Tag Archives: bob dylan

Saturday 29th January – YESTERDAY, I REMEMBER …

… wondering who would be waiting for me when I went to sleep last night.

Much to my surprise, and yours too probably, because things don’t normally happen like this, it was none other than Zero.

She hung around for a while, but nothing like long enough, and eventually evaporated into the night.

What’s surprising about that is that usually when I’m transcribing the dictaphone notes I have some kind of very vague recollection in the back of my mind of what went on and typing it out brings it back. But I have no memory whatever of her being there, except what was on the dictaphone.

So that was rather a waste of a visit, wasn’t it? Her being there and me having no recollection of it.

vegan food with eggs and milk noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022This is something else that’s quite surprising.

It was in Noz and advertised as a vegan pancake mix. I was tempted to try it until I noticed the instructions.

You probably have too, if you’ve clicked on the image to see it full-size. To make it, you need to stir in “eggs and milk”. Some vegan food product, isn’t it?

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m not an ethical vegan (although I may as well be these days) but a vegan for health reasons. My pancreas failed 30-odd years ago so I can’t digest animal fats.

I was given a choice of four ways of controlling it –

  • taking daily injections to stimulate it (but I’d lose my professional driving licences like my HGV licence, my PSV licence, my taxi licence and all of that, and that was my living in those days)
  • by a transplant (but back in those days it was very much in its infancy and the success rate wasn’t very high)
  • do nothing (and risk an attack and possible death)
  • by diet, cutting out animal fats completely.

The choice was pretty much obvious, so I need to be very careful about what I eat.

And eating stuff that needs eggs and milk is not part of the plan obviously.

Today wasn’t actually part of anyone’s plan because it’s been awful. And I thought that with the last week or so, I was over all of this.

Leaving the bed wasn’t all that difficult even if it was something of s short night compared to what it should have been, and neither was the medication and the shower that I had afterwards.

Then Caliburn and I hit the streets for a tour of the shops – the first time since early December that w’ve had a complete tour.

Noz had piles of things, including that alcohol-free beer that I like, so I stocked up with quite a pile of stuff. No rolling pin to replace the one that I broke ages ago and have been struggling with ever since, no cake tin and no pizza plate either (I’m fed up of my pizza overflowing my plate).

micro creche near noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Centrakor – and the first time that I’ve been in there for an age – came up with a good heavy-duty rolling pin but nothing else.

But while I was there I went for a closer look at the building that they’ve been erecting at the back of Noz and Centrakor. It now seems to be complete, and it looks as i it’s going to be some kind of crèche.

And a crèche is not something that happens between two cars in Knightsbridge either.

At Leclerc the fuel tanker doing a delivery was just coupling up to leave after doing a refuelling. That meant that there was no-one there and my timing was perfect because as it pulled away I pulled on right behind and had the first load of diesel.

First time I’ve fuelled up since April last year by the way. I’m going nowhere these days, am I? In many senses of the word..

At Leclerc I ended up with one of those expensive 7-inch cake tins that I mentioned last time. If I’m going to be baking cake I need the correct tin rather than trying to make do with an oversize pyrex bowl

Lots of other stuff too, and so in the end it was a rather expensive morning out. But at least the pantry is full for the next while and I’ll be able to eat.

Back here I put away the frozen stuff (they had some of those breaded soya fillets in Noz and I managed to squeeze them into the freezer somehow), made a coffee, came back in here and … errr … crashed out.

Properly crashed out too. I was gone for ages and ended up with a late lunch.

Back here afterwards I felt like nothing on earth. I tried to have a go at coupling up the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing, on the grounds that doing something – anything – is better than doing nothing at all, but I ended up right out of it yet again. It was an awful afternoon.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022As a result of the foregoing it was rather later than usual when I went out for my afternoon walk. Mind you, I was lucky that I went out at all because I don’t recall ever feeling less like it.

First stop was the beach of course so I dragged myself with a considerable amount of reluctance over to the wall at the end of the car park.

Not much beach, which is no real surprise because I’m about 45 minutes later than usual, and I couldn’t see anyone down there today. But once again, it was fairly warm for the time of year (although I’m back to being absolutely freezing again) so I was surprised that the place looked so empty.

Not many people about at all this afternoon.

ile de chausey storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022This quite possibly might have something to do with it.

Out in the bay there was a rainstorm brewing and judging by the direction in which the wind was blowing, it was heading my way.

Not that there was much wind to worry about this afternoon. We seem to be in the middle of a quiet spell from that point of view, in sharp contrast to what we had several weeks ago.

And we did have some rain too. When I went out to the shops this morning it was raining. So it looks as if the clouds have gone back out to sea to fetch some more.

There were a few more people wandering around up by the lighthouse so I kept well clear – I don’t want to catch what they all seem to have – and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland.

There wasn’t anything going on just offshore, or in the outer harbour or the chantier naval either so I carried on.

crane philcathane la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The big crane is still over there, along with la Grande Ancre, Philcathane and another boat that I can’t identify.

However I can tell you more about the machine that the crane came to lift. It was an electrically-powered piling rig and weighed in at 50 tonnes.

It was Normandy Trader that took her away – she apparently has engines that are 100hp more powerful than her sister Normandy Warrior.

Back here I had a coffee, managed not to fall asleep, and then finished off the music for Monday. Then I turned my attention to the dictaphone.

Zero, of course, I have already mentioned. But later I was with a woman and her daughter last night, aged about 6 or 7 like Laurence and Roxanne. We’d gone to visit IKEA – they’d never been before. We had to park on the car park and that was an art in itself as it was extremely busy. Then I had to go and change my clothes because I was in some kind of oily wotk clothes. My office was on the top floor so I rang up to say that I would send someone up to say that I was coming up for some clothes but no-one had any clothes ready for me or anything. There was a huge row about that to start with which didn’t make the rest of the day go well. When we’d all been to the bathroom we went into IKEA, the 3 of us. The little girl had a play on the kiddies’ playground and we bumped into one of my friends from Montréal and had a chat, then carried on wandering around. Then we stopped for coffee. For some reason we didn’t take our coffee together. I had a machine that they had to listen to music so I went to sit somewhere else. The other 2 were sitting somewhere else so I went to join them but the music was disturbing everyone there so I had to turn off the music. The little girl was sulking and said “I’d be happier staying in Crewe” to which her mother said “of course you wouldn’t”. To cheer her up we went and found the kiddies’ toy things and she had a play around on those again. There was lots more to it than this but I can’t remember it now or anything else which is a shame.

Later on I stepped right back into this dream where I was earlier after I’d gone back to sleep. We ended up back in a room. I’d been out somewhere. My brother and 2 other people were there. After about 10 minutes I suddenly thought “where’s this woman and her daughter (and by now, it was my friend from Montréal who was the mother)? They’ve wandered off somewhere”. I thought that I was supposed to be with them so I rang her up on her ‘phone. She said that she was at some exhibition of money-making. I siad “oh, I’d better come and join you”. She replied “it’s only going to be on until 15:00”. She gave me the address . I replied “I don’t know how long it will be until I reach you but I’ll be there”. The other 2 didn’t want to go for some reason and it was just my brother who came with me. I started to look on a map to find this address and I suddenly realised that it was right in the vicinity of where we were standing. I had a very good idea of where it is, Rue des Deux Canals so we shot off outside. There was all kinds of stuff. It was difficult to cross the road because there were all lorries and cars. We went off down one road and came to a turning. I had to stop to check the phone to find the correct address but I couldn’t find the map. While I was doing that my brother said “Reg has been sent to prison again”. I asjed “what for this time?”. “Because he refused to climb over a wall and tie up his boat” and started to read details of the indictment to me while I was busy trying to find this street. It was all becoming a really confusing mess – even more so with my family becoming involved yet again.

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

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap. I’d bought a couple of those nice burgers that I like and I had a few baps left over. That was quite a nice tea again and I do have to say that it might be simple food but I do eat well.

Bed-time now, and a lie-in tomorrow as it’s Sunday. I deserve it too because despite feelig better than I did, it’s not been an easy week.

In fact I’m not having a very easy time and I don’t know what to do about that. As Bob Dylan sang in TANGLED UP IN BLUE, “the only thing I knew for sure was to keep on keeping on”.

But I’m not doing that all that well these days.

But “I wondered if she’s changed at all – if her hair was still red”. Now who does that remind me of? And will she be meeting me again tonight?

Wednesday 21st July 2021 – YOU CAN TELL …

zodiac speedboat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… just what kind of day it4s been today? just by looking at a few photos that i took.

While I was out at the Pointe du Roc this afternoon there was the infernal racket once more as a rather large zodiac went roaring past, fully-loaded with passengers.

At least they were all wearing lifejackets, so it seemed, and that’s good news because it’s not every boat that sets out with its passengers properly equipped.

And as to where they are going or where they have come from, I’ve no idea. But wherever is their destination, they are cracking on as if they have le feux dans les fesses as they say around here, and are scorching past that speedboat, which is nothing like as speedy as the zodiac.

trawler l'alize 3 galapagos yacht rebelle chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, while we are on the subject, it seemed that I arrived at the chantier naval at just about the right time this afternoon.

What with everything going on out at sea, it’s no surprise to see that one of the trawlers that was in there also has itchy feet.

You’ll notice that while there is still the yacht Rebelle, we only have two trawlers, L’Alize 3 and the new one whose name I have yet to discover, up there on blocks.

So where has Galapagos, the other trawler that was up on blocks, gone? Have a look very carefully at the portable boat lift. Can you see it in the cradle being lowered into the water in the harbour?

This morning I couldn’t see anything at all. Never mind STARRY-EYED AND LAUGHING I was bleary-eyed and coughing as I crawled from my stinking pit as the alarm went off at 08:00.

