Tag Archives: caernarfon town

Saturday 14th May 2022 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… day where I’ve hardly ever stopped. So much co that I’ve not even had time to upload any of the photographs that I’ve taken today.

Just for a change, the way that things have been just recently, I managed to beat the second alarm to my feet. Well, actually, I was sitting on the edge of the bed with my feet on the floor when it went off so I suppose that that counts.

Mind you, I was feeling rather like death but I struggled on as best as I could despite everything.

Having had my medication the first thing that I did ws to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night. There was something going on with Québec. If you worked with the Canadian Civil Service and you were close to retirement and that meant that your family was to be split up for different kinds of reasons like some were working and some were not, you had the right to settle in Quebec so you could reunite all your family together. I came to hear of this proposal because I was close to retirement date and my mother who was a few months older than my father and my other siblings, we all tried to arrange a meeting with someone official. The Premier of Québec was having some kind of entertainment thing. He was busy giving speeches to different people about the advantages of living in Québec although he did make some remark about people who travelled 350 miles just to catch a little bit of country food which he thought was a strange behaviour. I thought that his attitude was strange because of course it was country food that was the mainstay of Canadian society before Europeans. I had every hope that my application to move to Québec for this family reunification programme would be accepted. There was much more than this too but I can’t remember the rest of it. It’s slipped right out of my mind.

Having done that I spent an hour or so revising my Welsh ready for the first day of my weekend revision school

When I was ready I switched on the laptop that I use for Zoom meetings, only for it to perform a major update, consequently I was late joining and that was rather annoying. Punctuality is the politeness of princes.

We covered a lot of ground this morning and I was ready to knock off for lunch before my brain turned to spaghetti. We had an hour’s break so I nipped out for my afternoon walk considerably earlier than usual, for reasons that will soon become apparent.

Back here there was time for my butties before we started up again.

This afternoon we spent in small groups of two and three chatting about selected topics that are likely to come up in the exam next month. The conversations are quite lively and despite the lack of vocabulary we are making considerable progress.

These free supplementary classes that I managed to track down are worth every penny.

When the day’s work finally finished I dashed into the bedroom where my office is. I had 20 minutes before kick-off

It’s the final of the playoff in the JD Cymru League between Caernarfon Town and Y Fflint. It’s a winner-take-all match, the winner representing the league in the Irn-Bru Cup with teams from Scotland, England and Northern Ireland.

As for the match itself, I’ll let you be the judge of that. It was probably the most exciting, and intense matches that I have seen for many a long while, a game that swung from end to end from start to finish played like a game of chess. And it was certainly the most dramatic.

Don’t take my word for it. I don’t know how many of the regular readers of this rubbish are football fans but if you are and have a couple of hours spare you can WATCH THE GAME HERE. You won’t be disappointed.

That took me up to a rather late tea. There was some stuffing left over from last night so I had a taco roll with rice and veg. And as usual, marinading overnight makes it all taste so much better.

So now I’m off to bed. There’s an alarm in the morning and I’m starting the day with a mock exam. On a Sunday too. Whose crazy idea was that? I must be out of my head.

Tuesday 15th March 2022 – I HAVE HAD A …

… calamity today.

During the coffee break in our Welsh lesson this morning, I set some coffee on the go in the coffee percolator while I went for a ride on the porcelain horse.

When I came back, I picked up the glass jug from the percolator – and the bottom fell out of it. The coffee went everywhere.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … when I moved here I bought everything new, the cheapest possible, with the idea that I would have at all as quickly as possible and as items give out one by one, I would replace them.

So it was only a question of time before the cheap €9:99 coffee percolator gave out and today it’s been replaced with a high-quality machine with a metal jug that is actually a vacuum flask. I hope that my coffee will be hot enough now instead of barely tepid.

Another disaster was last night’s (lack of) sleep. I went to bed rather later than intended and couldn’t sleep at all for absolutely ages.

Eventually I dropped off to sleep and promptly had a nightmare. and while I’ve had a few that for all kinds of reasons have failed to make these pages, this one didn’t even make the dictaphone. I couldn’t even bring myself to dictate it.

And as a result of this nightmare, I didn’t go back to sleep. Nevertheless it was a struggle for me to leave the bed.

While I was preparing for the Welsh lesson I was drifting in and out of sleep but to my surprise, not only did I manage to end up in advance of where we finished today, it actually passed quite well and was quite a successful lesson.

Unfortunately this was the last session of our second year. Next week will be the first lesson of our third year and to my dismay one of my colleagues whom I happen to quite like has decided not to renew. That’s dismayed me somewhat, to be sure.

After lunch I had a few things to do and then I went to the radiology centre for the x-ray on my knee. It didn’t take too long for the x-ray to be taken- in fact she took 6 – and the wait for the finished photos wasn’t anything like as long as it usually.

LeClerc was next for my new coffee machine and then shopping at Lidl, seeing as I don’t have much in right now. It was quite an expensive shop too, much of which was spent on coffee and brazil nuts.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I returned home I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

With it being later than usual the tide had turned and there were one or two people down there having a wander about. I didn’t stay long watching. I grabbed my stuff and came back in here.

There was quite a fight that I had with the freezer. It’s now full to overflowing, and there’s no room whatever for anything else. But I’m going to have to make a start on emptying it. It’s only the vegetables that seem to run through various cycles. Nothing else much seems to move.

For tea tonight I worked the air fryer again to make some chips. And this time they worked really well. With baked beans and a vegan sausage it was delicious.

And then we had football. Caernarfon v Y Fflint. Caernarfon’s manager and assistant manager are down with Covid right now so it was the Academy manager on the bench and to my surprise his choice of team was certainly different. An attacking Five, something that I haven’t seen since the early ’70s.

A couple of Caernarfon’s players were fairly anonymous tonight for a change but they still had too much in the tank for Y Fflint and ran out 2-1 winners. And had Mike Hayes, their centre-forward, had had more luck with his half-chance efforts, it could have been a cricket score.

Y Fflint have gone right off the boil just recently.

Bedtime now and I need a good sleep. I have a physiotherapy session tomorrow and then in the evening I have the first of my 5 Welsh language revision sessions for my exam in the summer.

It’s all go again around here.

Saturday 5th March 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… a few photos of the 120-odd people who turned up spontaneously outside the Mairie in Granville at midday for an impromptu show of support for Ukraine, I’ll tell you about my really miserable night last night.

And when I say “miserable” I really DO mean “miserable” because last night, in a sleep that went on theoretically for just a little over 8 hours, there were no fewer than 14 entries on the dictaphone and that must be something of a record in anyone’s language.

And so it will be no surprise to anyone to learn that when I awoke this morning with the alarm I was thoroughly, completely and absolutely overwhelmed with fatigue.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Although it wasn’t until very much later that I transcribed the dicatphone notes, it’s probably a good idea if I insert them here so that we can keep things in order.

Last night I was standing up but suddenly I fell forward and knocked over this tripod that had some kind of equipment on it like camera equipment or dictaphone equipment. Then I realised that I was wearing a soldier’s uniform and I’d been arrested or captured, something like that

And then there was something about a cucumber rolling around in the bed and I’ve no idea at all what that was all about.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And then later on I was out with a friend of mine from Brussels. We’d started off at work – we were working together – and then we decided that we would go for a walk. There’s a bride being married in a couple of days and she was having an exhibition so off we went. We had a lengthy heart-to-heart chat about all kinds of things that had happened between us 20 years ago. It was an extremely intimate discussion. She ended up saying “if only you hadn’t been married, if only you hadn’t been middle-aged” etc. It was a really deep discussion. The bride had settled herself down so we decided that we would go and look. I knew that there was a phrase that you had to use but I couldn’t remember what it was. We walked past this tent and a little head popped out – a little girl. I said “cuckoo, are you getting married?” and she blushed and went back, stuck her head back inside. I could see inside that the bride was asleep in the corner of the tent and there were 3 goats in there as well. I was trying to work out the ritual nature of all of this.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I actually missed out a few things in that story about my friend in Brussels. I can’t remember who I was with at first but we were coming in late for work and we heard people talking about the “Naz” department store. I arrived at work and asked someone what had happened about the department store. They replied that it had fallen down. I asked if it was any relation to the fire a few days ago somewhere. They said “no”. This guy was very interested in telling me so much more about so many different things but I wasn’t interested in hearing them. On my way back to my desk with whoever it was I said that we really need to be in work earlier because we are pushing the boundaries and we need to do better than this and make every effort to arrive at work earlier. When I was walking with my friend we could see in the distance a load of white smoke that might either have been from the collapse of “Naz” or whatever it was called or else the remains of this big fire

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022. Back at home later I was talking to my mother and one of my sisters. I said where I’d been and that many years ago when my blog was in hiatus I used to read books and I’d underline or highlight phrases in books that actually meant something. When I’d been writing my blog subsequently and re-read one of these books and came to a phrase that I’d noted, I’d mentioned it in relation to her. She’s read my blog and seen these references etc but was still interested in coming out with me for a chat. I thought “well, there’s hope yet, isn’t there?”

So there were pirates who stopped a boat and they put everyone ashore. There was a flag that they were flying that had five rings on it like the Olympic flag. I had no idea to engage in this fight so I didn’t go but they swarmed onto this other boat and started hacking the other defenders about to see whether it was going to take them

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And here I am doing it again – dictating a dream when I have no dictaphone with me. I was on a boat somewhere in the Indian or South Pacific Ocean and I was talking about the time that I’d been on a voyage of discovery with my Belgian friend – and fell asleep again in the middle of it – but basically what this was about was something about me being there and maybe taking a boat to Japan and back to the USA. There was a lot more to it than this but unfortunately I can’t remember anything and that’s really disappointing.

And later again I was out on the Pacific on yet another ocean liner with someone else when the subject of this girl in Belgium came up again but I don’t know where it went from here. But how many times last night was it that she put in an appearance?

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Next time I was in the American cavalry in a dark-blue uniform. There was a person of colour in the troop. We came across this girl and noticed her bounty of seventeen dollars which we thought was quite a lot for her seeing as she was an Indian so we resolved to kill her. She was killed in the struggle but handed her jacket all the same to create an entry to receive this money

And yet again dictating in my sleep but it was one on those things where the ones I was with would go and sort out some enemy checks or something like that so we set off in a car and drove. As we drove around the headland we saw the ruins of a castle across a bay that looked very close. We suddenly realised that we had gone within earshot of these particular people and so we’d better not say any more in case they overheard us.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I was at University last night waiting for morning classes to start and I’d been talking to Rosemary on the ‘phone and I said something like “why don’t you come up?”. When I finished I went back into the classroom and took my seat but suddenly Rosemary turned up. I had to go out to see her and talk to her. I sent her off to the cafeteria because our lecture was about to begin. Back in there the cat was on the windowsill so I went to stroke it. Someone said “that’s my cat” but I said that anyone could stroke it as far as I’m concerned. I found that someone else had taken my seat so I had to look for another empty one. Then I had to go through my timetable to find out what lessons I had for the rest of the week so I could go down when this one finished and talk to Rosemary. There were a couple of conversation lessons I couldn’t miss and one or two other things but there was still a fair amount of time so I had to sit down and think about making a plan that I could take to Rosemary in 40 minutes when this lecture finished.

beach rue ru nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After the medication and checking my mails and messages (and having a little relax too) I set off to go into town to do a little shopping. I need some mushrooms for the pizza tomorrow and also a baguette for my Saturday treat.

As usual, I went off to have a look at the beach to see what might have been going on down there today. And one look at what is supposed to be the beach will tell you that there wasn’t anything whatever going on down there right now.

And for an obvious reason too. The tide is right in today at probably its fullest extent and that’s put a stop to everything. You can see now how it’s possible for people to be cut off from the steps.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I was also looking out to sea to see what I could see.

Right out on the horizon in the Baie de Granville are a couple of yachts. At least, one of them is a yacht and I’m not quite sure what the other one is.

As you can see, it’s a beautiful day out there this morning but there’s plenty of haze around farther out and the Channel Islands are obscured which is a shame. I was hoping that we might have had a really good view of St Helier today.

And that reminds me – the ferry service is supposed to be starting up some time soon. I must make further enquiries.

cabin cruiser marker light baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022One thing that regular readers of this rubbish might recall is that a few days ago we say the marker on the rocks just off the headland here right out of the water.

Today of course, it’s a completely different story. You can see that it’s almost submerged and that will give you a really good idea of how high the tide is. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … we have some of the highest tides in Europe just here.

Of course, with the tide being as it is, the harbour gates will have been open for quite a while and that will account for the yachts, and also for the cabin cruiser that’s out there. At first I thought that it might be fishing but judging by its wake it’s in rather a hurry and presumably heading out to the Ile de Chausey.

pointe de grouin brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022The view out to sea might have been obscured by haze this morning but the view along the coast was one of the best that we have ever had.

Although I had to enhance this photograph quite considerably, it shows a really good view of the lighthouse at the Pointe de Grouin on the headland at the entrance to the bay on the Brittany side.

