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Saturday 1st May 2021 – GRRRRRR!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This was one of those matches that is best forgotten.

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

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

Sunday 21st March 2021 – I WAS RIGHT …

naabsa fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… about this fishing boats breeding or multiplying or whatever.

We started off with one moored at the Fish Processing Plant and abandoned to go aground as the tide went out and yesterday we ended up with four of them. That was when I mused that they must be multiplying and it looks as if I’m right because today there’s a fourth one down there that is going to be marooned by the tide in half an hour’s time.

The Fish Processing Plant seems to be all closed up so that fourth one hasn’t come along to unload and in any case it’s leaving it rather late to move.

So what’s all going on there then?

ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo prizes for guessing what’s going on here, is there?

There probably isn’t anyone who, having seen the beautiful weather that we had yesterday, would believe that it would continue for the rest of the weekend so nobody should be in the last surprised by the fact that the weather has closed in again today. It’s gone cold and the fog and mist are closing in.

So much so that I’m glad that I missed almost half of today. I might have been awake at 08:30 but no danger whatever of me leaving my stinking pit at that time on a Sunday. 11:15 is a much more realistic time for me to show a leg.

After the medication I attacked the dictaphone. I always like to listen to where I’ve been during the night and, more importantly, who has come with me. Even though I’ve been starved of good, pleasant, charming and erudite company just recently, what goes on on my travels during the night is usually much more exciting than anything that happens during the day when I’m awake, sad as it is to say it.

But not last night. I would really like to have some financial stability and I had some money invested in a company called Global Marketing. I’d had a whole pile of information from them that I was busy going through when suddenly the Chancellor of the Exchequer, not Sunak but someone else turned up on my door. He was telling me of all his bullish plans for this and that and I said quite frankly “I don’t believe very much of this at all”. he sat down, plugged in a tape recorder and played a speech back. I said “that’s you speaking, isn’t it?”. He replied “yes it is”. I replied that I’d be much more convinced if it was the EU or someone like that speaking to me. He noticed the paperwork and he went through it. “Is this what you’re doing in your retirement? organising items for these?” I asked “don’t you know who these people are?”. He replied “no. I’ve never seen them until I saw these papers” so I was about to tell him who they were when I awoke.

After I’d gathered my wits (which takes an awful lot longer than it ought to bearing the reduced amount of wits that I possess these days – but then I suppose that they have more empty space in which to roam around) I attacked the photos from July 2019.

By the time that I knocked off I’d arrived in East Forks, Minnesota, USA where I spent a couple of very ill days. However, I had had a little drive around Winnipeg and been to see MY GRANDMOTHER’S HOUSE – or, at least, the house where she lived during her very short marriage.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my great grandparents emigrated to Canada in 1906 and my grandmother, who was a music hall singer, married a musician from Winnipeg in July 1918. Their marriage lasted barely 4 months as he died in the influenza epidemic in November 1918.

When my great grandfather died in 1923 (we went to SEE HIS GRAVE 20 YEARS AGO) my great grandmother returned to the UK bringing the unmarried children (including my grandmother) back with her.

The married children remained behind and that’s how come I have family in Montréal and Ottawa (and probably elsewhere too).

Anyway, you haven’t come here to hear all of that nonsense. It’s time that I was clearing off outside to see what was happening.

beach rue du nord plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the answer to all of that was that down on the beach there was nothing happening at all. Just one or two people walking around there.

And as I said earlier, I can’t say that I blame them either. You can see by how dark it is down there, just how depressing the weather was this afternoon.

Dark, depressing and gloomy. But that’s enough about me – the weather was just as bad. The mist is closing in yet again and it wasn’t very nice at all so I shrugged my shoulders and set off at a pace around the headland while the going was good and before the weather became any worse.

lighthouse coastguard station semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs you can see, I wasn’t alone out there this afternoon. There were quite a few people walking around on the footpath this afternoon braving the weather.