After the pile of meds that I’m obliged to take these days, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been on my travels during the night. We were out last night again with the family, some of us, and I was with a girl and I can’t remember who she was again. She went off for a little stroll round where we were standing and fell in with someone who was quite a famous singer. He gave her a great big kiss so she was talking to him and sitting on a seat, though my wife didn’t mind. When they were sitting on these seats there was an odd number and someone was being left out. In the end they came back to my place, a caravan or something, and went over to where my niece, her husband and a few others were standing, grabbed hold of my niece and took her over there instead (… I fell asleep here …) anyway these guys and other people came over after us after we had gone back and I wasn’t quite sure why but they ended up picking up my niece she and the person who was her daughter and one or two other people and these two famous stars all set off and wandered off.

Another thing as well was that I was with my and my mother somewhere in a big apartment but it was a cluttered place and you couldn’t get much furniture against the walls and I was going to be moving here so I had to work out which of my stuff I was going to throw away. But I was asleep standing up against the window and you don’t really want to know the rest because you are probably eating your tea right now. And it’s been a while since one of my nocturnal rambles has finished in a mass of blood and gore and stuff like that, although with my family involved, it’s more than likely.

Later on I had a ticket for the Cup Final and Liverpool were playing a lesser team. It was quite an ordinary stadium, not Wembley. I walked towards the stadium and then turned back and sat down at a seat. Terry said “aren’t you going in?” “In a minute” I replied and then I headed off in. I wanted to squeeze my way into the stands behind the goal but it was empty – just 2 or 3 people. I went to take a place right at the top but the fascia board of the stand roof obscured the view so I had to come a few rows down. Some one asked “are Liverpool the ones in red?”. I replied “quite likely” – then I drew the guy’s attention to the fact that the other team weren’t wearing a proper kit but all kinds of multicoloured buttoned shirts, all different.

It’s not really surprising, is it, that sometimes I awaken more tired than I was when I went off to sleep.

So having printed out … gulp … 29 pages of notes for today’s class, I made my hot chocolate and grabbed some fruit bread and attacked the lesson.

We whacked our way through the whole pile of stuff by the time we finished, bleary-eyed yet again. We are going at a frantic pace and it’s no surprise that one of our number seems to have fallen by the wayside.

One of our number comes from Nantwich, he daughter went to my Grammar School and she knows everywhere that I know. She’s a big rock fan too so I sent her a link to my radio shows (shameless self-publicist that I am) and a copy of the “Strife” concert that I featured as my live concert at the end of February.

There really wasn’t much time for anything else – it was walkies time, rather later than usual of course this week.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo matter how late I am, I always have to go for a look over the wall at the end of the car park down onto the beach below to see what’s happening there.

So off I toddled across the car park to look down on the beach and today, there was even less beach to look at than there was yesterday.

Plenty of people as well, some stretched out in the sun, others drying off and the rest splashing around in the sea like a bunch of demented dolphins.

A few kids today too – not many but certainly more than yesterday. And that beats me why there aren’t any more of them in weather like this in midsummer during a school holiday.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, as is my custom, while one pf my eyes was roving around the beach, the other one was roving out to sea to see what was going on there.

And we have another yacht today. I say “another” because I’m pretty certain that it isn’t the same one that we saw yesterday. It’s smaller for a start, and there seems to be only one man visible aboard her.

And although it looks as if she’s stationary, she is in fact moving slowly and she followed me all the way arund the headland.

And that reminds me of the man who went into the newsagency and asked the woman behind the counter if she kept stationery.
“Only until the last 10 seconds” she replied “and then I go berserk”.

Or as my doctor friend once told me about a young girl whom he was examining – “are you sexually active?” he asked her discreetly when her mother was out of earshot.
“No” she replied. “I just like there”.

la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw this boat out here in the Baie de Granville yesterday.

Today, there is no doubt as to her identity. If you look very closely, you’ll see that she has her “old” registration number painted in black at the top of one of the sails as you will see if you look closely.

“G90” – so there is no doubt at all that she is in fact La Granvillaise as I thought yesterday. And she’s out again presumably doing a carbon-copy of yesterday’s trip around and about

And as you might expect, there’s another perishing speedboat roaring past her as she leisurely cruises around out at sea.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, while everyone seems to be out in the sea playing around, some other people are still having to work.

As I looked farther out to sea I could see something moving around out there and sure enough, it was indeed a local trawler setting out for the fishing grounds.

By the time that I’d spotted it, it was already way out to sea, sailing past the outlers to the north-east of the Ile de Chausey and going at quite a rate of knots.

From my spec, I cleared off across the car park to the end of the Pointe du Roc to see what was happening there.

And with nothing going on there of any more importance than we have already seen either, I headed off down the path.

charles marie entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut hang on a minute! I hadn’t gone very far before I had to stop to take another photograph.

Into the port comes a boat whom we haven’t seen for quite a while. I wasn’t quick enough to photograph it before it began to disappear from my view, but I reckon that even without seeing her name, she’s Charles Marie – another one of the boats that plies for hire in the harbour.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen her. She must have a full summer season booked up and is keeping herself really busy even despite Covid.

And I’m glad that someone is for it’s rather grim for some of the others, such as the Jersey ferry boats Granville and Victor Hugo.

coelacanthe leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as I watechd Charles Marie disappear out of my sight, something else came the other way. Instead of entering the harbour she was leaving it.

It’s only when Tiberiade and Coelacanthe are side by side that I can tell them apart. But cleverly enlarging the photo when I returned to the apartment later, I could see that the trawler that we have here is Coelacanthe.

She’s heading out for the fishing grounds too, I reckon, and is also in quite a hurry for she’s not hanging around. And also in this image – and the previous one too – is the yellow and white fishing boat who was in the chantier navale for a while and whose name I have forgotten yet again.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further on around the path, we’re back in playtime again.

It looks as if it’s full sail ahead for the yachting schools today. There seem to be a couple of different ones and you can tell them apart by the colours of the sails of their boats.

They are all out there in the bay this afternoon making the most of things and I’m quite jealous. Had I not had this little problem a couple of months ago, who knows? I might even have been out there with them I’m determined to have a go at sailing one of these days and pick up another certificate to add to my collection.

goods on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom here I can see down into the inner harbour and the loading bay where the little freighters load up.

It’s no surprise to see that Thora who we saw yesterday has gone out of harbour. The turnround of these boats is so quick these days.

Yet there’s another pile of stuff on the quayside. Either it’s stuff that Thora brought in with her or else one of the Jersey freighters will be coming back soon and it’s a load for her.

But one thing that is annoying me is that we haven’t seen a gravel boat here for ages. There’s a special kind of gravel found near Avranches and there’s a big ready-mix concrete and roadstone plant near Sittingbourne.

We used to have big 2,500 tonne bulk carriers in here every few months taking gravel to Sittingbourne but with Brexit and the collapse of the British construction industry, we haven’t seen one in ages.

trawler galapagos leaving chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here’s something that we saw earlier this afternoon.

The trawler Galapagos was leaving the chantier naval earlier and was being lowered down into the water by the portable boat lift.

Now, she’s back in the water and giving her engines a little trial before presumably heading off into the wild blue yonder.

So what’s all this about “no fresh fish being sold until” …. whenever it was … then? She’s back in the water a long time before she’s due to start selling her produce, so has this overhaul been quicker than expected, or ar the crew all now going to be going off on holiday?

As for me, I’m going off back home because it’s late and I have things to do. And by the time that I had finished I’d missed my bass guitar practice. The acoustic practice I’d done at lunchtime.

Tea tonight was pasta and burger followed by more of my delicious apple turnover.

And now I’m off to bed. All fighting fit and ready for my Welsh lesson tomorrow. I don’t think.

Monday 12th April 2021 – I WAS NOT …

… alone this afternoon when I went out for my afternoon walk.

bird of prey place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out this afternoon I was overflown yet again.

Whenever we’ve had clear days in the past it’s been aircraft, whether main-line stuff flying at impressive altitudes over my head or else it’s been light aircraft, autogyros and Birdmen of Alcatraz (who, incidentally, we haven’t seen for quite a while) going past at head height.

But none of that today. It was the local bird of prey, whatever species he (or she) might be, buzzing around over my head looking for food, and then swooping down to the ground to capture something, all of which takes place a darn sight quicker than I can follow it with my camera.

fishing boats brittany coast baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomething else that was different this afternoon was the situation in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

For the last I-don’t-know-how-long I’ve been down there on the path to the end of the headland to look out across to the Brittany coast to see what was happening and, as Bob Dylan once famously sang on THE BASEMENT TAPES there was “too much of nothing”.

But today was rather different. We had the fleet of local inshore fishing boats out there in the bay doing what they are good at. There was probably about half a dozen of them all told presumably setting their traps and the like.

They rotate from one fishing area to another and it looks as if today is the turn of the inshore waters to receive their attention.

My attention this morning was focused hauling myself out of bed this morning. And seeing that I didn’t go to bed this morning until 01:30 that was rather a complicated matter. I’ve had worse mornings than this, but I can’t remember when.

First task after the medication was to deal with the radio programme on which I was going to work this morning. Having already chosen the music and paired it all off it was a simple matter of writing the text, recording it, editing it, cutting it into segments and using the segments to join together all of the pairs of songs.

Then I had to choose a closing song and write the text for it, edit that and then join it all together.

It ended up being 23 seconds over but in the speech that I write, there are all kinds of little bits that can be edited out and so weeding out 23 seconds of recorded superfluous speech is not as complicated as it might sound.

It was all done and dusted and up and running by 11:30.

That left me with plenty of time to book my transport and accommodation for my trip to Leuven next week. And while I can understand that there is only one train out of Granville per day when there’s a pandemic and movement is severely restricted, just WHY does it have to be at 05:55?

At least I’ll get into Leuven with plenty of spare time to recover from the voyage, but on the other hand it means that if there’s an issue with just one of the trains that I need to catch, I shall be well and truly up a gum tree.