That’s of course where we spent our first night when we were out and about on the Spirit of Conrad in summer 2020.

It was here that I had a ‘phone call about the Demonstration at lunchtime so I abandoned my shopping trip and headed home for a shower and clean-up and to find some blue and yellow clothes.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On leaving the apartment I’m grabbed my ZOOM H8 to record whatever might be happening.

There wasn’t enough time to check the batteries – I use it on the mains here – and so it goes without saying that the batteries were flat. And so were the spare ones too.

But anyway the talk that we were given only lasted for a couple of minutes and that was that. I wandered around taking a few photos until everyone dispersed.

A couple of friends from the radio were here so we all went for a coffee and a chat.

On the way home I popped into Carrefour for the mushrooms and baguette and then crawled slowly (and it was slowly too because I wasn’t feeling too good after my bad night) back home where I had lunch.

This afternoon was pretty slow. Transcribing all of the dictaphone notes took an enormous amount of time and there was also at least an hour and a half when I crashed out completely, absolutely and definitely.

There was football too on the internet – Penybont v Caernarfon. Penybont hit the woodwork twice, had a stonewall penalty appeal turned down, had about 75% of the play and somehow managed to lose 3-0 in a match that they should have won at a canter.

Tea tonight was a couple of those small breaded quorn fillets with potatoes and veg and it was delicious.

This evening, something surprising has happened. Someone from Ottawa has contacted me and asked to be my “friend” on my social network.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I have plenty of family and friends in Ottawa. There are also plenty of people who have been with me on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR and of course a certain young lady who has accompanied me on several of my nocturnal voyages in the past.

Consequently I was intrigued to see who it might be and how I might know them.

It turns out that it’s someone who has found me “by accident” and wants me ” to always be open, honest and having free speech about everything, share your worries, your children and everything be that support group for me as I will for you, plan together, play together and treat me like I mean something to you, you don’t have to sugar coat anything, as adults, we can handle things. I expect you to treat me right, be truthful, and honest with me because I do believe in gospel truth and that is what I want. I want to feel true love and happiness with you and share everything with you based on love and understanding.”

She will apparently “climb the highest mountains just to be with the one i love”.

So while you are all reading this, I’ll be waiting for the message when she will ask me to send her the air fare so that she can come to join me.

Sunday 20th February 2022 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… today has been one of those days when I have done nothing at all whatever of any importance.

In fact, it’s been so relaxing that I’ve even forgotten to transcribe the dictaphone notes, as I have just found out. That’s something that I have to do tomorrow after my radio programme is finished.

And when I did, I hadn’t realised just how much there was. I started off with my youngest sister last night but first of all we were in a huge house or something like a castle that was built on a rock. I’d seen a vehicle pull up and I knew whose it was and I knew whom he might have been to see down somewhere else in the building. Later on I climbed down the outside of the building and right the way down the rocks at the bottom where there was a courtyard and there were quite a few people in there having a party, including the woman concerned. It was the mother of a girl whom I know from the Auvergne and who had accompanied me on a few nocturnal rambles in the distant past. I could see that with this party she had obviously known that this guy had been here so I just briefly mentioned it in passing. Then we were chatting away. I thought that I might have been invited to this party but no I wasn’t. I went somewhere else from there and ended up inside and had my sister sitting on my knee. We were chatting about this and that and having quite a bit of fun because she was quite young and I like children of that age so it was all very pleasant. I asked if by any chance my niece and one of her daughters were coming over from Canada. She replied “no they aren’t coming over this year. They came over three times last year and and your brother (who she meant to me) had bean teasing that girl (she meant the one from the Auvergne) about she was having to go into boarding school”. There was a lot more to it than this that I can’t remember.

Something else bizarre happened last night. I don’t know what it was but these two people picked me up, dragged me off and started to interrogate me about something that had happened. I knew nothing about it but they were quite insistent that I did. In the end I had to sign all of these affidavits etc to say that I hadn’t done anything and they were going to give me some money. But they deducted some money for this and some money for that and some money for something else and I ended up with only about 60% of it. But then thinking on it was 60% more than I would have received anyway so maybe it was a good deal although it was something of anguish at the time and rather nerve-wracking as they were quite insistent. In the end I walked away with some cash so I don’t suppose that it could have been too bad and I’m still trying to work out exactly what it was that happened.

There was something else at some point too about a load of new people coming to work in our office so I’d been trying to wrangle a transfer. I was wandering, talking to a few people saying that I hope that they’ll give me a transfer but it won’t be to somewhere exciting like Caithness or Skipton or somewhere like that but to another one of our offices in Stoke on Trent somewhere and that won’t be any good at all.

Laurence and I had been out around Nantwich somewhere wandering around and we came to some kind of museum so we went in for 5 minutes for a quick look around. It was quite nice and I thought that this would be a good place to bring Roxanne. She said “but it would be snowing tomorrow”. I replied “I don’t necessarily mean tomorrow and in any case it’s indoors so she would probably enjoy it anyway”. So we went back out but there was a problem with the trams so we would have to catch a bus. It turned out that there was one in 4 minutes’ time, probably because there was something going on at the cathedral and they had the road up. She set off while I sorted out the tickets and then ran after the tram, which sometimes was a tram, sometimes a bus, and leapt aboard. There was a severely handicapped girl manoeuvring around but I was fighting my way in trying to find Nerina because I was with her now but she wasn’t there. Someone said something like she had just alighted but by this time the bus had started moving. I stayed on but people started to talk about Nerina. Then this vehicle ended up in the wilds somewhere because the normal way home through Wistaston, there was a fight going on between a big group of people and so we must take another way. All the people were running down the street trying to catch up with this bus or something. The driver told me that he was rather confused about where to go so I replied “if you turn right here you’ll end up in Ganshoren and go back over to Jette”. He turned right but it was a road that I didn’t know at all but I saw a sign for Woluwe so I assumed that we were somewhere along the correct road somewhere. All the time this nonsense was going on. We then came to a new part in this road that was even more confusing than what we had come to before and it was a case of guesswork as to which road to take when we reached a certain road junction.

And even later still I was on yet another bus in Belgium. There were a lot of people talking. The subject came round to petrol stations. Someone was saying that there are far fewer petrol stations in Belgium than there ever used to be. She pointed to a Delhaize supermarket that we drove past on the corner of the street and said that in the old days that used to be 2 petrol stations. The talk continued and I noticed one of the people looking at me so I said “excuse me but I’m a foreigner and I’m really interested in what you’re saying”. The carried on talking and in the end we arrived at the terminus and we all had to alight. Someone said to one of the girls “why don’t you take him (meaning me) and show him (something or other)”. She replied “OK” and took me off. It was a shop and she took me down into the basement. I had a wander round in there. Suddenly she started to bake a cake. I wasn’t taking a great deal of notice but when she finished I asked “how did you bake a cake without any eggs in it?”. She replied “I’ve just made this one without any eggs”. I suddenly realised that she had as well and I wished that I had taken more notice of what it was that she was doing. Meanwhile the server from down there came up and said “thank you for being so disorganised. You’ve made me miss my break and you’ve made me have problems serving one of the customers” to which we replied “maybe we’ll offer the customer a piece of cake and it might make them feel better.

After all of that it’s no surprise that I stayed in bed until 10:30 this morning, even though I was wide-awake a long time earlier than that. But Sunday is a day for mending the nets.

After the medication I sat down and paired up the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow. And a couple of the joints that I made are totally perfect and I’m well-impressed.

After lunch, I had a football match to watch. While I was in Aachen last Saturday I missed Caernarfon Town v Bala Town in the Welsh Premier League and I have deliberately refrained subsequently from watching any highlights.

This atfernoon I managed to track down the complete game on the internet and so I watched it. I shan’t say anything about the game because, quite frankly, it was one of the most exciting games that I have ever seen. Maybe some of my readers are football fans and if so, you’ll really enjoy this game. It’s at THIS LINK with, rarely, a commentary in English but, unfortunately, with a couple of holes in the recording.

One thing that I will say is that I found the comments of the commentators concerning the Caernarfon Town’s goalkeeper most inappropriate.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in my youth I was a goalkeeper, although nothing whatever like at this standard, and I’ll promise you that an 18 year-old kid keeping goal in a howling gale against grown men, some of whom have been capped for Wales, is always going to be advised to punch instead of catch when he’s surrounded by other players in a crowded penalty area, whatever the commentators might think.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022That took me up to the time that I usually go out for my afternoon walk.

As usual, the first port of call was the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down below. And to my surprise, there were dozens of people down there going for a walk around.

In this photo are just a few of them, but why this particular view is that there is something on the sand on the extreme left. It seems to be something with a handle but no matter how I enlarged and enhanced it, I can’t make out what it was.

It’s interesting to conjecture that it might be some kind of flotsam and jetsam tossed onto the beach by the storm but I’m not quite sure how likely that would be.

lighthouse semaphore people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As well as crowds on the beach, there were also crowds wandering around on the path on top of the cliffs

And strangely enough, despite the storm warning of the other day, I will bet that the winds this afternoon when I was out were stronger than those during the storm when I was out that afternoon.

There wasn’t anyone out at the headland though and that was no surprise. The wind certainly took away my breath and would have taken away the breath of anyone else sitting down there on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

There was a couple struggling along in the distance on the lower path, and “struggling” was certainly the word in this wind.

people on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Once I’d gone round the corner to the other side of the headland we were in a wind shadow so it was much easier to move around.

There were quite a few people walking around on the harbour wall too, and with the tide being right out it was probably as safe as it can be. But in a few hours’ time when the tide is right in it might be a different proposition entirely. The seagull was enjoying itself anyway.

One thing that I noticed was the hold hand-powered crane down at the end of the harbour wall. I must have seen it before because I’ve often walked down there in the olden days when I could walk places, but I don’t remember it.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Meanwhile, over at the ferry terminal we now have two ferry boats. The newer Joly France boat has come along to join her older sister.

They must have been quite busy this weekend despite the bad weather, so hats off to those who have gone down to the sea in ships.

Back in the apartment I had a hot coffee waiting for me and I couldn’t wait to drink it. Although it’s not cold, according to the temperature, I’m freezing.

And I’ve been freezing for several weeks and I don’t know why. I keep on thinking that I’m sickening for something but it’s certainly taking its time arriving.

After lunch I took out a lump of dough from the freezer and left it to defrost.

Later on this afternoon when it had defrosted I gave it a kneading and then rolled it out onto the tray where it proofed to its heart’s content.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022When it was ready I assembled it and stuck it in the oven to bake.

And I do have to say that today’s effort was the best pizza that I have ever made. Cooked to perfection (unlike my previous effort) and tasted totally delicious.

So now that I’ve written my notes I’m off to bed. I’m up early in the morning and I have a radio programme to prepare. And then there’s a letter to write, and I need to nip into town to post it.

No physiotherapy for 10 days though. She’s on holiday so I can have a few days off. And I need it too.

Saturday 23rd October 2021 – IT WAS ANOTHER …

red powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021… one of these aerial days today. Two on the run just now is good going.

But it really is getting to be a bit like “Play School” around here. It’s not the shape of the window through which we’ll be looking today, but to see which colour powered hang-glider goes flying by overhead as I walk around my circuit.

Yesterday it was the yellow one that went by, so today it’s the turn of the red one to fly overhead on its way back to the airfield. And carrying a passenger too. I really ought to go down there and blag myself a turn aboard one of these little machines.

light aeroplane 50SA pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021A short while later on, another machine with which we are quite familiar went past.

She’s 50SA, a light aeroplane that isn’t registered in any database that I have been able to find so I’ve still no idea as to who she is and what she’s doing.

There was plenty more to see too, flying by in the clear sky at 35,000 feet but Brain of Britain had let the battery in the NIKON D500 go flat so I ended up with the NIKON D3000.

It was fitted with the big, powerful lens but while the near-distance shots are pretty good in most circumstances, it won’t focus properly for long-distance shots and at 35,000 feet it won’t focus at all.

Last night was another miserable, sad night. I’d been listening to my radio show but fell asleep just before midnight just as “Man” were finishing. And then I was awake at 05:30 in the morning and just couldn’t go back to sleep. Except of course, 5 minutes before the alarm went off.

While I was taking my medication etc I was listening to the latter part of my rock show, and then I headed off for town and the shops.

At Noz I stocked up the wine cellar a little – not that I drink it myself but I’m often invited out these days – and they had some more vegan food in the freezer there at a give-away price. There’s no room in my freezer but it fitted in somehow.

At Leclerc there was nothing whatever of any interest except some vegan burgers at a greatly reduced price so I bought a couple of those. I now have the European Vegan Burger Mountain in my fridge and I wish that I’d bought a larger one now.

They did however have grapes at €1:49 per kilo so I posted the fact on my social network.
“Don’t do that” replied Hans. “You’ll have everyone swarming over from the Uk to strip the shelves bare#34;
“They’ll have a job” I retorted. “After i’ve passed through there aren’t any left.”

