Tag Archives: buoy

Friday 17th June 2022 – "THE MOVING FINGER"

“writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it”
.

So wrote Omar Khayyam in his famous Rubaiyat 900 years ago. But of course he was talking nonsense because a good rubber or a backspace key can erase as much as you like of anything that you have written.

What you cannot lure back to cancel, not even half a word, never mind half a line, is a word that you have spoken and how I’m regretting many of the words that I spoke, or, “mis-spoke”, to be more accurate, in my Welsh exam this afternoon.

Luckily, it’s a conversation exam so, as has been drummed into us on many occasions, they aren’t looking for perfection. Just whether you can hold a conversation that is intelligible and which flows.

The part of the exam which I feared the most, the “asking questions to fill in the gaps”, actually went quite well but the conversation was strewn with errors. However I managed to keep it going, he understood me, I understood his questions and he understood my replies.

Where it fell apart was when I had to interrogate him for a minute or two about his house. You’ve no idea how difficult it is to ask someone a barrage of questions for that length of time.

Yes, what wouldn’t I give for my moving tongue to wipe away whatever it was that I said so that I could start again?

But anyway there isn’t really anything that I can do about that now.

Let’s focus on the rest of the day instead.

southern liner port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And how about this ship that appeared in port this morning?

The other day I mentioned that it looked as if we were expecting some interesting things happening in port but I wasn’t expecting anything quite like this.

She’s Southern Liner, a small bulk carrier of 1100 tonnes, registered in Panama, that for the last few weeks has been running a shuttle between St Malo and St Helier but for some reason or other has now come into port here.

Is this going to be the start of something important? I hope so, because we could do with some more trade coming into the harbour.

Not like some of the locals will like it. Having had a successful campaign against the Big Wheel that I mentioned a few weeks ago, they are now campaigning against the Bar Ephemère and are campaigning to close it down.

They seem to be determined to destroy everything that disturbs the peace and tranquility of their little world on the seafront and so I’m on record now as saying that if they don’t like the town and its entertainment I’ll help them pack and I’ll personally run them out of town.

At times I think that a great many people have forgotten that many years ago they were young people too. They need to get over themselves, grow up, and take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror.

So once again I was awake early. Round about 06:45 as it happens. And when the alarm went off I was up and about quite quickly.

After the medication and checking my mails I spent the rest of the morning and the early part of the afternoon revising my Welsh, with the usual stops for a coffee, for breakfast and for lunch as well.

a little earlier I mentioned the exam. It should have been much better than it was but having to think on my feet and talk for more than five minutes is quite confusing. Still, too late to complain about it now.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Once the exam was over I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

As usual I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to have a look down onto the beach to see what was happening down there.

It was no surprise to see crowds of people down there because it was the hottest day of the year today. It’s quite cool in my apartment with walls of solid stone 1.2 metres thick and even so I didn’t have a jumper on at all today.

Some of the people down there had taken to the water too and I can’t say that I blamed them. I was rather tempted myself – that tells you just how warm it was today.

marker lights ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While I was looking down onto the beach, my other eye was roving about out at sea to see what was going on there.

There was quite a haze out there this afternoon and a strange reflection from the water. In recent times when the tide has been out we’ve seen the really nice beaches down at the north end of the Ile de Chausey but today the haze had hidden all of that.

And as far as I could see, there wasn’t a single boat out there at all this afternoon and that was something of a surprise. Admittedly the tide was quite far out so there won’t be anyone on their way home but I was expecting to see something going on out there, regardless of the haze.

marker buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022A few days ago we saw a beautiful flag out there in the bay, presumably indicating where someone has dropped off a lobster pot.

There were a few more out there in the bay this afternoon. By the looks of things the inshore fishing is intensifying, possibly because of the summer season and the tourists. They’ll all be asking for fresh lobster.

Mind you, I can tell you a story about “fresh lobster” from my days in tourism but this is not the time and the place, bearing in mind the peculiar way that calumnie works in France.

There weren’t too many people here on the path so I could wander round in comparative peace and quiet on my way around my circuit.

securite civile van pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022But there had been something going on on the lawn here by one of the old bunkers and by the looks of things I had missed it.

That van there is a Securité Civile – Moyens Aeriens – “Civil Security by Aerial Means” and it is usually out and about wherever the Air-Sea Rescue helicopter is operating.

And so it looks as if they have had their chopper out around here performing a rescue. That’s cleared off, presumably to hospital with the rescuee and the van is on its way back to the depot with all of the climbing equipment and everything else that it carries.

And I was too late to catch it all in action.

That was enough excitement for the afternoon. There was no-one down on the bench by the cabanon vauban at the end of the headland so I wandered off around the end of the headland and down the path on the other side towards the port.

l'alize 3 charles marie 2 wavecat express chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And we have yet another change in the chantier naval this afternoon.

Wavecat Express is still there but the catamaran that has been there for a while has now gone back into the water.

L’Alize III that we saw in there on Wednesday is still in there today and she has company. The blue and white trawler that’s come to join her is Charles Marie II..

And there’s a yacht in there too today. I wonder if it’s the same one that we saw the other day that was briefly in here but didn’t stick around.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And we’re back to playing “Musical Ships” again by the looks of things.

Yes, it’s L’Omerta back again, moored up to the quayside at the Fish Processing Plant and settling down into the silt.

There were quite a few cars down there on the lower level so it looks as if they are expecting a lot of the smaller shell-fishing boats coming into port to unload as soon as the tide turns.

On the way home I went to inspect Southern Liner and then back here I had a strawberry smoothie.

Next task was to check the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was something going on about learning French last night but I can’t remember anything at all about it. It all went out of my head the moment I grabbed hold of the dictaphone.

Later on I was in my white Passat estate going to Germany from Brussels. Leaving Brussels was a real mess because everywhere was in roadworks. I had to go a long way out out of my way. eventually I picked up a road to Liège and set off to go that way. This road disappeared into a tunnel with a black and white road surface. There was a load of slow-moving pedestrians in it (by now I was on foot) and I was running into these pedestrians, they were moving so slowly. We went round a corner in this tunnel and ended up in some kind of subterranean railway station. A train pulled in so we all slmabered aboard. I walked down to the rear of the train where I could look out of the windows at the back and down the line. I didn’t have a ticket, was just standing there watching. The train gradually filled up. In the end the last 2 seats were taken by a couple of men who were clearly under the weather. They were dressed in light blue tuxedos. It looked to me as if they had been on a night out in a casino or something like that, spent their money and had plenty to drink. They settled down in these last two seats so I was standing up by there. The train pulled away and that was that.

And regrettably I fell asleep at some point. The only time that I fell asleep today as well and again, only for about 15 minutes.

After I awoke and came back round into the land of the living I started to empty Caliburn.

At great personal expense I’ve brought up two of my four kitchen units. I can bring them across the yard on a trolley, carry them to the front door (just about) and then roll them in their boxes head over heels up the stairs. It’s back-breaking so I’m not going to do the other two until tomorrow.

What I am going to do later though, when I’ve recovered, is to go down and bring up a pile of the lighter stuff. It’ll be another job done.

Tea tonight was a curry made of leftover bits and pieces and it was delicious. So now I’m going to take it easy because tomorrow I have some cleaning up to do.

Sunday 12th June 2022 – I CAN’T EVEN HAVE …

hang gliders place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022… have a Day of Rest on my Day of Rest, can I?

Sunday is a day when I’m supposed to be having a decent lie-in to catch up with whatever I’ve missed during the week and to tell the truth I would probably still be in bed right now except that I had a rather urgent need to go for a ride on the porcelain horse round about 09:20.

And that killed my lie-in stone-dead, regrettably.

So while you admire a few photos of the various forms of aerial activity that took place around the town this afternoon, I’ll tell you about my rather depressing day today.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022After I’d had my medication this morning I came back here and made a start on work.

What I had to do was to pair off the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. Not that I’ll be doing very much tomorrow, I reckon. If the last few days is anything to go by, I’ll be lucky if I’ll be able to haul myself out of bed at any kind of reasonable time tomorrow.

And then, regrettably, I fell asleep again and that was that. I was still stark out when Ingrid telephoned me and you’ve no idea how difficult it is to hold a conversation with anyone when all you want to do is to sleep.

As a result of the foregoing I had a rather late lunch again.

red powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022After lunch I had a kilo of carrots to peel and blanch ready to freeze and then I had a listen to what had happened during the night on the dictaphone.

I’d been out somewhere and my elder sister had come with me. She was dressed in a pair of thigh-high black leather boots, black trousers and a black jacket. We went to wherever it was and came back. She started to undress in the middle of the room which I thought was a strange thing to do. She told me “you’ve seen all this before” which of course I probably had but not from my sister. It wasn’t the kind of stuff that I was particularly wanting to see. She just peeled herself out of her clothes like peeling a banana. I thought that this was a strange thing to do.

yacht speedboat la grande ancre baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And then we were talking about Jeeps and things. Someone was asked to describe a Jeep. They said that it was like a Land Rover where all the bodywork had been bent backwards and warped because they’ve just been driving through a housing estate somewhere that was being built and had hit a raised manhole. The Land Rover had stuck on it but of course the momentum had caused all the bodywork to twist and warp on it. It had made a real mess of everything.

There was also a teacher bringing a party of schoolchildren over on a catamaran. As he was bringing them in close to port he was going round reminding them not to ask anyone any stupid questions when they docked. I can’t remember how this developed.

yachts cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022and finally there was a story about how a village in Russia had been hit by Bubonic Plague. People had heard all kinds of mysteries going on about this place. They had been issuing jigsaws to people to piece together to try to work out what was the answer. Someone finally completed one and left it in the street completed and cleared off quickly. The village was closed and no-one was allowed in or out and everyone was dying, even the medical staff. The leader of the medical staff there was dead and had the place at the top of the roll of honour of those who had died

There was time for half an hour on the acoustic guitar too before I was ready for going out for my afternoon walk. I don’t want to forget what I’ve spent all this time learning. And while I was at it, I worked out a simple chord structure to CITY OF LIGHTS by RUNRIG.

Strangely enough, I seem to recall a while ago someone saying that he wasn’t going to learn any more new songs but just go with what he’d got at that point. I wonder who that was.

But since that date 26 songs have somehow been added to it, all of which I play at some point or other and of which 15 are on the playlist

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022But anyway that was the cue for me to go off for my walk around the city walls this afternoon.

First stop is, as usual, a look down onto the beach to see what was happening there today. And with it being a really nice afternoon (I ended up in shirt sleeves at some point) there were quite a few people down there today.

Even a few taking to the water too. In fact this had me trying to think of when I was last swimming in the sea and apart from when I fell in when I was up in the High Arctic in 2018, it was when I was in Greece in 2013

Hans and I were actually talking about Greece a while ago and I happened to mention “the last time I was in Athens was with your sister!” That’s the kind of remark that kills a conversation stone-dead, especially when it’s the truth.

repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And while I’m here I thought that I’d have a good look at the repairs to the medieval city wall.

They have been doing some more dismantling. Quite a lot more has been demolished compared to the last time that we were here. It looks as if they are making a thorough job of it all, and quite right too.

Much as I would have liked to, I didn’t go down the steps to look at what was happening at the outside of the wall. And for obvious reasons too. Going down the steps is one thing. Coming back up is something else completely, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

lobster pot buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Instead I wandered off through the arch and along the path outside the walls towards the Plat Gousset.

Offshore in the bay, as well as all of the boats that we have already seen, there were a few more of these buoys with flags on top.

We’ve had this discussion on several occasions, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and I reckon that they indicate where the local fishermen have dropped their lobster pots so they know where to go to pick them up again.

And as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I wonder how they manage to train a lobster to actually go on one.

kite surfer baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022It wasn’t just lobster pots, yachts, cabin cruisers and La Grande Ancre who were out there in the bay either.

The number of hang gliders in the air will give you some kind of indication of how windy it was this afternoon, and there was a kite surfer out there making the most of it too.

We saw a couple of them in the bay on the other side of the headland a couple of days ago but we haven’t see one on this side of the headland for a while. It’s a sure sign that “Sumer is a–cumen in. Lhude sing cucu”, hey?

tidal swimming pool diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There were quite a few people wandering around on the path this afternoon so I had to fight my way through the masses down to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

And they still haven’t fitted the diving platform onto the concrete pillar down there. Summer is going to be here and gone before they get round to doing it at this rate

Plenty of people in the water here though, but then access from the promenade to the beach is much easier than scrambling down the steps in the Rue du Nord.

Despite the renovations to the tidal swimming pool, it’s still not holding water between high tides. I thought that was rather the point of it

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022You can see what I mean by the access to the beach from the promenade.

There are a couple of ramps and a set of steps that are by no means as challenging as those at the Rue du Nord. And that’s why there are crowds of people down there sitting in the sand.

They are out of the wind too thanks to the headland.

The red machine that we saw down there working with a pile of dislodged rocks is still there too. That’s going to be quite an interesting job of work. I wonder what the purpose of it all is. I suppose that I shall find out in due course.

baby seagulls with mother seagull rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Having finished my inspection of the Plat Gousset I wandered off down the Square Maurice Marland to see how the seagulls were doing.

The two chicks that I have been observing were huddled up in some shade this afternoon and I couldn’t take a good photograph so in the end I had to settle with another bunch of chicks, with a very proud mummy standing guard over them

Plenty of sea-going activity in the bay this afternoon but there wasn’t anything exciting going on in the inner harbour this afternoon that we haven’t seen before so I left them to it and wandered off towards home and my strawberry smoothie.

artists fair rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022In the old town this afternoon it’s the Artists’ Fair.

