Tag Archives: caliburn

Thursday 11th November 2021 – I THOUGHT THAT I’D …

crack in Caliburn's windscreen place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… I’d show you the crack in Caliburn’s windscreen.

According to the examiner at the controle technique this crack is in the field of view of the driver. It certainly is from where I’m standing taking this photo, but remember in Caliburn I’m sitting about a foot higher up from here so it’s nothing like in my field of view from the driver’s seat.

And that’s probably why, for every year since 2016 up until this one, nothing has ever been said about it.

There have been issues like this before. I’ve owned several Transits in the past and on one occasion I was stopped by a policeman for “overtaking on a blind bend”. It was certainly a blind bend for him low down in a Rover 2.6 but up in the driving seat of my Transit you could clearly see the road over the top of the hedge.

Still, not much I can do about it. It does really need replacing so I may as well do it to keep him happy

It does however remind me of the time that a nasty crack appeared on the wall of 10 Downing Street. But the police painted it over before Boris Johnson could read it.

This morning I had quite a fight to leave my bed. And when you see the notes that I transcribed off the dictaphone you’ll understand why.

We were at a holiday camp, a group of us, last night. There had been something going on about some kind of play or something like that and we were all going to have a meeting. We’d booked the place for a couple of days but the previous day while we were there the guy in charge went missing. Next morning there were all kinds of rumours flying around. Some girl came over to our chalet and just walked straight in – she didn’t knock or wait at the door or anything. She said “did you hear the news? So-and-so has been to see the authors of the play and started work already”. I replied “I knew that he had gone yesterday to do this but I want to stress that I knew that he had gone yesterday, but no that I knew yesterday that he had gone”. She replied “all the party is breaking up now and people are going home”. I said “we’re here for another day yet”. It was pouring down with rain, a real wet day. She said something like “you’ll be on your own here. You know that, don’t you?”. I answered “it probably suits me fine to be on my own like that”.

Later on I was with some young girl of mixed race with curly hair. I’d bumped into her 4 or 5 times in one day in London once and since then I’d been bumping into her every now and again. I’d actually started to chat to her because I thought she was nice. She was working in an office somewhere. One morning she’s gone in late to the office and gone to hang up her coat. Seeing as there were 4 or 5 coats in there already she decided not to and to hang it somewhere else. Then she went to see her supervisor to say that she had to leave in the afternoon. The Supervisor said that she couldn’t. The manager said that she had an exam to take in connection with her qualifications so that was going to be OK. Later on that afternoon I was with someone else when this girl walked past me and went down a side street that was quite steep. When she was halfway down she beckoned to me and made a gesture something like “when I’m at the bottom, tell him” – and I couldn’t see to whom she was pointing – “to come down”. I thought to myself “perhaps I ought to go down and have some interpretation of this. Wouldn’t it be a good idea,”. So I asked my friend “do you think that I ought to go down and see what she wants?”. My friend said “no, I don’t think she wants us and you’ll be very lucky if you see her again”. I replied “I’ve seen her so often just recently that I’m sure that there will be more to it”. I had a feeling that there was something nefarious going on, that she was either going to do a robbery or a hold-up or something. Everything about this seemed really suspicious, even not hanging up her coat with the other people looked suspicious to me.

There was something else about this girl as well, something to do with old-time radio. There was an old machine that was available. I’d gone to check the plugs in my room but the centre-piece of the plug where you plugged in the appliance was loose. I told my father and showed it to him. My idea was persuade him to let me have this radio so that I could listen to this girl. We found a few grub-screws but they weren’t the correct ones. They were all screws with broken heads that we’d used in carpentry or something. he said that he’d get round to it. Then he said to one of my sisters “isn’t one of you girls going to start putting a bolt across on your room now?”. One of them replied “there’s this thing, this machine that they say we can travel all around the world from our bedroom in 24 hours. Why would anyone want to do that?”. My immediate response was “why wouldn’t anyone want to do that?”. This started to lead to a discussion between my father and my sister. In the meantime I thought to myself “I’m trying to get hold of him to get him on his own so that I can ask about this radio so that I can get on and listen to this girl but at this rate I’m never ever going to do this. There were just so many distractions again”.

There was another thing about entertainment on board a ship and this girl was in charge of it. I was keen to sign up for the entertainment and everyone was surprised but it was a chance to talk to this girl. Someone said “she won’t be interested in you. She’s a professional hostess and has thousands of people every week whom she sees”. I replied “yes, but you live for the moment and you never know what the future holds.

So that’s three times that this girl put in an appearance last night – with me stepping back not exactly into the same place where I left it but pretty close to it with the same people showing up. There’s definitely something going on right now that I can’t explain.

A little later there was a group of us walking somewhere. We were discussing my dreams and the teacher said that that’s a fascinating subject and wished that she could have a copy. I said “I’ll give you a copy if you like. I write them down”. She seemed to be quite keen at first and then she started to make excuses “I don’t have my computer here” and a few other things like that. I replied “if you really want them you can have them. It’s not a big problem for me”. We went past a house and there was a woman outside. Someone pointed to some footsteps on the floor. The woman said “that’s my son and his football boots”. She had a look in the car and said “you can see where he’s sat when he’s come home and where he’s been looking for his stuff – first turning his head that way and then another way”. This woman rang a bell with me as she had some old cars. I asked where her old cars were. She replied “the woman who lived here has moved away”. I said “I know that she’s gone and taken some cars with her but I’m sure that you had a few old ones”. She pointed to an Austin A35 up by the hedge against the road and there was another one further down in the garden at the bottom. There was something else that I couldn’t recognise. She was talking about these cars and I said “I’m sure you had much more than this at one time”.

So is it any wonder that leaving the bed was rather problematic.

Having put the spare battery on charge last night, it goes without saying that Caliburn started fine this morning. We went to Aldi and while they had plenty of stuff in and plenty of choice, they didn’t have much of what I wanted. And watching girls probably not yet in their 20s dragging four tiny kids around the shop made me realise that this really is rock-bottom shopping.

Not that I’m elitist or anything like that but I’ll probably end up back shopping in Lidl.

Back here I had a coffee and a fruit bun and then attacked the dictaphone notes. And I don’t know what happened today but I had a really good shift and actually finished all of them and updated every one of the journal entries with the missing entries.

And apart from the family and Nerina, I had loads of exciting visitors. Miss Stoke on Trent was there a few time as was Percy Penguin, who doesn’t feature in these pages half as often as she deserves.

TOTGA showed her face too as well as some other people who flit in and out but one surprising omission was Castor. She didn’t turn up at all and I’d swap any appearance of anyone else in my nocturnal voyages for a visit from her.

Something really strange happened on that boat that night and I wish that I knew what it was.

Meanwhile back at the ra … errr … apartment I went for lunch with my nice new bread and then went outside for half an hour to tidy Caliburn a little and to find the screws to reassemble the door panel. I eventually tracked them down and now he’s looking so much better.

However, I wish that I knew where the spring clip that secures the window winder onto the axis sprung off to that day when I levered it off.

man with paddleboard people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another interruption, if there hadn’t been enough already, was my afternoon walk.

Down at the wall at the end of the car park I peered down onto the beach and was astonished to see all of the crowds down there.

There was even someone negotiating the currents with a paddleboard and I bet that he would have known all about it had he fallen off into the water.

And have you noticed the length of the shadows these days? The sun is sinking lower and lower in the sky.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021It wasn’t just seeing all the people on the beach that was surprising either.

Out there in the bay one of the sailing schools from somewhere was being quite adventurous. Four of their boats had gone way out from shore and were busy parading up and down.

And that reminded me – I want to see what the heart specialist has to say about my heart next week so that I can plan about going sailing and going for a flight underneath a Nazgul. Things are building up here.

fishermen peche a pied beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Further along on the beach there was plenty more activity too.

Out on the rocks at the water’s edge there was a guy casting his rod and line into the ocean, more in hope than in expectation I imagine. Remember that we have yet to see a fisherman with rod and line actually catch something.

There were a couple of other people down there too. I’m not sure what they were doing. At first I thought that they might have been doing some peche à pied among the rocks but it’s not very easy to see from this angle.

red microlight pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As I left the building to come out I was immediately overflown by one of the little light aircraft from the airfield but I wasn’t quick enough to photograph it.

But never mind. As I was walking along the path an old familiar rattle from the distance told me that one of the powered hang-gliders was heading my way.

Today, we’re having the red one come to overfly us. The yellow one must be having a day off today.

And that reminds me that we haven’t seen the yellow autogyro for a while either. I wonder where he’s got to.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021We’ve seen crowds on the beach, crowds out at see and even a couple of things up in the air so far.

There are crowds on land too and when I saw “crowds” I really DO mean “crowds”. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many people walking around on the path down to the headland before at this time of year.

Mind you, it’s nothing at all like mid-November today. It’s much more like the balmy early evenings on a mid-September day and I don’t recall there being anything like any wind to speak of either.

fishermen people on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Walking down the path and across the car park I came down to the end of the headland.

There were crowds down there as well. usually, we might manage just a couple of people by the little stone cabin there if we are lucky but today there were what looked like a couple of families that were admiring the beautiful sun that was blinding me and the camera.

Further out on the end of the rocks at the water’s edge were a couple more fishermen having a go with rod and line. But I didn’t really pay much attention to them.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Instead I cleared off down the path on the other side of the headland.

Over at the ferry terminal this afternoon in a foot or so of water was one of the Joly France ferries to the Ile de Chausey. The older one I reckon because, as you see, there’s no step in the stern.

And for once, they’ve folded up the crane correctly.

Nothing else happening out there. L’Omerta is still settled in the silt and the portable boat lift is still in the middle of the chantier naval with its wheels lying by the side.

Back here I made a coffee and then waded through another pile of photos from that rock concert a couple of weeks ago.

That took me up to tea time and steamed veg with falafel and vegan cheese sauce which was delicious.

Tomorrow I’m busy. There’s a public meeting about the twinning arrangements between Granville and Uummannaq and as I know Uummannaq and some of its inhabitants very well, I’ve been asked by the radio to go and record it and interview a couple of people there.

There’s also a rock concert in town to which I’ve been invited but I don’t know how I’m going to find the time to go.

First task though will be to find the spare battery and the two battery chargers for the NIKON 1 J5. Before I posted the camera off, I put them somewhere safe so I wouldn’t misplace them, so that means that it will be another 5 years before they next see the light of day.

Wednesday 10th November 2021 – MARITÉ IS BACK …

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… in port after her little adventure filming whatever it was that she had been filming during the week.

She crept back in on the morning tide and is now happily moored back in her habitual berth and the trawler Saint Gaud has cleared off elsewhere.

Caliburn is back too, but not for very long. The examiner at the Controle Technique didn’t like the crack in the windscreen that’s been there for five years and through four previous controles technique without so much as a mention.

He also needs his headlights polishing too so I’ll go out there with some toothpaste and an old toothbrush to deal with that one day later in the week.

And if I don’t have a decent sleep some time soon I won’t be here for very long either. You can tell just how disturbed it was by the entries on the dictaphone. I started out on my way to Court last night to defend myself against a VAT assessment. I’ve no idea why except that it was something quite old and I hadn’t a clue what it was so I’d just taken a pile of pens and notepaper to write down notes. I found an empty bench and went to sit down and started to rehearse my case. The judge who was sitting at his desk told me not to rehearse my case at all so that confused me even more.

Later on I’d been tidying up a huge pile of papers that were all over the floor, books and everything. It was getting worse and worse the more that I tried to tidy up, everything like that. No matter how much I tried, there was more and more stuff to unpack. Then there was something to do with a couple of friends who came round. We ended up driving back towards Manchester. We were talking about music but the guy wasn’t really listening to what I was saying so I didn’t say very much. When we returned we measured my wall out and found that there were a couple of plssterboards that were too low and needed building up. I took one off the wall to give to him. The we started talking about do he and his wife want to come round for tea or maybe a meal or something and put back the plasterboard but they had to have a look at all the food supplies they had lying around, put it away and see what went into the fridge and let me know

Some time later there was a netball match being played last night. I was on one team. It was strange that everyone except one player was packed into the defensive circle of his own team so there was only me and one girl from the other team playing upfield. We were playing with balloons and I had the upper hand but every time I passed the ball over to the pack to try to get it into the hoop the balloon burst and they had to produce another one. Some balloons were better than others and we never seemed to be making any headway with this. It was all just playing this netball in this one particular area trying to get into the attacking semi-circle

Finally there had been a new road built from Nantwich so although Chester was posted straight on down Welsh Row, Tarporley was for some reason posted off to the right on this new road. A little later on there was a girl driving an Austin A40 in nantwich who was heading towards Tarporley. She decided to take this new road to find out why it didn’t go on down Welsh Row towards Tarporley. At some point she’d parked up her car and was having a huge row with someone. She said something like “my car’s far too new to abandon just like that and walked back to get in her car to carry on down this road. I was there because I was interested in taking photos of the signposts to find out exactly what was happening.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I cracked on with a pile of dictaphone notes from the backlog.

A few more days have been added to the updating and there’s another pile of notes ready to follow that lot tomorrow morning too. It kept me busy for for most of the morning and there’s only four days left to transcribe now.

They aren’t going to be done as quickly as I would like either because by now my turbulent phase was in full swing are there are mounds and mounds of stuff.

There were a couple of breaks in the middle of all of this.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Firstly, I’d almost run out of bread here. And I’d almost run out of yeast too so I had to go with what I had.

For a change I spent quite some time kneading and rolling my dough and it’s come out quite well again. I must remember this technique for the future.

It actually tasted quite nice too and it would have been even better had it had more yeast in it. But I think that the mixture could have benefited from a little more water in it.

The second interruption was the nurse. He couldn’t come on Monday so he came today instead and gave me my Aranesp injection and also my ‘flu injection.

Now i’m injected to the hilt and safe against every known disease, so i’ll probably be run down by a bus as well.

While I was waiting for the bread to cool down I went to take a shower. And my weight is slowly going down. I could make it go down even quicker but experience has shown me that the quicker it comes off, the quicker it goes back on.

omerta port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Having finished lunch I set the washing machine off and then set out for the physiotherapist, taking the NIKON 1 J5 with me.

L’Omerta was still moored up at the wharf underneath the fish processing plant, something that seems to be becoming a regular occurrence these days.

Strangely enough, I’d forgotten how to use the little camera and it took me a while to remember. It’s only been four months as well.

These days, my memory is becoming terrible. I keep on telling people that two things happen to you you when you reach my age.

  1. You forget absolutely everything that there is to forget
  2. I can’t remember what the second thing is


fishing boats victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I was still finding my feet with the camera (I don’t ‘arf do some strange things) I noticed that the inner harbour was strangely deserted.

It seems as if all of the big trawlers and most of the little inshore fishing boats were out at sea this afternoon. There were just a few of the smaller inshore boats left behind – and L’Omerta of course.

But Victor Huge and Granville are still there too. A sad casualty of the Channel Islanders’ willingness to leap aboard the Brexit bandwagon despite the fact that, never having been in the EU, Brexit is nothing to do with them, has been the ferries that for a couple of centuries have been running between here and there.

