Tag Archives: brexit

Tuesday 26th October 2021 – I’VE NOT HAD …

… a very good day today. I mentioned yesterday that I felt that I was feeling as if I was having something of a relapse and today I think that it caught up with me today.

Last night I was in bed fairly early and I had a very sound sleep – for a couple of hours, and then it all went wrong. Once I’d awoken, I found it very difficult to go back to sleep. That is – until about 5 minutes before the alarm went off, as you might expect.

During the night I’d been on my travels too. I’d been out for a meal with my niece, her husband and one or two of her daughters. We got to this Indian restaurant but I had to nip off and do something. There was an engine in the hallway in Vine Tree Avenue and I wanted to take it up to my bedroom to work on it but it was leaking oil everywhere so I had to wash my way behind it, clean up all of the oil and everything, stack it on newspapers and so on. Then I could go back to this meal. They already had their food and were well on their way through it so I apologised. My niece said something like “I don’t think I like you any more Eric”. It really was embarrassing because I didn’t have any meal at all in this restaurant.

Later on I had my brother with me again in a car. We were going somewhere to meet a girl. We went along Bradfield Road and there was a garage on the right-hand side and there was one further on the left over the railway bridge. I asked if the one further on the left was open. Everyone seemed to think that it was so I went there but it was closed so I had to go back to the other one. I put enough fuel in to get us down towards Middlewich and then drove off. For some reason I had to go back and get more fuel. I went back but this time that garage was open. We fought our way in through the crowds to fuel up. There was a girl there who worked in the petrol station handing out 4x£1:00 notes to everyone fuelling up. I put in some fuel and grabbed my money. My brother grabbed some money too and in fact grabbed some more of another girl. We drove out and the subject came round to this girl. I knew who she was but I had to find out where she was. I had to look on this chart and everything. Eventually I found her. She was 56C. Then I thought “I’d better go back and get more petrol”. I asked my brother “are you going to come back with me?”. he said “no”, got off and went into a shop. I turned round ready to go back and get more petrol and hopefully get more money as well.

After the medication, I couldn’t find the energy to start work and ended up sitting here vegetation for several hours while I tried to summon up something. Eventually I ended up wading through a pile of photographs, sorting out the duplicates and deleting the unwanted files.

After lunch, feeling a little (if not very much) better, I scanned all of the documents that I’d received from the cardiologist as well as the receipts that related to my visits yesterday. I don’t want to end up like I did the other day with 18 months worth of receipts, some of them missed and some of them out of time.

Once that was done I made a series of ‘phone calls to Leuven. After being passed from pillar to post, I eventually, after much binding in the marsh, ended up with the secretary of the Cardiology Unit.

She told me to write a mail with all of my details and a resumé of my case, and attach the photocopies of the report that I had received, and that took much longer than it ought to have done as well.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021All of that took me up to the time to go for my afternoon walk.

First port of call is the wall at the end of the car park where I can peer over and down onto the beach to see what was happening.

There were plenty of people wandering around on the path but for some reason or other, the beach was strangely deserted. All I could see was this guy standing on a sandbank at the water’s edge.

There was what looked like a pile of clothes or a bag or something on the rocks nearby, but I couldn’t tell if they belonged to him. I couldn’t see anyone swimming in the water.

trawlers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Looking out to sea, I couldn’t see any boats of any description with my naked eye but there was a glint of sunlight on glass somewhere out there.

Consequently I took a speculative photograph with the idea of enlarging it and enhancing it when I returned home so that I could see if there was anything exciting happening out there.

In fact, it turns out that there were half a dozen fishing boats in that sector of the bay. With so many boats having been refused (for the moment) the right to fish in the Jersey sector of the Bay, they are exploring other avenues.

fishing boats ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Such as just offshore at the Ile de Chausey.

In all of the time that we have been living here, we’ve never seen fishing boats operating that close to the islands.

The issue about fishing permits is that the Jersey authorities are insisting on proof that the boats have previously fished in the bay, but many of the smaller boats are not equipped with radar or AIS equipment and so don’t have print-outs to show where they have been fishing.

Incidentally, this dispute has nothing to do with Brexit. The Channel islands, despite being a British territory, were never part of the European Union and fishing in the bay was regulated by Normandy, Brittany and the Channel Islands under the Treaty of the Bay of Granville 1834.

The Channel Islands have simply leapt on board the Brexit bandwagon to use it as an excuse to unilaterally revoke the Treaty and keep the fishing grounds to themselves.

But as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed …. the Channel Islanders can catch as much fish as they like but it all counts for nothing if they are prevented by the French fishermen from landing their catch at a French fish market.

Since this situation has escalated, I’ve not seen a single Channel Island trawler permitted to unload here.

35ma aeroplane place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was admiring the maritime activity, an aeroplane came flying by overhead.

It’s another one of these light aeroplanes with a registration number that is out of the run of the normal series.

We’ve seen this one on several occasions in the past. She’s registered as 35MA but apart from that, I’ve never been able to find out any more about her.

Now that all of that is out of the way, I could head off down the path towards the lighthouse.

sunset on water baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021another thing that I mentioned yesterday was that now that the sun is lower in the sky, we’ll be having some interesting effects out in the bay.

And sure enough, this afternoon we have another really good one. It’s not quite up to the TORA TORA TORA standard as far as the rays from the sunshine through gaps in the clouds go, but the reflection of the sun on the water is really impressive.

What was sad about this was that there was no-one else watching it. No-one was sitting on the bench down by the cabanon vauban this afternoon enjoying the view, and no fishermen out on the rocks either.

chausiaise joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Walking along the path on top of the cliffs, I came to the viewpoint overlooking the tidal harbour.

Over by the ferry terminal we have one of the Joly France ferries, the newer one if I’m not mistaken. Behind her is Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs out to the islands. She was parked at the loading bay under the crane when we last saw her.

The chantier naval was strangely deserted today. Since Yann Frederic went back into the water, no-one has come into take her place. It’s quite rare these days to see the yard looking so empty.

workmen's compound boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further along on my walk I could have a good look down into the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

The work must still be proceeding in the Rue Cambernon because the workmen’s compound down there hasn’t yet been dismantled and there seems to be plenty of activity with all of the signage, piles of sand and gravel and all of the machinery.

Back at the apartment I found that the postman had left me some presents so I brought them up here and made myself a coffee.

Having drunk the coffee I made a start on sorting out the paperwork for filing but regrettably I fell asleep. I thought that I’d gone through all of that but Sunday and today have been a big disappointment in that respect.

Tea was taco rolls with the remainder of yesterday’s stuffing lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans and then I came here to type up my notes.

Right now I’m absolutely exhausted and I’ve no idea why. It’s like the bad old days of a couple of months ago that I thought that I’d put behind me. I’m going to go to bed in the hope that I’ll sleep it off and have a better day tomorrow.

Wednesday 14th April 2021 – I AM NOW …

… a proper, legal, registered citizen of France.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of years ago, with Brexit, we all had a mad scramble to assemble piles and piles of documentation to prove our status in France. That was pretty important because we had no clue as to what would happen once the UK left the EU

And having done so, we were eventually all issued with temporary residence cards.

The next problem was that the UK then abandoned us all to our fate, refusing to negotiate a residence position for us, with the result that we were once more left in limbo because our temporary residence cards became invalid and there was no recognised right of residence.

Consequently each EU member state was left to deal with the issue on its own terms, and some of us in France who had had residence cards under the previous system were luckier than others in France and elsewhere because it simply involved reregistering.

That was something that I did just after Christmas and a couple of weeks ago I was summoned to the Préfecture for an interview and to have my fingerprints taken.

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “hooray” – ed … the new card turned up in the post this morning. A 10-year card with the right to work. That caused me to breathe a sigh of relief.

But it’s only valid for France though. I can’t up sticks and move to another country as I was able to do prior to Brexit. I don’t think that people realise just how much we have been affected by Brexit. And I’m sure that if they did, they wouldn’t care

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhat else turned up today – or, rather, turned up again today – were the fishing boats back in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Not as many as there might have been though. The other day there were quite a few fishing around out there but yesterday there weren’t any at all out there. Today though, there were three of them out there fishing in the bay.

You can see two of them in this photo. One of them is away in the background close to the Brittany coast but another one of them is here in mid-channel.

In the background the church at Cancale is silhouetted in the sunshine on top of the cliffs. It’s been a while since we’ve seen that

trawlers english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were other trawlers and fishing boats out and about in the vicinity too, as well as those in the Bay.

The very big fishing boat is out there having a good trawl about this afternoon in the English Channel. You can tell that by the fact that it is going from west to east rather than from north to south or south to north. It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen them working so close inshore.

Over there in the background to the left is one of the marker lights on one of the rocks just off the archipelago that makes up the Ile de Chausey. And in case you are wondering, that marker light is about 11 or 12 kilometres away from where I’m standing

buoys baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we can see what it’s doing this afternoon. I think that this is another mystery that might be cleared up.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that every now and again we see a few buoys appearing rather miraculously in the Bay just here off the coast at Donville les Bains and Breville-sur-Mer. They have appeared again today, coincidentally more-or-less exactly in line with where the trawler is dragging.

If that’s the case, then we know why those buoys are out there, marking the lanes for the trawler to drag.

Another thing that was resolved today was the question of my mega-tour of Central Europe. Everything is now written out and on-line and you can see the start of it HERE. The page that took me most of the time to write was THIS ONE.

It’s not quite complete because all of the photos aren’t on line as yet. Most of them are there but my eyes glazed over before I reached the end. I’ll do the rest of them tomorrow if I can find the time.

Some of the stuff needs rewriting as well, and I’ll be attending to that in due course.

It surprises me that I managed to do as much as I did today because I had another difficult day. Once more, I was up and about just after the first alarm at 06:00 and by the time the third alarm went off I was already at the computer working.

Another batch of photos from August 2019 were dealt with this morning. I’m still on the Little Big Horn battlefield but I’m now more or less where Captain Keogh was cut down. There’s still a long way to go on this battlefield before I can move on..

Having finished my day’s photos I had a few other things to do and then I attacked the Central Europe trip and worked at it until it was finished and on line, along with most of the photos.

There were the usual breaks too – for my hot chocolate and sourdough, for my lunch of course and then for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith the weather being as nice as it was today I was expecting to see hordes of people out and about on the beach.

Accordingly I wandered off across the car park to the wall at the end where I could look down and see what was going on. And to my surprise there were hardly any people down there. I had to have a good look around until I could see anyone down there.

And I do have to say that I admire the yellow wellingtons. They added some ambience to the environment.

There were very few people around on the footpath so I could wander around at my leisure along the clifftop. And no bird of prey either. I don’t know where everyone has gone.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I reached the end of the path by the lighthouse, I could see Le Loup, the marker light that sits on top of the rock at the harbour entrance, winking at me.

From halfway along the path down to the car park a really good view of the light presented itself so I took a photograph of it, and then I pushed off along to the end of the headland.

We’ve seen what was going on at the end of the headland – the three fishing boats out there in the bay. But there was no-one disturbing the two buoys right close inshore where we saw that small boat the other day.

And no fishermen out there on the rocks either. They have probably had enough of spending all that time out there and catching nothing.

anakena hermes 1 nyx 3 notre dame du cap lihou aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe mystery of the pleasure boat in the chantier navale is solved today too.

The boat is down there on her blocks with Anakena, Hermes I and the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou. She’s called Nyx III as you can see by the name on her stern. There was no-one there today obstructing the view. Those men are standing down there on the quayside this afternoon instead of on the stern platform.

Aztec Lady, the other big yacht that has graced the chantier navale for the last quite a while is still over there on the right-hand side. There’s a car parked alongside here and a couple of people who seem to be working on her, but they don’t seem to be particularly fired with enthusiasm.

trawler joly france ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver at the ferry port there has been some kind of activity over the last 24 hours.

One of the Joly France boats is still moored up at the ferry terminal even though the tide is out. So it looks as if she has some work to do in the very near future running out and back to the Ile de Chausey. Her sister ship is parked up in the inner harbour right now so they don’t seem to have all that much work on the go.

But interestingly, there’s one of the fishing boats tied up at the ferry terminal too. Usually they would me moored at the new pontoons in the inner harbour so I’m wondering what the issue must be that means that so many of them are just tied up outside at the mercy of the tide.

chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe other day, we saw a huge pile of freight loaded up at the side of the quayside waiting for someone to come along and cart it away.