Back here I put the cool and frozen stuff away (not without a fight) and then made myself some coffee and toast. Using the proper coffee machine because I’m awash with real coffee at the moment, as I discovered when I tidied up the shelf unit a couple of months ago, and it all has to be used.

While I was sitting down I had a listen to the dictaphone. We were in Liverpool probably last night. It started off with me in Croydon or somewhere. All the kids were milling around in the street heading for school, all in a blue school uniform. Gradually the scene moved into the school. There were some kinds on the 1st floor balcony and others downstairs on the ground floor. I was on the ground floor. All of a sudden this drunk came rolling down the steps on the balcony, over the end of the wall and landed smack on the floor right in front of where I was sitting. It turned out to be Paul McCartney. He came down to see it and check that it was OK. Then the assembly started. There was a guy with a guitar so we were all poking fun at everything that was about to happen, like kids do. McCartney said something about someone needs to go out at half-time to do something. I said that I’d go because I’d suddenly realised that I couldn’t remember what I’d done with my camera and where I’d put it

After lunch I sat down and carried on with my medical receipts. A few of them are missing and a few others have timed out, but I sent them in just the same with a note to excuse them.

There was also plenty of stuff about my radio project so I spent the rest of the afternoon dealing with that.

people on beach rue du nord yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Of course, I had to have a break for my afternoon walk.

Out across the car park and down to the wall at the end where I could see the beach. Plenty of beach, and plenty of people too. After all, it was a nice afternoon.

Some yachts out there too over across the bay near Coudeville. I’ve no idea where they have come from because the tide is well out here and they aren’t likely to have come out of the port here in the mornign and hung about all day.

men with kayaks beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There was yet more items of interest further along the beach.

There were a couple of guys dragging kayaks into the water. And they are fishermen by the looks of the rods that they have on board their craft.

And that must be a difficult job, because when you are sitting down with your legs outstretched in a kayak, you’re only pulling from the waits with no help at all from the leg muscles.

Obviously it’s not a good idea to make love in a kayak. After all, making love in a kayak has a lot in common with Watney’s beer. They are both f***ing close to water.

joly france ile de chausey bay de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021THis morning as I was on my way out to the shops, I drove past the harbour just as one of the Joly France boats, probably the one that was aground there yesterday afternoon, was leaving for the Ile de Chausey.

When I took this pic, I could see something large and white just offshore from the Ile de Chausey. Blowing up the photo, which I can do despite modern anti-terrorism legislation, I could see that it is indeed a Joly France boat.

She’s not likely to be coming home though. It’s a good couple of hours before the tide is far enough in and it only takes her half an hour or so to cross the bay. She’ll be hanging around for a bit until she can reach the jetty on the island.

coudeville plage kayakers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021A little earlier, I mentioned that the bay was looking quite nice in the sun.

For that reason I took a photo of Coudeville-Plage. However, due to focusing and other issues with the NIKON D3000 over distance, this one and the previous one haven’t turned out too well.

Mind you, you can see the two kayakers at the bottom of the image so the near-distance shots have come out reasonably well.

Actually, as with the NIKON 1 J5 in the dark, I think that I’m expecting too much of these cameras and pushing them beyond their feasible limits.

Either that, or my technique is rubbish.

man fishing pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The guys in the kayaks weren’t the only ones who had gone fishing this afternoon.

Down on the rocks at the end of the Pointe du Roc is another fisherman, standing up this time. I noticed him as I crossed the car park a little further back so I came down to see how he was getting on.

It goes without saying that he didn’t catch anything while I wss watching, which is no surprise. Either they never ever catch anything or my presence is the kiss of death to the local fishermen.

Anyway, I left him in peace and cleared off.

yann frederic chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Next port of call is the viewpoint overlooking the harbour so I headed off along the path on top of the headland.

Yann Frederic is still in there, which was good news. That means I can take another photo of her because yesterday’s was rubbish, with the waving long grass confusing the focal length of the image.

Why I needed to do that is because I had a look on the shipping database and found that she doesn’t have a photo on there. As I maintain the AIS beacon detector for the port, I suppose that I’m responsible in some way towards the boats in here so I went to put that right and upload a photo of her.

jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Another boat that is still here is Jade III.

She’s actually moored on the slipway as you can see, not settling down in the silt. There was someone around there with her but I couldn’t see what he was doing. It can’t have been anythign important.

Back here I had another coffee and finished off the outstanding work.

There was football on later, Y Drenewydd v Caernarfon.

Y Drenewydd won the game 1-0 with a goal scored in first-half stoppage time by the excellent Mwandwe. Caernarfon were strangely subdued with their three star midfielders, Thomas, Edwards and Hughes looking very much out of sorts this afternoon and they didn’t look much like scoring.

In the end the finished the match with two out-and-out strikers, Cai Jones and Mike Hayes up front as well as the veteran former Welsh International defender Steve Evans playing centre forward, but it still didn’t look as if they would ever score with their misfiring midfield.

Incidentally, Steve Evans was booked for a foul just a couple of seconds after coming onto the field before he’d even touched the ball.

Later on I had tea – a couple of the small breaded burgers that I had bought this morning and they were nice too.

But now it’s ridiculously late so I’m off to bed, even though I’m not tired. But here’s hoping that I have a good sleep.

Saturday 14th August 2021 – I WENT TO …

public indoor market Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… do my important shopping in the indoor market in the town centre this morning.

There wasn’t all that much that I needed today – just some mushrooms and some fruit, so it wasn’t worth taking Caliburn and going all the way out to the shops on the edge of town. A nice brisk walk to the market and back will do just as well.

Mind you, the prices are quite expensive – much more than you might think – and the quality isn’t as good either which is rather a surprise.

But at least I now have the mushrooms for the pizza tomorrow evening.

It makes a change not to go out to the supermarket on a Saturday – it means that I’m not in so much of a rush in the morning.

Not that I had a lie-in, of course. I was up and about as soon as the alarm went off at 06:00

After the medication I came back into my nice tidy bedroom to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I started off with a great big rambling dream about boats, things like yachts and sailing ships defending the bay against all kinds of things coming in here but it was long and complicated and I can’t remember any of it now which is a shame.

A little later on I was tidying my apartment. It started off as being a real mess but I was fed up and so I began to make a start on it. By the time that I’d finished it was looking a lot better, and i’d actually found four shillings and sixpence so it was quite a profitable venture. The only thing that worried me was whether I could keep it like that. Tidying up my bedroom yesterday has clearly traumatised me beyond belief, hasn’t it? There was my family of course and they were due to come round. I was asking about where they lived and they lived in a white building with blue paintwork and so on. It was a block of flats, a nice building so I thought “what is my family doing living in a place like that?”. They were going through the members of the family and there was a guy called Dhony and apparently he was one of the grandchildren’s boyfriends. He was a “Nene”. I was wondering what a “Nene” was and it turned out that it was another name for a refugee.

It was another morning where I took a good hour or two to get going after all of that. I might not actually have crashed out but it was as good as – I wasn’t able to do very much. In fact when I recovered I could barely find the energy to make a coffee.

Eventually it was time to go out. The tide will be well in by now, I reckon and in any case it’s as good a time as any to go to the shops.

la granvillaise marité baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWalking down to the sea wall this morning Icould see that we were going to be in for another excellent morning’s viewing today.

Out there at sea in the Baie de Mont St Michel are the two ships that are, I suppose, the stars of our port – la Granvillaise to the left and Marité to the right.

And the first thing that I noticed was that with the sun behind them shining through the sails, it looked as if the sails were illuminated, with the rest of the boats being in the shadows. It was quite an eerie effect.

joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I wasn’t allowed to go musing on that for too long.

While I’d been photographing the to ships I’d missed the departure of one of the Joly France ferries from the ferry terminal. But now she’s well on her way to the Ile de Chausey, sailing past Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the entrance tot he harbour.

She has quite a crowd of people on board her this morning too. It looks as if it’s going to be a busy day over there on the Ile de Chausey, and they certainly have the weather for it.

artistic patterns in the water port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe Joly France ferry wasn’t the only boat to be leaving harbour as I was watching the morning’s events unfold.

There was a group of people who had clambered into some kind of motor boat that was moored in the harbour and while I watched, they cast off and shot off for the wild blue yonder.

And in doing so they described a beautiful circle in the water. It was quite an impressive artistic design and lingered on for quite a while before the currents reacted and took it away.

Meanwhile, the need for mushrooms for tomorrow’s pizza took me away into the town centre and the market building.

grandstand port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way down the hill in the Rue des Juifs, I went past the viewpoint overlooking the loading bay at the port.

That which we saw yesterday down there is cetainly a grandstand of some description and the fact that there’s some kind of advertisement for a local media company facing it implies that there is some kind of live performance connected with it.

Now you are going to ask me what that square compound thing id behind the grandstand, aren’t you? Well unfortunately I don’t have an answer for that and I’m not even able to speculate.

helicopter port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt this particular moment I was overflown by an aerial craft. I was wondering when this might happen.

And having talked for two days consecutively about the yellow autogyro that flies overheard occasionally the sound of a pulsing motor filled me full of optimism..

Someone had indeed taken out his chopper for a bit of airing this morning but it’s not the one that we were expecting. It’s not the yellow autogyro at all but a civilian model with a twin-boom tail that I ought to recognise and probably will as soon as I’ve pressed “publish” on these notes.

Fighting my way through the throngs of people on the market I purchased what I needed and then headed back up the hill towards home.

marité baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOur two ships, La Granvillaise and Marité had now quite happily done their separate ways.

Marité, having done a couple of laps around the Baie de Mont St Michel was now going past the ferry terminal and the entrance to the port on her way out to the Baie de Granville and the open sea.

It’s not as if she’ll be going far though for with the harbour gates only being open for less than four hours at a time, she’ll need to be back home pretty quickly.

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs for the gates that guard the Port de Plaisance where la Granvillaise lives, I’ve no idea about their arrangements.

She seems to be happy enough today staying out in the Baie de Mont St Michel in the company of a couple of other smaller boats that are with her

These other boats will of course be looking for the good photo opportunities that the bigger ships can provide and that might be an idea for me to consider in the future, whenever that might be.

coelacanthe tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday we saw the big trawler Le Coelacanthe come into port and I suspected that her little sister Le Tiberiade wouldn’t be too far away

We weren’t lucky enough to see her come into port but this morning they are both there moored in their usual place at the back of the Fish Processing Plant.

When they are together like this, you can tell them apart. Le Coelacanthe has the boom on the roof of the bridge and there are wings to her bridge where her name is written. Apart from that and their size (Le Tiberiade is slightly smaller) they are pretty much identical.

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow that Marité has gone over to the other side, as it were, I wander off over there to check up on what she’s going.

And she really does make a beautiful photograph as she sails past my spec up here on the cliffs, with every square inch of sail fully extended to catch the breeze. I bet that she didn’t put that much canvas out in the Roaring Forties.

She has her little dinghy being towed behind, and as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the dinghy wouldn’t be able take as many people in an emergency as she has on board right now.

brittany ferries armorique english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut never mind the Marité right now, there’s something much more exciting going on out at sea.

Away in the distance out in the English Channel there was a rather large blob moving about on the horizon so I took a photo of it to enhance when I returned home.

And it’s worked out so well (which makes a change when I enhance something at that distance) that we can actually read her owner’s name on the side of the hull.

The fact that she’s a Brittany Ferries ship makes it easier for me to check the register of ships leaving St Malo just now and so I can tell you that she’s Armorique of 30,000 tonnes and launched in 2009, on her way to Portsmouth.

She holds a very unique distinction, being to only Brittany Ferries ship to have visited all the ports from which the company operates.

condor voyager english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd meantime, my riving eye has picked out something else exciting away in the diatance, on the other (eastern) side of the Channel Islands.

This photo hasn’t enhanced so well, probably due to the extra distance, which is a shame, but there can’t be many things that big out there in the English Channel within a cockstride of the port of St Helier.

And sure enough, a quick review of the register of ships leaving St Helier tells me that at 09:17, just 20 (adjusted) minutes before this photo was taken, the superfast ferry Condor Voyager who we have seen quite a lot just recently, set out from the port on her way to Poole.

ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe skies were certainly clear enough this morning and the view stretched for miles.

Once more the colours on the Ile de Chausey were magnificent. The lighthouse was standing out really clearly today and we could see all of the individual houses that were scattered around the island could be seen quite clearly too.

And as for the water-borne traffic, how much of that would you like? You can’t move out to sea this morning because of all of the boats. part from the few in the foreground, there must be a couple of dozen floating away around the island.

training ship belem english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I was out there today, I think that I might have solved one little mystery that’s been puzzling us for a few days.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have been seeing a mystery sailing ship out at sea and I’ve no been able to identify her clearly. It’s not easy, because for example even Marité is still described officially as a “fishing vessel” which was her former occupation.

But today’s clear weather gave us the best view yet of the mystery vessel out in the English Channel, and the fleet radar told me that on that very spot is the training vessel Belem, a 170-footer out of St Malo and whose shape bears a very similar resemblance to this one.

unidentified aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt this point I was overflown yet again.