One of the reasons why I came here was for the ferries – a good chance to exercise my sea-legs – but it’s turned out not to be.

pointing Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Last time that we came down the hill in the Rue des Juifs we saw them erecting a scaffolding to enable them to continue the repointing on the wall at the Rampe du Monte à Regret that they abandoned a while back.

By now it’s all up and they have actually started work. And it doesn’t look to me as if they are apprentices or work experience trainees either but proper time-served employees.

That’s a shame really because there are so many traditional crafts that are rapidly dying out with no-one to carry them on.

To promote this kind of thing amongst the young and the jobless is a really good way of building up a reservoir of skilled workmen and women with a trade that is a meaningful and valuable occupation.

woman speaking into microphone rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down the hill, through the town centre and back up the hill on the other side to the physiotherapist..

It would have given me great pleasure (well, a lot of things would, actually) to have said that I went all the way without stopping but I did actually stop once in the Rue Couraye – just to take a photograph though, not to catch my breath.

The woman was standing on the side of the road with a professional microphone into which she was talking and which seemed to be connected to something in the rear of that car.

Whatever that was about, I have no idea.

The physiotherapist had me doing kinetic exercises again because someone else was using the tilting platform. And right at the end she had me staning on something just 10cms wide, one foot behind the other while she threw balls at me to catch.
“your reflexes are really good” she said. Well, she didn’t. She actually said “vos reflèxes sont vachement bien”

It wasn’t for me to disillusion her by telling her that I spent much of my spare time in my teens and 20s as a goalkeeper and later as a wicket-keeper.

After she threw me out, then biting the bullet I headed off on foot to rescue Caliburn, stopping at Aldi on the way for a can of energy drink.

It’s all uphill to the garage – not very steep but long, long, long and it took it out of me but I made it there in the end.

Having paid the bill I went to collect Caliburn only to find that the battery was flat. One of the guys at the garage gave me a jump-start and so I went for a good long drive to put some juice back into the battery.

It was my intention to go to the shops for food but I didn’t fancy the idea of trying to have a jump start on a supermarket car park.

Back here I put the spare battery on charge just in case he won’t start tomorrow and then went to make a coffee. It was at that point that I realised that tomorrow is a Bank Holiday. I hope that one of the supermarkets in town will be open tomorrow morning.

There were some mushrooms lying around looking sorry for themselves in the fridge so I made another delicious curry with them. These ad-hoc curries with whatever is lying around are turning out to be quite nice.

So now I’m off to bed, to see where else I might be going tonight. And, more to the point, and more importantly too, who’s going with me. I’ve been having a few interesting partners on my travels just now and it’s a shame that they aren’t here in real life.

Monday 18th October 2021 – I ALMOST SET …

… a new record for my radio programme today. Bang on 10:50 and I was just about to save the final copy of the broadcast that I’d prepared when all the power went off in the building.

It took about 15 minutes for the power to come back on and then I had to add back in the very final segment of the programme. After all of that it was 11:15 when I finally finished, and that was something of a disappointment.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

It was yet another night where I was tossing and turning about for much of it, and that defeats the whole point of going to bed early.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I fell out of bed after something of a struggle and crawled into the kitchen for my medication.

Back in here I checked my mails and messages and then set down to attack the radio programme. And I made good progress, even though I had a break for a coffee and later for breakfast.

When I had finally finished I leapt into Caliburn and shot off to Lidl. There’s no food in the house – at least, not fruit and salad for lunch – so I needed to stock up.

And as I was in Caliburn I stocked up with a few other bits and pieces too, including a fresh cauliflower. I fancy some real cauliflower cheese for tea one of these nights, and I can freeze the leftover cauliflower.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night’s voyages too. I’d been helping my father put some hydraulic oil into someone’s crane. They had a tanker lorry with hydraulic fluid in the tank and the lorry had to be manoeuvred into position and the jib passed over to the filling hole on the crane. I had to help him do that and make sure that the oil didn’t overflow because they couldn’t get the tanker into position where the driver could do both things. Then it was time for me to go but I was covered in oil so I had a wash. I asked this girl how I was. She replied “your face is awful” so I washed that. Then she said that I needed to wash my hair so I washed it under the tap. All this time I was thinking that the bus timetables have changed. Someone gave me a bus timetable but the times weren’t for the bus stop in the immediate vicinity so I wasn’t sure how I would manage to catch the bus. I don’t know what happened next but later on I was walking through a forest trying to get to the station to catch the train. I noticed that there were 4 trains in the first half of the hour and none in the second. I had a feeling that I was going to miss everything. Going back to the bus by the way, at that time of night there was only 1 every hour and I didn’t have a clue what would happen if I missed the last one. We were walking through the forest. Someone met a woman and said “what’s happening about our pay rise?”. She said “I’m going through to make the dairies based on what’s been discussed so far”. The guy said “that means we are all going to receive 10%, does it?”. She burst out laughing and didn’t say anything.

After lunch I went for a shower (and had the first heat of the winter while I was doing it), set the washing machine off on a cycle (a clever washing machine, mine) and then headed off for town in the rain.

children's roundabout place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down in the town I noticed that there was something going on.

In the Place Général De Gaulle there was a lorry there being unloaded and it looks as if they are erecting another children’s roundabout. Maybe they are plannign already for the Toussaint school holiday at the end of the month.

The walk up the hill to the physiotherapist was a lot easier than it has been of late. I only had to stop once for breath and I reckon that I might have pushed on further than I did before I ground to a halt.

Today I had a new physiotherapist and she put me through a severe examination. She’s worked out that there is a lot less force in my right knee than in my left knee and judging by the fact that the muscles in each leg were aching in different places after performing the same exercise, there’s a muscle or tendon issue as well.

At least that gives her an idea of how she is to deal with the issue.

mushrooms place semard Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021By the time that I left the physiotherapist, it was raining quite heavily. Luckily I had my raincoat with me.

There’s a tree that has been cut down in the Place Semard and when I had a close look at the stump, it had grown some magnificent fungi.

And you know how to tell the difference between an edible fungus and an inedible one?

The answer is quite simple. Before you go to bed, take one and eat it. If you wake up next morning, then it’s perfectly safe.

lorry and digger abandoned railway line parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down the hill in the rain, I came to where they are working on what used to be the railway line.

There’s a digger here digging a trench and tipping the excavated soil into the bed of the lorry. A little further down we can see some pipes so it looks as if they will be laying some drainage in the ditch.

You can’t see from here but a little further down they have cemented the right-hand side of the track and on part of it they have put some kerbstones in. It won’t be long before they will have finished this part of the track.

concrete hardstanding parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down the steps I went into the Parc Du Val Ès Fleurs.

At the bottom, we have in the past seen a weird collection of road signs but if you peer through the raindrops you’ll see that what we have here today is the base of a concrete hardstanding.

It beats me, whet they are going to be erecting here. The park is some kind of local showplace and I wouldn’t have thought that they would have permitted the erection of just any old building. It must be something important.

place docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021From here I carried on down the road towards the square opposite the Ecole des Docteurs Lanos.

This is in quite a mess at the moment and looks even worse than it did last time that we were here. They don’t seem to have made very much progress with this part of the work.

If anything the piles of sand and gravel have grown considerably and there’s now a pile of pipework. I suppose that they will be putting a spurt on in due course when they have finished whatever it is that they are doing elsewhere with this task.

rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Talking of which, looking behind me, there’s a lot been going on in the Rue du Boscq.

On the north side of the road – the right-hand side – they have installed the kerbstones now. You can see the drop in the kerb just behind the little yellow compacter and that would seem to indicate how high they are going to be building up the road surface.

All of the stakes on the other side seem to indicate where they will be installing the kerb on that side of the road. You can see the piles of kerbstones stacked up on pallets at the side.

concrete shuttering rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down at the other end they’ve already installed some of the kerbing, and there was some interesting carpentry going on.

At first glance it wasn’t easy to see what they were doing but a closer inspection revealed that it’s some kind of shuttering. That usually implies that a pile of concrete is going to be poured there. And I hope not because that will be ppretty awful.

By now the rain was coming down quite heavily so I headed off back home. I didn’t want to stay out too long in this weather.

trawlers returning to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And it wasn’t just me heading for home either.

As I peered through the mist I could see that all of the trawlers were on their way home after a day out at sea. They were coming home rather early too because the tide wasn’t all that far in and I imagine that it would be a while before the gates into the inner harbour would open.

But that’s not something that I was going to wait around to see because by now I was soaking wet and I had other fish to fry.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021When I reached the top of the hill I didn’t go straight home.

By now it was the time when I usually go out for my afternoon walk so I wandered off to see what was happening on the beach.

About the same amount of beach as there was yesterday but considerably fewer people as you might expect in weather like this.

And if you want to see what the weather was really doing, have a look on the extreme right-hand edge of the photo. You can see all of the water cascading out of the drain and down onto the beach to roll down into the sea.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021One final thing to do was to look out to sea and to see what was happening there.

Of course, in this weather, you can’t see all that much. There was a yacht out there battling against the weather trying to find its way towards harbour.

Back here I had a nice hot coffee, took the washing out of the machine and then listened to the radio programme that I am sending off to be broadcast.

And it’s a good job that I did listen to it because the final segment had been missed off. I’ve no idea why. And so that was the task for this afternoon – to repair this programme and send it off.

Tea was a stuffed pepper and now I’m going off to bed. I have my Welsh lesson in the morning and need to be on form. I’m hoping that I’d have a good night’s sleep.

Saturday 3rd July 2021 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… afternoon I’ve had.

After my lunch I came in here with my coffee to do some work, and the next thing that I remember it was 16:55 and my coffee was cold by the side of my desk.

The confusing thing about this is that I don’t remember falling asleep. It was another one of those occasions where I seems to have switched myself off into a stupor or a cataleptic spasm or something, without any memory of being tired or anything.

What’s bothering me about this is the issue of driving. If I switch off while I’m driving without realising that I’m falling asleep, this could lead to a catastrophe that cold have unpleasant consequences.

But talking of driving, Caliburn and I were out this morning going to the shops as usual on a Saturday morning.

When the alarm went off at 06:00, I was up and about quite quickly even though I’d had a late night. After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out if I’d been anywhere during the night. There was something involving a huge serpent that had been slithering around somewhere and had been causing people to be trapped in their buildings and houses and so on. I had the idea at a certain moment that I was going to trap it and take it to the Government and let it terrorise the Government for a change. So I had everything arranged in my mind about what I would do but actually when I went to do it the serpent wasn’t there. The thing had disappeared. That was a big disappointment so I had to abandon my plans. The moment that I abandoned my plans the serpent came back and started to terrorise everyone else again.

After a shower, a shave and a general clean-up we set off for the shops.

new building at rear of noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLast week at the back of the NOZ car park they had started building a new shop unit.

Although I had the camera with me then, I forgot to photograph it but I remembered to do so this morning. I wonder what they are going to be selling from that shop. I suppose that I’ll have to wait for a few months before I discover that. It’s not going to be a big shop that’s for sure.

At NOZ there wasn’t anything very much of any excitement – just some more vegan soup and a couple more small things and then I went off down the road to LeClerc for the rest of the shopping.

LeClerc had alcohol-free beer on special offer so I stocked up with some bottles. They had some more of those small vegan burgers so I bought another pack. I need to encourage them to stock more vegan products. Oven chips were on offer too so I bought a pack of those as well, although I’m not sure why I did that.

On the way back home we had one of these two-minute torrential downpours that soaked about everyone and everything in its path as it moved down the coast. But I was lucky to be able to make my way back home because there had been an accident or something right outside the entrance to the car park and there was total chaos.

And if that wasn’t enough, all the tourists have arrived now and the roads were jammed with people trying to find a parking space. I was glad to return home, where I had a chat with a neighbour who had arrived at the same time as me.

Armed with my toast and hot chocolate, I came in here and had a few things that I needed to organise for the next month or so and that took me up to a rather late lunch

After lunch I wanted to book my trip to Leuven and my hotel but the less said about the afternoon the better. i’m so dismayed and fed up about it all.

people swimming in sea rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd so it was rather late when I went out for my walk and to see what was going on down on the beach this afternoon.

But never mind the beach for a moment. Look at these two people. That had been previously on the beach of course but now they were having a load of fun splashing and swimming around in the water. Perhaps I ought to try that. It would certainly wake me up a little

But then on the other hand I remember when Castor and Pollux asked me if I was going to take part in the Arctic Dip when we were on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR in the North West Passage.
“I can’t” I replied. “I have this catheter in and I can’t go into salt water with t”.
Castor asked me later “would you have gone in the water if you didn’t have the catheter?”
“No” I thought to myself. “I’d have found another excuse.

And that reminds me – whatever happened to Castor and Pollux? They haven’t been on a nocturnal voyage with me for ages. But then, there are many people who are conspicuous by their absence these days. Even my life during my sleeping hours is becoming very mundane these days.

Where did all the excitement go?

yachts boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s probably all going on out at sea right now judging by all of tha boats that are sailing around in the Bay of Granville this afternoon.

The weather might be warm but it’s still misty and the visibility isn’t all that much good with the mist that’s hovering around out at sea. We have quite a few yachts sailing around, but everyone seems to be heading back to the harbour right now. It’s close to high tide and if they miss this high tide, the next one will be in the early morning tomorrow so they’ll have to spend the night out at sea.

But that’s not a problem that’s going to affect me right now. I headed off down the path on top of the cliffs, trying to avoid the madding crowds. But I’ve no idea what prompted a group of young people decide to have a game of boules in the middle of the path so everyone had to walk in the grass around them or risk a broken ankle.

f-giki ROBIN DR 400-120 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I was walking long the top of the cliffs I was overflown by a light aeroplane to I took a photo of it to see who it might be.

And it’s our old friend F-GIKI who we have seen on many occasions in the past. She’s a small Robin DR 400-120 that belongs to the Granville Aero Club and is used for flight training or refresher courses for pilots who need to keep up their licences.

She had taken off at 17:06, which looks about right to me, and according to her radar plot, went for a flight along the coast towards Avranches, did a lap around the block and came back home, where she landed at 18:11.

f-gdkm robin DR 400 140 B pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOnce F-GIKI had flow off on her little adventure I was overflown yet agaon almost immediately.

This time it’s F-GDKM who has taken to the air. She’s a Robin DR 400-140B, powered by a Lyvoming 160HP engine and she’s a new aeroplane to us. It’s not one that I’ve noticed before. She’s owned by the Manche Aero Club and is available to hire for instruction at €131 per hour for a solo flight and €151 per hour for dual instruction.

She actually took off from the airport at 16:42, her second flight of the day, and did pretty much the same circuit as F-GIKI, returning at 17:31.

And while I was looking at the flight radar, there was something else that caught my eye. At 14:08 a plane had landed at the airport here, N65MJ which is a British registration and had set off from Turweston Airfield near Brackley in the UK at 11:48.

Si what’s a ‘plane from the UK doing landing at an airport where there is no international clearance in the middle of a pandemic when the UK is on France’s red list? I smell something fishy, and I’m not talking about the content’s of Baldrick’s apple crumble either.

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile all of this was going on, there was plenty more activity going on out at sea.