Today, we’ll notice that it’s all been removed. A message had reached me this morning that Normandy Trader had been on her travels during the night last night so it looks as if she’s been into port at some point and loaded up to take it all away. I’m not sure if she brought in any freight but there wasn’t anything on the quayside waiting for a lorry.

But at least we know where Chausiais is today. She’s moored up down at the bottom at the loading bay this afternoon so I’m wondering if she’s going to be running some freight out to the Ile de Chausey on the evening tide.

We’ll have to see where she’s moored tomorrow.

cherry picker repairing aerial square pelley le pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut there was something interesting going on at the new building at the roundabout at the Square Pelley le Pleville, with that cherry picker .

From this distance I couldn’t really see what it was but back here, having blown up the photograph (which I can do despite modern anti-terrorism legislation) I can see that the cherry-picker has some men in it and they seem to be working on the mobile phone aerial on the roof.

Back in the apartment I had my mug of hot coffee and came back in here to carry on with the work. I knocked off with the Central Europe photos when it was time for guitar practice, and afterwards I had tea – a madras curry out of the freezer with rice followed by the last of the jam roly-poly. And what a success that was.

Somewhere along the way I’ve peeled, diced and blanched half of the carrots too, so it really was a productive day.
I’ll be glad to get into bed now and have a rest because I reckon that I’ve deserved it

Wednesday 10th March 2021 – IT’S BEEN ANOTHER …

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… nautical afternoon this afternoon with plenty of activity out at sea.

Not so much activity in here though because I’ve had a really difficult day today. I’ve spent most of it in a semi-somnambulant phase which is quite a surprise seeing as I was once more up and about just after the first alarm.

After the medication I had a listen to see if I’ve been anywhere during the night. I can’t remember very much about it but I was in Canada. my niece’s husband was definitely around and so were a few other people but I can’t remember who they were and I can’t remember what it was that we were doing. But later on I was in London and it was Christmas Eve or New Years Eve. I’d been with a family having some kind of informal celebration but the father had to go off and do something so that seemed like the time for me to leave as well. I got myself ready to go. I was asking about the shops in the neighbourhood because I needed to do some shopping on my way home. These people were going away the next day and I remember talking to the boy of the family and telling him to keep out of mischief. He said something like he’s not going to have too much chance now as they were travelling early the next morning. But I can’t really remember all that much about this at all

storm waves high winds port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile you admire the storm and the waves crashing down on the sea wall yet again today, I spent a few hours on the back-up drive clearing out more duplications

And by the time that I lost interest (because I do if I do anything too long) another 30-odd GB of space. I’m at 965GB and not too far off my target of 1TB, and I’ll get there in the end.

Rosemary rang me up as well during the course of the morning. She’s in the middle of having a kitchen fitted and needed some advice. This was one of our shorter conversations – it only went on for half an hour or so, not one of our usual couple-of-hours conversation.

That wasn’t the only phone call that I had either. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of weeks ago I sent off all of the paperwork for my new post-Brexit identity card. Today the prefecture phoned me up to ask me to go round on 18th of March at 11:00 with my passport and a couple of identity photos.

It looks as if things are moving rapidly in this direction whereas in some départements, some people who applied in October have still heard nothing.. But I’m glad that I changed my driving licence when I did because there’s all kinds of backlogs there.

After lunch I did another pile of photos and we are now pulling into the harbour at Nuuk in Greenland ready for our walk around the city and meeting all of these Nuukie types that inhabit the place.

As well as that, I’ve been working on the arrears of my Central Europe trip. There’s now ANOTHER DAY GONE ON LINE and I’ve started working on the following day.

That’s not going to be quite so easy as there are 29 photos to deal with for that day.

We had a break of course to go out for my afternoon walk and talking of photos, I remembered to take the correct camera, the NIKON D500 with me, and it was fully charged too.

beach plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s hardly a surprise that there was no-one around today. There had been a message on the internet about the storms and we were in the grip of one right now.

The tide was right in too so there wasn’t all that much beach to go at either.

There was quite a bit of hazy mist too despite the wind so the sky wasn’t all that clear as you can see. There’s quite a bit of fog hanging around down there beyond that strange former hotel where I saw that awful apartment when I first came here. I can’t believe that they had let that building get into such a state.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the shelter of the College Malraux the wind wasn’t as bad as it was once I stepped out into the open air.

As the tide was quite far in there were plenty of the larger trawlers about heading in towards port. They were making quite heavy weather of the journey back too with the wind against them, as you can see in this photo.

You’ll also notice something else in this photo too, down at the bottom of the frame.

One of the phenomena that we encounter on a regular basis is the layering of the water, with these different bands of brown, silty water. There was another good one out there today which was rather surprising in view of the rough seas and I’d still love to know the explanation for this.

thora storm waves high winds port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was no-one around on the lawn or on the car park so I wandered around to the viewpoint overlooking the port, just in time to see Thoraslip her moorings.

What was more interesting from my point of view was watching the waves breaking onto the harbour walls. Unfortunately the wind was blowing the waves obliquely on to the walls rather than full ahead so we weren’t having the full effect that we sometimes have.

While I was here, I had a good look down into the chantier navale to see what was happening down there. And the answer was “nothing special”. There were still the same four boats in there as there had been since last Thursday.

le loup thora trawler storm high winds Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now Thora was well out of port and into the bay. As she passed Le Loup she also passed one of the trawlers coming into port.

You can see how the storm is affecting her sailing this afternoon. And this is while she’s in the shelter of the bay as well. Can you imagine how she’s going to behave in the weather that she will experience when she’s right out at sea. It’s going to be a rough ride back home to Jersey.

And talking of going back home, by now I was ready for my hot coffee and cake so I headed for home and the warmth. And to finish off the work that I’d been doing.

Guitar practice was strange. I was so absorbed in what I was doing with the bass that I overran by miles my hour’s worth of practice. That was rather strange. I ended up playing a long bass solo to “Cocaine” by JJ Cale and “Down On The Corner” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Tea was a burger on a bap with baked potatoes and vegetables, followed by my delicious apple pie.

Now, rather later than usual yet again, I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow of course and I want to make more progress with my work. And for that I need to be on form. I’m fed up of spending all of my life being half-asleep.

Monday 8th March 2021- A NOT-SO-UNEXPECTED …

… Brexit dividend reared its ugly head this afternoon.

Amongst my friends is a woman in the UK who had a daughter who is a keen and accomplished junior ballerina (she’s danced at the Royal Ballet) and is hoping to come to France for an audition in the summer. And when I was in NOZ at the weekend I found a kids’ novel about a girl who was a ballerina.

It’s full of all of the technical-speak in French for a ballerina as well as all of the current kids’ slang and as it cost only €1:99 I bought it for Evie to give her something interesting and useful to read before she comes over.

This afternoon I took it down to the post office to send it off to the UK.

For a product that weighed just about 300 grammes and cost €1:99 and being sent non-commercially as a gift between friends, it took me half an hour to do all of the paperwork, involving the completion of four forms, and the postage came to €15:90.

And I’m still recovering from the shock.

And as well as that, I’m still also recovering from the shock of being up and about once more long before the third alarm went off. I wonder how long I can keep this up.

After the medication I made a start on the radio programme, this time doing the programme that I should have done last week. With having done all of the music already, it was all up and running properly by 11:30, all hours-worth of it. And I found a really belting final track to finish it.

The rest of the morning was spent working on the Greenland photos and by the time that lunchtime arrived, I’d done just over 40 of them and we are now in Arsuk Fjord in a zodiac cruising around looking for THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR which had moved off from where we had left it and then been lost in the fog.

After lunch I started off by listening to the dictaphone. I had been in France during the night. I’d gone there from Dunkirk and I’d met up with two people while I was there. I had to escort them back to the port of Calais in order to catch the ferry back to the UK. I was able to retrace my steps in reverse on most occasions although we did lost the way once or twice particularly when we were in buildings having o work our way through buildings. There was one particular part where someone was rather nasty to me so I was rather nasty to them. One of these girls was shocked. She didn’t really want to walk the way that I went – she wanted to find another way. I said “yes I understand your predicament but really there was a war on”. She was the one who found the lift down in one of these buildings. It had some luggage in it but we squeezed in anyway. The weight was such that the lift cable broke and it hit the ground with quite a thud. We eventually made our way into Calais to find out that our boat hadn’t arrived yet so we had to wait around for a couple of days. We were there when there was a huge ship that crushed a small one as it came into port and one or two other little things.

Later on I was living in some kind of digs and right outside them I was talking to some Pakistani girl. We’d started off talking in a café somewhere. I’d been in to order a glass of kefir. I’d had one of one type and later on I’d gone in and ordered another one. We were chatting inside this cafe place. She was serving and telling me all about how she’s graduated from University and how she’d done this and done that and it hadn’t really worked out for her. She was going to get a gang together and go off and do some work. We were discussing different places in France where this worked and I told her about all of the British people in the Combrailles who worked as a team when necessary. We finished off by talking outside a house in a run-down area, a terraced house at the end of a cul-de-sac. While we were talking a guy pulled up on a motor scooter and drove it right up against the wall, almost crushed me. After she went I had a speedway motor cycle type of thing, an old Jawa and I pushed it towards Caliburn – I was going to put it in the back of Caliburn. I realised that I needed a ramp so I went round to fetch my tools. They were all underneath a van, a trolley jack and a box of tools. I thought “how come I’ve left these there and they haven’t gone?”. I picked up a plank of wood. These kids were watching me wondering what I was going to be doing. I knew what I was doing because the plank of wood was going to be the ramp to put this speedway bike into the back of Caliburn. I pushed it towards Caliburn but then the alarm went off.

For the rest of the afternoon I’ve been working my way through the duplicate files that I’ve been backing up onto the back-up disk on which I’d uploaded all of the external drives and memory sticks and so on. Another 83GB of memory space has now been created and there will be much more to come.

In fact I was so engrossed in this project that I missed my evening meal completely and it was 21:30 when I finally noticed the time.

Having spent some time wrapping up the present for Evie and writing out a little note for her, I went out for my afternoon walk.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe didn’t have the sea fog that we have been having for the last few days, but instead there was quite a haze out there.

And we had some traffic sailing around outside as well. Out in the distance heading into port was one of the larger trawlers, presumably with today’s catch. At first I thought that it might have been Le Coelacanthe or else her sister ship Le Tiberiade, the big green and white trawlers with the gold stripes.

But back here at the apartment afterwards when I examined the photograph I noticed that she was actually pale blue and white and I didn’t recognise which trawler she would be.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was another trawler out there too, only this one was heading out to sea, rather later than the rest of the fleet.

By what is presumably a total coincidence, whereas the homeward-bound trawler is white with a blue stripe, the outward-bound trawler is blue with a white stripe.

While I was admiring the two trawlers and hoping to catch a photo of them both crossing each other out in the English Channel, one of my neighbours put in an appearance and we ended up having a good chat instead of concentrating on the local shipping.

She needed some advice about booking her vaccinationcara

appointment. Apparently I must be the local expert or something.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor the last few days we’ve been looking at the crowds of people wandering around on the beach at the foot of the steps in the Rue du Nord.

Today we didn’t have so many people down there, and certainly no-one going out for a swim. There was however someone sitting comfortably on a rock reading a book – the very epitome of deep and intense relaxation. Mind you, she didn’t look as if she was very warm.

Clutching my parcel for the post I wandered off around the footpath, across the lawn and the car park. There wasn’t a great deal of activity out there of course. After all, the kids are now all back at school starting today so there were just the old fogeys wandering around.

pipes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing new down in the chantier navale, just the same four boats that we’ve seen for the last few days.

But on the edge of the quayside down in the inner port there’s a whole pile of plastic pipes. They are far too long to be transported by one of the little Jersey freighters, so I’m wondering what they are doing here and how they’ll be moved onwards to wherever they might be going. I’ll have to watch this space.

Down in the town I went to the Post Office to post off my parcel to the UK, and then round to the Carrefour to but a lettuce that I had forgotten on Saturday. And there I bumped into yet another one of my neighbours and we had another lengthy chat. I seem to be in demand right now.

pasquier sweet caravan place godal Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was down in the town I had a little wander around to see what might be happening down there.

And it looks as if we are preparing for the summer season already because the sweet and candy floss caravan has now turned up and parked in its usual spot ready to snare the holidaymakers and day trippers. That’s definitely a sign of the times. I wonder if the Big Wheel will be back in the town too this year.