And they needed to be brave too. Just now I mentioned that I needed to push on before the weather deteriorated even more and if you look to the right of this image you can see a rainstorm approaching rather rapidly and I didn’t want to be caught out there in all of that.

So I pushed along the path, across the lawn at the end by the lighthouse and then across the car park to the end of the headland. There was nothing whatever happening out to sea as far as I could see (and I couldn’t see very far at that) so I wandered off along the path on top of the cliff.

microlight ulm pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday we were having something of an aerial day seeing as the weather was something of a plane-spotter’s delight. But no such luck today. The thick clouds that we were having put a stop to that.

But we did have one of these microlight powered hang-glider things floating around over my head as I walked along the path so I took a photo of it as it went by overhead, but that was my lot. I wanted to be home before the rain arrived.

No change in occupancy in the chantier navale and we saw earlier the fishing boats at the Fish Processing Plant so with nothing else going on, I headed back home again for my coffee. There were plenty of things to do.

One of the things that needed doing was the baking for today.

There isn’t much bread left right now so I needed to make a loaf. But not a big one because I’m off on my travels on Wednesday and there’s no room in the freezer. So just a small one would have to do. Consequently, immediately after lunch I’d made up 250 grammes of flour into a dough – using the wrong flour as you might expect.

At the same time, I’d taken a lump of pizza dough out of the freezer and that had been thawing out during the afternoon.

When I returned from my walk I have the dough its second kneading and shaping and left it to proof again this time in its mould. Then I kneaded the pizza dough, rolled it out and put it on the pizza tray and left everything to proof.

While I was doing all of that I carried on with the Central Europe stuff. There’s now another day finished and IS NOW ON LINE. Just 3 more days to do now, but one of those days is the one where I ran aground in the first place all those weeks ago so that isn’t going to be easy.

By now the dough was all ready so I bunged the loaf in the oven and assembled the pizza. When the bread was done I put the pizza in the oven to cook.

home made bread vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere are the finished products. The loaf is small but it looks and feels quite good. As for my pizza, it was delicious yet again.

No pudding this week as I’m not here to eat it. I’ll be taking stuff out of the freezer for the next couple of days. There are plenty of frozen pies and so on in there that need finishing. It’ll make more room in there for other stuff.

While I was writing up my notes I was listening to music as usual. There are certain tracks that I can only listen to when I’m in the right mood to hear them and that, unfortunately, isn’t right now, for a whole variety of reasons with which I won’t bore you.

So of course, it goes without saying that Al Stewart’s MODERN TIMES came round on the playlist, didn’t it? Hard to think that I was working out the chords for this earlier in the week and I could play it then. But not today.

That’s because the track that came up on the playlist immediately before it was GRASSHOPPER by Man. What was I doing the night of 1st/2nd September 2019 that I can’t even now, 18 months later, bring myself to write about and which I probably never will.

One thing about it though and that was that I was never the same afterwards. Mind you, I was never the same beforehand so it doesn’t make very much difference anyway.

Anyway, on that note (well, we are talking about music) I’m off to bed. I need my beauty sleep of course, but I need much more than this. I have a radio programme to do and I’ve nothing prepared for it. And it’s a programme of fairly new stuff and thse ones are always the most difficult to write.

It won’t be an 11:15 finish tomorrow, that’s for sure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That was a marathon session and no mistake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7th November 2020 – THIS WEEK IS …

polar bear with cubs north west passage victoria strait canada Eric Hall… International Polar Bear Week apparently so I feel that I ought to join in the fun by posting a photo of a couple of mine.

In case you are wondering, this photo was taken last August in the North West Passage, in the Victoria Strait between the Royal Geographical Society islands and King William Island and is just one of the … gulp 2,500 or so exciting photos that I took while I was out there in the High Arctic and with which I shall regale you in due course.

That is, of course, my long-term project for the coming winter – to sort them all out, edit them and upload them to the internet. I’m hoping that once I clear out the arrears back to June, I can crack on with the High Arctic photos, although I’m not sure when all of that might happen.

