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Wednesday 27th April 2021 – RULE NUMBER 14 …

… of “when you live by the seaside near a fish-processing plant” is “never go out without wearing a hat”.

So guess who forgot to do that today when he took the rubbish out?

And before you ask the obvious question, the answer is “yes, and from a great height too”. The seagulls around here have an accuracy that puts RAF’s Bomber Command to shame

They say that this kind of thing is supposed to bring one good luck, and I certainly could do with some after the last few days.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Today wasn’t any better, so while you admire a few photos of Thora, one of the little Channel Island freighters and her cargo, I’ll tell you haw it did (or didn’t) transpire.

Despite saying that I was going to have an early night last night, it didn’t end up like that at all as for one reason or another, I was rather side-tracked. It was well after midnight by the time that I finally fell into bed.

There was no hope whatsoever of me leaving the bed at 07:30 when the alarm went off. In fact I slept through all three alarms and it was 08:40 when I finally arose from the dead.

Actually, when I finally did leave the bed I felt much better than I had done for quite a while. But it wasn’t to last.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022In fact the morning was rather like yesterday when I crashed out once I’d taken my medicine – because I did the same again today.

And no surprise either that I was right out of it for about an hour and when I came round again, it took yet another while to get going again.

All of this is boding ill for probably the most significant weekend that I will have had in 30 years.

But anyway, I digress … “again” – ed. Once I’d pulled myself together I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

thora leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Last night I started off at my Aunt Mary’s. She was living in Central London right at the top of a huge skyscraper that was 194 metres tall and had 194x194m² of glass in the outside of it, the facade. We were right on top. I’d been to fetch a coffee and was walking back to my desk which was on the top floor. I was having to do it very slowly, very carefully because I was on the verge of having a panic attack about being so high and that’s not like me at all, is it? up there. I was glad that it was foggy and I couldn’t see the ground. She was telling me that she would only go up there id it was misty when she couldn’t see the ground either.

And then I was in Scotland last night watching a football match. The match had ended and there was a crowd of us milling around. I had to use the bathroom. It was New Year’s Eve so I was going to buy a meat pie and chips for a carry-out. The place at the football ground was exceptionally good as I seemed to remember so that was where I was going. I was talking to a few people. We were all discussing different kinds of food, where we could buy it etc. I had my heart set on this pie and chips. It was late at night when this match finished. I said that I wasn’t in any rush because my next train down to the south was at 04:25. I’d have to loiter around Glasgow station until then anyway no matter what time I arrived there. The discussion went on about the trains and the speeds at which they travelled non-stop down to London from Glasgow. Sometimes there would be the police waiting at Euston to catch them for speeding on the road. It was full of all kinds of nostalgia like that. But me looking forward to having a meat pie – can you imagine? A Scottish “bridie”!

Having dealt with all of that I’ve spent most of the rest of the day on the photos from the Canadian High Arctic in 2019. Right now we’ve sailed back up the Rae Strait and are currently in the Barrow Strait waiting for a coastguard to come and rescue one of our passengers who was disabled after an accident on board.

It wasn’t as straightforward as it might have been either. Not the editing, but the merging. I had three cameras on the go at once – the NIKON D500, the NIKON 1 J5 and the one on the telephone.

Well, not all at once, but I was swapping between them all during the course of the journey and with editing and renumbering the photos, the aim was to run all of the photos in consecutive numbers in date and time order regardless of the camera on which I took them.

And then I discovered 5 that I’d forgotten on the NIKON 1 J5, so I had to go back and renumber a huge pile of photos and move the explanatory text around to correspond with the new numbering.

With going out to the doctor’s this afternoon I also had a shower. And cut my hair too. Next time that I have a close encounter with a seagull I won’t have quite so many problems

There were the usual pauses throughout the day for breakfast, coffee, lunch and (very regrettably) another crash-out this afternoon as well. Another good one too and I’m pretty much fed up of all of this. I’ve been in this state for pretty much the last few years, apart from a few months here and there.

Anyway, eventually I set out for the doctor’s to see what he could tell me about my MRI scan.

fishing boats l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As usual, on my way out I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne where I could look down into the port and see what was happening.

The tide is on its way in right now and the fishing boats are coming home to roost. There’s a whole gaggle of them congregating at the wharf by the Fish Processing Plant, jostling for position around L’Omerta who looks as if she’s still there since yesterday.

Unfortunately, at this distance with the NIKON 1 J5 with its standard lens I’m not able to identify any of the other fishing boats down there.

There’s something parked on the lower level underneath the fish processing plant too. I can just about make out something down there but I can’t see what it is.

la grande ancre trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There is a pile of other fishing boats on their way into the harbour too.

By the looks of things the gates into the inner harbour aren’t open so they are having to wait around. And in the background, we have La Grande Ancre moored over by the ferry terminal.

And while we’re on the subject of the ferry terminal … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ve heard on the grapevine that the two Channel Island ferries are in Jersey having a trial run docking at the newt ferry terminal there.

That seems to indicate that it’s definitely “on” then, and they’ll be on their way.

cherry picker rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022From there I wandered off down the hill in the Rue des Juifs towards town.

The cherry-picker is still there today, but its operating arm is folded up so I was keen to see what was happening about that.

In actual fact, there was one of the operators collecting together a huge bundle of wood, presumably to lift back up onto the roof, although they seemed to have finished the roof on the one that was so badly damaged in the fire.

A wooden framework and then a large tarpaulin of some description thrown over the top to keep out the weather.

roofing burnt out houses rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022This is what they have been doing.

They’ve done two of the properties and are now working on the third. That wooden framework on the house on the extreme right looks quite substantial, which it will need to be to withstand some of the storms that we have around here.

The windows are blocked off too, to keep out the weather and also (and much more likely) to keep out the seagulls.

But they won’t be leaving it like that for long, I reckon. It won’t take much of a wind to tear that covering and that won’t be any good.

scrap on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022We saw just now the little freighter Thora all loaded up and on the point of leaving the harbour.

It looks as if she’s brought in a good load with her too. I imagine that she’s dropped off all of this stuff onto the quayside ready for someone to take away.

But you can tell that I’m getting old. 20 years ago I would have been down on the quayside late at night removing the number plates off that van ready to reuse on something else. Foreign plates are like gold-dust in my armoury.

One of these days I’ll write a book about my early life and include a few details about my mis-spent youth but I need to swot up carefully on any Statutes of Limitations and check up a few Extradition Treaties first.

Not for nothing did I go hiding in the mountains of Central France

removing scrap port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there was a pile of junk lying around on the quayside that had been there for several weeks.

There was someone here today moving that lot away too. But it sounded quite metallic to me so maybe it isn’t the remains of the bouchot stakes that they pulled up on teh Ile de Chausey. I was in half a mind to go for a closer look but I noticed the time and had to run for my appointment.

At the doctors, he didn’t say too much about my knee. What he has done is to give me a letter to take to a Sports Therapist whom he knows who might well be able to help. He doesn’t think that surgery is going to be much good.

He reckons that it might be due to age but I told him that he was talking nonsense. My other knee is exactly the same age as this one and there’s nothing wrong with that.

While he was at it, he gave me a prescription for my Aranesp and another for a blood test tomorrow.

There’s a new assistant in the chemist’s who didn’t understand the procedure about my Aranesp. It’s rather complicated because it doesn’t follow the usual French medical procedure so another assistant and I had to explain it to him.

And while I was there I bought some magnesium tablets. The doctor had noticed that I had a deficiency and thinks that one or two symptoms from which I might be suffering may have something to do with that.

There weren’t any neighbours prowling the streets this afternoon so I had an uneventful walk home

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022as usual, I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

The weather wasn’t as warm as it has been just recently but there were still a few people down there making the most of it, including someone who looks as if he has just come out of the water.

Back here I had a coffee and then backed up this month (so far)’s work onto the little memory stick that I take with me to Leuven. I’ll add the rest of the files in due course before I leave on Friday morning (if I ever get going) and update the portable computer as usual on the train.

Tea tonight was a kind of mixture of the leftover stuffing with kidney beans and tomato sauce with pasta and veg. It wasn’t anything special but I have to finish off the odds and ends of food hanging around before I leave. There’s a sweet potato that needs eating so I’m going to try to make some chips with it in the air fryer and see how they come out.

So now I’m off to bed shortly. I have to find some strength and energy from somewhere ready for the weekend otherwise it will be something of a disappointment. In more ways than one

Monday 25th April 2022 – THAT WAS A NIGHT …

… that I would much rather forget. I’ve been having a few of these here and there as well just recently.

Although I was in bed last night at 22:30 ready for my 06:00 start, and feeling tired at that as well , by the time that 04:20 came round and I was still awake, I was thoroughly and completely fed up.

Even more surprisingly, when the alarm did go off at 06:00 I was up quite smartly too even if I didn’t feel much like it. And apart from a little wobble here and there just after lunch, I kept on going all day without really crashing out.

And the chances of that happening – well, not happening – are pretty remote as well the way that things have been just recently.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I sat down and attacked the radio programme that needed preparing.

It was all up and running too at 10:45 and that was a surprise considering all of the interruptions that I had today. There was an early morning coffee, followed by breakfast followed by the nurse coming round early yet again to inject me with the Aranesp ready for my trip away at the weekend.

And having had a visit from the nurse, I had to ring up the doctor for an appointment. I need more Aranesp, having used the last lot, and I have to talk to him about my knee. Now that I’ve had the MRI scan and something has been discovered, I need to find out what is going to happen next.

As well as that, I need a blood test. They upped my medication when I was at the hospital just now, and I need to have the results ready for when I return next Thursday.

There were four radio programmes that I needed to verify today. I’m sending off two today because I won’t be here next Monday, and then there was the one that I prepared last week and never had time to verify, and then there was the one that I’d prepared today. And s much of the rest of the day was spent listening to them to make sure that they passed muster.

While that was going on I was working on the photos from the High Arctic in 2019. Right now I’m on board a zodiac in Flexure Bay off the coast of King William Island on my way to investigate a rather large pod of Beluga Whales.

There were several breaks in this task too. Firstly, I went for a shower. Secondly I had lunch and thirdly I went off for my appointment with the physiotherapist.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022First port – if you pardon the expression – of call was the wall overlooking the harbour on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

Our little game of Musical Ships is continuing this afternoon as well. Although the tide is in, L’Omerta is in with it, tied up at the quayside by the Fish Processing Plant. It must be her turn today.

There are two other boats in the photo too. The one in front looks as if it might be some kind of official boat judging by the colour, but I can’t make out the identity of the one behind her Whoever she is, she’s one of the inshore shell-fishing boats.

philcathane joly france yachts port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022The tide is actually quite well in right now and so one or two fishing boats are heading back to harbour.

This one coming in is Philcathane. Parked up at the ferry terminal is one of the Joly France ferries and the small upper deck superstructure makes me think that she’s the newer one of the two.

And there’s someone standing by the crane too, although there doesn’t look like any freight that needs loading aboard.

There are a couple of yachts out there in the bay behind her having a good sail around too, enjoying the nice weather.

repairing roofs rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022My route into town goes down the Rue des Juifs past the three houses that were devastated by the fire the other week.

There’s been a cherry-picker there for a couple of days with a few workmen in the nacelle. They are putting some kind of wooden framework up there to which they will be covering with a tarpaulin or two.

It’s quite important to keep at least the ones either side of the destroyed house covered in order to stop the elements doing even more damage than the fire has already done, but I think that te one in the centre, on which they were working as I went past, is beyond redemption.

The smell from the fire-damaged structure would be enough to put off anyone who might want to repair it, never mind anyone else.

swimming pool cranes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There’s more activity going on in the inner harbour this afternoon.

There are two cranes that work the freight in the harbour and it looks as if they are having a conference this afternoon. And there are a couple of people in attendance too.

On the quayside is another pile of freight, including yet another swimming pool. That can only mean that one of the Jersey freighters will be coming into port quite soon to which it all away.

There wasn’t anything of any interest going on in town this afternoon so I had a pretty uninterrupted trip up the hill towards the physiotherapist.

She gave me an electro-massage on my knee and then had me doing a few exercises.

While I was there I cancelled my appointment for Wednesday as I’m at the doctor’s, and cancelled them for next week too as I’m on my travels again.

redecorated facade rue georges clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022After she threw me out I headed back into town on my way home for my afternoon coffee.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last couple of weeks we’d seen some scaffolding up against a building in the Rue Georges Clemenceau. Today, I noticed that the scaffolding has gone and we can see what they have been doing.

It’s the building down there that has the nice fresh blue edging. They have done a pretty good job of painting it and it looks quite nice now. I wonder when they are going to paint a few more to match.

fishing boat leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On my way up the hill towards home I walked past the port where I noticed one of the fishing boats heading off out to sea.

Unfortunately she’s not one that I recognise and with only having the NIKON 1 J5 with the standard lens, I’m not likely to be able to enlarge it sufficiently to see its registration number.