From there, I went back to the steps at the Rampe de Monte à Regret and climbed back up to the Rue des Juifs ready to head for home and my coffee.

gangway down to marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving a look down into the port to see what was going on, something that I hadn’t seen before caught my eye.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, they spent a lot of time installing new pontoons, ladders and walkways in the port 12 months or so ago. But it seems that there’s a new pedestrian ramp of the same style of the rest of the equipment of the port that now leads down onto the deck of Marité.

That’s certainly quite new, as far as I can tell. I don’t recall having seen it before. But what interests me even more is how the deal with it when Marité is ready to sail away from the quayside. That should be a complicated manoeuvre.

harbour gates closed port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne final thing caught my eye while I was out there.

Just as I started back up the hill I heard the bells to indicate that the harbour gates were closing. By the time that I had the camera ready they were almost closed. You can see the red traffic light indicating that the passage is now closed, and a couple of pedestrians on the walkway waiting to be able to complete their passage to the other side.

Back here I had my coffee and my slice of chocolate cake and then carried on with the editing of the back-up hard drive.

At 18:00 I remembered to stop for my guitar practice but I missed just about everything else.

Tomorrow I have my Welsh lesson and then I need to make some more enquiries about updating my big computer. I need to make more extra space and while I’m at it, make it work faster too.

Monday 11th January 2021 – JUST TO PROVE …

… that I can do it when I really try, I beat the 3rd alarm to my feet this morning. And I bet that you weren’t expecting that, were you? I know that I wasn’t.

After breakfast I made a start on the radio programme and with having to start it from scratch, it took me until about 14:30 to finish.

It would have taken a lot less time but I rather seriously overran. What I normally do is to choose 10 tracks for a total length of 50 minutes, some text to introduce the tracks which I edit down, and then a final track to finish to make up an hour’s worth of programme.

Unfortunately I was rather carried away with what I did today because I ended up with 51:40 in my 10 tracks, and then 11.46 of text which when edited down made 7:30, did not leave enough time for a decent final track. Consequently I had to go through and edit the text right down again to make some space for a final track.

There was the usual pause for my mid-morning hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread, and a pause for lunch as well with my home-made bread.

fog in english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSpending the afternoon not doing all that much at all, I did however stop what I wasn’t doing in order to go out for my afternoon walk.

And we were having the kind of weather where I would have been much happier being out with a white stick and a guide dog. This wasn’t a rolling fog but in fact a thin mist of very light rain.

As it was out there in the English Channel and I couldn’t see the Ile de Chausey at all, I was tempted to think about the people out there on the island looking over to us over here and coming out with the old hoary chestnut “fog in the Channel! Continent cut off!” – a throwback to the days when to be born British was to win the lottery of life and wasn’t tha a long time ago.

fishing boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnyway I continued along the footpath at the top of the cliff, dodging my way past the mud patches that have mysteriously appeared over the last couple of days.

As I reached the footpath and the car park, out of the doom and gloom came a fishing boat, chugging its way back into port.

It was extremely windy out there this afternoon and the sea was quite rough so it can’t have been very pleasant out there this afternoon, and these small boats take quite a battering out there in this kind of weather.

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were quite a few people out there this afternoon walking around despite the weather, and it wasn’t just people out there enjoying the weather either.

Every now and again we see a bird of prey hovering over the cliffs here at the Point du Roc looking for little rodents and baby rabbits in the grass. And he’s here again doing his stuff on the clifftop.

He spends a lot of time hovering around over the cliffs here and, just like the local fishermen out here sometimes on the rocks, I have yet to see him actually catch anything. But if the cliffs here were barren he wouldn’t be coming back here at all.

joker fishing boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe port this afternoon seems to be packed with fishing boats today. And there’s a reason for that too.

With the Treaty of the Bay of Granville being revoked by the British, the Channel Islands should be issuing permits under the Brexit withdrawal agreement for fishing boats from here, but by the middle of last week they had yet to do so. The French Minister for Fisheries came here at the end of last week and told the fishermen that if the Channel Islands hadn’t issued the permits by Sunday, they could head out there on Monday accordingly with the blessing of the French Government.

And so I imagine, they must have set out for the Jersey fishing grounds this morning.

joker port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the fishing boats that we saw in the previous photo was the shellfish boat Joker that we have seen on several occasions.

As I watched, she left the quayside by the fish processing plant and chugged off across the harbour in the general direction of the chantier navale. As she came into the shadow of the portable boat lift, she did a U-turn and I was treated to a delightful little nautical danse macabre as she pirouetted around.

Actually, I was expecting her to reverse into the lifting bay, and that was what I was expecting the guy on the end of the bay to be organising.

baie de mont st michel fishing boat joker port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut as I watched, she pulled forward again and came to a stop. For about 10 minutes or so I waited there expecting things to develop but she didn’t move at all.

While I was there, a couple of trawlers came out of the gloom around the headland and headed into port. And as well as that, one of the school buses passed by on the road at the foot of the cliff so it was quite a busy afternoon all in all.

But after waiting for 10 minutes in the rain and Joker hadn’t moved at all during that time, I turned and headed for home.

chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut that wasn’t the only action taking place in the harbour today.

The fact that the trawlers were heading back into port suggests that the harbour gates were about to open. And sure enough, not only did they open as I watched, Chausiais appeared out of the fog and passed through the harbour gates into the inner port where she moored up at the loading bay underneath the crane.

Having seen her safely home, I wandered off back to my home for a nice hot mug of coffee. With all of this rain and wind, I needed it.

There was the usual hour on the guitar and after that I set off for my evening walk and run.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was still raining when I went out but I put a brave face on it and headed off outside.

This wasn’t the weather for hanging around so I didn’t stop to take too many photos. I made my way all round my usual route, either running or walking, and ended up overlooking the harbour. We’d seen the gates open earlier today but I was lucky enough to be out here to see them close tonight.

It’s not every day that I manage to see them both on the same day. So, rather content with my self, I ran off home again.

Tea was pasta and burger with vegan pesto sauce, and followed by jam turnover and soya coconut. That turnover was delicious and I hope that the pie is just as good.

Having done all of this, I’m off to bed. I have my Welsh lessons tomorrow (I hope) so I need to be on the top of my form. And that’s not very easy these days, is it?

Thursday 31st December 2020 – BY THE TIME …

… that most of you read this, we will be in a New Year. 2020 will have ended and we’ll have 2021 to contend with. Many people are hoping that this New Year will be better than the last but that’s an optimism that I can’t share.

Especially for the Brits who not only have Brexit with which to contend but also a miserable figure of just under 56,000 new Covid infections and just under 1,000 deaths despite a lockdown. What’s interesting is that whereas in the USA they are taking almost no precautions whatsoever, the relative figures per 1,000 of the population are much less.

Historically, all of these previous viruses such as The Black Death, Cholera, Spanish ‘Flu have all come in several waves and there’s no reason to suppose that this is any different. So I don’t see this year as being any better than the last.

But why be so miserable? Let’s look on the bright side of life. At the hospital today they have told me that symptoms of the disease that I have are now being traced in the kidneys. So you won’t have too much longer to suffer this depressing diatribe by the sound of things. And that’s enough to cheer anyone up, isn’t it?

monseigneur van waeyenberghlaan leuven belgium Eric HallWhile you admire the snail-like (lack of) speed of the new sewer and roadworks in the Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan that seem to be taking for just about ever, I myself managed to crawl out of bed to beat the 3rd alarm this morning.

And that’s not something that happens every day these days, is it? And considering that I had another miserable night where I took about a week to go off to sleep, it’s pretty good going for right now.

First task of course was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. And to my surprise, I’d covered the miles yet again.

monseigneur van waeyenberghlaan leuven belgium Eric HallI’d started the night with all of us queueing at the ferries last night with lorries. I was in an artic with a big flat trailer and I’d managed to get my lorry down into the hold so when it came to driving onto the ferry I walked on behind the lorry in front and just stood behind it so as to mark my place. There was a big discussion about the ferry – whether we were to go from Grande-Synthe or Petite-Synthe and where it was situated, all this kind of thing, but I’ve forgotten it all now

Later on during the night I had a girl with me, a young girl and I don’t know very much about her at all. The 2 of us were talking about things and she was saying how she didn’t think much of prefects or housemasters or such. She was working herself into such a state that as someone walked past who was a prefect or whatever she just hit them with this iron crowbar and literally split their skull and knocked them to the ground. I picked up the girl and dragged her away and took her to another room where I phoned the police and ambulance to come to the victim. I was really wondering what I was going to say about this and my part in getting the girl all worked up like that.

monseigneur van waeyenberghlaan leuven belgium Eric HallHaving transcribed the dictaphone notes I went and made some sandwiches for lunch as I was to have a busy day today.

That was followed by a clothes-washing session and then a shower. I have to make sure that I’m clean, smell nice and look pretty for the nurses there.

By the time that I’d arranged all of that, I was starting to run behind and I had to put my skates on. Luckily the rain that had awoken me at some point during the night had stopped and it was comparatively dry outside.

Surprisingly the streets were totally deserted. There wasn’t even a handful of people out there on the streets.

hospital sint pieters brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallMy route went as usual down into town, through the centre and out along the Brusselsestraat heading west (or going west of course).

Over the past year or so we’ve seen them demolishing the Hospital Sint Pieters, the hospital that was apparently built for the French community in Flanders but never used due to them all decamping to Louvain-le-Neuve. The demolition has been going on for so long now with so little progress being made that it must be costing them a fortune.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – edMY OLD NEXT-DOOR NEIGHBOUR would have had that down in the twinkling of an eye, never mind over a period of more than a year.

They don’t make them like that any more

parking sint jakobsplein leuven belgium Eric HallSomething that’s been going on for even longer has been the digging and subsequent filling-in of the big hole in the car park in the Sint Jakobsplein.

It seems that at last they have filled in the hole and resurfaced it, not that they have made a particularly good job of it. But it’s still not available for parking by the general public as it’s all fenced off still.

It seems to me that it’s now being used as the storage area for the equipment and material for the work that’s going on in the Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan and the Sint Hubertusstraat.

sint hubertusstraat leuven belgium Eric Hall and so it seems like this area of the car park will be unavailable for the next forever, I imagine because they don’t seem to be in any rush.

Here in the Sint Hubertusstraat, the lower part of the Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan the repairs are also a long way from being completed and while that vehicle is making a valiant attempt to pass down the length of street it’s making heavy weather of the journey.

So I pushed on up through the roadworks that you saw earlier, and arrived at the hospital with 10 minutes to spare, the time for which was lost trying to work out where I was supposed to go.

And if you think that the town was empty, the hospital was even more empty too. There were very few people wandering around there and hanging around waiting for appointments.

Eventually I was seen by the student at the Kidney department following the x-rays that I had a while back. She interrogated and examined me, and then she went off to talk to the Professor who is in charge of that section.

He came back and told me the news that I mentioned earlier, which isn’t the best news that I’ve had so far. The plan is that they will write to me to give me an appointment when they have the results of the samples that she took from me.

Then I went upstairs to the Oncology department for my usual treatment. I wasn’t long there, with no visit from a doctor, so it wasn’t long before I was allowed to leave. And then I had to go back for a prescription for some of my medication. Abd by the time that I’d picked that up, the chemist’s was closed – early for New Years Eve of course.

Universitair Ziekenhuis gasthuisberg leuven beigium Eric HallOn the way into the hospital I noticed that there was a Christmas tree outside the hospital door.

By the time that I left, it was going dark and so the tree was all illuminated. The decorations were not exactly inspiring but still I suppose I ought to take a photograph of it for the record seeing as I’m not getting about as often and as far as I would have done had things been different.

It was quite cold outside now so I wasn’t going to hang about very long. I headed off down the street back towards town and my lodgings.

christmas lights brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallMy way home retraced the steps that I had taken on the way out to the hospital.

By now it was quite dark and the Christmas lights in the town were illuminated. Here in the Brusselsestraat from roughly where I took the photo of the Sint Pieters Hospital and looking to the west there was a good view of the lights, or at least, such lights as there were here this year.

Apparently it’s not just Granville that is economising on its Christmas displays this year. The lights in Leuven aren’t all that much to write home about either.

christmas lights brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallFrom the same spot looking eastwards back to the town centre there are more Christmas lights to see.

But once again, I’m rather disappointed by the lights that are here in the Brusselsestraat. Of course, it goes without saying that with all of the uncertainty, the loss of revenue and the increased expenditure due to the current situation, there are going to have to be economies made here and there with regard to the budget.