At least, I didn’t actually fall behind even further today. Even if I slept through the three alarms and didn’t wake up until long after 10:00. It’s always like that when I return home, after all of the effort that I go through, and even more so when I didn’t return home until late.

Being in bed for as long as I was, there was plenty of time to go on several nocturnal rambles, and I must have travelled miles during the night.

I started off in the USA. I can’t remember exactly what we were doing but it involved my father and a whole group of other people whom I knew. There had been some big kind of political debate. Some politician had made a disgraceful affair and all the other politicians were standing up for him. Someone went to get into their car but found that the locks had been changed. This eveil politician had gone around changing everyone’s locks on everything. At that stage I became quite simply fed up and beat both of them into a pulp. I had to sell someone about something or other and I can’t remember what. It was to do with a car needing work or something. I got into my car which was a very new one. I managed to get in and drove away from the scene. As I came up to a set of traffic lights a police car pulled out of a side road right in front of me, blocked the road and put his stop lights on. When the traffic lights changed he went off presumably to drive round the block to come up behind me. But it was a really inconvenient place to stop. There was an abandoned fuel station just across the traffic lights so I pulled over there, of course bitterly regretting what was going to happen next – I was in no illusions. There were a couple of guys there getting petrol out of this abandoned fuel station. They said something about parking there. I said “that’s all right. I’m waiting here to be arrested”. They looked at me a bit wide-eyed so I said to 1 of them “yes the police are coming to arrest me”. He thought that he had better get a move on and do what he’s doing quickly and get out of the way. Just then I saw a group of my friends coming along. They were carrying an engine lift, tools and everything as if they were going to lift the engine out of a car somewhere after what I’d said to them. I thought “this policeman is taking his time isn’t he? I could nip off if I wanted to leave my car there.” But did I want to leave my car there? Did I want to nip off? Did I want to go? There was a cheap Honda Acty microvan things parked up and I was having a look at that.

Later on I was a kid, a teenager doing something with a house. We’d all been working on bits of it and I’d been painting the bedroom. The 1st coat hadn’t worked properly because some filling needed doing on it. I’d done most of that and painted what I’d already done. It hadn’t appeared too badly and I was reasonably pleased with it. Then the tutor came in and started to give me instructions about what he wanted me to do next but I reckoned that in view of the time factor it would be a good idea just to fill the rest of the wall where it needed filling and paint one coat over it to see where it was low. We could fill it again to make it up in the meantime and the coat of paint would be on it ready for the top coat. We had a lengthy discussion about that and in the end he agreed to let me do it as I wanted. He told me that I would have to put a curtain up somewhere over one part where the walls were uneven but I thought that that was going to be a silly idea – it would just draw people’s attention to it but he was pretty adamant so in the end we agreed that we would talk about this again. I did the calculations that by the time I had finished this room putting these coats and this filler on I would have had my A levels by then in which case no-one would be in a position to contradict me at all and I really could then do it as I liked.

There was something where I was doing something with a pile of musicians – it might have been a certain Welsh rock group friends of mine or something like that. We were just sitting around talking about drugs, all this kind of thing. One of them was saying that he hadn’t shot up for a whole 15 concerts but was quite busy taking the weed – the same with a few of the others. I said that I didn’t even know whereabouts to go to get it. I wouldn’t have a clue. They said “that girl who came to your party in your building. She sold us a bag”. I thought that was a bit if a shame because I liked her. Then we ended up at someone’s house after this – it might even have been this girl’s. It was a much nicer apartment than mine, on the floor below from where I was living. We were all getting ready to go places and were sorting through a pile of things and having to tidy everything up. I was sorting through these stones, I’ve no idea why. Some were precious and some weren’t and I was getting it all wrong. There were 3 gear lever knobs from a vehicle in there. It was a really confused thing that I had to sort through. Someone came over to give me a hand. He clearly knew what he was doing. I had to resort what i’d already done because it wasn’t right. I ended up going for a walk around and having a look at her garden which was really nice. On the way back I saw everyone else coming for a walk around the garden. I thought that I might as well have waited until they decided to come rather than go out on my own