Well, actually, I wasn’t, because the aeroplane here was too far out in the Baie de Granville – so far out in fact that I couldn’t even read the registration number on the side of her fuselage.

According to the flight log the only aeroplane that took off from the airfield at round about this time was F-GBAI but if this is she, then she must have undergone a dramatic re-paint job overnight since we saw her yesterday. So I’m reserving judgement on this.

english channel belle france armorique baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeantime, I’d been holding my fire over a certain photo because there was a chance for some symbolism to creep into one of my pictures.

By now, Armorique is on the point of creeping behind the Ile de Chausey and just at that moment, a boat that I reckoned to be one of the Ile de Chausey ferries and which I later found out to be the very new Belle France sprung into view out of the shadow of the island.

The contrast between “little and large” ferries made for a nice photograph even if there wasn’t a great deal that I could do at that kind of distance.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhat was really ironic about all of this activity in the baie de Granville this morning, there was plenty of scope for irony.

Here, with all kinds of pleasure craft of every description whizzing past, a small fishing boat was actually out there working quite sedately, taking no notice whatsoever of what else was going on around him.

But now I was going to take no notice of anything else because I’d been out for so long and I wanted to go home for a coffee. I can only stand so much excitement in a morning.

Back in the apartment I brought my coffee into the nice tidy office and then sat down to plan out my day. And “plan” was about as far as I reached before it was time to stop for lunch.

After lunch, the early and energetic start finally caught up with me and I ended up being asleep on the chair for quite a while. That was followed by quite a lengthy session on the two guitars before it was time for me to sling my hook.

football us granville voltigeurs de chateaubriant stade louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was nice to be back at the football today for a competitive match after all of this time, and I’m also reassured to know that my vaccine digipass works too.

As for the football, the defence looked slightly more solid than it has done over the last couple of years, although Chateaubriant didn’t really put too much pressure on it. They had a very small, quick n°9 up front who was in a class of his own on the field, but there was no-one up there to support him.

As for Granville, going forward they were woeful. At long last they have a big centre-forward who they can’t shove off the ball, who puts himself about and who can hold up the ball, but he is totally wasted because the service he was getting was dreadful.

Not one of the other Granville players put a ball into the box with any accuracy or conviction and the Chateaubriand goalkeeper had probably the quietest 90 minutes that he will ever have.

0-0 the game finished, and both sides were lucky to get nil too. I can’t think if I’ve ever witnessed a more uneventful game than this

What dismayed me more than anything that despite virus infections being in the upper 20,000s, I was about the only person in the stadium wearing a mask, despite the frantic appeals of the announcer. No-one is ever going to be rid of this virus if they continue to be stupid about it like this.

It’s hard to believe the stupidity of some people.

nuit des artistes rue des juifs closed Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way home I noticed that the Rue des Juifs is closed to vehicular traffic.

The street is full of small art galleries, most paintings of which are of dubious quality at an astronomic price and once a year they are open until quite late at night and people can wander around to their heart’s content in the middle of the street.

Right now my worries are reaching the top of it because I’m not as yound as I was an not as fit as I was even three months ago and thse days I have to stop a couple of times before reaching the top.

bar ephemere chez maguie place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the places where I stopped to catch my breath was at the viewpoint overlooking Marité‘s mooring berth.

She’s now back at her mooring but my interest is centred for the moment on Chez Maguie, the Bar Ephemère that springs up every summer at the Place Pelley.

In the winter it all lives in a shipping container somewhere and is brought here in late June to cater for the hordes of tourists who swarm around the town.

Not that there aren’t enough bars in the town, but it’s the outdoor terraces that are missing. Sitting on a couple of pallets in a car-parking space in the Rue Couraye doesn’t have quite the same effect.

fishermen in speedboat zodiac loitering outside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA day or two ago I was talking about what might happen if by some chance you were out at sea and missed the closing of the harbour gates or missed the tide.

This evening, there were several boats and yachts, including this speedboat and zodiac, loitering around outside the harbour area, presumably waiting for the tide to come in so that they could come in and moor up.

I don’t suppose that there isn’t much alternative that to sit and wait.

Back here I didn’t even have time for tea before the next instalment of football.

Caernarfon v Haverfordwest in the Welsh Premier League. Haverforwest have signed a couple of good players in the close season but the Caernarfon team has changed quite a lot and they are lacking the old team spirit that took them so high in the table.

Oe or two of their new players struggled to make any impact, but Haverfordwest, despite having a resolute defence and a lively midfield, offered nothing up front. Eventually a Caernarfon free kick caught the Haverfordwest keeper by surprise and in the dying seconds of the game they scored a second.

haverfordwest can feel disappointed by this result but that what happens in football. Both clubs will have their work cut out this season.

But right now I’m off to bed. It’s too late to do anything else so I’ll write up my notes in the morning.

Good night.

Saturday 29th May 2021 – WORDS FAIL ME

medication Leuven Belgium Eric HallAnd as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, that’s not something that happens every day either.

Just look at all of this. Pills and potions and lotions and ointments and all kinds of stuff. There is in fact €235 worth of medication here, and that’s just for a month too. Most of that will need renewing the next time I come to the hospital.

In the past I’ve been very scathing of people who filled themselves up with pills, but I take it all back unreservedly. If I run quickly with all of that inside me, I’ll rattle.

But no chance of me moving very quickly right now because I’ve had an awful day. Last night, watching a film didn’t help and I saw this one through to the end. There was also a little journey during the night, something about having to sleep with someone or other. They took me off to this place and they found that it was a girl. I thought “well, I’m not even able to sleep with anyone at the moment and I don’t really think that it would be appropriate for me to do so anyway. We were settling down to an interesting dream when for no apparent reason the ‘phone rang at 00:30. And when I get my hands on whoever it was who rang me to break up what had the makings of an exciting voyage they’ll be drinking soup through a straw for the next 4 weeks

Waking up at 07:00 didn’t help the proceedings much either.

By 09:00 I was up and about and I spent the morning in rather bucolic pursuits, choosing the music for another radio programme. At about 11:30 I had to knock off because I needed to go to the chemist down the road and knowing my luck, he would close at lunchtime.

As it was, he only had some of the stuff in that I needed so I would have to go back later.

At lunchtime there was football – Caernarfon v Y Drenewydd in a match for the remaining place in the Europa League. Fans were excluded, despite the pleas from all kinds of people, including me, that went unanswered, and so we had fans in trees, looking out of attic windows, peering through the fence, leaning on ladders against the wall.

And what a match it was – a real pendulum that swung first one way and then the other until near the end when Y Drenewydd roared away.

The difference was the quality on the bench. Caernarfon had two early injuries, to Mendes and Mike Hayes, and their replacements weren’t really able to recreate the skill.

On the other hand, Y Drenewydd had strength in depth and at 3-2 down, Chris Hughes threw on 2 more attackers who tore the Caernarfon defence to shreds and scored three goals between them near the end.

And spare a thought for Lewis Brass in the Caernarfon goal. On two occasions he made really acrobatic saves to prevent certain goals, and the rebounds off his hands could have gone anywhere. But of course, they just had to fall to an unmarked Y Drenewydd player, didn’t they?

When your luck is in, it’s really in.

This afternoon I’ve spent most of the time sleeping and I don’t know why. I was hoping that these blood transfusions would have kindled some fire inside me but it seems to have made things worse because I was flat out, gone. I managed to recover something in order to speak to Ingrid and Rosemary but God alone knows what they must have thought of the conversation.

I’d even managed to go off on another good ramble. There was something about going through some kind of upheaval that was unpopular and while we were at it we were thumbing through some kind of electronic display of an Al Stewart album. The first couple of songs were familiar but a quick look through towards the end out of order using some kind of pointy stick to prise the pages down showed songs that I didn’t know

Later I was with some girl I’d only recently met at Bill’s funeral service at Pionsat church. They had his coffin in the hearse and were to take it to the cemetery and I wondered how they would do that – which way would they go.

Later on I managed to find the energy to go and pick up the remainder of the medication and on the way back I had vegan sausage, beans and ships for tea.

Now I’m off to bed. I’ve had enough of today and it’s high time that it finished. I had been hoping to write some radio notes this afternoon for another programme but I’m going to have to do that tomorrow instead, if I can find the energy.

Right now, I’ve had enough. Here’s hoping tomorrow is better.

Saturday 22nd May 2021 – AND NOW I KNOW …

… why I’m here in the hospital right now.

They gave me a blood test he other day and the count was 7.6. That’s well below the critical limit of 8.0 and represents quite a dramatic drop from the last test that I had 4 weeks ago.

This will explain a lot about my behaviour over the last couple of weeks and also explains why I’m here. The drop has been so dramatic that they are quite concerned.

As an aside – that’s why I write so much about my health and how am feeling – so that I can look back and compare my results with how I’m feeling and it gives me some kind of guide to how I’m doing.

This morning I was allowed something of a lie-in, and I found out why, and that was because I needed an ecograph and a stomach x-ray and for that I needed an empty stomach. And so no breakfast for me. Tomorrow we’ll have a 06:30 start, despite it being a Sunday.

And another thing too, in that the girl who gave me the ecograph can run her apparatus all over my thorax any time she likes too. Not for nothing have I chosen to be in a University Teaching Hospital with loads of students examining my credentials.

Meanwhile, where had I been during the night? I had started off in London, trying to get back to Aunt Mary’s. I didn’t know which way to go. I was going to get on any train and work my way around because the metro stations were just so packed with people and even I was having to wait on the stairs until the platform was cleared. Finalltya train pulled in but I couldn’t get on that one. The next one pulled and it was a Northern Line train. It didn’t go into the City at all. It went around the top of the town and I was trying to work out where I could change. I noticed that it crossed the line that I wanted, cross the Northern Line so I had to alight at one station and walk to another one. I didn’t think that they would be far away even if they didn’t connect so I thought that I’d ask someone. There was this girl standing next to me and I asked her. She looked at me and said “why did you ask me? Why didn’t you ask someone else?”. She said that she didn’t know. I think she thought that I was trying to chat her up, which I probably was, but anyway … I asked someone else, a couple of others on the train but they didn’t know. The girl said that she knew a woman and the woman explained roughly how to get there. It was only a 5-minute walk so it didn’t make any problem of mine. The girl asked where I was going so I told her. I said that my aunt lived near there. She said “ohhh la la, plenty of money there!”. I had a laugh and a smile. She said “I hope that you’ll be OK there” and “watch out when you are out on your bike” everything like that, teasing, because people who live near my aunt have piles of money – it was well-known as an area that was well-off so she was having a good tease at me about it. I wondered what was going through her mind. It was a shame that I had to get off when I did and walk through a couple of streets to find this other metro station to take me to the one near my aunt’s

Later on there was something about playing tennis with an old woman. She said that she was 70 but she looked much older than that. She was hitch-hiking to a tennis court so I picked her up. She said she was off to Ellesmere Port so I left her at my friend’s at Neston but she didn’t have the red card that you needed so I don’t know how she was going to manage with that. She had some kind of illness too. I went on with this guy who I’d also picked up hitch-hiking. We parked and we walked somewhere around North London again and ended up at the supermarket. We didn’t go in, we just looked at all of the kids playing all around. I walked over to the river where there used to be a bridge that had fallen down. There were crowds of people hanging around and there were people jumping off the bridge onto the sand about 60 feet below. They were braver then me. They would jump It was a hilly outcrop, one or two of them would get on the hilly outcrop and then spring forward again. others would go straight down in a variety of gymnastic positions until they hit the ground. But there wasn’t much room as there were lots of rocks that had fallen there. They had to land on the sand between the rocks and from 60 feet up, doing that wasn’t easy. This guy came over to me and said goodbye. he explained that the thing with boring people is that they don’t really make life interesting etc but “you were very interesting” he said “even though I wasn’t very keen on what you were saying or doing, you made it sound quite interesting so that made it an enjoyable time”. I thanked him and he disappeared.

Some time later they came along with a pouch of blood and I was given a blood transfusion. We’ll see what good that does me.

But there are many more tests planned for me during the next couple of days so I dunno about that. By the time that they finish their tests and give me a report, I’ll probably need another blood transfusion.

This afternoon in between the interruptions I brought the blog up to date and then later I settled down to watch the football. Barry Town were entertaining Caernarfon Town in the first of the playoff matches for the vacant Welsh place in the European Cup next season.

Barry is a team that is technically so much better but the players of Caernarfon have an extraordinary team spirit and actually play like a team.

And that was how things went in the game. Barry pressed forward relentlessly in the earlier part of the game but Caernarfon looked quite dangerous on the break. And they took advantage when Mike Lewis in the Barry goal got his foot to stop a dangerous shot on goal but could could only divert it into the path of Mike Hayes who buried it in the back of the net.

Their lead didn’t last long though. From a corner a Barry Town header hit a Caernarfon defender and the ricochet completely flat-footed Tyler French in he Caernarfon goal.

In the second half Barry Town pushed forward but were caught by a beautiful ball by Jack Kenny into space over the top of the Barry defence was pounced upon by Mike Hayes who was quickest to the ball and he put a beautiful lob over the head of Mike Lewis into the net for the second goal.

