Tag Archives: bouquet granvillais

Sunday 16th January 2022 – NO WONDER …

… that I’m exhausted. I must have travelled miles during the night.

One of these days they’ll invent an ethereal fitbit that will track my travels when I’m off on my nocturnal voyages and I bet that the distances that I travel will be interesting.

Anyway, last night I had a very disturbed night (as you will discover as you read on) and despite being awake on several occasions at some kind of ridiculous hour, there was no danger whatever of my leaving my stinking pit until I was good and ready – which was about 10:15 this morning.

After the medication I had to download a few files off the portable computer that I take with me to Leuven, and then I could pair off the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. They went together quite well too, but not as well as they did a couple of weeks ago.

For a few hours afterwards I had a little laze about not doing too much, except for having my brunch. Porridge and thick slices of toast with strong black coffee.

Round about 15:00 I wandered into the kitchen and made a big load of pizza dough, seeing as I’d run out. And I do have to say that for some reason that I can’t understand, it turned out to be one of the nicest doughs that I have made.

Nice and soft and smooth and silky.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022having put the dough on the side in order to rise, I went off for my post-prandial perambulation around the promontory.

First port of call quite obviously was the beach to see what was happening down there today. It’s been a good few days since I stuck my head over the parapet.

Plenty of beach this afternoon but there wasn’t anyone down there on it, although I did notice a couple of people walking down the steps from the Rue du Nord going off for an afternoon ramble.

And while I was at it, I was being photo-bombed by a seagull on its way out to sea.

rainstorm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was there, I was having a good look around out to sea to see if there was anything happening there.

There wasn’t a single boat that I could see out there this afternoon which was a surprise because it was actually quite a nice afternoon, for a change. And after the last few days of winter, it’s warmed up somewhat and now much more like March again.

But there was a rainstorm brewing out at sea in the bay. You can see it out there just offshore, obscuring the Ile de Chausey. Luckily there wasn’t very much wind to speak of this afternoon so there wasn’t very much danger of me being caught in it.

rainstorm sun on sea baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022This afternoon we were having yet more beautiful lighting effects. It’s one of the things that I like about this time of the year.

We were having another one of these really nice TORA TORA TORA light displays where the sun comes streaming through the gaps in the clouds.

And with the rainstorm that was going on out at sea it was producing some quite interesting effects. It was a shame that there were so few people out there watching it. There can’t have been more than a dozen or so people out there on the path up to the lighthouse this afternoon.

sun baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And out in the Baie de Mont St Michel things were even nicer.

As well as the TORA TORA TORA effect we had a spotlight or two illuminating the water as the sun shone brightly through a gap in the clouds.

The rainstorm in the distance was obscuring the Brittany coast but the sea was nice and bright there.

Wouldn’t it have been nice to have caught a yacht or a fishing boat sailing through the beams of light? But you can’t have everything of course.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There actually were some people down there admiring the view as well.

Sitting down there by the cabanon vauban was someone on the bench watching the sunset. And someone further out sitting on the rocks at the end of the headland. It’s a shame that there weren’t any boats out there for us to see this afternoon.

But on another more depressing note, the way things are these days, we have to keep a lose eye on people sitting like that on the rocks. The events of mid-November are still etched quite firmly in my mind.

container pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But never mind that for the moment. There were things that were much more interesting going on that require some investigation.

The skip that’s down here on the headland gives us a clue, and my hat goes off to the driver who dropped it off here.

What is going on right now is concerning the group of people who are planning on opening a museum in one of the abandoned World War II bunkers. They have been given permission to go into another one of the closed-up bumkers and clear it out of 75 years-worth of debris and see what they can find.

pivot for cannon bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022and almost straight away, they uncovered something interesting.

This is the pivot of a field gun – either a 105mm or a 128mm quite likely, that would be used as coastal defence to protect the area from either an invasion landing or a commando raid.

Mind you, when the Germans launched a commando raid on Granville on 9th March 1945, whatever artillery was here in the bunker didn’t do much good to repel the attack.

And, I suppose, as they go further into the bunker, the more and more artefacts will be discovered.

interior of bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But at least they have cleaned the walls of the bunker we can actually see the markings that the Germans painted on the walls.

These are presumably unit identification marks, although I don’t know which units are being indicated.

What I’ll have to do is to have a wander around the area during working hours and hope that I can lay my hands on one of the people clearing out the bunker. The fact that the skip is still here seems to indicate that they will be back here using it at the beginning of next week at least.

And so I’ll make a mental note.

storm waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022although I said that there was very little wind today, there must be something going on somewhere out at sea.

As I walked around the headland I could hear the sound of the waves smacking into the harbour wall so I was keen to see exactly what was going on. Consequently I pushed on along the path towards the post.

It wasn’t much of a show, unfortunately. The waves were more powerful that I was expecting in view of the weather conditions, but they weren’t producing anything spectacular when they crashed into the wall. There was plenty of noise but none of it to any great effect.

les bouchots de chausey unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, over at the fish-processing plant, there was plenty of activity going on.

Les Bouchots de Chausey, one of the little inshore shell-fishing boats, was in port this afternoon, working on a Sunday. And she must have had quite a good catch today.

She’s busy unloading her boxes of shellfish onto the trailer at the back of the tractor over there and you can tell from the amount on there that she’s had a profitable day.

A few weeks ago I encountered the tractor hauling the loaded trailer off through the town and out towards Donville les Bains. And one of these days I’ll follow her to find out where she goes.

gerlean chausiaise joly france chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022When I came back from Paris yesterday I could see that there was little change in the chantier naval.

As we can see, Gerlean is still in there. All on her own, too. No-one else has come in to join her while I was away.

Over at the ferry terminal however, we have the usual suspects over there. Chausiaise, the little freighter, is at the head of the queue and behind her is the older of the two Joly France boats – the one without the step in the stern.

ch638749 pescadore ch907879 l'arc en ciel ch898472 cap lihou l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back home I went to look at the boats moored in the inner harbour, not the least of the reasons being that L’Omerta was actually tied up for once at the pier.

We also had Pescadore, L’Arc-en-Ciel, Cap Lihou and a couple of other boats that I didn’t recognise tied up down there too.

And of course there were the two Channel Island Ferries, Victor Hugo and Granville, moored up in the background looking as if they aren’t ever going to move again.

Back here, I made myself a coffee and then sat down to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night.

In the middle if the night I awoke as I was counting something and trying to write down these numbers with a pen but I couldn’t find a pen that worked. But I can’t remember now what it was that I was counting and I have no idea. It was like a table of numbers or something and this was just one particular row of these numbers but I can’t remember what they were for.

Later on there was a pile of girls, probably about 6 or 7 years of age having to stand in a line and talk about where they came from etc. One girl came from Africa but was a white girl said “Africa, yes, that’s me. That’s where I come from. That’s my home town” etc but I couldn’t help the feeling that this was being transferred over to me as well. I had ti edit the view of this concert because the ratio was wrong – something like 1.5:1 instead of 1.1. If I were to do that I would lose a lot of everything. I had to have the focusing right and the general screen capture size right in order to do it. And I’m impressed with the technical details and terms that I can spout when I’m asleep .

After that there was a girl aged about 10 or 11 or so in a swimsuit and bonnet. Suddenly she was attacked and killed. That cheered me up because it meant that there would be a place for me to go and live on an island so I put myself in the queue but there was someone there in charge, some fellow or person, who said “there are still too many people so the queue needs to be cut down by half” which meant that I wasn’t going to go this time. I would have to wait for something equally dramatic next time before I could go. And isn’t that all a totally gruesome idea?

Last night we were also prisoners of war in something like COLDITZ CASTLE in a high security room with a few of us in it. We tried to escape once but the guy in charge was not very good and not only had we all been recaptured before we’d even done anything he’d had some confidential papers captured too and he’d been shot although not seriously. We were there again and we tried to have another go at escaping. The idea was to lull this commandant person into a false sense of security then when one of his guards would go out to do something, we could overpower the reduced numbers and escape from the castle like Colditz. So one of the guards had to leave. As he pulled up the zip on his ski suit it passed a certain point that someone had indicated with a blue “X”. This meant that the escape was on. He went and someone pulled on the commandant a gun that he had hidden and gathered up quickly everything that they needed. Then it was a case of making the commandant unconscious so someone hit him with the barrel of the gun. It didn’t work so I hit him about 3 or 4 times but that still didn’t knock him unconscious so in the end someone else took over. We then set the room alight. Someone wasn’t happy about leaving the commandant there with this room alight. I replied that every time he flew over Germany he dropped one bomb that killed far more people than just one without any scruples whatsoever

Interestingly, later on we were all in this Prisoner of War camp in this high-security room with the commandant and a couple of the guards. We’d already tried to escape once but had been overpowered by weight of numbers and the guy in charge had been shot, not seriously. They captured all of our confidential papers and I tried to drum it in to the idea thatwe should keep all of the papers like that together so that they could be thrown into the fire early etc. In the end we made ourselves ready. One of the German guards was called away as we hoped leaving the commandant behind. When this guy’s zip was drawn up to a certain spot it was as if a blue “X” appeared on his zip when the two sides were drawn together. That was our signal so we overpowered the commandant and captured his papers etc and prepared to leave. We set fire to the room with some accelerant. Someone was upset about that. We should rescue the captain but I said that each bomb that they had dropped over German territory would kill far more people than just one and that they’d dropped that bomb without any scruples whatsoever. In the end they prepared to scramble down out of this building and this railway cutting on their way off. So what was happening there that I had an almost-identical dream twice I have no idea.

And then I had my house up for sale. There was a group of us round at my other place tidying it up because it was really dirty, building rubble and brick dust everywhere that I was trying to vacuum, not very successfully. My friend from Belfast grabbed hold of me and asked me what was going on about Luxembourg. I replied that they were worried that the whole world was going to be flooded with cheap labour from the Arab states. He asked what I propsed to do about it and I replied “put a tax on foreign workers”. He said that that wouldn’t go down very well with some people. I replied “never mind. It can’t be helped”. We had to keep checking the door to make sure that a girl I know from Luxembourg wasn’t overhearing. We came round to what we were going to do about the apartment that was for sale. Someone told me to be careful and not to accept the first offer I received. I replied “I’m well aware of that” and told them a few stories about apartments that had been sold. “I’m prepared to wait for the right moment” even if it meant leaving it empty or putting it down in ten, but I’d sell it”. Then we were all called together and had to collect our security passes. Helen’s security pass and Steve’s security pass, I’d been involved in the preparation of those and I still had the boxes in which their cards came so I had to be very careful to give the right number to the guy taking the details that whoever he looked at had, he would write down the right number, mine and not one of the other two’s, and that he wouldn’t duplicate the numbers and leave one of the cards out.