Her colours are distinctive enough and I’ll certainly remember her if I ever see her again.

Around here while I was looking at the port I fell in with one of my neighbours on her way home and so we walked up the hill together putting the world to rights.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022When we arrived at the building I went over to the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

Firstly, there wasn’t all that much beach to be on. Even so with the nice sunny weather I was expecting to see a few people down there making the most of it.

However, there weren’t all that many people there this afternoon. all I could see were a couple of people loitering around down there.

No-one in the water as far as I could see though. The weather wasn’t all that warm, I suppose.

fishing boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was plenty of activity going on out at sea.

Even with the standard lens on the camera I could see quite a few boats out there in the bay, although I couldn’t see if they were fishing boats or pleasure craft.

But they were clearly busy so I left them to it and came back here where I bumped into yet another neighbour. It’s my day for being sociable today.

Back here I had a coffee and finished listening to the last of the radio programmes, and then I could see what was going on with the dictaphone.

At some point during the night I must have gone to sleep because there was some stuff on there that I had recorded. Three of us had booked rooms at a hotel (and there’s more to this story than meets the eye too). I’d specified a room next to the other two. I turned up at about 08:30. Of course it was far too early to take my room but I thought that there would be a consigne where I could leave the baggage but they were so busy at reception with people checking out and having breakfast that I had to wait around. Eventually someone came to take over from the night desk staff. We began to chat. He discussed my special requirements – I’d listed dozens of special requirements, some of which were quite silly but he went through them with me. We entered the lift but I’d forgotten half the stuff. There was some stuff that I didn’t know that I had to bring but eventually I collected everything together end we entered the lift. We went up to the 2nd floor but they were vacuuming there so we had to go up the the second-and-a-half floor and come down the stairs at the back in order to arrive at the consigne where I could leave my baggage.

And then I was living in Winsford again. There was a woman there with 3 small children, girls. They were round at my place. I was looking after them, taking turns to take them to the bathroom etc. They met Tuppence, my black cat. They were asking questions about her, how old she was. I said that she must be at least 20 now. They thought that that was wonderful. One of them had a cat that usually hid in a drawer. When she went to open the drawer of course it wasn’t there. Outside, between my house and the next-door neighbour’s I’d erected a suspension bridge. It looked absolutely magnificent. Everyone thought that it was great. I had to have the neighbour sign a liability waiver so that if anything happened to the bridge with him on it he wouldn’t sue me for it. We had an inspection of the bridge and in the end he signed the paper.

Tea was a stuffed pepper – there was one lying around – and it was delicious. And now I’m going to have a little relax and then go to bed. I’m totally exhausted and I’m surprised that I’ve kept on going so long. It just goes to show that I can do it when I want, even when I’ve taken one of those night-time pills.

Tuesday 19th April 2022 – THINGS ARE MOVING …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 11th April 2022 – I REALLY SHOULD …

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, back to where we ought to be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not now though. I pushed on to the physiotherapist.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 28th March 2022 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what it is with me but having had the news a few weeks ago that Kaatje, my “support worker” (really, my psychiatrist) at Castle Anthrax, is leaving her post at the end of the month, I had the news that Sonia my physiotherapist has decided to leave her post too

It seems to me that they are all sussing me out sooner or later.

Whoever is going to replace Kaatje remains to be seen but I bet that at the physiotherapist’s, they have some retired Bulgarian weightlifter lined up to take over. That is usually about par for the course, isn’t it?

repointing wall rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, in other news, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been keeping an eye on the repairs to the medieval walls, of which there are several miles thereof about the town.

One of the things that they did was to replace the brick capping on top of part of the walls and then leave it unpointed for all of the damp, humidity and frost, whatever else you like to infiltrate.

Anyway, today, they had a bricklaying class out there and to my surprise, they have made a start on repointing the brickwork that they did ever so long ago.

Not that they made much progress this afternoon, so I imagine that they’ll be back over the course of the next few days to complete the task.

scaffolding rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Something else that I mentioned the other day was the scaffolding that they have built over the Rampe du Monte à Regret.

As I was going down the hill I noticed that it was still there so I took a photo of it just for the record. It looks as if it’s going to be there for a few more days yet as they were busy moving the scaffolding around to different parts of the wall.

But anyway, be that as it may, I actually managed to haul myself out of bed just after the alarm went off at 06:00, which surprised me more than it surprised anyone else.

And after the medication, I made a start on the radio programme that I wanted to prepare today.

No records today though, because I was actually working on two at once. Having written the notes for the programme over the last week, I wrote them for the next one this morning and then dictated both one after the other.

There were several interruptions too – for the coffee and for breakfast, and also for the nurse who came round to inject me with my Aranesp ready to go off on my travels.

That prompted me to telephone the doctor for an appointment as I now have run out. That’s for Wednesday morning at 09:30.

Nevertheless, I’ve only prepared the one though. I’ll nibble away at the other here and there over the course of the forthcoming week and see where I end up.

When I finished the programme, I had a listen to it and also to the two that I’m sending off today. Yes. That’s right. I’m not here next week so I need to make sure that my programme will run next week without me.

During the three hours that it took for me to listen to the three programmes I attacked the photos from the High Arctic in 2019. I shifted a good pile of them too and now I’m just arriving at the abandoned RCMP post at Dundas Harbour on Devon island in the Canadian high Arctic.

During a pause here and there, I went and had a shower to clean myself up. I have to look my best for my physiotherapy.

After lunch I carried on with my photos while I listened to the radio programmes and then headed off out.

classe decouverte calean, spartiate, trafalgar, chant de sirenes, black pearl, charlevy fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was going on.

There was plenty of excitement there too this afternoon. All of the trawlers are coming in to unload and I can identify Calean, with Spartiate behind her. Then a couple of unidentified fishing boats with the blue, white and pink Trafalgar behind her.

Just coming in alongside the others is Chant de Sirenes with Black Pearl behind her, and then Charlevy just entering the harbour to the right.

Also on the quayside are several groups of school children.

One of the things that is quite common here in France is what they call the Classe Découverte – the “Discovery Class”.

They take groups of kids away from their natural environment and put them in another one for a week or so in order that they can experience life elsewhere. So what we probably have here is a bunch or two of kids from some inner city schools somewhere who are staying in the Youth Hostel in the town to find out about life in a fishing port.

And with all of the work going on down there with the seafood being unloaded into the vans, they will be learning a lot today.

And I learnt a lot on the way down into the town today. There is a series of steps that I use to test the force in my right knee and I found to my surprise that I could actually haul myself up them today. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do that.

la grande ancre swimming pool freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down in the harbour it looks as if we are going to be having one of the Jersey freighters in port very soon.

One of them has the contract for transporting the swimming pools out to the Channel Islands and with them being expensive items, they won’t want them to be lying around on the quayside for too long.

At least it won’t be going off on board la Grande Ancre. She won’t be taking them but the fact that she’s there in the loading bay means that they will be loading something onto her.

Down into the town I went and then up the hill on my way to the physiotherapists. And the walk wasn’t all that difficult today. Over the last week or so, things seem to have improved from that point of view and I don’t know why.

roofing rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Halfway up the hill I did come to a halt. But not for a breather.

They have been ripping the roof off this building here and they are currently in the process of replacing the woodwork. They certainly seem to have picked the right weather for it at the moment.

At the physiotherapist’s she had me on the couch with her electro-massage thing, followed by five minutes on the cross trainer and then a few exercises. And she showed me an exercise that I can do at home.

After she threw me out I staggered (and it was a stagger too) up the hill and round the corner to Lidl for a few supplies. But to my surprise, they don’t sell baked beans at Lidl and I fancied sausage, beans and chips for tea.

scaffolding on crane new building rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back I went past the building work that’s going on at the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo.

They had the Rue Victor Hugo closed off and they were unloading some scaffolding into the bucket that’s attached to the hook of the crane so I loitered around planning to watch them hoist it up.

When they had finished, they lifted it about a foot off the ground and then they all knocked off for a tea break, which seemed to be a rather strange thing to do.

Dodging yet another classe découverte I ended up in the town centre and picked up a few tins of baked beans from Carrefour. Can’t do without my baked beans.

On the way up the hill I bumped into one of my neighbours coming down, so we had a good chat for a while. I’m not usually the sociable type, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but I have to make an effort seeing as I live amongst them.

person in sea beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went back into the apartment I went to see what was happening down on the beach.

Not too many people down there today with it being a school day, but even so one of our intrepid adventurers had taken to the water. So hats off to him today.

Back in here I had a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone. I started off in Russia. I’d been collecting photos of steam trains and I had a couple of books to identify them. There were hundreds abandoned all over the place that I had photographed. But then the Russian authorities – something had happened and they didn’t want me to take any more photos. They made me sit on a bench in a station to wait for a train back home. The train was going to be in ever so many hours and hours’ time. all I had to do to thumb through were these photos and the couple of books that I had. Somehow something had happened and I ended up in some kind of industrial town in Northern England with terraced houses. The kids there were playing a game in the street. Even then, this was being gradually subsumed into this Russia thing where the kids were having to hang around in the street for hours and hours and amuse themselves which is difficult when you are bored, until something happens. It was very much the same scenario as me being in Russia

And then I was at work again. I’d set out to go to work fairly early but I’d gone off to do something else on the way. I arrived just before 10:00 and put my things on my desk and went into the assembly. When we all came out and went to sit at our desks there was a discussion going on about food and bread. Someone had been overcharged for his lunch sandwich etc. I already had my lunch sandwich for today but I had one for Friday which I was going to have for my breakfast because I hadn’t had breakfast yet. A girl with whom I used to work came over and said that someone saw me out at Peruwelz this morning on my way into work and wanted to know why I didn’t arrive until 10:00. We had a chat but I didn’t actually tell her the reason and I was intrigued to know who it was who had seen me. I was in a car a little later. I was driving and she was with me. We were going down this road that I don’t recognise and through a couple of speed limits. We wee chatting about nothing in particular.

I forgot to mention that somewhere in all of this I’d bought a black Rolls-Royce for £3500, a runner apparently. I had to go to pick it up at some point but I had nowhere to leave it. If it was a runner I could park it in the street or even park it in the place outside my building but I don’t know.

Regrettably, but not unexpectedly, I crashed out later. And for an hour too. Having made 90% of my daily activity today with having had a good session on the cross trainer, that’s enough to finish me off for today.

For tea, I fancied sausage beans and chips but one look at the sausages in the fridge told me that it wouldn’t be sausages that I’d be eating today. Instead, I had a burger with my beans and chips and, as I suspected, the beans from Carrefour were appalling. Not even pepper, grated cheese and rosemary could improve the taste.

So now that I’ve written my notes I’ll have half an hour on the guitar and then go to bed. I’ve had a busy day today and I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow. I need to be on form

Saturday 26th March 2022 – IN SOMETHING OF A …

…. major surprise, the first day of my Welsh revision course actually passed quite well and I’ve no idea why either because as usual we were launched straight into the deep end.

crane ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In something else of a major surprise, I actually caught the crane at the ferry terminal working this morning.

With having my Welsh lesson starting at 10:30 I had to nip into town early for my special bread for lunch and the mushrooms for the pizza. And there as I approached the corner of the street the crane was busily swinging something about.

Of course, at this kind of distance and as far as I was away from the outer wall it’s impossible to see what it was that they were moving around. And the sun shining right into the lens of the camera didn’t help matters at all.

person swimming in sea rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And that’s not all either.

When I went out for my afternoon walk I went as usual to look down at what was happening on the beach and out at sea. And despite the weather I really was surprised to see someone actually in the water this afternoon.

That’s what I call “courage”.

But I’m getting ahead of myself yet again today.

When the alarm went off this morning it was yet another struggle to leave my stinking pit for the real world. Nevertheless, I beat the second alarm clock. Not by much, I have to say, but enough.

After breakfast there was plenty of time to transcribe the dictaphone notes.

The Germans were busy executing a load of prisoners whom they had caught last night, hanging them in groups of so many. After they had done several groups, they decided that they would call it a night for the moment, just as they got to one particular woman. They were all there having a little party I suppose. This woman was sleeping on what was a large bed, the type that you would fit probably a dozen people on. One of the women who was there involved in the executions was with a guy. They were busy eating green apples. They asked this woman if she wanted one but she said no. It created problems with her stomach so they carried on with what they were doing while she was there trying to sleep with all this noise. her hands were tied so she couldn’t do very much. When everyone went off to sleep she tried to free her hands but she wasn’t able to do it. Next morning the hangings started again and she was in the first batch of them to go to meet their maker. Interestingly, where this was all taking place was somewhere round by the corner of Alton Street and Walthall Street in Crewe.