Barry Town threw everything at Caernarfon but the Caernarfon defence stood firm and deep in stoppage time with everyone up in the Caernarfon penalty area looking for the equaliser, Caernarfon caught them again and Jake Bickerstaff ran almost the full length of the field to score a third.

Later on I had a video chat with Alison but now I’m off to bed. It might be early but tomorrow is Sunday and a Day of Rest when I usually have a lie-in. But with a 06:30 start, I need to totter off now.

Saturday 8th May 2021 – REGULAR READERS …

… of this rubbish will recall some rather spectacular lie-ins just recently when there has been no alarm call in the morning and with not going to bed until about 02:30 this morning one could be forgiven for believing that we would have another one today.

However I think that a new record has been set today because I seem to have taken it to some rather extreme lengths. I don’t know what else you would call 13:55 for an awakening. All I can say is that I must have been really tired. It’s a good job that it was a Bank Holiday.

There’s no alarm tomorrow either because it’s a Sunday. I hate to think of what time it will be when I awaken.

Of course, with it being such a late start I’ve done absolutely nothing today. By the time that I’d had my medication and let it work, it was time for my afternoon walk.

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual I wandered off to the end of the car park to look over the wall down onto the beach but instead today I was distracted by events out at sea.

Just offshore cruising along quite comfortably and slowly was Joly France. The holiday season must be well under way by now and with it being a Bank Holiday there are crowds of people about. The ferry company is thus making the most of it all by taking some of them for a lap around the bay to see the sights, whatever sights there might be.

We can tell from this angle that it’s the newer one of the two Joly France boats. The give-away is the shape of the window. On this one the windows are rectangular and deep whereas on the other one the windows are more square.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving observed the activity out at sea, I turned my attention to the beach down below.

There are crowds of people down there this afternoon as you can see, even if, with the tide, there isn’t too much beach to be on. And I’m not surprised today because it was quite possibly the warmest day of the year so far. There was something of a wind as well but for a change it was a warm wind, rather like the Föhn Wind that you experience sometimes in the northern rain shadow of the Alps.

There’s something else that you can see in this photo that’s interesting, and that’s at the bottom-right of the photo. It’s a stone outlet pipe that drains the water from the car park and cascades it down onto the beach below. It’s pushed so far out so that the water from the drain will fall down clear of the stonework and wash the mortar out of the joints.

joly france yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was something moving that caught my eye out there in the English Channel between the Ile de Chausey and the mainland.

It was quite a long way out so there was plenty of time for me to walk to the little butte at the back of the lighthouse where there’s the best view of the Channel. Dodging the crowds on the path, because everyone in Normandy seemed to be out there today, I wandered off along to there to take a photo.

Bach here I could blow up the photograph, despite modern anti-terrorist legislation, and I could see that it’s the other Joly France boat on its way back from the Ile de Chausey. They have been quite busy today what with this and that.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlthough the wind wasn’t all that strong today there was still quite a heavy rolling sea. I could see the waves breaking with some force onto the sea wall so I was keen to make my way round there to see what was going on.

First though I went across the car park down to the end of the headland to see what there was going on out there. And apart from the crowds of people around here and the people down on the lower path there wasn’t very much happening at all.

There was no-one fishing with rod and line off the rocks and there weren’t any fishing boats exploiting the resources of the bay today either so I wandered off along the path on the top of the cliff towards the harbour to see what was happening there.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHalfway along the path there’s a good viewpoint where you can see the waves breaking on the harbour walls.

The force of the sea isn’t as powerful as we have seen sometimes but nevertheless it was impressive watching these large, heavy waves come rolling in from the Atlantic. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … there is nothing between that sea wall and the North American coast several thousands of kilometres away so any storm out there will be picked up by the waves and brought to this very point.

But it was also quite interesting to see that the people on top of the harbour wall were taking absolutely no notice whatever of the waves breaking on the sea wall behind them

men with jetski port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey were obviously much more interested in what was going on in the harbour so I wandered off down the path to the viewpoint over the harbour to see for myself.

The first thing that I noticed was that the diving boat was there. So there’s something going on right now. Then there are the couple of people on the lower quay underneath the fish processing plant doing something with what looks like a jetski.

At the back of the jetski is a pile of disturbed water and a load of bubbles, just as if a diver has gone down over there and that had caught my interest. I waited there for a few minutes hoping that if someone had gone down over there, they would come back up. But no luck with that so I don’t know.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was waiting for the diver (if indeed there was one) to come back to the surface I had a look at the chantier navale to see what was happening in there right now.

And we’ve had a change of occupancy once more in there today. At long last, after all this time up on the blocks in there, Aztec Lady has now gone back into the water. Her repairs, whatever they were, have now finished. There’s just the little fishing boat in there right now but I imagine that that will change over the next few days.

The diver didn’t resurface so that made me wonder whether I was right about that, but after a couple of minutes waiting I went on home for a mug of coffee ready for tonight’s football which was about to start.

With TNS having won earlier this afternoon, it was vital that Connahs Quay Nomads won this evening in order to maintain their lead at the top of the table. I was delighted that Andy Morrison had picked an attacking formation because at times the Nomads have been quite impressive going forward.

Caernarfon aren’t all that strong on skill but there is a really good team spirit there that keeps them in a mid-table place but unfortunately they were no match for the Nomads. They went a goal down quite early on and although they held out after that they didn’t ever really threaten the Nomads goal.

The situation changed dramatically after about an hour. Jamie Insall was through the defence with the ball with only Lewis Brass in the Cofis goal to beat. Brass came off his line to try to win the ball but missed by about half an inch and brought down Insall.

It was clear to me that Brass was going for the ball and it was 25 yards out, well-wide of the goal but nevertheless the referee brought out the red card. And all that I can say is that if that was a red card offence then many other referees are being far too lenient.

With Caernarfon down to 10 men and with a substitute keeper in goal, Andy Morrison’s answer was to take off a defender and bring on another attacking player and the Nomads simply overwhelmed the Cofis and scored 3 more goals.

They were easily the better side but 4-0 was rather flattering. But the championship now goes all the way down to the wire. It’s all on the final match of the season.

Eventually I managed to catch up with the dictaphone notes, of which there were more than enough, from today. I don’t know if I’ve dictated this but I was out on a hike with my rucksack, a nice, rural rolling countryside. I came into a village and there was another girl or woman there with a rucksack obviously hiking. She was pouring over a map looking for somewhere. One of the locals was trying to help her so I asked if she needed any help. She told me that she was looking for a certain place where she hoped to find a place to stay for the night. Where I was headed was a Youth Hostel so I told her about that and invited her to come with me to this place but she decided not to and carry on and try to find the place where she was going to be staying. This was another one of these dreams where there was this mountain pass that we’ve been on on several occasions either skiing or walking, the very tall narrow pass, very steep. I was thinking that it’s quite a climb up there and down the other side and if the Youth Hostel there doesn’t have any room I’m going to have to come all the way back and I didn’t really fancy that at this time of the afternoon. But it was this pass again that was quite interesting.

I was with a woman and we had a big pile of kids. We were in Caliburn going somewhere and we picked up this big fat woman, gave her a lift. Suddenly she turned round to be extremely nasty and started to overwhelm everything, giving orders, this kind of thing. My response to that would have been to hit the woman with a trolley jack handle and all of us clear off but the woman with me said “why don’t we wait until we’ve crossed the border and then we can do that and dump her”. The we’d set off to go and fetch food or something. Coming back we found that this woman was 100 yards or so away from the woman, me and the van so I got in the vans and shouted for the kids to run behind the van as they were only youngsters and can run really fast and the big fat woman couldn’t run at all. I went about half a mile down the road and pulled up there waiting for the kids to come along and join us.

Somewhere during the night I was in an aeroplane, 2 of us in a Spitfire 2-seater. We had a radar set and we were supposed to be looking for mines. We were chasing 1 particular contact which turned out to be in the flat hills of South America. We landed our plane and went to look where the radar had indicated and it turned out to be a puddle with a few fish in it. The person I was with expressed surprise that the radar was so accurate that it had managed to pick out fish in a puddle and not mines in an ocean. I noticed that this puddle was at the side of a lump of concrete and as I explored it trying to work out what it was the person with me said that it was probably some kind of hard-standing for the farmer to park his tractor when he was here. I was looking at how it dominated a mountain pass and thought that if you had a tank on this concrete its gun would be firing straight up the road so anyone coming over the mountain pass, this tank could pick them off one by one. The rise of the hill on the other side would prevent anyone coming up the pass from firing back until they came over the top of the pass when of course they would be in full view of this tank. The guy with me didn’t think very much of my suggestion but I was convinced that that was what it was. This was what the radar had picked up, not the fish in the puddle at the side.
What linked these two dreams together – it was the aeroplane dream first – was for some reason we had a wheel off the aeroplane and some guy came over to have a look at us. He said “ohh a Spitfire” and talking, had somehow climbed into the cockpit 2nd seat while I was changing the wheel. We must have had a puncture or something. He started to play around with a few things. I asked “what are you doing?”. He replied “I’m undoing the handbrake” and the aeroplane which had now transformed itself into Caliburn or a van or something started to roll back ever so slowly, but slow enough that I could still get the wheel onto the studs and start to turn the wheel nuts on. As it rolled back I knew that it wasn’t going to go far because there was a tree behind us. Sure enough the van rolled into this tree and there it came to a stop so I could finish putting on the wheel nuts on it. It was somewhere round here where this guy turned into this big fat woman and we turned into this van with these kids and I had this woman with me

So having done all of this I’m off to make the first mix of my sourdough fruit bread and then I’m off to bed. I’ve not been up and about for long and I’ve not done anything at all. But there are occasionally days like this. We’ll have to see what tomorrow brings.

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.

Tuesday 13th April 2021 – I HAVE JUST …

… seen a most extraordinary football match.

When you see a score something like Caernarfon 1 Connah’s Quay Nomads 6, you’ll be thinking that Caernarfon were the victims of a right spannering from a team that is, shall we say, not renowned for its goal-scoring record.

And when you find that then Nomads took off their two leading attackers after about 70 minutes you’ll be as bewildered as everyone else.

For the first half the match was quite level – although the Nomads were 2-1 up, Caernarfon were still well in touch. But in the second half, two things happened.

Playing in midfield for the Nomads was a player called Neil Danns. He’s had plenty of experience in the English pyramid, playing for a couple of seasons in the English Premiership and on the international stage for Guyana.

He’s been out of the game for a while and when I first saw him a few weeks ago he looked distinctly sluggish, out of form and out of fitness. But whatever it was that Andy Morrison put in his half-time cup of tea, I’ll have a drink of it too. In the second half we were treated to a Neil Danns masterclass.

The second thing was a player called Johnny Hunt. He’s played on a much higher stage than this too but he’s also been out of the game for a while. He came on as a substitute after about an hour or so playing at left-back and although for the first ten minutes he looked well off the pace, he picked up remarkably rapidly.

He covered so much ground that his fellow full-back Danny Davies could push up forward into the attack and he scored two of the goals, simply because Caernarfon ran out of players to mark him.

If Danns and Hunt continue to improve at this rate, we could be in for something quite impressive.

But going back to the half-time cuppa that they gave to Neil Danns, had I had some of that I would have had a much better day today because me rising out of the bed at the first alarm was something rather like Dracula raising himself from the Dead. It was something very much like an ungainly stagger to my feet when the alarm went off.

After the medication, with nothing on the dictaphone from the night, I had a bash at the photos from August 2019. By the time that I’d finished I’d left the deep ravine near Last Stand Hill and I’m now sheltering with the pack train at the far end of the Little Big Horn battlefield.

As I said a few days ago, I’m going to be here at Little Big Horn for quite a while.

Having done the photos I spent some time revising my Welsh and then, armed with my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread, I went for my lesson. And to my surprise, it all went very well. I wasn’t expecting that.

We have three new students who have joined our class for the new term. We’re now no longer beginners but intermediates and these three people have some previous experience in the language. I noticed particularly that one of the new students was speaking Archaic Welsh, the kind that I picked up from my grandmother and from the elderly coach driver with whom I worked at one time.

After lunch I came in here to carry on with my work but I … errr …. went to sleep. And a proper sleep too. It was rather embarrassing seeing as I have so much to do.

But this led me up to my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, the first thing that I did was to go over to the wall at the end of the car park here and look down on the beach to see what was going on down there.

The tide was quite a way out so there was plenty of room for people to be enjoying themselves and as the weather was reasonably warm and it was quite sunny, I was expecting to see the massed hordes of tourists down there sunning themselves.

But to my surprise I could have counted on the fingers of one hand the number of people down there this afternoon.

But anyway I pushed off along the path on my walk around the headland.

trawlers english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been looking down on the beach I’d seen some movement in the water in the English Channel near Jersey so when I reached the high point of the path, I took a photo with the aim of cropping the photo and blowing it up (which I can do, despite modern anti-terrorist legislation) when I returned home.

