walk. Some other woman came out and asked me where I was going so I told her. She said “well if you like I’ll come back afterwards and peel your carrots for you” which I thought was a strange thing to say. I got into my car, which was the Omega, left-hand drive, and drove it down the ramp into the car park. But my badge wouldn’t work the car park and quite a queue of people built up behind me. The guys in the office down there controlling the car park weren’t in the least bit interested. Eventually one of them came over and tried my badge but it didn’t work. He said “your badge has expired” and that was that. I had to make all of these people behind me reverse out of the way and I had to reverse the Omega back up which wasn’t easy with these vehicles coming down behind me and going off somewhere else. I ended up back in my office. By now there was a party taking place at lunchtime so I walked round the corner and there was TOTGA still sitting at her desk working. I went over and asked her “aren’t you taking part in the festivities?” and that was when things ground to a halt unfortunately, although I had a feeling that I was heading for yet another disappointment

Later still I was in some kind of army. I can’t remember much about this but someone came along with a cannon so I gave him a run out. His was far better than any artillery I had in my army so I was very keen to sign him up. I can’t remember what happened after this.

Finally, I’d gone to see a car for sale. An Opel. 40 miles on the clock despite it being 4 years old. It had been bought for someone who had become ill and had never ever used it. I went to see it and it really was in good condition as you would expect but it had had a bang underneath it and the paint had come off one of the sills. The sill was bent and the floor pan was rather bent. I offered then £4,000 for it but they wanted £8,000 which was what they had paid, which was probably right 4 years ago. I offered them £4,000 which they thought was a humiliation but I pointed out these defects and said “let me know what you think”.

It’s hardly surprising that I was totally exhausted after all of that, especially as it seemed to be so full of disappointment. Nothing seems to be going my way during my nocturnal rambles, rejected by TOTGA and having relationship issues with a girl whom I wish I knew who she was, and my family sticking their oar in to spike my guns just like in real life all those years ago.

Anyway, let’s not brood on the past.

Much of the morning was spent with this radio project, following up a couple of hot clues about people who might have a few things to say for themselves. But one thing that I have noticed, particularly with the Brits, is that they will spend days if not weeks moaning about something and yet refuse to do anything about it, even when the opportunity is presented to them on a plate.

A shower came next and as a surprise, I went one step further than Dave Crosby. Must be because I had a ‘flu for Christmas. I weighed myself today too and in the space of a week I’ve lost 1.2kg. At this rate, I’ll be gone completely in 18 months.

After an early lunch I headed off into town.

building work boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The first port of call, for a change this afternoon seeing as it was early, was to see if there was any sign of life at the roadworks in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

And there was actually someone there too. As I was walking down the hill he walked out of the compound and went to sit in the digger that was there. And that’s all he did – just sat there.

But there has been some kind of activity because the skip that was here has now gone. You can see the mark on the road where it was left. So something is happening, although it’s hard to say what it is.

dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further on down the road, there’s still no change in the port.

The dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie is still down there in the harbour, still surrounded by all of the pipes and tubes. It looks as if nothing of any importance has moved since yesterday.

But I need to be moving so I pushed on down the Rue des Juifs and then down the steps towards the Place Pléville-Lepelley

place pléville-lepelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The Place looks empty and deserted right now.

Over the summer there was the Bar Ephemère, “Chez Maguie”, down there with several tables and benches and all kinds of things but a couple of weeks ago it was all folded back up into the shipping container that was its home.

But now that’s no longer here. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

Usually there are hordes of people here too playing boules but there’s not a soul down there this afternoon. And that’s a surprise, seeing as it’s lunchtime right now.

diesel fuel spill place semard Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The walk up the hill wasn’t as bad as it has been just recently. I only stopped once to catch my breath and if that were the case every time I’d be quite happy with that.

At the roundabout in the Place Semard there looks as if there has been a diesel spillage. There’s a big trail of sand around the roundabout that stops as the road begins to climb the hill. A couple of scooters were taking the bend very gingerly.

The physiotherapist had me on the tilting platform thing for 20 minutes and then the cross trainer to finish off. I pushed my personal best on by another 10 seconds and could have done better except that my right knee was feeling the strain. I was glad to stop.

After he threw me out I went across the road to the little Carrefour. I’m running low on fruit and I don’t want to go all the way out to the hypermarket tomorrow for just a few things as I’m off to Leuven on Wednesday morning.

Fruit is expensive in there but it’s right on the way home so I may as well splash out. And they had 1.5kg of nice-looking potatoes on special offer at €0:99 and I’ve run out.

It was a stagger back home carrying all of that but it had to be done and it saves me going out tomorrow of course

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The walk up the hill in the Rue des Juifs wasn’t as easy as it might have been had I not been loaded up, and I was glad to reach the viewpoint overlooking the port.

Leaving on the wall with my energy drink in one hand, I could see that we’ve had a change down there on the quayside.

One of the Jersey freighters (it was the Normandy Trader with a skeleton crew as I learnt later) has been into port this morning, taken away a lot of the stuff that was on the quayside and it looks as if she’s unloaded another pile of freight that is waiting to be collected.

eglise st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021On the way down the hill earlier I noticed that there was something going on by the Eglise St Paul.

While I was here I took a photo and back home in the apartment I could enlarge (I only have the NIKKOR 30-110mm LENS on the NIKON D3000) the photo to see what was happening.

It looks as if they are working on the rear of a building in the Rue Couraye and using a crane to swing stuff over from the road by the church. Strangely, I’d just been walking up and down the Rue Couraye and I hadn’t noticed a thing. I must be slipping..

repairing flags boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days I posted a photo of the flags on the car part at the Boulevard Vaufleury that had been shredded by the wind early in the week.

Today, they have turned up there in a cherry-picker and there are a couple of workmen there. Are they chanign light bulbs in the street lights there, aor are they actually dealing with the flags?

Whatever it is that they are doing, they have an interested spectator in Georges René Le Peley de Pléville who is watching from his plinth.

IN case you are wondering who he is, which I’m sure you are, he was born in 1726 in Granville and was variously a privateer, governor of Marseille and an Admiral of the French fleet, to name but three of his many positions.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021On the way back home I went via the beach to see what was going on there.

Plenty of beach for it to be going on on, and quite a few people down there too, all armed with rakes and all kinds of unusual tools to scratch away at the sand to pull out whatever is left there by the tide.

Back home I made myself a coffee and then, rather regrettably, I fell asleep for 20 minutes. It’s been a while since I’ve slept like that, especially since I’ve been lying in, but I suppose that the walk and the physiotherapy has taken it all out of me

Once I’d recovered I set about adding a few of the noctural voyages for the journal entries for August. I’ve actually made it as far back as 21st August and there’s still plenty to go at yet.

Those potatoes looked so nice that I had steamed veg, veggie balls with vegan cheese sauce for tea and it was totally delicious tonight.

Now that my notes are finished, I’m going to have a quiet relax for half an hour and then go to bed for an early night.

No shopping tomorrow, but I have a desktop mixer panel with which I need to have a play around and make work. It’s been sitting on my shelves for far too long and it’s about time that I brought it into use if I can.

Saturday 2nd October 2021 – YOU’RE PROBABLY WONDERING …

… why there aren’t any photos today. Well, read on.

Last night I didn’t finish my journal entry because I almost fell asleep on my chair and in any case it was almost bed time so I posted what I’d done and went to bed.

It was another depressing night, tossing and turning and not really going into a deep sleep at all, although there must have been some at some point because there was stuff on the dictaphone.

Once again, I awoke in a deep sweat – it seems to be happening almost every night now and why I note them is because it’s one of the things that they always ask me at hospital.

After the medication I came in here to organise a few things. With these new sleeping hours there isn’t time to do much before I have to go out to the shops.

Windy, grey and damp this morning but that’s enough about me. So was the weather.

At Noz they didn’t have a lot although there was some kind of book sale so I bought a couple more to add to my library.

LeClerc was an expensive shop because I bought more coffee. I always go for the instant coffee in the silver paper containers rather than glass jars to save on waste and (of course) they are lighter for me to carry upstairs – that’s the kind of state that I’m in these days.

They never seem to have any when I need some and last week I had to buy a different variety that I don’t like all that much. But this week they had my preferred brand so I added a packet to the weekly shop to keep in store.

As I mentioned earlier, the weather was windy, damp and overcast. When I went out of LeClerc it was teeming down with a torrential downpour of rain, the kind of downpour that we haven’t had for ages. From the end of the covered parking to where I park Caliburn is about 30 metres but I was soaked and so were the paper bags with my fruit and veg in them.

By the time I reached home it was pouring down even more, and that’s exactly how it stayed until at least it went dark. And if anyone thinks that I’m going out in that, they are mistaken.

Back here I put away the frozen food and then made a coffee. And while I was drinking it, I turned my attention to the dictaphone. I downloaded the files onto the computer but then I remembered that I had no hummus for lunch.

Luckily I had everything that I needed

At some point during the night Barbararling – and it’s probably been 10 years since she last featured in a nocturnal ramble so what’s made her reappear? – was there in her role as mother of another one of our regulars but I don’t remember much of that at all, which is a shame. Wouldn’t I have liked to have known how this would have ended?