Subsequently I was taping a concert of the aforementioned group, trying to get that organised but it was again something that I was only doing half-heartedly and missing most of the joins, thinking that I would have to go back and check it over again. The question of London came up, the question of a restaurant in the basement of a hotel that we go to near the railway station but it had moved down to South London. A girl I was with suggested that we should go there and have a meal. I thought ” that’s a long way to go for a meal and come back. It’s not as if it’s at the railway station where it used to be where we could be in and out in an evening. With this we have to hike most of the way across London to get to it and it’s not going to be the same, particularly with only another two weekends to go…

From there I was walking along Crewe Road into Sandbach and as I was passing the houses at the end of Park Lane I was thinking that I had to go to the bank. But the bank wasn’t where it is but in the street that runs about half a mile to the south, Hassall Road, so I had to find my way around like a deviation. In the end I got to 3rd Avenue and I remembered that I could walk through there that way. I walked down there – there were some kids playing netball in the school plating area there and a couple of boys playing football. I went on and came to a set of steps that I had to walk down. There were two young girls there who were rolling balls down it. Obviously whose ball rolled furthest down the most stairs won. They had a rake that they were using to pull the balls back up. One of them was pulling a ball back up and the rake swung back over her head and nearly impaled me as I was waling past so I made some kind of light hearted remark about it and they laughed. Then I noticed in one of the swimming pools in the back garden of a house round there was a skeleton so I asked “is that your last victim?”. They laughed again. By this time a woman had come down. She thought that it was funny as well so we had a chat. We got to the bottom and there was a really deep puddle. She was talking about the gypsies who lived in Sandbach and how they ahd sometimes washed their clothes in it. When we reached th bottom she said which way she was going, and I thought that this was the other direction so I said goodbye to her. I turned left and she went a little further on and she turned left too. We bumped into each other again. I said “I thought that you were going the other way”. She said “no, this way. I have to fetch some money from the bank”, a different bank. She started to ask “where shall we go from here?” so I said “hurry up and get your money” so she dashed inside the bank.
Later on I stepped back into this dream. I was walking back to the bus. I got on the bus by the centre door and for some reason I didn’t want to sit down at the front so I chose a seat right opposite the centre door where I didn’t have to go very far. Then this woman appeared, the one with whom I’d walked just now. I was hoping that she would get on the bus and come to sit next to me but that was when I awoke.

There was plenty of other stuff too but I can’t remember them. I know that at one time I caught myself dictating into my hand, but I can’t remember what it was that I was saying.

One thing that was rather disappointing was that I wasn’t joined by any of the usual suspects who I like to accompany me. With all of this and the distance that I travelled, I would have expected at least one of them to be there at some point. Instead, I end up with people from whom I spent 38 years trying to escape. It’s just my luck, isn’t it?

By now it was well into the early afternoon and so I ate the half-baguette that was left from yesterday evening. No chance of going out to the shops now – it was far too late.

woman going to swim Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot having done much throughout the day, I reckoned that I ought at least to go out for a walk this afternoon.

But no matter how little I had done and how much I thought that I ought to be doing, I wasn’t going to emulate this woman down here on the beach at the foot of the steps in the Rue du Nord. As I watched her, she marched slowly out to the water’s edge, peeling off her outer garments one by one.

And then she looked for a safe place amongst the rocks where she could leave them and her towel.

woman swimming in sea Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving done that, she continued on her way out to the water’s edge, bent doan and soaked herself in seawater.

Once she was thoroughly wet through, she took the plunge and dived into the water, swimming away from the shore and out to sea.

It’s not the kind of thing that I would want to do. Even on a hot day I’m not all that interested in going into the water, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, even if in the past I have been swimming in the Mediterranean in November. But I’ve no intention of going into the water around here at any time of the year.

marker buoys english channel donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo instead, once my water baby, I wandered off along the Rue du Nord.