After lunch (and my bread from yesterday is really delicious) I had a go at the photos from August 2019 and I’m now caught up with my plan of a minimum of 30 a day. I’m now patrolling the “south skirmish line” of last Stand Hill at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

But while some might think that it’s a “south skirmish line” it look to be very much like the route of a panic -stricken flight to me. You don’t dig yourself in at the bottom of a steep ravine when the place to dig yourself in would be at the top of the slope where your adversary would have to struggle up towards you slowly and you’ve have plenty of time to fire at them to push them back.

The fact that there are so very few memorials to the Native Americans on this side of the battlefield when the whole area is littered with memorials to American soldiers tells its own story. My opinion is that the natives were firing into the backs of the fleeing soldiers rather than face-to-face in a firefight.

All of this took me up to the time for my afternoon walk so I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed off out.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing to do today was to go to the wall at the end of the car park and look down onto the beach to see what was going on down there.

The tide is quite far out this afternoon so there was plenty of beach to go at. And there were quite a few people down there this afternoon making the most of it. Not as many people as we have seen on occasion – no schools playing rounders or anything like that – but I would have thought that with all of the holidaymakers around right now, they would have been there.

After all, it was a pleasant, sunny day if you could find some shelter out of the wind, because once more we seem to be having a bucket-full of wind and I’m rather fed up of that right now.

yacht jersey english channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut as we all know, it’s an ill-wind that doesn’t blow anyone any good.

There’s always going to be someone who would take advantage of it and we have one of those out here this afternoon – the yacht that’s out there somewhere between the Channel Islands and the French mainland.

At the distance that it was from here – probably about half-way across, I couldn’t make out whether it was coming or going and I know exactly how it feels after everything that I seem to be going through right now. And the whitecaps on top of some of the waves will indicate that it’s not having the best of it out there in this weather. The wind must be even stronger offshore.

unidentified ship st helier jersey english channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was looking out at the yacht that I saw just now, I noticed something just offshore outside the harbour at St Helier so I took a photo of it to enlarge when I came back so that I cn see what it might be.

Having done that, I have to say that unfortunately, I’m still none-the-wiser. It’s big and white and my first thought was that it might be a cruise ship anchored outside the harbour. But there’s no trace of any large ship of this size anywhere in the vicinity so I’ve no idea what it might be.

But I’m impressed with the weather this afternoon because I can see St Helier so clearly this afternoon. We can even see the medieval tower that guards the entrance to St Helier harbour, never mind all of the other buildings there.

bird of prey place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was round about now that the famous bird of prey flew past overhead.

It took up station, hovering around over the edge of the cliffs round about 50 yards from where I was standing. And then suddenly, as I looked it swopped off down to near the foot of the cliffs. Presumably it had seen something edible but it was so quick that I couldn’t see what it was.

At least it’s having more luck that the local fishermen.

So from there I set off along the path on top of the cliffs. The people were there on top of the bunker again clearing off the dirt and dust but I carried on past them. There weren’t too many people this afternoon to get in my way.

cap frehel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel once more

With the weather out to the Channel Islands being so good this afternoon, I was wondering how the view would be out along the Brittany coast. So I climbed up on top of one of the other bunkers where there’s a good view.

Once again, the lighthouse was clearly visible even with the naked eye and we could even see the headland behind the lighthouse today. It’s not every day that we can see that much of the coastline. I’ll really have to crack on and finish the notes of my trip around Central Europe so that I can get on and show you the photos of the Brittany coast that I took on board the Spirit of Conrad

Off along the path I went and then across the car park to the end of the headland.

fishing boat with nets out pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that just off the headland at the Pointe du Roc we’ve occasionally seen something that might be interpreted as a marker buoy for a lobster pot are something similar.

Seeing this boat here make me even more certain that it is a lobsterpot and its marker or something like that. If you look closely at this little boat you’ll see that it has its lines out on the starboard side so it’s possibly engaged in either lowering down or raising up a lobster pot.

However, as you can see, there are so many boats out here working away in the Baie de Mont St Michel, all over the place this afternoon.

From there I pushed off along the path towards the port.

panhard 24 2+2 rue du cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallCrossing over the pedestrian crossing in the Rue du Cap Lihou I was almost squidged by a passing motorist.

But if I’m going to be run down by a passing motor vehicle, I wouldn’t mind so much it being one of these. This is a Panhard 24 2+2, one of the very last of the vehicles built by the Panhard Motor company before they closed their doors in 1967.

The Panhard 24 was the car that was designed to replace the famous Panhard 17 and was built between 1963 and 1967. It contained many features that were considered to be “luxury items” at the time such as 3-way adjustable seats, adjustable steering wheel and the like

They must be beautiful to drive but unfortunately I have never ever had the chance to find out.

joly france ferry terminal port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, there was some kind of excitement going on over at the ferry terminal.

Both of the Joly France boats, the ones that provide the ferry service over to the Ile de Chausey, are over there this afternoon. The tide is well out so they are in a NAABSA – Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground – situation over there.

This would seem to indicate that at the next high tide, probably later on towards the evening, they’ll be going back out to rescue the perishing wo are stranded out there right now.

We also have another fishing boat tied up over there too. It’s bewildering me why so many of them are no longer going into the inner harbour to tie up in there.

material on quayside port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther on along the path there’s a good view down into the inner harbour and the loading bay where the little Jersey freighters Normandy Trader and Thora tie up.

And have you ever seen such a large pile of freight lined up on the quayside waiting to be taken away? It’s enormous. They must be expecting one of the freighters to come in pretty soon because they wouldn’t otherwise leave all this much stuff lying around.

It’s no surprise that they are talking about buying a larger ship to deal with all of the freight. It’s quite an unexpected Brexit dividend that rather than having freight sent to and from the UK for onward trans-shipment to and from Europe, it’s sent directly to the European mainland

men inspecting harbour bed port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat’s not the end of today’s excitement. either. We had some men rooting around in the outer harbour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve had diggers out there working in the harbour dealing with the issues of installing more mooring chains. They are a long way from finishing, so I imagine that these men are either inspecting the work that has been done or else surveying it for further work.

But I wasn’t all that interested in what they were doing. With nothing else going on, I headed on for home and my mug of hot coffee. And I certainly needed it today because I’m still feeling quite cold.

Armed with my coffee I listened to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was living with Nerina and we had the house at Gainsborough Road and all of the kids were living there as well. I kept on coming back from away and the place was an absolute mess so I started to tidy up the kitchen. I started to collect together all of the things for the microwave. There was a lot of stuff that I didn’t use regularly so I thought that I’d take them to France so I put it on one side ad carried on emptying these boxes to see what there was in there and stacking it up. When I reached the final box it was full of water as it had been left out in the rain. There was one of my electric drills in there. I drained it off but the sound of the running water awoke Nerina as it was 02:00. It also disturbed someone walking down the side of the house so Nerina asked what was going on. I told her. She asked if I was going to take all this lot to the Cheshire Cat. I asked her what she meant and she said “to put it all in a line”. I replied “I’m not selling anything, I want to keep it all. I can keep some of it in my garage but I’ll have to find a place for the rest”. This was another dream where I had these imaginary lock-ups that I had but I couldn’t remember where they were.

Having done that, I did some Welsh revision but unfortunately I crashed out in the middle of it.

The hour on the guitar passed quickly and then I went for tea – veggie balls with steamed vegetables with vegan cheese sauce followed by more of my really delicious jam roly-poly.

Now I’m off to bed. I have my Welsh lesson tomorrow and then I REALLY MUST deal with my Central Europe trip and finish it off. I’m fed up of it lying around like this. There’s plenty of other stuff that I need to be doing, even installing the kitchen that I bought before Christmas.

There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Friday 12th June 2020 – BRAIN OF BRITAIN …

… strikes again!

Yes, guess who put a load of washing in the washing machine on Thursday morning before going to the shops – and then forgot all about it?

It’s out airing on the clothes airer right now, but when I go to the shops tomorrow I have a feeling that I shall have to buy some nice perfumed fabric conditioner or something similar and put them through again.

As for my part, much to my own (and everyone else’s) surprise I actually beat the third alarm call to my feet this morning. I was in the kitchen organising my medication when it went off.

Back here afterwards (still no breakfast!) to look at the dictaphone – and … phew!

Last night I put in an appearance in an office where I used to work and went into one of the rooms which was room D and it was absolutely heaving with people. I’d been for a while in another room and getting a few things organised in there watching a couple of videos that kind of thing but I didn’t really want anyone else to know what I was doing so I was hunched up in a corner where no-one could overlook me. In this room it was crowded with people, hundreds of them. There was one little girl about 5 or 6 and a pile of these white fish fillet squares that she had got down all over the floor. There were a couple of guys in charge and they didn’t seem to be paying the slightest bit of attention. Before i’d gone in there I’d had a look out of the window and I’d seen someone disappearing off in a car towing a trailer pulling a petrol pump so I wondered if that had been something that had come off the beach around the corner so I went there to find out. I was told “yes” but the person didn’t seem to want to elaborate on it.
Later on during the night something had happened about something or other in Aberystwyth. It meant that I had to go home and fetch something and come back again. I was in an old mark V Cortina so I put my foot down i Aberystwyth and drove all the way back to Crewe where I got what I wanted . The journey back should have taken me about 45 minutes (well, yes!) but by the time that I had everything ready it was now exactly 1 hour 05 after I had left so I was going to have to do something about catching up this time. So I put my foot down. I hadn’t gone more than a couple of hundred yards before I ran straight into one of these processions. Even though it was something like 01:00 – 01:30 in the morning there were all these processions like a Miners’ Parade or something. And of course as I set to move off a group of motorcycle policemen came round pushing their bikes following this parade. Of course I had no seat belt on and the car wasnt in any particularly good condition so the captain of the motorcyclists came over and asked me a couple of questions about the car. I’d only had it a couple of days so I couldn’t really answer him so he asked to see my documents. I gave him my driving licence which was stuck inside my purse and took ages to put out. he invited me to come in to his office. Of course I didn’t have time to do all of this but he interrogated me a bit and he got on his radio and radioed my licence number through. I asked “am I clear to go?”. he replied “you’re clear to go. Some guy said “that will be £50:00. I thought “£50:00? What the hell is this for?” He replied “it’s just for having your hair cut”. “But I don’t want my hair cut”. However a girl came round and threw a towel over my shoulders and sat me in the seat. I asked “what the hell is this all about?”. “It’s just something that he likes to do when he’s caught someone and letting them go. It’s a way of raesing funds”. I thought “yes, I bet it is”. And all the time I was supposed to be going to Aberystwyth. I was already running late, I had these things, these people would probably be long gone by the time that I get there and that will be a wasted journey. There I was being trapped in this seat having my hair cut for £50:00
When I went back to sleep I stepped right back into this dream where I’d been before and set off again. I was once more waylaid on the route but I don’t remember anything about it now. I do remember though thinking that this is absolutely ridiculous and I’m never going to get to Aberystwyth at this rate.