Somewhat later I’d gone to look at the new building to where I was moving. I was in the laundry on the 1st floor and to get down onto the ground floor I somehow missed the stairs and slid down a kind of post thing and ended up in the foyer. The foyer was full of plants that were not in very good condition but were giving off tons of fruit. All the people there were discussing the plants and fruit and what needed to be done. I happened to say something and someone asked “are you moving in?”. I replied “yes, on the 12th”. I’d gone and had a quote for a kitchen and some kitchen fitters and I was checking out the apartment but I couldn’t get in, something like that. So these people started to talk and they knew the person who was moving and thought “thank God she’s going”. Everyone said that they had seen her packing and driving off with some stuff. They tried to find the advert for me in a magazine for the property that was on sale but we couldn’t find it. Then the German army turned up and started to interrogate everyone quite roughly.

Finally, I was in New Brunswick last night as well. There were some people whom I knew who had a laboratory and making dangerous drugs. They sent some off in a car to someone and they rang him up to tell them that they were on their way. Someone said something about the last time the shipment was intercepted by the police and this guy went totally berserk and completely wrecked the apartment building where he was living.

After lunch I sat down and carried on with the journal entry from yesterday, but only in a half-hearted way because I’ve been shuffling the music around.

There are 6 groups of artists, grouped at random, each with about 50 artists, and I alternate from one group to the next so that I’m not playing the same group all the time. But over the last year or so it seems to have settled down into a rut so I wanted to shake things up a little.

No walk of course but I made a coffee all the same and carried on with my work.

While I was looking through my messages I came across a video of the highlights of Y Barri v Y Drenewydd from this afternoon, a match in which Y Drenewydd won 0-3.

And I’ll ask the same question that I asked a few weeks ago – “whatever is Lifumpa Mwandwe doing playing in the Welsh pyramid?”. He’s a country mile above everyone else whom I’ve ever seen.

Tea tonight was baked potato, veg and a couple of those small breaded soya burgers that I bought ages ago and froze. That’s the last of those which is a shame because I liked them.

Now that I’ve finished my notes I really feel that I ought to stick my head out of the window to see if the weather has eased off and if so, go for a walk, but I’m not up to that.

Instead, I’m going to have a little relax before going to bed. Make the most of my evening and have a nice lie-in tomorrow. And then bake my fruit bread because I’ve run out.

Sunday 19th September 2021 – THIS WAS ONE …

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… of the nicest pizzas that I have ever made.

Surprisingly I can’t think what I did to it to make it any different from the usual. The diced peppers that were left over from several weeks went in the bin as being unfit for human consumption and as I had no fresh mushrooms I used tinned stuff, sticking them in the oven to dry them out.

That was about all that I did that was different but whatever it was, the results were all that counted. No complaints there.

Last night I didn’t go to bed until quite late because I couldn’t find the energy or the motivation to leave my chair. But once I did go to bed I went straight to sleep and stayed there until … errr … 07:30. 6 hours sleep on a Saturday night/Sunday morning is not very much but it shows just how much I slept during the day yesterday.

Even so, there was no danger of my leaving the bed at that time of morning. I went back to sleep and stayed there until 09:20. Even that was quite early for a Sunday but if you can’t sleep, you can’t sleep.

After the medication (when I forgot what medication that I’m supposed to be taking) I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone. I was looking at apartments last night, either to rent or to buy. During the furniture removal that we were doing we were stationary and someone backed into us. There were a whole kind of problems that didn’t involve me because I wasn’t the driver of our vehicle but we were talking about this to a few people and they were surprised that there was even a dispute about it. Anyway we were something going on and I went over to one of the other estate agents who was letting the apartment on behalf of Pozzo. They had the keys so I went to see it. It was strange, an open-plan apartment and had no walls. You looked over the balcony straight down into the hallway. I thought that this was the coldest apartment that there ever is going to be. It was nice but I couldn’t get over the idea of having no walls. In the end I came away. I was with a former friend. We wanted an Indian meal so we looked around. There was this really posh hotel-type place. Finding a place to park was the 1st thing. Then we had to walk to try to find a waiter. There were dozens of them, all done up in buttoned jackets looking like something out of a 18th Century novel. Just as we were about to ask, I awoke.

Later on I was with a group of people and we were at that hotel and left all out clothes there. We had the bill for 4 coffees and it came to something like £299:00. We wandered off into the streets of Glasgow. We had somehow become separated in some roadworks and I could see them disappearing away. I was trying to catch up but there was all kinds of obstructions and road works and people on bikes in my way and I couldn’t catch up. In the end I found myself on a demolition site with all old apartment blocks in the real back-end of Glasgow. I was having to scramble over scaffolding and everything. First of all I couldn’t remember the name of my hotel, and secondly I couldn’t even work out where I was. The map that I had wasn’t much help. I wasn’t even sure which side of the Clyde I was on. Eventually I came out and I was on top of a hill going through a small village. Down in the valley I could see a river and a railway line. I thought “if I can get down there I can probably work out where I am and maybe catch a train back. We were so high up that I couldn’t see how I was going to get down this slope to get into this valley where this river and railway line were.

Once I’d done that the next task was to pair up the music for the radio programme. That didn’t take me all that long and by the time that I was ready to stop for lunch it was all out of the way.

After lunch there were several tasks that needed my attention.

Firstly, the ice-box in the fridge had frozen up so I emptied the fridge and switched it off. A week or two ago Liz had given me some old towels and what with the lino that we laid a few weeks ago, I had everything that I needed and basically the job took care of itself.

When it had defrosted completely I washed and cleaned it, sorted out the food, washed and dried the shelves and then reassembled it. And there seems to be much more room in there than there used to be.

Earlier on, I’d transcribed the other dictaphone notes from when I was away and then turned my attention to FRIDAY’S JOURNAL ENTRY that I had missed.

hang gliders rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There were several breaks in my afternoon routine, including, as usual, the walk around the headland.

But I had hardly set foot out of the building before a squadron of Nazgul took off from the field next to the cemetery and started to head my way.

“Almost perfect timing” you might think, and having read Lord of the Rings as many times as I had when I was nought but a pup, it was somehow rather unnerving watching them head my way.

Probably the same feeling that Frodo and the others had as they were on their way to dispose of the Ring and the Nazgul appeared.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021So having managed to escape the wicked clutches of the Nazgul, first stop was at the wall at the end of the car park to check on the beach to see what was happening down there.

With it being a warm but cloudy day, I was expecting to see the crowds down there making the most of it but, surprisingly, it was quite empty. There can’t have been more than a dozen people down there, and there wasn’t anyone that I could see in the water.

With it being one of the last weekends of the summer, I should have thought that the madding crowds would have been down there this afternoon

joly france yachts baie de Granville ile de chausey Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021They may not have been down there on the beach, or even on the path around the headland, but in the gap between the Ile de Chausey and the mainland there were plenty of people.

Here are just some of the yachts that were out there this afternoon. There were probably three times as many as this all told.

In the middle of all the yachts there was something fairly large moving quite quickly towards the mainland. When I returned to the apartment later I enhanced the photo and blew it up, and I could see that it was one of the Joly France ferried coming back from the island.

Unfortunately it was too far out for me to tell which one it was.

f-gsbv Robin DR400 180 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was out there, I was overflown by a light aeroplane going by towards the airfield.

She’s F-GSBV, one of the Robin DR400-180 that is owned by the Aero Club de Granville.

She’s described in their literature as “a good aeroplane for travelling and is ideal for 4 passengers and their luggage to travel all around France and Europe”. And so today she took off from the airfield at 16:10, did a quick lap around just offshore and came back in to land at 16:24.

Not exactly the “all around France and Europe” as they advertised. Mind you, she did take off half an hour later and was airborne for almost 35 minutes.

cabin cruiser yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021With nothing going on whatever offshore at the end of the headland I carried on round to the path on the other side of the headland.

And out here in the Baie de Mont St Michel there were just as many pleasure boats as there were on the north side of the headland.

Here, we have a fine collection of yachts, a cabin cruiser and a small motor boat. And plenty more of them out of shot too.

There looked to br a rainstorm brewing up down at the foot of the bay near the Pointe de Carolles too, but luckily the wind was blowing from the north-west so it was pushing the rain farther to the south.

yacht chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Here is something that we haven’t seen for a couple of weeks.

There is this big yacht that’s been in the compound of the chantier naval for quite some considerable time and doesn’t seem to have moved at all.

It’s all been masked off and there has been some primer applied with a spray gun, but the work seems to have run aground because I can’t see that any progress has been made for several weeks.

The summer season is now almost over so I don’t suppose that they are in too much of a rush to complete the work.

catherine philippe l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021In the main area of the chantier naval, there has been quite a lot of activity while I was away in Belgium

The trawler Saint Andrews has gone back into the water leaving just the unknown black trawler, the trawler Catherine Philippe and L’Omerta, the shellfishing boat.

By the way things are looking, they aren’t going to be around there for long. The paintwork on all of them looks quite fresh and so they’ll be back in the water quite soon.

Although I do remember having said that sort of thing on several occasions in the past and been made to eat my words. I can see me doing the same with these three.

chausiaise belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Before I headed back for home I had a look out across to the ferry terminal.

Over there is the little freighter Chausiaise, tied up to the outside of the terminal. Behind her is the very new ferry Belle France. The other two Joly France are out at sea and we saw one of them just now.

Back in the apartment I finished off the cleaning of the fridge and filling it up, and then I kneaded out the pizza dough, rolled it out and put it in the pizza tray to proof for an hour or so.