And later we were babysitting a small child for someone. I can’t remember who I was with now but it was male. It might have been my brother. We were babysitting in my house. This woman turned up unexpectedly to take the boy away. It was her grandmother on his mother’s side. She had a friend with her. They walked into my house and had a look around. She said to her partner “just remember before you say anything about the condition of their house, it’s their house”. She said that with one of those long pointed looks down her nose. I thought “you ungrateful cow”. I was just about to tell her what I thought of her when she grabbed the child and left so I chased after her but she had gone. Just then my mother in law turned up with her other daughter in law, her brother’s wife, for measuring our house. We had a tape measure and someone asked to know the length of it so I said that it was 20 metres. They insisted that it was 10 but I could see quite clearly that it was 20. I told the story of this woman coming in. My mother-in-law said “yes, quite” as if she clearly agreed with the first woman. I thought “all these miserable people here . I can’t even live my life quietly on my own without having all of these attacks from all kinds of different people. What made it worse was there I was out of the goodness of my heart looking after this little child and all I received was a heap of abuse, which sounds about pretty much par for the course the way things are these days.

And that’s not all of what happened last. But trust me – you really don’t want to know about the bits that are missing, especially if you are eating your tea right now.

There was also an extremely bad-tempered reply to the e-mail that I wrote last night. Which went basically “I’m not paid to do …” a task that he actually volunteered to do without any prompting, and “ohh, that’s different” – the standard sort of reply that you receive when you mention something that they haven’t considered.

And plenty of other bells and whistles besides

“Ohh, that’s different” – like when the subject crops up about the footballer who is accused of cruelty after kicking his cat and you ask his critics if they’ve just eaten a meal containing the flesh of some animal that someone has actually killed.

crane ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022So climbing down from my soapbox, I headed off into town this morning nice and early just as the shops were opening.

And there at the viewpoint at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne I watched them playing about with the crane but by the time that I arrived at a good viewing position whatever it was that they were moving had gone out of sight.

There were problems going down into town too. There are some steps that go down from the Rue des Juifs to the Place Pelley and someone has erected a scaffolding across them, as I discovered when I was half-way down.

market place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022At the Carrefour I bought a special baguette and a punnet of mushrooms and headed for home.

Although it’s early, the market was in full swing. The barbecue on the right, burning its charcoal, was in full operation. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that two years or so ago the Maire at the time tried to stop him burning charcoal, but he fought the case and won.

The walk back up the hill to home was surprisingly easy. Not only did I not stop for breath, I actually made it up to the top at something like a reasonable speed as well.

That’s not like me these days either, is it?

At 10:30 our lesson began and I was actually already connected up. But not for long. The laptop that I use for Zoom crashed and it took me about 15 minutes for it to fire up again and reconnect.

We’re 15 students in this class, all from South Wales apart from me so I’m confusing them all by saying “efo” instead of “gyda”, “rwan” instead of “nawr”, “dwâd” instead of “dod” and so on which isn’t very helpful. I don’t know why they insist on putting me in a South Walian revision group when my learning provider is registered as Coleg Cambria, which is based in Wrexham in North-East Wales.

We had two coffee breaks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and a lunch hour of course. And to my surprise I managed not to fall asleep either.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As soon as it finished I legged it off outside, rather later than usual, but never mind.

Earlier on, I mentioned that it was a beautiful afternoon. And you can tell that by the crowds of people down there on the beach.

This lot is sitting at the foot of the steps that lead up to the Rue du Nord. And there were dozens of other little groups like this one scattered around all over the place as well, enjoying every minute of the weather.

Including the woman, who we saw earlier up to her waist and beyond in the water. Perhaps I ought to mention that despite the crowds down there, she was the only one who had taken the plunge. It wasn’t that warm.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You’ve seen the crowds on the beach already. Now look at the crowds on the path on top of the cliff.

My route to the lighthouse was dogged by hordes of people pushing pushchairs, walking dogs, holding children and all of that kind of thing. The beautiful weather has brought them out in their droves this afternoon.

And the reason why everyone seems to be on land at the moment is because if you look at the background of the photo you can see that we have the sea mist back again..

There won’t be much sightseeing being done on the water this afternoon.

fishermen in boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022However this photo represents something else completely.

There were a couple of boats that I could actually see and even though the bright sunlight was shining directly into the camera and reflecting off just about everywhere else, I still had a go at it.

These two boats were actually full of fishermen – you can tell by the silhouette of their fishing rods – but what caught my eye was how close they were together, like the two trawlers the other day and there were some strange antics going on aboard.

There are some strange things happening out at sea these days.

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And whatever it was that they were doing, they had an audience watching them.

Down on the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon we had another group of people enjoying the sun and whatever the spectacle was out there with those two boats.

And no dog – or polar bear – to disturb the peace either today.

But I have things to do, places to go, people to see, so I headed off towards the port on the path on the other side of the headland to see what was happening over there.

cabin cruisers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was no change whatever either in the chantier naval or over at the ferry terminal since we last looked.

But there was some water in the inner harbour and there was a small cabin cruiser on its way into port. Presumably the larger one is waiting for a bit more water to come in.

Back here there was football on the Internet. Haverfordwest County v Connah’s Quay Nomads.

And what a match this was. The first shot on target was on 32 minutes and the second shot on target was at 51 minutes. We had a brief flurry of action for 5 minutes immediately after than and then it was “as you were”.

The final score was 0-0 and believe me – both sides were lucky to get nil. After the exciting game we had last Friday night, this was a considerable let-down.

Tea was a burger on a bap, and then I came in here to write up my notes.

Having done that, I’ll have a play on the guitar and then go to bed. No lie-in tomorrow either. I’ve set the alarm as I have Day Two of my Welsh revision weekend. I suppose that if you throw enough of it at a wall, some of it might stick.

Wednesday 23rd March 2022 – A FUNNY THING …

workman suspended on rope rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022 … happened on the way to the for … errr … Physiotherapist’s this afternoon.

There I was walking quietly along the Rue Couraye and suddenly a man dropped down out of the sky right in front of me.

At least, that’s what I thought, but on a closer inspection after he had picked up the paintbrush or whatever it was that he had dropped and was hoisted back up, I could see that he was on a rope.

Cleaning or painting the facade of the building here, I reckon, or doing something of a similar nature.

But fancy a safety harness. When I retiled my roof in the Auvergne I was perched about 50 feet up on a roof holding on with my feet as I nailed down the slates.

And another funny thing that happened was that I walked all the way up the hill in the Rue Couraye to the physiotherapist’s without feeling any agony and it’s been months and months since that’s happened. So what’s going on here?

There was a lot going on last night though. I was in bed early and, for a change, out like a light. Another struggle to raise myself from the dead, and after I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages, I could listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been.

At first, I was at an interview with STRAWBERRY MOOSE on the radio. The presenter was an extremely dominant and aggressive type of personality who basically shouted at the crowd to make everyone settle down and listen to his story. It was certainly a new departure in radio to hear the way that this programme was being presented. I thought that maybe I could take a lesson from this when I’m presenting some other radio programme some time in the future. It was certainly different, telling everyone to “shut up and listen” and “he’s come all this way to give you this story and the least you can do is pay attention”. it was all quite aggressive

Later, I was at work in the office and the ‘phone rang. I had to bring the Escort estate into Brussels. They were selling it so I had to hunt through my drawers for all of the paperwork for it but I couldn’t find anything. There was nothing at all. The boss had said “make sure that you bring the paperwork because we don’t want to have to come up to your place to look for it”. There I was, looking for ages through my drawers and I couldn’t find it anywhere but then 2 people came in and heard that I was going into Brussels so could they come with me? They hopped in and I thought that i’d better go anyway otherwise I’ll be here all day and I still won’t have the paperwork. Off I set to drive. After I’d gone a few miles I found that I actually had the paperwork in my hand. Of course someone must have had the paperwork to have taken the Escort to be valued. I had that as I was driving. I ended up coming in from the direction of Oostende. I radioed in that I was there and asked where I had to go. They said “the Garage de France”. I asked where that was and they replied that it was near the Gare de Ouest. I didn’t have a clue where the Gare de Ouest was. As I came closer to the office I dropped off these 2 people and stuck my head inside a café. She knew where the place was and she told me but the directions that she gave me didn’t make any sense. Then she said the name of a square where it was. I thought to myself “I wish that I’d brought my GPS in out of my own car and stuck it in the Escort to take it there. I could have solved this problem in 5 minutes had I done that”.

And then I was back in work again. I don’t know if I’d dictated the story of the Ford Escort estate being sold but later I was back in the office. I had a pile of paperwork that I’d picked up on the way in that needed to be sorted. I took it into the office and one of the chauffeurs came up to me and said in one of these high-pitched little baby voices “what’s little Eric got there?”. So I replied “some paperwork”. He asked “what’s little Eric going to be doing with it?” and I replied “nothing whatsoever”. This conversation was on the verge of getting out of hand. In the end the boss came along so as I was in earshot I said to Jef (it’s here, it has a date-stamp on it, it’s been received, it’s been registered, so why don’t you clear off?” or something like that. The boss came over, looked at the papers, took them off me and put them out for sorting. There was no chair at my desk but there were several other chairs dotted around with files on them so I went to take the files off one so I could have a chair to sit. Someone else said “there’s a spare chair up here” but I replied “this one down here will do me”.

At another point I was with one of these American folk singers, someone like Gene Clark, and we were being chased in a car down some kind of road. We turned off up the side down some kind of farm track and were being chased down there but I swerved off the road into a farm gateway and the other car went roaring past. We prepared to drive back where we’d come but another car came the other way. We’d been talking about these huge plants that were growing all over the placen one-eyed I-can’t-remember-the phrase-now but it was in a song by the Byrds, “My Back Pages”. This car came the other way and I asked “is that one of these?” and I said the name. He replied “probably” so we waited until it went. We thought that if he could go all the way through then so could we so I set out to follow it. He said “let’s forget about these plants for now and head off”, something that made me feel rather disappointed

Finally, we’d gone to a big village hall-kind of dance, the whole family, tribe. Our mother had taken us. She was, surprisingly, a big Afro-Caribbean woman. When the dancing took place she danced in a most uninhibited way. It had absolutely no interest for me whatsoever so I was just moping around at the back of the hall. eventually I went over to my mother and said that we really must have to go very soon. She asked the time and I replied “20:20”. For some reason we were due to go at 20:30 anyway. She started to collect everything together. She said that she first came to one of these dances when she was 15 and everyone was shocked and scandalised but even people like James Brown had stuck their head in to see what was happening. I hadn’t really any idea of what to say because I knew how my mother was with her imagination.

Yes, my mother had a very fertile imagination, as we came to realise as we grew older. She lived in her own little world that only rarely had any connection with the rest of the world in which everyone else lived.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I mentioned that I’d had a problem with a three-column website on which I was working. It didn’t take me long to discover the missing tag (or, should I say, the tag that was in the wrong place) and once I’d done that, I finished it off.

You can see it ON-LINE now. The content isn’t inspiring but it was only a test run for a few other purposes that will become clearer over the course of time.

It’s been checked in C-Cleaner, Waterfox and Tor but if someone has access to an Apple-based machine, if you could check it to see that it does what it’s supposed to, I’d be grateful.

Having dealt with that task, the next task was one about which I’d forgotten. At the end of October last year I’d been to see a rock group called “Reload”. I took … gulp … 184 photos and I’d made a start on editing them but as usual, I’d been side-tracked.

This morning though, I sat down and worked my way right through the lot and they are all now edited. I’m now onto mounting them (I’m kinky like that) and they will be on-line in die course.

That will be the acid test of my three-column photo layout – trying to make it work with all of these.

There were several breaks of course – breakfast being one of them with my lovely fruit bread, and then a shower and a good clean-up.

And while I was at it, I did my Dave Crosby impression. In fact I went one better and actually did cut my hair. Probably because I didn’t have the ‘flu for Christmas.

After lunch I headed out for the physiotherapist.

van car porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And we’ve had a change here at the Porte St Jean.

The large lorry and trailer with the digger perched thereupon are not there this afternoon. Instead the place has been taken by a glazier’s van.

In fact that has been there or thereabouts in one of the parking spaces for the past couple of days but today it seems that the driver has taken advantage of the absence of the lorry to move even closer.

In fact, I would have thought that he could have passed underneath the arch. There looks to be enough room.

On the left-hand edge you can see some advertising boards that have been erected. It’s soon to be election time here and they put up these boards for the candidates to attach their posters.

jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne, I stopped to check the camera – even though I’d checked it just a minute before.

There’s no-one about in the outer harbour and most of the fishing boats in the inner harbour seem to be out at sea. The only one that seems to be in there today is Jade III and I wonder why she hasn’t gone out.

Also absent, as they have been for quite a while, are Victor Hugo and Granville, the two Channel Island ferries. If service is indeed starting up in April, they need to finish their overhauls quickly and make their way back here to be ready to go.

freight on quayside bouchot stakes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down on the quayside, all of the freight that was there has now gone.