What I was hoping to see was something like Normandy Trader or Thora, one of the little Jersey freighters coming over from the Channel Islands to take away the load of goods on the quayside on the loading bay. But instead I’ve captured a couple of they local trawlers heading for home.

And they are going to be having a long wait outside the harbour because the tide is well out and it will be a good while before it’s back in high enough for them to open the harbour gates.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was on my way around, I had a look at the roofing job that they are performing in the College Malraux.

As I was strolling along the path I’d heard all kinds of knocking as if people were hitting things with hammers and I reckoned that it was coming from the roof of the College. The workmen were up there this afternoon and with the two bays on the roof that they had stripped off, they were covering the roof with new laths ready for the new slates.

If they can finish the woodwork quite quickly, it shouldn’t take too long to put the slates on. And who knows? They might even finish the roof some time this year. They have taken long enough to reach this point.

buoys pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen this scene a couple of times just recently.

There’s been this buoy-type of thing that’s been bobbing up and down just off the Pointe du Roc every now and again, and today, it’s been joined by another one. Yesterday, we saw one of the little fishing boats doing something or other just off the headland with its lines out.

It surely can’t be a coincidence that this other buoy has appeared in the vicinity of where the boat was moored yesterday, and I imagine that it would confirm my suspicions that they are indeed markers for lobster pots or the like. But I still think that it’s a rather strange place to leave some lobster pots – on the rocks off the headland just there.

To my surprise, after all of the action that was going o out there yesterday, there was absolutely nothing happening today. And so I pushed off along the path on top of the cliffs.

And to my surprise I wasn’t almost run down on the zebra crossing by ay motor vehicle today either.

anakena hermes 1 notre dame de cap lihou pleasure craft chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was however some action going on in the chantier navale this afternoon.

Having seen Lys Noir go back into the water the other day, Anakena, Hermes 1 and Notre Dame de Cap Lihou have now been joined by some kind of expensive pleasure craft. Unfortunately I’m not able to see the name of the boat because of the two guys standing on the platform at the stern obscuring it, so I’ll have to have anothr look tomorrow.

As an aside, Aztec Lady is still here in the chantier navale, out of shot on the far side to the right. There I was thinking when she first came into the place that she would only be there for a short period. She seems to have put down roots.

joly france ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s been some activity going on over at the ferry terminal too.

Yesterday we had two Joly France boats tied up over there as well as a fishing boat. But today, the fishing boat has gone off to somewhere that I don’t know and we have just one of the Joly France boats over there today, the other one being moored in the inner harbour this afternoon.

The pile of freight is still at the quayside in the inner harbour waiting for someone to take it away but I cleared off back to my apartment and a nice hot coffee.

And then I came in here to make a start (or a finish) on my Central Europe trip and although I managed to do something, I fell asleep again and even missed my guitar practice.

However I did manage to wake up in time to have a quick tea of burger and pasta followed by jam roly poly and dashed in here to watch the football.

Tomorrow I have no plans whatsoever so I’m hoping for a good day’s work. But it’s much later now than it usually is and I’m still not in bed. I can see that I’ll need a mug of Andy Morrison’s half-time drink tomorrow if I’m to do any good at all.

It’s been a difficult couple of days just now. I’ve gone for 4 years being careful about what I do but over the last couple of days I’ve smashed a storage jar, a mug and today, one of my plates.

What with the big computer’s USB3 port, Caliburn’s door handle, the big NIKON D500‘s SD memory card slot and a few other things that I could mention, every thing that I seem to be touching is falling apart right now. I’m at the stage where I’m afraid to go to the toilet.

Saturday 27th March 2021 – THAT WAS PROBABLY …

… the most uneventful journey that I have ever had since I’ve been going back and to to Leuven.

It might have been all so different though. It’s a good job that I checked the telephone before I went to bed because I found that I had forgotten to set the alarms for this morning. And there would be very little chance of me awakening from the dead at 05:00.

So with the alarms switched on and me fully dressed and not having had one of these new knock-out pill things that they have prescribed for me, I went to bed and slept right through, just awakening once and not having had an attack of cramp either.

As for whether there is anything on the dictaphone, you’ll have to wait for another day to find out about that.

When the alarm went off at 05:00 I leapt out of bed with alacrity and by 05:30 I’d packed, made my sandwiches, washed up, tidied up, handed back my keys and was halfway down the road to the railway station.

multiple unit am96 automotrice 569 gare de leuven railway station belgium Eric HallBang on 06:14 my train pulled into the station.

It’s one of the AM96 class of multiple units running the train to one of the smaller towns on the Belgian “Costa Stella”. We’ve travelled on quite a few of these and I happen to quite like them. They are quite clean, tidy and comfortable considering that they are over 20 years old now.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall, because I’ve said it before … “and you’ll say it again” – ed … when two of these sets are coupled together, the two driving cabs that are next to each other can pivot out of the way so that passengers can walk from one set to the next

Despite having to go round by the airport, we pulled up in the Gare du Midi with plenty of time to spare.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4523 gare du midi railway station brussels belgium Eric HallThe train for the next part of my journey – the trip to Lille Europe – was already in the station.

It’s one of the Reseau 38000 tri-volt units on which we’ve travelled quite regularly. The train is the 07:17 to Strasbourg that goes via Lille, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and then cross country.

Although the doors were open, there was a sign saying “do not embark” but after waiting around for 10 minutes freezing we all had a minor revolt and boarded the train regardless. It set off on time and roared off down the line towards Lille Europe Railway station where it arrived on time.

Then I had my 10-minute walk across the city to the Lille Flandres railway station. My leg was still giving me cause for concern but it was certainly better than it was on the way out after my fall. I made it quite comfortably with plenty of time to spare.

TGV Reseau Duplex 218 gare de lille flandres France Eric HallAt Lille-Flandres, my train was already in at the platform. It’s another one of the TGV Reseau Duplex sets that work the route from Paris to Lille.

My seat is, as usual, upstairs on the top deck and, just like the previous train, there was plenty of room to spread out, due to the low numbers of passengers riding right now with the Covid restrictions.

On the way into Paris I ended up having a little doze and awoke with a start as we were creeping into the suburbs. Bang on time yet again. I headed off for the metro and just as I set foot on the platform a train pulled in so I didn’t have to wait at all for my TRAVERSEE DE PARIS, with or without Bourvil to carry my suitcase.

84574 gec alstom regiolis gare montparnasse paris France Eric HallAt the Gare Montparnasse I went up the stairs down which I had fallen the other day, and say a train that looked like mine sitting at the platform.

It wasn’t indicated though so we had to wait around for about an hour or so. That’s the annoying thing about Paris main-line railway stations though. They are huge, draughty and there is nowhere for anyone to sit. I had to stand up leaning against a notice board, watching the police interrogate foreigners and the like and check their papers.

With about 20 minutes to go before our train was due to depart, the platform number came up on the station display board and e could make our way to the train. And it was indeed the train that I had seen at the platform.

84561 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was a 12-car train made of two 6-car units and quite naturally I was in the second unit right down the far end.

Once we set off I spent some time working on the photos from my trip in 2019. I’m now on the Deadwood Trail in South Dakota, waiting for the Deadwood Stage to be heading on over the hills, where the Indian arrows are thicker than porcupine quills. I covered a darn sight more than 23 miles on that day.

To my surprise we pulled into Granville 2 minutes early. I gathered up my stuff and headed off down the steps to the Parc de Val es Fleurs into town.

On the way past, I called into Super U to pick up some mushrooms for my pizza tomorrow and then headed for home where I collapsed into a chair.

The football came on later – Caernarfon Town v Cardiff Metro. Caernarfon aren’t a particularly skilful team but they are an efficient team. Cardiff Metro, technically pretty good as you might expect, lack the skill to go with it and are extremely lightweight up front.

The Met’s central defenders are skilful and brave but they are probably the slowest, most ponderous pair that I have ever seen. Caernarfon won the match 3-2, a score that flattered the Met, having taken advantage of the Met’s central defenders by catching them too far upfield on two occasions and beating them to a couple of long balls over the top.

Mind you, Noah Edwards’ long-ball pass for the first goal is about as good as you’ll ever get at this level of football. It was an absolutely inch-perfect curving long-ball pass with the outside of the right foot. Just look at AT ABOUT 25 MINUTES INTO THE VIDEO (ABOUT 11 MINUTES OF THE GAME) and you’ll see what I mean.

For a couple of hours I did some tidying up on the computer and then went for tea. A burger that I had brought back from Leuven with a couple of the mountain of potatoes that are were still waiting for me here.

Now that that’s done, I’m off to bed. No alarm in the morning so I’m hoping for a good lie-in. I reckon that I need it after my day. Not that I had a stressful journey back. There won’t be another one as calm as that.

Saturday 20th March 2021 – I’VE HAD SOMETHING …

… of an aviation day today. There was a whole host of activity in the air this afternoon.

Boeing 777-328(ER) F-GSQL english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt seems that despite everything the long-haul transatlantic flights are back again and there were quite a few in the air over here. While I was out on my afternoon walk this one flew by over the English Channel at 18,000 feet slowly gaining height.

This is Air France flight AF54 flying from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Washington DC. The aeroplane is a Boeing 777-328(ER) registration F-GSQL. She’s quite an elderly machine by modern standards, having first flown in January 2006.

And her claim to fame is that she has two engines that were manufactured by my former employers, General Electric, although I don’t claim to have anything to do with them.

vans rv-4 f-paur point du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if that isn’t enough to be going on with, there was plenty more out there too.

This delightful multicoloured aeroplane is a Vans RV-4 registration number F-PAUR. These are kit-built aeroplanes supplied with Lycoming engines and you assemble them yourself. This one was assembled by someone called Joël Benete and took to the air on 9th March 1993, just one of about 1500 assembled since 1979.

She flew from Granville in a south-south-easterly direction and seems at this moment to be somewhere in the foothills of the Alps, not having moved for a couple of hours although there’s no airport around where she is.

When my alarm went off this morning I flew pretty quickly too, out of bed as the first alarm was still ringing. I have plenty to do today.

Not going to the shops though. I’m off to Leuven early Wednesday morning and so I’ll be eating what’s lying around here until I go. I have a hard enough time keeping food fresh here when I’m here to eat it.

I had the medication and then came back to have a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

There was something about a group of British soldiers who had been imprisoned and brutalised, I’m not sure what they were doing or what had been done to them but this involved going on a trip to northern Scotland so we were going to fit in a visit to an ex-friend of mine on our way up. This involved driving all the way over the Pennines to the far north and turning right at Richmond and all that way north. A question of a shopping trip came up while we were away. Someone said that the south of France was the place to go so after we had dealt with this problem to the north we would head to the south od France. I thought to myself “this is a long way to be going in a day from here to the north and then down to the south of France” but I wasn’t too keen. I thought that it would have been better to have gone to the south of France first but I didn’t say anything. I thought to myself that I didn’t really want to do this and the fact that we were running so late would make it impossible anyway so I’ll just do it like they are telling me to do”. The question of a car came up. We decided that it would have to have 4 seats and 4 doors. Someone suggested “if the 2 of you are going why don’t you tale so-and-so’s mother?” I thought “she’s really going to enjoy this long trip sitting for hours in a car while we dash from the far north of England to the south of France but never mind, we’ll do it if that’s what hey want”.

Later on I was with another ex-friend of mine in Stoke on Trent and he was telling me about how he had no money and how even his wife’s sister had stopped paying some of his bills and so on. He said that I could stay there but I have to fend for myself because they can’t provide any food. I said “that’s not a problem”. For lunch I just had some dry bread off a baguette and I’d go out and buy some bread in the afternoon because it was pouring down now and I wasn’t really going anywhere. Later on in the afternoon I went outside for a walk and he and his wife came outside and said “come on, we’re ready”. There were cars parked everywhere, it was a new house that they had but there were cars parked all over the place. We had to manoeuvre one around and drive it from off the kerb inside where another one had been parked and onto the street. Just then a yellow van went past. He was obviously afraid that my friend was going to hit him so he shouted out a pile of abuse. We took no notice and parked this car up. Then the 3 of us walked into town. One of the girls, I can’t remember who she was but she was a small woman, she said that she had to go and fetch something. I said “I’ll come with you if you like” so she replied “OK”. She, someone else and I went into the lift and went downstairs. It was like a street market with all street market vendors selling their stuff. They had cameras marked “Ferrari”, all this kind of thing, in a kind of camouflage design. Trying to drag the kids out of there would have been really difficult. We were going to the theatre apparently and we needed badges to get in but this girl and I, we didn’t have them. She was going on about how all of the others were going to get into the theatre and we’ll end up having to pay again because we don’t have our badges. There had been some talk earlier about badges and I had a badge, a Boy Scouts badge. My friend and his wife were surprised because they knew that I had qualified but they didn’t know that I’d had it yet. I showed them but it was only very small. Another thing that he and I had been discussing was retirement, how we didn’t miss our old job. I said “I still think about it all the time, the horrible people which whom we worked”. He replied that he could do better than that and drew back the curtains. From his living room window you could see the building where we had worked, right across the valley.