Finally there was something about a Land Rover. I was with a friend last night. We’d gone to see a van that I’d just bought – that he’d bought on my behalf. An LDV. We didn’t actually get to see the LDv – we were sidetracked as usual by a Land Rover that he owned. It was a diesel and we were taking about this diesel Land Rover. I mentioned that I owned a Minerva that brought a few smiles from around various people. In the end we ended up back at his wife’s. She was talking about his cars, saying that he had far too many and it was high time that he did a few things with one. Something came up about another Land Rover that he owned, how something had to be done with that so that the Land Rover that we had seen at someone else’s house could be brought home. he said something about going to fetch the van that I’d bought but I asked him “where are you going to park it?”. There was no room in his drive at all. he saw the wisdom in that and said that we can do that another time. By then the wife and I were out somewhere. We had Zero with us. We’d been driving around but I thought that we’d not been going the right way to get back to her house. Instead she took another way. We were waiting to turn right at a road junction but were there for hours, even with people passing on the right to go straight on. Eventually we reached this other house which was in total chaos worse than mine. She was telling these guys about her husband’s new Land Rover. Zero was there with these other kids, all playing with a huge pile of toys and everything. It just seemed to peter out at that particular moment, this story, which was rather a shame.

It’s no surprise that I was exhausted after all of this travelling about. And what a shame that the final voyage petered out just as it was becoming interesting.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But there was so much of it that I had to break off in the middle to go and deal with the dough.

It had risen beautifully so I split it into three batches. Two of them went into the freezer and the third one was rolled out and put in the pizza tray to proof for an hour or so while I carried on with “War and Peace”.

After the dough had risen nicely I assembled the pizza and put it in the oven to bake.

And when it was finished, it looked totally beautiful. And I do have to say that it tasted even better, even if I had forgotten to use the remaining half-pepper that I had brought out of the fridge.

So having written my notes, I’m off to bed. It’s a 06:00 start tomorrow as I have a radio programme to prepare. There’s the physio tomorrow afternoon too, so I need to be at my best.

But we’ll see how tomorrow unfolds, especially if I travel as far during the night as I did last night.

Friday 14th January 2022 – AFTER ALL OF YESTERDAY’S …

… efforts, I ended up in bed at some kind of early time of night. With no need for an alarm tomorrow no appointments, and also no phone either), I was going to make the most of it.

Unfortunately, it didn’t quite turn out like that. I don’t sleep as well in the bed here as I do in my bed at home, and then there was the fact that I’d been off on my travels.

There are several different sound files on the dictaphone, and that shows that I had a very disturbed night. At some point I’d just been to fill the kettle that was on the bedside table, put it on its stand and went to switch it on to make a cup of coffee in the middle of the night.

It’s amazing the kind of things that you can do when you are fast asleep, isn’t it?

There was something about submarines last night. It wasn’t a tube as you might expect but it was U-shaped passenger compartment where four people could lie down. It was the only way to be. Two of them were in the higher part in the centre and two were in the lower part, one at each end. The submarine was sent on active service like that. There was no way for any of these people to move once they were on board and it must have been the most uncomfortable and claustrophobic thing ever yet even I had been out in it on active service. On one occasion I was at school watching these kids and the tutor was talking about who’d done what, who’d dome something else, naming these kids. Then on eof the kids mentioned my name. It turned out that one of the kids wanted me to give a talk on these submarines so I gave them a little talk on it. As I say, it’s most surprising because you would never ever get me into a submarine like this, not in a million years. later on when I went to see if I was back again with this submarine there was something to do with lords and ladies, not their names, and some kind of operating manual about this submarine but I can’t remember what this was and what it related to, anything like that

Much as I hate submarines I found myself volunteering for the crew of this to go out and sail in it and that is most unlikely for me. But anyway it looks as if I’ve just stepped back into the story from which I had just stepped out.

There were some of us last night around the West Midlands. We’d been somewhere and had to return home so we were looking for a railway station. We were in a vehicle and had driven underneath a railway line. A little further ahead was another railway line so we imagined that there was a railway junction which might mean that there would be a station. There was a bus coming out of there with schoolkids. We saw a sign that said “Intercity” so we turned down this road underneath the railway bridge and followed the railway line. Instead it took us into a yard where there were all kinds of railway maintenance equipment etc. We thought “this can’t possibly be right” but we carried on. At the end of the yard was a kind of dirt track out so we followed this dirt track, still following the railway and ended up somehow in someone’s house. We thought “we’re in civilisation so we can get out here” but we ended up in some girl’s bedroom. There was no handle on the door on the inside. This guy and I had a look round but I could see that this wasn’t going to work so we’d be better clearing off quickly. I went back into the annexe where we’d appeared. The other two people were standing there. I told them that we had better make ourselves scarce because this isn’t it. The fourth person, the one who had come with me into the main room hadn’t put in an appearance. We thought “we can’t hang around because sooner or later we’ll be caught by someone being in this house.

Finally I was in Shavington last night and there was an Austin 1100 being worked on down the street. A young boy was going it. There was a little girl of about 3 or 4 helping him or watching him. He was talking to her and asked her where something was, like a nursery or a toy room or something. She took him down to where Caliburn was parked. He opened the door of Caliburn and took out a bottle of beer and started to drink it. I went down there and grabbed hold of him and asked him what he was doing. He wouldn’t answer so I asked him for his name. He gave me about 4 or 5 different names. In the end I asked him what was his name in his birth certificate. He replied “none of those. It’s extremely complicated”. I was becoming extremely short-tempered at this particular moment so maybe it was just as well that I awoke.

Being awake is one thing. Being out of bed is something else. It was round about 09:30 when I finally arose from the dead, and then after the medication I spent much of the day choosing the music for the next batch of 5 radio programmes.

All of that is done and dusted, although it took me longer than it might have done. Breakfast was a contributory factor and so was lunch, but there was more than just a small amount of indolence too

folding up market stall herbert hooverplein leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo January 2022When I’d finished, I went off into town for my walk.

With it being Friday, it’s market day in the Herbert Hooverplein and the Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein although they have usually all cleared off by 14:00. I caught the very last one, who “shall fold their tents, like the Arabs and as silently steal away”, just like in Longfellow’s “The Day Is Done”.

First stop on my way into town was at the FNAC to check the data cables for my telephone. But if anyone thinks that I’m going to be paying the kind of price that they want for one, then they are mistaken.

demolition of match supermarket bondgenotenlaan leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo January 2022So never mind. I have a cunning plan, so I headed off outside the front door into the Bondgenotenlaan.

There’s a “Match” supermarket just up the road from here but by the looks of things it isn’t going to be here all that long. Since I was here last, they have made a start on demolishing it.

That’s a shame because what we’ll have is a modern deluxe building with the kind of rent that a supermarket like Match could never pay and make a profit, and there’s another local amenity gone for good.

However it is quite amusing seeing the 18th Century building still standing after all these years and here they are ripping down something of the 1960s. It just goes to show.

In Kruidvat, as I expected, I struck it lucky. I picked up a 2-metre micro-USB cable for just €2:99. That’s much more like it.

That was a good move because I can use that with the ZOOM H8 and bring the smaller cable with me on my travels to use with the ‘phone and the NIKON 1 J5.

wall plaque sack of leuven louis melsensstraat leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo January 2022In my quest for a baking tin, I went down the Louis Melsensstraat towards the cheap shops. And here I noticed a wall plaque of a type that I don’t recall seeing before.

The story of the Sack of Leuven by the Germans in August 1914 has been told often enough and you’ll see many buildings in the town with a wall plaque like the one on the left, indicating that the building was a victim of the German atrocities.

The one on the right though is different. I’ve no idea to what the date of 1922 refers. It might possibly related to the date when the building was restored. I shall have to make certain enquiries when I find someone who might know the answer.

Neither Wibra, Zeeman nor Hema came up with a suitable baking tin so it looks as if I’ll have to buy one of the overpriced ones at LeClerc when I go home. Those there are 18cm ones there but that’s more than enough for me to make a cake for myself in the future. The pyrex dish that I used instead was rather too large for what I want.

There was better luck in Sports Direct, where I bought some new trousers and also in the health-food shop Origin’o where I picked up some more grated vegan cheese for my pizzas and some vegan sausages. I really enjoyed those that I bought last time I was here.

river dijle leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way to Delhaize (for some more banana soya drink) and Hema, I went for a little wander by the River Dijle to see what was happening there.

It’s changed quite a lot since we last stood on this spot. Back in 2016 when I was living here the river was overflowing after that very dramatic rainstorm that we had had, and a few months ago it was pretty full too after a lengthy bout of rain.

At Delhaize I picked up my drink and then went round to Hema. No baking tins here either, which was a surprise. Hema usually has almost everything that you need. What do people in Flanders (and France) use when they are baking cakes? And where do they go to buy it?

christmas trees grote markt leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo January 2022Back in the Grote Markt, it’s starting to go dark so they have illuminated the Christmas trees and the other decorations.

The crèche has gone so there isn’t all that much here to illuminate today so we have to do the best that we can with what we’ve got. Lighting up the real tree that’s here is … errr … interesting.

It’s still quite cold so I’m not going to hang around this afternoon. There are plenty of places that I would like to visit, but not in this weather. The possibility of a piping-hot coffee is summoning me home.

Back here I had the coffee that I had promised myself and then went through the photos that I’d taken over the last few days.

But now that I’ve had my tea, I’m off to bed. I have an 05:00 start in the morning ready for my train at 06:26.

Monday 10th January 2022 – NOT VERY MANY …

… photographs today. And you’ll find out why as you read on. It’s not been a very good day today. Not at all.

It started off quite well though. When the alarm went off at 06:00 this morning I was actually out of bed quite rapidly for a change. And after the medication and checking the mails and messages, I attacked the radio programme that I intended to do.

And despite a couple of breaks for coffee and for breakfast, It was all finished and up and running by 10:37. And it would have been finished even quicker had the final track that I had chosen been properly formatted.

In the end I had to re-record it and re-format it and that took a while. And had I thought on, I would have re-recorded the whole album because if one track is badly formatted, it follows that all of the others are too.

When I’d finished the programme and listened to it (and to the one that will be sent off later for broadcast this weekend) I went and had a shower and washed a load of clothes ready for my voyage to Leuven on Wednesday.

After lunch the nurse came round and gave me my injection of Aranesp following which I sorted out my papers ready for my walk up to the physiotherapist.

jade 3 loading with crane port de Granville harbour Manche harbour Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way down the hill into town I noticed that there was something happening down at the inner harbour.

If I am correct, the trawler down there is Jade III and there is somethign going on for which she needs the services of one of the dockside cranes.

It can’t be the nets because they are usually loaded from the rear, with the boats stern-on to the quayside, as we have seen on many occasions down there in the past. But this crane is being used on the side of the boat.

This afternoon I was rather late setting out for my appointment so I couldn’t loiter around. I had to push on quite rapidly. But I made it there in time.

And this is where my problems began. In the middle of an exercise my knee gave out again, just as it did that time in Paris, and I fell to the floor quite heavily. I didn’t have the strength to pull myself up, but luckily I was by the wall-bars so I could grab hold of something to help me to my feet.

But at least my physiotherapist had a really good view of what happened. She’s no longer in any doubt about the issues that I’m having. But it’s not boding well for my trip to Leuven on Wednesday.

Luckily, one of my neighbours was there at the same time as me, and he too was a witness to my little incident. He was here in his car so he offered to drive me home which was very kind of him.