Normandy Trader, one of the little Jersey freighters, came in the other day and whisked it all off to the Channel Islands but there’s another pile that is slowly appearing down there ready for the next voyage.

And you can see all of the old stakes from the bouchot farms on the Ile de Chausey down there to the left of the right-hand crane. That was a good weekend’s work to pull up all of those and replace them.

Whoever is going to take those away will have some work on his hands too.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, down in the bottom corner, there’s been quite a lot happening by the looks of things.

There’s only one boat down there today, and that’s the newer of the two Joly France boats, the one with the smaller superstructure on the upper deck.

We saw Chausiaise out at the ferry terminal yesterday, but Belle France is also missing today. She and the older of the two Joly France boats must be keeping busy running out to the islands today.

And the mystery of why they all had their cranes out the other day is as yet unresolved. I’ve not seen anything at all about it.

reroofing rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022A week or so ago I posted a photo of a cherry-picker that looked as if it had lifted some scaffolding up onto a flat roof in the Rue Lecampion.

Over the past few days I’d been keeping a quiet eye on it but today there has been some rapid progress since I last saw it. They’ve removed the tiles from an adjacent pitched roof and replaced all of the woodwork

That was quite quick. It’s not like the typical worker whom we’ve encountered these days.

Carefully dodging workmen dropping out of the sky, I sailed up the Rue Couraye rather more rapidly than just recently for my appointment with the physiotherapist.

She had a good look at my x-rays but told me that there was nothing evident that she could see about why I’m having this trouble with my knee. And that’s bad news as far as I’m concerned because how can anyone fix the problem if they can’t see t?

It’s just like my heart issue, where there’s no obvious problem that anyone can see. I’m not making it all up, I know that.

Anyway she gave me an electromassage, put me on the bike thing for 5 minutes and gave me a few exercises.

After she threw me out, I went to Lidl. I’m out of tomatoes and cucumber as well as a couple of other things. And there’s no big shop at the weekend because I’m on a course and anyway, I’m off on my travels on Thursday next week.

new building rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way home I went past the new house that is being built on the corner of the Rue St Paul and Rue Victor Hugo.

When I arrived the builders were busy chasing away a couple of kids who were pleying in the building, but apart from that there doesn’t seem to have been a great deal going on. I suppose that they will finish it one day.

My route led me through the town and up the hill towards home but I hadn’t gone far up the hill when a neighbour came past in his car. He offered me a lift, which was nice of him I did have a fair bit of stuff to carry.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Back in here I put some coffee on to brew and then picked up the big NIKON D500 to go outside.

Across the car park went I towards the beach to see what was happening there. The tide was well out and with the weather being so nice, there were plenty of people down there making the most of it. Of course, here in France, there’s no school on Wednesday afternoon.

While I was here, I had a look out to sea to see if there were any fishing boats working out here today. There was something right out beyond the Ile de Chausey that I couldn’t see, but that was really my lot. There wasn’t anything else happening out at sea that I could see.

55-qj aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Ther emight have been nothing going on out at sea but there was something having a go at the Thunderclap Newman impression of “Something In The Air”.

And don’t ask me what it is because its number, 55-QJ, is one of those that isn’t in the series of numbers to which I have access. And it goes without saying that she hasn’t filed a flight plan and wasn’t picked up on radar either.

Back here I had my coffee and then had half an hour or so on the guitar before I carried on with mounting the photos of the concert that I attended.

Tea was a curry with the left-over stuff in the fridge. I’ve not forgotten that I have some stuffing left from Monday, but I fancied a curry tonight. I’ll have the stuffing in a taco roll tomorrow.

So as well as that, I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow. In the afternoon too, not the evening as I thought. I wonder what kind of catastrophe this will be.

Monday 21st March 2022 – IT’S A GOOD JOB …

… that I had the alarm set to remind me about my visit to the physiotherapist. When it went off at 14:30 I was crashed out fast asleep on my chair in here.

That’s probably because I had quite a hectic morning.

Instead of the usual early night on Sunday, I wasn’t tired so I did some work on the text for the radio programme. So when I finally did go to bed and the alarm went off later at 06:00 it was rather a struggle to leave the bed.

But once I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages I could carry on with the radio programme. By 09:55 it was all prepared, up and running but I’m not claiming it as a record because of the time that I spent on it last night.

But while I was listening to it and to the one that I was sending off for this weekend, in a mad fit of enthusiasm I wrote all of the notes for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing next week.

Whatever has come over me, working like this?

With no coffee cake left for breakfast, I fetched the fruit bread from the freezer and that had been defrosting. It was quite delicious of course, but not really a patch on the coffee cake.

After I’d finished the notes for the next radio programme I worked on a few photos from the High Arctic in 2019. Progress is slow with them, but at least it’s progress of a sort.

The bread had finished too on Friday but there was half a loaf in the freezer so I brought that out and it had been defrosting. It was nice and fresh, the bit that I sliced for lunch.

When I finished I came back in here to carry on with my photos but that was when I crashed out. But when the alarm went off, I had a very quick shower and clean-up before setting off for the physiotherapist.

lorry trailer digger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I set out for my walk, I didn’t manage to go very far before I stopped to take a photograph.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen this lorry on several occasions, parked up on the pavement outside the Porte St Jean that leads into the walled town.

He has his trailer attached to the rear and on it is the digger. It seems that they won’t pass under the arch and even if they did, they wouldn’t be able to manoeuvre it around the narrow streets.

They probably drop off the digger and it goes into the walled town under its own steam – or diesel.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I go out for a walk in this direction I usually stop here to try out the camera to make sure that it works.

This is the viewpoint on the outer walls at the junction of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and it overlooks the outer harbour and the fish processing plant.

The tide is well out so there aren’t any fishing boats loitering around down there. But there are plenty of vans parked there waiting for the shell-fishing boats to come back in on the high tide this afternoon

There were quite a few people milling around here this afternoon and that was a surprise because it’s not on the usual tourist track.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022From there I wandered off down towards the town centre on my way to the physiotherapist.

For the last couple of days we’ve seen a big pile of freight on the quayside waiting to be picked up by one of the Jersey freighters. It’s still there this afternoon – or, at least, there’s some freight down there but whether it’s the same freight or not I really don’t know.

And still no Marité either. She’s taking her time in Cherbourg having her annual overhaul. It’s a good job that Easter is late this year otherwise she might be having problems.

cranes in operation joly france chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022But here’s some excitement down at the side of the harbour where the Joly France boats are moored.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen some strange things around here in the past but this is one of the strangest.

One of the Joly France ferries and Chausiaise, the little freighter, have their on-board cranes extended and Joly France seems to have made a fine catch – a couple of wheel rims filled with concrete.

By the looks of things, it seems that Joly France is going to pass the wheels over to Chausiaise but as for why, I have no idea.

resurfacing abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Thee wasn’t much at all happening in the town centre, but I noticed that they seemed to have made some considerable advance in what they were doing

They are in the process of tarring over the path, old rails included, and laying stone chippings on the top. This is going to make a pleasant change to how the road surface used to be.

The walk up the hill to the physiotherapist was not as difficult as it has been earlier in the year and I arrived with 10 minutes to spare.

She had me on the couch for 10 minutes while she used her electro-massaging thing on my knee, and then we spent the rest of the time doing some exercises. And she’s asked me to bring my x-rays with me on Wednesday so that she can look at them.

The walk down the hill towards the town centre in the beautiful sunny weather was wonderful and if I had remembered to bring my wallet with me I might have even gone for a vegan ice cream.

Ahh well!

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As I walked back up the Rue des Juifs towards home, I noticed that events have unfolded down in the inner harbour.

Having seen Chausiaise playing about with her crane a little earlier, she’s now moored over at the loading bay so I wonder what she’s up to now and what those wheel had to do with it all.

And all of those things that we saw on the quayside yesterday and some of which we can see on the extreme right of this photo? They are the old bouchot stakes from the Ile de Chausey that are in the process of being pulled up and replaced with newer equipment.

lorry passing under porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Leaving them all to it, I carried walking up the hill towards home.

Earlier I said that the lorries that come here are unable to pass under the arch into the old town. But this one clearly managed to because it’s on its way out – or, at least, trying to.

There’s almost nothing in the way of clearance either side and you can see the guy on the extreme left who is giving instructions to the driver.

And he needs it too. I’ve no idea how long he might have been there before I arrived but he advanced and reversed three times while I was watching before he was satisfied that he could come out without damaging the archway.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And so before I went back in, I went to have my usual look down on the beach to see what was going on.

With the day being so beautiful I was expecting to see crowds of people down there on the beach this afternoon, especially as there was plenty of beach to be on with the tide being out.

And as we can see, there are quite a few people down there this afternoon taking advantage of the beach and the weather. And I do have to say that if I had been feeling up to it, I would have been down there with them.

Back here, I made myself a coffee and then sat down to transcribe the dictaphone notes, especially as I could actually decipher them today.

I was on my way to Winsford last night, going down the Pyms Lane area of Crewe and out that way. As I passed through the end of the Leighton Park Estate I came across all these canvas tents strung from trees. I stopped and looked in, and there were families with young children living in there. I started to talk to these people as I was interested in finding out their names and who was living in here as I was absolutely outraged by the condition in which the people were living in the 21st Century in the UK. Listening to people’s stories about the pressure under which they were living and the little babies who were there, new-borns, etc was really distressing. It was a really terrible thing to have to see and hear etc.

And this one, I started dictating it without the dictaphone. I had to go off to Wardle, somewhere like that. One of my drivers had left a car here, a MkV Cortina so I went in that. When I came back, I said that we were disposing of all of our cars and having MkVs because this was so comfortable and so good to have been in. Then I had to go off with work and ended up in an office where someone showed me all these jobs that were kept in these binders so I ended up on the desk facing her leafing my way through all of these files

Finally, we’d been to somewhere, I dunno. There were 4 of us and at times there had been 5. The 5th was a girl whom I happened to quite like and I would have liked her to have been with us much more often than the few minutes that she was there. Later we were round at my father’s house. It was getting on towards the end of November and with Halloween coming up on the Saturday he decided he decided that he was going to go away for a few days. That meant that we would be at a loose end so I was thinking that maybe I’d go to Colwyn Bay or Abergele for a few days, find a boarding house or something. We went in and my father’s partner was serving breakfast but there was none for me. She said “I didn’t realise that you wanted any” but everyone else was eating. There were all kinds of crystal glasses of all kinds on it but everyone seemed to have taken the wrong glass, I couldn’t find one for me. I filled mine up with water but it ended up that it was someone else’s milk that I had. We then started to talk about the fun that we’d had with the water bottles this weekend, sometimes there were 4 and then 5 of us and we’d all ended up with the wrong water bottle.

Liz was on line as well and so for the first time for quite a while we had a lengthy chat which made a very nice change.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with rice, which was even more delicious than usual and I don’t know why that would be. And there’s enough left to make a taco roll tomorrow and having been left overnight to marinade, it will be even better.

This evening I’ve been dealing with a knotty little problem. There was something afoot that might have involved me but some railway engineering in the UK has put an end to all of that. That’s not going to happen now.

But don’t worry – I had no plans to return to the UK.

Tomorrow is the first day of my third year of Welsh. And I’m no more confident than I was 12 months ago. This teflon brain, to which nothing seems to stick, is annoying me intensely but I have to push on regardless.

Brains do tend to seize up if they aren’t used and so I have to do what I can to keep it working and I can’t really think of what else to do with it. And so I may as well push on.

A good night’s sleep will probably do me some good. It can’t do any harm.

But here’s SOMETHING INTERESTING that I was reading today. I could quite easily identify several points in this article, especially the part about “psychedelic dreams”.

And I certainly don’t panic, unless I’m in hot pursuit of TOTGA, Castor and/or Zero and there’s a chance that they will escape my evil clutches.

Friday 18th March 2022 – AFTER ALL …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll get my coat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 14th March 2022 – THERE HAS BEEN …

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… some rather bad news about the fire in the house in the Rue du Midi on Saturday evening.

Yesterday evening, the firemen finally worked their way through the rubble to the ground floor where they found the missing person. And as you might expect, they found him far too late to be of any use.

It’s a rather sombre note on which to start today’s journal entry, but I suppose that there are times when sombre notes will creep in to everything at some time or other. There but for the grace of God go we.

Wherever I went on my travels last night is something else completely. For the first time since I don’t know when, one of my young ladies put in an appearance – Zero, as it happens.

And do you know what? I can’t remember why she was there or what we did.

How disappointing is that?

Anyway, I’m sure that you are all dying to know about where I went last night

I started off at a well-known square in Paris – I can’t remember which one – and it had some kind of weird fence and turnstile arrangements to control the flow of pedestrians but that’s all that I remember about this.