When it was ready I assembled the pizza and baked it ready for tea.

Now that I’ve written out my notes I’m going to bed. I have the radio programme to prepare tomorrow and then go to the shops for some fruit and veg before lunch because there isn’t anything here to eat as far as fruit goes.

One or two other things too, so I’ll be going in Caliburn. I’m not really up to going on foot.

Friday 10th September 2021 – ON WEDNESDAY …

digging trench laying drains rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021 … we took a little trip to see the roadworks that were going on in the Rue du Boscq.

On the way back home from the physiotherapist I came back that way to see how they were doing and they seem to have made a great amount of progress in just 48 hours.

They’ve already started to dig the trench that looks as if it will be going the length of the street and they are laying the drainage pipes in there already. They certainly seem to be advancing a lot quicker than those workmen did in Leuven when they were doing a similar job that took 18 months and more.

lorry load of gravel on old railway line parc du val es fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021What had excited my curiosity was that a heavy lorry was going down the track bed of the old railway line towards the road works.

He had a trailer that was quite heavily loaded with gravel, and so that gave me some kind of indication that the work was progressing rapidly. They wouldn’t be bringing in the gravel to leave lying around for 12 months or so.

And it was interesting to see that the old track bed was being put to good use as well, even if it won’t ever be a railway line as well. A sign of the times, maybe?

notification of works rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Something else that has appeared since we were here on Wednesday is a noticeboard at the town end of the work setting out the plans.

So we are going to have a cycle path, some car parking, piles of trees (at last), a real footpath and 2 viewpoints, presumably up on top in the Avenue de la Gare where one may look down on the scene.

There don’t seem to be any plans for a lift though to take you up to the station instead of having to negotiate these awful steps.

It’s going to cost pretty much €2,000,000 and I hope that they have their money’s worth out of it.

having fun with signs parc du val es fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Talking of “these awful steps”, these are the ones that I mean.

Trying to walk up here with a suitcase in the pitch-black in the middle of winter is a nightmare. Since I tried it once like that, I’ve been going up the Rue Couraye instead.

There was a pile of builders’ material that had been dropped here and it looks as if someone has been having a great amount of fun playing around with the road signs. Still, it keeps them out of mischief.

By the looks of things, I didn’t get into much of a way of mischief during the night. There was nothing whatever recorded on the dictaphone. I didn’t sleep right through though – I had a miserable, uncomfortable night tossing and turning in bed for much of it. I was exhausted when the alarm went off.

home made bread fruit bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021After the medication there was the bread-making to be done.

There was no ordinary bread left, and only a very small amount of fruit bread so I decided to make both lots seeing as I had the oven on.

Having had one or two failures with my fruit bread just recently through having tried a new method, I decided on a kind-of hybrid method and that actually looks quite a nice loaf.

After I’ve tried some tomorrow, I’ll tell you what it’s like but I do know that the ordinary loaf is excellent.

Having made the dough I went to have a shower to make myself smell nice and it was just as well that I did because the nurse came earlier than expected.

He had all kinds of trouble trying to find a vein from which to take the blood, but not half as much trouble as some of those butchers in Montlucon did.

Once he had departed I could have my coffee and the last of the old fruit bread, and then make a start. First task was to deal with the dictaphone arrears and now every one of those has been transcribed. Another good job done.

The next task was to deal with an outstanding h=journal entry from THE END OF AUGUST. by the end of the day that was finished and as from tomorrow I can turn my attention back to the 2019 photos and the trip to the Ile de Chausey.

As for updating the journal with the details of the night’s travels for the three weeks or so that I let things lapse, I’ll just do a couple a day.

There were the usual breaks, one for lunch and another one to go to see the physiotherapist.

ferry to ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way out, I went via the old medieval walls.

And from the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord I could see way out to sea and there was something of a reasonable size heading out towards the Ile de Chausey.

Without any doubt at all, it was one of the ferries going that way so I photographed it in the hope that back here later I could see who it was.

It wasn’t easy, but I could see that she had no step in the stern and had a more angular that streamlined shape so I think that she may well be the elder of the two Joly France boats.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One of the features that seems to run through these pages is the sad state of the medieval walls.

The area round by the Place du Marché aux Chevaux was closed off about a year or so ago and when I was round this way a couple of months ago they had made a start on repairing them.

Just recently however, they seem to have made rapid progress and while the actual repointing hasn’t progessed that much on the outisde of the walls, we now have a huge scaffolding that is in the course of being erected just there.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021What caught my eye were the huge water tanks that are on the scaffolding there.

With 1,000 litres of water in each of them, each one will weigh a metric tonne. So judging by the way that the scaffolding is being erecting, it looks as if they are going to be erecting a “flying scaffolding” over the walls and the water tanks are being used as a counterweight.

This is going to become quite interesting and one of these days at low tide, I’ll go down onto the beach and have a good look from underneath at what they are doing.

female underwater swimmer rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was looking around at the scaffolding I was also having a look around on the beach as well.

Emerging from the water down there just like Ursula Andress in DR NO was another one of these underwater swimmers, complete with snorkel and flippers.

Whatever it is that they are doing, I still haven’t managed to find out. It can’t be anything special because where they are swimming is uncovered at low tide. It must be some kind of training exercise, that’s all that I can think of.

beach swimming pool diving platform promenade plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A view that we haven’t seen properly, with not having come this way for a while, is the view down to the Plat Gousset.

First thing that I noticed was that it it still seems to be the summer season as far as the local Council is concerned. The beach huts are still there and the diving platform is still on its pillar.

These are all removed into storage at the end of the season. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen the power in the storms that crash down there during the winter. The storms will make a considerable mess of those cabins if they were to remain there during the winter.

There are some steps at the end of the path that go down to the Place Marechal Foch. I went down that way and headed off through the town centre.

delivery van unloading rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Another thing that regular readers of thids rubbish will recall is that bad parking is another regular feature of these pages.

Delivery vans these days are everywhere these days and they park anywhere they like. But if you have a look at this photo very carefully, you’ll see that there’s an empty parking space just to his left,.

Rather than waste 10 seconds of his own by manoeuvring into it, he proceeds to waste about 5 minutes of the time of 20 other motorists stuck in the queue behind him.

This is the kind of thing that brings these delivery drivers into disrepute, and it’s hardly any surprise that people have such a low opinion of them.

At the physiotherapist’s, he put me through my paces on his tilting platform. He gave me a pile of new exercises to do, with the result that just about every joint in my body, except the right knee, which is why I’d gone there for treatment in the first place.

flowers dying avenue de la gare Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back, I went down the Avenue de la Gare to look at those flowers that we saw last week.

Whatever was happening to them has obviously happened very quickly because most of the flowers seem to have died in that very short space of time.

And there were no more than a handful of butterflies compared to the other day.

Down the steps I went to the Parc du val es Fleurs to check on the roadworks, and then went to the Carrefour for some fruit, seeing as I won’t be going shopping tomorrow.

empty quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021It’s amazing the difference that a couple of kilos of fruit make. It was quite a struggle to climb back up the Rue des Juifs

At the viewpoint overlooking the harbour I could see that the pile of freight that had been visible on the quayside yesterday afternoon has now disappeared.

Checking the comings and goings in he port on the radar later, I could see that Normandy Trader arrived in port at 09:10 and left again at 11:13. That is what I call a quick turn-round. I can’t keep up with all if this.

trawler aground in naabsa position port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Yet another subject that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that of fishing vessels which, instead of going into the inner harbour, are left outside in the outer tidal harbour to simply settle down in the silt.

The technical name for this is NAABSA, i.e. Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground, and it seems to be happening more and more frequently these days. We’ve seen this vessel a couple of times now moored up against the sea wall near the entrance to the harbour.

When I first came to live here we would only very seldomly see one, but these days it seems to be a couple of times a week. There must be something going on about the mooring in the inner harbour and I wish that I knew what it was.

trawler saint andrews catherine philippe l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There’s plenty going on over at the chantier naval today though.

By the looks of things, there has been a big clear-out of ships that were in there. Of the seven that we have seen over the lst couple of weeks, we now seem to be down to just four.

The ones that remain, by the looks of things, from left to right, are Saint Andrews, the unidentified one, Catherine Philippe and L’Omerta. Back into the water today have gone Yann Frederic, Peccavi and Massabielle.

The next question that needs to be asked is “who is going to come in to take their place?”. There’s a very high turnover of boats in there these days and those places won’t be remaining empty for long.

tank cleaner porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021from the viewpoint over the harbour I headed off for home.

We have another lorry parked up by the Porte St Jean that can’t fit under the arch. It’s not a question of a trans-shipment today. That’s a tank cleaner or drain unblocker.

Someone must have a problem with the drains and so there’s about half a mile of pipework running into the old town as the driver tries to blast it away. There’s no end of inconvenience that you encounter when you are living within the walls.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Before I went home, I went to have a good look down on the beach as usual.

The tide is well out but there weren’t too many people down there. It was rather cool and windy compared to how it has been and that might explain it.

There did seem to be a few people in the water too, although I don’t know why because it’s not really swimming weather. Anyway, I left them to it and came back here for my banana smoothie and a little rest.

As it happened, it was more than a little rest too. Probably about an hour’s deep sleep, in fact. And it’s no surprise because I’d worked hard at the physiotherapist’s and then i’d had the long walk home up the hill.