What was so disappointing about this was that having had him and his wife accompanying me on a nocturnal ramble, where was Zero who has accompanied me on many a nocturnal ramble over the years – probably my most regular companion even if she hasn’t featured as much in these voyages as she did at one time?

That’s the kind of thing that fills me with dismay.

After all of that I sat down and started on the photos from Greenland. And after a Herculean effort this morning, right the way up to lunchtime, I’m now in a hotel in Toronto. Yes, I’ve finished all of the Greenland photos, all …gulp … 2330 of them.

That was a marathon session and no mistake

All that remains now is for me to finish off the final week when I was in North Dakota and then I can attack the 5000-odd from August 2019. That’s going to be something of a labour of love and no mistake.

After lunch I went out for my afternoon walk. And there was a reason for being out there earier than usual, which you will find out if you read on.

beach rue du nord plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, you’ve already seen the sky in those earlier aeroplane photos so you know the kind of day that we are having right now.

Despite the fact that it’s fairly cold and there’s something of a wind outside, we are having the best day of the year so far, at least, as far as sunshine goes. It’s gorgeous out here and it really is a surprise that there didn’t seem to be too many people about right now.

The beach is practically empty and that’s unusual in this kind of weather because even though there’s not much beach to be on, it’s a weekend and we are expecting a mass of Parisian second-home owners selfishly fleeing the new curfew in Paris and bringing the virus with them to infect all of us.

joly france english channel ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut that’s probably where all of the tourists and second-home owners are at the moment and why they aren’t on the beach.

While I was looking out to sea I noticed something moving way out in the English Channel on its way to the Ile de Chausey so I took a photo with the aim of cropping and enlarging it when I returned home.

Sure enough, when I did that later I could see that it’s one of the Joly France ferries that plies between the port here and the Ile de Chausey. They’ve been quite quiet of late and haven’t seemed to be doing much work, but the Parisians fleeing the lockdown has probably caused a rise in demand for the service.

There are plenty of holiday homes on the island and those who can afford to rent one will have done so to escape the effects of the virus and the lockdown.

Druine D-5 f-pvqn pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere have already been a few photos of aeroplanes that i’ve posted so far this afternoon, and I haven’t finished yet.

This aeroplane is F-PVQN and that tells me that she’s a Druine D-5. The rather elderly design tells us that she’s something special, and it turns out that it’s yet another kit-built aeroplane with a design from the 1950s. I don’t know how old she is but she’s construction number 09 and I’ve seen photos of her at the Paris Air Show in 1977 so she’s getting on a bit.

She hasn’t filed a flight plan so I can’t say where she’s going, and she doesn’t seem to have a radio beacon as she didn’t show up on my flight radar.

naabsa fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust recently we’ve been seeing the odd fishing boat or two left high and dry by the tide over at the Fish processing Plant.

There was one there yesterday but they seem to have multiplied overnight, naughty little beasts, because there are three of them there this afternoon and I really have no idea why.

After my little walk around the headland it was time to scurry back to my bolt-hole here and make myself a coffee, and then settle down in front of the computer because the football had an early kick-off this afternoon, and we were treated to Bala Town v Caernarfon.

Bala Town are quite an attractive team to watch and have plenty of skill but while Caernarfon have nothing like the same amount of skill, they are actually the only team that play in the Welsh Premier League that actually play like a team rather than a collection of 11 assorted players.

Today was no exception because while Bala have a couple of dangerous attackers in Chris Venables and Will Evans and had the lion’s share of the first half, Caernarfon’s centre-backs snuffed Venables and Evans right out of the game. At half-time Bala were 1-0 up and that was the result of a deflected shot that Tibbetts in the Caernarfon goal would otherwise have saved.

In the second half Caernarfon played with much more confidence going forward and equalised after 10 minutes or so. The game then swung either way until with about 15 minutes to go Mike Hayes broke through and fired low into the corner of Bala’s goal for the winner. How he must have enjoyed scoring a goal against the club that released him last summer.

So a surprise win for Caernarfon in what was a thoroughly enjoyable match played in what was a really good spirit. A fine example for the League

After that I did some more work on my Central Europe trip last summer and then went for tea. In an effort to deal with some of the backlog of food I made a quick potato and mushroom curry, followed by the last of the apple pie.

Now I’m off to bed because I’m pretty much exhausted after today and I still haven’t given the living room a second go. So i’m hoping that a decent sleep and a good lie-in will see me right. Although I have a suspicion that it will take much more than that to see me right.

Friday 18th December 2020 – AS YOU PROBABLY …

… might have guessed – after yesterday there was no hope whatever of my beating the third alarm to my feet. Not a hope.

In fact it was 09:35 when I finally shook off whatever it was that I was suffering from and arose from the dead.

After the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone. And while I might not have been here in body, I was certainly out and about in spirit.

We started off in the living room in Shavington and there were piles of us there – we’d got ourselves into little groups. Suddenly another 11 children arrived and we had to add a couple of children to each of the groups. Not being able to find anything and not being able to think of a good way of doing it I cut up a paper into 8 with 8 squares because 2 of the kids were quite well known to us and one of the leaders of one of the groups immediately bagged them as soon as they walked in. That left 8 or 9, maybe there was 1 left over. The idea was that someone would call out say 1 and 2, or 7 and 4 or 3 and 1 or something and that way have these kids allocated. This took so long in doing, for reasons that I don’t understand – there was a dog asleep on the sofa and I couldn’t find half my paperwork, I’d lost my keys and there was something that I knew before I went to bed that I couldn’t find. And everyone had crashed out to sleep in a heap anyway so it wouldn’t make any difference whose group anyone went to.

Later, we’d been off on a University field trip. Again, we’d been divided into groups and we’d been to visit all of these particular sites. Our group came across a particular site where there was a destroyed statue or cairn or something and the remains of what was quite classed quite clearly as an Iron-Age fort. We reckoned that there had been a battle here maybe and that the fort had been overwhelmed by the Romans and they had built a Victory cairn. of course, time had weathered everything away. The tutor came to see how we were doing and we showed her this and explained our theory. She was immediately all excited and said “there’s a Mr so-and-so coming round with another group. Make sure that one of you grabs hold of him and show him all of this”. Of course I had the short straw so I had to stay behind while they all moved off but I forgot his name so that wasn’t any good. When I tried to ask each group that came along, no-one would actually identify themselves as being this special person doing this special research. By then it was almost time to go home and everyone was congregating down at the bottom so I went down to the bottom and there were 1 or 2 more groups that I hadn’t seen who hadn’t made it round yet so I asked them. Someone stepped forward but this person didn’t correspond with the description that I’d been given. I don’t think that I ever solved that particular problem about finding that person and showing them that sight.

Still plenty to go at yet. I was next somewhere around the Crewe Road in Nantwich. I was looking in a driveway and there was a shoot of what looked like one of these ground alder trees pushing up. I took hold of it and pulled it to pull it up but off shot this root. I had to follow this root and it went for a couple of hundred yards all the way down Crewe Road pulling it up out of the tarmac. In the end I thought “this is going to go on for ever” so I cut it off with a pair of sharp scissors, making sure that I did it behind a bud. Then I had to go and wash my hands that were filthy so I went into a garage of a house – the door was open. I had a look but there was no water in there but the drain was like a drain down from the house above the garage went off in a 90° elbow but the pipe that it went into wasn’t a tight fit at all – just something pushed over and was dripping away. I pulled it apart to clean it but I lost a piece, the drain plug underneath the elbow. I had to reassemble it but still it wouldn’t go on correctly – there was this piece missing too. In the end I found the piece and put it in but the junction was no better and probably even worse than it was before I’d started messing with it. In the end, after having been there for about 10 minutes I just left it and thought that the occupier will have to deal wit it when he realises that he has a really bad leak worse than he had before.

Finally there were 2 of us inside this hospital ward, me and a woman or girl. I can’t remember how this started now but we were in there talking away and I thought “I’d better go and put some clothes on in a moment” so I looked around for a dressing gown but thought “no, I may as well go down to my bed” which was a few floors below. Off I set down the stairs but someone accosted me going down the stairs and asked “do you think that there ought to be separate stairs for patients?”. I couldn’t be bothered about that so I said “yes, absolutely right” and trotted off down these stairs and ended up at my bed on floor Minus 2. it was really early in the morning and a lot of people were still asleep even though the alarm had gone off a long while ago. I had a chat with a few people while I made my bed and then went to make myself a coffee in the put but it turned out that I made soup instead – I must have opened the wrong sachet and there were these dehydrated vegetables everywhere. The lid of the pot was on wrong and that wasn’t going to help matters any. I was having a bit of a moan about this. I noticed that there was a little girl in bed, about 4 or so, asleep in one of the beds, fast asleep with her arms open really wide as if she was hugging something. I remembered that she has her big teddy bear in the cupboard underneath her bed so I thought “wouldn’t it be nice if I got her teddy out and put it on her bed so she could put her arms round it and cuddle it while she was asleep?”. Then I had another thought that I’d better get dressed, but how was I going to remember where this room was that I’d just come from that I’d go back and meet this woman? Then I realised that with it being to common day room of our particular ward it should be written on a piece of paper somewhere on a list so I ought to go and find this list and check to see which room it was that I had just come from.

With all of that going on, it’s hardly surprising that I didn’t leave the bed until 09:35, is it?

And it goes without saying that it took me all of the morning to type out all of that.

Next task was to book my few days in Belgium. Much to my surprise, the trains are actually running according to the timetable (although there is still plenty of time for all that to change of course) and in view of the fact that I had a Christmas bonus voucher from the SNCF the price of the return ticket to Brussels – 1300 kilometres of which about half is undertaken on a TGV – came to just €121:00. I reckon that that’s about the cheapest that I’ve had.

My departure is on Monday 28th December and my return will be on Sunday 3rd January, so I’ll be celebrating New Year in Belgium.

After lunch, I had a look at the kefir.

This morning I finished one of the bottles which mean that the last bottle of Kiwi Kefir went in the fridge. The next batch is ready and so I attended to that. 4 of the clementines went in the whizzer and were whizzed up nicely to extract the juice which was then passed through my nest of filters into the large 3-litre jug.

clementine kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe kefir was then poured through the nest of filters into the jug, leaving about an inch of the mother solution behind. 40 grammes (7 large lumps) of sugar, half a lemon cut into slices and a dried fig cut in half went in too, and then the bottle was filled up with 2.5 litres of water and the top sealed.

The clementine kefir was then run back through the fine filter and funnelled into the various bottles that I use, and here’s the finished solution.

That’s enough for about 5 days of medication in the morning and if it works properly (and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t) it will be delicious. I like my Clementine kefir, but I’m going to have to experiment with other varieties.

Next step, which I mustn’t forget, is to feed the sourdough. As I said, my next batch of bread is going to be a standard batch of yeast bread, just to see whether it’s my technique at fault, but I’m not going to completely abandon the idea of sourdough.

Despite still not feeling very well, I wasn’t going to let it prevent me from heading out to my afternoon walk around the headland.

colours in water rainstorm ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while it wasn’t as yet raining, I could see that at any moment it was about to, and I’m glad that i’d donned my raincoat.

You can see from here that the Ile de Chausey is shrouded in a rainstorm and quite luckily at the moment the wind is blowing out to sea. The moment the wind drops we’ll be getting all of that on our heads.

And you’ll notice that other weird phenomenon that we have sometimes over here too. The different colours in the water there. And I wish that I had a tame oceanographer handy who could explain it all to me.

marine debris peche a pied Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe high winds and damp weather were keeping most people indoors this afernoon. There can’t have been more than half a dozen folk out there this afternoon.

But there was at least one brave soul out there this afternoon. After I’d walked around the headland and started back on the other side I came across this guy out there having a go at the peche à pied to see what he could find.

And while we don’t usually see much marine debris around here, and I’ve never known for sure why, there’s some in this photo. What looks like a concrete block to his right and a sheet of moulded composite board further over.

yacht chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a little cabin cruiser in the chantier navale.

You’ll remember that I speculated that it wouldn’t be around here for very long, and it seems that I was right on that score because here she is today, gone. Conspicuous by her absence.

As for the big yacht that’s been in here since time immemorial, it looks as if she’s having a new coat of paint. So here’s hoping that the rainstorm is going to keep well away until it’s dried. It’s really not the kind of weather to be out there painting anything right now.

As for me, it wasn’t the kind of weather for me to be out there either. I came on back home for a coffee.

After the coffee I spent an hour or so working on the arrears of the summer, and then knocked off for guitar practice, which went much better. I discovered that I could even play the bass to “White Wedding” while I’m singing it, which would have astonished me three months ago.
“Hey little sister, what do you think about that?”
“It’s a nice day to start again.”

christmas lights rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallPutting down the guitar I was back out again quite quickly for my evening runs.

And it seems that I’ve started a trend. I had a letter put through my letter box by one of my neighbours to thank me for brightening up the place with my lights, and it seems that the guy who lives in the house by the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord has decided to follow suit.