There are plenty of artists in the old town with all kinds of galleries and today was when they were having a sale of unsold work. And frankly I could see why it was unsold because it was either far too overpriced or the quality wasn’t up to all that much.

This modern art, surrealism and impressionism with huge swirls of colours, seems to be all the rage but it’s not something that I like at all. I prefer art to be like a photograph, a faithful representation of a view, with skill and talent.

Something that actually looks like what it’s supposed to be, painted by someone who knows how to paint. But these days I’d be embarrassed to put most of what I see on my wall. I know what I want for my apartment, and I know how much I’m going to pay for it too.

Back here, I crashed out yet again for an hour or so and then I did a pile of Welsh revision, going through some of the stuff that I’d written over the last two weeks.

In between all of this, I had some bread to make. I used the last of the loaf on Friday so I made another pile of dough which I left on one side to proof for a while.

After lunch I’d taken out a lump of pizza dough from the freezer and that had been defrosting. By now that was ready so I kneaded it and rolled it out, putting it on the pizza tray so that that could proof too.

home made bread vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While the bread was baking I assembled my pizza and when the bread was baked I put it in the oven to bake as well.

The bread looks absolutely perfect and the pizza didn’t look too bad either. It tasted quite delicious too and I’ll tell you about the bread tomorrow after I’ve sampled it for lunch.

And talking about tomorrow I took out the next batch of fruit buns from the freezer ready to defrost, and put the carrots in there to freeze for the next couple of weeks.

When I finished tea I washed up a pile of stuff in the kitchen and came in here to write up my notes.

Now I’m off to bed. I have an early start in the morning to prepare a radio programme and I’m not looking forward at all to doing it. I’m really not feeling much like anything at all right now.

Tuesday 26th April 2022 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

speedboat buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022 … something of a nautical day.

After a week or so of next-to-nothing out at sea, we had the lot out there on the water this afternoon. Speedboats, cabin cruisers, yachts and even La Granvillaise if you look closely at one of these photos. It wouldn’t haven’t surprised me if the Loch Ness Monster had reared its ugly head at some point.

And at some point during the proceedings I reared my ugly head from off the pillow this morning, but not at all when I had wanted to. I’ve had a bad day today.

trawler la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022So while you admire a pile of photos of boats on the water this afternoon, I was struggling to leave my bed.

Never mind the alarm at 07:30, nor the alarm at 07:45, I just about struggled to my feet in time to beat the alarm at 08:00.

Nothing at all like how things were yesterday morning.

After the medication I came back in here to check my mails and messages and then revise for my Welsh lesson later this morning. But in actual fact I didn’t. I crashed out and that was that.

cabin cruisers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Eventually I awoke and managed to do a little work before the lesson began.

Luckily our tutor had decided on a revision exercise seeing as we have been on holiday for a fortnight so the hole in my knowledge and the lack of preparation didn’t really matter all that much.

There weren’t all that many of us in the lesson today though. A few dropped out at the end of the second year and we’ve not had any new students in to replace them.

But it’s what you might expect. There won’t be many people of the 1022 who started who will make it through to the end of year 6.

yacht cabin cruiser trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022One thing that I did just after taking my medication was to make a pile of dough for another loaf.

I’d given it a second kneading at some point and when the lesson began I put it into the oven to bake. By the time we knocked off for a mid-lesson coffee it was baked and so I had taken it out of the oven to cool.

As a result, at lunch I actually had some more bread. Unfortunately I forgot to photograph it, so you’ll just have to take my word that it was perfectly baked.

And it tasted delicious too. One of the best that I’ve made so far.

trawlers fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone from last night too.

I dreamt that I’d turned over in bed and pushed a load of people out who had been on the other side of the bed from where I’d turned over. When I went to look there was no-one there, I’d just turned over and emptied the quilt into the basin in the Canadian High Arctic, no people at all.

I was also running a marathon last night. It finished in Shavington. It was the bank up to Gresty out of Crewe that slowed me right down and quite a lot of people ran past me while I was struggling up that bank. Once I came onto level ground I was able to push on and overtake a lot of them. The final stretch was just something like just 10 laps around a table to the finishing line. I even overtook a couple of people there. 2 parents, a man and a woman, actually crashed out on that 10 laps round the table but their boy kept on going. However I beat him.

trawlers yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Going back to the dream about the marathon, after we’d stopped, someone was in a car driving around with a load of dry-cleaning in it of which she was trying to find the owners. She kept on stopping to ask whether this dry-cleaning was theirs or not.

Finally, it was the school sports day. I wasn’t actually competing in anything. It was like something out of one of these “Trumpton Fort” things, a children’s TV programme where they opened the school building that was like one of these houses in a kids’ TV programme. They opened a grille in the door so everyone could swarm in. The day went on and we were all sitting there outside dressed in white. They announced that the girls could go to choose a partner to dance. I wasn’t expecting to be selected but as the girls came closer and were picking up these boys I could see that there was going to be someone heading my way. It looked as if someone was slowly working their way around but she was cut in by another girl who asked me to dance. I said “yes” and we started to dance but she wouldn’t let me lead. She wanted to lead. It was all extremely confusing. Then this girl suddenly became another boy. It was a boy with whom I was dancing and kept on trying to lead. It was all becoming very confusing.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

As usual, I wandered off across the car park to have a look down onto the beach to see who was about. This afternoon there wasn’t much beach for anyone to be on but there were a few people down there.

That’s not really much of a surprise because it was quite nice today. Quite a bit of wind … “yet again” – ed … but it was quite sunny and warm.

There was something of a mist out there which cut down the visibility somewhat but even so there was quite a fleet of boats out there this afternoon as we have already seen.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And there were quite a few people out there enjoying the view as well.

Here’s a couple sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban but they look as if they have other things on their minds that all of the boats out at sea.

They weren’t concerned by the crowds of people swarming around on the paths around at the end of the headland either.

In fact it was quite a touching scene and to be honest, it made me quite envious. I’m trying to think of when I last had such a romantic scene as this and I really can’t remember.

classe decouverte port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022They weren’t the only spectators either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall, because I have mentioned in the past … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the situation of the classe découverte.

What they do is to send classes from schools in a particular area to another area where the lifestyle is completely different so that the kids can discover what goes on in other parts of the country. Kids from the towns will go to rura areas and vice versa.

The fishing ports will have their fair share of visitors too. Those kids will be staying at the Youth Hostel at the town and will be nosing around the harbour and the fish-processing plant.

The metal objects down there are shellfish dredges. The fishing boats drag them across the sea bed to scrape up the shellfish, rocks, human remains and unexploded bombs

The dredges are constructed to a standard set of dimensions, including the size of the grid framework. That’s to ensure that any undersize shellfish will fall through the framework and back onto the sea bed.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022One of the things that had caught my attention this afternoon was the fact that the sailing schools were out and about.

They are all having a good sail around the bay, under the watchful eye of a friendly neighbourhood zodiac making sure that none of its charges comes to grief. Not that the weather was anything like rough enough to cause a disaster today.

Having had a good look around in the harbour and seen everyone coming back home from the sea, I headed off back for home and my afternoon coffee. There was no need for me to hang around this afternoon.

lorry trans-shipping porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the difficulty that people have of receiving deliveries when they live within the medieval city walls.

What usually happens is that they have to arrange some kind of trans-shipment with a smaller vehicle to carry the articles underneath the Porte St Jean

By the looks of this lorry though, it has quite a heavy load on board judging by the way that the rear end is sagging down.

While I was drinking my coffee, Rosemary ‘phoned me up. She’d put the little holiday cottage next door to her house on a database for refugee families from the Ukraine and she wanted to tell me that she’ll be taking in a young family as of next weekend.

We had another one of our lengthy chats on the subject and I gave her a few hints. The solidarity that people are showing in the middle of this crisis is quite heart-warming.

Tea was taco roll with rice and veg. Plenty of stuffing left too so I’ll be having that with pasta and whatever else I can conjure up tomorrow.

But right now I’m going to bed. I’m exhausted yet again and a good sleep will set me up for the rest of the week. What’s the betting that I don’t have it?

Thursday 21st April 2022 – GLOBAL WARMING ANYONE?

When John Ross, the leader of the first European expedition credited with exploring the north coast of Lancaster Sound, came by here in 1818 and when William Parry examined it in 1819-20, they noticed what might have been the entrance to a bay, which Parry called Croker Bay after the then-Secretary to the Admiralty.

dry valley croker bay devon island canada adventure canada into the north west passage 2019 photo august 2019 eric hallThey weren’t actually sure about whether it was a bay or not because the whole coastline was covered in impenetrable ice so they couldn’t sail in to make sure.

And there I was 200 years later, 25 kms deep into what is quite clearly a fjord rather than a bay, at the mouth of a dry valley where a glacier once flowed and where there isn’t a single trace of ice.

If you want to look for the “Croker Bay Glacier” you need to travel another 5kms up the fjord and eventually you’ll reach it. Over the last 200 years or so, a belt of ice 30kms deep and heaven alone knows how thick has melted.

Anyway I digress … “yet again” – ed.

aeroplane 54aay baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Outside this afternoon we’ve been having an aerial day but while you admire the light aeroplane 54AAY that flew past overhead making its debut on these pages, I’ll start at the very beginning … “a very good place to start” – ed.

And once more, it was a struggle for me to crawl out of bed again. I didn’t beat the second alarm, having gone back to sleep after the first one, but I was still up before the 3rd, even though it was “only just”.

And after the medication and checking my mails and messages, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. And to my surprise I found that I’d stepped back into a dream not once but twice.

It’s becoming something of a habit.

yellow powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022One of my former work colleagues starred in this one. It was something to do with his retirement. He’d been called out for overstaying his retirement by some kind of sea creature so he went down to attack this sea creature and had a fight with it. He was stopped and they arranged a proper bour of either boxing or wrestling between the two of them. it was rather unfair because this sea creature had 4 arms instead of just 2 and it had to have its gills reinforced. The fight took place and eventually the sea creature won it. The person commentating said that it was a really good fight but he reckoned that every non-human and probably one or two humans as well really enjoyed the result and how it panned out

And then I started dictating the next dream in French. I was at home and had invited some friends round. They were actually grown-ups and I was only quite young. We ended up playing cards which I thought was a good game. They were 3 middle-aged men and one had a wife but she didn’t want to come. We dealt, and dealt for partners etc. They asked what I had to drink. I had a bottle of beer on the side from yesterday that I could drink. I looked in the drinks cupboard and they had one of these boxes of wine and there was some whisky etc so I started to put everything out ready for people to help themselves to alcohol

helicopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That dream continued afterwards and I’d actually met the wife. They were living in a big detached house very much like UK 1930s but it was in France. She was dreading the start of the French school year because her kids were going to school. I asked her if her move to France was permanent. She told me 20 good reasons why it was. We were having quite a chat when her husband came up and said that when he had the house tidied up and the kitchen arranged I would have to come over for a cup of tea by the fire

Later on I was talking to Percy Penguin, and it’s been a while since she’s put in an appearance. She was being very cagey on the telephone about something. I could tell that there was something going on but she didn’t seem to want to expand on it very much. I couldn’t seem to chisel it out of her. At the same time I was talking to a footballer who lived on the continent. We were planning some kind of event together. My family came on the phone and I started to chat to them and happened to mention something about my youngest sister. They replied “haven’t you heard?”. I said “no” and they answered that she’d died. I was appalled. I asked how. It seemed that she and her husband had gone for a breakfast brunch somewhere. Some security guard had knocked her husband’s cup or something onto the floor so they had “had words”. A fight started and my sister had tried to join in but the security guard pulled out his revolver and shot her 4 times in the groin. At that moment he had been arrested.

Airbus A350-941 F-HTRE pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022We haven’t quite finished yet, but we’ll have an interruption to watch F-HTRE go past overhead.

She’s an Airbus A350-941 owned by Air Caraibes and first took to the air in July 2019. She’s flying TX514/FWI14J from Orly to Fort de France in the Caribbean and went past me at 38,000 feet and 498 knots at vector 272°

But in the meantime I was stepping back into the dream involving my youngest sister. Everyone was now round at my house collecting her stuff to take away. I was busy writing a note to my brother expressing my condolences etc.

Once again it took me a couple of hours to come to my senses, which is a surprise seeing how few I have these days, but when I’d come round I made a start on the photos from the High Arctic of 2019. By the time that I’d finished this evening I was up the end of Croker Bay pinned against a glacier.

There’s a huge batch of photos that I’ve dealt with over the last couple of days. But I’m not out of the woods yet. I have simply moved into different woods.

We had a whole variety of interruptions today, coffee and breakfast being not the least of them.

But on the subject of fruit bread, I had the last slice today.

home made fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That’s the cue for another load – this time it was fruit buns because there was nothing else to bake in the oven so I had the room.

And here’s the results. Enough to keep me going until I clear off next Friday, with a few in the freezer for when I come back too.

It’s basically a bread mix of 250 grammes with a pile of brazil nuts ground into a coarse flour, some dessicated coconut, raisins, sunflower seeds, chopped banana chips, some of those mixed dried fruits and a fresh banana all mixed in. And probably a few other things too that happen to be lying around.

And then when it’s all proofed, cooked for 40 minutes on a medium-high oven.

For lunch I took the remaining half-loaf out of the freezer this morning and it had been defrosting. And there’s nothing like fresh bread like that. I’ll have to make another loaf on Sunday, I reckon, while I’m doing my pizza and I’ll freeze half of that too.

taped off front of building place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was of course the usual afternoon walk around the headland.

However today I didn’t go very far before I came to a stop. Just outside the front door in fact.

There’s something afoot here just outside the building, and I’ve no idea what because I haven’t heard anything at all. But whatever it is, they have most of the front of the building taped off, presumably to prevent access.