A little later still I was on my way to South Wales. I pulled in at Knutsford Services and there I had to hire a car for the weekend and get some food to eat on the journey, get some fuel and sort out some gearbox oil for my car. I’ve no idea why I wanted a hire car but I went into the office and started to make all of the arrangements. They said that they had a Crusader so I said that that was fine by me. They said “hang on, we’ll see what else we’ve got” but I said “no, a Crusader is fine”. They wandered away and I was talking about which guy it was who knew which car they were. They said “it’s the girl over there – the one who’s big enough to be a girl guide”. I thought “what the heck has this got to do with me renting a vehicle”. I thought that i’d better drive my vehicle somewhere, come back, pick up this hire car, go off and I have to be back before Monday. So I told them to make the booking until Monday. Then of course I could work out about what I needed and what I had to get.

After all of that, it was quite a surprise that I was out of bed so sprightly.

Today has been spent working on my music course. And by the time I reached the end of the afternoon I’d done a whole week’s work. And now I can play the blues on the piano in the Key of F, Fmin and F7 with the left hand playing 7/10ths and 7/13ths.

Or, at least, I could if I were any good at it. But you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

At lunch I had some more of my bread. And it’s still tasting quite good. This was, I reckon, something of a success although, as I have said … “on many occasions” – ed … there is still plenty of room for improvement.

What I might do, when I run out of cake, is to make a smaller loaf but crush some banana in it, or else add a pile of sultanas, and make a kind of snack bread. Apricots in it might be good too of course.

After lunch I took some time off work and made myself some orange and ginger cordial. The honey that I’m using isn’t very good though, but I’m hoping that soon I’ll be back in Belgium where I can find some more Manuka honey.

jersey english channel islands granville manche normandy france eric hallIt had been pouring down for most of the morning but by the time that I went out for my afternoon walk, the rain had stopped.

There’s a strange kind of light when it’s just stopped raining in the summer. And with the air being cleaner these days, the views are generally better. Once more, Jersey is standing out really well and you can see the houses at St Helier.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall a few weeks ago I mentioned something about the lockdown helping to clean up the air.

joly france ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallThe ile de Chausey was standing out really well today too.

The houses over there were quite clear to see too, and we could even see Joly France setting out of the harbour there on its way back to Granville.

There’s no doubt whatsoever that I’ve never taken a photo as clear as this of the Ile de Chausey from the mainland. We could do with a few more days like this.

ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallThe photo that I took, I split it into two parts. The previous photo that you saw was the left-hand half, and this one is the right-hand half.

You can see the houses in the little village at the northern end of the island and if you look just to the left of them you might just be able to make out the church. It’s said that there’s a bit of a Liberator bomber in there – one that was shot down over the bay just after D-Day.

The building on the eminence in the middle, that’s the chateau I reckon, a converted fort that was at one time owned by the Renault family.


crowds lighthouse pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThe fine weather that we were having now that the rain had stopped had certainly brought out the crowds.

As you can see, the path around the cliff and up by the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall were heaving with people this afternoon all catching what sun here was.

The lighthouse is looking good today , and the four flags are still flying up by the war memorial – the British one hasn’t yet made good its bid for freedom

pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallIt wasn’t just on the lawn by the lighthouse that there were the crowds either.

The steps down the path round the end were pretty busy, and there were people here down by the old watch cabin enjoying the view and the sunshine. And who can blame them?

You’ll notice that the cabin still has its roof and it’s pretty watertight. It’s just one of half a dozen places where our itinerant could seek shelter from the rain if he so chooses.

speedboat baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallSo despite the crowds, I headed off on my walk down the other side of the headland.

Nothing much going on down there this afternoon – still the same three boats in the chantier navale and nothing else of interest. But there was this speedboat roaring past with le feux dans ses fesses – a fire up his … errr … posterior – as they say around here.

It’s quite stimulating being out on the sea at that kind of speed, but it’s not so good for the wildlife and the Noise Abatement Society would have something to say about it too.

heavy equipùent being unloaded rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last few weeks we’ve been seeing all kinds of heavy plant parked up at the side of the Rue du Port.

Today there are a couple more things that have arrived. In fact the lorry that dropped them off is just pulling away as you can see. We seem to have acquired a kind of cherry picker and a fork lift elevator.

But I’ve no idea what they are doing with them. We see all kinds of weird things arriving or parked up there and after a day or so they just disappear.

traffic lights place du parvis notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallYesterday we saw the installation of a set of traffic lights to control the traffic in the old town while the roadworks are taking place.

It was my intention to go round to see where the other end was, and sure enough, it’s here at the edge of the Place du Parvis Notre Dame – not where I was thinking it would be at all.

So traffic at this end of the rue Notre Dame can come out of here the wrong way dow the one-way system and the lights are there to stop any unfortunate encounter.

les ilots cafe restaurant hotel rue st jean granville manche normandy france eric hallIn for a penny, in for a pound. I decided that I would go off and see how the roadworks were doing.

But down the rue St Jean I saw something that I hadn’t noticed before. In the good old days, it was the fashion in France to have huge advertising notices painted on the side of the buildings and it’s always been my regret that the practice has ceased. Here’s an old one advertising “Les Ilots” – café restaurant, with furnished rooms.

That’s going back a few years, isn’t it? Another lifetime ago, I reckon.

cobbles rue notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallBut at least there’s some good news at the roadworks.

Everything seems to be done and dusted now and the cobbles have been recemented into position. It looks now as if they are just waiting for the cement to dry and the road will probably be open tomorrow or Monday.

So in that case I’m glad that I came and photographed it today.

Back here I carried on with my coursework and by about 17:15 I was finished. I even managed to find the time to do a few photos from July 2019

Only a few though. Most of the time was spent hunting down the name of a church that I had photographed from The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour. And it took some doing too.

Nothing is straightforward with me, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

My half an hour on the bass was spent playing along to Arthur King’s “Born Under A Bad Sign” – which is how it feels sometimes. And the half-hour on the six-string was spent playing along to Springsteens “No Surrender” and also Bob Dylan’s “Times They Are A’Changin'”

A couple of lines of the lyrics leapt out at me from the latter.
“Come writers and critics”
“Who prophesize with your pen”
“And keep your eyes wide”
“The chance won’t come again”

Yes – “the chance won’t come again”. I’m back on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour again aren’t I – one night at the beginning of September in the North-West Passage of Canada. All I need now is Kris Kristofferson and “I’ll give all my tomorrows for a single yesterday”

And do you know what? I would as well!

For a change, I had tea tonight. The last aubergine and kidney bean whatsit from April. I’ll have to buy another one and make some more. But I have peppers and potatoes that need using up so it looks like a pepper, potato and spinach curry is on the menu next week.

no parking place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallWe’d had a tremendous thunderstorm earlier on in the afternoon, followed by a really heavy rainfall. But when I went out for my evening walk, it had stopped and the weather was reasonably bright.

But my eye had been caught by a few notices like that dotted around outside. It looks as if something exciting is going to be happening here on 15th June – maybe roadworks or something.

Anyway, anyone who has a car parked there has been instructed to move it and no-one else can leave their vehicles there.

“That’s something to look forward too” I mused as I ran off up the road.

storm at sea english channel brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallThings were a little (just a little) easier tonight as I made it up to the top of the hill, I felt that I had a little left to spare in the tank.

But I recovered my breath and ran on down past the itinerant to the clifftop. The storm that had battered us earlier is still there – just out to see and round by Bréhal-Plage and Montmartin sur Mer.

It looks as if it’s having a right old hammering over there and I’m glad that I wasn’t out there earlier in that. And it beats me why the itinerant is sticking it out.

yacht baie de mont st michel pointe de carolles granville manche normandy france eric hallhaing recovered my breath again I walked on around the corner.

Where we saw the speedboat earlier, we now have a yacht strutting his stuff just offshore. But apart from the boat itself, I was intrigued by the colours now that the rain has washed out the sky.

The whole coast round from Kairon-Plage through Jullouville round to the Pointe de Carolles is really brightly lit this evening. And the white hotel buildings down by Mont St Michel are really clear too.

It really was nice.

chausiais victor hugo port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe next couple of legs of my run took me all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury and round the corner – and once more I overran my mark by a good 20 metres. And I could have done more too I reckon.

But I walked back to have a look down at the harbour and see what was happening. And once more, nothing much. Chausiais is there moored up against the harbour wall so she won’t be going very far very soon.

And Granville and Victor Hugo, the two Channel Island ferries, they are still there too. I’ve not had a latest update as to when the service will start again, but I’m going to try to hitch a lift on Thora or Normandy Trader one of these days.

beach bolwing plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom here I ran on all the way round to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord.

There didn’t seem to be the crowds of picnickers down there tonight – I did look – but instead we have a young couple who are playing beach bowls down there. You can see the guy tossing the “ball” at the pins.

It looks as if they have been having a party too. I can see a bottle of wine down there and with no cork in it, I’ll fathom a guess that it’s empty.

ile de chausey sunset english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere wasn’t a decent sunset tonight – not even an impressive cloud formation.

But that’s no surprise either. Not with the weather that we’ve just had. And as I said yesterday … “and on many other occasions too” – ed … we’ve had some beautiful ones recently, and we can’t win a coconut every time.