There were plenty of fishing boats out there tonight but I imagine that you are pretty sick of seeing substandard photos of blurred boats beating a retreat across the Bay back to port, so I left them alone. Instead I ran on all the way round to the viewpoint over looking the Place Marechal Foch, a rund that I do in three legs, rather lake Jake The Peg.

christmas lights rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing happening there but seeing as it was before 19:30 all of the lights on the shops in the Rue Paul Poirier were illuminated.

We’d missed them by a tiny fraction of a second yesterday and I was determined not to miss them today to make up for it.

The run across the Square Maurice Marland was totally painful. I wasn’t feeling so good and the runs up to this point had been difficult, but trying to run into the teeth of a gale was agonising. I really struggled to make it across to the other side and had to stop for a few minutes.

Nothing much happening anywhere else so I ran on home from the walls and started to make tea.

And tea was very pleasant tonight because I had company. Not physical company, I hasten to add, but my friend Esi who lives in Brussels was having a Zoom party so while I was eating my tea I joined in. Curry and rice with convivial chat for an hour or so was very nice indeed and made a pleasant change. There were about a dozen or so of us all told.

But I had to leave after a while because there’s football on the internet. Caernarfon v Y Drenewydd, with the latter badly in need of some points.

But you can’t play football in a monsoon with a howling gale blowing the ball anywhere except where you want it to go. The Cofis, playing with the wind in the 1st half scored the first goal even though Newtown had the better of the chances, but in the 2nd half the boot was on the other foot as the wind helped Newtown move up the field.

And after about 75 minutes, you could se the light go on in the head of Chris Hughes, the manager of Y Drenewydd. Sitting on his bench was Jake Phillips, who probably has the longest throw in professional football right now. And with the wind behind him, he should have been on from the restart.

But onto the field he trotted – and his first task before he’d even entered the pitch was to take a throw-in. He heaved a really long throw right into the penalty area, helped by the wind. It was headed on by a Newtown attacker to a colleague who slotted it into the net to equalise.

And that’s how the game ended – one goal each. It could have been more but Tibbetts in the Cofis goal had an excellent game to keep Newtown out, but this match was never going to be entertaining in the weather that they were having and I was glad to be undercover in my apartment.

Bed now and shopping tomorrow, if I can remember to wake up in time. There’s so much that I need to buy for my Christmas cooking and it isn’t going to be easy. I’ll have to scan through my recipes before I set out and see what I need.

Tuesday 8th December 2020 – HAVE YOU EVER …

lighthouse cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… seen the lighthouse at the Cap Fréhel looking as clear as it did this afternoon?

It’s about 70 or so kms away, as you are probably fed up of hearing right now, but there must be something about the atmospheric conditions and the height of the lighthouse above sea level to make it stand out so well. We’ve seen it on several occasions, that’s for sure, but I can’t think that it’s ever stood out so clearly as it did today.

One of these days I’ll sort out the photos that I took when we sailed right down the coast on the Spirit of Conrad and you can compare the view of the lighthouse from close up with one of these photos taken from the Pointe du Roc.

Something else of note that is worth mentioning today because it doesn’t happen all that often just now is that I beat the third alarm to my feet this morning. And by a good couple of minutes too

That’s twice in two days that I’ve beaten the alarm. Anyone would think that I’ve wet the bed or something.

Last night before going to bed I’d given the sourdough bread mix its second kneading and put it in the mould that I used, and left it on one side overnight. And so this morning as soon as I got up, the first thing that I did, even before the medication, was to switch on the oven at full heat.

And then, when I’d taken the medication and the oven was now nice and hot, I took a large baking tray, put about half an inch of water in it, dropped the bread mould with the dough inside into the water, covered it with another matching baking tray so that the steam off the water would aerate the bread, and stuck it in the oven.

After about 25 minutes, I took off the lid and then left it cooking for about another 40/45 minutes or so on a slightly lower temperature.

While it was baking away to itself, I had a listen to the dictaphone.

Yesterday’s notes I transcribed and added them to the entry, and then I turned my attention to last night. There was a house move to do and we had a flatbed lorry. It involved putting all these personal possessions off this lorry, or were we putting them on because one minute we were putting them on and another minute we were taking them off. It started off with about 10 of us but the number gradually whittled down every week and between us there was a different number of people until in the end there was just 3. We had quite a crowd watching us, sitting on chairs watching us load or unload this lorry. In the end it turned out that we didn’t have a captain. He had left so one of the guys in charged asked me if I wanted to be captain but I ummed and ahhed. Another guy volunteered so there was just 2 of us running back and to, passing these boxes to the guy who was stacking them. I was thinking all the time that an open-sided lorry is not the kind of vehicle to go around with when you are doing a job like this, stacking boxes on top of it. It’s bound to end in tragedy when you go round a corner. There was one part where we were messing around with 7″ singles. They wouldn’t all stay in the boxes. Someone suggested putting them in with the LPs although I couldn’t see how that made any difference. It meant in the end that they were going to be out of alphabetical order and he’d never be able to trace them again if he had them all mixed up like that wil the LPs
Later there was a supermarket in the basement of a big building. An ad-hoc supermarket in the corner of an empty floor with Covid regulations and only a few people were allowed to go there at times. I was down there doing my shopping. I had a trolley with a few items in it and I had to go back and find my car, a yellow MkIV Cortina. I was convinced that i’d parked it outside in the car park so instead of going up and following the directions back, I went outside but I couldn’t see my car on the car park at all although i was convinced that I’d left it there. It must have been on the internal car park in the building so I had to get back into the building somehow with my trolley load of goods and try to remember which flood I’d put my car on or whereabouts, because I didn’t have a clue where it was now.

That wasn’t all either. But seeing as you are probably eating a meal right now, I’ll spare you the gory details.

Now it was time to turn my attention to the Welsh course. I wrote up my notes from last week and went through them to make sure that I understood them (which isn’t very evident)and then turned my attention to prepare for this week’s lessons.

One thing that I do remember from my grandmother was the imperative, which is only natural of course with my grandmother. Dewch i mewn for “come in”, Edrych for “look”, byddwch yn dda for “be good” and of course paid! – “don’t” and so on so it didn’t take too much preparation today, which suited me fine.

home baked sourdough bread Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of its time I took it from the oven and here’s the finished product. It’s something of a disappointment to say the least as it doesn’t seem to have risen at all.

Mind you, when I tried it for lunch, it was light and very aerated all the same, so I’ve no idea what is happening here. Had it been this size but dense and heavy I would have written it off as a failure. But I don’t know what to make of this.

It’s certainly the lightest bread that I’ve ever made, even when I’ve been using yeast.

trawlers english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter lunch I made a start on more of the arrears, but not for long. By now, it was time for me to go out on my afternoon walk around the headland.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last night we saw piles of fishing boats out in the English Channel on their way back into harbour after their day’s work. And here are some more of them today heading back out to the fishing grounds.

But I’m not too sure how long this will go on. Apparently the Jersy fishermen are getting up a petition to revoke the 1836 Treaty of the Bay of Granville that divides the fishing areas up between the Channel Islands and France, and kick the French boats out.

There’s a meeting in a day or two’s time during which the French fishermen and the Regional Council will discuss the matter. The fishermen have already pointed out that 70% of the Channel islands catch is landed here in Granville and that all of the electricity supplied to the Channel Islands comes from the nuclear reactor up the coast here in Normandy that we visited A FEW MONTHS AGO.

We are living in interesting times.

rainstorm brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMaybe you might have noticed just how nice the weather was, looking out to sea in the previous photograph.

That’s not the case down there along the Brittany coast. Over by St Malo and Dinard it looks as if they are on the receiving end of a very localised rainstorm that’s giving them all a really good soaking. I’m glad that I’m not over there in the middle of all that.

But it’s really quite astonishing when you consider that just down the coast the sky is as clear as a bell, as we saw with the view of the lighthouse at Cap Frehel. And I thought that the weather conditions in the Auvergne were bizarre.

track churned up pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile we are here, there’s something else that I want to photograph – something that I noticed yesterday but there were too many people around.

The local council has had a man out cutting the grass in his tractor. He’s had his blade set too low because he’s managed to churn up a huge stone right in the middle f the path here. never mind the damage that he’s probably done to his blade, which surely he must have heard, that’s a hazard just waiting for one of our nocturnal ramblers to trip over in the dark.

He shouldn’t have left the rock and the hole like that in the middle of the footpath.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnyway, I pushed on around the headland and with nothing going on out at sea I made my way along the clifftop.

The wind has died down considerably from how it has been and the sea looks as if it’s quite calm. But there must he a heavy rolling sea out there in the Atlantic somewhere because the waves are coming in with quite some force

Remember that the tide is still a long way out. This would be quite impressive at high tide.

But there was no change of occupant in the chantier navale and nothing much else going on, so I headed off for home and a hot coffee.

One task that I needed to do was to remove some photos from the camera. The memory card is full, I don’t have another and the price of the type of card that I use is prohibitive. That involved coupling up an external drive and you’ve no idea how long it takes to remove 2500 files off the camera onto the laptop via a USB 3.0 cable, the software and hardware in the computer, and a USB2.0 cable to an external drive.

It might have taken less time too had I not unfortunately drifted off with the fairies at some point.

After the hour on the guitar I made tea. A burger with vegetables and pasta with some more of that vegan Pesto sauce which is really good and I must buy some more. And the apple pie that I made in the middle of last week is excellent.

hauteville sur mer st martin de brehal Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter tea I was straight out and off down the road for my evening run.

And we saw just how nice the sky was this afternoon right down the Brittany coast. it was just as clear along the coast of the Cotentin Peninsula too and the warning lights on the wind turbines at the back of Coutances were clearly visible. You can see two of them towards the left-hand edge of this photograph.

The street lights of the small towns along the sea front were quite visible too. Hauteville sur Mer on the left and St martin de brehal on the right. And in the background, the lights of the main road that runs up eventually to Cherbourg.

st helier jersey channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIf the view up both of the coasts is going to be good, then it ought to be good out in the English Channel too.

This photo might be somewhat blurred but it’s hand-held, and it shows the lights of St Helier in Jersey in the Channel islands 58 kilometres away. And so for that reason it’s not bad at all. The red light on the radio mast at the back of town is clearly visible.

From the viewpoint I ran on all the way down the street, combining two of the legs of my run into one. For some reason I was running quite well tonight. it might have been the head of broccoli that I had for tea, steamed in a pan with the pasta.

donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I finally stopped for breath I retraced my steps for 100 metres because I’d noticed that the view across to Donville les Bains was looking quite interesting too tonight.

The promenade was looking really nice with the street lights reflecting off the water tonight, but then the headland by the cemetery from where the birdmen take to the air cuts out a good part of the view. And then we have all of the houses on the cliffs round by where the Musée Christian Dior might be found.

And then of course I had to run all the way back to the Place de l’Isthme. Yes, I stayed “up above” tonight seeing as at some point there must have been a rainstorm here too as everything was soaking wet.

gate in fortifications place de l'isthme Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve shown a couple of photos of the trench that seems to bisect the fortifications up here at the Place de l’Isthme.

It’s not possible to see from one end of the trench to another because there’s something like a walled-over passage that runs through the trench to the part that’s isolated. And while I was nosying around up here I found what I think might be the entrance to the passage.

There’s a date carved on the lintel over the top too – 1843. I don’t know whether that’s the date of the original construction or not.

road works rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown below, I ran on through the Square Maurice Marland with enough energy to go half-way up the steep ramp at the end.

From there I went round to the Rue St Jean to see if there was any better indication of what was going on here. And it seems that they have made a start digging up the pavement. I’ll have to come here in the daytime and see if I can find out why.

From here I ran on home and made it back to the apartment just in time for kick-off. There was football on the internet tonight, hence my early run out.

Over the weekend we saw an ineffective and anonymous Caernarfon team totally rolled over by Penybont. Tonight they were to take on bottom club Cefn Druids in Cefn Mawr in the suburbs of Wrexham.

With several changes in the team tonight, they looked a totally different outfit and seemed to have recovered their spirit. They went 2-0 up and were unlucky not to have had one or two more. This was a much more professional and competent approach, at least for the first 75 minutes.

They had Josh Tibbetts back in goal and he was extremely busy because Cefn Druids were much better than the score and their league position suggested. They pulled a goal back late in the game and the last 15 minutes saw them camped on the edge of the Caernarfon penalty area.

In all honestly, Tibbetts kept Caernarfon in the game, although the Druids could have been embarrassed a couple of times in the closing stages when Caernarfon had a couple of rapid counter-attacks upfield.

But if the Druids are bottom of the table, then all that I can say is that the standard of the JD Cymru League has improved dramatically over the last 5 or 6 years. The Druids would have rolled over clubs like Afan Lido and Llanelli of that period. And then we turn the clock back 15 years with clubs like Rhayadr and Welshpool, to name just two of a dozen that I could mention.

So off to bed. Tomorrow I have a day at home and tons of stuff to do that I’ve forgotten. One day I might even get ahead of whatever I’m trying to do.