More and more boats started to appear out of the gloom and mist and one of them was one of the Joly France boats that provide the ferry service to the Ile de Chausey. They will be quite busy right now with all of the tourists that we have around here and she certainly looks crowded.

There were a couple of yachts and other light craft out there too, but what caught my eye was what was going on out on the horizon. Just left of centres is a large mast that might belog to one of the larger yachts that plies for hire in the harbour.

However out towards the left edge of the photo there are some pretty big masts and I wonder if it’s Marité on her way home from wherever she’s been for the last few days. It’s certainly big enough.

trawlers l'alize 3 philcathane yacht rebelle chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd I’ve identified the white trawler that’s in the chantier navale at the moment.

As I went past this morning I was able to read a couple of letters of her name, and that was enough to tell me that she’s L’Alize 3, the trawler that we saw in the inner harbour last week. She’s up there on blocks next to Philcathane with the yacht Rebelle over to the right.

As for the black and white trawler, I still can’t remember her name and there was far too much traffic about today for me to stop and look. I’ll go that way for a look around tomorrow afternoon if I’m not asleep but I’m sure that she’s related to le Pearl. Her owners have a distinctive car and that car was parked underneath this trawler this morning.

joly france entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now many of the boats that had been out at sea were coming into port, including Joly France

From this angle we can tell that she’s the newer one of the two because her windows are rectangular in “portrait” format rather than the “landscape” format of the older boats.

Now that Joly France is back home, I can go back home too. And I can’t say that I wasn’t sorry. It had been a tough afternoon.

Back home I put the coffee from lunchtime into the microwave to heat it up and then I came in here to push on with some work. I have plenty of work to do from Friday that I haven’t done yet and it won’t ever be done at this rate.

But whatever I did, it took me up tp teatime. A couple of the burgers from today with baked potatoes and veg followed by chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce.

Now that I’ve finished my journal I’m off to make some bread mix. I need new bread for Monday so I can cook it while the oven heats up for the pizza. That sounds like a good plan.

Monday 14th June 2021 – I WAS OUT …

… and about this morning walking around the footpath at the top of the cliffs at 06:30 this morning.

Really!

How it cam to pass was that I was having my medication at about 06:15 when I looked out of the window at the bright blue, cloudless sky and saw an aeroplane fly overhead – well, its contrails anyway. I went to have a look at the flight radar to find out which flight it was (I’ve forgotten now but it was a red-eye from North America).

But what I saw in the distance flying past Finisterre, and at 42,000 feet as well in a direct line for my little rock, was TITAN 1. That’s one of the United States Government’s four “Nightwatch” Boeing 747s that’s fitted out as a National Emergency Airborne Command Post and has presumably come over for the NATO meeting in Brussels this week in case Biden needs to push the red button.

And so, armed with the NIKON D500 I went outside to wait for it.

And I waited. And waited. And waited.

Eventually I went back inside to find that it had performed a dog-leg and gone off out into the English Channel to skirt round the Cotentin Peninsula. She obviously didn’t want anyone to know that she was about. And that’s a shame. Actually being able to see one, even at that distance, would be quite something.

So instead I came back here and started work on the radio programme. having already chosen and paired the music, it was all done and dusted by 11:45, even with a break for hot chocolate and ginger cake.

Yes, I’ve run out of fruit bread so I had to have some of Liz’s ginger cake. And I’ve timed my visit to Leuven just right because I’m running out of that now. I’ll have to see what else the hospital will cut off this time so that Liz will bake me some more cake.

Meanwhile, on the dictaphone we started with something to do with a stately home. The dogs that were pulling the sledge had panicked and roared off and went through the house. The young boy who was standing on the balcony overlooking where the maid was cleaning was pitched over the balcony by the force of the arriving dog team, went straight through a plate glass firescreen and ended up at the feet of a servant who was polishing it. Something else went over the end as well, then a couple more children. Then the guy came in, all apologetic. They were saying that since several weeks this was the only stately home in the bottom 11 to have won any points so it was looking rather good for it. I tried to take some out and just wetting some neat porridge oats and tried to thin it down again or thicken it up again, one or the other, thicken it up, I think and se what it tastes like I fell asleep.

Later on there had been something to do with the Midlands and I was going to talk to a friend about something. He had recommended a school to me, recommended one not to go to so I’d been to the first one, had a look round and liked it. I’d been to the second one which was last on his list and this was where I dropped my sandwiches. I was about to pick them up but some girl picked them up and started to nibble at the filling in between with her fingers. Then she handed them to me and said ‘thank you”. I thought “this isn’t really the kind of school that I want”. I realised afterwards that this is the one that is bottom of the list so I thought that I’d snip that off straight away. I mentioned it to my friend and he gave me all kinds of pointers of what to look for and what to avoid and made 1 or 2 remarks about the school’s accounting and false accounting being put through, that sort of thing.

At some point or other I was in a dismal, dark railway station in a waiting room waiting for my train to be called. Then they announced it and it was right over the far side of the station. I had this huge suitcase and a couple of other things that I needed to carry. I walked out of the waiting room and it was pitch-black. I had to struggle my way through the dark and I lost hold of my suitcase once and couldn’t find it. In the end I made my way up to the top of a walkway and along. I had to enquire again as to my train and it was just coming in. As I was going down the steps it pulled in so I stuck my suitcase with the other stuff in the luggage van and got on this train and made sure that i was in the Glasgow portion. The train was crowded and I was wedged in with a group of men who were going somewhere and doing something together. They had their suitcases and there was no room for anyone to move or do anything. Then I got to Glasgow and ended up on a bus. people were asking me where I was going but I didn’t really have much of an idea and I was telling them any old kind of story. I turned up at this hotel. I explained that I’d come to manage it, that set everyone off in a panic. They were trying to find me a bedroom, a bath and a table to sit and have breakfast. And I mustn’t forget about the couple snogging in this bus and this elderly Scots woman giving them the most fearful disapproving looks.

After a shower and a good clean up, I had lunch. And then Caliburn and I went off to my Covid test in the sweltering heat. It’s a swish new place this, much better than the old one, but it’s too far out of town for me to walk in this weather which is a pain.

So having been all done and dusted, I went to LIDL and stocked up on a few things and then drove back home.

Later on I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst stop was to see what was going on down on the beach this afternoon so I went over to the wall at the end of the car park and stuck my head over the top.

The beach is smaller than it was yesterday of course, with the tide, but despite it being a working day there are still plenty of people out there soaking up the sun. And with the heat that we were having, who can blame them,

But in today’s newspaper there was an interesting article about all of the people down on the beach yesterday. Apparently there were several tonnes of rubbish left behind by the tourists and as the tide comes right in up to the cliffs, the rubbish that the Council’s workforce were unable to recover was swept away into the sea.

So if you are wondering why there is so much plastic and other rubbish in the oceans, now you know why. Bone-idle tourists.

twin engined light aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out there looking at the people on the beach I was overflown by another aeroplane.

Not TITAN 1 or one of her three siblings but a weird light aeroplane the type of which I haven’t seen before. As I mentioned a few days ago, France seems to be quite keen on its weird types of light aeroplanes and here’s another one to add to the collection.

It’s some kind of twin-engined machine and we don’t see too many of those at all around here. And it’s unfortunately too far away and too high up for me to read its registration number, assuming that it has one, so I’m not able to tell you very much about it

aeroplane f-gbrk Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs for this one though, I can tell you more – a little more – about it.

As it flew past over my head I was able to read its registration number. It’s F-GBRK and my database tells me that it’s a Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II. The Warrior is a derivative of the Piper Cherokee, which is a lightweight, cheaper alternative to the more famous Piper Comanche.

The model was introduced in 1974 replacing the Cherokee 150, and is fitted with a Lycoming O-320 engine.

And as you might expect, it’s not on the list of departures from the airport at Granville and it hasn’t filed a flight plan either.

people fishing in boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo having sorted out all of that I pushed on along the path at the top of the cliffs, stopping to admire the men in the boat on my way past.

And they seem to be really crowded in there, without enough room to swing a cat, never mind a fishing rod, by the looks of things. And I think that the guy wielding a net to catch the fish off the end of the line is being rather optimistic.

Apart from one or two other small boats out there, there wasn’t all that much else going on out at sea this afternoon. Anyone with any sense would be under an umbrella with a cocktail or in a deckchair with a newspaper over their head in this kind of heat.

yacht rebelle fishing boat chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was plenty of activity going on in the chantier navale this afternoon, as I discovered when I made my way around there.

The yacht Rebelle is still down there in the place where Aztec Lady lived for so long, but the little trawler-type of boat that had been there for a week or so has now disappeared back into the water. Instead, there is one of the shellfish boats – one of the larger ones – down there now on ramps and blocks receiving attention.

And both of the boats must be receiving plenty of attention today because I don’t recall ever seeing so many assorted vans parked up there while their occupants are presumably at work on the two boats. All of this points to a frenzy of activity so there must be something going on.

gerlean port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd one of our little NAABSA (not always afloat but safely aground) shellfish boats is still there settling into the mud and silt at the quayside underneath the Fish Processing plant.

It’s Gerlean who is there today. L’Omerta was the other one that was there for quite a while. She was there on her own at first but then Gerlean came to join her. And now she is there on her own as L’Omerta seems to have cleared off elsewhere.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the other boats must find it quite inconvenient for these boats to be always moored up here. It means that there is less space for them to tie up and unload and so they have to queue up to find a berth. I’d love to know what the issue is why they can’t tie up in the inner harbour out of the way.

chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomeone who is however tied up in the inner harbour is Chausiais, the little freighter that runs the shuttle out to the Ile de Chausey.

And being tied up underneath the big crane tells me a couple of things.

  1. The holiday season is in full swing so there’s a good load of luggage and food supplies etc to be ferried over to the island right now
  2. With her blocking the loading bay, we can’t be expecting a visit of Thora or Normandy Trader in the immediate future

In fact Normandy Trader seems to be spending much more time running over to St Malo these days than she does to here. That’s rather a disappointment and quite a loss for the port. Ohh! To see a gravel boat or two right now!

aeroplane 55-oj pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way back to the apartment I was overflown yet again. A different one this time.

And this one needs no introduction from me because she’s 55-OJ, one of the little light aeroplanes that we see flying past on a regular basis. As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I’m going to have to get out to the airport one of these days for a nosey around and to make further enquiries.

But instead, back at the apartment after my day’s exertions in the heat I crashed right out. And for a good 90 minutes too. I really did feel awful.

My bass practice was a little depressing and the least said about my session on the acoustic guitar the better

Tea was pasta with veg and a burger, followed by apple pie from the freezer with custard. I enjoyed that.

Now it’s bedtime and I’ll try to remember my medication that I forgot yesterday, so that I hope to have a good night’s sleep.

And then I can get on with my Welsh revision as long as TITAN 1 isn’t anywhere in the area.

Saturday 15th May 2021 – WE’VE HAD A

unidentified aeroplane place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… one of these aerial days today – a day when just about everything in the air flew past me today.

It wasn’t possible for me to count all the ones that went past today because I ran out of fingers. Several of them flew past out of range so I couldn’t photograph them but I did photograph those that I could, like this one here.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to identify it because I couldn’t see its serial number anywhere and it’s not a model that I recognise anywhere. It looks like a pretty lightweight machine so it’s quite possibly one of these kit-built aircraft that care classed as microlights.

unidentified aeroplane place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is another one that I didn’t recoognise, but that’s for a completely different reason.

As it flew past overhead, it didn’t present to me a surface that carried the registration number. That will be underneath the port wing of course and it wasn’t going that way round. But whatever it is, it’s not one of the aircraft that regularly flies out of the airport here that we see quite regularly.

There was nothing shown on the flight radar for these aircraft of course. It’s unlikely that they file flight plans and they probably don’t fly high enough to be picked up on the radar anywhere.

powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it wasn’t just aeroplanes that went flying past overhead either.

As I walked out of the building here to go for my afternoon walk I was overflown by one of these powered hang glider things. That wasn’t shown on my radar set either and that’s no surprise. It’s the kind of thing that struggles to lift itself over my building, especially as it’s carrying two people therein.

As this went past overhead I was thinking that all I needed now was to see Godzilla going past and then I’d have the full set. Either that or the Loch Ness Monster. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many aircraft on one particular day.

This morning I hauled myself out of bed fairly early, just after the first alarm, despite my rather late night.

And after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was really surprised to find that I’d been anywhere because it had been a bad night with several raging attacks of cramp that didn’t ease off even when I went for a walk around.

This was the worst series of attacks that I’d had and they were horrible. Painful and horrible.

aeroplane 55-OJ place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut returning to our moutons as they say around here, while you admire aeroplane 55-OJ, I was somewhere on the outskirts of London last night, living by the side of this big main road that was a 2×2 lane with the carriageway nearest me higher than the other. Crossing over there was quite difficult because it was so busy. One night I’d finished my tea and I had the remains on the plate so I thought that I would take then to the dustbin. I had to walk along the pavement, across the road on a zebra crossing, down a set of steps and across the other road. Luckily there was no traffic and I reached the dustbins to put my stuff away. I’d been counting my steps – so many steps across the road, so many steps across the central reservation and so on. There was a lot of traffic waiting at a junction on the other side of the by-pass and I had to walk my way round. I thought that I recognised one of them. It turned out to be a black boy from the City of London on a bicycle who had been wanted by the police for a murder but released. At that moment a police car pulled up and someone started to talk to the policeman saying something like “it’s happened again but I definitely saw something white which was either something white once 100 times or something white twice 50 times”. I immediately thought of this boy. What had he been up to?

After that I went for a good hot shower which made me feel so much better, and then I stripped the bed and changed the bedding, the first time since I can’t remember when. The bedding, my fleece jacket and a few other bits and pieces went into the washing machine and I set it off on its cycle again.

Meanwhile Caliburn and I went to the shops. At NOZ I found a guide book on Iceland, which will come in handy when I write up my notes and if I ever return to the island. There were also some frozen vegan veggie balls, so I bought three packets of those.

LeClerc’s was an expensive shop this morning, even if I did forget the coffee. They had vegan burgers on special offer, and also some special vegan burgers made of sweet potatoes, a new variety with an introductory offer and I wouldn’t want to miss those. I’m building up rather a large supply of burgers now, more than I can probably tackle so I need to start to make my way into that supply some time soon.

Back here I put the veggie balls in the freezer along with the falafel, the other vegan veggie balls, the vegan sausage rolls and whatever else I have picked up in NOZ over the last while. The freezer is now bursting at the seams.

Having done that I made myself some hot chocolate. And despite now having some more cocoa powder I made it with real chocolate. I even bought a pack of 5 slabs of pure chocolate so that I can do this again for the next while.

And then back in here I sat down and promptly crashed out.

The football had already started when I awoke so I watched the rest of the game. TNS v Bala Town and even though TNS went down to 10 me, with a defender rather harshly sent off, they were always too good for Bala Town.

They won rather comfortably 2-0 but it didn’t do them very much good because Connah’s Quay Nomads beat Penybont and that meant that the Nomads were crowned champions for this season. The 4-1 victory that the Nomads had over TNS a couple of weeks ago proved to be so decisive.