And later I was with Zero , for the first time for years, and her father last night and I can’t remember very much of what it actually involved (and isn’t that a disaster?) with them, but it led to me thinking about going to buy a motorbike so maybe I could take Zero around on the back of it. I went into a shop in Hungerford Road Crewe that used to be an old Co-op but was now selling motorbikes. They had a couple of Kawasaki 414 bikes in there for sale but they were more expensive than I was planning to pay although they looked quite nice. I thought that maybe something like that would be quite interesting. I had a good look around their shop but they didn’t really have very much at all. They had a few cars outside of course but it was the motorbikes that were interesting me more because I could go into Stoke on Trent on a motorbike, leave it to be serviced, overhauled and MoT’d while I was at work during the day, that kind of thing and probably Zero would enjoy going for a ride around on the back of a motorbike every now and again but there was nothing there that I liked.

There was something else as well. I was leaving work so I wandered off down the maze of corridors following the yellow arrows and yellow tape as I usually did. At one point I took a turn and found that the yellow arrow didn’t actually go that way which surprised me because I was pretty sure that it was the route that I took all the time I went back and followed the yellow arrow and suddenly found myself in a completely different security room. There was no way out. There were all kinds of security guys in there doing things. In the end I turned round and found another door that took me out. I could see that I was in a completely different place outside than where I would normally be when I was leaving the building. There were a few other people whom I knew around there as well so I went over for a chat and told them about the changes. They couldn’t understand what was happening either. Some girl came along and joined in. She was saying that she was now one of those people whose salary was a secret but she didn’t agree with that because it creates distrust amongst all the other employees. Someone else turned up with 3 daughters. She was talking to 2 daughters about giving their names to someone else and preparing for Christmas but for one daughter it was too late that they didn’t have any of what it was they didn’t have. They didn’t say. Then a couple of others turned up. One of them had had a dramatic cut in the salary that he was receiving as a Life Insurance broker so he was trying to chivvy up all of his friends and contacts to do something about increasing their insurance cover so he could receive a higher commission to offset his decrease in salary.

In fact, all told it was rather a bad night, and for many reasons too. I was tossing and turning around in bed for much of it and that’s guaranteed to set me off on the wrong foot.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 it was a struggle to leave the bed but I did manage – only just – to leave the bed before the second alarm.

The radio programme was the task for this morning and despite a couple of breaks for coffee, breakfast and so on, by 10:45 it was finished. And in a major departure from usual procedure, I’ve reused a song that I first used 18 months ago, simply for the reason that it seemed to fit so well with what I was doing.

“I have been around the world looking for that woman-girl who knows love can endure. And it always will”. And in my case, it endured for all of three days, didn’t it?

There were several phone calls – some of them long-distance – that I had to make and that took me all the way up to lunchtime. And the net result of all of those phone calls was … errr … nothing.

After lunch I had a shower, set the washing machine off on its cycle (a clever washing machine, mine) and then went out for my physiotherapy session.

chant de sirenes joly france belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Of course, the first port of call when I’m on my way to town is to check the camera at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne where the viewpoint overlooks the Fish Processing Plant.

The tide is on its way in right now – not far enough for the gates to open to let the larger boats into the inner harbour, but far enough for the boats with a lighter draught to pull up at the quay here to unload.

The Chante des Sirènes is easily identifiable with its mermaid painted on the side in a kind of green stripe.

Moored up at the ferry terminal in the background are Belle France and one of the Joly France boats.

repairing roof rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down in the town I walked along the Rue Lecampion towards the centre.

There’s something going on with the roof of one of the houses here. There’s a cherry-picker and a couple of guys doing something with the roof and a scaffolding.

Leaving them to it, I wandered off up the road and to the physiotherapist. And I don’t know why, but I haven’t climbed up the Rue Couraye as easily as I did this afternoon for quite a long time.

The physiotherapist had me on the couch and massaged my knee with her machine, and then had me doing some exercises.

And to my surprise, it was my left knee, not my right knee, that was hurting by the time that I had finished.

On my way home I called in at the Carrefour to buy something to drink. I had a thirst that you could photograph.

cable laying rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the town centre we had some more excitement.

There were some guys laying a cable in the duct under the street. The had the manhole cover up and had surrounded the hole with cones. And so an elderly woman in a black car drove over the cover and almost ended up in the hole.

And then she had the nerve to bawl out the crew. Some people really are unbelievable. I shan’t repeat on here what the crew replied to the woman. My journal is intended for all of the family, not just the over-18s.

place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Another thing that noticed was that the kiddies’ roundabout has now gone.

The carnival season is now over here and all of the fairground rides have packed up and gone off to their next engagement wherever that might be and we’ll be back with peace and quiet again until Easter when there will be more crowds descending on the town.

Bringing more cases of the virus with them, no doubt. This kind of thing really depresses me, especially as I don’t have the means to fight it.

fire engines rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I was up in the Rue des Juifs on my way into town the fire brigade was still there clearing up.

While I was in the town centre, they came through presumably on their way back to base. And it was extremely interesting watching them trying their best to negotiate the hole in the road.

And once they had gone, it was the turn of the school buses and that was even more interesting. The manhole covers and several cones took a right battering and there was what can best be described as “a frank exchange of views” between the drivers and the cabling crew.

repair facade rue georges clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While all of that was going on, I left them to it and wandered off down the Rue Paul Poirier.

The other day we saw them with a scaffolding outside one of the buildings in the Rue Georges Clemenceau and it had been intriguing me as to what they might be doing.

When I’d seen the carpenter’s van outside, I imagined that it might have been a roofing job but it actually looks as if they are working on the facade of the building. It could do with a good rendering and a new coat of paint.

ch933900 carteret port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the earlier photo of the boats in the harbour, I don’t know if you noticed a fishing boat that we haven’t seen before.

She was moored in the inner harbour with her crew working on the nets when I came back, and I could see her registration number from here.

It’s CH933900 – a number from this coast – and it’s so new that it’s not in the register that I have. But I was able to track her down from “other sources” and she’s called Carteret. She sails out of … errr … Barneville-Carteret.

She’s only 9 months old apparently and was built to replace a previous boat that was destroyed in a fire.

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back, I could have a closer look at the burnt-out house now that the fire engines and the crowds have gone.

It’s not just the house and the one to the right of it that have been affected, the one to the left has been badly-affected too. You can see that much of the roof there has been burnt away too.

This is an appalling thing to have happened. Apart from the loss of life which is a tragedy, the loss and damage is considerable and there are many people in these three houses who have been badly affected.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went home, I went to look at the beach to see what was happening.

The tide is now well in and there’s not much beach down there to be on. It’s no surprise that I couldn’t see anyone wandering about.

As I was looking down there, one of my neighbours pulled up in her car. She’s had some bad news from her doctor about her health and she told me all about it. Of course I sympathised, but there isn’t much that I could do.

Back here I made a coffee, hung out the washing and then came here to spend an hour on the photos from the High Arctic in 2019.

Talking about that, it made me all nostalgic and it reminded me of a poem about which Alison and I had chatted the other day

“Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?


That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again. “

Poetry at school was mainly awful with all of these depressing war poets and all of that. The only bright spark amongst all of that which we learnt was A E Housman and “A Shropshire Lad” is one of my favourite works.

Had I been born 5 miles away from my actual place of birth, I would have been a Shropshire Lad myself.

But seriously, when Housman said “The happy highways where I went and cannot come again. “, I don’t think that he had Covid and World War in mind. We won’t be going anywhere for a while yet.

In another mad fit of excitement I took out about half a ton of paper to the waste bin and then spent half an hour playing guitar. The first time that I enjoyed myself with the guitar since the summer. These pills must be working somehow.

Tea was a curry of leftovers and then I had to fight the good fight on the Internet. A discussion group of which I’m a member has become a very contentious place since War broke out and the Moderator was overwhelmed. She called for another volunteer and so I responded.

And tonight I’ve been dealing with a flame war – just like the “Good Old Days” on “First Class” – pulling warring factions apart, sending a couple of people to the naughty corner and … errr … “saying goodbye” to a couple of them. I’m surprised that I had time to write up my notes.

But now that they are done, much later than usual, I’m off to bed. I’ve a Welsh lesson tomorrow and I need to be on form.

Monday 7th March 2022 – IT WAS A …

… very different experience today at my physiotherapy session. She put four electric pads around my knee, coupled them up to some kind of electric machine and then spent 20 minutes putting electric shocks through my knee.

When the machine wasn’t pulsing, it was as if someone was tapping the surround of my kneecap with a small hammer. And when the current was going through it, it was as if some kind of retired Bulgarian weightlifter was squeezing my leg in a downward direction.

But anyway, more of that later.

Last night I actually had the first decent sleep that I’ve had for quite some time. I was in bed by 22:15 and there was one file on the dictaphone at 23:17 and a second at 05:12 and that was about that until the alarm went off at 06:00.

So where did I go during the night?

The night started off by me getting on a train in Central Europe, a steam train. I was trying to syphon some lemon juice from one empty container to another. I looked out of the window and there was a woman having a row with what looked like an old border guard in an old border guard uniform. The woman with me and I went down to see what was happening. He was trying to detain her but as this wasn’t the border here he had no authority so we simply told this woman to come on board and ignore him. He became quite agitated at this and threatened to arrest us all but he had no authority to do that. We took no notice and in the end the woman with me broke the hold that the man had on this other woman. She could board but my lady-friend was subjected to some rough treatment from this guy so I went over there. It ended up that he let go of her and the 3 of us boarded. As the train was heading away I went to find out where everyone was sitting. I found my friend but the other person, she was now a pair of twins whom I knew from years and years ago. They were sitting somewhere else. Being of African descent they were quite obvious in this 3rd class carriage. The woman and I sat not too far away from them. I wandered over to where one of the twins was. She was asleep but when I was very close to her she awoke so I made some kind of gesture that I hoped no-one else noticed that the two of them should come and sit by the two of us and discuss what our next move was going to be. We certainly couldn’t say that we were inconspicuous with what had happened boarding the train.

And later I was with someone last night who might have been a girl with whom I worked 40 years ago. We’d bumped into each other quite by accident and she told me that she was working out at the back of Chester. She mentioned the place and I said “yes, I know it well there. It’s by the Little Chef, isn’t it?”. She replied that it was further on down from the Little Chef closer towards Shelton Bar … “he means John Summers Steelworks at Shotton” – ed. I mentioned that it must be near somewhere else but she replied that that was in the other direction. I thought that I’d better shut up otherwise I’d make more of a fool of myself than I’m doing at the moment. Of course that’s an area that i used to know years ago all around there. We started to talk about this and that and I asked her how she was going to work. She replied that she was going by train. I thought that the railway line there had been closed years ago but apparently not. They had reopened it with new stations and there was a new station that had opened that very day right where we were. That was where she was heading to catch the train. We set off to walk to the station and quite by surprise I found myself holding her hand and we were having a very friendly boy-girl chat about next-to-nothing. When we reached the station there was a train just pulling in so she let go and ran for it but the train didn’t stop. It pushed on right through the station. I arrived on the platform just behind her. We asked someone and they said “the train you want is the 17:17 which is in a minute’s time. That was a non-stop through train, that one. Her train pulled in and she boarded, and I did as well for no particular reason other than to go with her to her particular station.

After the medication I started the radio programme that I wanted to do today and it took me much longer than it ought to have done, simply because there were so many interruptions of all sorts. Have you ever tried to explain to someone with no braincells the difference between cost-of-living increases and price increases?

No wonder the UK is in such a mess.

After lunch I had a shower and a good clean up and then I left for my physiotherapy appointment.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne on the way out to test the camera.

The tide wasn’t very far in at all this afternoon so there wasn’t anyone out and about down there. As usual these days, one of the Joly France boats is over there at the ferry terminal waiting for her next trip to the Ile de Chausey, whenever that might be.

The walk down into town was rather difficult today. There’s a ramp of four steps halfway down the hill where I can test my right knee to see if there’s the strength in it to lift me up.

And today, there was no force whatsoever. I had to climb the steps with the left leg leading and the right leg limping along behind instead of climbing up normally with alternate legs leading.

digging up rue saintonge Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down in the Rue Lecampion, I noticed that in one of the side streets … “Rue Saintonge” – ed … they had closed off the street and were busy digging up the surface.

It doesn’t look as if it’s a cable-laying job as there’s no trench there and no cables either. It looks as if they are just digging a hole there.

In the town centre I went to the Post Office. I’d written two letter earlier and they needed posting. Not that anything will necessarily come from them but nothing will anyway if I don’t post them.

Up the hill I went to the physiotherapist. It was quite agonising but I managed it without having to stop for breath. I’m not so sure that going to the railway station on Wednesday is going to be any better.

decorating mairie place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back down into town I noticed that there were things going on at the Mairie.

We were all across the road from there showing our support for Ukraine, but I hadn’t noticed the blue and white banner that was attached to the balcony and I was surprised that I had missed it.