Nevertheless it’s a shame that they have decided to do this with the Christmas decorations It’s the kind of thing that would cheer up everyone and bring a little happiness into people’s lives in these grim times

christmas lights stadhuis grote markt leuven belgium Eric HallIn the background of the previous photo you saw the spires of the Stadhuis – the Town Hall in the Grote Markt lit up by strings of LED lights. And so with the aim of wanting to see them in all their glory, I went home that way.

In previous years they have been multicoloured lights that change colour at regular intervals and make a rather beautiful spectacle. But not this year, unfortunately. We have a golden yellow light and that seemed to be that for the time that I spent looking at it. Not a change of colour anywhere.

Beautiful that it is, it’s again something of a disappointment. But I’ll go out tomorrow evening after dark for another good look around and see how the rest of the town centre looks.

christmas lights herbert hooverplein leuven belgium Eric HallIt’ll have to look better than the Herbert Hooverplein because this really is disappointing.

No Christmas market, which is no surprise, but they could still have done something better than this. And if you are dismayed by this, the decorations and lights in the Tiensestraat were non-existent. I came on home.

Back here I crashed out for a while and then made tea. Nothing at all exciting – just pasta and tinned veg, followed by tinned apricot and some Soya strawberry dessert stuff.

Having written my notes, I’m off to bed, ready (I don’t think) for the New Year.

To all of you, I hope that this year will be better than the last year and that we can move about once more. I wish each and every one of you everything that you wished for everyone else last year, wishes for Brexiters and Trump supporters excluded of course.

Take good care of yourselves and we’ll see each other again – hopefully not at Philippi

Thursday 12th November 2020 – I DIDN’T …

… beat the third alarm this morning either – no surprise there, is there?

Probably something to do with my very long day yesterday and the fact that after I’d finished my notes I was editing some photos from the High Arctic and chatting to a young lady friend of mine – she of the corona virus – until the small hours, giving her my moral support – although whether anything that I can do which involves young ladies can be classed as “moral” is a matter for conjecture.

07:30 it was when I raised my ugly head, and when I listened to what was on the dictaphone I wished that I hadn’t gone to sleep. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that occasionally I don’t publish some stuff that I do during my voyages because, believe me, I can have some pretty gruesome dreams at times, but last night was gruesome for a very different reason.

I was working for a Government department last night and was in Montreal – I’d been seconded to work in the office in Montreal. I was staying at a friend’s, someone who had actually found the position for me. I’d gone over there and she had a beautiful flat, a really nice one about 5 stops away on the Metro from where the tax office was. There were lots of people staying there too including my various nieces. It was a pretty crowded apartment with all these people staying in it. So I arrived there and stayed the night and next morning I had to get ready. I was getting ready but there was all kinds of strange stuff going on outside – a huge stampede of cattle in the streets leaping into the river and swimming across to get to the other side on the island, the side where we were. So we walked out to see what was going on. It was due to a food shortage and they were all going off to another Province to be slaughtered. I went back in and had to get dressed. I put some clothes on and then thought “where are the rest of my clothes?” My friend said that she’s tidied away my suitcase and it was stuck right away in a corner under a huge pile of stuff and I couldn’t get at it. I didn’t have a tie but a guy who was there said “your brother has left a few ties here. You’ll have to fill in a form to pay him and you can have this green tie”. So I bought this green tie and there was a long white scarf with it as well that was dragging on the floor. I rolled it up and put it somewhere. “Do you want that?” I replied “it’ll probably come in use for the winter”. I noticed that everyone else was dressed and said “ohh look we’re all in green this morning”. Zero was there and she burst out laughing and said “yes”. Off I set and turned up at the building which was a crummy kind of building in a run-down area. There were crowds of people willing around outside. A guy came over and there were about 4 of us. He gave us a bit of an introduction chat and said that we have to report through door 13B. At 10:00 prompt the doors opened to this office and it was like a huge stampede as thousands of people swarmed in, obviously trying to get a good ticket so they could be in there first. We were swept in in the rush but couldn’t find this doorway. We had a look and there were loads of doors but none was the door that we wanted. In the end one guy I was with, a very tall, very thin guy found like a slit in the wall. He said “go through here and see”. He slipped through this slit and said something like “this is it”. “How the hell am I supposed to get through there?” I asked. He might get through there but I certainly couldn’t. I didn’t think that anyone of any particular size would either. Where our other two people had gone I really didn’t know. I was now pondering about how I was going to get through this slit. If I started I would be wedged in with so many people around me that I wouldn’t be able to extricate myself. That was when I awoke in a sweat.

A little later there had been another instance of me trying to catch a bus. I was scrambling around at a roundabout with cobbles and it had been raining. All these people on motorbikes kept on colliding with each other and falling off. But this was before this particular bit. The only bus coming in was this red bus that wasn’t a local bus at all. I got on and said “take me to a metro station”. he replied “there isn’t one where we are going. I suppose we could drop you off somewhere where you could get another connection”

So later on we were back again in my friend’s apartment a while later. I’d stepped back into this dream where I’d stepped out. This time things were better-arranged and when I got up this morning I could find my clothes and get dressed. I realised that I had the wrong clothes on so I went to look for my clothes. I found dozens of dirty clothes and thought that I was going to have to do some washing now. I’d only been there a day. I got dressed and there was some good music going on. I said to my friend “you have some really good music here and good books”. She said “I’ll tell my son about that”. Presumably he had chosen them all. I started to put the food out but suddenly realised that I was putting out things like vegetables and gravy. That must have been stuff for the evening meal, not breakfast. In the end we all went out and got on the bus. There were 3 of us, me, Nerina and another guy. She sat next to this other guy and started to talk to him in this really friendly involved conversation about going to football matches and discussing her ex-boyfriends, whatever. All the time I was thinking “she ought to be sitting next to me discussing this kind of thing and I was getting extremely jealous. We pulled up at a roundabout and we all got off the bus. Nerina asked “you know which bus you’re getting on, don’t you?”. “No” I replied. She explained to me about the roundabout and said “as long as you get on a bus there and it goes any distance you’ll be fine”

But in connection with the bit about the motorbikes falling over I was telling my brother about my journey and told him a cock and bull story about how I took a taxi because I’d missed all the buses but the taxi could only take me so far and he threw me out at a roundabout where I could get a bus.

Things were certainly happening last night, and I’m reminded of the doctor in THE CANNONBALL RUN who said “I’d really like to probe his case”.

Having written out the dictaphone notes, I had a shower and a weigh-in. And I’ve now gone back over my higher target weight which is a shame. But one of the side effects that I have is “weight gain” and it seems pretty pointless me battling to keep the weight off if they give me all of this that puts it straight back on.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving had my shower, I set out for the shops, having forgotten to switch on the washing machine.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw Normandy Trader in port the other day, and then she disappeared again. But she’s back now doing another freight lift to and from the Channel Islands. Apparently she is really busy right now and there is “some talk” – although how serious it is, I don’t know – of buying a bigger ship.

There’s also the delivery of a new pleasure boat – the shrink-wrapped thing on the trailer behind the red and yellow lorry. It looks as if things are hotting up in the harbour.

replacing shop front rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallConsidering that there’s a lockdown on, there are more people about than I would have imagined.

But certain shopkeepers are taking full advantage of the pause well enough. There’s a café there in the Rue Paul Poirier and it looks as if, while it’s closed under the lockdown procedures, that they are ripping out the old front and fitting a new one.

That’s good news if you ask me. It’s nice to see the town slowly being redeveloped as time and funds permit. All we need now are a few more commercial freighters in the port and we’ll be well away. It’s all very well talking about increasing the pleasure boat traffic but what’s the good of the town being packed to the gunwhales 2 months of the year and dead as a dodo for the remaining 10?

One of the reasons why I came here was because of how lively it is throughout the year.

At LIDL I didn’t buy all that I needed, for the simple reason that I couldn’t carry it. I had to buy an extra carrier bag while I was there for what I had already selected.

Pride of place though went to a set of stainless steel mesh sieves. The one that I use for straining my kefir etc is really too big and cumbersome to wield about.

eglise st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way home, I took a little detour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that quite recently I’ve talked rather a lot about the Eglise St Paul. One of the things that I have mentioned is the sad state of the building and how bits are dropping off it rather too rapidly for comfort.

It seems to me that I did mention that there was a ban on walking around or parking near to it, so here’s a photo of the perimeter of the church all roped off and a warning sign “falling rocks” just to illustrate the point that I was making.

It’s a real shame that the building is crumbling away like this.

war memorial eglise st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe real reason why I’d come up here is because, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we’d seen the War Memorial here from across the valley a while ago and I’d mentioned that one of these days we’d come to see it.

And sure enough, here we are. There’s no time like the present. And rather disappointingly, there is no mention of any casualties on the Memorial, just a note “To Our Glorious Dead”. I was hoping to see a list of names of local soldiers who had lost their lives.

But interestingly, it mentions “our matelots”. And that set me thinking because I don’t recall any naval engagement during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, the war to which this monument relates. I can see that I shall have to go off and do some more research.

So after struggling up the hill laden with shopping, I made myself some hot chocolate and a slice of my fruit bread I went to talk to my friend who was now back on line. And we had a lengthy chat that took me up to lunchtime and more of my delicious bread.

This afternoon, I remembered to switch on the washing machine and even with the racket that that was making, waltzing around in the bathroom I managed to fall asleep for half an hour or so. I realise now why I usually set it to go when I’m out at the shops.

Next task was to peel a kilo of carrots – I’d bought two kilos at the shops today because I was right out. So peeled and diced, I blanched them ready for freezing. And while the water was coming to the boil, I fed the sourdough. There’s now 400 grammes of that happily fermenting away (and I do mean fermenting too – it’s bubbling really well) and as I need just 200 grammes of starter for a 500 gramme sourdough loaf, I reckon that my next loaf will be a sourdough one, and see what damage I can do with that.

Somehow I also managed to find the time for amending the two missing journal entries, THURSDAY’S and FRIDAY’S to incorporate the missing bits. I was going to look for the details of that aeroplane that crashed near Leuven in 1944 and I will do that one day, for sure, but there was something else that I needed to do.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have another friend stricken with Covid too, and I wanted to ask her how she was. And a quick 10-minute ‘phone call turned into a phone call of 1.5 hours.

People reading this will be thinking that maybe I begrudge the time that I spend talking on the ‘phone and on the computer because I’m always on about it, but it’s very far from the truth It interferes with my plans of course, but that’s what plans are for and I think very highly of my friends. I don’t have many friends but those I do have are the best friends in the world that anyone could have and I’ll speak to them any time of the day no matter where I am and what I’m supposed to be doing.

Except of course, to certain people to whom I’ve confided my innermost secrets only to find that they have become a subject of discussion in a certain Land Rover news group. No friendship can withstand that, but I digress.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, back at the ranch, what with one thing and another (and once you get started you’ll be surprised at how many other things there are) it was after 17:00 when I finally set out for my afternoon walk and by now the light has gone. So much for trying to keep a constant time in order to compare lighting situations.

As I stepped out of the apartment building I noticed a movement out to sea so I went to investigate.

And it looks as if we are having yet another trawler heading for home today too. Whatever else is happening, there’s still fishing to be done and they are out there hard at it.

But anyway, I pushed on with my walk around the headland to see what else was going on.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the answer to that was “nothing at all”. I had to walk all the way round to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour before I noticed the next object of interest.

Normandy Trader has left port. That was a very brief visit – the turnround times are getting shorter and shorter. But in her place is Thora, the other little Channel Island freighter. She’s come in to do a quick sea lift from and to the Channel Islands.

These two seem to be hard at it without a moment’s rest and so it won’t surprise me if they do end up with a larger boat each before much longer.

Unless, that is, everyone is stocking up prior to Brexit (not that it will have too much of an effect on the Channel Islands) and it will all go very quiet afterwards.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I was watching Thora the trawler that I had seen out at sea was coming round the headland towards port.

And at that moment, another one was heading out to sea. So in anticipation of a mid-channel collision, I stayed and watched them for a while. However, there were no shipwrecks and nobody drowndin’, in fact nothing to laugh at at all. So I headed for home as the sun started to sink down towards the horizon.

My hour on the guitar was something of a disappointment because I went to play the Steve Harley song “Riding the Waves”. I’d worked out the chords to the chorus but I couldn’t find my piece of paper with the notes on. And when I finally did find the paper, it sounded all wrong again.

The reason why I like the song, apart from the fact that it reminds me of someone who I’ll talk about at some time in the future, there’s a rapid series of chord changes involving the “F” chord and I need to improve that.