The plot thickens, that’s for sure.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But anyway, we can leave that for a while. Let’s go and have a look down on the beach.

It was another quite nice day today and the crowds were out enjoying it. Down on the beach too there were plenty of people taking the air including a group of young women playing with a frisbee.

There were other folk down there too, poking around in rock pools, scavenging amongst the rocks and the like. We can tell that the tide is on its way out this afternoon.

And they had beautiful weather for it too.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While I was up here looking down onto the beach I also had my roving eye wandering around looking at what was going on offshore.

There was quite a haze today so I couldn’t see all that far but I did notice a couple of fishing boats out there. One that we can see here but there was another one further out as well.

And presumably they were working too because they were pointing away from the harbour and following the coast.

Of course, they are far too far out to sea for me to be able to identify them, especially in these weather conditions when I had to peer through a sea mist to see anything at all.

marker buoys baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That wasn’t everything either.

Just down there offshore is a collection of marker buoys. It looks as if someone has dropped a few lobster pots into the water just there.

Mind you, that’s not all that far out and I suppose that they will just come along later this afternoon walking across the sand to collect them and their catch because I’m pretty certain that where they have dropped them is out of the water when the tide is right out.

That speedboat roaring past didn’t have anything to do with them anyway

However that’s not my problem. Armes with my face mask, I went to fight the good fight amongst the crowds of people on the path.

people taking photograph pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a recurring theme that runs through these pages as that oe me taking photos of people taking photos.

But here’s quite a new twist on the subject. Down at the end of the headland I looked back and saw a guy setting up a tripod with his camera perched thereupon.

And having done that, he took up station with his beloved and the self-timer did the rest, much to the chagrin of one of the workers at the coastguard post who wanted to drive past there in his car and who was obliged to wait.

But they did make a handsome couple.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022It wasn’t just with lobster pots and trawlers that people were out fishing this afternoon.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen someone perched on the rocks with rod and line at the end of the headland but today we had one of the aforementioned.

And it still bewilders me that these fishermen don’t have a basket or anything in which to put their catch. However, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in all the years that we’ve been watching them, we’ve yet to see a fishermen pull a fish out of the water with rod and line.

There were no spectators on the bench at the cabanon vauban either today. They must have known that I was coming.

le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022From the end of the headland I walked down towards the port to see what was happening there today.

And there has been another change in occupancy at the chantier naval today. Le Roc A La Mauve III is still there showing little signs of moving but Anakena seems to have finished her overhaul and she’s now gone back into the water, ready for her summer voyages to the frozen north.

And how I wish that I was going with her too, but I suppose that you are fed up of me moaning about that. It’s high time that I went out and got myself a life. I need to do something to start moving again but with these heart issues and knee issues it’s not so easy.

But I have the doctor to see next week and the heart specialist at the hospital to see on the 5th of May so who knows? Something might start happening soon, but I’m not holding my breath.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Over at the fist processing plant it looks as if there’s a very long and complicated game of “Musical Ships” taking place.

Briscard was there but she went and L’Omerta came in her place. And then they swapped places, and today they have swapped back again. The excitement here is terrific and I might have to go and lie down in a darkened room.

Instead, I came home for a coffee, a session on the guitar and then (regrettably) I crashed out for a good while. I don’t know what’s the matter with me these days.

Tea was a curry made with leftovers, and delicious it was too. Tomorrow I fancy sausage, beans and chips, especially now that I have my air fryer. I’ve no excuse now for rubbishy chips

But that’s tomorrow. Tonight I’ll have a strum on the guitar and then go to bed. I could do with a much better night and then maybe I’ll have a much better day to follow.

Wednesday 20th April 2022 – I’VE NOT HAD …

… a very good day today unfortunately.

After having had a few weeks of feeling so much better, today was something of a relapse.

It was one of those things that I knew as soon as I awoke this morning. It was a real struggle to leave the bed (but I still managed to beat the second alarm) and I was feeling like death. For a couple of hours I couldn’t manage to do anything at all and it was a desperate struggle to keep awake for much of it.

Mind you, I had another extremely violent dream and I reckon that it was this that took a lot out of me. We were in some city somewhere in Eastern Europe. There had been a load of events leading up to something but I’ve forgotten them all. We went into this restaurant, it might have been in Eastern Germany, to order something. There were all these people milling around, all kinds of people of all kinds of sexual persuasion just as there used to be in West Berlin in the early 80s. No-one seemed to be paying very much attention so our drink hadn’t come so I went to walk out. Someone gave me a bunch of flowers so I just threw them onto the floor and walked out. Someone tried to restrain me so I gave them a “Glasgow Kiss”. It just descended into a complete and utter orgy of violence after that. It just became worse and worse afterwards and really you don’t want to know about it. It was all absolutely appalling and violent and so real as well.

And then there was a group of us somewhere in Ireland last night. There were several abandoned villages and the talk was that one of them should be reoccupied so they sent a guy out there. They asked which house he would be living in and he replied “the warm house”. They arranged for him to have supplied etc and his letters delivered. A short while later a few more people went out to live there, prospectors, miners, etc. I was one of them although I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing. I had my electricity bill, 3 for one property, 3 for another and 1 for a third as well as a few other bits and pieces. I was trying to contact the Electricity Board to have some kind of overview of my account so that I could write out one cheque to clear everything. This was much more difficult than it seemed and I could see that after the time that I had spent on the ‘phone and on the 2-way radio trying to talk to people, I was just going to have to write out one cheque for each individual bill and pay it like that. If I run out of cheques that would be rather too bad.

So having had my medication, checked my mails and messages and transcribed the dictaphone notes, I spent most of the day dealing with the photos from the Canadian High Arctic in 2019. We eventually struggled onto the shore on Devon island across the bay from Dundas Harbour, STRAWBERRY MOOSE and me, and His Nibs was serenaded by a lady Inuit drum-dancer whom we encountered.

Right now, we’re back in our zodiac heading back to THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR.

Something else that I did was to do some tidying up (shock! Horror!) here in the bedroom and also to deal with some more photos that I found hidden in the depths of the computer that look as if they have been here since the Dawn of Time.

There were the usual pauses for breakfast, for lunch, for a good session on the guitar and also my afternoon walk.

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

And just here at the foot of the steps that lead up to the Rue du Nord there wasn’t very much happening at all. There was hardly anyone down there this afternoon.

Quite a few people further down by the Plat Gousset though. That seems to be where all of the action is taking place. Maybe I ought to go for a wander in that direction one of these days.

But not to buy an ice-cream. There’s a photo (not one of mine) currently doing the rounds about a “certain event” that took place there earlier today.

marker buoys baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There were however considerably more people up her eon the path so I was glad that I remembered to wear my mask.

Anyway, I walked all the way round and across to the car park to see what was happening out at sea and once again there were strange objects bobbing up and down in the water.

Nothing particularly exciting though. No dolphin or anything, just a buoy marking where a fisherman has dropped a lobster pot into the water.

And the 25-litre plastic container seems to be back. It wasn’t there yesterday. It’s probably also being used as a pot marker in that case. But these lobster pots are quite interesting. How on earth do you train a lobster to go on one?

cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Although there wasn’t a great deal going on out at sea this afternoon, there had been some people watching it.

However, they must have heard about me because as I turned up and prepared the camera, they stood up and began to leave. This is what happens when you are famous.

So with nothing else happening over here, I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what was going on down at the harbour. Not all that much, I imagined. I was having one of those days today that one has when things aren’t going too well.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was no change in occupant at the chantier naval this afternoon. Still just Anakena and la Roc A la Mauve III.

Over at the ferry terminal we have Chausiaise today and that was about it. By the looks of things the two Joly France boats are out at the Ile de Chausey and Belle France is still moored in the inner harbour.

But still no sign of the Channel Island ferries. If they really are planning to restart the service by the end of April as the intimated earlier in the year, they need to be getting a move on. There’s not long to go.

In any case, I can’t see me being off to Jersey before I go off on my next trip.

And that was something else that I did this morning and forgot to mention – to book my next trip on the road.

ch 798530 briscard port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022The other day we saw a few fishing boats moored up on the silt by the fish processing plant.

Yesterday they had gone and L’Omerta was in their place. But today she’s gone and one of the three that was here the other day – Briscard – is now back again. It looks as if it’s becoming a popular spot.

Abd back here in my apartment I made a coffee and came back in her – and prmptly fell asleep. I told you that I was having a bad day and it didn’t improve as time went on.

Tea tomight was a taco roll with the left-over stuffing from yesterday. And so tomorrow I’ll be having a curry with the left-over food in the fridge

Anyway, right now I’m off to bed. I’m hoping for a better night tonight without the violence, and a better day to follow. I was really hoping that I’d seen the last of these bad days that I’ve been having, but apparently not.

Friday 25th February 2022 – REGULAR READERS OF …

girl taking photos hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… of this rubbish will recall that one of the recurring themes that run though these pages is photos of people taking photos.

And sure enough, we had a couple of those today. We also had the first Bird-Man of Alcatraz this year too today but his Nazgul came to grief on the car park at the back of the lighthouse at the Pointe du Roc.

There was a young girl taking a photo of our bird-man packing up his troubles in his old kit bag and so I joined in the fun by taking a photograph of the girl taking a photograph.

And then, like the KNIGHTS OF KING ARTHUR we went our separate ways.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022My journey didn’t take me very far before I came once more to a stop.

This afternoon there were some people down there by the bench at the cabanon vauban and one of them was taking a couple of photos.

Even at this distance I could take a photo of what she was doing so that I could add it to my collection of photographs of people taking photographs.

However, as usual, I’m running ahead of myself here. Let’s go back and start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While you admire a few photos of the huge rollers coming in and colliding with the sea wall, I’m going to start today’s story even before the very beginning.

In fact, last night, I couldn’t go to sleep. In the end I ended up watching a film on the internet while I was waiting for sleep to come and it was at about 01:30 when I finally staggered into bed.

That doesn’t bode well for a 07:30 start but if we turn the clock back a year or two, I was going to bed at that time and arising at 06:00 without the least problem. And then going out for a run around the town.

Ohhh! How things have changed!

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There wasn’t a great deal of time to go off on much of a nocturnal ramble, but I did my best.

Compared to the events of the last few nights; what happened last night was rather tame. Nevertheless, there was a very enigmatic entry on the dictaphone.

It went “I wish that I knew more about that dark-haired girl who came to visit me last night but that’s all there was on the dictaphone so I’ve no idea at all about anything relating to this”.

And I was dead right too. I wish that I did know more about it as well because it’s the kind of thing that must have been extremely interesting. I seem to be meeting an awful lot of unidentified young ladies just recently and it’s extremely frustrating to say the least when I can’t recall who they are or what we did.

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Later on I was with Nerina again last night. We were doing something at a bungalow on the Poets Estate near Coleridge Way around there. I’d been working on a car. I’d put my things away but when I went back there were still some bits and pieces lying around so I picked them up and put them in my pocket. Then I went to look at the car. The seat adjuster had broken – the circlip that holds it in place had come off. I made a mental note to do something about that when I was in a place where I could fix it. Then we drove to Nerina’s – it was about 21:45. Nerina’s mother said “oh, you’re early. She had tea ready which, for me, was vegan sausages. We had our meal then I was going to show Nerina this seat attachment thing because if she will be going out in the car in the morning she’ll need to know about this so she’ll know what to expect and she’ll know how to fix it. I couldn’t find a circlip to hold it in position. I was singing RIDING THE WAVES by Steve Harley all the time and I don’t know why and even Nerina made a mention of it during the dream.

And how I wish that I could sing it as well as I could 30 years ago

What I’ve been doing all day today is dealing with the arrears on the dictaphone that hadn’t been transcribed. I’ve no idea where I found all of the energy to do it but I did it all the same and now it’s finished.

Surprisingly, of the 40-odd sound-files that I had to transcribe, TOTGA and Zero only put in a very minimal appearance or two but we haven’t seen anything of Castor for a while and that is depressing me.

But anyway, all I need to do now is to find an hour or two over the weekend and update the relevant journal entries.

We had the usual breaks during the course of the day, a coffee or a hot blackcurrant here and there, a slice of my wonderful, delicious coffee cake and then lunch of course.

Another couple of things that I needed to do was to telephone the doctor about another appointment. I need more Aranesp for my fortnightly injections.

And then I had to write out a recipe. A while ago I’d promised my friend in Munich a copy of my vegan pie recipe but I had kept on forgetting. But the photo of my pie the other day reminded me.

low loader place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There was a lot of noise going on outside during the afternoon, heavy machinery and so on, so I wondered what I was going to see when I went outside.

Right outside my front door was an articulated tractor unit with a low-loader trailer attached thereto. And running around the area was a large tractor-type JCB thing with a pair of fork loaders on the front.

What was strange about this, and I didn’t notice until afterwards otherwise I would have taken a photo of it, was that the driver of the JCB thing was a young woman.

That is surely the first time that I have ever seen someone of the female sex driving a machine like that.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And so as usual I wandered off down to the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

The tide was well in now so there wasn’t much beach to be on. But nevertheless there were plenty of people down there wandering around or sitting on the rocks as you can see at the bottom of the photo.

There was even a young girl down there in pink wellingtons actually going out into the water and that was rather courageous of her. I can’t see what she and, presumably, her father were doing down there. They had no equipment for the pèche à pied and in any case the tide is too far up for that.

buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Every now and again we notice a certain type of yellow buoy out there in the bay in between Granville and St Martin.

Today we have another one of them, and I wish that I knew what it was doing and what was its significance. It’s not a mooring buoy and it doesn’t look like a typical lobster pot marker buoy to me.

There were several seagulls flying around it and so I was wondering whether we might be in for a romantic love story. After all, the ocean is the place where buoy meets gull.