Back to the apartment I ran but seeing that I was up to 90% on the day’s activity, I went for an extended walk to clock up the 100%

Hence the reason that I’m rather late tonight.

But I had an interuption this evening. Someone from the radio contacted me – someone not actually in my list of top 10 contacts. Would I like to go for a drink with him before our big meeting on Thursday night?

So what’s that all about, I wonder. Why would he want to see me before the meeting? I smell a rat, and I’m not talking about the contents of baldrick’s apple crumble.

Tomorrow it’s shopping. And I don’t need that much stuff either. A good start, I hope, and then a relax as we have football on the internet tomorrow afternoon.

High time we had some live football too. I’m missing my football fix.

Sunday 22nd march 2020 – AND JUST HOW …

… did I celebrate the first Sunday morning of my enforced confinement?

No idea at all. I slept right through it.

Well, almost. It was about 10:45 when I awoke and just after 11:00 when I finally arose. And seeing as I was in bed fairly early last night – like before midnight – that was a rather impressive lie-in.

So after the medication, I had a look at the dictaphone notes. I was in my van last night, a Transit the same as Caliburn but the bulkhead was one row further back so there was space behind the driver’s seat and passenger seat. While I was sitting in my van suddenly the back door opened and my brother and someone else came into the van and started to try to make themselves comfortable so I threw them out and told them to clear off. So they went out but didn’t shut the back door properly so I shouted at him to come and close the back door. he replied “no, that’s how it was before. I’m not closing that properly so I got so enraged so I put Caliburn – the van – into reverse and drove backwards, scattering all these pedestrians who were in the way until I caught up with him. As for the “what happened next”, well, I found myself back where I was on the final days of The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour at the end of August and beginning of September in the same circumstances that alarmed me so much and which prevented me writing up my notes for those final three or four days. Things are clearly getting to me again.
But later on I was somewhere in South London at a railway station waiting for a train. There was a girl on this patform with me. She was a nice girl and we were waiting for a train. A train pulled in at the station, an old 1950s first-generation (… it was much older than that and like an early Southern Region Commuter Electric from the late 1930s …) multiple-unit thing painted red and cream. It pulled in on the platform across from where we were standing and we had to go down – a dark dingy corridor and set of steps to go down, not like anything modern. As we were going down this girl said to me “can you see where you are going?” I said yes and she said “oh” (scintillating dialogue, isn’t it?). As we got down to the level below there was another platform and she just wandered off onto this platform so this left me all on my own. I ended up walking out through the ticket barrier – you had to hold your ticket up to this reader thing. I did but I wasn’t sure if it had read it but the gate opened anyway so I walked out. As I walked out I was thinking that as I’m spending all this time in London why don’t I get a bike? A pushbike. It would be a lot cheaper than travelling on the train. Then I thought to myself “I wouldn’t get to meet all these nice girls will I, if I’m on a bike”. There was also something going on about being in a boat. The only thing that I remember about that is that we had a pile of stuffed penguins and two fell overboard so we had to do a U-turn to go back and pick them up, but I don’t remember anything else about that.

Breakfast at 12:15 is definitely the right way to go and then I came back to look at some file-splitting. I managed to track down another digital sound file which I could then split up at my leisure, but as for the three other albums that I chose today, I had to do that track by track by track.

But I managed to solve a little mystery as to why I could never find one album anywhere at all. The album that I have was picked up in a secondhand shop somewhere in Europe all those years ago and I’ve never been able to trace its provenance.

But searching more deeply into this and comparing track listings on a music-business site to which I have access, I discovered that the album that I bought was a German limited edition budget release of an album much more well-known.

So that resolved that issue and I was able to proceed.

Having dealt with these issues, I turned my attention to the photos from July for what was left of the afternoon (which wasn’t much).

By the time that I had finished I had finally managed to leave Reykjavik and it’s the next morning as I’m watching the sun rise over Snæfellsjökull in North-West Iceland. And I remember it well and just how pleasant it was too.

There was the customary hour on the guitar, all of which was spent on the bass. As it happened, “Old Admirals” by Al Stewart and “Tangled Up In Blue” by Bob Dylan came round on the playlist so I spent half of that time working out a bass line to each one.

But like anything else, I can always think of something better a little later on.

This evening I had a little bake-in.

The half-baguette that was left over from Belgium was beyond stale so I made myself some garlic butter and treated myself to some garlic bread, seeing as I hadn’t had any lunch today.

jam pie jam turnover place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallBut with it being Sunday evening and pizza night, I reckoned that I ought to make a dessert as well. I had rice pudding last week and I had no cooking apples left, but I did have a jar of jam that I had bought in Belgium and another one that was opened here.

That was the cur to make a jam tart but it ended up as being a jam pie – strawberry jam with desiccated coconut.

And the pastry that was left was rolled out flat and was used to make a jam and coconut turnover. No sense in wasting anything.

And I now know that the new 16cm pie dish that I bought needs just one roll of pastry to make a pie, and there will be a little pastry left over.

nuit eglise st paul granville manche normandy france eric hallThe pizza was delicious as usual and the jam turnover went down a treat with some of the coconut dessert stuff.

Despite the quarantine regulations, I went out for my evening run or two. I have to keep up my health and going out in the evening I’m not likely to encounter anyone else.

My first run was quite good except for the path which was rather waterlogged. It looked as if there had been some rain during the day that was responsible for all of that.

night escalier moulin a vent granville manche normandy france eric hallMy path brought me round to the lookout over the town round about where the escalier du moulin a vent – the Windmill Staircase – comes down onto the little flat piece of land at the landward end of the rocky outcrop.

Just there is a concrete bunker or two, part of the Atlantic Wall from World War II and the inner row of ramparts from the medieval town.

It’s really quite amusing in a way to see two relics of two different times and two completely different types of warfare so close to each other like this. And in the end, neither of them did the job that they were supposed to, being as they were, completely by-passed by events elsewhere.

night granville manche normandy france eric hallThe view across to the Eglise St Paul was very impressive tonight so I took a photo but I still have to work hard on my night-time technique to make any improvement.

So I turned my attention to my second run and made it all the way up to the second ramp and a good half-dozen paces up that slope. That’s something that I couldn’t have done a few weeks ago.

What’s important to me is that I can tell how my health is holding up by how far I can run and how I feel afterwards. And in the absence of any medical follow-up from the hospital, I have to self-check and this is the best way that I know how.

Hence my evening walks and runs.

Despite my long lie-in today, I’m feeling quite tired so I’m off to bed. And wondering what tomorrow is going to bring. Here in Granville we seem to have been lucky right now but of course that can change at any moment.

Tuesday 10th March 2020 – I WAS RIGHT!

neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallIt WAS a good idea to go out early this morning to have a look at the gravel boat that had arrived during the night to make sure that it was indeed Neptune that had honoured us with her presence.

As you can see, here she is all fully loaded and deep in the wtaer and all of the hatches are battened down. It’s round about 16:00 and she’s not even been in the harbour 24 hours.

This could well be one of the quickest turn-rounds that we have seen.

neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAt something like 10:40 this morning when I was out and about to see what was going on, she was nothing at all like in the previous photo.

Loading hadn’t been on the go for long, as you can see. They’ve started loading from the stern and working down towards the bow, she’s well-down at the stern and the bow is quite high out of the water.

That’s a clear indication that they haven’t been going long and they have about 2200 tonnes of gravel to put in her.

This morning, to my surprise, i was awake at about 05:20. But not for long, though. I was soon back to sleep.

Even more surprisingly, I managed to beat the third alarm yet again. That shows a kind of courage and determination that I thought that I’d lost.

After the medication I had a look at the dictaphone. And there was plenty to go at on there. I’d been a busy boy during the night.

At some point during the night I’d awoken to find myself telling a story about some kind of radio programme that I’d been doing that involved travelling on a ship. I was recounting this story and when I reached the end I suddenly found that the day was wrong. It wasn’t in fact going out on the day that I thought it was. The ship was going out some other day so I ended up having to retrace my steps and come back again. It was all extremely weird because it was all so lifelike while I was recounting this story.
Later on I was in some town in between Cologne and Frankfurt and had to go to meet either Jackie or Alison – I can’t remember who. The idea was that I would catch the TGV – there would be one quite regularly between the two, or was it Vienna? Might have been Vienna even I dunno. There would be some kind of TGV regularly between them. I had to start making enquiries but I found that the town where I was staying, there was no TGV. It didn’t stop. I had to go all the way back to Cologne or Stuttgart or somewhere to get onto the train. I thought “this can’t be right”. There must be some kind of local train between here and wherever the other person was. So I started to make enquiries. I found a little station where I could conceivably get a train back to Stuttgart and then get the TGV down there. So I started t think about doing this. Then I suddenly looked at my watch and it was 13:54 and I had to be down there for 17:00. I’d let all this time lapse so I thought that the only way that I was going to get down there is to drive down there. But then I had the problem of leaving my car ad that’s going to be extremely awkward. I was in a library while all this was going on and of course there were some books on display that I wanted to sit and read. In the meantime all kinds of things were going through my head about what would happen if I left my vehicle unattended wherever I was supposed to be and would it be painless about the parking, all that kind of thing. In the end I was totally overwhelmed by all this kind of thing
And at another stage of the proceedings I’d been with another friend of mine again, one who featured a short while ago. We’d been wandering around all the clubs. There was a snooker club place that we went to, a sports club and we went in there again and there was a TV. We thought about watching the football so he was flicking through the channels on the TV trying to find the football but we couldn’t seem to find it. There was some guy, a young guy, sitting there trying to watch something as well but he wasn’t finding anything so we ended up talking to him. He was a down-and-out kind of person. Again it was a case of time running out and we needed to be somewhere else.

There was more to it than that, but as you are probably eating your tea or something right now, I’ll spare you the gruesome details.