And there’s a cherry-picker out there too with a couple of people sticking up posters for something else. I’ll have to wander past there when they’ve all gone and take a closer look at what’s happening.

erecting scaffolding rue georges clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There’s something happening in the Rue Georges Clemenceau down at the end of the Rue Paul Poirier.

There are several buildings that have changed hands down there just recently and this afternoon they’ve been erecting scaffolding up around one of them.

Parked over there too is a carpenter’s van so it looks as if the building over there is going to be having a new roof within the next few weeks or so.

The walk up the Rue des Juifs towards home wasn’t as easy as it has been for this last couple of weeks. I wasn’t feeling too good over the weekend and it seems to have continued into today. I hope that it picks up before Wednesday. I don’t want to be going to Leuven like this.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went into the apartment for a coffee I went to have a look over the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

There was plenty of beach to be down on as well today, but only a couple of people down there on it. It seems that everyone has gone back to work or back to school now, and that will be that until Easter when we’ll have the crowds back again.

After I’d had my coffee I transcribed the dictaphone notes and then did a little tidying up. Not for any good purpose because it looks as if the Nurse has forgotten to come round today to give me my injection for Wednesday.

Tea tonight was a curry made of all kinds of bits and pieces hanging around in the fridge. And there’s enough left over for tea tomorrow as well. At least the fridge will be fairly empty when I go to Leuven.

But right now I’m off to bed. It might be early but I’m exhausted. Tomorrow is my Welsh lesson and I need to be on form for that. I’ve been rather flagging over the last few weeks as far as that goes.

Wednesday 2nd March 2022 – IN WHAT MUST SURELY …

repairing bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… be a new world record even for these days, the new bike shed didn’t last very long.

Not even 15 hours, because when I came home from the doctor’s this morning, the guy who was there yesterday installing it had returned and was now busy dismantling … “disPERSONing” – ed … it again.

Whatever he had done yesterday was clearly not good enough.

It’s not as if building a bike shed is rocket science so there’s no reason why he would need to take it apart again. But all that I can say is that I’m glad that I didn’t take my bike out of the back of Caliburn last night and park it in there.

There has been other news too today, and this news is equally depressing. At 12:00 midday all over France they tested the nuclear alert sirens, not that there’s anywhere these days to hide if there’s a nuclear attack.

We are living in interesting times.

fete foraine place herel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022So while you admire some photos of the fête foraine, the funfair, let me tell you about where I went during the night.

I was out on the Wirral peninsula last night. I’d been there before and I’d seen all of these kids coming out of school. There was a bus stop by three different schools, judging by the uniforms. I’d seen some kinds in another street, a residential suburban street and I wondered where on earth it might have been. I was looking for the house of a girl I know and her brother. I was wandering around and I only had the street name but I didn’t have the number or the ‘phone number and I didn’t even know exactly where it was so I had to find it on the map on my phone or something. I was walking around and suddenly came across a place in a street that went from north-east to south-west where I might have seen these children congregating but on a closer look it wasn’t actually the same place but pretty similar. Then I bumped into a little boy and a little girl. They were extremely talkative. They asked me what I was doing so I said that I was looking for this street that might have been called Allison Avenue, something like that, She said “oh, that lot of streets” as if she knew where it was. She said “why don’t you go to the end of the street here and look left? You can see all the way down the road to Liverpool from here”. I thought “maybe if I had time, I might but I don’t know where I have to go yet”. I started to quiz this girl but just then 2 other people came past and started to ask her something and she was talking to them. I was holding this girl’s arm by this time and I started to stroke it basically to keep her attention focused on me while she was talking to these 2 people.

fete foraine place herel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And later I was at a football match last night, watching a game sitting in the stand quite quietly. The ground was pretty full and these 2 boys were sitting next to me and started to crowd over onto my seat. They asked me if I was enjoying the game etc. The one in the middle asked “who was the hardest? me or his friend?”. I eplied that I don’t know his friend so I can’t really say. Then a fight erupted between the three of us and it was all extremely depressing kind of thing.

And then I was in my Opel Senator last night, using it as a taxi. I was parked up somewhere in Brussels and some guy who had at one time been a regular passenger in my taxi turned up. He said “we want to borrow your taxi for a moment to have” and about 10 of his friends stormed into it. They wouldn’t leave when I told them to so I went to ‘phone the police but my ‘phone kept on playing up – I couldn’t remember the password or the password was wrong or the ‘phone screen wasn’t working, all kinds of things like this. No matter what I tried I couldn’t make these people leave my car.

fete foraine place herel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Finally, I’d been out with some of my family again. I’d been out on a motorbike but I had my beige Cortina YLO with me. I was in an awful hurry to leave but they were loitering around. I was sitting there drumming my fingers on the table but my motorbike by now I’d actually coupled it up to the Cortina with a A-frame and so I set off on the motorbike pulling the car from Shavington. When I looked behind, the family was following me so I went quite quickly through the S-bends in Gresty, putting the motorbike well down to go round these bends towing the Cortina. I could hear tham say that I must be crazy or something. I arrived in Crewe and ended up in a subway somewhere. I had to cycle (because it was now a bike, that of Marianne’s that I was on) up the hill to the street-level but the gearing was all wrong on this bike. I couldn’t make it up the slope. No matter how fast I pedalled, it wasn’t advancing any. I had to roll back to the bottom of the slope on this bike pulling this car and then play with the gear arrangements on this bike in order to find the correct gear that would see me, the bike and the car back up the hill again and onto the street level so that we could continue.

But as you can see, it wasn’t a very pleasant night last night and in some respects I was glad when I awoke. That was actually quite early and I was out of bed as soon as the alarm went off at 07:30.

After the medication I went off to have a shower and a good clean-up ready to go to the doctor’s.

loading joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I reached the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury, I stopped to check the NIKON 1 J5.

Over at the ferry terminal was one of the Joly France boats, the older one of the two. And they were loading her up with stuff, judging my the crane with its hook dangling down into the forward hold of the boat.

It’s not exactly the best day of the year for a run out to the Ile de Chausey. It’s quite cool and windy and I’m well-wrapped up for a change.

lysandre les bouchots de chausey la grande ancre fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While I was there at the viewpoint I noticed that there was plenty of activity going on down at the fish processing plant.

No prizes for spotting La Grande Ancre. Her silhouette is quite unique and you’ll be able to spot her anywhere.

Whoever is behind her I don’t know, but in front of her is Les Bouchots de Chausey unloading its catch onto the tractor and trailer that takes it away.

And just puling away from the quayside is Lysandre, the St Malo-registered shell-fishing boat that comes into port here every now and again.

marite thora belle france joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There’s quite a lot of activity going on at the quayside in the inner harbour too.

Marité is there of course, but in front of her is Thora, one of the little Jersey freighters that run a regular service over here. Before she came to Jersey, she was a car ferry out in the Shetland Islands.

The other Joly France boat is down there in the foreground, tied up to Belle France. And if I’m not mistaken, Chausiaise is moored up on the other side of her. They can’t have much on today.

At the doctors he gave me my prescription for the Aranesp that pumps me up ready for when I go to Leuven, and also a prescription for an X-Ray on my knee. I’m not sure if I mentioned that the physiotherapist is of the opinion that there has been no improvement to my knee despite 6 months of effort.

“That’s not normal” she had told me, and that’s no surprise because neither am I.

Ther does however seem to have been some kind of communication between him and the hospital, because he also mentioned that counselling is a good idea for me. So God help the person who draws the short straw and has to probe the depths of my subconscious mind.

He has however given me some tablets to take before I go to bed. I’ll try them to see how they go but if it interrupts my nocturnal rambles I shall stop. Quite frankly, what goes on with me during the night is about the only excitement that I have these days.

Plenty of excitement at the chemists though when I took the prescription there. Some French woman was complaining about this that wasn’t right in France and that wasn’t right in France, so I asked her if she would like to swap her French nationality for my British nationality.

Some people don’t realise how lucky they are.

tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back up the hill I noticed to my surprise that Tiberiade was not out of the chantier naval.

It doesn’t look though as if she’s had a complete repaint. There are still plenty of patches of wear on her hull. She doesn’t have her nets on board though either, so she’s not completely ready to go back out to sea.

As for me, I was more than completely ready for my morning coffee and slice of coffee cake. I’d made it all the way up the hill without stopping for breath and I was pretty exhausted. None of these health issues are doing me any good, but you knew that anyway.

repairing bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Goinf past the bike shed I noticed that the guy had gone and taken all of the innards with him.

All I can say is that that didn’t last very long, did it?

Back here I had a coffee and my cake and then attacked the dictaphone notes. As I said earlier, it wasn’t a very happy night by all accounts

After lunch, I was back out again. This time to the physiotherapist. She’s back from her holiday and it’s her birthday today too.

peche a pied port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Once more, I stopped at the viewpoint at the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury to check the camera again.

Right out at the entrance to the harbour there were some people out there wandering around as if they were engaged in the peche à pied.

And as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … with all of the stuff that is probably dropped and churned up by the boats that come in and out of the harbour, that’s the last place that I would look for shellfish.

By the time that I arrived at the physiotherapist’s, I was melting. It had warmed up dramatically and I was in my winter coat. But anyway she used a machine to massage my knee and then to finish off she had me doing a few exercises.

vegan cheese vegan dessert lidl Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After I left the physio I went round to LIDL to pick up a few bits and pieces. With going to Leuven next week I’m not shopping on Saturday.

And here’s an astonishing thing that I haven’t noticed before. Vegan cheese slices – and “English” (presumably Red Leicester) too.

Of course I’ve no idea what they might be like but the vegan deserts aren’t as good as they might be so I’m not too optimistic. However, if no-one buys the stuff they won’t stock any more vegan food so they need some kind of encouragement.

If it melts, it might be good for cheese on toast and there’s only one way to find that out, isn’t there?

new building rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back I had a look again at the new building that was going on at the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo and the Rue St Paul.

They don’t seem to have made a great deal of progress since we saw them last, but the road must be closed for some good purpose that isn’t easily apparent.

At the bottom of the hill is the funfair – the fête foraine – so I went for a wander around there for 10 minutes. It’s not as good as it might be when it’s all lit up but I’m already on 105% of my daily activity and I’m not going out again in the dark.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Back here at the building I can’t go inside until I’ve seen what’s happening down on the beach.

By the time that I came back I was rather later than usual but there was still some beach to be on and there were a few people down there actually on it. They were probably enjoying the warm weather.

Back in here I had a coffee and then I had some work to do. We’re doing a series of programmes on the Ukraine and I spent an hour or so tracking down some Ukrainian rock groups. One of them burst into the limelight thanks to an appearance that they made at a concert in Lviv and I actually managed to track down the concert too

Now I shall have to brush up my Russian because this concert was in pre-independence days and it’s 30 years since my last trip to Eastern Europe.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that years ago I used to work for a coach company that won a contract to take tourists behind the Iron Curtain. As I fancied the job as driver, I found a local woman who spoke Russian and she taught me the basics, most of which I have forgotten.

While I was at it I also came across a friend of a friend of a friend who has a daughter in the Ukraine and I’ve been trying to set up an interview for the radio. But that’s not easy, as you can imagine.

Another thing that I did was to bash out a few more photos from my trip to the High Arctic in 2019. Where has this energy come from?

Tea tonight was a potato and mushroom curry, and then I came back in here to write up my notes – and to make a long ‘phone call to Florida. My network of contacts stretches throughout the world and it’s just as well, with all of this going on.

Sunday 27th February 2022 – I REALLY DON’T KNOW …

… what’s going on right now because, yet again, I’ve been on the kind of travels that would overrun “Around The World In 80 Days”.

Where this energy comes from, I really don’t know but I wish that I had some of it during the daylight hours when I’m awake.

We started off last night with a woman letting out rooms for prostitution in a medieval town somewhere. Someone came along to rent a room – she had a client with her. This woman had to travel somewhere – it was only about 03:00 something like that so she left everything that might have been incriminating, left it out thinking that she’d be back. She came to the next old town where she fell in with some old man who was talking to her about gravy and sauces. They walked over these cobbles in this cobbled area by these old stables or something. She slipped discreetly away and found herself out in some kind of open ground by the medieval city walls of this town. There was some kind of carnival or fête happening and there were people all dressed up in weird clothes , people who were weird shapes, really tall with big heads. She was trying to find somewhere that while not secret, was a special place where the person who owned it didn’t want it let out that he was there. She didn’t want to be caught with any of his effects on her and of course she wanted to escape from this man with whom she walked into town. She had to find him, and there was a back way through the town and around the walls where she could leave and come back again to where she lived without this guy seeing her. By this time it was me walking through this open ground. I suddenly had this awful feeling that I couldn’t remember this back way if I find this person and picked up whatever it was that he had. How was I going to return home without running into anyone I didn’t want to meet if I couldn’t remember this back way? It was all very worrying.