And before anyone says that there’s no “F” chord in it, I play it in a different key to suit my voice. My singing isn’t that good.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper. While I was tidying up the food to put everything away, I came across one that was left over from the other week and it still appeared to be in good shape. So followed down by the last of the pineapple rings, it was delicious. Tomorrow I’ll have to take some frozen apple pie out of the freezer.

porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on, I went out for my evening walk and runs around the walls.

There was no-one around tonight so I broke into a run almost as soon as I left the building and ran all the way through the Porte St Jean to the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord. But I went back to take a photo of the gate nevertheless because it looked so nice, all illuminated now that they fixed the lights the other week.

Nothing at all going on out at sea – or, if there was, I couldn’t see it – so I ran on down the Rue du Nord to the steep incline that always beats me.

donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving recovered my breath, I ran down the footpath underneath the walls, being lured ever onwards by the lights of the promenade at Donville-les-Bains.

With no-one about yet again, I stopped to take a photograph of the night scenery out that way, and then having recovered my breath, ran on down the footpath to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

There was no-one about down there or on the Plat Gousset either, and no-one in the Square Marechal Foch either for that matter, so I could run all the way across there to the other side. Tonight I was really enjoying myself. It was a beautiful night – not too windy, fairly cold and rather crisp.

christmas lights rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther on along the walls by the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou, I looked down to the Rue LeCampion and unless my eyes deceive me, they’ve put up the Christmas lights in the street.

That’s flaming early, I reckon. They must be planning something special right now. I don’t recall the lights being up this early before. Maybe it’s to take advantage of the fewer people wandering around in the streets during lockdown. It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s something to do with that.

Back here, I carried on writing up my notes. There were plenty to go at tonight. I’m hoping for an early start tomorrow because I’ve plenty to do. Carrots to dice and blanch of course, and then I ned to start to organise myself about my trip around Europe earlier this year.

It’s not going to get done by me simply thinking about it.

Sunday 4th October 2020 – SUNDAY IS A …

… Day of Rest, so a lie-in until 10:45 doesn’t bother me in the slightest. And even less so when I was still up, about and working at 02:00 this morning.

Mind, you, I’m surprised that I was even back by that time because I’d travelled miles during the night.

We’d been really busy at home and a lot of things hadn’t been done. I’d been taking the stuff out of the sink. The sink outlet was blocked – there wa s aload of waste food blocking it and I had to pull it out with my hands. My mother made some kind of smart remark about it. I said “so I’ve forgotten to empty the sink properly. Don’t you think that I do enough work around here?” It developed into a bit of a slanging match about this kind of thing. Then my brother started, because something that I’d said he thought referred to him not having done anything so he was annoyed. I turned round and said “what did I say the very first off? – ‘so I haven’t emptied the sink’. How can you possibly think that this relates to you?”. This argument carried on for a good while, and then my mother ended up talking about jobs. I’d seen a part-time job on offer at a local chemist, and I’d mentioned it. My mother rang up about it. She was talking and apparently the chemist had spoken to her and said “I have 2 or 3 other applicants. I have to read their CVs and e-mails and then I’ll get back to you”. My mother said “yes, it’s not every day that you meet someone where there’s a possibility of a job because everyone has these jobs all sewn up for special people”.
Interestingly, that job that I have seen in the South Sandwich Islands – the list of requirements and the essential skills of any applicant is so closely written that it’s clear that it’s a job designed to appeal to just one specific person and merely advertised “just for form”.

Later on last night we were on board ship again. There was a young girls’ rock band there but they couldn’t find their bassist so they never got to play. hey just wandered around a bit. Some time later the bassist appeared, a little blonde-haired girl in a yellow bikini, very attractive. We started to have a chat and I felt that I was well-in here but suddenly I was transferred away and ended up in Stoke on Trent. I’ve no idea what happened in Stoke on Trent now but whatever it was, it was a disappointment compared to what happened earlier

Later again I’d been out in Caliburn and one or two other vehicles here and there. I was pretty busy and dashing all over the place. There was still plenty to do and one of the things was to meet someone. One of our guys had gone off with a pile of kids to take them out somewhere so we were going around Crewe in Market Terrace and we came to the cinema. We had to go inside for something and I met the girl whom I was supposed to meet. She said “ohh that’s so-and-so”. We looked up and there was a pile of kids disappearing up the stairs into the cinema. “Yes, he’s taking them to the cinema”. She said “I have to go in there as well. You come too”. I replied “yes, OK”. It was Mary Poppins or something like that. She said “what about the books?” I replied “I have them outside in the van”. Then I thought “I hope that I’ve come in the van”. I couldn’t remember what vehicle I was in. I had to go outside but the van was parked in Market Terrace on double-yellow lines with its hazard lights on so I had to find somewhere to move it. By now it had transformed itself into a motorbike so I could ride it a little bit and I found a place that would be absolutely ideal to put it. So I had to turn round back the wrong way in this one-way street and found where I thought was good but it was up a couple of steps behind a little low fence. I thought “this is going to be interesting to get in here”. I also had a cat, an old black cat like Tuppence. I thought “what’s she going to do?”. She just got onto the low stone wall that this fence was attached to, curled up and went to sleep. I thought “I’ve got something I can padlock her to the railings so she wouldn’t stray too far. Some old guy turned up, a homeless type of person, and started to chat to me. He was talking a bit of nonsense really and I thought that I would never ever get back to this cinema in time to watch this performance with this girl at this rate if he carries on like this.

I was dictating again into my empty hand but I had to meet someone again at some car sales place. I pulled into the car park at the back but they wanted something else so I had to nip home. I came back in Caliburn. The guy had rung me up to say that he was there in a white Toyota van. I arrived there round at the front and he was sitting there in his van parked up between the vehicles that were for sale. I beckoned him and we went round the back and went to pull into this car park but found that there was now a chain across it. I thought “this is going to be no good because I had my car in there. How the heck am I going to get it out in order to to go home now? ” That was another problem that I was going to have to think of right now.

So some time subsequently I pushed up to North Germany from the south all the way up to the north. I came to a town where there was a bridge to cross over the river. It was a bridge that I knew and had used quite a few times. I arrived and, inexplicably, the bridge had collapsed and there was no way of getting across the river except by walking. I parked my car and picked my way up through the debris of this bridge and somehow managed to cross. I was climbing up the other side to the motorway and the ‘phone rang. It was of all people a guy with whom I used to play in a band. We had a very lengthy chat and the past, everything like that but this really was the wrong moment. So we chatted and yes, he found out that it was me through the internet and guessed that it was me and did I ever do a couple of things that I said that I was going to do when I was younger? Had I heard from our guitarist? “Not for 45 years”. In the end we finished and promised to call each other again but whether we would or not I dunno. I got to this autoroute and of course there were no cars on it – there wasn’t any point with the bridge being down. I set off walking and it really was a hike up. But I pressed on regardless and particularly sailed up this slope past the place where I usually stopped for a coffee to get my breath but just as well, as it was closed. All the way up to the top of this hill and I reached the village and they allowed me in. The first thing that I wanted to do was to go to the bathroom but there was some woman cleaning outside. Some guy coming out made some ribald remark about the woman. Eventually she let me and and I found an empty cubicle.

Writing out all of that was a work of art in itself and accounted for much of what was left of the morning. And while for the rest of the day I didn’t get up to all that much. Sunday is a Day of Rest and everyone should have one day in the week and do nothing, and not feel ashamed about doing it.

No matter how much work I have on hand, a leisurely day once a week is an important part of my rhythm.

Aftermath of Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOf course, there’s my afternoon walk. So, taking my courage and my raincoat in both hands, I set out in the rain.

Luckily the rain wasn’t quite as heavy as last night and the wind had dropped down to “powerful” (probably about Force 12 on the Beaufort Scale) rather than “horrific”. But that was never going to be an issue. What was however an issue was the sea. As you can see, it’s totally wild out there this afternoon with the strong winds whipping up the waves and creating whitecaps way out to sea. Not the afternon to be out there at all, and there was no chance whatever today of seeing the Channel Islands.

Everyone else thought so too because there wasn’t even one boat out there that I could see. Mind you, I couldn’t see that far.

Devastation of Storm Alex Place du Marché aux Chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWalking round to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord I could see that there was nothing whatever going on there, so I continued on my way along the street.

There were signs of devastation everywhere. In the Place du Marché aux Chevaux they installed barriers to prevent people approaching the crumbling walls just there But they aren’t there any longer. They have been swept away in the storm and the no-waiting signs, anchored in concrete in old vehicle wheels, have just been bowled over like skittles.

There was no-one about so even though it was raining and I was in my all-weather gear, I ran all the way down the footpath underneath the walls. At least I could see where the puddles were so that I could take avoiding action.

Medieval Fish Trap Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt my usual resting point after my run, I stopped and looked down on the beach to see what was going on.

There was nothing at all happening, but at least you could see the Medieval fish trap and how it works. It would be round about this state of tide that all of the fisherwomen in the Middle Ages would be wading about in there pulling out the fish with their hands.

So please take careful note of this, British people, for after Brexit it might be a handy thing for you to do if hedgerow foraging fails to come up with the goods.

From there I walked on down to the viewpoint over the Plat Gousset but there was nothing whatever going on down there so I continued on my way.

Storm Baie de Mont St Michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was no-one at all in the Square Maurice Marland so seeing that it was sheltered from the wind I seized the opportunity to run all the way down there. I may as well push the boat out while I can.

It has been raining steadily throughout the afternoon with no sign whatever of stopping. However I did notice that there was going to be a change. Looking at that cloud out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel and the heavy rain that was streaming down from it, it was going to get worse. This was not the time to be hanging around, I reckon. I headed off towards home.

No-one about on my final leg of my trip from the church to my place so I ran all the way despite the savage headwind. That was my three runs all accomplished during the afternoon which means that I can take it easy this evening, if the rain and the rest of the weather allow me to go out.

Back here, despite my Day of Rest, I had promised to empty out the freezer and defrost it.

All of the contents went into plastic boxes and I unplugged the freezer, plugged in the infra-red heater and set it off.

Meantime I cleaned and dried all of the contents to remove excess ice from the covers and then washed and cleaned the freezer drawers.

It’s hardly a surprise that there was so little room in the freezer because one of the drawers was half-full of ice. And the shelves were so crammed with ice that they were preventing the drawers from being filled completely.

This is going to be a long job.

While the freezer was unfreezing itself in the bathroom I started to make my pizza.

I’d taken a ball of dough out of the freezer earlier and it had been defrosting for a while. So I kneaded it again to expel the iar and then rolled out out to the right size. Having greased my pizza tray, I dropped it in and where it overhung, I folded over the edges.

Vegan Pizza Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter the dough had been standing for an hour or so and gone nice and springy, I added the ingredients. Tomato sauce base, then sliced tomato, diced onion, diced mushrooms, diced peppers, sliced garlic, herbs (I use oregano, basil and tarragon), freshly ground black pepper and grated chees. I’d switched the oven on as I started so by now it was nice and hot so I stuck the pizza in.

And here’s the finished product. It looked beautiful and it tasted really good too. I seem to have acquired the knack of making these pizzas too now and I’m quite pleased with this. No pudding tonight because I’m full up with the pizza. I don’t want to overdo things.

By now the freezer had defrosted completely so I tipped out the water, dried it all off and put everything back. There’s plenty of room now in the freezer and there will be even more now that I know what is in there and what I can eat. Enough fruit pies to sink a ship, I reckon.

Another good job well done.

Night Rainstorm Storm Alex Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was time to go out for my evening walk.

But I needn’t have bothered because I only made about 200 yards before the wind and rain that I’d seen loitering in the distance earlier was now well in position and conspired to drive me back in. All that I managed to do was to take a photograph of my building in the middle of a rainstorm. The wind might not have been as strong as it was yesterday evening but the rain was coming down in buckets and despite my rain gear I was soaked before I even reached the end of the car park.

As I reached the corner at the side of the College Malraux I was hit by several gusts of wind and was totally drenched in rain. That was enough for me so I turned round and came home. I’m glad that I managed to fit in the runs around my circuit this afternoon.

Back here now with my notes written up, I might even treat myself to an early night. I deserve one, and then I’ll be fighting-fit for this week. Off to the hospital on Tuesday and then we’ll see what we will see.

And where we’ll go from there.