Tea was a burger on a bap with a baked potato and veg. No pudding still, but it doesn’t seem to be working because not only did I put that 100 grammes back on, I added another 100 grammes to it as well.

But right now i’m off to bed. I have visitors tomorrow morning and I want to be on form.

Tuesday 7th September 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… much better and much more productive day today – due almost entirely, I reckon, to the fact that I had a sleep for about 90 minutes or so on my chair this morning not long after I had risen from the dead

As you might expect, it was a struggle to leave the bed this morning when the alarm went off and when I came back in here after the medication, I didn’t do very much in the way of work before I was away with the fairies.

When I finally awoke and came back round into the Land of the Living, I made myself a coffee and then attacked the dictaphone.

Yesterday’s notes were transcribed and went on line, and then I turned my attention to today’s notes.

I’d been on the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR last night and it was our final day out. We’d all been off looking at something and I was wandering around. Suddenly I had this uncomfortable feeling that everyone else had gone. Not to worry, because these were the days when I could run so I set off at a run back to it. Matthew Swann and a few others were there. Yhey were being quite derogatory about it They asked what had happened and I told them that I had fallen asleep. They had a moan and everything like that. I was quite literally leaping over obstructions, scrambling down hills and so on. But it turned out that it was all like giant beds with blankets and sheets on and I was falling down the side of these giant beds and running up the other side of them, hanging on to the sheets and everything as I went over the top. Every now and again I would bump into someone who knew me. They all were wondering what I was doing, whether I was doing something for a bet or a personal achievement. I explained what had happened, and I was wondering what would happen when I would reach the other side of the island. Had all of the boats gone out to the ship and left me right behind? But I awoke in a night sweat, as I have been doing for the past couple of weeks.

Later on there was something about we were driving somewhere in Germany and retracing our steps back the way we had come. It all started to become confusing when we arrived in a big city. There were all these weird blue and white buses and trams driving around and I couldn’t quite follow the signposts for some reason. I wasn’t even sure where I was supposed to be going. After we had driven out of the city and going into the suburbs I suddenly looked over to my right and saw a couple of shops in the distance that were extremely familiar so I turned round and started to head off that way thinking that if I remember them it must have been from when we came in and therefore it’s that road over there that must be the right one out again.

While I was asleep just now I was driving around Montreal with one of my Canadian friends talking to her. She was asking me all kinds of questions about places in Montreal and its vicinity and I knew none of them. I came to the conclusion that I didn’t know Montreal anything like as well as I thought I did. We were discussing dating sites with someone else. he was wondering about their popularity. I said “well sex is the most important part in people’s lives and people just aren’t meeting up as they used to” which he agreed. I went out anyway, going to post a letter and get some food. In the meantime a bus did a U-turn in the road in front of me and clipped a car that was in front. Another vehicle clipped another car somewhere else. I was driving around finding myself in an area that I didn’t really know at all and wasn’t really sure how I was going to find out anything.

Grabbing another mug of coffee, I went for my Welsh lesson and ended up being rather late because the portable computer chose that inconvenient moment to perform an upgrade.

The Welsh lesson passed really well and then after lunch, because I was feeling very lively, I caught up with an outstanding task. A while ago someone gave me a laptop to fit an Solid State Drive in it,seeing as I have a certain little computer program that means that I can do it without going through any complicated back-up procedure.

It took me quite a while because it’s an old steam-driven computer, dating to at least the year 2000 running an underlying DOS operating system so I had to dig deep into my memory from 20-odd years ago.

It works fine now except that I can’t extract the data files from the old drive because this computer doesn’t have a USB 3.0 port so tomorrow, if I’m feeling up to it, I have a cunning plan that I can use to make things work.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021This took me right up to the time that I go out for my walk around the headland this afternoon.

Across the car park I went to look out over the wall down onto the beach to seed the crowds of people down there this afternoon. And crowds there were as well today.

Although there are a couple of people wearing swimwear, walking away from the water, there weren’t any people in the water here this afternoon. And this was surprising because this was one of the nicest days that we have had so far this year

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further out along the coast down at the Plat Gousset, there were even more people on the beach.

Quite a few people in the water too, making the most of the opportunity presented to them by the availability of the water in the medieval fish trap.

Way further out on the beach at Donville les Bains, there are dozens of people taking advantage of the sunny afternoon. Of course, you might well expect this now that the children have gone back to school and the holidaymakers have all now gone home.

There was nothing whatever going on out at sea in the Baie de Granville – no kayakers, no frogpersons and not even any fishermen so I had a very lonely trudge around the headland in the heat.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I walked around the corner by the old bunker I could see that out in the Baie de Mont St Michel on the other side of the headland that Le Loup, the marker light on top of the rock at the entrance to harbour, was looking splendid today.

The dark line underneath the lower of the two red lines is where the tide reaches and so it gives you a good idea of how high the tide can be.

Out in the background on the beach at Kairon-Plage in between St Pair sur Mer and Jullouville, there seem to be hordes of people this afternoon. More than I would expect so I wonder what is happening there today.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned that there were no fishermen out in the Baie de Granville.

On this side of the headland however there were plenty of people down on the rocks having something of a scavenge about.

With the tide being so far out this afternoon the public part of the foreshore down there is now uncovered so they can have a good forage for the shellfish and other seafood in rockpools that have been left behind as the water recedes.

Judging by the size of the containers that they have, they must be having a good and successful time.

trawler baie be mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Over the past few months we’ve seen the local fishing boats working out in areas that have previous been unexploited.

Today, right down at the end of the Baie de Mont St Michel close to the Brittany coast, we have a trawler down there this afternoon having a go to see what it can pull up out of the water.

At this kind of distance I can’t see who she is, and I’m not even sure that she comes from here.

So with nothing else happening, I pushed off along the path on top of the headland towards the port.

l'omerta fishing boat massabielle trawler chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And down at the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval I could see that we have had plenty of excitement down there today.

The little trawler Briscard that was nearest the camera and Pierre de Jade, the trawler next to her, seem to have gone back into the water this afternoon.

It didn’t take long for their places to be filled either. L’Omerta, the little shellfish boat that we’ve seen so often sitting on the silt by the Fish Processing Plant, and Massabielle, a trawler whom we haven’t seen before, have taken their places.

It’s all go in the chantier naval these days.

Back here I had my banana smoothie and then had another play with that computer, which took me up to teatime. Taco rolls with the rest of yesterday’s stuffing.

Tomorrow I’m at the physiotherapist’s so I need to have a good relax and gather my strength during the morning. But not 90 minutes-worth.

And while I was typing up my notes, with my other hand I fixed the computer issues that I mentioned just now

Sunday 5th September 2021 – WHAT I SAW …

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… down on the beach this afternoon.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s my habit to go over to the wall at the end of the car park outside my door and look down to see the activity on the beach.

But today, you’ll need a darn sight more than a good telephoto lens to penetrate this sea-fog that is rolling in with the wind from off the bay and over the headland where I’m standing. There were definitely people down there because I could hear them, but there was no chance whatever of seeing them.

sea fog baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Round the other side of the headland, it’s easy to see whereabouts in the bay is in the wind-shadow of the headland.

The two harbours and the coast down as far as St Pair sur Mer are fairly clear but further on down the coast where there is no wind-shadow the coast is overwhelmed by the sea-fog.

But that’s enough of that for the moment. Let’s go back to the start of the day.

And Bane of Britain strikes again, by somehow having managed to arrange for the alarm to go off at 06:00 this morning. One very unhappy bunny here.

It was about 09:30 when I finally staggered from my stinking pit. After the medication this morning and checking my mails and messages I made a start on the notes for yesterday that I hadn’t done last night.

Strangely enough, it didn’t take me too long to do it and by the time that I stopped for lunch, they had long-been finished.

This afternoon I made a start on pairing up the tracks for the next radio programme – the one that I’ll be preparing on Monday.

That took much longer than it ought to have done because I’ve made a conscious decision that many of the songs that I’ve been choosing are no longer appropriate for the style of programme that I want to develop. Well – they are, but not in the amount that I’ve been using them just recently.

Later on I made another pile of dough for the pizzas for the next three weeks. This one seemed to work really well and I wish that the fruit bread had turned out like that the other day.

By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon grope around the headland.

lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021This is a view that we have seen on many occasions.

It’s the path that leads along the top of the headland towards the lighthouse, the coastguard station and the semaphore post. But unfortunately today, you can’t see any one of those things with the fog.

Nevertheless, the fog didn’t deter people from being out and about. There were far more people out there this afternoon than you would realise, and you didn’t notice them until you fell over them.

cabanon vauban people pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Not just on the path towards the lighthoue either.

My walk took me across the lawn and across the car park down to the end of the headland where there is a good view across the bay. But not today, unfortunately.

We couldn’t see a thing out to sea this afternoon, but there were some people who had made their way down the steps to the little bench in front of the Cabanon Vauban, the old Customs sentry-box. I’m not sure what it was at which they were looking, but I couldn’t see anything special.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021They weren’t the only people wandering around off the beaten track in the fog this afternoon.

It will take more than a sea-fog to stop the fishermen going out to practise their art, and sure enough, there is one of them down there.

It’s very difficult to see what he’s actually doing. He has his rod in his hand but I can’t tell whether he is packing up or setting out.