Back here I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed outside for a wander around – and fell down the stairs as my knee gave way again. And so I didn’t go very far.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Nevertheless I struggled on across the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

It was rather later than usual, with having had to hang around somewhat for a lift, and so the tide was coming in quite rapidly. And there was no-one down there on the beach at all. The place was deserted.

The weather wasn’t actually all that bad. Although there was some rain in the air being blown around by the wind, it was quite warm for the time of year. In fact, this weather is unseasonably-warm. I don’t think that I’ve ever known a winter quite as mild as this one so far.

chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There had been some kind of activity at the chantier naval that I’d noticed earlier so I went for a closer look with the 70-300mm LENS

Gerlean is still there of course, but over on the right the skyjack has put in an appearance from out of the shed where it usually lives. It doesn’t look as if there’s any reason for it to have been brought outside – they usually only need it when they are working on one of the large trawlers.

But even more interestingly, they have a couple of vans with people in attendance over at the portable boat lift. It’s not been back in commission for a month yet but it’s already been under repair once and it looks as if it’s under repair yet again.

ch640361 nais ch638749 pescadore port de Granville harbour  Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, back in the inner harbour, most of the fishing boats that we had seen in there the other day now seem to have gone out to sea.

There’s Pescadore, the blue and black trawler that we saw in the chantier naval the other day, down there, and also one of the inshore shell-fishing boats too.

Luckily I could read her registration number from up here and now that I know where to access the index of French-registered fishing boats, I can tell you that she’s called Nais.

What with the leg giving me issues right now, I didn’t go any farther. I turned round and headed for home, with something of an undignified scramble up the stairs to my apartment.

Back here I made a coffee and came back in here to sit down, where I crashed out definitively. And to such an extent that I was seriously thinking of going back to bed at one point I felt so dreadful. And it’s been such a long time since I’ve felt even remotely like that. When I awoke, my coffee was stone-cold.

And once I recovered I had a listen to the dictaphone. I was staying last night in some weird hotel run by some Indians somewhere. He had only prepared part of my bill but I had to leave although I’d be back later. He hadn’t finished working out how much my evening meal was. I went out but when I returned he told me that Nina had been to see me. She’d turned up not long after I’d gone. There obviously wasn’t much that I could do about that. I waited for him to finish this bil for the meal. It was totally astronomical. He’d done things like because I was the only person there eating at that time he’d charged me the hourly rate of the 3 servers and the cook, that kind of thing. I had to pay their wages for an hour or so. Instead of paying something like £7 or £8 it was £70 or £80. I thought that it was absolutely astonishing. But whatever it was, he was busy explaining why he’d added this in, why he’d added that in and he never reached to point of telling me how much it was. No matter how much I asked him about this bill he still wouldn’t tell me how much it was. It was dragging on and on and on. I wanted him to get to the total but he was too busy with all of these explanations to tell me anything about how much I was going to have to pay at the end.

Tea tonight was taco rolls and rice with veg using the stuffing left over from Saturday. Tomorrow night’s tea will of course be a curry made of everything loitering in the fridge that needs to be eaten before I go off to Leuven.

That is, of course, if I go. With Covid being out of control it depends if there will be a train. And even if there is a train, it depends if I’m in any kind of state to travel there.

This is not going to be a good week for me to travel.

Saturday 8th January 2022 – THE LEAST SAID …

… about today, the better because it’s been one of those days that’s best forgotten.

In fact, it all went wrong before it even started, if you know what I mean. The alarm went off as usual at 07:30 and the next thing that I remember, it was 08:03. Yes, for the first time in ages, I’d gone back to sleep after the alarm. Definitely getting back into old habits.

So it was rather a rush this morning to have my medication and then have a shower and clean-up before dashing out to the shops.

Well, to Lidl anyway.

09:11 I’d set out, and at 09:58 I was back in the house. Mind you, it was hardly a surprise because there was nothing whatever going on anywhere. It was a wet, grey, dark, depressing morning, the ideal day to match my mood.

Back here I dictated the dictaphone notes from last night. And I was rather puzzled by one sound-file that ran for 57 minutes. “That must have been some voyage” I mused, only to find that it was 00:34 of me talking and the remaining 56:26 of me snoring. I’d drifted off back to sleep with the machine still running.

And apologies to Percy Penguin. She used to complain about me snoring during the night and I always denied it. Well …

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … apartment we’d come back on a ferry from somewhere in Europe. When we readhed the pier where we could disembark there were thousand upon thousand of us. We had to walk the length of this pier to reach the ferry terminal. Formerly there had been a train service between the ferry and the terminal. You could still see the railway station and the lines and an odd steam-train or two were going past crowded with people. We walked, and reached a T-junction where we had to turn left and ended up in the ferry terminal, suitcases, everything, hordes and thousands of people. I don’t know where it went from this but a little later there was an announcement on the radio that thousands of people were still stranded at the ferry terminal after 2 days. It looked as if we’d been there and there was no way for us to move on at the moment. Someone said something that he had arranged for a nurse to come to look after the disabled people so that their carers could have rest. It was all just total and utter chaos.

Also last night I was with one of my friends from Montreal for a while. We arranged to meet at some other time. She was living in Russia at the time so she suggested we meet and what I thought was today. I asked her where we would meet – I assumed that it would be half-way between the two -and she mentioned the name of a hotel somewhere in Kiev. I had a look on a map on the internet and found the hotel. It wasn’t too far from the railway station and in fact I’d driven past there once with her and she’d pointed it out to me. I wanted to know what time we were meeting so I rang her on her mobile number but had a recorded message something like “please don’t wake my dad, please don’t wake my dad”. I wondered what was happening because that was a long way to go, all the way to Kiev on the train from Brussels and not be met or not be picked up by anyone. I wanted some kind of more definite arrangements but she wasn’t answering her ‘phone.

As well as that I was out in Caliburn last night looking for the place where he would be MoT’d. It was a strange drive in some kind of strange village or town and then out into the countryside where I kept on being surrounded by sheep and i’m not really sure about that.

And just for a change I managed to save the text file without deleting it.

What else I’ve been doing today is to finish off that sound file that I had to re-edit. It wasn’t as easy as it might have been either because there was a lot of “bleeding over” between the channels so I had to be careful how I edited it and some of the stuff that I would have liked to have kept ended up having to go.

But at least it sounds more like something that it ought to do.

Going out for my afternoon walk wasn’t as easy as it ought to have been either.

When I went into the living room to gather up my stuff as I would usually do at the usual time, it was raining like rain that I had never seen and was as black as the ace of spades outside. There was no possibility of going for a walk in any of that.

rainstorm underneath door place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022About half an hour later it eased off so I decided to make a run – well, perhaps a crawl – for it.

And this is what has happened in the building. The rain has come down with so much force and with the wind being so strong, it’s blown all of the water underneath the front door and we’ve had a mini-flood on the ground floor.

Luckily though it’s not made it into any of the apartments down there, but now we know why there’s a kind-of step at the front door of the apartments down there if this is the kind of thing that happens on a regular basis.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Once I’d finally negotiated the entrance to the building I could go outside and see what was going on.

As I expected, the answer was “nothing at all”. There wasn’t a soul down on the beach which is no surprise given the weather that we had just had. Mind you, it was probably drier to actually go and sit in the sea.

With nothing else of any kind of note whatever happening, I pushed off towards the headland. The quicker I start, the quicker I finish.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was out there looking down onto the beach, I was also having a look around out at sea.

Not that I could see very much out there. It was rather like yesterday in that respect. There was another rainstorm circulating out there in the bay that was making life interesting for that small boat that was racing away from it towards the mainland.

Seeing the rainstorm was the cue for me to put my skates on. The wind was blowing it in my direction. I’d been caught in that downpour yesterday and I didn’t fancy another one. The sooner I return home the better

sunset brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However, as I walked on down the path, all on my tod, the sun suddenly and rather dramatically came out over the Brittany coast.

It looked pretty good in this photo but it became even better a little later when the heavy, dark cloud had moved completely away and was shining over the sea.

But I wasn’t to be lulled into a false sense of security by any of this. There might be sunshine over there but there was none of that here and the rainstorm was coming closer and closer.

The rain falls down upon the just
and on the unjust fella
but mostly on the just because
the unjust steals the just’s umbrella

french flag seafarers memorial pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022A little earlier, I’d mentioned the wind.

In fact, the wind was blowing quite strongly, although not as strongly as it had done when we had had the rainstorm. And you can see what damage the wind has been doing, because it’s shredded the French flag that flies above the monument to the departed seafarers.

And as you might expect, there was no-one else apart from me admiring it. Not even anyone down on the bench by the cabanon vauban, and that’s not a surprise to anyone at all.

waves harbour wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022So with nothing happening in the bay, I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

There was quite a wind and a turbulent sea but with the tide being well-out there were no waves breaking on the sea today. However, over on the wall that protects the port de plaisance we had some waves breaking there.

That’s the first time that I recall seeing the waves there. The wind must be blowing on the correct direction for that to happen. It’s probably quite a rare phenomenon.

Meanwhile, in other news, there was still Gerlean and Joly France in the chantier naval and the ferry terminal, but you are probably fed up of seeing them.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022In the inner port, we had most of the trawlers tied up. They haven’t gone out today.

They must be having a weekend off, or else the weather is too turbulent for even them to put out to sea this afternoon.

And so I made it back home where I was finally able to have my hot coffee. And then I sat down to pair of the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday but to my shame I fell asleep in the middle of doing it.

Not just for 5 or 10 minutes either but for well over an hour. A really deep sleep as well, the type that I haven’t had for several months. And that depressed me more than just about anything else.

When I awoke, the storm was back. And in spades too. A howling gale with driving rain. I’m glad that I went out when I did otherwise I would never have made it.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice, and now I’m off to bed. Although I’m not sure how I’ll sleep with the wind blowing tin cans around outside and the fact that I had such a good sleep this afternoon.

But it’s Sunday tomorrow and I’m having a lie-in. Rather like the CATALOGUE PRINCESS, APPRENTICE SEDUCTRESS, I seem to be spending most of my time praying “for endless Sundays” instead of performing ” to scattered shadows on the shattered cobbled aisles” of the streets of the old walled city at the back here.

Anyway, more of the same tomorrow.

Friday 7th January 2022 – NOT VERY MANY …

rainstorm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… photos today, people.

And when you see this photo that I took while I was out on my afternoon walk, you’ll understand why. That’s a rainstorm out there in the Baie de Granville obscuring the Ile de Chausey, and it’s a big one too.

And about two minutes after taking this photograph, I got the lot. Dropped on my head from a great height, as it were.

Had I seen it coming before I went outside I might even have waited for it to pass over, but I didn’t notice it until I was on my way down the path, by which time it was too late, so I carried on regardless and even four or five hours later my trousers are still wet.

It’s a good job that I’d worn my rain jacket.

So what have I been up to today then?