Despite their championship win, the Nomads are rather short on consistency and rather short of strength in depth. If they intend to make progress in European competition and retain their championship, they need to recruit half a dozen good players this close season and move on a few of the fringe players who haven’t contributed enough to the team whenever they have come on to play.

It’s the same with Bala Town. They have a good, solid side but apart from Chris Venables and Henry Jones, they don’t have any players capable of pushing the club up to the next level. And the rest of the League are just also-rans with just the odd star dotted about here and there.

But one thing is quite interesting, and it just goes to show how much the Welsh Premier League has progressed over the last few years is that when an ex-Football League came to play with a Welsh Premier League club it made headline news that reverberated around the pyramid for months.

These days there are ex-Football League players in every club, several players who play International football for their country and a couple of players who were in Wales’ successful Euro 2016 squad. And things can only get better when we see the money that these clubs earn by being successful in Europe.

All of that took me up to the time to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst stop was to go down to the end of the car park and look over the wall down onto the beach to see what was going on down there this afternoon. So dodging the powered hang-glider and other aircraft, I headed in that direction.

There were crowds of people down there this afternoon, which was only to be expected seeing as the holiday season is well under way. The town was heaving with people this morning as I drove out to the supermarket so it was no surprise to see the beach so packed.

We’re at the period of lowest tide too so I imagine that many of them down there are scavenging for seafood. And I hope that they will share their catch with their friends because you mustn’t be selfish with your shellfish.

aeroplane 35-MA place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier I posted a photo of an unidentified aeroplane that flew overhead while I was walking across the car park.

As I walked back, I was overflown again by an aeroplane that was pretty much identical to one of the unidentified ones. And this time I could see the registration quite clearly on the port wing.

Not that it did me any good because the number on the wing is 35-MA and that is not a number that I can find in the series of registration numbers that I have. And so I’m not able to tell you anything about it, unfortunately. There’s certainly no flight plan or trace of it on the flight radar.

citroen sm maserati place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I didn’t make it off the car park and off down the path because I was detained by this absolutely gorgeous machine parked here.

It’s been a while since we’ve featured an old car on these pages and to break our barren spell with a vehicle as rare or extraordinary as this is quite exceptional. In case you don’t know what it it, it’s basically a Citroen DS or ID, with the model designation “SM”.

The “S” of course stands for “Sport” but the “M” stands for “Maserati” because the earlier models of the series were powered by the same engine that was in the Maserati Merak and the later ones were powered by the engine out of the Maserati Biturbo.

citroen sm maserati place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe model was made between 1970 and 1975, but only about 13,000 models were made.

In 1974 there were just 294 examples sold and in 1975 a mere 115 so with the rationalisation of the French motor industry in the mid-70s, the poor sales resulted in the model being discontinued. What did for the model was the fact that the tax band in which the vehicle fell was so high that few people could afford to run them.

Nevertheless, if I had to choose a French vehicle of this era to keep as my own, there wouldn’t be any question about it. I would have one of these in a heartbeat. One of these would rival the Maserati Quattroporte in my list of top-10 vehicles.

citroen u23 place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was something else of interest parked up here at the end of the car park.

We’ve seen this vehicle before a few months ago. It’s a Citroen U23 lorry, a type of lorry that was launched in 1936 and was seen everywhere all over France. There are even A FEW EARLY ONES KNOCKING ABOUT ON THE ROADS today. They were also very popular with the French Army in World War II and quite a few were incorporated into the German army after the fall of France.

The earlier models looked very much like a Citroen Traction Avant but the bodywork evolved over the next 30 or so years before the model was abandoned in 1964. This is one of the last redesign of the model, undertaken in the late 1950s.

On that note I finally set off along the path above the cliffs, amongst the madding crowds wearing facemasks to a greater or lesser extent. There was nothing out to sea but as I approached the lighthouse a storm rolled in quite quickly and it began to rain. And so I didn’t wish to hang around for very long outside.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other side of the headland in the rain I looked down on the chantier navale from the viewpoint overlooking the port.

It looks quite strange right now with nothing in there up on blocks down there. It’s not very often that we can see the place looking quite like this without any boats of any description in there. It’s restricted by the fact that the portable boat lift only has a rating of about 95 tonnes, and so that rules out some of the boats that are based in the harbour.

There’s a dry dock here, the Cale de Radoub, in which larger boats could be placed and where they could be repaired but even though that was declared an Ancient Monument in 2008, it’s been out of use since 1978 and will cost several millions to put into working order so that it could be used again.

marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the boats that requites an annual inspection is Marité, the old Newfoundland fishing boat that’s based here and which takes passengers out every now and again.

She had to sail to Lorient for her annual overhaul a few days ago as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. She must have come back on the tide last night. I was lucky enough to catch her coming home last year but I missed her this year.

Back here I made myself a mug of hot coffee and sat down to make a start on doing some work. But instead, I crashed out yet again. This is becoming far too much of a habit these days and I’m becoming rather fed up of all of this. I could understand it if I’d done any heavy exercise but even a walk around the block these days is finishing me off.

After I came round and recovered my equilibrium, I spent an hour or so playing the bass. I have to learn the songs on this song list and there’s no time like the present. I ned to exert myself one way or another.

Tea tonight was a burger with pasta and vegetables followed by chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce, which is just as delicious as it was when I made it. And chatting to a few people on the internet later, I posted them my recipe so that they can make it.

Now I’m off to bed, a lot later than usual but it doesn’t matter all that much because I’m having a lie-in tomorrow. And as long as it’s not 13:30 like it was last Saturday, I won’t mind too much.

Saturday 10th April 2021 – WOO-HOO – I’M VACCINATED!

Yes, I’ve now had both my jabs and I have a Certificate to prove it too! At least I shall be in the forefront of the queue whenever normal service is resumed.

That’s not to say that I’m going to be perfectly safe. I’ve had the Pfizer vaccination so I’m now about 95% safe against current strains of the virus but there are no details about how I’ll be covered against any new strains and in any case I could carry the vaccine around and infect others.

So I still have to be careful whatever I do. I can’t throw caution to the wind.

Mind you, I did throw caution to the wind last night because what with one thing or another it was long after 01:00 when I finally went to bed.

Nevertheless I still managed to crawl out of my stinking pit a 06:00 when the first alarm went off. It just confirms my suspicions that the issues that I’ve been having about leaving my bed have nothing to do with any physical complaint.

First thing was to grab the medication and the second thing was to listen to the dictaphone to see if I’d been anywhere during the night. In fact I was doing something last night and I can’t remember what it was but I ended up in Canada. It was something to do with cars ad I can’t remember at all. I ended up at my niece’s. One of her daughters was there and feeling very happy with herself because she had taken some courses to improve her reading ability. The had studied these courses for 12 months and when I arrived there I found that she had received a Diploma award from the Open University for English speaking and she was absolutely delighted. And of course so was I because she deserves something like that.

There was time to have a whack at some of the photos from North America from August 2019 before going for a shower, and then I made a coffee in my thermal mug, grabbed some crackers and then leapt into Caliburn.

And I did too, because the door opened quite easily this morning which is very good news.

It was pouring with rain this morning so it was a pretty miserable drive up north towards Valognes. There was a lot of things to see on the way but the rain put a complete dampener on everything.

There was something that I stopped to see on my way north, because there was a good view from inside Caliburn.

Calvaire de Le Plessis-Lastelle Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is the Calvaire de Le Plessis-Lastelle on the outskirts of the town of Le Plessis-Lastelle.

It’s formerly the site of a castle on a nice high ridge and was destroyed during a revolt against Duke William of Normandy in 1047. It was rebuilt later but fell into disrepair, although a traveller in 1835 remarked that it was still in reasonable condition.

In 1911 the locals transformed what remains of the site into a Calvary but during the fighting in Normandy in 1944 it was very badly damaged. A programme of restoration was finished in 1967 and this is how it appears today.

And that reminds me of the story that I heard about the renovation of the Calvary after the war. There was a call for designs for the Calvary but due to a misunderstanding on the telephone, someone sent in a drawing of George Custer on his horse.

hospital simone veil valognes Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually, 15 minutes early I arrived at the hospital.

As you can see, it looks quite … errr … interesting from the front. It’s actually an old Benedictine Abbey and as it came into the possession of the State in 1803 one can easily imagine that it was a prize of the Revolution. It was registered as an ancient monument in 1937.

When the hospital was inaugurated in 1977 it didn’t have a particular name but it was opened by Simone Veil who was Minister of Health – the fist female to hold the post – at the time. When she died in 2018 the hospital was given her name.

hospital simone veil valognes Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound the back though, it’s totally different, with all kinds of modernisations having been undertaken.

When I came here before, the Vaccination Centre was under there but seeing it all in darkness and it being a Saturday morning, I was full of foreboding.

A sign on the door said “Vaccination Centre now moved to …. (another address in town)” so I had to leap back into Caliburn, type the address into the Satnave and let the Lady Who Lives In The Satnav plot me a course.

Eventually I arrived at the Sports Centre on the other side of town where I had my injection, was given my certificate and left to fester for 15 minutes before they threw me back out into the rain.

My route back was a different one from my way out so there were new things to see on the way home.

chateau de saint saveur le vicomte Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I came down the hill into Saint Saveur le Vicomte I was confronted by this beautiful building here. I had to do a U-turn and go back up the hill to find a good viewpoint where I could stick the camera out of Caliburn’s window.

This is the Chateau de Saint Saveur le Vicomte and it has a very interesting history because in view of its strategic position on a hill at the side of a river that leads into the interior, the Norse raiders built a fort there, according to one local historian.

Whatever was on there was destroyed during the revolt against Duke William. A subsequent castle here was an English stronghold in the Hundred Years War.

It later became a hospital, an orphanage and later a prison. Badly damaged by Allied Bombing in 1944, it’s now the subject of a restoration project financed by the proceeds of the national lottery.

On the way home I called in at Coutances and fuelled up Caliburn and then went to the LeClerc and LIDL here. They are much bigger than the ones in Granville and even though there’s more stuff in there, there isn’t anything extra that suited me. I did by some sweet potatoes though as they were cheap, and I’ll have to think of something to do with them.

Back here I made a sandwich for lunch and then came in here to carry on work but unfortunately I crashed out. And crashed out good and properly too, for about an hour and a half.

And when I awoke I had a sore arm again and I was also freezing, freezing cold. So much so that having turned off the heating about a week ago, I tuned it on again full-blast.

When I eventually recovered, I went outside for a walk where I bumped into Pierre the skipper of Spirit of Conrad. he told me that the other week the boat was simply in the chantier navale simply for an annual service.

But all of his tours this year are cancelled yet again. He’s thinking about doing trips up the Brittany coast whenever the situation relaxes.

Finding that the battery was yet again flat in the NIKON D500 I came back in for the NIKON D3000 and then I went back outsode again for my afternoon walk in the wind and rain.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe whole of the town around here was totally deserted which was no surprise given the weather. There wasn’t a soul on the beach at all.

That’s something of a surprise of course because we’ve seen people down there in all kinds of weather, even swimming in it. But not today. I suppose that it was just too much for them today.

Instead, I trudged off along the path towards the end of the headland in my lonely solitude, and also in the rainstorm too. It must have been raining quite a lot over the last 18 hours because the path was flooded yet again and I had to pick my way gingerly around the puddles as I wended my weary way.

commodore goodwill english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the elevated part at the far end I could see something moving right out there in the English Channel so I took a photograph of it, regretting that I didn’t have the big NIKON D500 with me.

Of course it’s much too far out for me to be able to identify it but enhancing the image considerably I could make out some rough idea of its colours. That seems to indicate that its a Condor Ferries boat.

Its silhouette seems to match that of Commodore Goodwill, the Ro-Ro ferry that does the shuttle between St Malo, St Helier in Jersey and St Peter Port in Guernsey.

Ro-Ro stands for “roll on, roll off” and should not be confused with ferries such as Herald of Free Enterprise and Estonia which were Ro-Ro-Ro ferries, which stands for “roll on, roll over, roll off”.

fishing boat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was more movement out to sea too, but this time so much closer to home.

This is one of the little shellfish boats that worked the beds off the Ile de Chausey, I reckon. She’s on her way home to port in Granville, even if the tide isn’t far enough in for the harbour gates to be open.

Off the lawn and down the path to car park I went, encountering a family whose members were as surprised to see me as I was to see them.

Across the car park to the end of the headland to see what was going on. And the answer to that was nothing at all. So picking my way through the puddles I walked down the path on the other side of the headland.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was very little going on in the harbour this afternoon.

The tide was still far out so the outer harbour was quite dry. But we can see all of the tyre tracks of the various heavy vehicles that have been working in there over the last month when we had the very low tides. Their work doesn’t seem to be finished so I wonder when, or maybe if, we will ever see them back working here again.

The fishing boat that we saw earlier is now in the harbour, here on the left, and it’s looking rather bewildered as the skipper tries to think of what to do next with it. And unfortunately she’s still too far out for me to be able to read her name on the visor over the cabin.

anakena hermes 1 notre dame de cap lihou aztec lady Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere is still no change in occupancy in the chantier navale today.

We have, from left to right, Anakena, Hermes I and the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou. In the background is Aztec Lady, with a pile of small assorted yachts on the other side of the wall.

Unfortunately I couldn’t stay around to count them because I had to rush on home for the football this afternoon. TNS were playing away to Bala Town.

What astonished me about this match was that the two best players in the Welsh Premier League, Greg Draper and Henry Jones, managed just 28 minutes on the field between them.

Even more strangely was that the best player on the field, TNS’s Ben Clark, was substituted after 60 minutes of the game, with no sign of an injury. He’d run the Bala defence ragged and had a hand in TNS’s goal, but after he left the field the spark went out of the TNS side and Bala had several good chances to equalise, although they were unable to convert them.

Tea was out of a tin seeing as it’s Saturday and now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to make some sourdough dough ready for baking tomorrow. And then I’m off to bed for a nice lie in.

And I deserve it too.

Thursday 18th March 2021 – HERE’S CALIBURN …

caliburn rue des noyers st lo Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… sitting waiting patiently for me in a little car park in the Rue des Noyers at St-Lô this morning.

And he didn’t have to wait very long because I was in and back out again even before the time of my appointment, and it isn’t every day that that kind of thing happens when you are dealing with French administration.

What does seem to be happening every day though (so just watch it not happen tomorrow) is that I’m leaving my stinking pit pretty quickly these days – just after the first alarm. This morning I was actually sitting at the computer working, having already had my medication, when the third alarm went off.

First thing that I did was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. We started off with Doc Holliday, a third person and Yours Truly riding a freight train escaping from a crime that we’d committed. We were happily going on this train doing OK. There was a low branch across the railway lines. The locomotive somehow managed to avoid it but Doc Holliday who was standing up was hit by this branch and knocked off the train. We all had immediately to leap off the train. 2 guys on a horse had seen this incident and gave chase. They followed the train, found in the end that we weren’t on so they came back and found the 3 of us. They held us at gunpoint while we explained some of our story – not everything. The sheriff of the county agreed and told us that we could go. he told us the story of a couple of other outlaws who had been here. Someone showed us the house where they had lived which was now an old metal barn. All very interesting. Something happened that we were unmasked so we had to flee. As it was me and the other guy, not Doc Holliday, we had to scramble our way through this industrial estate climbing over fences, this kind of thing. One place where we had to climb over the fence had some bird netting on it and of course the more you climbed up it the more you pulled it off. It meant that the 2 of us had to climb this bird netting simultaneously moving our hands and legs at the same time so that the net would stay in place and we could scramble up it otherwise we would just pull it out of where it’s tied.