And so I left him to it and headed off along the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was going on down there.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Down at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, I could see that there was no change in occupancy in the chantier naval. Still the same seven boats that have been there for a couple of weeks.

Over on the other side of the harbour, there was one of the Joly France ferry boats moored up at the ferry terminal. Judging by its small superstructure and rectangluar windows in “portrait” format, it’s the newer one of the two near-identical ones.

As for where her older sister and the brand-new Belle France might be, I really can’t say. But I bet that they won’t be doing any sightseeing trips around the bay or a lap around the Ile de Chausey. And Chausiaise, the little freighter, is in the inner harbour.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From the viewpoint further along the path, I could see into the inner harbour where I noticed that Marité wasn’t there.

She must be out at sea with passengers, and I bet that they can’t be enjoying themselves too much in this weather, with not being able to see what is going on anywhere.

There was also an aeroplane flying around overhead, but of course I couldn’t see it in this weather.

Instead, I went back home and had a banana smoothie. Despite the fog, it was hot, clammy and oppressive out there this afternoon.

Having drunk my smoothie I sat down to check the dictaphone notes but ended up dozing off for about 20 minutes. That still left time for me to find out where I’d been last night.

The first thing that I noticed was that I remarked that I had had an attack of cramp – first time for about ever. I’d forgotten all about this.

But in the meantime, a former friend of mine was speaking to me and telling me what a surprising person I am with all this news that I have that I have never told anyone. he said that he had only found out by accident so I asked him what he was on about. He said that we’d have to go out and celebrate it, all this kind of thing, and I hadn’t really any idea. It turned out that he’d heard someone say “we’d still be up to 15 people if we replace Eric quickly or get a replacement for Eric quickly enough”. “Ohh that!” I said. “I’ve just had an internal transfer in the office and going somewhere else”.

There was somewhere else about a house in Wistaston in Crewe that I was trying to sell but no-one had been to see it for a while. People had asked me why I hadn’t reduced it to sell. I replied that I’ve had it almost 20 years and very very shortly the mortgage will be paid. It’s not in my interest to sell it once the mortgage is paid because it will be increasing in value.

What was that dream about a banana that suddenly awoke me and drained everything away from me immediately? And don’t ask me what that was all about because I don’t have a clue. It’s what I must have dictated but I can’t think why.

Later on during the night I was out with Nerina. There were 4 of us, me, her, another guy and another girl, something to do with me being at the hospital. Nerina had her Wolseley 1300 and the door on it didn’t fit quite properly. While we were walking towards it there was another group of people walking towards us. One of them was joking about how easy it was to steal these cars. he took out a key from his pocket, opened the door, got in and sat at the steering wheel. The guy and I dived in, dragged him out, bent him over the car and had his arms in an arm lock. We marched him into the hospital where someone called the police. The idea was basically to frighten the wits out of him. But this went on and on and in the end I was called forward for my surgery. The boy that had come out before me now had the most beautiful white teeth so I wondered if that was what they were going to do to me. I had to go to wait by this cubby hole where the guy searched through some papers. There were people coming and going and the surgeon was rooting through these papers as well looking for the names. Someone else out of the room where we were had come out and gone past me in a wheelchair and gone into a theatre. I thought that I was going to be here all night with this. I’d told one of the others who was with us that they were in charge about the affair with this boy. I wondered how long it was going to be before they become fed up?.

There was also time to deal with a couple more of the arrears too. I’m hoping that they will be finished quite soon too so that I can update the relevant journal entries.

When that was done I divided up the pizza dough into three, rolled two in oil, wrapped them in greaseproof paper, put them in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The other, I rolled out and put in the pizza tray and left it to proof for a while. And once it was ready I assmebled it and baked it.

Here’s the finished product. It was nice and crispy for a change, one of the best that I’ve made for ages. Quite delicious too.

Now the washing-up is done and the kitchen has been tidied up and it’s all looking quite nice. i’ve finished my journal entry early too so I have a couple of things to do and then i’m off to bed. I have a radio programme to prepare in the morning so I need to be on good form because I don’t want to waste too much time.

Wednesday 25th August 2021 – I WENT TO …

… see the rapist this afternoon.

rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing that I have to say about it all is that there’s traffic flowing again down the Rue Cambernon again.

It looks as if the braderie was only a one-day thing because everything seems to have been cleared away, all of the streets are now open and the cars are driving along them.

It’s a shame really because for that one day it was quite interesting and quite quiet too. It reminded me of the “car-free Sunday” that we had once a year when I lived in Brussels. All of the public transport was free, all of the parks and museums were open and you could wander everywhere without any interruption at all.

And, at the end of the day, the normal haze that hung over the city had gone and the sky was really clear.

Just for one day.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, one of the things that really gets my goat around here is the pathetic parking.

bad parking rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou’ve seen so much of it that I’ve been trying to avoid showing it, in order not to bore you to death, but sometimes there is something so extreme that I have to feature it. Something like this, for example.

The white car, with a registration number from out of the département so clearly a tourist, has stopped – with a couple of wheels on a zebra crossing, and let his wife out to go and buy a baguette from the bakery here.

And then he sits and waits for her.

This is a bus route for the large service buses that ply up and down the coast, and he’s blocking the road so that this bus can’t go past.

And does he move? Of course he doesn’t. He’s a tourist. The town belongs to him. Who cares about the locals?

But anyway, let’s start at the very beginning.

Despite having a good deal less than 5 hours sleep last night, I was up and about at 06:00 and went to take my medicine.

Back in here again I checked my messages – well, I didn’t – just about half of them. I didn’t actually go to sleep – I was wide awake – but in something like a zombie-like trance for a couple of hours, unable to function at all.

When I finally gathered my wits – which takes far longer these days than it ought, seeing how few wits I have left these days, I made myself a coffee and cut a slice of my gorgeous fruit bread – which really is gorgeous by the way – and then came back in here to finish off checking my messages.

Next task was to prepare a music playlist for the week. It’s the turn of the music in the “BB” folder to be selected and it will be any 11 tracks from about 15 of the 50 artists and groups in the folder.

The playlist will now be running continuously until Sunday night (as long as the computer is switched on) and I’ll be listening to all of the relevant albums, choosing tracks that might be interesting, noting down their running times and the albums from which they come, and whether they are good or faulty.

And whether they are needing editing too. Chopping exciting bits out of “Tubular Bells” or “Thick as a Brick” – stuff like that. Much as I like the complete albums, my listeners would fall asleep if I played all of them non-stop.

There was the dictaphone to check of course and eventually I managed to get around to it. Last night I was living on some kind of island. There was a huge explosion that had destroyed part of the buildings. Everyone had to evacuate this island and move onto another one that was already occupied. Everyone immediately thought that it was me who had blown up this island or whatever it was, so no-one was really my friend and gave me all cold stares when I’d tried to talk to them about anything.

And doesn’t that remind me of an event about two years ago?

Later on, I’d been on a bike and apparently I’d started off walking. It was medieval times. I was loaded up and on my way somewhere or other. The priest of this area was standing there looking over the harbour and everything. As I walked past he made the sign of the cross to me so I made the sign of the cross to him. He said “good evening” and I thought “it’s morning, isn’t it?”. I carried on walking and then I was on a bike cycling down a hill near Lyon. A group of 5 people walked off the pavement straight in front of me. I gave them a tinkle of the bell. They moved slowly out of the way so I swore at them and cursed them in French. They were making all kinds of gestures and insults but I carried on. In the end someone invited me to appear on television. I thought “if they had heard that lot just now they wouldn’t have allowed me on at all.

After that, I know that I did something else, but don’t ask me what it was because I can’t remember.

After lunch I went and had a shower and a general clean and tidy up, and then went off on my travels to see the rapist.

transhipment porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I didn’t go very far before I came to a stop.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, because I’ve said it before … “and on many previous occasions too” – ed … living intra muros in the old walled city does have its drawbacks Like the height of the gateway into the old walled city.

If you are having anything big delivered, you need to have some kind of trans-shipment system in place because the chances are that the delivery lorry might not be able to fit through the arch. We’ve seen all kinds of Heath-Robinson arrangements since I’ve been living here.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, a little farther on along the road I come out to one of the viewpoints on the outer walls – the one that overlooks the fish processing plant.

The first thing that I noticed was that all of the “charter hire” yachts like Aztec Lady, Spirit of Conrad and so on are conspicuous by their absence.

Not that it is a real surprise because I heard on the grapevine that the Channel Islands are relaxing their strict anti-Covid controls on visitors from France, and so everyone who is anyone has headed off in a northward direction.

And had I not had my series of appointments starting this week, I would have been tempted to have joined them as well.

Les Epiettes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallEvery now and again we’ve been seeing a small red, white and blue boat running around in the bay or just outside the harbour.

It might be this one here. I know that we encountered one, called Les Epiettes once when we were on Spirit of Conrad out at the Ile de Chausey, but unfortunately we can’t see her name from here.

When I was back in the apartment later I checked the port call register and there was no trace of a boat that resembled her so she probably has her AIS switched off.

But I did discover something else and I’ll talk about that tomorrow.

charlevy port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd I’m sure that we all recognise this trawler. It’s been the subject of quite a few photos just recently.

Unless I’m very much mistaken, she’s our old friend Charlevy, anchored at the loading bay with one of the cranes working on her.