With the number of people who were around, many more than I was expecting in the middle of a lockdown, I didn’t feel like showing myself up by breaking into a run. And it’s just as well because during my gentle walk, my eyes probing out to sea picked up something yellow bobbing about on the waves in the sea off the shore of Donville les Bains.

Closer examination reveals that there are in fact two of them, in a nice line across the bay. We’ve seen all kinds of buoys out there in the past, for all kinds of different reasons, and it’s not immediately clear exactly what their purpose is.

people having swam in the sea plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther along the footpath under the walls, I had a look down onto the beach round by the Plat Gousset.

And amongst the people wandering around down there were three young people in something of a state of undress. It looks as if we have had a few more water babies this afternoon, but I was too late to actually see them in the water.

But one thing that I did notice was the absence of face masks on the people down there. I know that it’s the policy on the promenade for the compulsory wearing of face masks, and I would have thought that now, seeing as we are in lockdown, that the compulsory wearing of masks would have extended further out from where it was before

house renovation rue le carpentier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith crowds of people around, I wasn’t able to go for a run across the Square Maurice Marland this afternoon. Well – not with any sense of pride, at least.

But at the top of the Square I had a look at one of the houses in the Rue LeCarpentier. Just before I left, they had erected some scaffolding up around it. But now, the scaffolding is sheeted in a protected netting and it looks as if work has begun.

Interestingly, the company doing the work advertises itself as a “restorer of the country’s patrimoine – a word for which there is no obvious translation but which means basically the intrinsic cultural values and artefacts, whether it’s song, dance, old machinery and buildings, that kind of thing.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that is of course a compulsory activity is to check on what’s happening down at the chantier navale, seeing as I’ve neglected it for over a week.

The yacht that we saw in there the last time we looked is still present and it’s been joined by another boat. It’s not easy to tell from here what kind of boat it is. I shall have to sneak out later tonight for a closer look.

It goes without saying though that the huge mountain of gravel that was on the quayside has gone, and likewise has Neptune, the gravel boat that came into port as I was leaving town. She fetched up a couple of days later in Whitstable where she unloaded, and the last that I heard of her she had picked up a load of something in Dordrecht in the Netherlands and was on her way to Ridham, just down the road from Whitstable.

Back here this evening there was football. TNS were away at Bala Town in the Welsh Premier League, first away at second. It was a good, exciting match and while TNS were clearly the better team, Bala looked extremely dangerous at times and hit the woodwork twice with the keeper beaten and had Chris Venables had a decent touch on a ball in front of goal with Paul Harrison well out of position, Bala could have taken the lead.

As it was, TNS went into the lead after about 75 minutes only for Bala to equalise 5 minutes later. 1-1 was how it ended, a result which was about right altogether.

Tea was pasta with a couple of the burgers that I brought back from Leuven, followed by pineapple rings with chocolate vegan ice cream. No chance of going for an evening walk as there is apparently a curfew and it’s too late now.

Tomorrow will be really busy. I have bread to make – both “normal bread” and banana bread, as that which remained from last time didn’t survive. I have some kefir to make too, and for that I’ll probably use oranges this time.

The sourdough will need reanimating and feeding too, and then next week I’ll have a go making sourdough bread. I can’t use it this time because, having been in the fridge for a week or more, it’s still asleep.

Just like I’m going to be in a few minutes, I reckon. It takes me a couple of days to recover from my efforts in Leuven and I have plenty of work to do.

Wednesday 14th October 2020 – IT LOOKS AS IF …

Boats Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… the fishing season is now back with a bang.

While you admire the piles of fishing boats queueing to get into harbour and unload, I’ll mention my day and we can talk about fishing boats later.

For a start, just by way of a change, I was up and about well before the third alarm yet again, which is something that is surprising me as much as it’s probably surprising you too. I can’t keep this up, surely?

And so first task this morning was to listen to the dictaphone to see if I had been anywhere during the night.

And I had too!