Yes, I’ll get my coat.

sea pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As usual I also had a good look around out at sea to see what was happening there.

Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the different layers of water that coexist side-by-side in the bay and the mystery that it causes.

What we have here today is a kind-of ripple effect in the water. The last time that I saw something like this was POINT PELÉE, the southernmost point of mainland Canada when I was there with Katherine in 2010.

What was happening there was that we had a river flow heading to the east and a wind-blown flow heading west. However here today, just for a change there wasn’t anything like enough wind for a similar phenomenon today.

There were crowds of people milling around this afternoon as you might have seen in some of the previous photos. It was a nice day and it had certainly brought out the crowds.

The storm and the waves had subsided considerably since yesterday but coming into the Baie de Mont St Michel every now and again were some very heavy rollers. You saw a couple of them breaking on the harbour wall in the photos right at the beginning.

courrier des iles chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022In the chantier naval we have a new occupier over at the back of the yard. She’s Courrier des Iles, one of the charter hire boats that operate out of the port.

Not that I know too much about the operation of the smaller boats that ply for hire but the larger ones certainly have to have an annual inspection before they can carry fare-paying passengers and so if that’s the case with her, she’s probably having an overhaul to prepare her for the forthcoming season.

Meanwhile, over on the other side of the yard, Tiberiade, Le Roc à le Mauve III and the two yachts are still in there receiving attention.

cable laying rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022At the rear of the apartment I found out what was going on with all of this machinery.

They are laying some cable in the underground conduit and although you can’t see it in this photo, the cable reel is whizzing around. It’s on a stand of course, and there is someone somewhere else in the neighbourhood pulling on the end of the cable to whizz it through the conduit.

Back here I had a coffee and came back in here to carry on with the dictaphone notes and eventually I finished them

Tea tonight was a vegan burger with pasta and veg in tomato sauce and it was quite a delicious, if quick tea.

So now I’m off to bed. I’m going shopping tomorrow so I need to be fit. I don’t need much but we shall see what the shops come up with.

Friday 4th February 2022 – OHH LOOK …

royal belgian air force airbus A400m-10 BAF676 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… at what flew past over my head while I was out for my afternoon walkies

Never mind your “stealth bomber” or “whisper jet”, this was making enough of an indescribable racket that would have awoken the dead down here, even though it was flying overhead at 33,975 feet. I’d forgotten what these things sounded like, having been away from Evere in Belgium in all this time.

For it’s a Belgian Airforce Airbus A400M-180 four-engined turbo-prop, registration number CT-04 coming from “an unreported departure point” flying to Brussels.

And don’t worry – they’ll hear it coming from a long way off. I did, and I hadn’t a clue what it was at first until I saw it but I’m sure that they will know.

Lufthansa LH498/DLH498 Boeing 747-830 D-ABYG pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022This however was much more easy to identify and I’m surprised at how quiet it was. But then, anything would be quiet next to the Airbus.

And it was next to the Airbus too. They crossed flight paths a few minutes after I’d taken the first photo and she came streaking my way.

She’s D-ABYG, a Boeing 747-830 belonging to Lufthansa and known as Baden-Württemberg – build n°1470 and delivered in 2013. One of the 16 still in the air of the 19 747-8s that they own.

She’s flying flight LH498/DLH498 from Frankfurt am Main to Mexico City

Seeing her made me go quite broody because it’s been ALMOST TEN YEARS since I last flew on a Jumbo Jet, when I had my famous little jaunt to Montréal via Schiphol.

It’s been 30 months since I last set foot in Montréal and while Montréal might appreciate the rest from my presence, I’m missing it and that’s part of my problem, I reckon. Montréal has always been my spiritual home.

And I wish that I’d been there today because I haven’t had a very good day at all here yet again.

The night was nothing like as good as last night but then that’s no real surprise because the idea that lightning would strike twice in the same place on consecutive days was far too much to hope for.

And I fell asleep after the first alarm went off and almost failed to beat the second one. And that would have been a tragedy.

After the meds and checking (some of) my mails and messages I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. I was in Virlet last night, Les Guis, in my bedroom doing something that was using a lot of electricity. It was time to go to bed so I switched everything off and went outside onto the landing but none of the lights would work. I wondered if I’d cut off the electricity for some reason out there so that I couldn’t see anything out there. Then I noticed that the warning light was red rather than amber. I thought “I can’t have used that much electricity during the day, surely?”. Having had a listen I could hear something whirring in the background. it was the fridge that had been left on for some reason instead of working off the overcharge circuit that was at the farm. I had to change all of the plugs around on there but it was really difficult to do it in the dark and the uncertain floorboards and everything else that was there before I’d put the floor down and the walls in etc. I thought that this was a really silly thing to do, trailing all my electric like that.

And later, I was in the middle of doing something or other when I stopped to go and have coffee. I don’t know where I was, whether I was at school or something, but there were loads of people whom I knew from all through my life. I went downstairs to get this coffee, ddging a lot of people whom I didn’t want to see at that moment. By the coffee stand with a teddy bear was the nice girl from THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR“Yuliya” – ed. The coffee had been spilt all over the floor and everyone was mopping it up and was telling everyone to be careful. I made some remark about “you must have done this” to this girl. She replied “there you go, blaming me again”. I had a coffee. There was a little girl behind me, like a new-starter schoolgirl or something. She had a coffee and was really surprised to find that it was free. What I was doing before I went for the coffee I really can’t remember now. I can’t remember a thing.

There was also something about one of these big shopping centres like the Desjardins Centre in Montréal (yes, Montréal, and I wonder if that was what started me off being broody) but I can’t remember what it was.

Finally I was with a friend last night. He’d been working on a house and I’d gone round to see him. There were all kinds of animals there including a couple of kittens. I was playing with one of the kittens and said to the girl whose house it was “would you miss this one if it went?”. She told me that it was only 14 days old so I replied “maybe we ought to wait a while”. While I was looking around I had a kind of grip thing with some clothes in and one of her cats had climbed into there and gone to sleep. He had been doing some work and he had a pile of bricks, a pile of slates and tiles etc stacked on the floor in the attic of this house. I thought “this isn’t a very good idea because all the weight of that on these beams is going to break the beams if he’s not careful. He was telling me that his wife was back in the UK . There were things going on at the school where all the kids went, how they had moved school. She’d been roped in to do some work about which he wasn’t very happy. He explained that they could go to a place called Beaumont’s where they would have shoes for peanuts and maybe make some money at it. Later, I was with she. She’d been badly injured in something and was covered in plaster. I was as well. She wanted me to do something with this car. There was a car there from the 1930s. That was all covered in plaster as well. I had to help her into it, which wasn’t easy considering how I was. There were tools and everything all over the driver’s seat and the driver’s footwell so I started to move them. She asked me what I was doing. I replied “I can’t possibly drive this car with all of this stuff in the footwell here”. She replied “but if you put it all on the back seat, everyone will see it”. I answered “we can always put it back afterwards. I’ll stay with the car”. Then she wondered why I was going to drive it anyway. I replied “I thought that that was the plan now that you were in it” but she didn’t seem to think that it was. I was really puzzled about what was going to happen so in the end I sat in the driver’s seat which was on the right-hand side of course because this was a British car and told her to tell me when it was clear to pull out. I started to go and she started to panic but this cyclist coming was miles away. There was a police car coming down the hill so I thought that we’d best let the police car go out of sight before we set off. But with me being in plaster etc trying to move this car was a nightmare. There was no power steering, no anything and I was having to maul this round with my hands but I had no power in my arms because of where I’d been injured etc.

Much of the rest of the day has been spent going through the sound files and extracting the bits that I want to include in my broadcast. I’m about half-way through and I would have done much more than that had I not falled asleep after lunch.

And fallen asleep definitively too. For all of 90 minutes. Totally painless. I even went off on a voyage in the middle of it all. There was a long story, most of which I’ve forgotten. I ended up wit a young boy who was distilling something using heat, threading a bottle and pipe through an old resistance element of a 1960s electric cooker. He was adding to it some kind of solution that looked like very thick strong coffee except that it was supposed to be extremely alcoholic. he was gradually feeding this in but there were times when the heat was making his main liquid boil up so it was on the verge of overflowing so he had to turn down the heat. This meant that the dark brown liquid was blowing backwards out onto a tray but he didn’t realise any of this. When I went in there I saw this tray with a fair amount of this black alcoholic liquid so I went to pour it back into his container so that it would percolate back into the main mix that he was heating. For some unknown reason he became quite annoyed about my idea of doing this and made quite a little scene about it

Luckily, because I thought that at one time it would be debatable, I awoke in time for me to go out for my afternoon walk where I encountered those two aeroplanes.

people on beach medieval fish trap rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022First of all I went off for a good look down on the beach and the medieval fish trap.

Plenty of beach again of course, and there were once more plenty of people down there making the most of it.

You probably noticed the bright, clear blue sky that we were having while I was out. It really was a gorgeous day, even if the wind had sprung up somewhat and that probably explains all of the people down there this afternoon.

Very few people up here on the path though. The good weather hadn’t brought them this far out.

marker buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Mind you, it was really windy out there this afternoon, especially up here on the headland.

It was such that I was really having difficulty holding the camera still. That explains why the photo of the marker buoys just offshore is rather more blurred than I would have liked.

Nothing else of any excitement going on anywhere else. The chantier naval was as it was yesterday, the freight was still on the quayside but the cherry picker that we saw yesterday behind my building has cleared off somewhere else.

Consequently I was home quite quickly for my afternoon coffee.

Tea tonight was a falafel burger that I found in the fridge, with pasta and veg. Nothing special, but it was quite nice all the same.

Liz as on line later so we had quite a chat, the first time for what seemed like years. I’ve heard nothing from her for ages, even though she’s been here and there and around and about on my nocturnal rambles.

No shops tomorrow as I’m off to leuven on Wednesday. I’ll nip into town nevertheless for mushrooms and things like that but there won’t be much.

And with having had none of my favourite companions out with me during the night for a few days, they ought to be recovered from the previous exertions and raring to go.

So who will it be tonight? Castor? TOTGA? Zero? Or some other member of my family?

Sunday 30th January 2022 – NORMAL SERVICE …

f-giki Robin DR.400-120 Dauphin 2+2, chassis number 1931 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… has resumed, at long last.

While I was out for my afternoon walk today I was overflown by an aeroplane from the airfield down the coast.

Well, not exactly overflown because it was way, way out in the bay and I had to do quite a bit of manipulation … “PERSONimpulation” – ed … in order to work out who she was.

She is in fact F-GIKI, one of the Robin DR400s owned by the local aero-club and, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s the first aeroplane that we have seen at close quarters since I can’t remember when.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It’s also been an absolute age since we’ve seen a pleasure boat out at sea too.

And today, out in the Baie de Granville, there’s a yacht threading its way out towards the Ile de Chausey.

Under diesel power too by the look of things. She’s creating a wake so she’s obviously moving, but her sails have not been unfurled so it’s not the wind that’s pushing her along.

At this kind of distance I can’t see who she is, but I can say that she isn’t Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which we went down the Brittany coast 18 months ago. Her skipper was sitting on the wall outside the building and we actually had a good chat as I set off for my walk this afternoon.

cabanon vauban people on bench rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Normal service has also been resumed down by the cabanon vauban too.

After a period of absence, we now have some people back sitting on the bench down there, as well as someone sitting on the rocks out at the very end of the headland.

It looks as if people are resurrecting their old habits, despite the rapidly-mounting infection and death toll. It seems to me very much as if people have given up the fight against Covid, and that’s a catastrophe. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, i’ve been told to my face that it I catch it, I’m a goner.

In fact, this morning, I felt like a goner too.

Or maybe I should say “this afternoon” because it was 12:15 when I arose from the dead. And that’s despite going to bed as early as 01:00 too.

And the sore throat is back, so is the cold, so is the inertia, so is absolutely everything. And I’m glad that I paired off the music yesterday because I wouldn’t have been able to do it today.

After lunch, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. People were being interviewed about the effect of the Covid pandemic on their lives. Most people were saying that they were treating it as something that had become normal. There was only one girl who thought that it was something completely special that had changed her life and done things differently because of it. She was standing on the harbour bridge when they were lowering a boat into the water about 30 or 30 feet below where she was standing. Once the boat hit the water she jumped in too and had a greatbig splash across the harbour, swam to the boat and climbed in

Later on there was something to do with a kite that was flying around the Pointe du Roc. He hadn’t made it go very high but there was still a crowd of people there watching him and seeing what he was doing with it.

So no Zero, no TOTGA, no Castor and (thankfully) no family either. All in all, it was rather quiet during the night. I wonder what went wrong.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022That led me up to my afternoon walk.

This afternoon was a really beautiful day, just like mid-April in fact. And while there wasn’t much beach down there, the way that the tide is right now, there were still crowds of people down there making the most of whatever beach there was.

There were crowds of people loitering around up here on top too. The path was packed with folk this afternoon.

Among the people out and about was Pierre, the skipper of Spirit of Conrad. He was sitting on a wall with a couple of other people having a good chat. I joined in and the discussion turned to Greenland and we did our best to try to persuade him to run an expedition out there one of these days.

f-giki Robin DR.400-120 Dauphin 2+2, chassis number 1931 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022A little earlier, we’d seen F-GIKI setting out on a flight out into the baie de Granville.

What I would usually do is to check the flight logs and radar plots to see where she was going but I didn’t bother in this case because a couple of minutes later she was back. “Forgotten to switch off the water” I mused.

A few minutes later, another aeroplane flew back again out to sea only this time I was far too far away to take a good shot of it to see if it was F-GIKI going back out again. I was around the other side of the headland.

marker buoys baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But before that, my attention had been caught by a variety of objects out there in the bay.