What I suspect is that while she’s been in the chantier naval she’s had all of her nets taken out and presumably overhauled and repaired on the quayside as we’ve seen them do before.

Today, it looks as if the crane is reassembling all of her fishing gear, ready for her to go back out to sea.

From there I pushed on through the streets and up the hill to the therapist. And the climb up there was a little better than on Monday.

He had me walking up and down a step, doing some stretching exercises and then standing on some kind of tilting, vibrating plate that reminded me on being on the deck of THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR in a hurricane.

There was a kind of ski-walking machine there but that wasn’t a success. Not because I couldn’t work it but I didn’t have the breath to keep it going.

After half an hour he threw me out and I walked home, feeling actually a little more sprightly in my right leg than I have done for a while. I wonder what it will be like at the end of the sessions.

Passing the shenanigans outside the bakers I carried on towards home and my ice-cold strawberry smoothie. And the climb up the hill in the Rue des Juifs went rather better than the other day.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out, I thought that I’d go and see how things were down on the beach. It’s much more like my usual time of afternoon.

Plenty of beach to be on or course because the tide is well on its way out now. You could see quite a difference to how it was 90 minutes ago when i set off for my appointment.

But the holiday season is definitely coming to an end. Three days now on the run I’ve made the point that there have been fewer and fewer people down on the beach , and once again I couldn’t see anyone in the water either. It’s a sad end to a rather depressing summer season here.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was at it, I was having a good look out to sea.

The NIKON D3000 was my main camera between the demise of the Nikon D5000 and the purchase of the NIKON D500 and while I was happy with it at the time, I’ve had to do a lot of post-work to pull out a photo of the Ile de Chausey from the haze out at sea.

None of the Joly France ferries in sight – they must all be sheltering in the gap between the two islands. Just the odd yacht or two out there this afternoon. Nothing much to be excite myself today. I did see a brown smudge on the horizon which at first I thought was Marité but it turned out to be a mark on the computer screen.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallGoing back to the apartment, there was a view of the beach down at the Plat Gousset – a view that I don’t usually see because I’m going the other way.

Quite a few people going for a paddle around in the water retained by the medieval fish trap, and a few folk on the beach down there too. But seeing as that area is the most popular part of the beach, I was expecting it to be much busier than that.

A few people down on the beach at Donville les Bains though. I can just about make them out in the distance.

So back into the apartment I came and had my strawberry smoothie – and the next thing that I remembered was thatt it was 18:30. I’d been stark out for 90 minutes. The walk out and back had taken it all out of me.

There were carrots that needed peeling and blanching ready for freezing and then it was time for tea. I had the rest of the mushrooms which were going to start to do something rather peculiar if I didn’t do anything with them so I threw in a small tin of lentils and a few other bits and pieces and made a quick curry.

big wheel at night place albert godal Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack in here I came to write up my notes but while I was checking the radar to see whether it really was Les Epiettes coming into the port, I noticed a rather large boat coming into the port, larger than any that have been in here recently.

Immediately I grabbed the camera and dashed outside to see what it might be, falling over a concrete bollard in the street in the darkness.

Firstly though, the big wheel was working, even though it was quite late. People must be staying up until all hours, being still in the holiday mood even if they don’t want to go down to the beach during the daytime.

big wheel at night place albert godal Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the attractions of the big wheel, especially for the spectator, is that it changes colour as it goes round.

As I watched, it went through all of the colours of the rainbow and made quite an exciting spectacle.

But only for a few more days. It usually closes down round about the end of August so maybe next week will be the last that we shall see of it.

And the tourists too. While I’m always pleased to see them leave, I do feel sorry for them for the miserable summer that they have had.

medical emergency at galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou probably noticed in the two photos of the big wheel a set of lights coming down the hill in the Rue Couraye. What you won’t have heard of course is the sound of the sirens that came with the lights.

There’s something rather large and top-heavy down there and it’s certainly not a gravel boat as I was originally thinking.

And why it’s put into the harbour is presumably due to some kind of medical emergency that needs to be dealt with

medical emergency at galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut in the meantime I can tell you something about her, because she has her AIS beacon switched on.

Believe it or not, she’s a Spanish galleon. Not a original one, I haste to add, and wouldn’t that be something if it were, but a faithful replica of a Spanish galleon of the 17th Century and at an overall length of almost 48 metres, she’s the largest ship of any description to come in here for quite a while.

How long she’ll be staying is something else, so I’ll be out there first thing in the morning to see her in daylight, because the harbour gates open early.

trawler leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’m out, I’m not going to bed quite yet. I may as well make the most of things

With the harbour gates being open, one of the trawlers here is taking the opportunity to slip out to sea. She doesn’t have her AIS beacon switched on so I can’t tell you who she is. It’s just a purple lozenge on my radar screen with no name attached.

Anyway, that’s enough excitement for this evening. I’m going back to the apartment to carry on with my journal entry for today before I forget any more.

Now, much later than intended, I’m off to bed. A whole day at home with no interruptions. I bet that I’ll fall asleep and miss most of it.

Monday 16th August 2021 – WE HAD TO WAIT …

yellow autogyro ponte du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… for a good few days longer than I expected but nevertheless we got there in the end.

Sure enough, while I was out walking around the headland this afternoon, out of the clouds in the distance with its old familiar rattling came the old yellow autogyro from the direction of Avranches and the Pointe de Carolles.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I had anticipated her arrival a few days ago and as if to make up for her rather late arrival, she did a couple of laps around my head before disappearing off into the sunset and that was that.

grandstand port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that we have been eagerly anticipating for the last few days is to find out whatever is going to be happening down at the loading bay on the quayside.

The information still hasn’t filtered through but all of the equipment, including the grandstand is still down there.

As well as that, where that kind of rectangle was that we saw yesterday, we now have a couple of tents that have sprung up like little mushrooms. And we have even grown a couple of potted palms over the course of the day, as well a couple of bizarre objects, red and yellow.

tents quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it isn’t just there that things are happening.

All along the quayside down there and out into the car park at the side, there are yet more tents, marquees and other different things, and a few noticeboards indicating whatever might be going on.

As I’m off to Leuven tomorrow, I’ll probably miss whatever it is, but I shall go that way towards the railway station for a closer look and see what I can discover.

The plot sickens.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Let us return to our moutons as they say around here, and start at the very beginning.

Once more, going to bed early doesn’t seem to make all that much difference because I still had a very tormented sleep and it didn’t seem to make all that much difference as to how tired I am.

After the medication I checked my mails and then made a start on the radio programme. And by 11:20 I was finished as well, despite having stopped for breakfast – a slice of fruit bread (I’ve given up the hot chocolate as it’s starting to show).

And had I not had to redo some of it and choose another track in the middle to replace one that didn’t work as I would have liked, I could have been finished a long time before that too.

Having dealt with that, I listened to the programme to make sure that it was correct, and while I was doing that I booked the rail ticket for tomorrow from Brussels to Leuven and back again. By the time that it was all finished it was almost time for lunch.

After lunch I had the tidying up to do because the nurse is coming round to give me my injection and the place needs to look as if someone actually lives here.

The rest of the afternoon was spent transcribing the dictaphone notes, and there were tons and tons of them too, and it took me ages.

The stuff for Sunday took ages and ages, but it was all done and it went on-line to update yesterday’s journal entry.

There had been a couple of interruptions while I’d been doing it. Firstly the nurse came round and injected me. I hope that it will propel me up the hill tomorrow to the railway station.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSecondly, there was the afternoon walk around the headland, which of course always starts with a look down to the beach to see what is happening.

Off across the car park I went and over to the wall at the end of the car park where I could look over the wall. Not many people down there this afternoon but then again there wasn’t all that much beach to be on.

Nobody was quite brave enough to take to the water to any great degree this afternoon which wasn’t a surprise because there was a biting wind this afternoon that was quite really quite cold

Here I met one of my neighbours and we had a good chat, interrupted by a frantic chase back across the car park to rescue my cap that had Gone With The Wind

f-gbai ROBIN DR 400-140B pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallwhile we were chatting we were overflown a couple of times by various aircraft, but I only managed to detach myself long enough to catch one of them.

She’s our old favourite F-GBAI, one of the Robin DR 400-140B aircraft that belong to the Granville Aero Club. We’ve seen more of her just recently than we have of all of the other aircraft in total.

She took off from the airfield at 14:12 and flew several laps up and down the coast and even inland for some distance before coming back to land at 16:33. My photo was timed at (adjusted) 16:15 so she still had some time to remain in the air before landing.

sparrowhawk bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallF-GBAI wasn’t the only flying object that we were able to photograph this afternoon.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there are some birds of prey that loiter around the edge of the cliffs looking for animals, baby rabbits and anything else that might do for an appetising lunch.

We started off with one but it seems to be a happy hunting ground down there because there are now three or four of them.

Incidentally, I am informed that they are sparrowhawks. Not that I would know, of course. While I am a very keen birdwatcher, it’s not this kind of bird that usually attracts my attention.

fishermen in zodiac pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was plenty of activity going on out of the wind in the Baie de Mont St Michel so I wandered off in that direction.

There was a zodiac with fishermen aboard coming around the headland and I knew what was likely to happen once they came out of the lee of the headland so I waited.

Sure enough, the wind and the waves that hit them gave them a very nasty moment.