The answer is that I’ve been fairly busy (for once). And that includes during the night too. One of my friends – and I can’t remember who it was now – was teaching a class of Primary School children and the question of cars came up. I’d been dismantling a pile of German cars so I had loads of German numberplates and things. One of the numberplates had a collection of badges on it. There were a lot of things that were very interesting so I arranged to go into her class to give a little talk to the children. Of course Strawberry Moose came with me. When I arrived I was pretty loaded up so people had to open doors etc for me. I finally entered and put everything down. I had to introduce myself and say why I was there. One of the flower pots on the desk fell off onto the floor right in front of us all for no apparent reason so that had to be picked up. Then other things like that started to go wrong. This was taking ages but I’d hardly started. I said that I used to go to this school as a child and Mrs Matthews and Miss Blackburn were my teachers. I’d hardly started but everything was going wrong. We were running out of time. I could see that it would have been far better to have done this in the morning rather than in the afternoon after lunch but it was crazy.

Later on, TOTGA had 2 cats. We were talking on the ‘phone when she gave one such a smack. I asked “what’s up? Poor cat!”. She said “poor chat! How would you like it if one of them had just scratched your brand-new cricket shoes to shreds?” – something like that.

This was something to do with globalisation and my Passat estate. I’d been with a group of people and they’d all decided that they wanted to do different things. This was in the Netherlands or Flanders. I didn’t really want to do anything but they had all decided where they were going. They were all going to different places and I’d be on my own so I tagged on to one of them. There was a howling gale blowing outside that had already blown in one of the windows. We had to run down these 4 flights of stairs to the bottom in the teeth of this gale so I set off. When I reached the bottom there was a German soldier with a rifle holding me up. He asked where I was going and I replied “the hospital” so he showed me where it was and I went on my way. At the hospital we talked about globalisation, how the War had made some big American companies into multinationals. They were talking about cars too. I had a pile of plastic folders on my desk with all information about cars that I’d owned. We went through all of those and came to the one of the Passat. I said that this is the last of the really independent estate cars. After this, everything else was all the same.

There was something else too about TOTGA. She was in goal. There were people throwing all kinds of things at the goal. She was diving around like a goalkeeper keeping them all out. There was something to do with my Passat as well in this but I can’t remember what it was.

So aren’t I the lucky one? A couple of nights of Castor and Zero, and then TOTGA comes along. It’ll be Kate Bush and Jenny Agutter tonight, you just wait and see.

Once I’d transcribed the dictaphone notes (and a second time too because I deleted rather than saved them – it’s a good job that I do my daily back-up) first task was to make the bread.

500 grammes of wholemeal flour, 8 grammes of salt, 80 grammes of sunflower seeds, 2 packs of yeast and 320 grammes of water all kneaded together for about half an hour.

While it was busy proofing, I made the rest of the hummus now that I have a whizzer. And I’ll tell you something for nothing, and that is that I’m not going to be bothered by vampires and werewolves while eating this batch. It’s wicked.

It’s a simple recipe too. For any given quantity of weight, use 50% of chick peas, 25% of tahini (sesame seed paste), some olive oil and chick pea juice to make it up to about 95%, some sea salt, black pepper and garlic. Then whizz it up into a nice puree to the consistency of cement.

Then add your filling to take it up to 100%. One batch had diced olives and the other one diced sun-dried tomatoes. Whizz them in gently, just enough to disperse them throughout the mix but not to atomise them.

Kepp what you need in the fridge and put the rest in the freezer for further use. I have some nice 125ml ice cream tubs that I salvaged from a housemate in Leuven and they are perfect.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, back at the bread. It had risen quite nicely and so it was put in the oven to do its stuff for 70 minutes

And this is how it turned out. Doesn’t it look beautiful?

It tasted beautiful too, especially with the fresh hummus on it. It made a really wonderful lunch and I was very impressed with this. I’m really going to have to start to get back into cooking again.

And if I’m feeling like that, you can tell that I’m feeling much better than I did earlier in the week. I wonder if I can keep this up for a while.

While I’d been waiting for the bread to bake, I’d been doing this little exercise in my journal that I started yesterday. That’s finished now, which is good news.

But what’s surprising is that there were only 79 entries in total that needed to be amended and none at all before 2012. Considering that this played an important part in my life between 1996 and late 2007 and still does to a considerable degree, this is quite astonishing. I was expecting many, many more than this.

After my delicious lunch, I started on this soundfile and by the time that I was ready to knock off for work, I had finished it. Reduced from 27:32 to 11:35.

At least, I thought that I had. But for some unaccountable reason, one of the channels was would up to +36dB and I hadn’t noticed it before I saved it. And so it’s “clipped” horribly and reducing the decibels just turns it into a big mess.

Luckily, it’s the interviewer’s channel so I’m able to take the master recording (I never edit the master recordings, only copies that I make), cut out the questions, re-edit them and paste them back in over the top where the clipping has taken place.

It’s not easy because there is some overlap, but it’s better than I expected. I’ll finish that tomorrow anyway.

When I started using Audacity I knew next to nothing about it. But as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I never make any mistakes. I just learn a lot of lessons very quickly.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Like taking a raincoat with me when I go out for my afternoon walk.

Actually, I might have gathered that something was up by the fact that the place was totally deserted. There wasn’t a soul about. Certainly not down on the beach this afternoon. I had it all to myself.

There wasn’t anything at all going on out at sea – at least, as far as I could see. And that wasn’t very far with that rainstorm just offshore. Quite a change from the last couple of days when we’ve had some of the best views that I can remember.

skip place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There was something going on on the car park though.

Over the last couple of days we’ve seen the lorry and mini-digger coming back and to to the area. And now a skip has appeared with a load of soil in it. Something must be happening somewhere and I suppose that I ought to get out and about and look to see what it is.

But not today. Not in this weather anyway. I girded up my loins, wrapped my raincoat tightly aroud me, stuffed the NIKON D500 up underneath my jumper and waded off through the puddles and down the path.

gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And it wasn’t until I reached the chantier naval that I stopped either.

But that was because despite the weather, there was some change down there today. Trafalgar, the trawler that we saw in there yesterday, has now disappeared. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

There’s just Gerlean in there today, and she’s heavily wrapped up against the weather, just as I wish that I was.

Not wishing to hang about any longer, I headed back for home and my nice hot coffee. And to finish (and then re-start) the editing of the sound-file. And I’m glad that I’ve done it. Quite a change from a couple of days ago.

Tea was some of these burgers in breadcrumbs that I like, with veg and baked potato. They are quite delicious and I enjoyed that meal very much.

So all in all, a busy day today. And about time too. Tomorrow, I’m shopping. Not for very much because I’m off on my travels on Wednesday morning so I’m only planning on going to Lidl. And I’ll be glad to have my lie-in on Sunday. I’m really looking forward to that.

Thursday 6th January 2022 – LOOK WHO’S BACK!

lorry trailer minidigger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And he’s brought a friend with him too.

It seems that I was exceedingly premature the other day when I said that they must have finished down at the roadworks by the Rue St Michel, because ever since then, the lorry with its trailer and machines has been back every day.

And in the past I’ve mentioned about the difficulties that large vehicles have of passing underneath the Porte St Jean into the old town. It’s usual therefore for there to be a means of trans-shipment using a smaller vehicle, and today there’s a pick-up by the side of the lorry unloading stuff that it’s brought from within the walls

This morning I needed a pick-up to move me from my bed into the living room because I certainly wasn’t capable of doing it under my own steam.

It had been another “nuit blanche” – a night without any sleep. At least, that’s what it felt like and the fact that there was nothing at all recorded on the dictaphone tends to give that idea some credence. I suppose that the awful afternoon that i’d had yesterday was preying on my mind.

After the medication and so on, I came back in here feeling sorry for myself and not doing anything at all. And that’s how it went for a couple of hours.

But a strong mug of coffee at breakfast time gradually seeped down all the way through my muscles and I began slowly to feel more like it. I even went out and did the “end of the month” back-up onto the memory stick that I take to Leuven with me that I use to update the travelling laptop.

And feeling a little more like it after that, I set myself a little task, to prove that I am worthy.

There’s been a persistent … well, not a fault, but something that I would like to change in my notes and I’d made a start back in November and all subsequent entries have reflected it.

It’s to do with a song by Al Stewart that I heard while I was preparing a radio programme and it reminded me of something going back to 2006-07 that I did that I had forgotten, inspired by the same song. The lyrics were … well … extremely appropriate at the time.

Anyway, being up-to-date with that from November, there were entries going back all the way to the start of this journal to amend and so I made a start. Not every day of course, maybe one every few weeks (although just recently they have been a lot more frequent than that) and I made it as far back as the end of October 2020.

And if I have time tonight I’ll do a few more too because it’s quite therapeutic. Al Stewart has a lot to answer for.

Another strong coffee brought me even more into the land of the living and I attacked the soundfile that I started the other day.

With a pause here and there and a pause for my afternoon walk, I was well-advanced. Over 10 minutes of this interview has already gone the way of the west leaving me with, at the moment, just about 15 minutes, of which there will be more following its friends into oblivion.

There is at the moment 8.5 minutes of how I want it to be, so I’m looking as if I’m going to end up with about 12 minutes in total.

It won’t be done tomorrow morning though because I have bread to make. and now that I have a new whizzer, I need to finish off making this large batch of hummus.

In fact there would have been much more of this sound file edited but Rosemary rang me up for a chat and we had another one of our marathon sessions.

As for the afternoon walk, well, it was like a March day outside – not cold, not wet, not particularly anything.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022First place to go to is the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach to see what’s going on down there.

And there was plenty of beach for all kinds of things to be going on, but there weren’t many people down there going on with it. In fact, for the whole length of the beach, I could only see one person, although there was some movement down by the bouchot beds at Donville les Bains.

While I was there, I had a good look out to sea to see whether we might have any kind of maritime activity, but there wasn’t a sausage out there this afternoon that I could see, and it was quite clear this afternoon again.

light aeroplane 50sa pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There might have been nothing going on out at sea, but there was something going on up in the air this afternoon.

As I walked down the path I was overflown by an aeroplane that had taken off from the local airfield. No need to look for a flight plan because it’s our old friend 50SA and, being an ultra-light aircraft, she doesn’t file one which is a shame.

And it’s my intention to go out to the airfield when I come back from Leuven to make further enquiries about these planes and find out what I can about them. But I bet that there will be no-one there to ask when I arrive.

cap fréhel cap erquy brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Yesterday, I mentioned that the views out to sea were amongst the best that we have ever had.

That’s certainly the case today and the view of Cap Fréhel, 70 kms away, even with the naked eye, was quite impressive. Not only that, if you look carefully at this image you can see the headland beyond it.

If I’m correct, that headland in the background to the right of the lighthouse is Cap Erquy and that’s a further 10 or 12 kilometres further on.

Yes, the views were really impressive, but it was a shame that there was only me out there enjoying them. There wasn’t another soul about this afternoon, and that suits me, with another 261,000 infections. I’m dreading going to Paris next week with all of this.

gerlean trafalgar chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022No-one down by the bench at the end of the headland so I carried on along the path towards the port.

And there’s been another change of occupant in the chantier naval as well since I was last here. Pescadore and La Bavolette II now seem to have gone back into the water and in their place is the trawler Trafalgar whom we have seen in there before.