After breakfast I attacked the digital sound-file splitting. Two of them were straightforward – quite easy in fact. The third was more complicated as it contained more than it should have done. That involved tracking down through about 20 studio reference files until I found the reference to the version that I had.

But as for the fourth, it was a very obscure album to start with, from 1966 from a record company that has long-since disappeared featuring a couple of artists who have disowned their work from this period.

Reference to the album itself helped me unravel some of it but the rest was … well … not easy. I’ve managed to find a discography of the work of the artists and looking in the tracks for the phrases that represent the titles (it’s a good job that it wasn’t an instrumental) I reckon that I’ve managed to do it justice.

There’s still no clue as to what this master tape relates to, but I’ve now ended up with a very rare, and very special version of Julie Driscoll singing “This Wheel’s On Fire” long before Bob Dylan actually recorded it himself. That must be something.

fishing boats ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThis was the cue for me to go out and see what was going on down in the harbour.

The weather was, once again, completely miserable outside. It wasn’t actually raining but it wasn’t far off and there was haze out everywhere. The harbour gates can’t have long closed because the fleets of fishing boats were out ther eheading to their stations.

At least, I think they were fishing boats. I couldn’t see a thing in this claggy mist.

yacht english cnahhel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallA little closer towards the shore the view was slightly better. Not much, but at least I could see what I was supposed to be looking at.

That’s actually a yacht, heading out in the wind towards the Ile de Chausey in the wind, and good luck to him too. I must admit that it did make me feel rather envious seeing him out there.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m on a fitness thing right now. I’ve upped my daily walks from two to three, I’m doing two lengths of running, and my morning stroll into town for my dejeunette for lunch is the longest way possible

yachts english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallThat means walking right down to the lighthouse and instead of cutting across the lawn, going down the steps and right round the headland where I came to grief last summer.

And as I tuened the corner right at the bottom, I was treated to the sight of three more yachts coming round in squadron formation.

It’s not very often that you see yachts out there in the middle of the week when it isn’t a school holiday, so I’ve no idea what is happening. There must be something special going on to attract them like this.

la granvillaise charles marie trawler chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric halland there’s more excitement round by the chantier navale

We saw the number of boats under repair dwindle down to none at the end of last week, and then yesterday we had a couple in there. But today, joining La Granvillaise and a fishing boat is another fishing boat and the yacht Charles-Marie.

So it’s All Systems Go down there right now, and that’s good news for the port. A thriving and successful chantier navale will encourage boat owners to keep their boats here and assure the success of the port.

digger crane loading gravel neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith the tide being now on its way out, the harbour gates were closed so I could walk across the top to the other side of the harbour to see what was happening with Neptune.

But first, that row of pontoons that I mentioned yesterday that looked as if it might be new. Unfortunately it isn’t. They must have been cleaning them, that’s all because it’s still the same old pontoons – just looking nicer.

So I went to see what was happening down at the other end of the harbour.

digger crane loading gravel neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFor some unknown reason, they aren’t actually using the conveyors to load up the ship.

There’s a digger bringing the stuff out of the gravel bins and dumping it in a heap at the foot of one of the big cranes, and the crane is picking it up with a grab and dropping it into the hold of Neptune.

I”m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before but there’s a quarry near Avranches that produces a very high-grade fine stone that is eminently suitable for mixing with asphalt.

digger crane loading gravel neptune port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere are two asphalt plants in the south of the UK, one near Shoreham and the other near Whitstable and they buy their stone from the quarry here at Avranches, and the gravel boats ferry it across.

And that, of course is a country that thinks that it’s all-powerful and can rule the world, yet it can’t even produce any gravel of its own from the rocks that exist on its own shores. It’s when you think about things like this that you realise just how much of a joke this Brexit really is.

As for Neptune herself, she was built in 1992 in Rosslau on the Elbe in Germany and, rarely these days, flies the British flag. And, surprisingly, she has ice-breaking capabilities.

pointing harbour wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was down here I went to see if there was anythign going on with that scaffolding that they had installed at Marité’s berth.

There were two men working on it and from what I could see, which wasn’t very much I have to admit, it looked as if they might just be repointing the wall.

So on that note, I went to La Mie Caline to pick up my dejeunette and then wandered back slowly to my apartment.

First thing that I did back here was a little bit of tidying up to try to make the place a little more respectable, and then to sort out another pile of albums that need digitalising.

That was the cue then to finish off finding the rest of the music for Project 031 and organise all of that. That took me nicely up to lunchtime.

After lunch I started to write out the notes for the radio project, but had an interruption to go for my usual afternoon walk.

peche a pied grand maree harbour entrance light port de light granville manche normandy france eric hallNo pathetic parking to report – just one of the lowest tides of the year (the real lowest one is tomorrow).

We’ve seen plenty of photos of the marker light for the harbour entrance being submerged up beyond the top of the highest red band, but we very rarely get to see it completely out of the water and surrounded by sand and rocks as it is today.

It’s the time for the peche à pied too. Low water is below the level that is reserved for the commercial exploiters so the general public can go out to the unallocated parts below the traditional low water mark and help themselves.

And there are plenty of people out there too having a go, and there will be even more tomorrow with it being school half-day.

One of my neighbours was out there too so we had a little chat.

On the way back, I had something of a shock.

A gaggle of schoolkids and a couple of teachers went past me on a classe découverte and one of them was the absolute spitting image – and I really do mean that – of someone who has figured in our adventures, in one form or another, on numerous occasions.

It made me look twice to make sure that I wasn’t hallucinating about this. It really was quite unsettling.

Back here I finished off my notes and then dictated them. But I didn’t finish editing them because I … errrr … closed my eyes for a little while. That’s the kind of thing that’s depressing me considerably.

Tea tonight was the leftover stuffing from yesterday mixed with a can of kidney beans and rolled into a couple of taco rolls, with rice and vegetables. Plenty of stuffing left over, so that’s a job for Friday night I recon and my “leftover curry”.

Pudding was apple pie and that coconut soya dessert stuff. And even though I say it myself, my apple pie is delicious and I’ll make some more like that. But I’ll remember to put the nutmeg and cinnamon in it too.

night brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd then I went out for my evening walk, with my little NIKON 1 J5 and the f1.8 18.5mm lens for company.

There was sole wid and low cloud, but apart from that, there was an impressive view and I could see for miles. That encouraged me to have a play around with the camera and the lens to see what it could do.

It was set on shutter priority at varying shutter speeds and I took several photos of the view across to Brehal-Plage from different points with diferent settings.

night brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallWhat with one thing and another, I wasn’t expecting it to do very much and a couple of examples were filed under CS as you might expect.

But given the limitations of what I’m doing and the equipment that I’m using, the results of those that survived the cull are not unacceptable. A blind man would be pleased to see them.

In between all of this, I managed to fit in a couple of runs down my normal track. The first along the north side of the walls and the second across the place Maurice Marland

night brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd to my surprise, I managed to run on for a fair distance too, well past my usual finishing post. even part-way up the ramp on run number two.

But at the top of the ramp I had a look across to the port to see if I could see neptune. But no. In probably one of the quickest turn-round times ever, the harbour gates are open and she’s been and gone already. She’s not there now, the ground’s all flat. And she’s on her way to Whitstable.

It really WAS a good job that I went to see her this morning and didn’t leave it until later.

night brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile you admire the best photo of the bunch, taken at 1/20 second at f1.74 on ISO3200, I was feeling so enthusiastic (which is not like me at all) that I continued my walk a little and actually managed a third run down another one of my running tracks.

Yes, I’m keeping the pressure on and I’m determined to improve my basic health even if I can’t do much about my illness. Running 800-900 metres might be no big deal for some, but for someone my age who is slowly dying of a debilitating illness, it’s pretty good.

Back here, I’ve been writing up my notes and listening to music. But now I’m off to bed. I have important things to do tomorrow so I need to be on form.

Sunday 3rd November 2019 – I HAD A …

… rather late day today. In fact my timetable was pushed back quite considerably.

It started quite late too – but then again it IS a Sunday and I’m allowed to lie in bed. No-one was happier than me to notice that the time when I awoke was 09:30. I’ve needed a night like that.

Plenty of time to go on a ramble during the night and when I’ve made any sense (such as it is) of the incoherent ramblings on the dictaphone I’ll tell you all about it.

So it was a slow start to the day and with it being a Sunday, I didn’t do much at all. 7 entries on the dictaphone was the most important part of the day’s work, and there were quite a few lengthy ones in there. That’s why I missed my morning walk and why I didn’t finish until after 16:00 (with an interruption for lunch of course).

As well as the lengthy ones that I mentioned, there was another one where I fell asleep again in mid-dictate so I’ll never know how that one ended.

storm in english channel beach plat gousset granville manche normandy franceOne thing that I did was to find the time to go outside for my afternoon walk.

This storm, which has a name by the way, was still raging outside with an incredible violence. There were times when any kind of forward progress was impossible, with Tempète Amélie blowing me backwards.

But nevertheless I kept on pushing forwards. As Bob Dylan once famously said, “the only thing I knew how to do was to keep on keepin’ on”

storm in baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceIn the absence of the morning walk I went on an extended hike around the headland on the new path and then down and back through the town.

As I rounded the headland, I was out of the worst of the storm but even here in the Baie de Mont St Michel it’s whipping itself up into a frenzy.

And, surprisingly, despite the violence of the wind, there was a fog of sorts out there. And the answer to that clearly isn’t Blowin’ in the wind, is it?

Back home and fuelling up with a nice warm coffee, I cracked on with updating the web pages and that’s another pile of those done. I’m making progress with that.

But I was so carried away that I ran past tea-time and it was 20:00 when I started to prepare the pizza. And then after half an hour and it still hadn’t cooked, I realised that I had had the setting for the heat turned down. No wonder things took so long yesterday.

Still, it was delicious, and so was the rice pudding that followed it down.

fishing boat setting out to sea port de granville harbour manche normandy franceTotally alone on my evening walk tonight. But then again it was 22:00.

Not quite alone though. There was a trawler heading off out into the open seas despite the storm. People still have to eat, so fishermen still need to fish.