It reminds me of the story of the zodiacs aboard THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR. They all carry names, but prior to that they had numbers.
One day, the captain was bellowing down the loud-hailer “Zodiac number 61 – come back to the ship”.
No response, so he called again. Still no response, so he called a third time.
Suddenly realising that there were only 20 zodiacs aboard, he changed his tune and shouted “zodiac number 19 – do you have a problem?”

cabin cruiser yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut as I said earlier, there was plenty of activity going on in the bay out of the wind.

The first things that caught my eye were the yachts of one of the sailing school. There were a couple of schools out there this afternoon, taking advantage of the tide and the shelter that was afforded by the headland.

As well as that, there were all kinds of other boats out there – a cabin cruiser goign along at quite a rate and a small motor boat that might be something to do with the yachts of the sailing school – maybe the instrructor with a loud-hailer.

trawler charlevy trafalgar chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlong the path on the southern side of the headland, I took myself down to the viewpoint overlooking the port and in particular the chantier naval.

And we’ve had another change of occupant down there this afternoon. We’re now back up to our seven boats again and I really ought one of these days go down and enquire about their names. But that won’t be this week as I’m off to Leuven tomorrow as I mentioned earlier.

But I can’t keep up with the speed at which they are coming and going these days. They are wearing me out and I don’t have the energy to keep on nipping down there to check before they clear off back into the water and another lot take their place.

tents car park port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBefore I go back to the apartment and carry on with the dictaphone notes, we can see the final shot that I took of what’s going on down at the end of the port.

As you can see, the tents and whatever it is that they have erected have continued out into the car park, the area where the fishermen keep their shellfish drags and where the fresh shellfish are sold. It’s clearly going to be something quite important to take up all of that space.

With all of the lorries being there, it looks as if they are only just setting up their equipment. That means that they probably won’t be doing whatever they will be doing until the weekend.

Eventually, I finished off the notes from yesterday and then pounced upon the pile that related to last night. And if anything, there were even more of them.

Last night I started off on a ship, the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR or something last night in the Antarctic. We were involved with icebergs and so on and there was a very famous poem that had been written about ships and icebergs and somehow I was trying to make the poem match up with those on board the ship but I awoke before I’d gone very far with this.

And later we were discussing the ferries and in particular the ones out to the Ile de Chausey and the trips that they do around the bay and the Ile de Chausey but I can’t remember now how the story went

Later still I was around at the farm of a friend of mine from school and was talking to one of the young girls who worked there – it might even have been Percy Penguin. I’d just been into the farmhouse to use the bathroom and as I was leaving someone came to the door. Whoever I was with asked if I knew who it was and I said “no”. She replied “what a shame. You could have found out and they could have babysat while we went out”. After a couple of minutes I thought that i’d go back and find out and pretend that I needed the bathroom again. Just as I arrived these people were disappearing down the drive. One of them just looked from the rear like the sister of my friend except maybe a little younger. In the house I talked to their mother and she showed me her new Avon purchase which was something for putting tea into for dropping into a cup like a reusable tea bag. We had quite a talk about that. When I returned I explained things to the girl I was with. She asked “didn’t you ask if she would babysit for us anyway?”

But here’s a thing. After making those notes I stepped right back into where I had left off before dictating the previous notes, back on the farm. My friend and his little sister, on whom actually I had quite a crush back 50-odd years ago, were there. They were laughing and joking and she was sitting on him and generally being a pest. He said “why don’t you go and sit somewhere else?”. So me, ever the opportunist, said “come and sit on me instead” and much to my surprise she did. I thought “God, I’m popular”. We sat there, the three of us, talking and I had my arm round her at one point. Then she had to go and clear off and fetch the dinner as there was a big party taking place. She was serving everyone around and still coming over to talk and chat to me occasionally here and there. I couldn’t believe my luck. I thought “how on earth is this going to end?” but it ended up by me sitting bolt upright wide awake with probably the greatest feeling of disappointment I have ever had in my life and I would have given all that I had to have gone back into that dream again at that point and see how it finished. It was just as if 50 years had suddenly vanished from my life.

That was probably the most powerful, realistic and optimistic dream that I have ever had since the famous WORLESTON INCIDENT all those years ago and the fact that I cans till remember that particular voyage so well after all these years shows you just how much of an impression that made on me. And this one will probably be the same. It’s another one of these that has left quite a disturbing effect.

Having dealt with all of that I went and made tea. A fry-up of everything that was left in the kitchen that wouldn’t keep until I return.

And now I’m off to bed. It’s not early but still earlier than it has been here and there. There’s a lot to do in the morning before I head off for the train.

Sunday 15th August 2021 – THE OTHER DAY …

belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… when discussing all of the boats that were out there on the water, I believe that I mentioned how I would love to be out there when the harbour gates are near closing, in order to witness the stampede as the boats all headed back for port.

And sure enough, this afternoon I had my wish, and a lot sooner than I was expecting as well. The tide is advancing quite rapidly and even though this is my usual time to be out, you can see the mad dash for home already.

Belle France is well up there in second place to that cabin cruiser in front, but on the outside there’s a speedboat coming incredibly quickly, making quite a wave as he does so.

boats heading for harbour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound on the pther side of the headland, things are much more advanced.

There are at least five and maybe even more small boats in the photo just here, all dashing for the port de plaisance while they still are able to do so.

Nobody would want to be stranded out in the bay during the night, especially if they have work to go to in the morning.

Not too many people out on the sea wall watching them though. I would have expected this to have been one of the best free entertainments going.

Last night I did without any kind of entertainment – free or otherwise – after the football. At the final whistle I staggered off to bed and that was that.

At 06:19 I was awake but if anyone thinks that I’ll be leaving my bed at that time of day on a Sunday they are mistaken. Even 09:10 is a bit optimistic. 10:40 is much more like it.

Ordinarily I would have said that that was a good sleep but there is tons of stuff on the dictaphone so I must have been quite disturbed (as if I’m not disturbed enough as it it).

I started off at the home of a couple of friends last night, doing a load of moving for them or something like that. I’d gone to her office room to talk to her but she was busy on the phone so I went into his office room kind of thing and he wasn’t there. I thought that I would wait for him to come back and I started listening to music and I thought “He has loads of LPs so I’m sure that he has loads of live cast-offs that would do for a live concert”. There was a box of strawberries and cream by the side of his computer and I was busy eating my way through those and scrolling through his Facebook screen. Suddenly I saw a message that he had sent me about Welsh Premier League football and I could see my reply under there. I thought that I’d better not be confused in this subject comes up again because I’ll be replying as someone else instead of me and reading my own replies. When they did come down they looked so young and it was very hard for me to believe that it was them. I couldn’t believe it. They were talking about everything, about how we don’t need to go out for a meal tonight but we can go for breakfast tomorrow somewhere. I said that my partner (and I couldn’t think of her name) was having to teach this afternoon but I’d been watching “Alfie” and this started off with some guys going to rob the home of a policewoman or something but the robbery had all gone wrong and several policemen in there and there had ended up being a gunfight and all these guys had gone to prison and been sent down for an enormous length of time. The Michael Caine character had to flee the country with his girlfriend and she was telling him all this bad news about everything else that was connected with this but still going wrong. He was pretty powerless where he was to actually do anything about it

This flat (and I wish that I knew which flat is was that I was discussing) is ideal for the kind of thing for a weekend retreat where you can come away from Paris on Friday and be here Friday night, and not have to go back until Sunday night and spend every weekend down by the sea.

A little later I was on my way to a football match and I arrived in Chester and was running late so I had to take a taxi. I went to the local rank but there were only little electric telephone box-type cars so I said to a guy standing near it “is that yours?”. Another guy immediately leapt out of a vehicle and asked “taxi?”. I replied “yes but just give me a minute to make a phone call. Is there a phone handy?”. I had a discount card that I needed to ring up to book. he showed me over to a phone but said “there’s still 12 minutes left on the meter. Where do you want to go? I said “Deva Road” so he replied “come on. We’ll get there before this runs out”. He ushered me into a red Rover V8 and drove me there. We had a bit of a laugh in the snow about how uneconomical his car was, everything. He said that it wasn’t that bad. As I got up the steps to the football ground, I did a bit of shopping and started to walk back. I didn’t go to the game at all if there had been one.

A group of travellers turned up in Palestine, amongst them a three year old boy that was donated by some parent in some emergency but when they got to Palestine they didn’t have a clue as to what they were going to do so they built some kind of meeting centre or something like that to show at least that they weren’t going to waste any time.

Somewhere as well there was a story of two 9-year-old girls who used to go around all these rock festivals and blues festivals filming the events. Their mother would form them into some kind or promotional video. I was there somewhere with a girl and I introduced her to people like John Hite and someone who wrote a lot of songs, Creedence Clearwater Revival (do I mean Bob Hite of Canned Heat?). I said “there you are, you have to meet John Hite and a few others and that’s something to tell your friends, isn’t it?”. She replied “most of my friends wouldn’t even know who people like that are”.

Later I woke up in a panic thinking that it was 16:00 and I had a flight back to Europe in an hour and I had so much to do. I grabbed all of my things and shot off to the airport and then spent quite a lot of time trying to find a place to sit down and sort myself out and pack everything. A couple of people came to join me and we were talking about the lack of seats in this place. The discussion drifted on to airports in North Carolina and the rudimentary facilities there, some experience that I could share with these two people as well.