There was something else going on that made me think about the low-loader that was parked up outside here the other afternoon, that it was in fact some kind of ride for the carnival and funfair that was going to be installed in the Place just here, effectively what we had talked about in that first voyage in that medieval town

Here was something rather interesting. Sulky teenagers are getting earlier and earlier aren’t they? There were a couple of girls aged 6 and 8. They’d had a no-uniform day at school. The next day was to take one of your personal possessions to school to talk about it. The 6 year-old was OK but the 8 year-old didn’t really have any idea what she wanted to take. We were there making all kinds of suggestions to her, even the guitar that I gave her a while ago. She just stood there in the middle of the room shaking her head at every suggestion and not really committing herself to anything at all. It wasn’t as if she didn’t have anything because she and her sister were doing quite well out of having so many relatives and friends.

There was another long, lengthy dream, most of which I have forgotten, but part of it included the father of a girl with whom I was once engaged. He was making himself a pair of shorts. He’d bored a hole up the front and up the back and was busy trying to put this metal bracing in there to hold the front and back together. he was trying, but needed 3 hands to do everything so he wasn’t making a success at all. I asked him “would you like me to hold anything?” which he didn’t. He carried on trying and in the end I took hold of something that he was trying to do, one of these metal things that he had to hit with a hammer. I held it so that he could hit it with a hammer and it went in quite easily after that. He could adjust it as he thought fit. I thought that when he’d dome one in the bottom and one in the top he’d done the bars too tight. It’s true that you can adjust them once you had them on but all of the adjusting is going to be quite a task and not going to be easy so I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t having at least some kind of rudimentary effort at judging the distances while he had them on the bench.

And later I was in a clothes shop. I’d gone to change a jacket, a yellow one for another one. The exchange went off quite well. They also had some black ones in there that were the same as one that I’d bought a while ago. I thought of changing that one for a new one while I was at it. I mentioned it to a server and he said “why not?”. A closer look revealed that they weren’t actually identical and a tramp was wearing one. I thought that maybe if I could take the one off the tramp then I’d be able to swap that. However his was so worn and dirty that they would never believe that it was a very recent acquisition. I made a couple of excuses to the salesman but he insisted that he could do something for me. I thought that this was going to be a pretty strange thing and I wished that I hadn’t said what I’d said before about changing it now. This was going to be embarrassing. In the meantime there were a couple of girls whom I’d noticed. It was so cold outside that that were each wearing 2 anoraks, one which had a hood that went over their headq and then another anorak over the top. I thought that it must be cold if they are dressed like that.

I was also with a girl last night whom I thought light have been my Greek friend from Brussels. We were hanging around together but her boyfriend had decided that he was going to leave her and she was terribly upset. I went to console her. I said “never mind, there’s always me and I’ll look after you”. She replied “yes, I know but not quite in the same way”. I answered “even so, we have rows, don’t we, and we soon make them up and maybe you’ll make it back up with your boyfriend”. She said something like “yes but we used to row about all kinds of things” and mentioned a couple of examples about which we had rowed but it wasn’t really anything important but with her boyfriend this was something much more serious. By this time we were standing underneath a porch at the side of a house. I was trying to console her but it was extremely difficult. Somewhere in all of this was the story of a printer. I’d had a new printer and the question came round about tidying up the office. I was told that I couldn’t have promotion unless I was prepared to work longer hours or show some signs of initiative. Wandering around, I came across a box. I thought that this was the right size for my printer. It would look rather tidier if my printer were in a box. I fetched it and started to prepare the printer but I was distracted by something. When I returned the box had gone. Someone mentioned something that one of my colleagues had taken it to put in his printer. I thought “had he taken my printer in the box etc?”. A discussion came about “well we know what kind of person he is. He’ll put the printer in the box and then can’t work out how to use it”. The guy in charge said “I’ve solved the problem. I’ve sent him down to the second-hand shop”. “What? To get a new box?” To get a new printer?”. “No, to sell his old printer. He won’t really need one and can always borrow someone else’s”.

A group of us were round at a girl’s house last night. There were a few of us talking about this and that. prior to this, we’d been at work and someone had been talking about a trip to the Gobi Desert. When they showed me on the map it turned out that the desert was at the north of Siberia. They were telling us about their trip. I thought that that was very easy to reach but they said that they went via Iceland and across to Norway that way. I asked why didn’t they go to Denmark and take aferry across to Sweden? The chat continued and they left. I ended up with these 2 girls in the office somewhere. I’d already been down for two breakfasts and had nipped out and come back into the office in the hope of catching a 3rd. I said to these girls “I have a cunning plan” and mentioned this trip to the Gobi Desert. The said something like it would cost a lot of money and the don’t really have the time which disappointed me. The subject came round to some kind of concert we were going to. One girl asked “are you buying her ticket for her?”. I replied “no, I’m picking it up for her but she’s paying for it”. The couldn’t understand how this ticked system was working about who was paying for what, who was picking them up but it looked quite straightforward to me. Then it ended up with me, my brother and one of these girls. She had to go into her garage for something and pulled up the garage door. It was full to the brim of old motorbike pieces. My eyes were out on stalks. I asked whose it all was. She replied that it belonged to her uncle but he has to find a new place to put it and it’s not easy. I said “he can put some of it in my garden if he can make me a motorbike out of this”. She replied “he can knock you up a Comet” but I said that that was too small. I’d want something bigger. By this time her sister had come to join us. She was in her nighty.

That’s not the end of it either. There was much more than this but as you are probably eating your evening meal right now, you won’t want to know the gory details.

No alarm this morning, and no ‘phone call either but even so it was about 10:20 when I awoke and I didn’t loiter around very much because for some reason I really was wide-awake. But I made myself a coffee anyway and had a slice of my coffee cake.

First thing that I did after the medication was to pair off the music for the radio. And after I’d finished doing that I had another think. Pete Seeger once said “Songs are Weapons” and I have plenty of them and so I need to use them.

And so I chose another set of songs and paired them off instead. It’ll be a very different radio show this coming weekend.

After lunch I set about making a big pile of dough. I’ve run out of bread and I’m also about to use my last lump of pizza dough and so I mixed a couple of big piles.

One bunch was mixed with sunflower seeds and was put on one side for the loaf, and the second one had oil added and that was put on a different side to be turned into pizza bases at a later date. And I remembered the Vitamin C this time too.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And as usual, I broke off to go for my afternoon walk, and that involved, as usual, a walk down tothr wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

And as you can see, there were hordes of people down there this afternoon, sitting around on the rocks waiting for the tide to come in and chase them up the steps to safety in the Rue du Nord.

In fact, I was amazed at the number of people down there this afternoon. I know that it was a nice day today and that there are a lot of people around but I wasn’t expecting to see so many.

cabin cruiser fishing baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Yesterday, when we were here on the wall, we looked out to sea and saw a cabin cruiser out there in the distance.

Today, looking out to sea, I saw something else moving around but at this kind of distance I couldn’t see what it was.

Back home I enlarged and enhanced it I could see that it was once more a cabin cruiser. Whether or not it was the same one I couldn’t say because it was much further out to sea than the cabin cruiser was yesterday.

gbr7383r captain corsair yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will also recall that we saw a yacht out at sea just off the Ile de Chausey.

This afternoon there was a yacht much closer to the Pointe du Roc where I was standing to I could take a better photo of her and even identify her.

She’s registered GBR 7383R and so is called Captain Corsair. She’s some kind of racing yacht and took part last summer in the Tour des Ports de la Manche race, one of the largest yacht races in the area, crewed by inter alia some people from the Granville Yacht Club.

f-gifn Piper PA-28-161 Cadet baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Another stranger to the area flew past overhead while I was admiring Captain Corsair.

She’s F-GIFN, a Piper PA-28-161 Cadet, and I’ve no idea what she’s doing in the area. She had flown up the coast from the south and then turned in towards the airfield, and then did a sharp U-turn and headed off out to sea over the Ile de Chausey.

She didn’t come in to land at the airfield as far as I can tell, and she doesn’t seem to have filed a flight plan or been picked up on radar anywhere ele and so that’s really that, I suppose.

cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022When I reached the car park I noticed that there was a cabin cruiser heading out into the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Had I waited until I’d reached the other side of the headland it would have gone out of view so I took a photo of it from across the car park.

There were crowds of people out there this afternoon so I was lucky that I didn’t end up with someone’s head in the shot.

And crossing over the car park I was almost squidged by a car that was rushing to take up the last place in the car park. That was pretty crowded too today.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Down on the lower path there were crowds of people wandering around.

There were even some people yet again sitting on the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban. There wasn’t all that much wind to disturb them this afternoon so they could sit quite quietly.

There were several motorbikes parked on the carpark and judging by the helmets down there, those people mut have arrived on one.

But I was going to head off on the footpath on the other side of the headland.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Over at the ferry terminal, one of the Joly France boats was moored up there.

She’s the older one of the two, as we can tell because there is no step in her stern.

It’s no surprise that they are quite busy today. There are crowds of people here who have been confounded by the cancellation of the carnival and with it being a nice day today, a run out to sea instead would be quite inviting.

Meanwhile, in the chantier naval, there was no change in occupants today.

carnivalers boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Talking of the carnival, there were some people who were in the carnival spirit.

No big, official parade or procession this year of course but that hasn’t stopped some people from having their own unofficial one. I’m not sure though what this kid is actually supposed to be but hats of to her for making the effort when her friends couldn’t be bothered.

There wasn’t anything of note going on out here so I decided to come on home and transcribe the dictaphone notes. I knew that there would be plenty to do. No coffee though. I’ve already had plenty of that today.

red powered hang glider baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was on my way home, I was overflown once more.

This time it was the red powered hang-glider thing that we see quite often when the weather is fine. She was on her way home after a trip out towards Mont St Michel.

Back here, I attacked the dictaphone notes, and it took an absolute age to finish, with all of the stuff that I’d dictated in my sleep. I really do wonder how on earth I find the time to go to sleep. What surprises me is that I haven’t crashed out at some point during the day.

When the bread had finished rising I put it into the oven to bake.

The pizza dough that I’d made earlier, I divided into 3 and put that in the freezer ready for another time, and then I kneaded and rolled out the dough that had defrosted from the freezer earlier.

vegan pizza home-made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Later on I assembled the pizza and when the bread was baked, I bunged the pizza into the oven to bake.

It wasn’t quite as good as last week’s, but it was delicious just the same. The bread though has done something weird but I’m not sure what. It’ll probably taste just as good as it usually does though.

But now though I’m going to bed. I have to be up at 06:00 in the morning to start my radio programme preparation and there’s a lot to do. And so I need to be in the kind of shape to be able to do it.

Wednesday 16th February 2022 – THERE’S A TIME …

repairing fishing nets port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… for fishing, and a time for repairing the nets.

And right now, it looks as if the time has come to do some repairing.

With no trawler in attendance it’s not possible to say with any conviction whose nets they might be, but with Tiberiade still out of the water up on the blocks in the chantier naval, it would be a fair assumption to suggest that the nets might belong to her.

There is also a time for working and a time for falling asleep and regrettably, I have done rather more of the latter than the former today. So much for my “… hoping for a better day tomorrow” of yesterday.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I said “One of these days I’ll have the kind of day where everything goes well and I manage to do plenty of work” but that certainly wasn’t today.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 I’m afraid to say that I turned over and went back to sleep. And i’m even more afraid to say that when the second went of at 08:00 it was ditto. It was 08:35 when I finally surfaced. And had I not needed to go for a ride on the porcelain horse I would probably still be in bed now.

That meant that there was plenty of time for me to go off on a few rambles during the night. I was out with a girl last night but I can’t remember who it was unfortunately. We’d been out somewhere and come back to my house before I was due to take her home. The question of food came up and I knew that there were some beefburgers in the freezer so I suggested that we had those. Whoever it was who was there went into the kitchen to find them but all that she could produce was an empty box. Someone had had the beefburgers. Of course I knew instinctively who this was so there was some kind of shouting and everything like that with my brother. He seemed to think that it was very very funny. I grabbed hold of him by the collar of his tee shirt, punched him in the stomach, pulled his head towards me and told him exactly what I thought of him. I let go of his tee shirt so that his head sprung back with a resounding “thump” as it hit the wall. Of course I was embarrassed by this and ashamed about the confrontation in front of this girl. She was pretty fed up as I could tell. In the end she decided that she didn’t want anything to eat so I thought that I’d better take her home.

But then again, with a family member coming between me and a nice young lady of the opposite sex is a reasonably regular occurrence on my voyages.

And resorting to violence against my family even in a dream. If violence is the answer it must have been a pretty stupid question and there were plenty of stupid questions about my family right enough back in the olden days.