A little later TOTGA came to see me. She was telling me about a problem that she’d had. The people for whom she’d worked had gone bankrupt and they had found loads of drawings and missing assets and so on that had presumably been misappropriated by one of the previous directors. Now they were making enquiries about her and her wealth – an in-depth enquiry and what should she do about it? I made a couple of suggestions. At that moment Nerina shouted me – she was also around doing something in a different room, something like that or whether she came later. So I went to her and happened to mention this story about TOTGA. Nerina said “why don’t you talk to her and see what we can do?”. Just at that moment TOTGA shouted up something from downstairs so I replied, saying “come up here a minute”. She came up and I said “just sit there on the bed a minute”. She said “I’ll need a chaperone”. I replied “ohh no you won’t” to which Nerina and TOTGA burst out laughing. We explained the problem again to Nerina and she came up with a few suggestions that didn’t seem quite right to me but I don’t know what else to expect. Then I awoke with an attack of cramp.

Later still I was at Virlet busy tidying it up and decorating it. It wasn’t Virlet but one of these 2-up, 2-down terraced houses in Crewe. I was getting ready to do one of the living rooms. A friend of mine turned up with a kind-of interior designer. They had all kinds of ideas for everything on the inside so I left them to it as he was going to pay for this. There was a girl here as well and we were talking to her. She was wondering what to do, whether she was getting in the way so we told her to make the coffee. Luckily there was some running water at the place so she started on that. I went to empty the sink but the sink had been blocked and a whole pile of dirt and filth came into the sink before it all evacuated again. I said “thank God for that” then I had another attack of cramp.

This cramp thing is really getting on my wick now and I must remember to speak to my doctor at Castle Anthrax next week.

First job after the dictaphone notes was to attack the Greenland photos. Another pile of them are done and we are just about to get up steam ready to sail off down Kangerlussuatsiaq Fjord on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR. And considering that we are on a diesel-powered ship, if we can get up steam and sail off, it will be something quite astonishing.

Later on I had a shower and then Caliburn and I hit the streets. And we were half-way to Liz and Terry’s before I remembered that I was actually going to St-Lô so we had something of a sight-seeing trip.

15 minutes early I was when I arrived in St-Lô and having found a parking space at the foot of the city walls underneath the Prefecture, I then found a set of steps up through a sally port – steps that I hadn’t noticed before.

Consequently I was there 10 minutes early. And with no-one in front of me, I was seen straight away and was standing on the steps outside the building, all done and dusted, when the town clock struck 11:00

And I would have been out even earlier had I not signed the form in the place reserved for the chef de service instead of the interessé so she had to start all over again.

One thing about which I wasn’t very happy was that she took my current carte de sejour. So what I did was to make her photocopy it and put on it the Prefecture’s official stamp. One thing that I have learnt with living in Europe is that people like to see lots of paperwork all covered in official stamps and the more you have, the better it is for the various officials whom you encounter on your travels. And I’ll be travelling a lot just now.

rue des noyers city walls st lo  Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack down the steps to Caliburn and at the sally port I took a photo along the walls.

One thing that you notice about St-Lô is that much of the construction is “modern austerity” because after D-Day in 1944 the Germans dug themselves in here and the city was repeatedly bombed, with the deaths of hundreds upon hundreds of French civilians. Not for nothing was it known as “The Capital of the Ruins”.

Because of the devastation, rebuilding had to be quick without any regard for aesthetics and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the cathedral here is half-built of breeze blocks, such was the state of things.

Caliburn and I drove to the railway station where we awoke a booking clerk who found my name in the database and was able to issue me with my rail tickets for next week as there is no automatic retrieval machine here. It’s important that I have my tickets in my hand before the day of my travel because the train leaves before the booking office in the station opens and if the ticket retrieval machine is out of order then I’ve had it.

Next stop was to the new LIDL on the edge of town and while the range of goods on offer was larger, there wasn’t all that much more in there that would have suited me and my diet.

LeClerc was pretty much the same. Bigger and more choice, but not for me. I did strike lucky in the sense that they had a special offer going on their litre-bottles of traditional lemonade – glass bottles with mechanical tops that I need for my brewing. Two bottles of that stuff worked out at €3:20, which is cheaper than buying two empty bottles from the housewares section.

While I was there I rang up Liz to see if Terry’s hard drive had arrived. No such luck, so I headed on home for a rather late lunch.

Having been rushing around like this all morning, it’s no surprise that I ended up crashing out for a while on the chair in the office. I can’t last the pace.

seagull on window ledge place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I picked myself up for my afternoon walk and went outside, where I said “hello” to the seagull that seems to have taken residence on the first floor window of the next block.

The weather this morning had not been too unpleasant but it seems to have deteriorated while I was indoors because the wind has increased, the temperature has dropped and while there’s not as much fog around as there has been just recently, there is still more than you would expect given the strength of the wind.

So gritting my teeth and hanging on to my hat I set off along the path around the headland. There were only a couple of other people out there, and that wasn’t a surprise given the way things are right now.

Looking out across the bay towards the Brittany coast there wasn’t all that much going on over there.

seafarers memorial le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd neither was there all that much more going on across towards St Pair and Jullouville.

Well, maybe there was, but if so, I couldn’t see it. We can see the seafarers’ memorial and then Le Loup, the light that sits on the rock at the entrance to the harbour. But the coast across there is nothing more than a misty haze.

From there I walked on down the path at the head of the cliffs. After all of the activity at the chantier navale just recently, it’s quietened down with just the same boats that were there yesterday. Plenty of people working on them, including my neighbour Pierre labouring away on Spirit of Conrad.

But I’ve given up predicting when they might be going back into the water. I’m not having much luck with that right now.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other hand, they seem to be racing away with the roof on the College Malraux right now.

Apart from having almost finished the part of the roof that they stripped off a couple of weeks ago, they have now stripped off a neighbouring bay and they are busy replacing the laths on that part. I wonder what has caused the acceleration.

Back here in the apartment I had my coffee and then made a start on the arrears of Central Europe. And that seemed to be somewhat productive because I managed to research and write some text for about seven or eight photos in the time that I was working. With a bit of luck, I might finish this before the end of the decade.

Guitar practice was enjoyable – on the bass I was messing around with a solo for “Jumping Jack Flash” again and also Neil Young’s “Like A Hurricane”.

Tea was a burger on a bap with veg followed by apple pie again. And then a couple of things came up while I was trying to write up my notes. Firstly, Rachel rang me from Canada with some bad family news. Secondly, I won’t be making orange ginger beer again. I now know what a shrapnel attack looks like and I need another bottle with a mechanical stopper. At least I know that the stoppers on those bottles are stronger than the bottles themselves.

Tomorrow is going to be a day of cleaning up and washing down the walls of the living room and I’ll be doing the next lot of brewing in the bathroom.

Saturday 28th November 2020 – I’VE BEEN SPENDING …

… my money again. I went out somewhat early this morning on speculation now that the “unnecessary” shops are allowed to open and sure enough, my luck was in I found “mon bonheur” as they say around here. It was expensive and I do mean that, but it will be well worth it in due course.

It’s for my Christmas present so I can’t tell you what it is until I open it at Christmas time but it’s what I’ve always wanted ever since I moved here three and a half years ago.

Even though I said “early”, it wasn’t as early as I was hoping though because I didn’t leave the bed until about 07:20 this morning, to my dismay. But at least I was in a better frame of mind than I was last night, which is one thing I suppose.

First thing to do is to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’d made contact with my old school last night and I’d volunteered to talk to them about certain things. They suggested that I came round to see them on Saturday. So off I went on a Saturday morning and found to my surprise that a lot of kids were still in school. I thought that it must be something to do with Covid or something like this. I arrived at the front of the school but couldn’t find the door in. All the front of the school had changed. In the end I found a door and went in – I thought that I’d look for the secretariat. All the kids were telling me not to go in through this door for some unknown reason but I went in anyway. I couldn’t find the secretariat but then I saw a hatch that was an opening in the wall and there was a queue of people around there talking to whoever was going on inside. I thought “well, I’d talk to these people, whatever was going on in this hatch and they can point me to the right place”. So I waited my turn. Then a guy came over and said “ohh don’t you go missing now that I’ve got you here. I’m going to give you a class”. I thought “this is strange. he doesn’t even know who I am”. But on my way in parking my car or going into the school grounds or whatever I bumped into one of my old teachers. I said “you must be Mr Lighton” but he didn’t recognise me. But this other guy obviously recognised me, and I didn’t have a clue who he was and I was certain that he ought not to know who I was but he got me right. He said “well …” and we were talking about what I could do. he said “you could give this class a talk on iron ore, the miracle of iron ore”. I replied “yes, I can tell them all about iron ore mining in Labrador”. I thought for a moment “I wish I’d remembered to bring my photographs with me” but then I thought that I had my laptop and they are all on there. Another teacher who was there said “I didn’t know that they mined iron ore in Labrador” so we had quite a chat about that. I had some gold with me and I produced this sample of gold and said “what about this from Labrador?” He looked at it, the amazed guy, but the one who came to talk to me first was totally nonplussed by this gold. he didn’t think that it was anything extraordinary at all.

Next thing was to have a shower and to check my weight. And in the last 2 days I’ve put on 0.6 kilo. That’s clearly incorrect and I shall have to check this again.

Having changed the bedding (I’m going to be in the lap of luxury tonight) and set the washing machine off on a cycle (very clever, my washing machine) I hit the streets with Caliburn.

Our first stop was miles out of town and more of this anon and then it was time for NOZ and LeClerc. Both were open but neither came up with anything of any special interest. It was just more of the boring same so I came on home without hanging around too long.

By now it was quite late so there was barely time to put the frozen food away before I had to make my soup for lunch (more of the butternut squash) and then there was football. Connah’s Quay Nomads against Barry Town in the Welsh Premier League.

Barry Town scored first after just a couple of minutes but from the restart Connah’s Quay went up the field and equalised. Even with half a team out injured or suspended they were still far too good for Barry Town and the final score of 3-1 was fair enough. Barry Town need to find a striker from somewhere if they want to push on up the table.

yacht english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was by now way after the time that I would usually go out for my afternoon walk, but I went out all the same.

Winter has certainly arrived. It was cold and quite windy out there, but there was plenty of sun to encourage people to come out for maybe the last fine day of the year. This guy in his yacht was certainly enjoying himself just offshore.

And you can see what I mean about the sun by looking at the sails of his yacht. They are supposed to be white but they are reflecting the late-afternoon sun and are looking a rather bright shade of gold.

kayaker english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd he wasn’t the only one out there in the water today.

There were several people in kayaks having a paddle around the Pointe du Roc too. And it’s a good job that it’s warm because it’s not permitted to light a fire in a canoe. They say that you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

Back in the apartment I noticed that someone else had taken a photo of the kayakers and posted a “group photo” on the Social Media. And someone complained about them being allowed to congregate but ramblers were not allowed to do so.

I despair of some people.

microlight Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it wasn’t just on the water that there were crowds of people. The air was quite busy too.

A light aircraft had flown over my head just as I was setting out but I wasn’t quick enough to take a decent photo of it. But a few minutes later one of the little microlights went past. This time I was ready and when it turned out of the sun I was able to take a photo to speed it on its way.

What was disappointing was that our autogyro didn’t put in an appearance. We can usually rely on that going past overhead whenever the air is busy.

full moon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s that time of the month too.

There was a beautiful moon out there tonight – we missed the last one due to heavy clouds, if I remember correctly, but no danger of missing this one. It really was quite beautiful. And as you can see, there isn’t a cloud in the sky to get in the way of seeing it.

So it looks like either tomorrow or the day after, I’ll have to be shaving the palms of my hand. I used to be a werewolf but I’m all right noooooooooooooow”.

And that reminds me, the use of shockingly poor English is even threatening the Film Industry. They are planning to remake an old classic horror film of the 1930s, but the modern version this next year will be called “I Were a Teenage Waswolf”

sunset baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEnough of that. I turned tail and headed for the headland to look out over the Baie de Mont St Michel to see what was goign on.

And this is a far cry from 21:00 and 21:30 of early this year, isn’t it? You can tell how late it is that I’ve gone out because the sun is quite low in the sky and about to sink into the sea, where it will presumably sizzle.

we are certainly having some spectacular effects just recently. This one I stayed and watched for a few minutes before pushing my way onwards around to the south side of the headland.

ceres 2 yacht chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a new trawler in the chantier navale and we watched it being hoisted aboard the mobile boat lift.

This morning when I went out to the shops I was half-expecting to see it comfortably installed on one of the sets of blocks so that they can work on it, but to my surprise she wasn’t there. They must have been putting her back into the water yesterday when we saw them manoeuvring around.

Still, Ceres 2 and the yacht are still there. They must be completely fed up of spending all this time together on their own without any company.

clementine kefir Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith nothing else going on, I walked on back to the apartment.

There were some carrots that needed dicing and blanching, the sourdough needed feeding and then there was the kefir to attend to. The kiwis that I had bought last week weren’t ripe enough and besides I was rather pushed for time so I grabbed a handful of clementines (I’d bought another load today), whizzed them around to extract the juice, and then made another batch of clementine-flavoured kefir.

Having done that, I set another batch of kefir en route. And one of these days when I have more time, whenever that might be, I’m going to look into making my own ginger beer.

Today’s special offer on veg at LeClerc was “Cauliflowers at €0:99”, and large illegitimate ones too. I love them when they are fresh so I bought one and for tea had veggie balls with steamed veg (including lots of cauliflower cooked to perfection) and vegan cheese sauce. And I’ll be having more of that too in due course.

But the sad thing is that I finished the last of my ad-hoc raspberry and custard tart. That worked really well and I was pleased with that. It encourages me for the future now with other fruits.

night beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe moon was incredibly bright tonight. It really lit up the night sky and it would have been a perfect evening for photography had we not had one of the sea mists yet again.
With something of a struggle I ran on round to the viewpoint over the Plat Gousset and took a photo of the beach in the moonlight just to see how it would come out.

And I have to say that I’ve seen worse than this one. And, of course, it goes without saying, a great many so much better too.

street light scaffolding netting rue lecarpentier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing doing at the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch so I ran off all the way across thez Square maurice Marland where I stopped for my breather.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on a couple of occasions we’ve had a quick look at the house in the Rue LeCarpentier that is undergoing renovation by this specialist building company. Tonight, I couldn’t help noticing that with the light mist that we were having, the street light wrapped in the scaffolding netting was creating some kind of ethereal effect.

This is the kind of thing that is worth photographing, even if just to let arty people gasp with admiration. I don’t think all that much of this kind of thing

marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis on the other hand is much more like my kind of photograph.