Boats Queueing Up To Unload Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt started off last night with a scandal when a bowls team was disqualified for fielding an ineligible player in a tournament. Once his identity had been discovered they awarded all of the remaining points to the opponents. However the organisers took no further action because his arrival at the club had been well-documented in the Press previously.

And just WHAT am I doing dreaming about bowls? It’s a game with which I have absolutely no empathy whatsoever. I’ve only ever played bowls once in my life and then not very well.

Unloading Bouchots De Chausey Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while they are unloading the bouchots about which we talked the other day, there was something going on during the night about car parking. I wanted to park a vehicle on some waste land between some buildings. I parked the building but left a note for the people who owned it. They telephoned me back and passed me on to someone. We ended up having quite a chat about it. They wanted money for it so in the end I decided not to do that. In the meantime they told me that if I would be passing the representative’s place which was at n°230 such-and-such a street in Shavington. So I went there and knocked on the door but no-one came, no-one answered, so I thought “never mind. I’ll drive on”. Then all of the family were going for a meal and this meant picking up a few other people. I had to go to pick up someone at 230 again – a street in Nantwich, near The Leopard. When I pulled up at that house, it looked exactly like the description of the property that I’d been given over the phone (… by the previous guy…). When the guy came out he said “ohh yes, you’re Eric” and started to chat to me. The discussion came round about welding. I’d just been given back my MIG welder so I said “yes I can do MIG welding now. I’m going to practise when I get home”. We ended up with Liz and Terry in a big field somewhere to go sunbathing. There were quite a few people there already and it was fairly busy and there weren’t all that many places to go. Terry had a word with the owner of the field. He said “if you want to eat, you’d better go and eat now as the restaurant is really busy. There might be a table free now at 18:30 but later on there might not. One of the women with us suggested that it might be an idea to at least go down and find out about “should we eat now while we would or see if we could book a table for later. We ought at least to make sure that there would be a table later”.

Fishing Pointe du Roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you lot admire the fishermen on the rocks at the end of the Pointe du Roc, I carried on with a project that I’d started back in May and which had ground to a halt on 24th June.

My web pages are becoming unwieldy, especially the earlier ones. As more and more stuff has been added to them they have done a pretty good imitation of Topsy and “just growed”. So I’ve started redrafting them and cutting them up differently to make them into smaller, bite-sized pages for the truncated attention span of the MTV generation.

The ones for MY 1999 TRIP TO NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY were done ages ago when I first started this project. Then there were a few miscellaneous ones, but then I ran aground with my trip to Canada and New England over the period of New Year 2001-2002.

But finally today, that one is finished and ALL OF THEM ARE NOW ONLINE TOO.

And that knotty web-coding problem that I had? After a good night’s sleep I resolved it in 5 minutes this morning. However it didn’t give me the result that I wanted so in the end I abandoned it for something else.

There was the usual break for lunch with more of my delicious bread and then there was work to do.

There were four extremely ripe kiwis here so I peeled them and whizzed them up to turn them into a nice runny liquidy mess. That was them filtered through my stack of filters to remove as much solid matter as I could, leaving just a kind of juice. I threw in the last of the grapes too for good measure.

Then I strained the kefir that I had brewing and put the resultant liquid in with the kiwi juice and mixed it around, leaving an inch or two in the bottle as my mother solution.

This was then strained through a fine mesh filter into two cleaned and disinfected glass bottles with stoppers where it will brew for the next 48 hours.

Kiwi Kefir Coffee Dessert With Apricots Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLast night I’d finished the blackberry pie so for a change I opened a tin of apricots and found a packet of coffee-flavoured dessert that you make with milk and it sets like a blancmange. That all went in together into four Sundae glasses and will do me until my next cookery session on Sunday.

And here is one that I made earlier, children.

No – seriously, these are the finished products. The bottles are now brewing in a dark corner of the kitchen at the side of the fridge, and the dessert is in the fridge cooling. For tea tonight I tried one of the desserts and even though I say it myself, it was delicious.