Sunday 13th September 2020 – WITH IT BEING …

… Sunday today I had a lie-in as usual.

crowds on the beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd while you admire some photos of beach scenes from this afternoon’s beautiful weather, let me just mention that while a lie-in is one thing, 11:40 is something of an exaggeration.

Even when going to bed is as late as 02:30 and still not being able to go asleep straight away (despite the comfortable clean sheet), I was still hoping to be up and about long before then.

Consequently the most important part of the day was wasted away as I lay sleeping in my bed.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallOnce I’d gathered my wits (which took longer than you might expect given the small amount of wits that I have still remaining) I attended to the dictaphone.

Last night we were round in Berlin in May 1945 just at the moment when the city was about to fall. We were there urging everyone to get away as far as they could. A lot of people refused. They were thinking that it wasn’t going to be any problem at all. Someone was even saying that it would be things like probably they’d just issue little notes like “get your hair cut” or something like that. I exploded with disbelief because I knew exactly how the Russians were going to behave once they had taken control of the city. No civilian should be expected to suffer anything like that at all. I was just so unbelievably annoyed by the attitudes of the average Berliners who refused to do anything to save themselves.

It sounds rather like the UK and Brexit, doesn’t it?

There are still plenty of arrears to be dealt with, and I had time to deal with three of them. The backlog is disappearing slowly. This time next year I might be somewhere near catching up.

Apart from that I had a very quiet day and didn’t do too much else.

st helier jersey channel islands granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was the usual afternoon walk of course. And today I went around the medieval city walls instead of around the headland.

The weather was gorgeous and the view was magnificent. All down the coast you could see for miles, just like the other days. The Channel islands, and Jersey were as clear as a bell despite being 58 kilometres away and the town of St Helier was easily visible with the naked eye.

On the photograph even the tall buildings on the quayside came out quite clearly.

lifeguards on paddleboard kids jumping off diving platfrom plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were crowds of people out there today enjoying the beautiful weather and who can blame them?

We’ve already seen all of the people on the beach at the Plat Gousset and also just outside here at the foot of the steps. There were plenty of people in the water there, as we have already seen, and there were also quite a few clambering up onto the diving platform and leaping off.

That’s something that we’ve seen quite often, but what is new about all of this is that the lifeguards are there too – two of them sitting on a paddleboard in the immediate vicinity keeping a close eye on the proceedings.

joly france 1 yacht entering port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving observed from the viewpoint over the Place Marechal Foch the crowds in the water and on the beach down on the Plat Gousset, I headed off.

Of course with the crowds, I didn’t run across the Square Maurice Marland but walked across instead. And as I was doing so, I saw a rather large yacht come sailing into the inner harbour.

My first thought was that it was Spirit of Conrad coming into the harbour. It certainly looked quite like it and so I wondered where she had been.

joly france 1 yacht entering port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut on closer examination it turned out not to be at all.

Leaving aside the fact that Spirit of Conrad was already moored in the harbour, this boat has a very large solar panel on the stern.

And that makes me think that I’ve seen this yacht before because I recognise the solar panel. But I can’t think of when and where and I certainly can’t remember the name.

Incidentally, Joly France I is there moored up against the harbour wall. It can’t be all that busy out on the Ile de Chausey today which is quite surprising.

joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving said that, however, there was still plenty of business today going across to the island.

As I watched the boats in the harbour, around the headland came Joly France, the older one with the larger upper deck superstructure and smaller windows. And, of course, without the figure “1” next to the name on the front underneath the windows.

You can see the crowds on there too. It looks to have been really busy today and I bet that there isn’t very much in the way of social distancing going on aboard.

yachts baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallBut never mind all of the people on board the boat in the water, what about all of the boats actually in the water?

The Baie de Mont St Michel is crowded again today, just like yesterday. All kinds of beautiful boats out there but what particularly caught my eye was this lovely collection of yachts, sails billowing in the breeze and other extremely poetic metaphors.

None of them that I particularly recognise of course. Loads of people come here with their boats in trailers from all parts of north-west France.

microlight pointe de granville granville manche normandy france eric hallSo we’ve seen crowds of people walking, crowds of people on the beach, in the sea, on board boats and everything. But I’ve not mentioned anything about the air yet.

Plenty of movement up in the air today too, including the microlight powered hang glider that we’ve seen on a couple of occasions just recently.

Back at the apartment I sorted out a pizza base. I’d taken a ball of dough out of the freezer earlier so as soon as I came back I flattened and rolled it and put it on the baking tray to sort itself out.

As it overhung the edges I adopted the simple expedient of folding the overhang back into the pizza tray.

While that was settling down I made an apple crumble. being rather extravagant with the mixture I ended up with far too much so I had to make two. With not enough apples I had to use some of my eaters.

As to what they came out like, I really don’t know.

Once the crumbles were in the oven I assembled the pizza and then cooked it in the oven. It came out really well and the edges were perfect. I’ll have to fold them over next time too.

However, so filling was it that I didn’t have room for any crumble. That’s going to be as of tomorrow.

sunset ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was nothing much going on outside tonight for my evening walk.

The sunset (even though the sun had long since sunk below the horizon) was really nice this evening and it was so clear that all of the lights were clearly visible.

Nothing else of note so I completed my lap around, including my three runs, and then came home.

Back to work tomorrow and there’s plenty to do. There’s just getting to be more and more building up and I really need to get myself moving.

One thing that I’m going to have to deal with is the situation about my LPs. I’m hoping too have a go at recording them and there’s one that I particularly want to do for my radio programme.

Always assuming that I remember to send it off this week.

Tuesday 28th April 2020 – AND I WASN’T …

trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hall… alone tonight either.

There might only have been a handful of people out there this evening enjoying the evening sun but there was enough going on out on the open sea to keep me out of mischief for quite a while

The tide must have been just right this evening because the fishing boats were queueing up to get to the Fish-Processing plant tonight.

As for me, this morning I beat the third alarm just for a change.

Well, to tell the truth I was sitting on the edge of the bed with my feet on the floor when the alarm went off. So I reckon that that counts as a victory for me.

Nothing on the dictaphone which is a shame (what I get up to during the night is far more exciting than anything that I get up to during the day). I’m always disappointed when I haven’t been anywhere or, more to the point, there’s been no-one with me to share my adventures.

Which reminds me – TOTGA hasn’t put in an appearance for quite a while. I wonder where she’s got to.

After breakfast I started on the digitalising. Two albums again. Long, bitty, slow with plenty of searching and one or two versions that i’ve found aren’t the versions that I want but it can’t be helped.

Nevertheless I did almost 40 photos from July 2019 in Iceland and I could have done many more than that except that I got myself into a tangle at one point and had to undo what i’d done and start again.

But at least I’ve managed to escape from Seydisfjordur. It’s the following day and we’re just pulling into the Berufjördur and about to drop anchor off the port of Djúpivogur.

Unbelievably, this took me all the way up to lunchtime and I was pretty fed up of it by that time, as you can imagine. There have to be easier ways of earning a living.

This afternoon I started on the notes for the current radio project and by the time that it came to knocking-off time, I’d written all of the notes, dictated them, uploaded them to the computer and started to edit them.

And had I put my back into it I could have finished except that I … errr … had a little relax at one point. For about half an hour too.

That was disappointing because I missed my carrot-freezing session and that will have to be tomorrow afternoon, assuming that I’m not held up with any other blasted flaming file-splitting

The hour (or more, as it happened) was enjoyable tonight and my playing on the 6-string is improving. Mind you, that’s not saying much. I just wish that my bass-playing would improve. i’m stuck in a rut with that and need to break out.

Tea was a burger in a bap and baked potato, followed by blackberry pie and almond soya stuff. And I have to say that the pie has worked in spades. That expensive jam stuff worked really well and I’ll have to do more of that. I wonder what other varieties they have.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallSo off I went for my evening run.

And it was agonising to make my way to the top of the hill tonight, due to the headwind that was blowing me backwards all the time. But I eventually made it down to the clifftop to see the fleet of trawlers heading back to harbour

Surprisingly, I was the only one out here tonight admiring them too. I don’t know where everyone else has got to.

trawlers chantier navale granville manche normandy france eric hallhaving recovered my breath I ran on around the headland and past the chantier navale

And we’ve had a change of occupant in there today. We’re now back up to four boats with the arrival of the black and green one over there on the right.

The other three are still here and they’ve been here for a bit too. I wonder for how long the new one will be staying. But anyway it’s good to see the yard busy. The presence of a good, thriving ship repairer will encourage other people to moor their boats here, and that’s good for the town.

trawlers baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallEarlier on, I mentioned that the fishing boats were queueing up to come into the harbour.

And it wasn’t an idle boast either. There are two of them here loitering around just outside the harbour presumably waiting for a berth to become vacant at the fish-processing plant.

And you can tell that they are waiting to unload by the flocks of seagulls that are hovering around all over them. I hope that the matelots are all wearing hats.

trawlers fishing boats fish processing plant port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut you cans ee why they are having to loiter around outside the harbour.

There’s definitely no room at the in tonight with all of the boats here. As one pulls away, another one swings into its place.

The larger commercial boats used the cranes to pull up their catch to the top level where they are wheeled into the fish processing plant.

The smaller boats that are usually operated by private individuals or local shops usually unload by hand onto the deck-level underneath where it’s taken away up the ramp in their own vehicles, and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of weeks ago we saw a tractor and trailer down there carting stuff off.

new floating pontoon supports ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut hang on a minute – did you catch a glimpse of this in the previous photo?

Now we know why they’ve spent weeks dredging by the ferry terminal and cutting away the rock outcrop, and why they pulled up the cast-iron pillars that we saw a few months ago.

It looks ver much as if we’re going to be having the new pontoons over there too. They are the same, identical mounting brackets that they have used elsewhere in the port.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens when we have them and the tide goes out.

floating pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallTalking of pontoons, here’s the big floating pontoon that they’ve been using as a work platform.

Today, it seems to have acquired a mini-digger and a crate of gas bottles. It looks as if they are going to be doing a lot of welding right now. I wonder why.

Reflecting on that point I carried on with my run, and past an old woman who made a few remarks. I was tempted to stop and give her a piece of my mind but I don’t have all that much to spare.

sunset english channel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallNo-one else admiring the sunset from the rue du Port with me tonight. I was all on my own.

But then again I wasn’t surprised because it wasn’t much of a sunset tonight. It was all obscured by clouds like this, with a clear sky above and the red sunset glow below.

It looks as if we’ve had the splendid evenings for a while. So I carried on home.

no waiting signs parking foyer des jeunes travailleurs place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallBut having run back to the apartment building I had to turn round and go back to the car park of the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs because I’d noticed something.

This was rather a forlorn hope, wasn’t it? No waiting in the car park for this week as they are repainting the markings on the surface. But that didn’t go ahead of course and it’s no surprise. It’s not what I call essential work in these difficult times.

So in a few minutes I’ll be off to bed. But before I go, I’ll leave you with a little comment.

Usually, I’ve been trying very hard to steer away from political comment in my journal. If you want to follow what’s going on in the political world right now you need to follow me on my social networking account.

But I couldn’t let this one pass by.

As regular readers of this rubbish will know, the silly Brits voted 4 years ago to kick out all of the foreigners who have been “stealing their jobs”.

As well as that, Brits are being laid off work in the tens, if not hundreds of thousands due to the effects of this virus and are thus presumably short of money. And there’s a shortage of food in the shops.

With no foreign workers to pick the fruit and veg in the fields in this time of food shortage in the UK, the farming organisations launched a huge advertising campaign throughout the country to get the unemployed and poverty-stricken, starving Brits into the fields.

They needed 70,000 people to replace the foreigners who have been kicked out of the UK and won’t come back. And do you know how many of the unemployed and poverty-stricken, starving Brits turned up for work?

Just ONE HUNDRED AND TWELVE.

And this is how they intend to rebuild the economy after Brexit and after the virus. They are totally deluded over there on that island.

Tuesday 10th March 2020 – I WAS RIGHT!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 2nd February 2020 – TODAY IS THE FIRST …

… time since I don’t know when that I haven’t done 100% of my daily target of exercise.

Mind you, there were a couple of good reasons why that was the case

  1. There was so much rain today that at times it was impossible to go outside. At one point there was a deep puddle right outside the door that was enough to put anyone off setting foot outside
  2. I didn’t wake up until … errr … 10:50 this morning and by the time that I’d finished having my breakfast at midday, it was rather pointless thinking about lunch

Yes, for once I’d managed to have something of a decent night’s sleep. It wasn’t all that early when I went to bed but still, a good sleep is a good sleep.