Only Marité at anchor – or should I say “moored” – down at the bottom end of the harbour tonight. But she’s all lit up and looks quite pretty and for once, I managed to take a decent photo of her that actually worked out doing what I wanted it to do.

But everywhere is like death now with this lockdown due to the Corona Virus. Once more I was the only one out there tonight and I didn’t see another soul. I’m starting to feel quite lonely these days.

cat rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, that’s not exactly true. I wasn’t the only one out there tonight.

As I walked up the Rue St Michel a pretty long-haired cat, looking rather like a heavily-pregnant female, came out of one of the alleyways. I called it and it came to me for a stroke so we had a little bit of socialising. Strange as it is to say it, I miss having a cat, but it’s not possible with my lifestyle.

So having said goodbye to my new friend I ran on home to write out my notes.

Despite being in a better humour than I was yesterday and having had something of a lie-in this morning, I’ve still had a bad day. For some unknown reason I’ve been fighting off sleep (and not very successfully on some occasions) for most of the day and because I’m so tired, everything is taking 10 times longer.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last week because of a few rather extreme, if not ridiculous Sunday lie-ins, I was talking about setting an alarm on Sunday mornings in the future. But not tomorrow. This is going to be one of those “sleep until I awaken” days. I have clean bedding, I’m clean and tidy and I think that a good rest and long sleep will do me a world of good.

It makes me wonder who will come along to spoil it.

Friday 20th November 2020 – DOESN’T CALIBURN …

new bodywork caliburn Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… look smart with his new bodywork all finished off?

Mind you, he ought to at the price that it cost me for the work. Before he gave me the bill, the garage proprietor asked me if he should fetch the defibrillator, and when I saw the cost, I wished that he had.

But there’s a 5-year guarantee on the body repairs and that will see Caliburn and I go out together. No-one has ever lived longer than 11 years with this illness and although it was only 5 years ago that I was diagnosed with it, I reckon that I had it for a good while before then. I remember CLIMBING UP TO THE CHATEAU DE MONTSEGUR in early 2014 and being totally wiped out in a situation that I would have run up without any problem a couple of years previously.

new bodywork caliburn Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s no reason to dispose of Caliburn and have something else for whatever time remains. A new vehicle wouldn’t be worth it at all and if I were to buy something second-hand, who knows what I’d end up with?

What I need to do now is to attend to the wheels. He’ll need two tyres on the front sometime soon, and I have two old wheels in the back. I’ll clean those up and paint them and have winter tyres fitted, and then with the two that I take off, I’ll clean and paint them and have new tyres fitted on there too.

But I’m not impressed with the broken mirror though. That’s “disappointing” to say the least.

Something else that’s disappointing is that I missed the third alarm. What makes me feel even worse about that is that after the second one had gone off I remember saying to myself that I’ll beat the third one easily seeing as I’m so wide awake.

Oh Folly! Folly! As the late-lamented Stanley Unwin would have said.

First thing to do was to listen to the dictaphone.

There was a whole group of us looking at a map of the Far North of Russia. One of my friends was there and we were pointing out where we’d been on our famous trip to the North, although she was getting it wrong so I was having to show her on the map a lot better than she was guessing where we’d been. Another friend was there as well having a good look. We were talking about our journey, all this kind of thing very much in the same sense as we did about a dream quite a while ago when we were out in the High Arctic. I went to get my things. I had a tray with coffee and a jug of tomato juice, a few other bits and pieces. As I picked up the tray off the table the jug brushed the kitchen cupboard overhanging it and knocked it over. The tomato juice went everywhere. I just put the tray down in despair because I knew that this had really happened to me before and it’s going to happen to me again. It’s always the case when I’m in a rush – I have to do 3 jobs instead of 1. There was much to it than this but I can’t remember now – something to do with the taxis as well. I was having to go out on the taxis later but it was getting late and no-one had rung me. We were bound to be busy because it was a Saturday night and I’d have to go out. But I thought “who was going to take over on the radio?” This kind of thing. Then I thought that Nerina isn’t here either. She’s still away somewhere but she’ll be coming back and be stuck in the office. Maybe she could do the radio but I don’t know anything more about that.

Some other time during the night I had a computer and I was trying to do something. We were looking at this home video of someone’s bedroom and marvelling at the old selection of electronic and electrical appliances that there were back in the 70s and 80s that we don’t see now. Later on I had my computer coupled up to a reel-to-reel tape recorder. I was recording tracks that I was picking up on the internet radio onto that with the idea of editing them afterwards with Audacity or something. The idea was that once everything was stored onto master tapes it can be copied onto CD and filed away. I was having to work out how this was going to work

After the medication I carried on with a task that I started yesterday and hadn’t mentioned. There were almost 250 unread e-mails in my mailbox, some of which were going back to the early summer, as well as a whole pile of ones that I’d already read and which were now serving no useful purpose except to waste space.

Consequently I’ve been going through them yesterday and today, dealing with a pile of stuff that I should have dealt with a long time ago and there is still some to do. And a few more people will have a surprise over the next few days when they start to receive replies to messages that I sent out months ago.

Something else that required attention was to ring up a certain telephone number in the UK. Between 1972 and 1974 I worked for an Insurance Company in the UK and I was wondering whether I might be entitled to a pension payment in this respect. It took me ages to track down who I should speak to because the company has changed hands a few times since then but I eventually managed to speak to someone who reckoned that he could help me.

In the end it turned out that because I

  • was under 30
  • worked there for less than 5 years

There was nothing for me at all. But still, it was worth the phone call simply to find out.

It’s hardly a surprise that after all of this I crashed out on the chair for half an hour. And a really deep one too, just like the ones that I was having a week or two ago. Just recently, if I have crashed out at all, it’s just been drifting off for 5 or 10 minutes or so.

pearl trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter lunch I headed off to pick up Caliburn – yes, I’d telephoned the garage too to see if he was ready.

Down in the harbour there was a trawler that I don’t recall seeing (although I must have done, I suppose) before. She’s registered in Cherbourg and she’s called “Le Pearl”, and proudly displays on her superstructure the fact that she comes from Granville

She’s quite a pretty craft, and by the looks of things she’s fairly new too so maybe she really is new and has replaced an older one that has been put out to grass somewhere. She’s only been mentioned in shipping records since 20th October this year.

We’ll have to see if there’s anything in the papers about it.

material on quayside for loading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther along in the harbour, there are signs of activity at the loading bay underneath the crane.

A whole pile of builders’ material is now there ready for loading. It looks as if one of the Jersey freighters is going to be coming back into port very shortly to take it all away.

The next question is not “which one will it be?” but “will I get to see it?”. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen just recently a really rapid turnround of the ships and we’ve probably missed more than we have seen since they have begun to extricate their digits

electricians installing christmas lights cours jonville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallI pushed on … “pushed off” – ed … into town on my way to the garage, but I only got as far as the Cours Jonville before I stopped again.

Regular readers of this rubbish will also recall that we’ve seen the Christmas decorations pushing up like mushrooms all over the town. Here I was lucky enough to stumble upon a couple of Council workmen with a cherry-picker who were busily stringing up a collection of fairy lights around a few of the trees down here.

Leaving them to it, I pushed on along the Boulevard Louis Dior (and forgot to take the photo of the alley yet again) and up the steps at the end, past the railway station and out of town.

chateau d'eau st nicolas Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s a long, weary trudge all the way out of town but I was determined to do it on foot as a form of good exercise, and I’m glad that it wasn’t very warm.

Past the centre of St Nicolas and into the countryside and here at the roundabout on the edge of town is the water tower that we have seen in the background of so many photos. I quite like this water tower. usually they are simply slabs of dull-grey concrete but with this one they have made an effort to try to make it blend into the environment.

By now, I’m well in the countryside and still a kilometre or two to go.

hen in the road rue des drakkars Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever I wasn’t alone on my travels.

There is a housing estate on the very edge of the town beyond the roundabout and here standing on the corner watching the world go by is a chicken. What he’s doing here I really don’t know but seeing as he near to a pedestrian crossing he might be trying to cross the road.

And as for why he would want to do that, it’s anyone’s guess.

At the garage they clearly have more faith in me than I have because they had left Caliburn parked in the street Had I had a spare pair of keys I could simply have driven away.

And I made rather a fool of myself in here by complaining that they had set the Controle Technique to expire in July, before I realised that I had been looking at the insurance sticker.

Having paid the bill and recovered from the shock, I went down to Leclerc for the weekend shopping, where I spent a fortune.

One thing that I like about the end of the grape season is that it’s the start of the clementine season and I can polish those off just as quickly as I can polish off grapes.

With not having bought any heavy stuff for ages the bill was somewhat elevated but a lot of that can be blamed on the soya milk that was in three-packs on special offer. My mid-morning hot chocolate gets me through a lot of that.

And interestingly, when I arrived at rhe checkout I found that I had a pile of ham in my trolley. Somewhere along the line I had picked up the wrong trolley and had to retrace my steps until I found mine

Ohhh! The exciting times that we lead these days!

Back here I made a start on the arrears, still getting nowhere rather fast. This isn’t doing me any good at all.

The hour on the guitars was successful again – I enjoyed it just as much as yesterday – and for tea I had a burger that needed eating with some pasta followed by apple crumble.

Just as I was about to go out on my run, Rosemary phoned for a chat. And 2 hours and 48 minutes later we stopped. We had a lot to say.

23:15 is far too late to go out for a run so I was glad that I’d had the marathon walk this afternoon.

Tomorrow I’m going to try my hand at baking seeing as I’ve finished off the banana bread. See what damage I can do to a chocolate cake. But that’s for later. I’m off to bed.

Wednesday 18th November 2020 – EEUURRGGHH!

Yes, I’m not quite sure what happened here but once more I slept right through the three alarms and I would probably still be asleep right now if the telephone hadn’t rung and awoken me from my slumber.

baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you admire a couple of photos of the brittany coast taken this evening , it was 09:25 it was when I left the bed and that’s something of a tragedy. It’s not as if I had a particularly late night last night, and although I was off on my travels during the night I didn’t go very far.

I wasn’t very well last night and I’d been at home. I was sitting quietly in the kitchen when someone knocked on the door. One of my sisters or someone went to see who it was. It turned out to be some one about whom I don’t care that much and can’t understand why he would be invading my nocturnal rambles when there are many more pleasant companions from whom I could choose were I able to. I didn’t realise who is was at first – I didn’t know – and my sister said “can he come in and see Eric?” I replied “yes, come in”. He came in with his wife, who is in the same category as he is and was clutching a workshop manual. He came over to me with it and said “I have this Jag and it has 3 airfoil fins underneath”. He pointed to them on the diagram, and said “I don’t think they are working properly while I travel because it(s a pig to handle at all and these airfoil fins should work a lot better”. They were underneath the car somewhere in between the wheels. He wanted me to help him or tell him which one it would be but it was something totally new that I had never come across before, this kind of wing on a motor vehicle and wasn’t sure whether I wanted to become involved in it. I know how these stories end. If it goes wrong it’s always your fault but it’s never to your credit when you fix it (and that’s the voice of bitter experience, isn’t it?).

baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on there was something about a football match with Pionsat playing and in a dispute the goalkeeper was sent off. Strangely, he was wearing n°3 on his shirt. Then there was a guy in a clothes shop and another guy came along but it was too late to go and look for him. And I’ve no idea at all about any of that.

By the time the room had stopped revolving and I’d been able to stand up and have my medicine it was already quite late. And with a pile of personal stuff that needed attention it was soon lunchtime and it didn’t feel as if I’d done a thing.

After lunch I rang up about Caliburn. “Ring back Friday morning” was the response. “I’m snowed under here”. So that was that. Then, as I mentioned yesterday there was some important stuff that needed attention. And not just one but two issues in fact. So I occupied myself with those and neither reached a very satisfactory conclusion. In fact, I’m rather disappointed by one and extremely disappointed (to say the least) by the other.

scaffolding roofing rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis was the moment to wander off for my afternoon walk.

For the last couple of nights I’d been seeing a dim orange light flashing away in the distance and I’d wondered what it was. For that reason this afternoon I headed into the old walled city to see what it might be. There’s plenty of roofing work going on in the town as we have seen over the last few months and it seems that there’s some more going on here now.

And I bet that it’s exciting watching some of the vehicles trying to negotiate their way past there, when we remember how they (didn’t) cope with the one further up the street.

fishing boats english channel ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day I was complaining about the absence of fishing boats out at sea.

Well, I’m not complaining today. Round at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord overlooking the English Channel and the Ile de Chausey I could see probably about a dozen or so of them out in mid-channel. There are five or six that I managed to capture in this photo alone.

What we’ll probably find, were we to look, is that the sea is zoned and they work their way around from patch to patch. Of course, for seafood of the swimming variety that’s not usually possible, but most of the catch here is of the crustacean variety and doesn’t move around so much.

medieval fish trap mussel beds beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallTalking of seafood of the crustacean variety, there’s a good view today of the mussel beds out offshore by Donville le Bains.

Incidentally, while we are on the subject of the mussel beds … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ve seen reference to a paper of 1819 that mentions that the concessions for harvesting crustaceans goes back to an edict of 1816 to regulate the trade and prevent over-exploitation.

This paper is apparently freely available and I’ve an idea where I might find a copy. So one of these days when I have more time, whenever that might be, I’ll track down a copy and have a read. It should be interesting.

birds medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn that photo just now you also saw a photo of the medieval (at least I assume that it’s medieval) fish trap.

Even though the human population of the area seems to have forsaken it, it seems that the animal kingdom has not. it was teeming with seabirds this afternoon, presumably helping themselves to a late lunch of all of the small fish that have been trapped the wrong side of the wall by the receding tide

But you can see how this all works. For centuries up to about 100 years or so the local peasant women would have been up to their knees in that water grabbing the fish with their bare hands or rudimentary nets to make sure that there was something for tea

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe weather was quite nice today, all things considering and there were one or two people walking about (usually just where I didn’t want to meet them).

No-one about on the beach though, which was surprising. The beach was looking absolutely beautiful, really pristine this afternoon in the cloudy sunshine and it was just the kind of weather that folk should have been taking advantage of it, particularly as it’s Wednesday afternoon and the brats are out of school.

Not for me though. It’s all very well going down the steps but I have to come back up them afterwards so I eschewed the opportunity. Instead I ran off along the Square Maurice Marland for part of the way until I bumped into a couple out for a walk so I slowed down to a more sedate and less embarrassing walk and made my way home again.

There was time to amend a page of the arrears from Germany before my guitar practice. And tonight I felt much more like it. And I ended up playing a lead guitar solo to “One Tree Hill” by U2. I’ve a long way to go before I’m Duane Allman but as Confucious says, the longest journey in the world begins with one step.

Tea tonight was a delicious burger on a bun with microwaved potato and veg followed by an apple crumble. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I really am eating well these days.

My runs out tonight were something of a disappointment and I think that if the weather doesn’t improve I’m going to abandon my evening run around the headland in the evening.

There was a howling gale that brought me to a sudden halt on four of my 6 legs tonight as I ran full-tilt into the teeth of a gale. There’s no shelter out there and with the wind gusting as wickedly as it is right now I catch the full force of it. At least underneath the walls there’s shelter of some sort.