On the subject of my family, my father and I had gone to watch Crewe Alex play – not that anyone would want to given the results of their last half-dozen matches. We left my place in Jette and went all the way across the top of Brussels and ended up somewhere down towards Woluwe, that area. We went into the stadium and the teams were there being presented to whoever it was. We watched the match but in the room where we were sitting there was one of these old pot-bellied wrought-iron stoves. There was a woman like one of the three witches burning paper so I was adding piles of paper to it as well. I was adding the paper and taping it to the side of the stove with masking tape until it burned. Then I would tape another piece on. It was far more interesting than the football. When the match finished my father was ready to go home but I was still burning this paper. I was getting down to the end of the roll of masking tape so I told him that I’d be ready in a minute. These women then came along doing something else. I put a metal damper of some kind on this stove that made it roar. These women were ever so alarmed when it roared but it burnt a lot of the ashes. Then I took it off and said to my father that we can go. One of these women pointed to three chairs that turned up in this room and asked if we could take them back and put them where they had come from to help them tidy up.

At a later time I’d been out with Liz and we’d been to a strange town where there was a pedestrian centre, but it was something like somewhere out or rural Spain. We walked through this pedestrian area and down through the fields at the end to end up on a cliff path. We were walking around there looking at the sea. Somehow I ended up back at another house where there was someone with a big pile of cars. I was gradually going through them looking at things that needed doing, changing and replacing what I could. There was a place across the road that had a big pile of old cars and every now and again he would tell me to take a piece off one of those. One vehicle that he had was a D-reg CF van that needed a new rear light. I told him that so he told me to go to a different scrapyard somewhere. I had a strange four-wheeled bicycle thing and set off but I took the wrong turning somewhere and ended up in this pedestrian precinct again. This time there were crowds of people around so I had to weave my way through the crowds. At some point there was someone making some kind of sand design that was going right across the path on which I needed to be. I did a bunny-hop over it. I ended up at the start of these fields again. A woman was there calling her child and two boys came running out of the field. I was stopped on the edge of this field sitting there thinking. It looked so familiar because I’d been here with Liz but I really don’t know how I’m going to find this scrapyard from here. I’d never been this way to it and I can’t remember now whether I’d be able to find my way back to where I’d taken the wrong turn and whether I’d recognise which was the correct one again.

After the medication I made a start on the radio programme that I wanted to do but I am nowhere ever near finishing it. There was an interruption for breakfast of course and then Rosemary rang me up for one of our marathon chats.

And we would probably still be chatting now except that there are certain things that, never mind how rich, powerful and famous you might be, it’s not possible to have anyone else do for you.

gully emptier place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was organising breakfast I had a look out of the window to see what was going on.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday afternoon we saw the gully emptier just finishing emptying a gully in the street. Today it’s back, in the courtyard between the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs and the Council Offices, emptying the gully just there.

And here’s an idea. I ought to start a lottery, guessing where we’ll find the gully-emptier tomorrow.

Later on I went for a shower so that I’d smell nice and clean for my physiotherapy session. And I’ve lost 800 grammes since Monday lunchtime, which just goes to show that there’s a problem with my bathroom scales.

As a result of everything so far, it was a rather late lunch. And that reminded me that I have some baking to do tomorrow. I’ve no bread and no fruit buns left either

outer harbour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Eventually I wandered off outside for my walk to the physiotherapist.

As usual I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to test the NIKON 1 J5. Not that there was anything particular to photograph because the tide was well out.

On the way down the hill are the four steps that I use to test how my knee is feeling. They are quite high and there is no handrail so I have to pull myself up with whatever strength I have in the knee.

On Monday I couldn’t manage anything at all but today was rather better. It’s still a long way from anything reasonable though and it’s depressing me.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022The other day I mentioned that we might be expecting the arrival of one of the little Jersey freighters.

Because of the swimming pool on the quayside I was expecting to see Normandy Trader but in actual fact today it’s Thora who has come into town. We haven’t seen her for a while.

The walk through the town and up the hill was quite uneventful. And at the physiotherapist’s she spent the first 20 minutes massaging my patella, which she can do any time she likes.

She seems to think that it’s ligament trouble that’s causing my problem and suggests that I need to speak to my doctor. I have to see him soon to load up with more Aranesp so I’ll talk to him then

And having to have injections to stimulate the blood cells sufficiently to enable me to have the strength to go to Leuven – what kind of state is that to be in?

After the physiotherapist’s I went to LIDL to do some shopping. Supplies are rather low right now with not having been to the shops for a couple of weeks. There was chocolate-flavoured soya drink on spcial offer so it was a shame that I was on foot. I could only carry away one of those.

building apartments rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022On the way back from the shops I passed by the building site on the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo and the Rue St Paul where they are building that block of apartments.

They seem to have advanced quite rapidly over the last couple of weeks. However they have been at it long enough. I seem to recall that the crane arrived here just before the summer holidays last year

Down the hill I went and then back up the hill struggling under the load of shopping that I had. And to think that a year ago I would quite happily walk back from LIDL with three times the weight of the stuff that I had today.

Halfway up the hill I bumped into one of my neighbours and we had a chat for five minutes or so about nothing particular. I have to be sociable, even if I don’t feel much like it.

la grande ancre l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Down in the harbour the fishing boats were coming in to unload after their day out at sea.

A couple of them we can identify quite easily. The one in the foreground busily unloading is of course La Grande Ancre and behind her in her usual place is L’Omerta.

Also down there are a few of the larger ones clustered around the harbour gates waiting for them to open with the tide. And one of the Joly France ferries is over there at the ferry terminal too

By now it was raining and so I didn’t want to hang around. A nice hot mug of coffee would do me good

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022However, of course I can’t go into the apartment without looking to see what’s happening down on the beach.

Not much beach, and no-one down there on it. Everyone has much more sense than I have abviously.

Back in the apartment I made myself a coffee and came into the office to sit down while I waited for it to percolate. When I awoke later the coffee machine had timed out and the coffee was cold. I must have been out for quite some time.

So one of these days I might actually finish my radio programme.

For tea tonight I nearly made another mess. There were some mushrooms that needed eating so I resolved to make a curry with the leftovers in the fridge and heave them in.

So I set about making the curry and I was halfway through before I realised that I’d forgotten the mushrooms. It’s a good job that I remembered just in time.

It’s bedtime now and I can’t say that I’m sorry. I’m exhausted. I just can’t seem to make any progress right now and i’ve no idea why. I’m seriously wondering if there’s something in the medication that i’m taking that’s slowing me down like this.

But I dunno and I don’t know if I’ll ever get to find out.

Tuesday 15th February 2022 – WHILST YOU ADMIRE …

storm waves baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… several photos of the storm that is slowly brewing up ready for later in the week, I shall acquaint you all with my activities for today.

In fact there were plenty of activities going on through the night – it’s always good to get off to a good start. Nerina and I were being transferred to work somewhere else. We were living up in the North-East at the time. For some unknown reason we had to take two vehicles . I took the BMC1300GT that I had and she took one of the Cortinas. We arranged to meet up somewhere which we did but she wasn’t quite ready. She was still sorting through everything. We were on the slip road of a motorway interchange so I gave her some directions such as get on the motorway here but carry straight across the other side, drive a few miles and take the road that goes diagonally north-east to south-west. Basically it was M1, M62, M6. I said that I’d set off as there were a lot of people around and drive slowly so that she can catch me up. She never did. We both finally met up. On the way down I was thinking “which particular car do we have insured?”. I realised that it was a car that I hadn’t used for ages. There was another one there where the MoT had run out etc (and we’ve been here several times before, haven’t we?). I ought to put the insurance on this one but I wondered if there was an MoT on it as well. When we met she told me all kinds of stories like Margaret had fuelled up the car for her but she’d taken a different car, EBF. I congratulated her on getting down here without any mishap.

storm waves baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022I stepped back into this dream with Nerina again. We were driving somewhere and we went to stop at a pub – a pub where a friend of mine used to work in the summer once. We stopped and made to go in but there was an old Hillman Minx, the rounded type of the early 1950s parked up in the garage and it had Greek number-plates on it. I went to fetch my camera but the lens was filthy so I had to clean it. I went to take a photo of it but the photo wouldn’t take. It didn’t matter which button I pressed or which selections I made etc. I couldn’t take this photo and we’ve been here more than a few times too). Nerina came out and saw me struggling with this so I told her to go and fetch the little one out of my bag. When she got there she found that the little one wasn’t there. I thought that it might be in my jacket pocket on the back seat. I could see that she was extremely unhappy about me spending all my time while we were here trying to get this camera to work and not doing anything else like having something to eat, I suppose

Later on we were with TOTGA in an office somewhere and tidying up one of the rooms. We’d been out somewhere with one of the bosses there. We were taking down all kinds of out-of-date notices etc. She said that she would go and have a look at the food in the cupboard and look for out-of-date products. There were all kinds of stuff in there, soy sauces, vingars, jams and everything – tons of the stuff. She made the remark that the largest producer of soy sauce was in this area and we didn’t have a single bottle of theirs. Then she started to look at expiry dates for stuff that was well out-of-date. I discreetly hid my vinegar bottle from view because I noticed that the expiry date on it was something like 1999 and I was still using it whenever I had chips. I thought that that would be the kind of thing that would give her a heart attack if she saw that. There was always the undercurrent that I wished that the boss would go and leave the two of us alone for a while.

storm waves baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022When the alarm went off at 07:30 I had something of a struggle to leave the bed and it was more like 08:00 when I finally showed a leg.

After the medication and checking my emails I sat down to revise my Welsh but my brain today was like a teflon saucepan – nothing would stick to it. We had a kind-of test in the lesson today and I failed miserably. My heart really wasn’t in it.

It’s quite true that under normal circumstances it always takes me a couple of days for me to gather my wits (such as they are) after my return from Leuven, but what went on on Sunday was nothing like normal.

Even so, I still have a feeling that like most other things that I seem to be (or not to be) doing right now, events are slipping away from me quite rapidly.

After lunch I didn’t really do all that much. I’d already almost drifted away a couple of times during the morning and I wasn’t all that energetic.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022However I was energetic enough to go out for my afternoon walk.

First stop was the wall at the end of the car park where I could look down onto the beach to see what was going on down there. And as far as I could see, there wasn’t anyone down there at all.

And that’s no surprise because it was raining when I went out, as you can tell by looking closely at this photograph. Not particularly heavy and there wasn’t a great deal of wind but enough to keep everyone except me indoors.

marker light rocks baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As usual I was having a good look around out to sea, and that was rather a waste of time because the rain out there was such that there was nothing to see.

No yachts, ferries or fishing boats anywhere, and the Ile de Chausey was well-hidden in the mist. I had to content myself with the marker light just there that marks the rocks that you can see, just sinking slowly beneath the rising tide.

Around at the end of the headland there wasn’t anything much going on there either. And even if there had been, I wouldn’t have been able to see it because by now the wind had increased in force and was blowing the rain into my face.

The waves were running rough as you saw in the earlier photos so I wandered off down the path to have a closer look and to take a few photos.

tiberiade fishing boat chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It’s been a week or so since we’ve had a look at what’s happening in the chantier naval.

Tiberiade is having a new coat of paint by the looks of things. You can see that they have made a really good start on sanding her down.

But if she’s having a new paint job, I wonder if her sister Coelacanthe will be in next for her turn.

The other boat down there might be Le Roc A La Mauve III. The colour scheme looks the same and she wasn’t in the place where we left her when we went away.

fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While we’re on the subject of fishing boats … “well, one of us is” – ed … we had quite a gaggle of them round by the fish processing plant.

While the tide isn’t deep enough for them to open the harbour gates, they dredged a deeper channel at the side of the fish processing plant so that the smaller boats can come in and moor just there and unload.

It spreads out the working hours of the unloading crews and means that they can handle more boats. The tonnage of seafood landed here increased quite considerably last year compared to the previous year, and that’s good news for the port.

refrigerated lorries fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And while we’re on the subject of the fish processing plant … “well, one of us is” – ed … there was something rather interesting going on there this afternoon.

We have two of the large refrigerated lorries over there parked back-to-back and their tailgates are down as if they are passing goods from one lorry to the other. That looks extremely complicated.

And what is the tanker doing there too? I haven’t seen a tanker here before so I’ve no idea why it’s come. Because the large van is in the way, I can’t see the equipment that the tanker is carrying so I’m not able to tell what kind of tanker it is.

gully emptier place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And while we’re on the subject of tankers … “well, one of us is” – ed … I know what this tanker was doing before it drove away.

As I walked up round the corner from the Boulevard Vaufleury I would see the queue of traffic waiting for something to happen further on. And as I rounded the next corner I could see the tanker driver closing up the manhole in the street and coupling up his hoses.

“Emptying the drains” I said to myself.

Back here I had my coffee and continued on with doing not very much at all until teatime. With the stuffing that was left from yesterday, lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans,

And having written my notes, I’m now off to bed, hoping for a better day tomorrow. One of these days I’ll have the kind of day where everything goes well and I manage to do plenty of work.

And then what will I find to moan about?