Closer examination revealed them to be marker buoys of the type that fishermen use when they had sunk some lobster pots or have some kind of net out. We don’t usually see them as close as this to shore.

And have you ever seen a lobster pot? How on earth do you train a lobster to use one of those?

On that note I carried on with my little walk around the headland, across the car park and down to the end of the headland where I saw the people sitting on the bench and on the rocks.

speedboat yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There was yet more action out there, and this is probably what has attracted the attention of the people sitting down there at the end of the headland.

There’s a yacht out there having a little perambulation, and as I watched, a speedboat came roaring by as if, as they say around here, il a le feu dans ses fesses – “he has a fire up his … errr … posterior”.

Anyway I wasn’t going to stay around to see what he was doing, I wandered off back home. There wasn’t anything else of any excitement going on, as if I haven’t already had enough for one day.

Immediately after lunch I’d taken the final lump of pizza dough from the freezer and that had been sitting defrosting all afternoon.

Back here I gave it a really good kneading, rolled it out with my new rolling pin (which is excellent, by the way) and put it on the pizza tray so that it might raise itself from the dead too.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022When it was ready I assembled my pizza (forgetting the peppers, by the way) and then shoved it in the oven .

And I do have to say that this was one of the very best ever pizzas that I have ever made. I was well-impressed with this one. Everything about it was perfect.

While I was waiting for it to do its stuff I was occupied doing something that you will never believe. And neither do I, as it happens. But I actually did some tidying up in the bedroom. And that’s not “normal service” by any means, is it?

Not a lot of tidying up, it has to be said, so there’s no need for you to worry. But nevertheless for a Sunday too, that’s really quite extraordinary. There are even places where I can see the floor in here.

But right now I’m going to see my bed. There’s an 06:00 start on a Monday so that I have plenty of time to prepare my radio programme. And there’s plenty of other stuff too, if I could only organise myself (which is a thankless task these days, I know) and a trip to see the physiotherapist.

Another thing that I need to do is to book my travel to Leuven. It’s not long now before I need to leave for my next appointment and I can’t keep on leaving things until the last minute like I usually do. I have to be much better organised than I am.

But not right now. I’m off to bed.

Saturday 1st January 2022 – HAPPY NEW YEAR

Here’s hoping that 2022 will be a far better year than 2021. Although today’s figure of almost 220,000 infections seems to suggest that the worst is yet to come.

people pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It’s this kind of thing that’s responsible for the incredible rate of increase in infections.

Having seen the swarms of people at the station 2 weeks ago ready to bring the virus out to the provinces and the seaside resorts, seeing people congregating like this without any kind of facemask or protection whatever will spread it like widfire.

The figures of infections and the rising numbers of deaths is well in the public domain and I really don’t know what it will take for people to grasp the seriousness of the situation.

But I console myself with the idea that if they don’t want to wear a mask, then nature will take care of them, as it usually does.

It didn’t take much care of me last night though.

It was about 03:00 when I finally went to bed. And it was about the first year since I don’t know when when I haven’t been out for a prowl around the town at midnight. I’m really not “with it” at all right now.

11:00 was a pretty good time to raise myself from the dead on a Bank Holiday despite the fact that I had been awake on numerous occasions during the night. That much is evident by the amount of voyages that I undertook during the night. I started off at a rugby match at a girls’ school and there were loads of girls there, like a couple whom I know from here and there and there was one who immediately sprang to my mind. They were playing rugby against another school. I had some of them sitting beside me and the rest were out on the field, swapping over now and again as you do. The one in particular who was in a really nice cape to keep warm who really caught my eye about all this.

And later we were back again for the third time (what happened to the second time?) with these girls and all my favourite girls were they. Saying that what an effective fighting force they would make and they would worry most men if they started getting going

Later still I was in Leclerc again shopping and all of the girls from somewhere that I couldn’t decipher were walking down the corridor behind where all of the tills are. So fancy meeting them again, and I wish that I could work out where they were from!

Meanwhile TOTGA was having problems and her car was being repossessed, a dark blue Austin 1100 and so were her other cars, including the Vanden Plas Princes that I used to own (which I still do in real life of course). She was distraught. We’d been to a dance of some sort, a group of us. There had been a flare somewhere so she and everyone else dashed out to their cars to go to help out at this fire. She ended up with her car on fire but she was still driving. An ambulance had taken a short cut, come out of a side road into the main road and hit her. It wasn’t badly damaged so the ambulance sped on its way but TOTGA ended up going to the wrong house and fighting the wrong fire. Later on we were all in a night club and she wanted to plug in some electric but all the plugs were wrong. In the end she brought an adaptor. She said that other people had used this adaptor to plug whatever it was into the mains but it was totally the wrong type. She said that what they did was to hold it against the contacts in the wall. I tried that but I had blue sparks and shocks everywhere so she agreed that it wasn’t a good idea. However it fused all of the power in the power circuit, not the light circuit. The disco ground to a halt so I thought that we had better go as this will cause a load of problems in a moment. We went outside and she came out a little later carrying a fuel can that was on fire. I shouted “put it down! Put it down!” which eventually she did. She came over and got into her car, this blue 1100. Just as we were about to set off she noticed that coming round the corner was a boy she knew from school. “Oh God! Should I tell him that this car is restored? Shall I tell him … what shall I tell him?”. Just then I let out the clutch and hit the kerb with the car. I thought “Oh God! It’s not my day either, is it?”. Then we drove off.

We eventually ended up in a night club. There was a group of us there with Jools Holland on saxophone and flute etc. I was playing the bass, piano and guitar. However, by now I was with Castor. We were playing the same music and she was full of despair about something. I was trying my best to cheer her up. Then we had to go on the stage – Duke Ellington announced us. It was an old blues number. Sometimes we played it in a contemporary fashion, sometimes we didn’t and I couldn’t remember what kind of fashion we were going to play it in tonight –

We were back on the orphanage (whichever orphanage we were in before, wherever it was) and one of the girls got up to sing and play a musical instrument, the one with glasses. She’d been all wired up to the electricity somehow and cables everywhere but the computer completely spoiled her voice. I was there with Castor. She was very upset about something but I can’t remember. Then the entertainment started. It was another girl singing, again all wired up to the mains and so on. She wasn’t much good and I was thinking “Castor should really be up there singing with all of these”.

Later still I was on my way to Canada on holiday with someone and I had to stop and pick up some money. I pulled up at the bank that I knew. It was just 09:00 and it was opening but there would be a delay as the time lock doesn’t open until 09:10 to take the money out of the safe, which was quite surprising but that’s Canada for you. So I went in. It was a little Asian girl whom I know and she was telling me all about the stresses and strains she was under. I took her in my arms and gave her a hug. We had a bit of a chat and everything but then I had to prepare to leave. There was lots more to this but I can’t remember it because I awoke in the middle of it but it was one of these dreams that I wished would go on for ever.

Next morning it was New Year’s Day and prize-making time so we sent four girls, one of whom was the blonde-haired girl whom I happened to like quite a lot to get the prize ready and everything organised. While I was watching her, one or two of them came up to me for a chat but I can’t remember anything more now about this.

Yes, it was certainly interesting last night. Stepping out of dreams and back into them later, appearances by both TOTGA and Castor, what else would I need? Apart from Kate Bush and Jenny Agutter of course. I just wish that last night could have gone on for ever.

But using the ZOOM H1 while I’m asleep is … errr … challenging, and the recoding quality of the built-in microphone is appalling. I had to make a considerable amount of editing before I could even hear what I had dictated and it took me almost all of the day.

Brunch was very appetising, with my potato fritters, baked beans and vegan sausage followed by toast and mushroom paté with buckets full of hot black coffee. I really enjoyed that today.

There was a pause from my exertions with the dictaphone for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The first place to visit is of course the beach to see what’s happening there.

Although there won’t be very mcuh beach at all, given the state of the tide, I was still expecting to see hordes of people down there today, given what we had seen over the last couple of days.

But I was to be disappointed. It was really quite quiet down there. In fact I couldn’t actually see anyone down there today, which was a great surprise. Not even anyone going up and down the steps to the Rue du Nord.

buoy baie de granville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was looking down onto the beach I was also keeping an eye out in the bay to see what was happening there.

There wasn’t a boat of any description at all down there, but there was something out there that attracted my attention. It’s a yellow buoy of the type which we have seen before and relates, I think, to the yacht club over at Coudeville-Plage. But what it signifies I have no idea at all.

No-one on the beach or on the sea, but there were crowds wandering around mask-less on the path around the headland. So I set off to join them on my way down to the lighthouse at the end of the headland.

yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022So apart from all of the people down there at the end of the headland, what else was going on out there?

No fishing boats this afternoon because they are all still on holiday, but we did have a couple of yachts and what looks like a couple of zodiacs swanning around in the bay. When I was crossing over the car park on my way to the end of the headland I noticed them.

So there are some people out there who are making the most of the nice afternoon. I watched them for a minute or so and then carried on with my walk across the car park to the end of the path.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Earlier on with my notes I mentioned the hordes of people standing on the rocks by the bench at the cabanon vauban.

When I first saw them I wondered what it was that they were watching that had attracted their attention. When I had a good look, I couldn’t see anything particular but I did notice the beautiful sunset.

It was making a nice glossy streak of light all the way across the bay towards where I was standing. It was the kind of view that we see quite often at this time of year and it’s still quite magical even though we have seen it on several occasions.

And leaving it there to set even lower I carried on along the path on the other side of the headland towards home and my hot coffee.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Down at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, Joly France was moored up at the ferry terminal.

She’s the older one of the two, without the step in the stern. The other one is moored up with Belle France and Chausiaise in the inner harbour.

There were plenty of people walking around over there on the harbour wall too this afternoon and again, from what I can see, there were no facemasks over there either. I wonder what I’ll do when I find people wearing facemasks … “Find something else to moan about, I shouldn’t wonder” – ed.

sunset baie de mont st michel cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back home I had a look over my shoulder to see what was happening behind me.

Although the sunset streaming through the clouds was nothing like as impressive as it has been just recently, it was illuminating the Brittany coast and in particular the town of Cancale like something out of a film set.

Back at the apartment I had the coffee that was waiting for me, along with a mince pie (I still have a couple left) and then carried on with my dictaphone notes.

Tea tonight was another Christmas dinner with all kinds of steamed veg, roast potatoes and seitan slices. And so tomorrow there will be more leeks and sprouts to freeze, although where I’m going to put them is something else completely. There isn’t even half an inch of room.

But that’s for tomorrow. Right now, late as it is, I’m off to bed. It’s Sunday tomorrow so I can have yet another lie in.

Sunday 5th December 2021 – AFTER THIS MORNING’S …

laurent comité de jumelage cerences bere regis Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… exertions, I was glad actually to come back home and sit down.

And for a change, when the alarm went off this morning at 09:30 (and isn’t that early for a Sunday morning?) I was already up and about. A quick tidy-up and a play with my equipment to make sure that it was all in working order and I was ready to go.

And while I was at it, I worked out (quite by accident too) how to switch the recording from 2-track stereo to two mono tracks. And I’m a lot happier now I know how to do that.

Laurent turned up on time and we set off for Cérences, stopping to put fuel in Laurent’s car. It was my turn to pay because, after all, he’s been driving me around on these interviews for quite a few times now.

laurent comité de jumelage cerences bere regis Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021The interview was rather a disappointment.

My understanding was that we were to interview the President of this twinning committee and so it would be somewhere quiet and secluded. However it turned out that the whole committee was there and the interview took place in the middle of a Christmas Fair.

There was nowhere to bolt the pivoting mike stand so the committee ended up passing “their” microphone from hand to hand, with all of the pops and crackles that that entailed.

But at least they were content to see us, which is more than most people have been with this radio project on which we are working and I might be able to salvage something out of it.

But all of this is a learning curve for me and it’s only by making mistakes and learning how to rectify them that I’m going to make progress.

On the way home Laurent took me on a little drive to show me a few places of his childhood and then back here I made lunch although I needn’t have done so as I hadn’t realised that the clock on his car wasn’t changed at the end of October and it was earlier than I thought.

After lunch I prepared the dough for my loaf of bread for this week, and also a fruit loaf for breakfast. Yes, a fruit loaf, not fruit buns, and that’s because my oven is too small to make fruit buns at the same time that I’m baking bread. I wish that I had a larger oven.

people beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Later on it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

As usual I wandered over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down there this afternoon. And to my surprise there was actually someone down on the beach.

That was a surprise because the weather wasn’t nice at all. It had been quite miserable this morning, brightening up a little while we were on our way home but it had soon clouded over again.

buoy on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And it wasn’t just people who were down on the beach either.

It looks as if Storm Arwen that paid us a visit last weekend has left us a little present. Down there on the beach below is what looks like a marker buoy off a mooring chain

Somewhere around here in some local port will be someone now fishing in vain with his boathook for the mooring chains.

These are sunk in most harbours and regular readers of this rubbish will have seen them in Granville. They run along the bottom of the port, indicated with the red buoys. You fish for the chain with your boat hook, tie your boat to it and drop the chain back into the water.

rainstorm ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021One look at the weather told me that I wasn’t going to stay out here long.

There was a rainstorm cascading down out there in the bay somewhere around the Ile de Chausey. Although it wasn’t as big or heavy a rainstorm that we have had just recently, it would still be wet and the wind was blowing it in my direction.

“This isn’t the time to be hanging around” I told myself, and headed off down the path towards the lighthouse, in the hope that I could complete the circuit and be back home with my mug of hot coffee before it arrived.

brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There were only a couple of people out there this afternoon and that was a shame because once again we were having some interesting light effects.