You’ve seen the two photos of the Brittany coast that I took earlier. It was a gorgeous clear night and you could see for miles. Just the right kind of weather for taking out the tripod, except for the wind of course. This really is the windiest period that I’ve ever known. It’s been almost non-stop for 6 months.

ceres 2 chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe Brittany photos were blown about in the wind – it’s impossible to do a hand-held long exposure in these conditions, but at least the photo of the chantier navale didn’t turn out too badly.

Ceres II and the yacht are still in there. It looks as if they have put down roots there and are making themselves comfortable for the duration. I decided to run on home and make myself comfortable there, so I ran off home as best as I could given the conditions.

Back here I was having a laugh with a friend of mine from Northern Ireland. We were discussing Brexit and he said “Chickens, voting for Christmas. Their goose is cooked!” And I couldn’t resist it. I retorted “and now they can get stuffed”.

So that’s me finished. It was a bad day today, so here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow. Getting up early might help. But it’s shopping day too so that’s the morning wasted. Still, I have to eat and I can’t eat if I don’t have food. Although I have far too many things to be doing right now.

Tuesday 17th November 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change this morning I managed to beat the third alarm. And reasonably comfortably too.

Mind you, I put that down to the fact that I didn’t go anywhere during the night – at least, not that I recorded anyway. By the looks of things it was a nice, relaxing night.

After the medication I did some work on the photos from July 2019 in Greenland and then prepared for my Welsh lesson. And the more we learn, the harder it becomes. I’m having trouble trying to keep abreast of it all.

Armed with a mug of hot chocolate and a slice of fruit bread, we had our lesson. And it passed quite quickly.

Of course we learnt some more words for “yes” and “no” – another 6 of them in fact. Basically, in a Celtic language, there isn’t a “yes” or “no”. If someone asks you “did you …” the answer is “I did”, or “will you …” – “I will” and so on. And when the verb declines as in Latin rather than there being a subject as in English, you can see how complicated this can become.

And we managed to have a break too. Basically we rebelled and decided that we had to go to the bathroom. Sitting straight through for 150 minutes just turns my head to jelly.

After lunch I was very busy. First of all, I peeled and diced some ginger very finely and then brought it to a slow boil in a saucepan. While it was simmering away, I peeled three oranges, put them in the whizzer just enough to extract the juice which I then filtered out (I like my new sieves) into a bottle and then whizzed the rest of it round into a pulp which I then added to the ginger and left it all to simmer.

As I suspected, the pineapple syrup was “off” so I whizzed up two pears and a pile of grapes into a very fine pulp and then filtered out the juice into the very large jug. The pulp I added to the ginger and orange mix which was still simmering.

The kefir was then strained through my very fine filter into the very large jug, all mixed well in and then strained back through the very fine filter into a few of the stoppered bottles. And while all that was happening I made some more kefir, with a dried fig this time

pear and raisin kefir orange and ginger cordial Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now the orange and ginger etc was well ready so the liquid was drained off, the remaining pulp was thoroughly whizzed and any remaining juice was extracted.. All of this juice was then filtered to take out the solids and then heated again lightly. A couple of tablespoons of honey were added, the orange juice from step one was added back in and all placed in another stoppered bottle.

And here’s the finished product, as you can see. A big batch of fresh kefir, two large and one small bottle of pear and grape kefir, and a small bottle of orange and ginger cordial.

And I can’t wait to give it all a try. I had a quick sample of the ginger and orange cordial and it nearly blew my cap off. It should be quite exciting after it’s stood for a day or two. And it will be a couple of days before I get round to the kefir but that should be good too.

people on beach Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBelieve it or not, that took me all the way up to walkies-time. I couldn’t believe just how quickly the time had passed by.

It was surprising to see so few people out and about this afternoon though. The wind had dropped quite dramatically and although there was plenty of cloud about it was quite a bright, warm day. yet there was just a handful of people down on the beach and no more than half a dozen pounding out the path around the headland.

When you think about it – a beach almost completely to yourself in the sun. That can’t be a bad thing, even in the High Arctic like the one that we found somewhere on Victoria Island that pleasant afternoon just as my world was about to fall apart.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t exactly all that much more lively out at sea either.

Away in the distance out in the English Channel I could just about make out two objects. Wondering what they might be, I took a photo at full-range. One didn’t show anything that I recognised but the second produced a stationary trawler.

What was even more interesting about this photo was that just beyond it are a couple of these bobbing buoys that we have seen every now and again which are either mooring posts for fishing boats or else markers for lobster pots and the like.

And that’s surprising because they are way out in the distance offshore.

child's sign in car pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut anyway, all of that will be for another time, maybe (or maybe not).

There was still a circuit to complete so I carried on with my walk along the clifftop and over the lawn at the back of the lighthouse. There was a car parked on the car park and this little notice attracted my attention. It’s a shame that part of it is obscured but nevertheless it was certainly something very different.

And why not? There’s not enough humour and levity in the world these days. We all need things to make us smile with all of this nonsense going on right now. These are very sad times in which we are living right now.

sun shining through clouds baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the car park I walked down the path past one of the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall to see what was happening out to sea.

And the answer to that was, unfortunately, nothing. At least, nothing of the moving variety. There was, however, a certain moment, one that didn’t last long, of the sun’s rays shooting out through a hole in the clouds and illuminating a spot on the surface of the sea, just like a spotlight might do on a stage in a theatre.

Luckily I had the camera to hand and all ready, so I managed to take a quick shot while the scene still worked. It’s all very well these professional photographers saying that you have more time than you think, but they have clearly never worked with children animals and nature.

trawler saint brieuc port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallPast the chantier navale and no change there. Still the yacht and Ceres II and no-one else.

But there’s something going on here though at the wharf next to the Fish processing Plant. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we had a discussion a while back about the registration number of boats – CH being CHerbourg (where boats from this port are registered), SM for St Malo and so on.

Here, aground on the mudflats with the tide right out is a trawler registered “SB” which, I imagine, is St Brieuc further on down the Brittany coast. And what it’s doing here, aground and unattended, I really have no idea. It really ought to be tied up in the dinner harbour.

Back here, my friend with Covid was on line so we had another chat. It’s important that she keeps up her morale in this difficult time and I’m trying my best to give her my support. And if that doesn’t work, she’ll have to buy her own.

The hour on the guitar was, for some reason, not as enjoyable as it has been just recently. No idea why. I think that I’m on the verge of what I’m technically capable of doing yet I can’t seem to push on any more. I’ve been trying to fingerpick chords without too much success. But I’m better than I was before I started, I suppose.

Tea was a stuffed pepper again, seeing as I had some stuffing left over. And strangely enough it was the best that I’ve had so far. No idea why. The apple crumble was good too.

beach at night Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOut in the streets tonight I really was totally alone. I didn’t meet a single person anywhere on my travels.

At the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord I tried a little experiment. With the camera wedged up against a corner of a wall I tried a shot on a longish exposure to see if I could capture anything of the beach in the dark.

The photo is not very good but it reminds me of Doctor Johnson’s story about the dog dancing on its hind legs. The surprise is not that it was done so badly, but that it was done at all. I didn’t really expect to get anything recognisable out of it at all.

And apart from that, there was nothing of any interest as I ran all the way round to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

steps escalier du moulin a vent Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers will recall that we see quite regularly the view across the Place down to the Plat Gousset, and the other day I took a photo of the view behind.

To the left there is of course the sea, but to the right there’s a stairway, the Escalier du Moulin A Vent, that goes all the way down to the Place.

There are loads of stairs and I counted them once. I think that I made it 128 or something like that. And at 4 steps to the metre, that makes ordinarily about 30 metres or so but there are several flat bits that have quite a steep slope so it’s a lot higher than that.

A run across the Square Maurice Marland, a walk around the rest of the walls and then another run and I was back home. And this last leg for some reason went pretty fluidly. Much more fluidly than I was expecting.

Tomorrow I must ring up about Caliburn. And then I have a really important job to carry out that I should have done 18 months ago and more.

Friday 13th November 2020 – AFTER EVERYTHING …

… that I wrote yesterday evening about an early night and an early start? it was … errr … 10:30 when I finally crawled out of bed.

If you think that that is devastating, just let me say that after finishing my notes, I started on a little project of no significance, a project that I dip into every now and again, and by the time I started to feel tired enough to go to bed, it was after 04:00.

So 10:30 isn’t really all that bad, I suppose, and at least there was some work of a sort being done.

During the night I’d been on my travels again. I was going somewhere laat night on a bus or something so I had to leave my car, the mk V Cortina NMP parked up at the side of the road. I was going to be away ages so I was worried about leaving it there for so long but as the bus passed by I could see two of the guys from the taxis opening it and climbing in Obviously they needed it for things so that was OK. I ended up round at my mothers where suddenly I had some kind of panic attack – what about all my personal stuff that I’d left in the car? What was going to happen if the people at the taxis got their hands on it? But anyway I got dressed, in a pair of grey trousers that I wore when I was at Shearings. And as I pulled the belt tight, it went two notches over where it usually went which was strange. As I was setting off to visit the parents of a friend my mother shouted “make sure you ring them to tell them that you are coming. Don’t just turn up unannounced”. I thought that that would be difficult to arrange but I said nothing. However my mother said it twice so I wondered what was happening here.

My Covid friend was on line so we had a chat while I finished off what I’d been doing last night. And with the late start that took me right the way up to lunchtime. Something of a waste of a morning, really.

After lunch, fighting off the temptation to go back to sleep, I made a start on amending one of the journal entries from my voyage around Central Europe but I ran aground half-way through.

waves breaking on rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was enough time however for me to go off on my afternoon walk around the headland.

The tide was well on its way in when I went out, and I noticed the effect of the waves breaking on the rocks that were there on the beach and which by now had disappeared beneath the waves near the marker light for the rocks.

They were actually submerged but only to a very minimal depth so although you couldn’t see them, you could see the waves breaking on them.

It was something that held my interest for a couple of minutes and then I pushed on, passing three or four others who were out there this afternoon.

sun in windows carolles Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was very little going on out at sea this afternoon – no boats of any description in the English Channel or the Baie de Mont St Michel.

But there was an exciting phenomenon occurring down the bay round by Carolles. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing the sunlight reflected off the windows of St Pair sur Mer in the late afternoon earlier in the year. Of course, the sun has moved round in the sky and we now have the windows in Carolles picking up the glint of the sun.

You wouldn’t credit just how dark it’s starting to go now, even though it’s only about 16:00. Winter is going to be upon us a darn sight sooner than we think.

coelacanthe joly france waiting for gates to open port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallStill no change in the occupants of the chantier navale. The yacht is still there, as is the vessel Ceres II

But it was interesting out in the tidal harbour though. The gates must have been on the point of opening and boats were queueing up to go into the inner harbour. Here we have one of the Joly France boats, the older of the two, and also one of the two trawlers, either Coelacanthe or her sister La Tiberiade.

There were a couple of other boats in the queue too, and as I watched, the harbour gates opened and the boats went steaming … “dieseling” – ed … into port

le tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallI came to the conclusion that the trawler that I had seen just now was Coelacanthe, and I concluded that for a very good reason too.

Moored up at the Fish Processing Plant was her sister and I could clearly see her name on the side of her superstructure. She’s Le Tiberiade, and one of these days I’ll be able to tell them apart. I’ve noticed a couple of little differences between them when they have been next to one another.

She’s busy unloading her catch right now. There’s a van with an opening cargo door that looks as if it might be taking away some of the seafood, and the tractor is busy negotiating the loading ramp with a full trailer.

coelacanthe thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was there, I watched Coelacanthe pass through the gates and into the harbour.

Once inside she began to perform a little nautical danse macabre as she made for her mooring at the rear of the two Channel Island Ferries. And I noticed that Thora was still in port this afternoon. It seems that for one reason or another, she’s not benefitting from these rapid turnrounds that I’ve mentioned before.

But one thing that I did notice from the image that I couldn’t see with the naked eye is that she has steam … “diesel” – ed … up, so it does look as if she’s actually on the point of heading out to the open sea.

thora leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it all was turning out to be quite interesting in there this afternoon.

As Thora “cast off forr’ard, cast off aft” in the inner harbour, Le Tiberiade did likewise and as the one headed for the harbour gate so did the other from the other side, out of view of each other. Half expecting a “Greek meets Greek at the Hull Paragon, Valentine’s Day 1927” moment, I gripped the edge of my seat in eager anticipation.

However le Tiberiade just about made it into the harbour without a collision, Thora

waves on promenade plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been wandering around, I’d noticed that the sea was becoming rather rough. And with the tide being well-in right now I was keen to see what was happening down at the Plat Gousset.

And it was a good move too because even with 90 minutes to go before high tide, the waves were coming in with something of a powerful force and smashing into the sea wall over there.

There weren’t very many people out there enjoying the spectacle from close to, but I imagined that they would all be out there a little bit later at high tide when they really would be treated to something of a spectacle.

thora english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now I imagined that Thora would now be rounding the headland on her way out to sea, so I retraced my steps of earlier up to the viewpoint next to the College Malraux to see how she was doing.

And eventually she came a rattling around the headland into the teeth of the wind and the waves and set course for St Helier. It’s not going to be an easy ride for her in this kind of sea.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I keep on saying that one of these days I’ll hitch a ride on her when she has a couple of trips in rapid succession and see how she does. Luckily I’m in a good position in that I hold a British passport and a Permanent Residency Card for France so there needs to be little in the way of border controls to ease my passage.

thora english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut that’s not going to be for a while with all of this Covid going on. No-one will be going anywhere for quite a while yet.

And so I watched Thora battle her way through the waves for a while and then headed for home.

On the way across the car park I’d seen Gribouille, the big ginger cat, sitting on his windowsill so I went to give him a stroke. And there I fell in with his owner, and learnt some pretty sad news. She’s had a couple of falls just recently, during one of which she fractured her had and it had to be stapled together. But as she doesn’t seem to be able to cope particularly now, she’s moving into sheltered accommodation

Of course, she’s taking my mate with her, but regardless of that, it’s another convivial soul from the building who is moving away. Nothing stays the same for long, and rightly so, but it’s a shame when people move away like this and break up a happy little circle.

Back here I caught up with a few notes and then went to make some kefir. This morning, I’d started on the last bottle and there was another batch brewing nicely.

The four kiwi fruits that I had bought three weeks ago were now nice and ripe so I peeled them and threw them in the whizzer, followed by a generous handful or two of grapes.

Having whizzed them around for quite a while to extract as much juice as possible and then passed it all through my network of meshes and filers into the big jug.

Having done that, I drained off the brewing kefir through a very fine-mesh filter and added it to the juice, stirring it well in, leaving an inch or two of liquid in the bottom to keep the kefir grains covered.

kiwi and grape kefir Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSeveral slices of lemon, a fig bisected and 40 grammes of sugar went into my big jar, followed by 2 litres of filtered water. That’ll brew now for a few days while I wonder where I’m going to get some figs from for the next batch after that as I’ve now run out.

The mixed kefir and juice was then strained through a mesh coffee-filter into the various flip-top bottles that I use. They’ll be put into a cool place out of direct light now to complete the second fermentation and in a couple of days they will be ready to drink.