On the othe rhand, Gerlean is still in there, having a lot of work carried out on her. But I’ll refrain from saying “it looks as if she’s in here for a long stay” for that’s the cue for her to be back in the water when I come by tomorrow.

joly france chausiase ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Joly France boats, the older one of the two unless I’m much mistaken, is still over there as she has been for the last while, but she’s been joined today by Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs out to the Ile de Chausey occasionally.

But wouldn’t it be nice to see the Channel Island ferries back at the ferry terminal? It’s been almost 2 years since they last went out (apart from that little window in the early summer 2020) and with the infection rates being so appalling, that’s not likely to change any time soon.

On the way home, I passed by the lorry and its trailer and little friend, and came back here for a coffee and to carry on work, until Rosemary called.

Tea tonight was pasta and burger with vegetables. Very nice and it made me feel much better. In fact, I’ve not had too bad a day today despite how it started (and how yesterday finished).

Baking bread tomorrow, making hummus, and whatever else I can find to do.

Friday 31st December 2021 – CALIBURN IS BACK …

… at long last. And I’m lying down in a darkened room with a damp towel over my head recovering from the shock of seeing the bill. It was not pleasant.

And having broken the whizzer yesterday, my tale of woe and misfortune continued this morning when my little dictaphone – my constant travelling and bedside companion for the last seven or so years, went tits-up, much to my great dismay.

And having gone to LeClerc for some lemon syrup to make my hot lemon drinks and having walked away from the shop with just about everything except the lemon syrup, it’s really not my day today.

At least there was some stuff on the dictaphone from sometime during the night, as I discovered some time this morning. I’d been in hospital having all these tests done to me. Finally they took me to some kind of operating theatre or something where there were all these grotesque people waiting for some kind of surgery or lying on a bed. I was just so uncomfortable there. I couldn’t look at anything, just focus on the wall, all this kind of thing, not look around anywhere. At one stage I felt my oxygen cable being tugged so I had to walk to follow it so they could disconnect me from the other peron who was attached to the end. Then they said something like “right, Mr Hall, you can go”. But I didn’t know what they were doing or trying on me, or anything. They hadn’t even started. There was a bowl of something or other and I was looking for some medication in it, some kind of bean, trying to sort my way through. The taxi driver who transported me turned up. He asked “how much did we charge you for the Isle of Man the other day?”. I replied “I don’t know. Didn’t they pay you?” “No” he replied. “All the trips for this week haven’t been paid yet. You really ought to get yourself organised”. I replied “how the bl** he** can I get organised when I’m in here having all these tests? I have no vehicle and I don’t know what the he** I’m doing or what they are doing to me?”. I was having a really good moan and complain about this because I was totally fed up

Later on we were in Italy running the taxis and I had to go to the bank on my way to work to take the money. There was a bike handy, a really expensive type of posh bike so I got on it and cycled off towards the bank. People were noticing it because of the type that it was. I suddenly realised that it didn’t have any brakes. I had to drag my foot along the floor to slow it down or stop it. I reached the bank and had to leave the bike outside. I thought “I hope that i’m not going to be long”. I went into the bank just as they opened and put the cheques on the counter. She pointed out that one cheque hadn’t been signed and the amount hadn’t been entered in the box so I went to do it. Then I noticed that it was an odd amount of money so I thought that I would have to make this up out of my own pocket and this is going to take a while. The bike was outside and I wondered how long would the bike stay outside while I’m in here doing this before someone runs off with it.

Leaving the bed at 07:30 – well, the least said the better about that. I’m having a bad time right now, yet again.

Nevertheless, I managed to make my bread this morning – another delicious loaf of bread that I forgot to photograph before I got stuck into it at lunchtime.

After lunch I telephoned the garage. The repairs were complete but now they can’t find the log-book which they need for the controle technique. He turned out his garage while I turned out the apartment and neither of us could find it. “Ring m back in half an hour” he said.

Half an hour later I rang him back. He had found it, right where it ought to be, in the glove compartment of Caliburn. “Come round in half an hour”.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021On leaving the building, I went down to the end of the car park to have a look down onto the beach.

The tide is well in right now so there isn’t a lot of beach at the moment, but a dozen or so people have managed to find enough so that they can have a little fun before the beach is swamped.

And not like the other group of people yesterday. These are actually at the foot of the steps that lead up to the Rue du Nord so there isn’t all that much likelihood of them being cut off by the tide, which is just as well. A helicopter rescue isn’t cheap.

yacht baie de granville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021While I was looking down onto the beach my eye was roving around out at sea too, as it usually does.

Today there was actually some maritime activity out there in the bay. A little yacht was buzzing around out there, not doing very much, it has to be said, but there it was.

Having taken a photo I leapt into the little Opel van and set off. Half an hour later the little Opel van and I were back there at the garage and having to wait yet another half an hour before they attended to me, Caliburn and I could finally leave.

And wasn’t my pocket lighter?

At Leclerc I did some last-minute shopping, including another cheap whizzer set. They didn’t have any decent ones and the delivery time on Amazon was unbelievable. No next-day delivery with the Christmas and New Year rush on. And as I said, I forgot my lemon syrup.

But they had some breaded quornburgers in the “end of range” stuff and they are now in my freezer. I do like those, with baked potatoes and steamed veg tossed in vegan butter.

Throughout the day when I’ve not been doing anything else I’ve been editing that sound file that I started the other day. That’s now done and ready for a second run-through.

There are just two more to do and I’ll start those tomorrow. I was going to make a start on them when I returned but for some unknown reason I seem to have fallen into the pit again and I can’t climb out.

Nevertheless, I managed to make tea – taco rolls with the rest of the stuffing left over from yesterday, and then I came back in here to listen to MY NEW YEAR’S EVE ROCK CONCERT.

And if you missed it, you can hear it again tomorrow at 21:00 CET, 20:00 UK Time and 15:00 Toronto time.

Here’s hoping that I’m in a better humour tomorrow than I am right now.

But before I go, may I wish you all a very Happy New Year, with everything that you wished for other people in 2021. It was a dreadful year last year and it shows no sign of improvement. But let’s all hope that we’ll see many other much happier years in the days to come and that we can all go off and do things.

Thank you all again for your support over the last year. I love you all.

Wednesday 29th December 2021 – THERE’S ONE THING …

… about all of these issues I’m having about trying to have some work done on Caliburn during the Christmas – New Year period. And that is that I’m having plenty of exercise. My fitbit tells me that I’m up to 99% of my daily activity and as soon as I press “send” on this journal entry, I’ll take the rubbish out and push it up to over 100%.

This morning I struggled – really struggled – to leave my bed when the alarm went off at 07:30 (yes, I remembered to set it this morning). Having had a late night last night was probably responsible for that but I was having a chat with someone as well as doing some interesting work.

While I was asleep I was off on my travels again. THere was a big concert in Canterbury with loads of groups on. I was down there and I tracked down one or two but in the end someone pointed me to the direction of the organisers who had a shop there too selling all amplifiers second hand, everything that you need. The tod me who was on and when and where so I made a list of groups whom I wanted to see. I was talking to a couple of boys about this as well and writing a list of what I wanted to see. I happened to mention that I was a bassist and that excited them tremendously. They were very keen so I gave them my phone number. Then I was back in Crewe, making everything ready to leave to go back down to Canterbury again. I set off and I was a good way down the road towards the motorway. It was one of those situations where you had to drive west to pick up the motorway on order to go south-east but I realised that I didn’t have my jacket. I didn’t have the list of acts that I wanted to see or where they were playing. I set off anyway thinking that I can redo all of this when I arrive

There was also something about me being in a shop. The floor was very wet. All of a sudden my knee gave way again and I crashed to the floor. Of course everyone came to help me. I said that it wasn’t the first time that I’d had a similar incident to this – in this shop a couple of years ago. She went off to fetch the accident book to go and look through it to see if I was there and to see what remedy they had done to help me ease the problem that I was having

Later on there was something about some kind of list. It might have been a music list or a shopping list, I can’t remember now. Someone had to take me back home for something because my guitar was playing up. Through a few of the songs you could actually hear my guitar, a really searing Gibson lead guitar playing that wasn’t on the original copies. There was something else too but I can’t remember what that was.

And even later during the night I was back with this big rock concert again, going down to Dover rather than Canterbury) to watch these groups. On Saturday I’d been out with Liz and mentioned it to her but she didn’t know what was happening about the snooker final or anything like that. She said that she could make it if there was nothing preventing her. I had to go to find out which groups they were. I could remember four of them so in order to remember them I wrote them down on my stomach in biro and went back to see Liz to tell her, and wouldn’t my stomach be a gruesome sight for anyone?

After the medication and checking my messages I made a long-awaited start on work – and attacked a pile of dictaphone notes. As well as todays, there are a few previous days that have been transcribed and added in where they belong. There are now only … gulp … 27 entries that need to be transcribed before I’m up-to-date enough to let things slide into arrears once again.

When I’d had enough of that I attacked a sound file of an interview that we did a few weeks ago. The content of this one is far the best of all that we interviewed but the quality isn’t up to much.

And there’s so much that needs to fall by the wayside too. There’s still 4:30 to edit on the first pass but by the time that I knocked off, already over 50% has gone into the bin. There will be much more taken out oo, but I have yet another cunning plan for that.

Brain of Britain forgot to make his hummus this morning so I ended up with vegan grated cheese sandwiches for lunch. It made a nice change, I can tell you.

During the morning I made a couple of phone calls – firstly to my doctor for an appointment to renew my physiotherapy prescription and to obtain the final dose of Aranesp.

The second one was to the garage where Caliburn is currently residing. I should have called them last night but with Rosemary on the phone for as long as she was, they were closed when I called them.

Caliburn wasn’t ready, he told me, which was just as well that I didn’t turn up uninvited yesterday evening, but he should be ready at 17:00. And so accordingly at 15:30 I set off.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Even though it’s a little earlier than normal, I went off to have a look at what was happening on the beach.

Firstly, it has to be said that there wasn’t very much beach for anything to be happening upon right now. The tide was well in and there was hardly enough room to swing a cat down there.

There was however a couple of brave people down there this afternoon on the little piece of beach that was at the foot of the steps. I’ve no idea what they were doing as I couldn’t see that far out and I only had the NIKON 1 J5 with its standard lens.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021From there I walked around the back of the building and down to the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

There were a few trawlers in the inner harbour, so I noticed, but none of the little shellfish boats that I could see. The outher harbour was quite empty for a change and even the yellow Cherie d’Amour seemed to be out at sea this afternoon.

There was something else out in the bay, right down near to the Pointe de Carolles, as I found out when I examined the photo later. Whoever she is, she has a black sail rather in the style of Black Mamba, but it is not she, according to my shipping database.

place pleville le pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021At long last I could go down the Rampe du Monte à Regret and then the steps to the bottom, because today they have cleared away the huts of the Christmas market.

That was very much a sad affair – just a dozen or so huts without a great deal of patronage. Had they installed them in the centre of town, say, at the Place General de Gaulle, they might have had much more luck with it.