It wasn’t continuous though. I remember waking up and looking at my watch a couple of times but if anyone thinks that I’m going to be leaving the comfort and safety of my stinking pit at 05:35 and 07:40 on a Sunday morning they are sadly mistaken.

Still, the medication was taken and then I had a look at the dictaphone. With plenty of time to go on my travels during the night I was quite optimistic. And I wasn’t disappointed either.

I’d been walking through the streets of a city in Indonesia and I’d been with a coach party or tour party or something. I had my suitcase and something had happened that meant I had to stay behind. Si I sent my suitcase off with them and I had to go to attend to whatever business this was, and then I had to meet up with Rosemary. I headed off to the bus station to see if Rosemary was at the bus station as she said that she was at a café because she had sorted out her issue. So I went to what I thought was the cafe but it was a school. Loads and loads of kids hanging around. Of course there was no chance in finding Rosemary so my next thought was how am I going to get halfway across Indonesia. The first thing o my mind was the train. I knew where the railway station was so I set out on foot. There were crowds of people there and one of the things that I’d done was that I’d changed my clothing. I had Western clothing on but I had got rid of that end ended up in just a local pair of sweat pants and te shirt so that I would blend in more easily with the people and look like a tourist. So I walked with all these people and got close to the station and could hear the tannoy announcements for the trains, in Indonesian and just as I was getting very close to the station with all these people around me and that was when I awoke for a moment at some silly time or other.
Somewhat later we were doing an enquiry into children taking supplements – athletic children, swimmers, that kind of thing. We were interviewing a couple of kids about this and then we had to leave. We’d been staying in a hotel and we were leaving really early next morning so I was going to have an earlyish night but it wasn’t as early as I was hoping. I had to drive these couple of people back with me. I went for a walk, a walk up from where the hotel was where we were staying past the railway station where we arrived. We were driving back for some reason and did this walk to see what it was like, to se how I remembered it from when we arrived. The I realised that I had to pay my quarterly bill fr my flat. I had to go to a bar, a bar where I would usually go for a drink and I usually paid for my drinks with cash that kind of thing although these days something happened and I was paying it by bank card or bank draft or something. The old woman behind the counter she came over to deal with me and I gave her a credit card to take this payment for this three-monthly thing. She was surprised about that but did it and I went for my walk. So I walked up and just the other side of the railway station there was a Shell petrol station and the petrol there looked really cheap. I thought “God I should have come up here in the car and fuelled it up and we would have been really ready to go tomorrow morning early”. I thought that I had better get some money out as well from the bank but it was the bit where there had been a level crossing over the road by the railway station and they had put an overbridge so the shops were at ground level but the road went up this overbridge. At a certain point there was a set of steps that went down to the shops so I thought that I would go down these steps. There were crowds of people climbing up. They were sort-of temporary steps held up on scaffolding and it was really quite a scramble. I only had one hand free for some reason so I was making heavy weather of it. There were these people talking to me, talking to me in Dutch and I didn’t understand very much of what they were saying so I pressed on regardless. I eventually got down to the bottom and some woman at the bottom said something like “you should have listened to what those people were telling you. They were telling you how to get down, giving you all kinds of advice and you totally ignored them” She was quite bossy about this. She said it in Flemish as well which was a surprise for me that I understood it so I turned round to her and in my really bad Flemish i basically said that they could tell me what they like but if they say it in Flemish I’m not going to understand it because I’m a foreigner and don’t speak Flemish which took the wind right out of her sails and I said it in Flemish that I didn’t understand Flemish at all which must have confused her somewhat. That was when I awoke.

After breakfast I attacked the radio project n° 18. And by the time I knocked off for my evening meal at 19:00 I’d finished that and it’s now up and running and I’m well on my way to writing my notes for Project 19.

This week’s task is to finish Project 19 and to do Project 20. Then I’ll be 7 weeks ahead, and then a couple more weeks of doing two per week will see me two months or 9 projects ahead and that’s how I want to stay.

There were pauses in between all of this though. Round about 15:30 I was feeling peckish and there was a lump of bread left over from yesterday’s baguette from LeClerc so I demolished that with some hummus and salad.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe weather abated slightly too so I seized the opportunity to nip out for a walk.

There was that much fog that it was difficult to see anything at all, but I did manage to see down into the chantier navale to see what was happening in the way of new arrivals.

And the answer was “nothing much at all”. Still the same two boats but there was a big van down there so it looked as if someone was working on one of them at least.

Maybe we might have a new arrival or two during the week.

chausiais joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallIt was busy over there at the ferry terminal.

There, settling down gently into the mud over at the ferry terminal are Chausiais and Joly France. And so it looks as if something might be happening with them pretty soon too.

But we might be seeing more and more fishing boats in the harbour. Despite the Withdrawal Agreement setting down a status quo for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU until the end of the year, Guernsey has unilaterally taken action that effectively bans French fishing boats from its waters.

What I have to say about this is that I shall be very disappointed, very disappointed indeed if the French fishermen take this lying down. Knowing their history, I imagine and fully expect that they shall be back in Guernsey waters, in great numbers and properly “tooled up” to deal with the matter in their own inimitable way.

It’s been PUBLICLY ANNOUNCED THAT THE ROYAL ?AVY DOES NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT PATROL SHIPS TO PROTECT ITS WATERS and I’m sure that the French fishermen are well aware of this.

It won’t take much to blockade St Peter Port and St Sampson, and the island would grind to a halt in a couple of weeks.

I have often said that if the answer is violence, it must have been a very stupid question. And the question on that referendum paper was probably the most stupid that I have ever seen or heard.

By now I was thoroughly soaked to the skin so it didn’t make much difference as to whether I stayed out or went in.

pointing place du parvis de notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallSo I continued my walk for a little while and went up to the top of the city walls to see what they had been doing round by the Place du Parvis Notre Dame.

And the answer is “pretty terrible” – although on second thoughts, there’s nothing pretty at all about this. It’s easily the worst bit of repointing that I have ever seen

It’s just a total mess and there’s nothing whatever to be proud of about this. How is it possible that they can do such a good job on one side of the wall and such a dreadful job on the other?

As well as my vegan pizza, I made another rice pudding seeing as I had the oven on. And they were both really good. But I’m hoping that my rice pudding lasts a lot longer than the last one that didn’t make 4 days.

Despite the rain I went out again this evening and even managed two runs, although I had to improvise the first one on a different track because the one that I use on the north side of the wall was about a foot deep in water.

That walk was extended somewhat and I ended up today with 70% of my daily activity. Not enough but I can catch up tomorrow with my walk up to the Centre Agora for the weekly radio meeting.

And that reminds me – in January I walked 274.54 kilometres and ran for 1 hour 54 minutes. There were just 5 days when I did less than my daily target.

Here’s hoping that I can keep it up.

Friday 31st January 2020 – THE NEXT THREE …

night jersey channel islands granville manche normandy france eric hall… images will tell yu a little story.

Basically they are rubbish but it’s not the quality that counts but the circumstances surrounding them. Take this photo for instance – this is not a handful of trawlers out in the English Channel but lights which I think might be the port at St Helier on the mainland of Jersey, 58 kms away.

And that’s pretty phenomenal.

night st malo brittany granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd take this one here.

These over here are the street lights in St Malo, right across the Baie de Mont St Michel from here in Brittany. Not as far away as Jersey and the Channel Islands of course, but by my reckoning that’s about 35 or 40 kilometres away.

And that’s something that’s even more phenomenal too.

night paimpol brittany granville manche normandy france eric hallBut we’ll leave the best until last.

All of those lights down there, that by my reckoning is St Cast le Guildo and Cap Fréhel and all of that is about 60 kms and more away from here.

No sea haze of course to obstruct the view like there is out to sea and that’s why the photo is clearer than the first. But all of that is pretty impressive.

Hand-held in quite a wind that was blowing – too windy for the tripod unfortunately and I’m a bit wary of that since the tripod blew down off a roof on one occasion with a camera still attached.

But all of this goes to show you what a beautiful, clear evening it was.

It was a lovely morning too and I should know, because for once I actually saw it. Feeling like death of course but I still managed to drag myself out of bed before the first alarm, for the first time since I can’t remember when.

After the medication I attacked the dictaphone notes. I’d been out in Eastern England somewhere, a town called Jura near Cambridge or somewhere like that with a huge lake, that was where I was and I remember this huge map hanging on the wall of that part of Eastern England and I used to study it and work out where towns were, all that kind of thing. One day some lady started to talk. She came to Jura and she tried to take my cup of coffee away thinking that i’d finished with it but I insisted on hanging on to it which got off to a bad start but she was going on to her firneds about how her son in law or grandson in law plays football for a Scottish team and how they were drawn against a big team in the Scottish Cup and how they were only part-timers, all this kind of thing. But she was getting everything wrong and I was thinking that i’d have to correct her somehow but of course that’s not the kind of person that you can correct at the top of your voice and anyway you couldn’t get in any words in edgeways with what she was saying

After breakfast I set about splitting up a few more digital recordings. That’s another one of these projects that I have to continue. It’s quite important because I’ll be pulling a load of stuff out of there for the radio projects.

Later on I carried on with the notes for the radio project on which I am working and by the time that I had to go out, I’d just about finished writing them.

The walk up to the Centre Agora was quite pleasant and I arrived bang on time for a coffee before our meeting.

There’s going to be a jobseekers’ meeting here in Granville on 6th March and we are planning to do another live broadcast. 80-odd employers are going to be present and if previous years are anything to go by, there will be over 1,000 jobseekers coming to meet them armed with CVs and the like.

We will be interviewing the jobseekers and the employees and hosting a kind-of round table discussion, to go out live on the air.
However, that day there’s a lot happening and we are rather short-handed so I’ve been roped in as an interviewer.

The purpose of our meeting this afternoon was to meet the person who is organising the event on behalf of the town council and to agree a strategy. Unfortunately it was another one of those meetings where if someone sets aside 2 hours, everyone there will make sure that it lasts two hours too.

As I have said before … “and on many occasins too” – ed … these kinds of meetings should be held standing up, outside, in the pouring rain. Just as much would be decided, and in five minutes or less too.

It reminds me of a story that I heard about the election of a Pope in the Middle Ages. The cardinals were taking forever about it so the local duke ordered his men to remove the roof from the building where they were meeting.

They reached a decision in minutes once it started to rain.

From there I had a slow walk home, retracing my steps to try to find the glove that I had lost – one of my tactile gloves too – only to find that it had fallen out of my pocket in the apartment.

Not very good, am I?

Anyway, for a couple of hours I recorded the notes that I had written and even managed to start to edit them before I stopped for tea.

Earlier on during the day I’d been through the freezer again and I’d found a pack of frozen mushrooms. Now if there is one thing worse than commercially-frozen carrots, it’s commercially-frozen mushrooms. They are awful.

So what I did was to get one of these half-cooked baguettes and slice id and insert garlic butter into the slices. Then clean a couple of potatoes, and finally take out of the fridge the left-over pastry from the other day and the left-over cooking apple, and make an apple turnover.

All of that went into the oven.

Meanwhile, I fried a couple of onions and added some garlic, and when they were thoroughly fried, added the defrosted mushrooms which I had drained (and you have no idea just how much water there is in frozen mushrooms) along with some herbs.

When the mushrooms were thoroughly cooked, the whole lot went into the whizzer and made a thick mushroom soup which I ate with the potatoes and garlic bread that I had made.

Pudding was the apple turnover with sorbet, and delicious it all was too. And there’s enough mushroom soup and another bread thing for tea tomorrow night too.

trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWe’ve seen some of the photos from tonight’s walk, but there are a couple of others that I took too.

The tide is in and this is the cue for the trawlers to start coming home to port. There were already a few of them at the fish-processing plant unloading their cargo and there were several more on the way into the harbour from out at sea.

It’s a really busy place here, even if we don’t have the gravel boats in any more which is a shame.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd that reminded me – I hadn’t looked at the Chantier navale for quite some time, so I went over there.

There isn’t anything very much exciting going on in there right now. Just a couple of small fishing boats, no yacht of any size and no deep-sea trawler-type of vessel.

Still, there’s always tomorrow, isn’t there? We mustn’t abandon hope quite yet.

So here I am and it’s almost 02:00 and I can’t sleep. If you read this, spare a thought for me and my friends. Thanks to 17.4 million xenophobes and racists We are now stateless people with no more rights than your average Somali or Syrian refugee and our continued residence here depends upon the goodwill of various Governments that have no interest whatever in us while across the Channel in The Land That Time Forgot, the Silly Brits are using their foreign residents as bargaining chips.