But I made a bit of a boo-boo here. Remember the pineapple slices that I’d had the other day? I’d put the syrup on one side to use in my kefir today but I’d forgotten it. I don’t know whether it’ll keep for four or five days now.

All of that took so much time that I didn’t have my guitar practice, which was disappointing.

Instead, I ended up with some of the best taco rolls that I’ve ever made. That chick pea and couscous stuff that I used in error instead of the bulghour certainly made a difference. And my defrosted apple pie was delicious too

night rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Halllater on I went out for my runs around the walls.

No-one else was out there, everywhere else was quiet, not even the Pizza van in the Place Czmbernon tonight with the lockdown. No-one down in town either.

I had a look to see if the Christmas decorations had gone up in the Rue Paul Poirier but while there is certainly something or other, and several thereof, strung up across the street, there’s nothing illuminated yet.

All of this is to come very soon, I imagine. But I’ll find out more in due course. I ran on home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow it’s shopping day, and I have to track down some figs. That’s not going to be easy because I’ll still without Caliburn so wherever I go and whatever I buy, I’ll have to carry it home and I’m not looking forward to that.

Luckily the freezer is pretty well stocked up and that should keep me going for a week or so but I really do need to organise myself better. I don’t know what it is that I’m doing right now but whatever it is, I’m doing it all wrong.

Wednesday 11th November 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change I managed to beat the third alarm to my feet. And that’s not something that happens every day these days.

And that’s not the best of it either.

Twice during the night I had to leave the bed – once to find the dictaphone that I had forgotten to put by the bedside as I went to bed, and the second time to look for the spare batteries when the batteries in the dictaphone went flat.

And considering that I’d had yet another late night consoling my friend on the internet, this is all pretty astonishing too, especially when you consider that today is a Bank Holiday and I don’t normally have an alarm call on a Bank Holiday.

With all of this going on, it’s even more surprising that I managed to find the time to go off on my travels during the night.

I was on a big cruise liner last night, an American one. There were loads of people on there and for some unknown reason I was feeling a bit tetchy and irritable like I normally do after a few days in other people’s company. These Americans were really getting on my nerves and it reached the stage where I could barely hide my contempt for them, something that regular readers of this rubbish will know about only too well. It reached the stage where on one occasion I had to go somewhere and the quickest way for me and a couple of other people with me was to unlock a kind of emergency door and step through that out to the other side. As we did that and stepped through we had to stoop down to do so there was a couple of other old guys there and they started to try to push us around. I spoke in some kind of derogatory term to them and this situation slowly started to escalate out of hand, if it wasn’t out of hand already.

This has quite a familiar ring about it doesn’t it? And even more so if you consider the events of early September last year that I’ll write about one of these days when I learn to moderate my language.

Later on we’d been out to the South Pole. It was the 19th Century and we had gone very far but hadn’t reached the Pole. We’d got onto the Antarctic continent and gone quite a way but couldn’t go any further so we turned round to go back to our base camp and set out back for the UK. We’d left Caliburn there and a few things had been left inside Caliburn including a book that belonged to Nerina. We sailed back. It was quite interesting by the way to see an aerial photo of the area a bit later on where a town had grown up etc and where we had been. We could see our route. When I returned to Gainsborough Road Nerina was being very sullen and offhand with me. What I did was to take her bookmark back that was in the book. She was extremely annoyed about this book. I said “don’t worry. We’re going back to get it next year”. There was some confusion about whether it was a library book. She’d had notice that it had already been renewed. I said “no, that was another one. This was such-and-such a book”. It had a duck-egg blue cover. She was just extremely offhand. Then she asked if I knew where a place called TK fasteners was in a certain town, a town where I was working. When she described what it was for – you could buy snowmobile bits there – I knew immediately where it was but it was very difficult to describe it. She’d been to the area once so I was trying to explain. “Which way did you come into the town?” because there were a couple of ways but she wasn’t really answering. Then she sat down and started to draw herself a map. “Oh, you’ve remembered, have you?” She replied “no, someone has sent me a photo and I’m copying it out”. When she finished that she stood up, picked up her coat and said “I’m going”. “Going where?” “Going home. i’m not staying here with you any more and you’re going to regret something”. “What?” “This 99”. “Regret what about 99?” “99 pence”. “Well, what about 99 pence?”. “You’ll find out” she retorted. “I suppose you’re going to be keeping the warmth, are you?” “I suppose so, yes” I answered. “That’s a shame. And it’s a shame about that lamp as well. I like that lamp”. “Well, take it with you”. “It was your friends who bought it for us”. “Well, take the lamp if you want it”. But she wouldn’t take it and just turned round and walked out of the house. I didn’t have a clue what was going on and what was the matter with her and what all of this was about. I was completely bewildered.

After this, I had an attack on the outstanding notes from my stay in Belgium. And now they are all transcribed and that’s that job finished. And right at that moment my friend came on line and we had a good chat while I soothed her fevered brown from this distance, poor kid.

With a few other things that needed doing, that took me up to lunch and more of my delicious bread (I’d had some of my wonderful fruit loaf with my morning hot chocolate).

This afternoon I sat down and finally made a start on finishing the radio programme that I had started in Leuven and by the time I knocked off for my guitar practice I’d just about finished it – another hour’s worth of music.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk, and I remembered to go around the old medieval walls today as well.

There was quite a wind blowing out there today so there weren’t too many people out there this afternoon. There was a lot going on out to sea though, such as this trawler heading back home to port with today’s catch.

It was having quite a battle against the waves too. The wind had whipped up quite a storm this afternoon.

And something else that was interesting was that we had the different coloured streak of water out there again today that you can see in the foreground.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe weather might have been extremely windy and so keeping a lot of people indoors, but there were some out there taking full advantage of the solitude.

The tide was only just on its way out so there wasn’t much beach to talk about yet these people here were making the most of what beach there was.

Having observed them for a few minutes, I set off – at a run – along the Rue du Nord until I encountered a group of pedestrians coming my way so I slowed down to a brisk walk.

tiberiade coelacanthe english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat caused me to look behind and see what there was going on behind me.

When I’d set out just now, I’d noticed a light moving about in the harbour so I suspected that there was a boat on the move in there. And sure enough as I watched, around the headland and out to sea came another trawler. I can’t tell at this distance if it’s Coelacanthe or her sister ship Le Tiberiade but it’s certainly one of them.

Doing her impression of Steve Harley, she went off riding the waves right past the streak of different-coloured water. And one of these days I’m going out to test the salinity of the streaky bits to see if it is indeed fresh water being discharged into the saline water of the sea. It’s a well-known phenomenon that’s been reported on on many occasions in the far north of Canada and places like this.

It’s another way of mariners being able to tell if they are near land when big rivers are involved, and I would love to prove this for myself.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom there I managed to break into a run again and push on a little way until I encountered another group of people.

Once they had gone, I broke into a run and went all the way down to the viewpoint over the Plat Gousset. The wind here on this corner really was wicked and I was surprised to see even a handful of people down there.

There were several people in the Square Maurice Marland too, so that put paid to any plans that I had to go for a run across there. But there was nothing else whatever of any importance or note going on so I walked on home to warm up with a nice hot mug of coffee.

Having finished the radio programme I had my hour on the guitars, which wasn’t as successful as it has been of late and then went for tea – steamed vegetables and veggie balls in a nice vegan cheese sauce, followed by pineapple and ice cream.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I stuck my head out of the door, I was glad that I’d had a few goes at my running this afternoon because the wicked headwind put a stop to anything in the Rue du Roc.

But I made it around as best I could to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, even managing a couple of legs of my running. No change in the chantier navale today, and nothing special going on in the harbour either – quite probably because the tide was right out by now.

One of the Joly France boats – the older one – was moored up over there at the ferry terminal, and it looked as if Chausiais was tied up in front of her. But that was about it really.

rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was nothing happening in the inner harbour either tonight. None of the Jersey freighters had paid us a visit today.

But by now the rain and started and with the wicked wind out here it was as if I was being lashed by a rather vigorous cat-o’nine tails. And seeing as I was the only one daft enough to be out here right now – not even any kids on the car park, I took a photo of the Rue du Port and then ran all the way home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow I have to go shopping. With no Caliburn here I don’t have much in the way of fresh stuff so I can see me making two trips to LIDL – one tomorrow and the next on Saturday.

It’s rather inconvenient but it’s all in a good cause.

And then I can push on, update the journal for when I was in Leuven just now and then, hopefully, push on and catch up with yet more arrears from my trip around Central Europe earlier this year.

It’s high time that I put that to bed and got on with the real stuff.

Monday 9th November 2020 – I DIDN’T …

… manage to beat the third alarm this morning. But nevertheless I managed to tear myself out of my stinking pit fairly quickly so it wasn’t too much of a problem.

helicopter air sea rescue notre dame de cap lihou baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you look at some photos of the rather dramatic air-sea rescue that took place this afternoon out in the Baie de Mont St Michel I’ll tell you something about my day today.

First thing after the medication was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. And, more importantly, who had come with me.

And there was actually something there, so I must have been away at some point. And what I heard about my voyage took me quite by surprise because it’s quite a rare event, what happened during the hours of darkness.

helicopter air sea rescue notre dame de cap lihou baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall Last night I dreamt that I had gone to the local Council offices to talk about getting a French nationality. The woman had sent me into a room which was where I would have to wait but my appointment would be something like 09:30. After a while I noticed that they had been calling through people who had come into the room after me and I was starting to become a little concerned about this. I went back to the reception and told them. The woman there said that there were a lot of people to see of course but she could absolutely guarantee that I would be seen before 11:30 that morning. I thought to myself “OK, I’ll have to wait” so I went back. But then I awoke in this dream and found that I was actually inside an old van with a load of other people. I had a look at my watch and it was 10:45. I thought that I have to go and make this appointment. How long have I been away and what have I been doing in the meantime? So I shook myself out, climbed out the van which was something like a CA Bedford or J4 with sliding doors. Someone else wanted to come out behind me so I had to help them out, then the curtain in the doorway was getting in the way. Then I thought “should I take a book with me or something? But them I thought that I don’t really have time. I have to get all the way back to the Council offices and hope that I haven’t been called in the meantime and that I’ll be there before 11:30.

It was really weird, this waking up in a dream and finding myself still in a dream.

helicopter air sea rescue notre dame de cap lihou baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOnce I’d organised myself with the dictaphone I had a radio prgramme to prepare.

It’s the 69th issue of my programmes and now I’m deep into the obscure tracks, which was always the plan. Groups like Amazing Blondel, Brian Auger’s Trinity, Eyes of Blue and the Swedish musician Bo Hansson will be making their debuts when this programme is broadcast and there are plenty more of the same to follow.

And so round about 07:30 or so I sat down to make a good start.

helicopter air sea rescue notre dame de cap lihou baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall It took me less than 90 minutes to choose the first 10 tracks, remix them, combine them in pairs and add on the introduction.

Then I had to research the groups because with so many new groups, I didn’t have much in the way of prepared notes, and then I had to write out the texts and then dictated them.

Once I’d dictated them I had to edit them, split them into segments and then link all of the pairs of songs together with the segments of text in between.

That left 4:20 so knocking 45 seconds off for a closing speech, that meant a final track of 3:35. Having chosen one of the right length and remixed it, I then had to dictate a closing speech which I unfortunately overran and ended up having to trim down the programme by 19 seconds.

Nevertheless, buy 14:20 it was all done and dusted, despite having a break for hot chocolate at 10:30 (and my fruit bread buns were perfect) and for lunch (and my hone-made bread was pretty good too).

First task when I finished was to ring up to enquire about Caliburn. And, as I expected, the time limit that I was given was … errr … somewhat optimistic. They’ll ring me up when he’s ready, but I can see that it’s not going to be any time soon.

Second task was to sort out the rest of the radio programme that I’d started. I even started to type out the notes but I’m afraid that my early start proved somewhat too much for me and I ended up asleep on the chair for a while.

cormorants on rock Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallConsequently my walk outside this afternoon was rather later than planned, but I went out just the same.

For a change I forgot myself and ended up going off around the headland instead of around the walls. The tide was well in and out there sitting on a rock was a colony of what looks like cormorants.

They were just sitting there not doing very much, except one of them that was flapping its wings as if it was going out of fashion. The birds posed quite nicely for a good few minutes and then I pushed off to find out what the racket was all about out to sea in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

helicopter air sea rescue notre dame de cap lihou baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd out there, hidden in the spray kicked up by the rotor blades of a helicopter, was our local lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

As I watched, the helicopter made two or three practice runs towards her and then on the next one, she hovered quite close and as I watched, she lowered a person down on a winch.

By the looks of things it may well have been nothing more than a practice exercise but it was still exciting just the same.

With nothing else going on out there this afternoon, I wandered off back home again to do a bit more work.

Later on, I had a really enjoyable hour on the guitars. One of the things that I did with the bass guitar was to work out the bass line to David Bowie’s “Heroes” and I found, to my immense satisfaction, that I could sing it at the same time.

Back 40 years ago I could sing and play the bass but it wasn’t all that easy. Despite the fact that I still haven’t manage to recapture whatever skill I might have had, I’m finding singing to be so much easier and I don’t understand that at all.

With the acoustic guitar, I selected half a dozen songs and then had a little concert. As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I need to spend more time concentrating on maybe just a dozen songs and knowing them very well rather than dissipating my efforts over a hundred or so.

But one track that I’ve found that I can play and sing quite easily is Counting Crows’ “Recovering the Satellites”, although that song and “Heroes” that I mentioned just now remind me rather too much of a certain night back at the beginning of September last year and one day I might even write about it.

There wa san old burger in the fridge that needed eating so I had that for tea. And being fed up of pasta, I had a baked potato with tinned veg seeing as I have run out of carrots. And the veg was peas, peppers and sweetcorn from a tin that I had bought ages ago at NOZ. As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … rummaging around in the food mountain at NOZ does provide me with a varied diet.

Both Rosemary and TOTGA wanted a chat on the internet so I was rather late going out for my evening walk and run.

And to my surprise, not only did I manage 6 runs, I ran them without any effort too and I reckon that I could have pushed on even further had I wanted.

escalier du moulin a vent Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn between a couple of the legs I stopped for a breather at the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen plenty of photos of the Place Marechal Foch during the night, but it occurs to me that you may not have seen the view looking behind me

There’s the nice little flat level ground which is disfigured by a small bunker or two of the Atlantic Wall, and then the stairs – the Escalier du Moulin a Vent that leads up to the Place de l’Isthme. And while there is indeed a “Windmill Staircase”, there’s no windmill. although there used to be and I have seen an old postcard that shows a view of it.

trees lit up square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo-one about so I had a good run across the Square Maurice Marland.

It was all looking quite nice, the trees all illuminated by the lights and with no leaves to hide the effect.

And from there I continued around the walls and then ran on home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow I have my Welsh lesson so I need to do some revision in the morning, and then in the afternoon I hope that I’ll be able to finish off the radio programme that I started in Leuven.

Then there are plenty of other things to be doing and who knows? One of these days I might be able to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Just don’t hold your breath.