And my hat goes off to them going out there in weather like this.

At one stage of my walk I broke into a run again, and I managed to do the full length of my little track. Mind you, I bet that I’ll suffer for it tonight.

A busy day tomorrow so I’m off to bed early. I’ll let you know how the Day of Judgement went.

Friday 8th February 2019 – I HAD A MESSAGE …

… today on the telephone. “Your parcel will be delivered on 11th February”.

Now I don’t have a delivery planned or an order outstanding so I didn’t have a clue what it might be. I suspected that it might be some kind of scam.

But then I had another idea.

I had a look at the British Government’s Public Service website. And sure enough – there on my private page is a little note “Passport Application status – ‘issued'”.

That was quick – a lot less than the 6-week time limit that is advertised. That can only be good news. So after Monday, I can push on with a project that has been sitting on the back burner for several weeks.

In view of my recent difficulties I decided last night to go to bed somewhat earlier than of late and even not set an alarm for the morning to give me an opportunity to sort myself out. And so waking up at 06:35 wasn’t really quite what I had in mind.

That’s not the best of it either. I was awake at least three times during the night – once as early as 01:20. So you can see that I’m becoming rather fed up of this.

Three different travels during the night too. The first one involved some woman who had been charged to make a meal – possibly a pie – for some kind of meeting. But as time passed on, it became clearer and clearer to everyone that she was an alcoholic and as time passed on she became less and less coherent until she ended up sitting there in an alcoholic stupor.
The second part of the night’s activities involve me being in Macon, where I spent a summer once back in my youth. I was travelling somewhere which involved passing by the big airport at Lyon and so it involved taking the TGV but although we were certainly on the rails (which will come as a mjor surprise to regular readers of this rubbish) we were actually on board a coach.
Thirdly, I don’t remember very much about this but it involved some woman and there was some passing reference to her connection with Shirley Temple – people were comparing her with that actress for some reason, although presumably not with Graham Green’s review.

After breakfast I pushed on with the photo text database. What with one thing or another that took me right up until midday. And I’m now well back into December’s photos. It’ll keep me out of mischief for quite some time.

There was an interruption at Midday though. Rosemary rang me up for a chat and we were on the phone putting the world to rights for a good hour and a half. Not that our ideas will ever be accepted by anyone – they are far too serious and sensible.

After lunch, I cracked on with updating some of the blog entries. I’m now back as far as 23rd January and there will be more done over the weekend if I’m not interrupted by other events.

lifeboat statue baie de mont st michel st pair sur mer granville manche normandy franceTalking of interruptions, I went out for my afternoon walk.

You can see what the weather was like simply by comparing this photo here with the photo taken from the same spot yesterday.

There was a howling gale, a spattering of rain and it was freezing cold. Not the right kind of day to be out at all but I have to keep on keeping on, as Bob Dylan famously said.

lighthouse atlantic wall bunker pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceOne thing that occurred to me was that while I’ve been on my travels I haven’t taken a photograph of the lighthouse down the road just recently.

You can also see one of the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall to the right of the lighthouse, and in the foreground is one of the emplacements for the large naval guns that were positioned here.

You might also be able to see a cannon of some description immediately to the right of the lighthouse. there are several all dotted about, all of them damaged

chantier navale tidal harbour port de granville harbour manche normandy franceA little further around the Pointe du Roc there was a good vies of the tidal harbour.

The tide was right out and all of the boats were aground on the mud bank.

St Pair-sur-Mer is in the background shrouded in the mist, and on the right is the ship repairer’s.

As for the objects in the foreground, I’m not sure what they might be. I reckon that they are lobster traps whereas others think that they might be dredging buckets.

Back here I carried on with my work – until about 17:30 when, overwhelmed with fatigue, I crawled into bed for an hour or so.

And then I was off on my travels. I was doing something and Rosemary was there. I had a cat, a black one but one that had the same shape as my grey one, and Rosemary was trying to pick it up. I ended up on a rafter going across the ceiling and the cat could only climb so far after me, so she took a flying leap – and missed, falling to the floor. But she found something else – a piece of wood – to climb up and come to join me on my rafter.

There were a couple of sorry-looking potatoes left over in the kitchen so for tea I made a potato and lentil curry. Totally delicious it was too.

storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy franceOutside later this evening, the wind wasn’t all that strong but the sea was probably the best that I have ever seen.

The waves were totally astonishing – roaring up over the sea wall at the Plat Gousset and soaking just about everyone and everything down there.

It seemed like hours, but it was only about five minutes that I was standing there watching them. It was quite hypnotic.

On the way back, I bumped into someone who actually said “bonsoir”, and also Minette who had a little stroke.

But now I’m going to go to bed. have a nice early night. Shopping tomorrow and I need to be on form. Not that I feel much like it.

storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france

storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france
storm high seas plat gousset granville manche normandy france

Saturday 19th September 2015 – SOMEONE IS ON A POWER TRIP …

canada new brunswick fredericton police blocking road suspicious package bomb harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015 … and, just for a change, I’m not talking about the farces of Law and Order either.
What we have here is a “suspicious package” in the middle of the festival, and everywhere is cordoned off by the police.

But what we do have is two of the Festival volunteers, pushing (and I DO mean pushing) people out of the way, yelling at everyone, and generally being on a major control freak exercise. I asked them what was going on and they told me that it’s “a police incident”. And so when I asked what kind of “incident” I was told that it was nothing to do with me.

And when I asked them how come, as festival employees, they were dealing with a “police incident”, they walked away. And so when I asked them if I could ask another question, one of them replied “yes, I DO mind. I’m not answering”, and carried on walking away.

canada new brunswick fredericton police blocking road suspicious package harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015And so I went 20 yards further on to a police officer, who made a full and complete statement without any inhibitions, even telling me that “no-one is taking it very seriously but we have to check it out just the same”.

But this kind of behaviour by festival employees, assaulting members of the public (because pushing someone is an assault of course and had it been me on the receiving end of it then the matter would not have rested there), being aggressive and abandoning their festival duties in order to go on a major power trip is something that is inevitably going to have repercussions as far as the festival is concerned.

And not only that, on the main street I counted at least two other “acts” that included backing tapes. Whatever is the festival coming to, that it is abandoning the principles under which it was founded?

canada new brunswick fredericton steve hill montreal harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015If you are a solo performer and need more than just a guitar, then this is exactly how you do it.

This is a guy from Montreal called Steve Hill and he’s playing guitar and singing. And not only that, if you have a closer look at the photo you’ll see that he has a bass drum, another drum, a hi-hat, a tambourine and a set of cymbals, that he plays by hitting them with some kind of extension fastened to his guitar.

canada new brunswick fredericton steve hill montreal harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015He had another guitar too, and that had a maracca attached to the end as well so he could shake his maraccas during the performance.

I was amazed to see that he didn’t have a mouth-truss and a gob-iron, which was what I would have expected to see in a solo performer, and I did have a little muse to myself that had he had a really good plate of baked beans for lunch he could have played the trumpet too.

But I’m a big fan of one-man shows and I have appeared in several, but these were usually named after the size of the audience.

canada new brunswick fredericton steve hill montreal harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015But joking apart, I do have to say that I really enjoyed his performance. He was certainly a very competent performer and he had quite a good voice too.

This is what being a solo performer is all about. Using backing tapes and the like is selling the public, and the festival, short.

canada new brunswick fredericton oland monteith nackawic harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015Talking of mouth trusses and gob-irons, this is what I mean.

This is a guy called Oland Monteith and he comes from up the road in Nackawic, and he is an excellent representation of what the festival is all about – the old man sitting on the porch with the guitar and mouth organ singing the blues – in this case the Folsom Prison Blues.

canada new brunswick fredericton oland monteith nackawic harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015You might – or might not – have realised this, but this is the FIRST real old-man blues act that we have seen at the festival. And by the time that the festival had finished, this was the only one that I had encountered.

What a let-down from the days when I first came to the festival and we had raft after raft of old men singing the blues. Of course, I’ve not had the blues for years – ever since I started on the Prozac of course.

canada new brunswick fredericton north mississippi allstars harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015As for other unusual acts, how about this one?

This is the North Mississippi Allstars and if you look very carefully at the stage and the musicians, you will notice that they have one singer-guitarist and two drummers.

And that’s your lot.

canada new brunswick fredericton north mississippi allstars harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015You might think that the sound that they would be able to create would be rather limited, but nothing could be further from the truth.

They managed to put in a “complete” performance that certainly sounded as if there was nothing missing from the show, and it all went down rather well. Much better than I had expected.

And with all of the above, just WHY do you need backing tapes? And just WHY are you allowed to get away with it at the festival?

And so this morning I was up quite nice and early and had plenty of time to have breakfast and do the paperwork from yesterday without any interruptions.

But I did have an interruption while I was driving into town. However, this was something of a quite welcome interruption. You may remember that I’d sent a note backstage to Ross Neilsen during his performance yesterday, And this was him, ringing me back.

We had quite a lengthy chat, and the result of this is that he will indeed do something for Radio Anglais and that can only be good news. If what he sends me is as powerful as what he performed yesterday then our listeners really will enjoy themselves.

That’s not all either. At a Charity Shop, Strawberry Moose made a few new friends – a couple of girls aged about 8 or 9 were very keen to make his acquaintance while I was having a long chat with their mother.

canada new brunswick fredericton greensky bluegrass harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015And so to the music.

We’ve already seen a couple of acts, right out of running order. The first band that we actually encountered, in strict running order, was Greensky Bluegrass. They come from that well-known haunt of legendary bluegrass music … errr … Minnesota.

canada new brunswick fredericton greensky bluegrass harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015Bluegrass is a long way from being my favourite style of music as you all very well know, but good music is good music, no matter what it is and where it comes from.

But this bluegrass music was so astonishingly good that I doubt if I’ve ever in all my life had a better time at this kind of concert

canada new brunswick fredericton greensky bluegrass harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015We media-types are only allowed to be there for the first three numbers but I was there for probably three quarters of an hour because one of their numbers seemed to go on for ever.