As well as all of this, someone had asked me to do some tiling for him. I’m not very good at tiling but I went along to have a look. At my place I’d tiled on top of a piece of lino so I found a piece of lino and cut to size and cleaned up but instead of using soap I’d used fat and it made a right mess of everywhere so I had to take it out. There was fat all over the floor so I prepared to mop it up. Then he came in. He hadn’t really twigged on what was going on but he was inspecting it as much as he could and how I knew what was going to be done to the right size so that I’d cut off a piece of lino as a template. He went to look at it. I told him that it was wet so he said “we’d better open it out to dry” so he opened it out on his balcony. He asked me “your insurance liability is up to date, isn’t it?” Unfortunately I didn’t have any and I was beginning to regret having said that I would do this job for him the way that he was going on like this.

After the medication I came back in here to check my mail and then I went off to have a look at the view now that the tide is on its way out.

boats baie de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s the view that greeted me looking out across the Baie de Granville and the English Channel this morning.

After the really wonderful few days that we have had, summer is now apparently over and we are back in winter again.

It’s pretty pointless trying to look for car ferries and sailing ships in that lot just there. It was raining too, the first time for about a week, and that didn’t help matters at all. We could have had Godzilla and the Loch Ness Monster out there this morning and I wouldn’t have seen them.

rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe view down the coast was, if anything, even worse.

We can just about make out the white beach huts on the promenade at the Plat Gousset but our view doesn’t go very much beyond there right now. The Rue du Nord is swathed in raincloud too.

Hopefully the view will be better on the other side of the headland in the lee of the wind. The rain might not have reached there yet.

spirit of conrad aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while we might not have any rain, the view isn’t all that much better, which is a shame.

However Aztec Lady is back in town. She’s the blue boat over there that goes on a few exciting voyages every so often, although the current travel regulations have curtailed much of the more interesting sailings.

To her left, bow-end on to the camera is Spirit of Conrad, the boat on which we went down the Brittany coast last year. The last time that I’d heard of her, she was over at the Ile de Chausey but I met her skipper yesterday so I assumed that she had come home.

suzanga baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother boat that was on her way home this morning in all of the bad weather is the trawler Suzanga.

She’s the new boat in town, having only recently arrived from the shipbuilders in Turkey, and she’s already out there earning her keep.

That’s several new trawlers that have joined the local fleet since I’ve been living here. It shows that contrary to all expectations, the local ship owners are rather optimistic about the future of the fishing industry here, and that’s always quite a good sign.

Positive thinking seems to be in rather short supply these days among some people.

zodiac port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite the miserable weather, there’s plenty of activity in port this morning which is nice to see.

There were several zodiacs loitering aroind in the neighbourhood, almost as if there was a cruise ship like THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR anchored somewhere offshore.

But the girl who was driving this one came in, went up to the harbour wall, said something to a few people and then turned round and sailed back out again. So what was that all about then?

passengers boarding zodiac port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile I could see the heads of some other people down there and they looked as if they were sitting in a zodiac, but I couldn’t really see because the house roofs were in the way.

It took about 20 minutes for them to decide what they were going to do and I had to wait around all that time because there wasn’t anything else going on that I could see that would occupy my mind.

Eventually they threw a rope to someone on the quayside and they moved away, so that I could see what was going on.

people on board zodiac leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey set off in the tracks of the one that had left earlier.

And I know that my expedition friends would be having heart failure seeing a moving zodiac with people standing up in it as it travels, even if they are hanging on to something.

The way that they pitch and roll and sway in the sea means that they aren’t as stable as they might be with a high centre of gravity when people are standing up. Everyone should be sitting down and luggage goes at their feet to keep the centre of gravity lower still.

By now I was becoming rather wet (as if I wasn’t wet enough before I started) so I headed for home and a nice hot coffee, and then start work on yesterday’s journal entry.

dropping off passengers blocking rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt some point or other during the day I was interrupted by noise from out at the back.

The streets around the old town are closed today as it’s the book fair, and there was a breakdown lorry trying to gain access . The driver had gone off to seek assistance but in the meantime, another car had come past him and then inexplicably stopped, rather selfishly, to let out his passengers while he goes to park the car.

Never mind that the road is narrow enough so that no-one else behind him could go past. That’s clearly unimportant as long as he’s OK.

The selfishness of some people never ceases to amaze me.

Writing my notes was a long and arduous task today, and took much longer than I expected. I even had a rather quick lunch to try to make more time but as you probably realise, something like that seldom seems to work.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis afternoon I went out to have a look at the beach to see what was happening down there.

No afternoon walk seems to be complete without that these days.

The tide has come in quite quickly but there are still plenty of brave souls down there trying out the beach, sitting around and sunbathing.

There didn’t seem to be anyone actually in the water this afternoon but that’s not to say that there weren’t any.

kayaker baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were other people in the water though, but in a different fashion entirely.

Like this kayaker for instance. He must have paddled his canoe quite a long way to end up here, and now he’s going to have to turn round and paddle himself all the way back, and pretty quickly too if he wants to find a slipway or launching pad still in the water.

And is that a fishing rod that he has poking up behind him? It can’t be all that comfortable fishing in a kayak. And where would be put his catch?

great cormorant baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomething else that was out here like piffy on a rock was this strange creature.

It’s actually a Great Cormorant and he’s a long way from home. His breeding colony is probably the one across the bay on one of the small islands facing Cancale. Several of those islands – the uninhabited ones – are know to be breeding grounds.

They were much more widespread than that at one time but predators like foxes and rats have seen off several colonies. In fact there’s a plan for the Ile de Chausey for a mass eradication of non-indigenous predators.

hang glider cemetery Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd when you compare this photo of the one that I took down the coast earlier today, you’ll see a great difference.

Of course, the rain cloud has now passed on to better things and the weather is so much nicer. In addition to that, the Bird-Men of Alcatraz have awoken and they have come here with their Nazgul to have an afternoon’s adventuring.

One of them has just taken off from the field by the cemetery and at the moment he’s fighting to gain control of his Nazgul, after which he’ll be heading this way.

yacht ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere didn’t seem to be all that much going on farther out at sea this afternoon but I did scan the horizon.

At one point I picked up something large and dark out by the Ile de Chausey and although I couldn’t imagine it being anything else other than the sail of a yacht I took a photo to check when I returned home.

Sure enough, it is a yacht although it’s too far out to see if it’s anyone we know. Black Mamba isn’t in port right now but she’s apparently in Cherbourg right now so I doubt that it might be her.

belem english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere is someone else who we might have seen over the last few days out there in the English Channel.

Unfortunately the weather is nothing like as clear as it was yesterday morning for us to give a positive identification but thinking that it might again be the training ship Belem, I made a note of her position.

Sure enough, when I returned, I could check on the historical radar plot and Belem was indeed at that spot round about that time of the afternoon.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was nothing else going on out there of any importance (apart from the mad stampede that you saw earlier) so I pushed on around the headland.

As I crossed over the road, one of the errant Nazgul went swooping by over the top of the old bunker so I stopped to take a photograph of it.

And then I ended up in a mad stampede of my own down the hill chasing after my camera’s lens cap that I had unfortunately dropped.

Luckily I managed to avoid being run down by a car coming up the hill towards me. We both would have had a surprise.

f-gbai ROBIN DR 400-140B pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt this point I was overflown yet again, this time by a mechanical device and I wondered why it had taken them so long to find me.

This is one that we recognise, having seen her many times just recently. She’s the Granville Aero Club’s Robin DR 400-140B F-GBAI going out on an afternoon flight.

She was first picked up on radar at 16:01 (my photo is (adjusted) 16:14) and she did a few laps around the Ile de Chausey and then up and down the coast before disappearing off the radar again near the airfield at 17:50

chausiaise joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was no change in occupant at the chantier naval today so I turned my attention elsewhere.

The ferry that we saw coming over from the Ile de Chausey, I wasn’t sure who she was. But I can tell you who she wasn’t because the older one of the two Joly France boats is sitting there at the quayside already with a load of people on the path just above her as if they have just gone ashore.

And here on the other side is the little freighter Chausiaise. So it can’t be any one of those two. But we’ll find out in a couple of minutes.

belle france entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it didn’t even take that long before we were to find out.

Around the bend, alongside the sea wall and into the harbour came the brand-new Belle France, crammed to the gunwhales with people from the Ile de Chausey.

There were quite a few people on the sea wall by now admiring her as she appeared, and quite rightly too because not only is she a beautiful machine, she’s a sign of faith and optimism that there’s plenty of life left in the port.

And with the uncertain future surrounding the Channel Island ferries and the gravel boats, then this is good news.

man taking photograph car park boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that I have to do before I finish.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my pages are littered with inter alia photos of people taking photos. Today we had a large family group with a photographer who was taking pictures of them, with tripod and all.

This was far too good an opportunity to miss and I had to add a discreet shot of the event to my little collection.

Back here at the apartment I finally finished my notes from yesterday and then I joined up the tracks for the radio programme for tomorrow.

When that was done I attacked my pizza which was delicious. I haven’t made anything else though because I’m off on Tuesday to Leuven.

And now seeing as I’m exhausted, I’m off for an early night ready to start work tomorrow. Radio first of course, and I also have the injection man coming as well. I wonder if that will kickstart me into life for my trip to Leuven.