As the conversation went in Lord of the Rings -“Have you thought of an ending?”
“Yes, several, and all are dark and unpleasant.”

We could be on the verge of the greatest mass forced migration of citizens since the Eastern Germans during the period 1945-1948 if the UK doesn’t come to its senses pretty quickly.

Sunday 26th January 2020 – WHAT A NICE …

monschau germany eric hall… day out that was today!

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen a photo similar to this a while ago. It’s the town square in Monschau in Germany, just across the border from Belgium and about half an hour’s drive south from Aachen.

And that’s where I’ve been today.

We’ve been celebrating – if that’s the correct word – the last day that we can do an outing like this free of any control whatsoever, thanks to 17.4 xenophobes and racists in the UK who have voted to stop me living where I like, working where I like, travelling where I like, receiving medical treatment where I like, and receiving the full amount of retirement pension to which I am entitled after all of my years of paying into the system.

What’s worse is that these racists and xenophobes loudly trumpet the “democratic will of the people”, but they refused to allow me the right to vote on an issue that affects me more than any of them.

What’s “democratic” about that?

So this morning the alarm went off at 06:00 and I was up pretty quickly after that. I had the medication and then looked at the dictaphone.

And hello to Esi, who I don’t think has joined me in a nocturnal ramble before. I’d met her somewhere and we were heading for a train. We were talking about the trains and she was going to one place and I was going to another and we were walking around the outside of this car park. We suddenly came to an area which was fenced off and they were doing some brick rebuilding. I suddenly realised that I’d walked this way before and I couldn’t get out this way so we had to retrace our steps and go across this car park rather than around it. We ended up somewhere, she went and I ended up in a rom somewhere with my things. I was thinking “should I take my big camera? Should I take my small camera?”. In the end I decided on the big camera. My train was at a quarter past the hour. For some unknown reason I had in my mind all things like when I used to walk all the way across London to go to my hospital appointment which of course I don’t do, and all memories about other nocturnal voyages on which I have travelled before like that petrol station out in the countryside in London (… the BP one to the north-west …) that kind of thing. I was reminiscing on all of this and suddenly I looked at my watch and I had 15 minutes to get to the station. I thought “God I’d better get a run for my train won’t hang about long’. It took me a minute or two to get all of my things together and I wasn’t sure that I had everything. I had to climb out of this train because I realised that I was in a train. I had to climb out of this train and there were lots of people in my way dropping things off and someone had lost their suitcase locks and there were a couple about where I was and they picked up their locks. I was already to go and these guys were talking to me about all kinds of different things and I was getting ready to run back across this car park to the station but the train started to move but had to stop to give way to something. It was in my way and wouldn’t move and I couldn’t go behind it and I couldn’t go in front of it or behind it or underneath it and time as ticking away while I was waiting there to get on my way to move and it was all very very strange. It was like heading towards one of these panic attacks again
later I was back in the Brusselsestraat looking at that mannequin that I like, being used as a model for various childrens’ clothes, adjusting and cutting them. And if that makes any sense to anyone, please let me know.

martelarenplein station leuven belgium eric hallBreakfast next and then time to head for the hills

Around the ring road towards the station, and wasn’t it looking magnificent in the dark, all illuminated with the war memorial in the Martelarplein standing out so well?

It’s all fenced off now as they are constructing an underground bicycle park just there. Yes, bicycles are big business here in Leuven. The way the road system is and the issues about parking, it’s pretty pointless owning a car in the city.

train eupen station leuven belgium eric hallMy train was at 08:2 and I was in plenty of time for it

It pulled in bang on time too, but I couldn’t see which engine was propelling it because it was another one of the “pushme-pullyou” sets and it was running engine-last, something that always surprises me on a high-speed train.

These trains start out at Oostende and you would have expected there to be a run-round facility at an important station like that so that the locomotive could take its proper place at the head of the train.

tour des finances liege belgium eric hall“Never mind” I thought. I can photograph it when I alight at Liege Guillemins station. I have 12 minutes to wait for my express there. I don’t even have to move because the Frankfurt train comes in at the same platform as the Eupen train goes out.

But for once the Tour de Finances building in Liege is pretty much unobstructed and looking quite nice so while I was awaiting the Eupen train moving out, I went over and took a photo of the Tour de Finances.

So if you live in Liege and want to know where all of your money went, then there it is. I admit that it looks fantastic but it’s not exactly the best way of spending public money on an extravagant building like that.

ice deutsche bahn inter city liege guillemins belgium eric hallWhile I was waiting for the Eupen train to move, there was an announcement on the tannoy “passengers for the Deutsche Bahn ICE train to Frankfurt am Main, please note that your train will be departing from …” a different platform.

So we all had to scramble up the steps, across the walkway and down another set of steps and I never did get to take a photo of my train from Leuven as it was still in the station – somewhat delayed – as we pulled out.

So I’ve no idea what was the matter with that but whatever it was, I’m glad that it happened after I had alighted from it. It can do what it likes then. We were on our way.

Alison was waiting for me at the station but Jackie’s train wasn’t due to arrive for another half hour so we went for a coffee and a chat to catch up on the latest news.

citykirche st nikolaus aachen germany eric hallWhen Jackie turned up we went into the city centre to look for a coffee.

There’s a beautiful church there, the city church of St Nikolaus and just for a rare change today, it actually was open so we stuck our heads inside.

It’s nothing like how it was supposed to be in the interior, but subsequent investigation revealed that it had been the victim of a fire and a considerable amount of damage had been caused.

So that might explain everything then.

city burghers rathaus aachen germany eric hallWe eventually found a cafe that would serve us just a coffee – Sunday morning is a pretty sacred “brunch” day in Germany.

We had a good view over the square where there was something clearly going to be happening. People dressed in historical costume, sword fights, people walking around with falcons on their arms.

But as the crowds started to gather we decided that we would move on. It looked as if it was going to be a really lovely day so we planned to move on the Monschau in the hills.

monschau germany eric hallWe made it to Monschau but the good weather didn’t. It was overcast, misty and foggy here and that was a disappointment.

We found a place to park the car and then walked down the hill into town. Considering that it was mid-winter there were crowds of people about and roadworks that blocked the main street.

It wasn’t easy to navigate ourselves around and see what was going on down there today.

monschau germany eric hallThere’s a handbag shop in the town with a name that will delight almost any one with a warped sense of humour.

We went inside for a look around and Jackie struck lucky. The prices had been slashed to a figure that even I thought was a good deal and she found a handbag of a decent size that exactly matched a jacket that she owned. So that found its way out of the shop.

What caught my eye was a really nice leather-look backpack, small with plenty of pockets that would have been ideal for a lightweight camera bag, and at 9:99 too. And had it had a shoulder strap as well as the backpack straps I would have brought that home with me too.

Just what I needed.

hotel stern monschau germany eric hallBy now it was pretty well past lunchtime so we retraced our steps back through town to a place that we had seen earlier.

They had these flammenkucke pancake things on offer so the girls had one of those each. As for me, there was a beautiful fresh vegetable soup with bread and that was delicious. The vegetables were actually in proper chunks and it was really well done.

There was fresh hot ginger tea on offer too and a mug of that went down really well in the cold weather that we were having.

old cars trabant monschau germany eric hallBut my eye was diverted to what was outside the restaurant.

It’s a long time since we’ve seen a Trabant – one of the East German fibreboard cars that came flooding into the West after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and which vanished without trace almost as quickly as they appeared.

The ones that I see these days are mostly used for publicity purposes and this one here is no exception. It’s so full of knick-knacks that you couldn’t drive it anywhere even if you wanted to.

We dropped Jackie off back at the railway station in Aachen, and after another coffee, Alison and I headed home. We had another one of our really long chats on the way back and made some further plans.

But what will happen about them I really don’t know. It depends on the hospital visits and the radio commitments before I can actually decide on anything.

For tea I used up the rest of the food that was lying about and having written up my notes, I’m off to bed.

Tomorrow starts at 05:30, something to which I am not looking forward, so I need to be at my best.

Here’s hoping that all of the trains are running.

Tuesday 7th January 2020 – I WAS RIGHT …

… last night when I doubted that I would be able to stay awake long enough to finish my notes for the day.

About half-way through I felt myself going off and although I managed something of a recovery, it wasn’t for very long and 5 minutes later I was in bed under the cover and away with the fairies with the notes unfinished.

At least – I think that I was away with the fairies because when I checked the dictaphone this morning it was bearing a rather strong resemblance to my bank account, or to the cupboard of Old Mother Hubbard.

One thing about crashing out early was that I was awake early too – 05:35 in fact. But I still managed to have to fight to beat the third alarm call out of bed.

After the medication, I made a start on today’s project. And that is to do another radio programme for my weekly rock show. I’m actually working now on the first programme after Brexit and while I’m not allowed under the terms of my contract to “engage in polemic”, nevertheless I have a cunning plan.

As Pete Seeger once famously said, “songs are weapons” and I haven’t given up the fight.

fork lift truck shellfish port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was a break for breakfast of course, and having worked all the way through the morning afterwards, it was 13:20 when I went into town for my dejeunette.

Down at the fish-processing plant I was treated to some excitement. The first fishing boat in was unloading and it look as if they had a big pile of crabs.

It wasn’t appropriate to go for a closer look because they were working quickly, so I had to content myself from here.

victor hugo port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallThe harbour gates were closed so I went that way round over the path on top.

Here’s a photo of Victor Hugo and what’s interesting is not what’s there in the photo but what’s not there. Yes, Granville seems to have gone out for another trip somewhere.

And I shouldn’t be surprised if Victor Hugo will be joining her at some point because her bridge was busy. There were three our four officers having a discussion on board her

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile you admire the photo of Thora here, I’ll tell you about my encounter with a guy from the Port Authority.

He’d come out of the Port Authority office and was clearly looking very official, so as he strolled around the harbour I fell in with him.

Having asked the right questions, I can tell you that the gates open 105 minutes before High Tide and close 105 minutes afterwards.

And furthermore, he told me that there has been no gravel boat in port for over two months and he has no idea when the next one will be arriving

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThora was there and all loaded up. Those big builders’ bags had been all loaded on board.

One thing I’ve been meaning to do is to chat to the skipper but once more the ship was deserted and no-one was about. So that was that.

Instead, I went and picked up my dejeunette from La Mie Caline and came back home for lunch.

trawler baie de mont st michel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallThe afternoon walk was taken in the cold and the wind (although not as windy as it has been).

Once more, there was a light out in the Baie de Mont St Michel over by Cancale on the Brittany coast, and I’ve seen enough of these now to be able to make an educated guess that it’s a trawler-type of fishing boat.

And here you are. I cropped the image and enlarged it when i returned home and sure enough, I was right about that too.

yacht baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd that wasn’t all of the excitement either.

There was another yacht today out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel. Not as extravagant as the one out there yesterday with the bright red sail but still nice enough.

But what wasn’t there though was Thora. She must have cleared off quite rapidly as soon as the harbour gates were open.

Back here, I had another little … errr … relax – something that is annoying me because I was doing so well just now – and then pressed on with my project.

There was another brief pause because our “outside broadcast” from the Bain des Manchots – the Swim of the Giant Penguins – at Donville les Bains was being broadcast. And for those of you who missed it, you can HEAR THE PODCAST at your convenience, provided that you take your phone there with you.

It was 19:20 when I finally finished my radio programme – it had taken me far longer than I expected seeing as I’d made really good progress this morning.

What with being late I had another helping of the curry – lengthening it with some frozen spinach and one of the remaining endives.

Alone again on my evening walk, and my run was agony. I was ready to give up long before I hit the ramp although I pushed on nevertheless.

That good spell of health that I’ve had this last couple of months is coming to an end unfortunately . All the signs are there.

shellfish containers port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAlthough Thora is no longer with us, there’s more activity down at that end of the port.

They look like the shellfish cages and so that can only mean one thing, and that is that Normandy Trader must be on her way into port. Those are part of the load that she fetches and carries for this Jersey Co-operative thing.

So I headed home, all alone in the wind and light rain that had now sprung up.

So having done the radio programme that needed doing, tomorrow I’m going to freeze the carrots that I bought, deal with the orange and ginger drink and then start on the programme of the football supporters. I want that finished by the time that I come back from Leuven on Sunday.

That is – if I ever get there, because I’ve just heard that my train from Lille to Brussels is cancelled.