The cloud cover only seemed to extend as far as the other side of the baie de Mont St Michel and the brittany coast down towards Cap Fréhel was basking in gorgeous sunshine by the looks of things.

Had I not been in a rush to return home I would have gone to stand on my bunker and taken a photo all the way down the coast because the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel was visible with the naked eye yet again this afternoon.

brittany coast cancale Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021But instead, I made do with a photo of the Brittany coast over at Cancale.

The weird clouds and lighting effects were silhouetting the skyline of the town on top of the cliffs over there and it was quite impressive.

It’s a shame though that there was only me out there now enjoying it. Everyone else had gone and there was no-one out there sitting on the bench down below.

And with no boats or anything out at sea this afternoon I carried on down the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the port.

tractor trailer fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There was nothing whatever going on in the port this afternoon.

There weren’t any boats moored up at the ferry terminal this afternoon and nothing – not even L’Omerta – moored at the fish processing plant.

The tractor and trailer that handle the loads brought in by some of the smaller boats were down there this afternoon so presumably there are some boats out at sea and which will be coming home on the evening tide.

And with nothing else worthy of note I cleared off home and my coffee before the rain arrived.

Later on I bunged my bread into the oven and let it do its work.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And while it was working I was busy rolling out the dough for the pizza and putting it in the tray to rise.

When it was ready I assembled the pizza and as soon as the bread finished I took it out and the pizza went in. And when it came out, it was delicious too. I think that I have the hang of making pizza now.

And so I should after all of the times that I’ve been baking them. But if I were to have a better oven they would be better still. But that isn’t likely to happen any time soon, if at all.

Eventually I managed to find the time to transcribe the dictaphone notes. At the beginning it was to do with the radio station. We were having to organise some songs but I wasn’t sure about what kind of songs and how many to organise so I was going through other people’s entries on the Social Media page looking for examples that had been suggested by other people at other times. There was one in particular but the guy who had sung it felt himself and made him feel silly but I can’t remember very much more about this.

Later on I was at a holiday camp last night and had Zero with me. There had been a lot going on so I decided in the morning that I’d go back to bed and have a couple of hours sleep. She went off to play somewhere. A woman came along just as I was waking up, sitting there talking to me, telling me about Zero, everything like that. I went to dress but I couldn’t find any of my clothes. There were some clothes lying around belonging to someone else so I put them on. I made a joke that I’d put on my underpants inside-out. Also in an unconnected incident I’d broken my pencil so the joke was going around that I’d put on my underpants inside-out and broken my pencil as a consequence. There was a lot more to it than this but I can’t remember, and a lot more that I can but as you are eating your lunch you don’t want to be reading about it.

Finally I was staying at a strange boarding house with a girl who was a cross between a girl I know in Swindon and another one I know in Scotland. We had separate rooms of course. We were up until fairly late that night then went to bed and arranged to meet next morning. When I awoke it was something like 09:25. I thought “breakfast will be over in a minute so even though I’d switched on the computer and switched on everything and went outside to use the bathroom. I found that thr bathroom was actually a glass cubicle stuck on the end of the house. Everyone could see what you were doing. There were lace curtains at the side but they kept on coming undone. When you finished what you were doing there was no toilet paper, just a pile of old clothes and you had to tear off a bit. I started to do that but there was another couple inside there, from Clacton in Essex. They were talking away. I thought “this is the strangest situation that I’ve ever been in. I could see the girl who was with me. She was down on the lawn sunbathing, talking to it looked as if it was the woman who owned the place. I thought “I’d better get a move on otherwise breakfast will have finished”. I couldn’t seem to tear off a suitable piece of this old clothing to use and ended up with miles of it. Trying to do it in this glass cubicle where these curtains kept coming undone and everyone could see inside was not really very comfortable. In the end I stuffed a large piece of the cloth into my trouser pocket, dressed and went outside with the aim that I can go and arrange myself properly somewhere more quiet and more convenient than this.

And now that everything is done and finished, I’m off to bed. It’s an early start in the morning as I have to radio programmes to prepare. But at least I’ve done a lot of the work already so it shouldn’t take too long.

And isn’t that the Kiss of Death?

Tuesday 31st August 2021 – THIS WAS ANOTHER …

… day that is best forgotten, as far as I’m concerned. It’s not been good at all.

When the alarm went off I managed to crawl from my bed and take my medicine, and then I had things to do.

The first thing that I needed to do was to bake some bread as I have now run out.

500 grammes of wholemeal cereal flour and a couple of handful of sunflower seeds produces a really nice loaf and using the technique that Liz showed me the other day when she came round, it produces a nice textured dough.

Once it was all kneaded together I left it to proof for a while and came back in here to check my mails and messages.

Meanwhile, according to the dictaphone, There had been a kind of “ping” when I was in bed during the night. Nerina panicked a bit and said something. I looked round and all the electricity was out. It looked as if we’d blown a fuse so I got up, went downstairs and reset the fuse. I came back upstairs and it was already 06:25 so there was no point going back to bed at that time. I decided that I may as well get up.
There was also something somewhere that I was down Middlewich Road somewhere where the Rising Sun used to be. I was with someone and it was a story about a motor bike. Someone had passed their driving test on a motorbike but they had left ot somewhere so we had to go and pick it up. It might have been Liz Ayers who was with me. We found the motorbike and I asked whoever it was with me if she wanted to ride it. She said “yes” so I got on the back, she got on the front and we rode off towards Willaston on it. When we arrived there this person had turned into a little girl wearing a kind-of party dress or bridesmaid’s dress or something. We were walking hand-in-hand down Crewe Road. We came to the turn-off down to Willaston but it was nothing like what the turning was like, but it was all blocked off. They were saying “you have to go down 2nd Avenue and I had no idea where 2nd Avenue was. I was going to go down Coppice Road. There was an interesting alley on our right so I took this girl down there to explore it but we found that it was just taking us back to where we’d been so we turned round and went back. In the meantime there were several other little girls who were all dressed in a similar kind of clothing, bridesmaid or 1st communion or something like that.

After I’d given the bread a second kneading and put it in the mould I came back to look through my Welsh coursework for today but just then Rosemary rang me up for a chat about a problem that she had, which I had to cut short (after about half an hour!) because it was time to go to class.

While I was making my coffee and sorting out my fruit-bread I switched on the oven and then when it was warm I put the bread in.

Just four of us at the Welsh lesson today – well, it is the summer break – and the time passed quite quickly.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomewhere near the end of the lesson the oven switched itself off so once the lesson had finished I went to rescue the bread.

And it looks quite good too. I’m quite pleased with this, especially when I tried a couple of slices for lunch. One of my better loaves of bread, this is.

After my lunch I came back in here to start work but instead I drifted off once again into the Land of Nod and I’m going to have to stop doing this. It’s not doing me any good at all and I have far too much work to be doing right now.

But anyway, I digress … “again” – ed.

people swimming in sea rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor my afternoon walk, once again I strolled across the car park to go and have a look over the wall and down onto the beach.

The tide is now even further in and there is even less beach to be on, but that clearly hasn’t bothered some of the people down there because, much to my surprise, there were some people actually in the water.

Not actually swimming, but being up to their shoulders in the water counts as much as anything else does. And for that they deserve a medal because the weather has certainly turned today and it seems that autumn is only just around the corner.

It’s the usual procedure while I’m here to have a look out to sea to see what I could see but I couldn’t even see a seagull this afternoon. There wasn’t a single thing happening out at sea so I set off along the path on the top of the cliffs taking care not to fall over again.

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOut in the distance at sea there was a rainstorm brewing and the Ile de Chausey was pretty much obscured by clouds, as the old song goes.

But there was something moving right out there, just about to disappear itno the rainstorm. Something rather large so I photographed it for further examination when I returned home.

As it happens, I wasn’t much further forward after I’d enlarged and enhanced the photo. My best guess is that it’s one of the Joly France ferries going out there to bring home the day trippers and holidaymakers who are still out there. But which one, I really don’t know..

From what I could see, there is no step in the stern so it may well be the older Joly France boat.

men fishing from rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallPushing on across the car park I went down to the end of the headland to see what was happening down there.

There may well have been no fishermen out at sea this afternoon but there were several people fishing from the rocks today. These two guys were fishing together so I stood and watched them for a while as they sorted themselves out.

Not of course that they actually caught anything while I was watching, and even had they done so, they didn’t seem to have a net to haul in their catch, or a bucket in which to keep it.

people sitting on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey weren’t the only people down there right at the end of the headland either.

Sitting on the bench at the end of the headland was this couple having a little relax.

And the old stone building behind them is one about which we have talked on many occasions. It’s one of the sentry boxes to give shelter to the Customs men while they were keeping an eye on traffic in the bay.

Back in the 18th and 19th Century the Channel Islands were a smuggler’s paradise and boats would regularly run the gauntlet in order to bring contraband into France. Hence the Customs men had these little cabins dotted all around the bay here, and handy semaphores that they used to send messages.

flotsam on beach pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was looking around at the headland, I noticed this pile of flotsam and jetsam on the beach.

It would be very doubtful if the sacks and their contents had been washed up by the tide – I don’t think that even the power of the tides around here would be strong enough to move them about, but it’s very likely that the couple of buoys have come in with the tide.

As for the two buoys, the white one would seem to be a lobster pot marker or similar, whereas the yellow one is the same colour as the buoys that are used to mark out the patrolled areas of the beaches.

belle france joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, I trudged on along the path round to the viewpoint from where I could see over the port.

And at least I ca tell you who it wasn’t who we saw out at sea just now. Over there, parked up at the ferry terminal is Belle France, the very newest of the ferries. Behind her is another one of the Joly France but unfortunately I can’t see which one she is.

While I was there I had a look at the chantier naval to see what was happening there but there was no change in any of the occupants today so I left them alone and carried on with my walk around the path.

chausiase galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s someone else who it was’t as well. Chausiaise, the little Chausey freighter, is down there moored to the quayside.

Behind her is the Galeon Andalucia and I’m not sure what’s happening with her because everyone, including the owners whom I contacted, told me that she should have sailed by now.

By now, my coffee was calling me so I headed back for home and a nice hot drink. And to draw up a couple of floor plans with a computer design programme for a project that I have in mind right now.

Another thing that I did was to try to write up some of the arrears from the other day but regrettably I fell asleep yet again and I can do without all of this.

As a result I was late for tea. Taco rolls yet again with the leftover stuffing from yesterday lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans. And while it was all a-doing I sorted out the freezer and tidied it up a little to make a little bit more space.

Once tea was over, I came back into the office just in time to catch the start of Y Drenewydd v Cefn Druids.

Y Drenewydd is a comfortable mid-table side but the Druids are quite frankly wretched. They were miles off the pace last season and during the summser a few of their better players departed for pastures new leaving their new manager to assemble rather hastily a scratch side of cast-offs and hopefuls.

They were swept aside in their opening couple of games this season and this match was no exception. At half-time the score was already 3-0 and Y Drenewydd could have had half a dozen more too.

At the start of the second half Naill McGuiness made a couple of substitutions and his team had a far better shape and even managed a shot on target. However, later in the game Chris Hughes took off a defender and a midfielder (something he should have done much earlier) and put on two extra attackers who simply overwhelmed the defence.

The 5-0 victory in the end was a lucky defeat for the Druids. They could have conceded a dozen and not had any cause to complain.

But here’s a question – what is Lifumpa Mwandwe doing playing in the Welsh Premier League? He was the best player on the field by a country mile and way above the class of everyone else on the field.

But right now, I’m off to bed. I’ve had another bad day today and I don’t need any more.

Tuesday 1st June 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… really horrible day today, which will come as no surprise to anyone at all.

It’s always the same – the day after I return from Leuven I always have a day like this, which is why I always try to come home on a Saturday – so that I can take advantage of a Sunday and stay in bed. When I have to get up early in the morning it’s bound to back fire.

And so it did today. With my Welsh lesson this morning I had to haul myself out of bed at 06:00 as usual, and I managed that without any problems. After the medication, of which there is more than enough these days, I came in and sorted out a few bits and pieces that needed to be done.

Finally I could sit down and start to revise my Welsh. And I got as far as the first few pages of my notebook and that was that. Flat out on the chair, and until 09:40 as well. I must have been out for a couple of hours.

First thing after coming round was to have a shower. Nice clean clothes and properly refreshed after all of that, I could sit down and study – as much as I could in the time allowed because there wasn’t much time left.

Soon enough – far too soon in my opinions – I knocked off and went to make myself some hot chocolate – real hot chocolate made with real chocolate as usual, and armed with this and a slice of that cake that I bought from LIDL at Christmas, I went for my lesson.

It was a strange lesson. We have our exam next Wednesday – mine is at 16:00 – and so while it was officially a week off for school half-term, we had a special lesson which was in effect to work our way through 2 past question papers and then we each had a mock examination. Mine went rather flat as I forgot two tenses and also didn’t understand one word that our tutor used.

It’s an oral examination done on Zoom with four parts to the paper and we need 50% in each section to pass. And despite my faltering here and there, our tutor told us that we would all have passed quite easily.

For lunch I finished off yesterday’s sandwiches and then went off to the shops. With having been away for so long, whatever fruit was left had gone off and there wasn’t much of anything at all left.

At LIDL I spent a lot of money, mainly on all different kinds of fruit, and then at LeClerc it was another expensive do, mainly due to having to buy some more coffee. Not that I’m running low on supplies but whenever I do, I never have any handy and I never seem to be able to find the type that I like.

Back here I put away the frozen food and then went out for my afternoon walk. Mustn’t forget that.

workmen building compound place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw the builders’ compound across the road that had sprung up like a mushroom while I’d been away.

This afternoon when I went outside they were actually working there. There was a digger working there taking a pile of earth and sand out of the store of earth that they had in a container and tipping it into the load bed of the dumper, presumably to disappear off into the bowels of the medieval city to fill in whatever hole they have dug.