So I trudged along on my weary way out through the town centre and up the long climb all the way to the roundabout right at the top, only stopping once for breath which is a great improvement. And climbing the four steps that I use as the guide to test my knee was much easier too.

Once on the flat I could push on to the garage, stopping at the Aldi for a can of energy drink to keep me going. I seem to be living on tha right now.

christmas market wooden chalets Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021As I came out of the supermarket, a council lorry with a couple of cabins from the Christmas market drove past.

Hence a very hurried (and rather blurred, unfortunately) photo as they roared past the car park.

17:00 I was told to be at the garage, and it was 17:00 bang-on when I arrived. It took me 80 minutes (including the stop at Aldi) to walk there. And there I found that Caliburn was a long way from being finished.

“If you can wait an hour I can lend you a courtesy vehicle” said the proprietor. Well, I need some shopping from LeClerc, which is about 500 metres away …

Back at the garage I had a half-hour wait and then the proprietor lent me the garage’s van – one of thse little Opel vans like a Berlingo. A typical mechanic’s van – nothing works correctly and there are warning lights everywhere, all of which will be repaired “as soon as we have a moment”.

“Give me a ring tomorrow evening” said the proprietor as I left.

And frankly, I’m worried. I can’t understand what are the problems in fitting a set of discs and pads onto the rear of Caliburn. Had I had my health, my tools and a decent place to work, I could have done the job myself in an hour or so. What’s going on?

Back here I made myself a glorious mug of hot chocolate and then arranged tea. And seeing that I now have some potatoes, it was baked potato with burger – a real one – on a bap.

Now I’m off for bed. I’m exhausted after all of my walking – especially now that I’m at 102%. And I still have a lot to do before I can stop for the New Year break.

Monday 27th December 2021 – REGULAR READERS …

sunset sea mist baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… of this rubbish will recall that yesterday’s posting included a note about the glorious sunsets that we have at this time of year.

On my way back from taking Caliburn to the mender’s to have his rear discs changed, there was yet another one. I noticed it as I walked up the hill from the town centre towards home.

And as well as the sunset we also had a sea mist that was rolling around in the bay restricting the view of the Brittany coast It was the kind of weather that made me want to head for home and my nice mug of hot coffee.

Anything to keep me awake of course because I’d had another rough night. Not because I was unsettled but because I was late going to bed. For some reason I couldn’t find the energy to go to bed when I ought to have done.

Nevertheless I managed to haul myself out of the bed in some kind of order when the alarm went off at 06:00.

Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone just now. I was going out for my evening run and I’d met someone. I can’t remember who it was but it wasn’t a very agreeable meeting. Then I came across a girl from school dressed in casual clothes. Then a few more people from school, boys and girls. Gradually, the further on round my course I went, the more people from school I met until I ended up in the dressing room for the gym. I had to fight my way through the crowds of people. They all wanted to know where I was going. I replied that I was going for a run. They said “yes, but there’s something else that you have to do” and I can’t remember what that something else was. I had to fight my way through the crowds and find the tutor and explain to him and carry on. Then I was stuck in the gym again. This time I couldn’t find the tutor to explain what was happening. These crowds of people, there were more and more of them and I was trying to fight my way through them, all this sort of thing. It was quite a struggle and I wasn’t making any headway at all through these crowds and just couldn’t find the tutor this time. And this a a dream of the “classic” type, isn’t it?

Later on I had a dream that was so real. There was a girl who lived in Chester who I bumped into. I thought that she was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. She could sing and had a beautiful voice. Some time a couple of years later when my enthusiasm for this girl had died down I came across her music. I managed to collect together easily a dozen songs and thought that there was enough here to make a radio programme, a live concert, and also some other songs for something else so I sat down to edit them. I was editing them in the street with the volume pretty loud in the hope that she would hear it and would come to find out who it was who was playing this music because I’d forgotten her name and where she lived. It was the kind of thing that having discovered her music it was now starting to haunt me that I couldn’t remember her at all or at least any details about her

There was also lots of other stuff going on during the night. There were a couple of young boys in the youth team at Morton given their chance to make their first-team debuts. There was also a girl whom I know from the internet who put in an appearance last night and it’s a shame that she couldn’t manage that for real.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I sat down to prepare the radio programme. And in news that will surprise almost everyone, because it certainly surprised me, I was all done and finished and ready to go at 11:20. I’ve never finished a radio programme so early.

That included stopping for a coffee at about 07:30. But not breakfast because I’d finished my programme by the time I was ready for food.

When I’d finished listening to the finished article I went for a shower and then for lunch. And that reminds me – I must make more hummus pretty soon.

After lunch I organised myself and then headed out for Caliburn. And we went off to the garage for his new brakes – and here’s hoping that they have the correct parts this time.

For a change it wasn’t too wondy and it wasn’t too cold either, so I decided to walk home – all 6kms of it

As I passed Aldi I popped in for some shopping. My cucumber and my lettuce were looking extremely sad at lunchtime so they ended up in the bin. Replacements were on the agenda today

There wasn’t much going on of any excitement happening on the way home really.

sign blown down in the wind avenue des matignons Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021However there’s a derelict garage and house in the Avenue des Matignons that have been up for sale and have just recently been sold.

A big sign had appeared saying that they will be building a couple of blocks of flats thereupon, but it looks as if the wind that we have had just recently has done for part of the sign.

It’s lying there flat on its face next to a very sad framework. They could do with re-erecting it because I can’t remember what it was saying right now. But whatever it is, I won’t be able to afford it. And I wouldn’t want to live there anyway.

bad parking bus station gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Something else that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that pathetic parking has been a regular feature of these pages in the past.

This one is a pretty fine example. That’s the car park for the railway station down there, and that particular zone is where the buses park as they connect with the incoming trains.

However there’s a horsebox down there parked sort-of-ish in the bus station and as you can see, not only is it parked poorly, it’s also straddling the white line taking up two of the four bays. That’s bound to be popular with the bus operator, I don’t think.

Down in the town I didn’t see anything of any interest so I pushed on towards home.

loading fishing nets tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Half-way up the hill I stopped for a moment – and not to drink the can of energy drink that I had bought in Aldi either.

The trawler Tiberiade is down there, having reversed in to the quayside and there is a couple of men down there sorting out and untangling a fishing net.

It looks as if Father Christmas has brought a new fishing net for Tiberiade, and I would have loved to have seen him try to fit it into a stocking.

They were taking their time with the net so I didn’t hang around for too long. I headed on for home and my coffee.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Before I went in though, I went to have a look down on the beach.

And the pleasant weather had brought out the crowds this afternoon. There were about half a dozen people down there having a walk around in the mild weather.

Back here I had a coffee and then I had some work to do. A pile of sprouts and leeks were left over from Christmas Day so I prepared them and blanched them ready for freezing which I shall do when they have drained properly.

Laurent came round bang on 17:00 and we talked about the message that he wanted me to write. It’s a complicated message because the person to whom he wants to speak is rather nervous about it, judging by what I read, and needs rather a large amount of reassurance.

It’s very difficult to do that but at the same time keep things professional and business-like but after about 90 minutes I was happy with what I had written.

Now we are in the Lap of the Gods.

After Laurent had had a coffee he went home and I made tea – falafel and steamed vegetables with a vegan cheese sauce.

While I was eat my meal in the evening I usually watch a film on the old laptop that’s in the dining area.

The current film is THE HITCH-HIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY but I’ve almost reached the end. And there was a line or two in there quoted by Arthur Dent that rang a bell with me.
“And for one week, one week, in my sad little blip of my existence, it made me happy”.

Yes, one of these days I shall have to write up the story of those missing few days at the end of August 2019, if the dust will ever settle. I dunno.

Sunday 26th December 2021 – IT REALLY IS …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The work is piling up, isn’t it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 25th December 2021 – MY CHRISTMAS DINNER …

christmas dinner place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… was delicious this evening.

Seitan slices cooked in the oven in an onion and garlic gravy with boiled and roat potatoes, peas, carrots, runner beans, chicory, leek and sprouts. Washed down with this alcohol-free beer from Belgium.

Only one thing was missing. I wanted stuffing but I’ve no idea how to make that and I forgot to look it up over the last couple of days.

Breakfast – or rather, brunch – was quite nice too. My home-made potato fritters with baked beans and vegan sausage, and toast with mushroom paté.

That’s really all of the excitement today. I was awake at 06:20 but no danger whatever of me leaving the bed at that silly time of a Bank Holiday. 10:00 is much more like it.

This morning I lazed around doing next-to-nothing – except going through some more duplicate photos. And of this 4TB hard-drive that I’m sorting, there’s now about a third of it that’s free. And still plenty to go at too.

Stuff on the dictaphone from last night’s travels. There we three of us, me, someone else and someone who might have been Percy Penguin who were travelling somewhere. We ended up in some hotel, a cheap hotel. The person with us decided that that was where we were going to stay. But he was concerned whether the hotel was of the right standard etc. I had a look round and I could see that the computer screen had a telephone socket and a computer socket in its foot. I remembered seeing that in several other hotels where we’d stayed which were of reasonable quality so I reckoned that this was it. I called the proprietor and eventually he turned up. He wasn’t sure which room it was and had to look round the hotel to find us. Eventually he found us. There had been a woman with us as well who was the cleaner of the hotel so he signed the form for this other person. My plan was to wait until he’d gone downstairs then to follow him down and book another room, just one room between me and this girl but we never actually got that far as we were still booking this room for this guy when I awoke.

I was with a young girl last night, an American girl from a very wealthy family. This family was being blackmailed and the girl couldn’t understand why it had led to all kinds of problems. Her older brother had been thrown out of home because there was a difficulty between her and her brother. There was a younger child as well. It turns out that her father was not actually her father. I was the father, having had a one-night stand with the mother. I said to the girl that it was all down to what your mother did one night 9 months before you were born. She asked “how is it possible to blackmail a family like this?”. I replied “it’s all a question of shame and disgrace and everything like that touching a nerve”. She said “it’s certainly touched a nerve with my father because the way he’s treated my brother etc”. We had quite a lengthy discussion if he should be saying “don’t you ever get pregnant otherwise you’ll end up in all kinds of mess as well

In the afternoon Laurent came round and we rattled off another pile of questions for these radio programmes. There’s still plenty to go at but I haven’t edited those as yet. One of them is going to be rather difficult but we shall see how it goes. At least, that ad-hoc talk on Erasmus went quite well.

One thing though – that’s now two people who have asked me “why don’t you have someone in to help you with the housework?”. It seems that my increasing inability to cope with everyday tasks is becoming apparent to more and more people.

However I did manage to make my tea. And it was delicious too. And while it was cooking I phoned Ingrid to wish her a Merry Christmas.

That’s everything, really. Nothing much else has happened. It’s been a nice quiet day so here’s hoping for more of the same tomorrow.

And while I’m at it, I hope that you have had a good day today too.

Friday 24th December 2021 – MERRY CHRISTMAS …

… to all of my readers.