Not that I minded, of course. I could have stayed there all night and listened to them, if I hadn’t had so many other things to be dealing with.

canada new brunswick fredericton greensky bluegrass harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015There were five musicians on stage – and no drummer, which they didn’t need anyway because the guy on the upright bass was a stunning performer who kept perfect time.

They aren’t really suitable for a performance on Radio Anglais unfortunately, but I’ll be checking them out when I return home to see what else they can come up with.

canada new brunswick fredericton yukon blonde harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015On my way to my next venue I passed by the Barracks Tent. There was no performance scheduled for there, but there was certainly something going on.

One of the benefits of my media pass is to be able to enter venues when they are officially closed, and so I went in to investigate, and found myself face-to-face with Yukon Blonde doing a sound check.

canada new brunswick fredericton yukon blonde harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015Yukon blonde’s bassist, as well as being a left-hooker, comes from the UK, which was evident when he shouted across the stage “there’s something the ma”er with your speaker” – not a trace of a ‘t’ between two vowels. I hope that he doesn’t sing like this.

But that apart, they were quite a good group too.

canada new brunswick fredericton yukon blonde harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015I doubted very much that I would be around for their act, seeing as it was timed for 23:00, long after my bed-time, and so I stayed around for the entire sound check.

And it wasn’t a wasted experience either because, as I said, they put out quite a good performance even if it was only a simple sound-check. A shame that their set wasn’t timed for earlier.

canada new brunswick fredericton raoul and the big time harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015Down at the Mojo Tent, Raoul and the Big Time were due to come on stage and so I needed to get a move on if I wanted to catch the act.

This looked like something out of the 1950s, what with the shiny grey suit and pork-pie hat, and this was indeed what we got. Appearances were certainly not deceptive in this case.

canada new brunswick fredericton raoul and the big time harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015Despite the presence of the mouth organ, this was another very good, competent performance.

It seems that Raoul, whoever he is, is something of a well-known performer on the music stage although I have to admit to never having heard him before. And to be honest, it wasn’t my cup of tea and so I wandered off elsewhere.

“Elsewhere” turned out to be tea. There was quite a big gap between the next performances and so I went off to find some food.

We’re overwhelmed by food stalls this year and vegan food is quite popular. Tonight I had 6 hot-vegetable samosas, for $7:00 – and they were totally delicious – and very filling too. I’m doing well for food at the festival and, to my surprise, it’s not as expensive as it might have been.

canada new brunswick fredericton amy helm and the handsome strangers harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015My wanderings took me back at the Mojo Tent (we’ve seen the photos of Steve Hill in the Blues Tent earlier) where Amy Helm and the Handsome Strangers was the next act.

Now let’s forget the music for a moment – let’s talk about Amy Helm, because she was well-worth talking about. She’s someone else of whom I hadn’t heard before, and so I went off to make enquiries.

canada new brunswick fredericton amy helm and the handsome strangers harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015
It turns out that she’s the daughter of Levon Helm who for many years was a member of the band “The Hawks”, which later became “The Band” and backed Bob Dylan during his “rock” phases and went on to have successes of their own.

This was another act that wasn’t really up my street as far as the music went, but there was no doubting the quality of the music, and no doubting the quality of the performance either, because Amy Helm really knew how to put on a show.

She was an entertainer from start to finish and not only that, she clearly had the air of thoroughly enjoying herself on stage.

canada new brunswick fredericton rah rah saskatchewan harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015At the Barracks Tent, I went to see a band called Rah Rah, who come from Saskatchewan apparently.

They were a five-piece band featuring a guitarist-vocalist, a bassist, a violinist, a drummer and a keyboard player who doubled on guitar too, and they produced quite a powerful act that I enjoyed very much.

canada new brunswick fredericton rah rah saskatchewan harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015The sound mix was all wrong however and I couldn’t hear half of the instruments, although that’s not surprising for us in the media pit at the front of the stage.

I was disappointed not to be able to hear the violin though, and I shall have to go around for a fiddle with the violinist later.

canada new brunswick fredericton Waylon Thibodeaux harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015Final act that I caught was back at the Mojo Tent where Waylon Thibodeaux took to the stage.

He’s a ‘cajun from down Louisiana way, and he and his back-up band played just like it too. It didn’t bother me too much because this kind of music is the kind that you can listen to anywhere on any occasion

canada new brunswick fredericton Waylon Thibodeaux harvest jazz and blues festival September 2015And if it’s played in the right kind of spirit with performers who enjoy what they are doing and are able to communicate with the audience, it’s usually a rip-roaring night.

And so this was what we got – a thoroughly enjoyable evening with a good bunch of performers and a lively crowd.

But I didn’t hang around too long. It’s my last night and I want to have an early night as I’m back on the road tomorrow. But today, I had a pile of interesting chats, including one with a cameraman from CBC and another with a young guy at the Rah Rah concert, to name but two.

It makes the time pass so much quicker and make things so much more interesting.

But I’m disappointed to see that the traditional “old-man blues” is no longer popular at the festival. For me, that’s what blues is all about and to legislate it out of the festival is a very sad thing as far as I am concerned.

And by the way …

the photos that I’ve posted for tonight’s acts at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival are only a small sample of the hundreds that I took during the evening. If you want to see any more of those that I took, you’ll need to contact me. Leave a comment and I’ll be in touch.

Tuesday 5th October 2010 – SOUTHERN SHORE OF LAKE ERIE

mar lu motel marblehead ohio usaThis is my motel from last night.

It was rather out of my budget but

  • it was here
  • it was open
  • it had a room
  • it was nice and comfortable
  • it had a good situation right on the waterfront

and you can’t say fairer than that.

lorry fitted with wheels for running on railway lines sandusky usaAnd remember years ago when we saw that lorry driving up the railway line and I thought that it was an optical illusion?

So here’s another one and you can see by the fittings underneath it that it’s not an optical illusuon and these lorries do actually exist. I had a chat to the workers – apparently they are rail welders and check the rails for cracks, which they weld up if they can, or signal for replacement if they can’t.

raw sewage discharge into lake erie sandusky ohioLake Erie has a reputation of being the filthiest lake in the world, with all kind of industrial discharges into the water.

But that’s not all that is discharged into the lake, judging by this sign. And to think that there’s a beach resort just a couple of miles up the road. Not that the USA would care too much about that, I suppose.

vermillion inland waterways museum ohio usaThis is the Vermillion Inland Waterways Museum, or some such name. It goes without saying that it was closed when Casey, Strawberry Moose and I visited. But then again, I wasn’t expecting anything else.

And Vermillion is the birthplace of Lester Allen Pelton who invested the “Pelton Wheel” type of water turbine. I had a quick look around but couldn’t see anything in the town to commemorate him.

marina vermillion ohio usaThe Vermillion Museum is situated in Ferry Road, which tells you such a lot about the history of the town, and it its fortune has always been based around the water.

Today, it’s famous for its marina and attracts thousands of water-borne tourists each year (who I bet haven’t read the notice in the harbour down the road at Sandusky). Nevertheless, it’s a nice pretty little place even in this kind of weather.

cleveland ohio usaThat’s Cleveland, Ohio, just down there. I was planning to park up and go for a little wander around but just after this photo I was engulfed in this most astonishing rainstorm the like of which I haven’t seen in ages.

That put paid to all of my plans – I wasn’t going to set foot out of the car in this kind of weather. I stayed put and carried on driving.

But one thing astonished me about Cleveland is that not only did it have buses, it had dedicated bus lanes too. Imagine that in the USA!

aldi food store cleveland ohio usaAnd that wasn’t all that surprised me about Cleveland either. Here on the corner of Lakeside Boulevard and East 315th Street is an Aldi. I had to go in for a look around.

And my conclusion? Well, the only resemblance that it bears to the European version of the shop is the sign on the shop front. For a start, the Bargain Section is total rubbish, something that would never be the case in a European Aldi, and no-one from Europe would ever recognise any of the products on sale here. The “German” potato salad bore no resemblance to any potato salad that any German Aldi has ever sold.

Oooohhhhh! Now take a look at this.

rover sd1 ohio usaI’ve been musing to myself as I’ve been driving through Ohio that I haven’t seen any old cars around and that’s been something of a surprise. But here on the way out of Cleveland near Madison, I’ve encountered an old Rover SD1.

You don’t see any of these in the UK these days – they’ve all been broken for the V8 engines that people have fitted into Land Rovers, so no-one was more surprised than me to see this one looking comparatively fit and healthy in the USA. However did it manage to come here?

point park ashtabula ohio usaThis is Ashtabula – one of the very few working harbours remaining on Lake Erie these days. All kinds of stuff – coal, gravel are shipped from here and it has the reputation of being one of the most polluted places on the lake – and that’s saying something!

Bob Dylan sang about it, Jack Kerouac wrote about it, it’s also been the site of one of the USA’s worst railway disasters, and the rail ferry that sailed from here across the lake to Canada sank just off-shore following a collision. It was 52 years old at the time.

From here, I cross into Pennsylvania having missed out on the fate that befell Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, William Schroeder and Sandra Scheuer (and, incidentally, Joseph Lewis, John Cleary, Thomas Grace, Alan Canfora, Dean Kahler, Douglas Wrentmore, James Russell, Robert Stamps and Donald MacKenzie, the suffering of whom is largely ignored by the media).

In fact, you can tell that we are elsewhere other than Ohio by the amount of rubbish and old cars lying around. And I don’t mean that pejoratively either, because I’d been making little notes to myself all along today’s journey about how unusually (and unacceptably) tidy everywhere in Ohio is – it’s no place for me.

I’m running on fumes looking for a petrol station (which I eventually find, manned … "personned" – ed … by someone from Swindon, Wiltshire) and looking for a motel, as the night is upon me. Eventually, the town of Erie comes up with something and so I settle myself in.

It’s heaving down with rain and I’m not going out.