There is quite a lot of rubble and earth and sand in that container there so it must have been quite a hole or trench that they have dug. I might go for a walk out that way tomorrow to see what they have been up to.

people on beach rue du nord swimming buoys plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallit was the habit before I went off to Leuven for me to go over to the end of the car park and look over the wall down onto the beach by the Rue du Nord to see what is going on down there.

As you might expect, there were several people down on the beach. Not as many as I was expecting because the temperature was 24°C this afternoon, really warm, and hardly a breath of wind. How the weather has changed since I went off to Leuven.

With weather like this, I would have expected to have seen crowds of people down there this afternoon.

Also in the distance you can see the row of yellow buoys. They mark the edge of the patrolled beach of the Plat Gousset. It looks as if they have reassembled all of the necessary summer season items like the diving platform and all of that, ready for the arrival of the grockles.

fishermen zodiac speedboat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing of which we have seen plenty of in the past is all of the fishermen who hang around either on the rocks or in boats just off the cliffs out at sea.

Today, we have a pile of fishermen out there in boats. I had noticed that there were two guys in that zodiac just there. They were stationary and were casting their lines into the sea from their boat. And as I watched them, the other guys turned up in the speedboat from across the bay near Donville les Bains.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the two guys in the speedboat had made themselves quite unpopular by their sudden arrival. I’m sure that the wake of their boat would have driven away any fish that might be there.

As regular readers of this rubbish might recall, we haven’t ever seen a fisherman catch a fish when they have been on their own, never mind when someone has come along to disrupt their silence.

joly france speedboat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been looking down onto the beach just now, I had noticed out of the corner of my eye some kind of movement in white out near the Ile de Chausey.

Using the zoom lens at its fullest extent I was able to take a photograph of it, and later on when I was back at the apartment I was able to enlarge it and crop it out so I could see better which boat it was.

Of course, it goes without saying that what I had seen was a boat, and it was none other than one of the Joly France boats on its way back to port with a load of tourists having spent the day out there on the island, accompanied by a speedboat.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that we were looking at prior to my departure to Leuven was the fact that the local fishing boats were now much more active in the Baie de Mont St Michel than they ever have done in the past.

And sure enough, there were a couple of trawlers out there in the bay today fishing away off over towards the Brittany coast. I’d seen them when I was on the lawn and so I walked across the lawn and the car park down to the end of the headland in order that I could photograph them.

It seems to me that despite the agreement with the Jersey authorities the fishing boats are busy exploring new fishing grounds as some kind of insurance

joly france trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now, the white thing that I had seen moving about has come closer to the headland so that I can see better what it is. There was really no need for me to have taken the earlier photograph in fact.

Here she is, coming closer to the headland, just as she is passed by a trawler on its way out to the fishing grounds. Whatever the circumstances, they are still going out to the Baie de Granville for fishing purposes. At least those people in the large boats actually manage to catch things, which is more than can be said for the men with rod and line.

From here, I continued on my way along the footpath. Having been so ill, I was really struggling along the path. It was really hard to believe that 12 months ago I could run around here without any problems.

hera trawler customs launch chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy walk – or, more likely, my stagger – along the top of the cliffs took me to my viewpoint over the harbour where I could look down on the chantier navale and see what was going on down there.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when I left here, the ship repair yard was empty. It had been full for quite some time but gradually all of the boats had ended up back in the water. And so it was nice to see it quite busy again when I came back from my little trip.

There’s a trawler, Hera in there, and next to it is a Customs launch. Does this mean that we are finally going to have our own Customs post here at long last?

Next to that is quite a large inshore fishing boat. You can see all of the buoys on board that we see floating around in the water occasionally, which seem to mark the position of lobster pots, and you can see the crane that presumably lifts the pots out of the water

But what piqued my interest most of all was the wooden craft closest to me. That looks like something old and disreputable from the 16th Century and I’ll be keeping a keen eye on her to see what is going to happen.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now, Joly France had arrived in port and was heading off to her berth at the ferry terminal.

In the past they enter port really close to the green marker light but today she had come in closer to the other side of the harbour entrance. That’s presumably because they’ve moved the silt bank that was over there, an activity that we watched with great interest a couple of months ago, so the water isn’t quite as shallow as it used to be.

And we can see that she’s the older of the two Joly France boats. We can tell that because of the windows down her side. They are rectangular in “landscape” mode, whereas in the newer boat, they are rectangular in “portrait” mode.

And doesn’t she have a crowd of people on board this afternoon? It must have been busy over there on the island today in this lovely weather.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYet another thing that had caught my attention, and that of the regular readers of this rubbish, who will recall that I have spent a great amount of time talking about the boats that are left tied up to the jetty underneath the fish processing plant and left there to settle in the silt when the tide goes out.

One that I’ve seen quite regularly is L’Omerta. She’s been tied up there a few times and left to go aground, instead of being taken into the inner harbour where she can remain afloat.

And I’ve still not figured out the significance of her name. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – edOmerta is the name given to the oath of silence taken by members of the Mafia.

Back here I made myself a nice cold drink – a strawberry smoothie – and then came in here to carry on with my work but, shame as it is to admit it, I fell asleep again and was stark out until 18:45. And I wasn’t in any fit state to do anything for a while. I’d missed my guitar practice and I was annoyed about that.

Tea was a stuffed pepper (I’d bought some of those while I was out) followed by chocolate sponge and coconut dessert stuff. There’s only enough chocolate sponge now for tomorrow so I’ll have to invent a dessert for the rest of the week. I did buy some cooking apples so I might even go for a crumble and make some custard now that I know that it works.

To my surprise the ginger hadn’t died so I fed it with more. I wasn’t so sure about the sourdough. It didn’t look at all healthy but I emptied it out, fed it, cleaned out its bottle and refilled it. We’ll see how it goes over the next couple of days as to whether it’s still alive.

As for me, I don’t feel as if I’m still alive. I’ve made an executive decision – which means that if it is the wrong decision, the person making it is executed – and that there will be no alarm tomorrow. I’m owed a Day of Rest after my exhausting travels and I’ll take it tomorrow.

Hopefully that will set me back on my feet but I doubt it. I think that I’m too far gone for that.

Friday 7th May 2021 – WHAT A REALLY …

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… nice day it was today. The kind of day that brought out the crowds in their numbers on the seas this afternoon.

You couldn’t move out at sea today for pleasure craft making the most of the gorgeous warm sunshine although there was very little wind for them to be blown around . It would take some expert tacking to bring them back to where they wanted to go.

What I’ve been doing today is nothing much of any importance at all. I’ve had my head glued to the election counter in the UK that’s counting the votes in the English Municipal elections and the elections for the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments.

And watching with a mounting sense of total disbelief as the most corrupt, inept and self-serving Government that the UK, and possibly the Western World, has ever seen sweep away much of the opposition in England and Wales and soar to an immense victory.

Much as I try to keep politics off these pages, I have to make two remarks about these election results –
1) Just how gullible, ignorant and stupid the average Englishman and Welshman are
2) just how totally useless the so-called “Opposition” is if they are unable to launch any kind of campaign against the misdemeanours of this corrupt Government.

As the Scottish Nationalist Party storms to an impressive victory and subsequent Independence, the English and Welsh will get the Government and the future that they voted for.

And get it in spades too.

This morning I was up at 06:00 and after the medication came back to the office to discover the depressing news from Hartlepool. But then I shouldn’t have been so surprised about that because any town that could mistake a monkey for a French spy and hang it is capable of anything.

And then throughout the day I watched more and more depressing news unfold. But one conclusion, seeing the rise of the Conservative and Green parties at the expense of the Labour party under Keir Starmer just goes to show that if people want to vote for a Tory, they’ll vote for a Blue Tory. And if they don’t want to vote for a Tory they won’t vote for a Red Tory.

At some point I had a listen to the dictaphone. During the night I’d gone to buy a bird for a house. I was getting a few things together so I went to see this bird but for some unknown reason. I didn’t buy it. I was turned away by the Polish landlady. I went off to the house that I was thinking of buying and there was plenty of time to wait. I’d got there early and in any case I’d taken a short-cut. Having waited around I decided maybe it would be nice to have in the house so I went back to this guy’s house. As I was pulling up at this guy’s house I was having all kinds of thoughts about “should I or shouldn’t I”. In the end I decided against it for the simple reason that birds on their own aren’t much company just singing all day and the other part of the time lying there doing nothing. (this last bit isn’t correct but I couldn’t understand it)

There was something in this dream about string as well but I can’t remember what it was, whether it was to tie this woman up with it, the woman who they had caught somewhere but I can’t remember now. This woman had been in the Welsh class and we’d been given a new book to study for those who were continuing the course. The tutor had us looking at the back for one or two things and then to move to page 216 which we all did and there was something saying “sorry Barbara but you have been conned into this by someone at the chief of Police. The other people are willing students” or something like that. She was extremely put out by all of this. But there was a piece of string somewhere in all of this to tie her up.

Later on we were on the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR heading somewhere and I was telling people about how cold it was on board and I was freezing. I was saying that when I first was on the ship in 2018 it was really warm but it was quite cold on board this year. We put into a port unexpectedly and we all assembled on deck to find out what was happening. They had rigged up a crane with a kind of stretcher or bed so we assumed that it was a medical evacuation. We were all ushered off the ship and taken by a guide on a walk. We were out in the country and we passed a camp of Bedouin Arabs in tents on a grassy ridge just like Western Europe. I took a photo of them quickly even though the camera strap was obscuring the part of the lens. And then we climbed up a bank shooing away a flock of animals and then on a road. But even though we were walking it was speeding up like in an old film, very high speed. We passed a building so closely that I felt sure that we were going to come into contact with it. I asked the guide where we were and he said that we had been heading towards the site of the Battle of Trafalgar so I assumed we were somewhere in Western France.

There was a rather late lunch, due to the fact that everything was heating up rather round about normal lunchtime, and then I went out for my afternoon walk as usual.

work compound machinery place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRight outside the dour of my building there was some kind of excitement – or, maybe, it would be more accurate to say “lack of excitement”.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on the car park for the building across the street, they’ve had a little builders’ compound with machinery, gravel and all that kind of thing while they have been working on the Rue St Michel in the old walled town.

But today, the compound has been dismantled and most of the machinery and all of the gravel has gone. This might signify that the work there has finally come to a halt and they are all ready to go home.

At some point over the weekend I shall have to go for a look to see.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever, something that I can go and look at right now while I’m out here is the beach so I wandered off to the end of the car park to look over the wall.

The tide is by now well in and there isn’t all that much room at all for people to be out about. Nevertheless we can see half a dozen or so people, some of whom have a light brown dog, who have managed to find some room down there to sit down and make themselves comfortable.

Not that I can blame them either because today was the first day this year when I felt that I could have gone out without my coat. Plenty of warm sunshine and no wind at all, and doesn’t that make change?

speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSome people out on the beach, and plenty more out at sea as we have already seen, but here are some more people enjoying the nautical weather in the sun.

In fact there were plenty of boats drifting slowly around the sea just off the Pointe du Roc and here’s someone else who is coming along from the direction of Breville-Plage. And he seems to be in quite a hurry too, and passing by a pile of drifting or stationary boats at this kind of speed, he is not going to make himself very popular with the others

There were quite a few little marker buoys out there too indicating where the fishermen have dropped their lobster pots, and speeding like this past them so closely isn’t a good idea either.

people fishing from rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it looks as if the fishermen are back too.

Having walked across the lawn and the car park I went down to see what was going on down at the end of the headland. For a change there was no commercial fishing from boats out in the Baie de Mont St Michel but standing on the rocks where these three guys, two of whom had cast their lines out into the sea from here.

They didn’t catch anything while I watched … “no surprise there” – ed … so I set off on my travels on the footpath along the top of the cliffs on the south side of the headland to see what was going on in the port and in the chantier navale.

fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd this is probably why there aren’t any fishing boats out in the bay this afternoon.

After their day yesterday besieging the English in their port at St Helier they have a living to earn and so they must have gone out as soon as the harbour gates opened this morning.

Now that the gates are about to open for the afternoon tide, they have all come into port already to unload their catch and then to move into the inner harbour for a well-earned rest.

After that, with nothing else going on, I came back home and had a coffee and then carried on watching the depressing news from the UK. I was so depressed and so involved in this that I missed my tea.

Anyway it’s really late now but that’s not important because with it being a Bank Holiday tomorrow there’s no alarm and I’m going to have a lie-in. I can’t say that I don’t deserve it after all of my efforts just now. A lie-in will do me good.

Saturday 1st May 2021 – GRRRRRR!

This morning Caliburn and I nipped out to the shops as is usual on a Saturday morning, only to find that they were all closed.

Of course it’s a Bank Holiday here today, but I’m not used to the idea of shops being closed on days like this. And had I known, I could have had a nice long lie-in and you’ve no idea how dismayed I am about that.

Instead, something strange happened this morning. I was away on a voyage and suddenly I awoke, sat bolt upright and got out of bed in something of a panic as if I was hours late. Looking at my watch, it showed 05:59 – one minute before the alarm was due to go off.

So what happened there then, I have no idea at all. It was all extremely weird.

After the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was up to my eyes in some kind of project that involved cowboys and indians. There was work everywhere that I was trying to do. I had a pencil but it was so blunt that it wasn’t writing and every time that I went to sharpen it I just broke the lead off it again. I wasn’t making very much progress. While I was there a girl came up and said that she had finished what she was doing and was planning on starting the next step. That was something that I particularly wanted to do myself and I’d organised someone else to help me but she was there ready so I basically told her to make a start on it and gave her my notes. She asked how much I would pay her, to which of course I made some kind of ribald comment and decided that I’d go back to my desk and sort out this information, get another pencil, try sharpening that and see if it will sharpen any better that I could use to write what I’m doing while I’m doing now.