It’ll be Christmas Day probably by the time that you read this, and I’ll refrain from posting anything about the Public Conveniences on Crewe Bus Station because, regrettably, the whole Queensway Shopping Centre and Bus Station complex has been swept away in an orgy of demolition.

It just about managed 60 years of life before it was declared surplus to requirements and that tells you everything you need to know about modern construction.

But anyway, I digress … “once more” – ed.

After yet another turbulent night, I was once more wide awake at some ridiculous hour waiting for the alarm to go off although when it did, it still took me a good few minutes to force myself out of bed.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages, I had a cooking session. I’ve made a load of potato cakes.

There are some vegan sausages left from Leuven and a couple of tins of baked beans, so I’m going to have fried potato cakes, beans and sausage as a brunch over the festive period, with toast and mushroom paté. What’s the point of having Christmas if you can’t pig out?

After all, I haven’t bought any presents for myself this year so I’ll make up for it with food.

And then I had a cleaning session which was, as usual, 10 minutes cleaning followed by 20 minutes recovering, all the way up to lunchtime.

During the night I’d racked up yet another impressive amount of miles. I was in an apartment that I was renting somewhere and there was a problem with the water supply. It turned out that the cold water tank needed replacing. But to replace it was an exceedingly complicated procedure. It had to come out through the cellar wall into the public area down in the cellar and then lifted up which meant that you had to demolish the wall, which meant you had to fence it off to stop people coming through and helping themselves to other people’s possessions. Of course they were all blaming me in the first place for having done something to damage it. Someone described the action like something to do with eating a banana but this was going to be an extremely complicated procedure to take this water tank out and replace it with another more modern one that wasn’t broken.

Nerina and I were in Brussels visiting somewhere in the centre, looking up by the European Community. We were looking for a place to park the car. I found a corner to park on but a policeman came along to ask me to move so I went to move the car but couldn’t find a place and ended up back. The policeman was still there boxed in by someone else and he was giving them a lecture to move. In the end, with no place to park, Nerina gave me a pound and told me to park the car at a meter. Of course there were plenty of meters in the area so I went to look at them. It was something like £1:00 for 17 minutes and I thought that we would be here for at least an hour so I carried on until I came to the multi-storey car park at the European Commission. I went inside the building and asked where the entrance was. One person pointed across the road but that was like a little slot down which you posted your books so I asked someone else. He replied “yes, post your books down there and the guy at the bottom will deal with them”. I asked how you would receive them back and he had to think for a minute. After a while he admitted that he didn’t know. Incidentally he had a couple of motorbikes under tarpaulins on trailers there that were interesting me. I suddenly realised that we were only going to be there for an hour and I’d been away for half an hour already trying to find this place to park. This was getting rather ridiculous. I couldn’t find the entrance to this multi-storey car park no matter how hard I looked.

A little later I stepped back into that dream about trying to find a place to park the car. I was in the European Communities by now. I had this bag and I wanted to leave it somewhere where I could go off and look at a few things. But they wanted £5:00 to leave a bag so I replied “no, I’ll take it with me”. Anyway I went off to look at what I wanted to see and then ended up at a metro station that was called “metro” on a big, wide dual carriageway, an enormous place. One of the group told me off, told me that Michelle, whoever she was, was not feeling too well. I spoke to her on the phone and asked her if she was going home, was there anything I can do?. She replied that she wasn’t going to go home straight away but sit and relax. I said “I’ll come down and see you. Where are you?”. She replied “we’re in Brussels”. “Yes, but whereabouts?”. “I don’t know” she answered. “Can you see the European Community buildings?”. “I don’t know”. I said “well go outside and find something that looks significant and come back and tell me what it is so I’ll know where you are and where we can meet”. It took quite a while to persuade her what to do before she agreed to do it. That was one thing about this dream, that I hadn’t left my bag with these people because of this fiver issue but I realised that I didn’t have my camera with me to take any photos of what I was looking at.

During the rest periods I sent a Christmas greeting to all of the regular readers who have declared themselves to me over the last year or so. I don’t know why some of you are so shy as to not introduce yourselves, but I can’t send you my individual greetings, but rest assured that I am grateful for your support and I wish you all a very merry Christmas.

No lunch at lunchtime – instead, I hit the streets.

First port of call was at the Railway Station. My Old Fogey’s railcard expires imminently so that needed renewing. And with the odd money-off voucher for compensation for delayed trains, it wasn’t as expensive as it might have been.

Next stop was Aldi for a can of energy drink. It used to be once every few weeks a while back but these days it’s almost every time that I go out that I need an energy refuel.

Third stop was the Biocoop. They have nice vegan sesame-seed biscuits so I grabbed 150 grammes for my lunch. Biscuits and energy drink for lunch sitting on a bench in the street is somehow quite relaxing.

Finally I arrived at Espace Auto to rescue Caliburn. And here I hit a snag because he wasn’t ready. They had delivered the wrong parts.

No courtesy car available so I had them reassemble Caliburn and I drove him home – to take him back on Monday.

A quick tidying up and then Laurent came round. he had a listen to what I wanted him to do and then he dictated a pile of “supplementary questions” to edit into the monologues that we have been recording.

There were five interviews to do but we only managed 2. We’ll attack the others tomorrow.

Very kindly, Laurent invited me round to his house where he cooked a meal. I took the drink, the dessert (some of my delicious Christmas cake) and a vegan burger.

We had a good chat and he showed me a video of his trip up the Amazon from a few years ago, which was extremely interesting.

Back here now, I’m off to bed. Christmas Day in the morning so I’m having a nice lie-in, I hope. No alarm at all.

So if you are up before me, I hope that you have lots of nice gifts to unwrap.

Thanks for your support.

Thursday 23rd December 2021 – WELL, THAT DIDN’T …

repairing portable boat lift chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… last very long, did it?

While I was out on my post-prandial perambulation this afternoon I went along the path at the top of the cliff above the chantier naval to see what was going on there now thatAztec Lady has gone back into the water.

In fact there’s very little of any excitement going on today because by the looks of things, the lift is out of action. It’s fenced off again and there’s a cherry picker parked at its side with a man scrambling on top.

That didn’t last very long, did it?

Mind you, it lasted longer than my night did last night. It wasn’t so early when I went to bed because, to warm myself up, I had a nice mug of thick, hot chocolate. But even so, I was still wide awake at 06:45 waiting for the 07:30 alarm call.

And typing that made me remember how nice it was so I have just been to make myself another one.

Stuff on the dictaphone too. I’d been on my travels last night. In fact, there was tons of stuff going back for over a week that I need to transcribe at some point when I’m feeling better.

Anyway, I managed to deal with last night’s, which is a major step forward. Last night I dreamt that I’d joined a volunteer fire brigade. I’d been organising my equipment and getting everything ready for being out on call, everything like that, but someone said it wasn’t quite that easy. I had to attend a training session and that was going to take place at 01:00. Of course 01:00 is a crazy time but they had to do it when there was very little interruption around. I looked around at 01:00. It was a cold, wet day and I couldn’t imagine that any kind of rehearsal would take place there, regardless of the fact that in the real world, as a firefighter you are out in all kinds of weather. As I was sitting there debating what to do, I ended up being in Scotland carrying buckets of water for a bakery. I’m not sure where this fitted in but I dozed off to sleep apparently because the next thing that I remember it was 03:20.

Later on, we were at work again, discussing holidays. I happened to mention that if I could I was planning to go to Axel Heiberg Island with one of my explorer friends. We would hire an aeroplane and try to land there. Of course this made everyone go “wow!”. One girl in particular was poring over a map of the High Arctic, all these places, saying about where she wanted to go, what was the sea?. I told her as much as I possibly could. She wanted to know how to get there so I told her about my friends in Canada. She said “I’ll have to go to a travel agent for a brochure”. I replied “no, you can ring the company direct”. I gave her all of the co-ordinates for it. I was being quite a good salesman in my dreams last night

Finally we ended up back at Virlet, me, someone else and some guy. We were talking about the place and I showed him round. I did some tidying up in the attic, all the nails and screws that were all over the floor using a magnet to pick them up. We were talking about it and I said that I lived down here permanently for several years from 2006, a chat like that. Then we had to leave. He wanted to take a photo of something or other, I’m not quite sure what it was. He got down on his knees on a blanket to photograph something in the stairwell. That was when I awoke

After breakfast, I didn’t do much. In fact, I haven’t done much all day. But in the spirit of doing something – anything – is better than nothing, I’ve been wading through one of my hard drives sorting out duplicate files. That’s another 210 GB of free disk space that I’ve created today and there’s still plenty to go at.

There were the usual breaks – for breakfast and my banana and molasses cake; and then lunch of course.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021My afternoon walk too around the headland, as I mentioned earlier.

Down on the beach there were several people wandering about – both down here and over at the Plat Gousset too.

There were quite a few people walking around on the promenade too as well as on the path underneath the walls.

Today was quite a bit warmer than it was yesterday, but it was cloudy and damp. The kind of weather when you might expect to see a few people out there.

Nothing out at sea though, so I had a nice quiet walk down to the end of the headland.

person on rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Down at the end of the headland there was no-one sitting on the bench this afternoon, but there was someone sitting farther out on the end of the rocks.

These days, since the events of 6 or so weeks ago, you have to keep a watchful eye on people sitting on the rocks, just in case…

Having inspected the chantier naval I came home for my hot coffee and to carry on weeding this back-up drive and throwing out the duplicates. I think that I’ll be here for ever doing it but at least I’m doing something.

Tea was a burger on a bap which was delicious. And now that I’ve drunk my delicious hot chocolate, I’m off to bed. I’ve a really bust day tomorrow that will end up in a late evening so tomorrow’s notes might be even later than usual.

And don’t forget my Christmas concert tomorrow night at 21:00 CET ON THE RADIO.

Tuesday 21st December 2021 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… day when I’ve not accomplished anything like as much as I intended to today and I’m really going to have to snap out of this if I want to make any progress because it’s getting me down.

Going late to bed last night didn’t help matters too much and as usual it was difficult to haul myself out of bed. However, as I had things to do, there wasn’t any question about it.

No medication this morning because I don’t have time to wait for the side-effects to kick in. Instead I took the paper rubbish out to the paper bin, and I hadn’t realised just how much there was and how long it had been hanging around.

But of course, you couldn’t take a pile of paper outside with the winds that we have had just recently.

Back inside I actually tidied up the kitchen and the dining area and even vacuumed the floor and it’s a long time since I’ve done that.

Caliburn’s new brake discs had arrived, having been on order for several weeks, so I had to take him to the mender’s and drop him off so they can fix him. And it was freezing outside, really cold. Minus 0.3°C and that’s the coldest that it’s been so far this winter.

Laurent came to pick me up and bring me home where we had a coffee and then wandered off down the road to speak to Nadia.

She’s a costumier who lives down the road and makes all of the costumes for the Carnival. We’re starting a series pf programmes about the Carnival in February in the hope that it isn’t cancelled again, and she’s an ideal candidate to be interviewed to tell us about her life, her work and how the Carnival affects her.

After we’d finished Laurent went home and I came back here for another coffee and to crash out in front of the computer. Well, not exactly crash out because I was as compos mentis as I can be these days, but I certainly was in no mood to do anything.

After lunch I forced myself into work and began the arrangements for my Christmas programmes. –

Wednesday 22nd December 2021 at 11:00 –
An exclusive interview with Father Christmas and his Elves, direct from his workshop in a secret location

Friday 24th December 2021 and Saturday 25th December 2021 at 21:00
Christmas songs with your favourite rock stars

Friday 31st December 2021 and Saturday 1st January 2022 at 21:00
A New Years Eve live concert from Boston, MA,; USA recorded on 31st December 1975

These can be heard on LE BOUQUET GRANVILLAIS


There’s also a special treat – while I was sorting out all of the old hard drives I came across many of the old radio programmes that we did in the old Radio Anglais days. So what I’ll be doing is on Christmas Eve at midnight I’ll upload it to my website and you can hear it AT THIS LINK – but not yet. You’ll have to wait until Christmas Eve.


And just a reminder …
All times are CET (French time)
For the UK, subtract one hour
For Toronto, subtract six hours
And you’ll have to work out the rest for yourself

peche à pied beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Despite everything there was still time for me to go out for my afternoon walk and with the aim of catching up with my old habits I went over to the wall at the end of the car park.

What took me by surprise was the number of people down there on the beach this afternoon. As I suspected, all of the holidaymakers and second-home owners have descended on the town and packed it out.

And there were many down there trying their luck at catching fresh oysters for their Christmas treat. Oysters is a big tradition in France on Christmas Day, rather like my Christmas cake is to me.

man in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021In fact there were so many people around roday that you had to be inventive if you wanted to have some peace and quiet.

Here’s someone out in the bay in his zodiac having a little relax. At first I thought that he might be fishing but having a closer look at his boat I couldn’t see any fishing equipment.

Just as I was standing here watching him, a neighbour of mine pulled up in her car and we had a chat for a quarter of an hour or so before I wandered off on my travels.

fishing boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Even though it’s coming up to Christmas for most of us, others are still out there working.

While I was looking out to sea I noticed two fishing boats heading slowly for home, presumably with a full catch after a hard day’s work.

And of you look very closely at the photo, to the upper left of the right-hand fishing boat you’ll see what looks like the Loch Ness Monster rearing its ugly head out of the water.

That took me rather by surprise. I’ve enlarged the photo and enhanced it and I still can’t make out what it is.

f-GSBV Robin DR400 180 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And how long is it since we’ve seen an aeroplane overflying us?

Today it’s the turn of F-GSBV – a Robin DR400-180 from the flying school here at Granville, flying past on its way home.

At least, I thought that she was on her way home but according to her flight plan, she took off at 16:06 and flew southwards before coming back, did a figure-of-eight over the airport heading northwards before coming home much later than when I saw her.

Someone clearly has a lot of flying hours to catch up.

base of flagpole pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Regumar readers of this rubbish will recall that the Pointe du Roc was devasted by gusts of 136kph at the height of Storm Arwen.

One of the flagpoles was uprooted and I posted a photo of it leaning drunkenly against its neighbour.

It’s now been removed and the base has been cordoned off. Presumably in the New Year they’ll re-drill it and fit new anchor bolts and then re-erect the flagpole.

You can see the size of the anchor bolts in the concrete base as they seem to have left one behind. You can imagine the force of the wind that tore the others out of their concrete settling.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … what I like about this time of the year are the magnificent sunsets that we have.

With the beautiful blue, clear sky that we had had today we were having another one and this has to be one of the best that we have seen for quite a while.

As I came up the path towards the lighthouse I noticed how nice it was looking, and as I walked across the car park I could see it in all its splendour. And one of the fishing boats that we had seen earlier had caught me up and you can see it silhouetted over on the right.

cabanon vauban woman on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And, just for a change just recently I wasn’t on my own admiring it.

As well as the crowds that were milling around on the car park and the footpath, there was someone down below on the bench by the cabanon vauban at the end of the headland.

Whatever it was that she was doing, she seemed to be totally engrossed in it, so I left her alone and pushed on … “pushed off, he means” – ed … along the path towards the port to see what was happening there.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021At the chantier naval there was no change in the situation this afternoon. Aztec Lady was still there of course but that was about it.

Over at the ferry terminal, we have one of the Joly France ferries in a NAABSA (not always afloat but safely aground) situation. She’s the older one of the two, as we can see because there’s no step in her stern.

There were a couple of people up on the sea wall making the most of the early evening sun sinking slowly down below the horizon, but my attention had also been caught by something in the water in the background, moving quite rapidly.

roofing rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Having done all of that I set out back to home, but I didn’t go far before I was distracted by the sound of Pink Floyd.

Further investigation revealed that there were a couple of workmen on a roof down in the Rue du Port, doing a re-roofing job by the looks of things. And I do have to say that I admired their choice of music.

Further along here, while walking on the path just above the port I fell in with another neighbour and we had another chat for a while – so much so that by the time I arrived home the coffee that I’d set in motion before coming out was now cold.

Having finished my radio notes I thought about tea. Stuffed pepper with veg and rice and it was delicious.

And while I was at it, I almost forgot the dictaphone too. We were all by a river somewhere in different positions. I wanted to attract someone’s attention so I built a mine and put it in the river to float it down there so that everyone else would see it. However I didn’t have any means of controlling it or directing it so it wasn’t as good an idea as it sounded. I was wishing, when I was halfway through making it, that I had some kind of radio control apparatus that I could make this thing work.

In actual fact, back in the 1960s my grandparents lived near a canal and it was the start of the pleasure boat cruise network in those days. A big marina had been built at Barbridge and there was a lot of traffic on the canal. My brother and I had the idea to build a replica “mine” complete with horns, like an old German contact-mine, and float it down the canal into the marina and watch the chaos and confusion from a discreet distance. However our parents, in a rare act of parenting, vetoed the idea quite firmly.

Later on we were at the side of a river waiting for something. The guy in charge of this expedition said that he had sent someone down with the sandwiches. They got down to where we were. As they approached the first person he dropped the lot onto the floor. Of course everyone mulled round to see what they could find but the sandwiches were all messed up in the mud and totally unfit to eat

I was also back with the taxis last night. My brother was driving and he had driven all night, all the previous evening until quite late and was back in again early next morning working. My mother mentioned that when he had taken her home at the end of the shift at the evening he’d fallen asleep a couple of times driving and she had to wake him up. That surprised him that he was back in early next morning working away again. There was something about a job going on from Underwood Lane to Audlem so I made sure that whoever it was had our ‘phone number so they could ring up and book it for the next evening

I’d been out somewhere and I had a pile of oranges and one of them was rotten and had leaked everywhere so I had to go upstairs and wash everything out. Some had fallen on my pillow so I’d rinsed everything off. My mother wanted something so I went into her room. She started to laugh about these oranges and I became extremely annoyed so I tipped the contents of the bag, rotten oranges and all, all over her bed and left them there with it all staining into her bedclothes.

There was something else about photocopying. There was a girl doing a pile of photocopying and she was saying something about how the photocopying companies said that it couldn’t be done but she could do it. I asked “is that recto-verso? Because I found the same”. She asked “how do you do your recto-versos?”. I had to think for a moment because it’s one of those automatic things that you do without even thinking about it. I had to think for a minute and then explain it to her but I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right because I’d never really thought about it. She asked “did you write and tell the company?”. I answered “no. They told me that it couldn’t be done when I asked them and I had to work it out for myself so it’s nothing to do with the company. It’s something to do with me that I can do it. The company shouldn’t be profiting from my ideas”. She agreed to that.

And now, later than intended, which is no surprise after transcribing all of that, I’m off to bed. I’m baking bread tomorrow, making more hummus, peeling a pile of carrots and going to the physiotherapist. It’s all go around here and I’m exhausted.

Monday 20th December 2021 – AFTER THE EFFORTS …

… of the weekend, I paid for it today, as I expected. Without even my Day of Rest to recover on Friday, I was waiting for everything to catch up with me.

As we expect, it was rather a bad night yet again and trying to haul myself out of bed at 06:00 was not as easy as it might have been.

Anyway, after the medication and checking my mails and messages, I attacked the radio programme that I intended to prepare. And I would have set a new record for completing it too had I not deleted it instead of saving it, so I had to start all over again to join it all up.

There were the usual halts for a coffee and also for breakfast. And for breakfast I had some of the banana and molasses cake that I made a couple of weeks ago. It was sticky and sweet and far too molassy for me but I’ve had worse. Next time that I make it, if there is a next time, I’ll use something else instead of all those molasses.

While i was listening to the finished product I was … errr … relaxing. And I needed it too.

And listening to the dictaphone too. I was working in a factory or office or somewhere. There were 2 of us. It was a pretty miserable kind of place, very run-down and not much going on. The shifts were long. 12-hour shifts were not uncommon at all. We’d have a lot of work to do. I’d been there a while and one day the manager called me over. He talked to me, in French of course, and then took me outside and said that we could speak in English. So we spoke in English and he told me a few things that I can’t remember now. he asked me a few questions and in the end said “don’t discuss anything of this with your workmate”. I said “what happens in this room happens between the two of us”. After he’d finished telling me this confidential stuff I went out back into the other office. It was Josée who was my other workmate. She’d been shopping again and had some clothes-washing liquid, a few bits and pieces and a whole collection of bottles. I asked her what they were and she replied “it’s all laundry stuff. After all, I am on the road”. Then she asked me “what does “on the road mean?”. I replied “for me, it means travelling about, voyaging around. Anyway we were packing our things ready to leave. There was a half-eaten bag of crisps lying around somewhere in the office so I packed it up into my backpack to think that I could eat it on the way home.

There was something else about a teacher at a boarding school who was going to throw a tuck shop party in his room. Apparently it was a normal thing that every now and again a teacher would invite a few of the kids to go along and have a little party and a social gathering in their room but that was all that I remember

There was time for a shower and to set the washing machine on the go before lunch. And the bread that I brought back from Leuven was delicious

After lunch I went for my physiotherapy session – and I went in Caliburn too. I have shopping to do for Christmas and I may as well do it while I’m out this afternoon. I parked Caliburn in the street outside Lidl and walked down the hill for my session.

No tilting platform today. A warm-up on the cross trainer and then a pile of kinetic exercises to keep me out of mischief.

At Lidl and later at LeClerc I spent rather a lot of money but I now have my potatoes, chicory, leeks and brussels sprouts to go with the seitan slices that I brought back from Leuven. There’s nothing like a real Christmas dinner with all of the trimmings and the essential vegetables. I don’t intend to starve myself over the Christmas period.

It was late by the time that I returned – only just enough time to make a nice hot coffee and drink it before I had to think about tea. A nice plate of mixed vegetables with pasta tossed in olive oil, ground black pepper and grated cheese. I bought a pile of grated vegan cheese back from Leuven too.

So I’m off to bed in a moment. It’s early but I’m tired. I’ve had a hard day, a long weekend and a difficult period at Leuven. And tomorrow I’m interviewing for the radio. I’ll catch up with these arrears one day, but I don’t know when it might be.