Later on, I don’t remember very much about this but I’d captured a large German battleship like the Scharnhorst and I had it in a dry dock behind me. Some girl in whom I had some kind of interest came up to talk to me and totally failed to notice this battleship behind me which I found really surprising and I had to draw her attention to it. And this was when I suddenly awoke.

Once I’d finished the dictaphone I did some more work on the photos from August 2019. I’ve now moved on from my lunch stop ON COTTONWOOD CREEK and I’m on my way to one of the most exciting and important sites on the whole Oregon And California Trail

A little later I went for a good shower and a change of clothes and then went out for my abortive attempt at shopping. And with no bread in the house right now, I bought a baguette from a boulangerie on the way home.

The rest of the day back here I’ve spent a good deal of time scrolling through the 1911 census that has been put on line for free this weekend, trying to find some traces of my family.

That’s not easy because apart from the fact that some of my family was in Canada at this time, my family was somewhat disjointed. On my mother’s side, my grandmother was widowed from her first husband, married a second time, was in a hospital for 25 years after the birth of my aunt which meant that my mother and her sister were fostered out in various families before going to live with an aunt and uncle in Somerset.

And that’s just my mother’s side. On my father’s side it’s even more complicated than that.

That took up most of the rest of the day, what with having yet another hour crashed out on the chair. That was disappointing too because for the first time since I’ve been back from Leuven I was remarkably sprightly this morning and I thought that I was in for a really good day for a change.

There was the usual break for lunch of course, and the walk around the headland this afternoon too.

buoys people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs seems to be becoming quite a habit these days, the first thing that I did once I was outside was to go to the end of the car park and look over the wall down onto the beach to see what was going on today.

Surprisingly there wee very few people down there on the beach this afternoon. There was one person in my field of view down there, but he seemed to be very interested in what look like buoys down there at the water’s edge. There’s a blue one close by the person and a white one a little further out but I can’t see what they are attached to.

But apart from him – or her – that was that really. And that was a surprise. It was quite a nice afternoon, with the wind having dropped and for the first time since I don’t know when, I wasn’t freezing either.

yachts donville les bains baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was there at the end of the car park I had a look out to sea to see what was goign on.

And I noticed that the yachting school at Bréhal sur Mer was out there this afternoon. Not too many of their boats but they are having a good sail around in the nice weather and I wish that I was with them.

Instead I set off on my trudge around the headland. Not quite the weary trudge of the last couple of days but I’m still not back to my sprightly self. It’s really hard to imagine that it was less than a year ago that I was running all the way round my circuit.

Not that I would be running today either because although there were very few people on the beach, there were crowds of people walking around the footpath and I wouldn’t want to show myself up.

people standing on rock pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the headland I had a good look around to see whether we had any fishermen out there on the rocks today.

No fishermen today, but there were several people out there just standing about and chatting, including this group of three young people standing on a rock down there having a good chat. In fact, there were quite a few people around there on the lower path this afternoon going the long way round.

While I was there I had a look out to sea to see if there were any fishing boats in the bay but I couldn’t see any at all. But that’s not to say that there weren’t any. I can’t see all of the bay from here.

aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound the corner at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, I could see that there are many more boats anchored in there than there have been over the past couple of weeks.

I’m not quite sure if this is telling us that the dredging work is over now or whether it’s just a weekend thing and they’ll all be gone by Monday to give the digger driver the opportunity to carry on with his work throughout the next week.

Meanwhile, in the chantier navale things are as they were yesterday. the little fishing boat is still there and so is Aztec Lady. But no-one else has come to join them as yet.

digger port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further on there was ample evidence that the digging work in the harbour hasn’t finished.

If the digging were over they would have taken away the digger that’s been doing it but the fact that it’s still here would indicate that they will be carrying in next week.

But I carried on home to have a coffee and try to do some more work on this flaming census.

At 18:00 I knocked off as there was football. This social media blackout this weekend meant that I couldn’t access my usual source of entertainment. Instead I had to set un an account with the broadcast subcontractor so that I could access it from their website. And surprisingly, it was a much more stable platform.

Last Saturday we saw Connah’s Quay Nomads turn on the aerial performance to devastate TNS. Today in the return match TNS came out with three centre-backs and flooded their penalty area with defenders.

As a result we were treated to a dreadful match with aimless hopeful passes upfield going astray. TNS were a much more skilful and technical side as anyone would guess, but that counted for nothing as their attack was completely snuffed out by the Nomads defence and presented no threat whatsoever.

This was one of those matches that is best forgotten.

Then it was tea time. Rice and a curry out of a tin, followed by apple crumble and my home-made custard. Cornflour, sugar and vanilla essence. While it would be wrong to say that it was real custard, it was certainly acceptable.

Anyway now I’m off to bed. I’m exhausted but I’ll be having a nice lazy day tomorrow I hope. So I hope that no-one spoils it.

Tuesday 27th April 2021 – IT’S THAT TIME …

peche a pied le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… of the year again.

And it’s going to take much more than a global pandemic to stop the hordes of Frenchmen and women (and even children) from the local area and many kilometres around from swarming onto the beaches with their various tools and implements.

Yes, it’s the lowest tide of the season and the time when the public areas of the beach below the leased concessions are uncovered and the general public has the right to go harvesting down there.

peche a pied le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd not only that either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that at the low tide several weeks ago they had made a start on laying some kind of pipeline from the harbour out towards the sea, for a reason that totally defeats me.

But anyway they are back out there again extending it even further out towards the sea. And if you look closely you’ll see that it’s propped up on some concrete blocks, blocks pretty similar to those that they were manipulating in the outer harbour a week or two ago.

But returning to our moutons as they say around here, the one big problem that I have … “only one?” – ed … is that if I happen to go to bed early, I have a tendency to wake up early too.

Usually that’s no bad thing, especially if I forget to set the alarm, but if I have set the alarm but wake up at … errr .. 04:10 then it is. And so lying there tossing and turning and wishing that I can go back to sleep is a bit of a shame, wsting all that resting time. It’s not as if I have too much of that.

Of course, there is usually always a point at which I do manage to go back to sleep and it’s usually always about 5 minutes before the alarm goes off. And this morning was no exception.

So after the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. I was round at my father’s in this old flat that he had, Peggy Tyrell’s flat. he had this big old smelly dog there. I was apparently going to be staying the night looking after his place for him but I wasn’t all that happy about having that dog. I don’t do dogs. I had things to do and I certainly wasn’t take it for a walk in the morning and clean up all its mess. This led to a bit of an awkward time because I didn’t want to tell him this outright. He was getting this dog ready, cleaning it up, everything then in the end he shipped it off on a train to Stoke on Trent. I had to go off somewhere near Knutsford way to hire an inflatable dinghy. We’d been to see them the day before about it so I went back the next morning. Everyone was busy to I started to take this dinghy down. Someone came over and asked me what I was doing so I told him that I was hiring the dinghy. In the end they dismantled the apparatus for me to take this dinghy and they stuck it in the back of Caliburn for me. Then they were talking to me about “we’ll just get you a mat to go inside it, we’ll just get you this and just get you that”. This was taking absolutely ages to prepare. I asked “what am I going to do if I’m back late?” I couldn’t see me doing what I needed to do in the time that they were going to be open on a Sunday. He replied “that’s OK because someone’s on a run down to London so they aren’t going to be back until late so we’re still going to be here for them”. I still wasn’t convinced. In the end they agreed that I should just leave it roughly where I found it, by the metal skip. They had it in the back of Caliburn and it made the back doors of Caliburn bulge a little. And I noticed that there was a huge gash down the side of Caliburn and the gash had even gone through the metal. That part of Caliburn’s body was bowing out alarmingly. I thought “this doesn’t look right at all here”.

One thing that I wanted to do this morning was to have a shower and change my clothes. Even I was starting to notice it now.

The rest of the morning was spent revising my Welsh, attending my Welsh class, talking to a neighbour about his missing thermometer and then vacuuming the living room and kitchen floor because that was another thing that was getting on my nerves too.

After lunch, which was much later than usual, I posted a couple of photos of old lorries to an Abandoned Lorries page on the internet. It’s amazing the stuff that I was unearthing while I was in the depths of darkest Wyoming in August 2019 and there are always people who are interested in it.

That took me up to walkies-time

peche à pied people on beach buoy rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I went over to the end of the car park to look over the wal to see who was out and about on the beach this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I was probably expecting to see half of the town out there this afternoon and I wasn’t disappointed. I’m not sure why anyone would be out there at the water’s edge with a couple of very large dogs though.

The weather was a little warmer today and the wind had dropped slightly and I suppose that that encouraged the crowds to come out and try their luck on the beach.

and have you noticed the yellow buoy bobbing about just offshore.

f-gorn Robin DR 400-120 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd not just on the beach either. We had a little bit of air traffic too flying past overhead.

This aeroplane is our old friend F-GORN. She’s a Robin DR 400-120 and is owned by the Aero Club de Granville. We’ve seen her out and about a couple of times just recently doing a few laps around the block and today was another one of these local trips.

She’d taken off from the local airport at Donville les Bains and apparently flown north because she was picked up on the radar near Lessay at 15:23. She did a circuit around and back, landing again at the airport at 15:52. So not exactly what I would call an interesting adventure.

peche a pied le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLe Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour was looking quite interesting today – or, at least, it would have done had it not been for all of the haze that was about today.

This is a view that I always like, the light out there in between the two trees at the edge of the car park. It’s the first thing that I see as I walk around the remains of the large bunker at the back of the lighthouse and onto the path that leads down to the car park.

And the crowds of people that you can see congregating around the light down there scratching away at the rocks tell their own story.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom this vantage point, I can also see the rear of the roof of the College Malraux that is opposite my building in the Place d’Armes.

That reroofing job has been on the go now for a considerable length of time and they are slowly moving closer to the end of the job. A couple of days before I went away I took a photo of the roof of the building and took this one today to compare the two and see how far they progressed over that period.

You can see the results of the difference FOR YOURSELF. That photo was taken just two weeks ago.

It’s not exactly a rapid rate of progress.

digging out harbour entrance port de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, around the path on top of the cliffs I headed towards the port to see how things were developing around there with the work that was being undertaken at the entrance to the outer harbour.

Now that they have made some advancement with their little task I can see more clearly what it is that they are doing. There’s some kind of sandbank or embankment that’s built up by the red or port light, presumably due to tidal scouring elsewhere that’s building up over in that corner.

And what they are doing is digging it out and depositing it elsewhere where the tidal current will carry the silt out to sea.

We can see the end of the pipe too, and the concrete blocks upon which they are laying it. It’s going to be interesting to see how far it goes out to sea, and also to seee ho long it withstands the rigours of the forces of nature out there.

anakena aztec lady fishing boats chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom my viewpoint on the cliffs I can also see down into the chantier navale just here, and I notice that we have yet another change of occupier in there today.

Anakena and Aztec Lady are still in there, as they have been for quite some time, and the two fishing boats that arrived in there yesterday morning. But there’s another fishing boat that has appeared in there this morning. That’s the little fishing boat, the blue and white one, that’s in the middle of the other two.

And have you noticed all of the cars parked on top of the harbour wall? It seems that the pecheurs à pied don’t have the energy to walk to the car park just down the road.

draining inner port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here’s the reason why Marité cleared off so smartish-like yesterday (she’s actually now in Lorient, presumably having her annual check-up) and why the two Channel Island ferries Granville and Victor Hugo are no longer there.

Someone has forgotten to close the harbour gates after the tide has started to go out and the inner harbour is now drained of all of its water.

That’s probably indicative of the fact that they are doing some work in there as well and once more, I’m bewildered why they didn’t wait until now to install the new pontoons. It would have taken them a quarter of the time and a quarter of the money to have installed them with the harbour drained of water.

Over the next couple of days I’ll be keeping an eye on this too to see what happens.

Back here I had a coffee, not as strong as I would like it because I can’t find my spare coffee, and then I came in here to carry on with the photos from Wyoming. I’m now in the middle of the Midwest Oilfield, centre of the Teapot Dome scandal in the early 1920s and I can see the teapot from where I’m standing right now.

And as it happened I might have gone way beyond it too except that there were a couple of interruptions. I fell asleep while I was doing it, which was one reason, and the second reason was that the bank phoned me. We’ve arranged to have a little chat in mid-May when (or if) the curfew is lifted.

The hour spend on the guitar was much better than yesterday and then I went for a quick tea, as there was football on the internet.

After their debacle on Saturday a very much-changed TNS side took the field against Caernarfon Town in a match that not only would they be expected to win at a canter, they would need to win as well to restore their credibility.

And what we were treated to was a defensive masterclass that made a total fool of Caernarfon’s depressing negative-goal difference because although the match was played for 99% on the time on the edge of Caernarfon’s penalty area, TNS couldn’t put the ball in the net.

Well, they did once, but it was ruled out (and rightly so) for a foul and they missed yet another penalty too. And one thing that TNS won’t be bragging about is that Caernarfon ended up with just 9 players on the field by the end of the game.

It was probably the most magnificent defensive performance that I’ve ever seen from anyone and Lewis Brass, who has been out of the game for 6 months but was called into the team due to a long-term injury to Josh Tibbets had a tremendous match in the Caernarfon goal.

TNS have hit a run of poor form just at the wrong time, exactly as they did last season. There’s the return match against Connah’s Quay on Saturday evening and I reckon that the championship of the Welsh Premier League is riding on that game.

So on that night I’m off to bed, later than I intended. But it can’t be helped. Football always comes first.