Erecting Scaffolding College Malraux Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack out for my afternoon walk of course, and straight into the action across the car park.

Our scaffolders are now back at work. The scaffolding has grown considerably since we last saw it and they have even no started to put stairs into it. This is going to be a serious job, I reckon.

And the compound has been repaired too. There’s now a shipping container in there, which is presumably going to be used as a store, and there are also a few pallets of bits and pieces. No slates yet though. I imagine that they will take a day or two to arrive, presumably after the scaffolding is finished.

Beach Seafront St Martin De Brehal Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust for a change, the sun was out today, and that made a pleasant change from just recently.

It wasn’t particularly bright over here where I was, but across the bay on the promenade at St Martin de Bréhal it was really lighting up the area and making it all look so beautiful. I bet that it must have been really nice to have been out there in all of this.

In that direction you could see for miles too. The big wind turbine on the way out to Cerences is clearly visible on the range of hills on the horizon. It’s not every day that you see that too.

Zodiac Fishing English Channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’ve seen all of the fishermen in the harbour and those fishermen on the rocks, and the fishermen in the small boats seem to be back out again now that the weather has calmed down.

In the usual place amongst the rocks on the northern side of the Pointe du Roc we have three fishermen in a zodiac casting their rods into the water after, I presume, the sea-bass that is said to swim around here in these waters. I say that carefully, because in all the time we’ve been watching the fishermen, we’ve yet to actually see anyone catch anything.

There were quite a few pedestrians around here and I became embroiled in a lively chat with a very pleasant young lady who was aged about 4, I reckon. She had quite a lot to say for herself.

Yacht Baie de Mont St Michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that surprised me was that there was nothing much going on right out at sea today. No trawlers or freighters or anything like that – after all, the trawler men were queueing up to get into port right now.

But the good weather had certainly brought out the pleasure-boat men in their dozens today. There were yachts everywhere, including this rather beautiful one scudding along in the wind and going around the headland.

The purple sail was making a beautiful reflection in the water and it was a shame that the water wasn’t calmer.

Still the two usual suspects in the chantier navale so I ignored them and carried on home to finish off the web site work that I’d been doing.

Just as I was completing everything, Rosemary rang for a chat so we were on the ‘phone for an hour or so putting the world to rights. And then the hour on the guitar.

It was quite depressing mainly because I could not summon up the enthusiasm yet again. But I perked up a little towards the end when I tried to work out the chords to Steve Harley’s beautiful RIDING THE WAVES.

And it’s not as easy as you might think either, especially as in order to be able to sing it, I have to go down to a different key and then I lose my place.

For tea, I made an aubergine and kidney bean whatsit. I’ve run out in the freezer, as I discovered when I did an inventory the other day. And my pudding as I mentioned.

Air Sea Rescue Helicopter English Channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was some excitement tonight out there as well.

This photo might not look much but it is in fact the air-sea rescue helicopter that we’ve seen on several occasions carrying out an air-sea search with its floodlight. I’ve no idea why but doubtless I’ll find out tomorrow in the newspaper, if it’s anything serious.

So four runs tonight. No wonder I was exhausted when I returned home to write out my notes.

Shopping tomorrow and there’s quite a list too. I don’t know how I’m going to carry it all home so I’d better be on top form. A good shower will probably do me some good.

Nevertheless it’s a long walk there, and an even longer one back when I’m loaded up.

Friday 25th September 2020 – JUST IN CASE …

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… you were wondering – there has been a change in the weather.

It’s deteriorated.

You might not thnk so from looking at the photos but in fact these photos are taken at about the same time as yesterday, which means that the tide was half an hour or so lower than yesterday.

The wind was totally wicked, and just for the record, there was a gust of wind recorded during the night at 121 Km/H. It’s a good job that they dismantled the beach changing cabins earlier in the week.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallIt must have been the gust of wind that blew me out of bed this morning because by the time that the third alarm went off, I was already out of bed

And despite the fact that there was much less time in bed last night, I seem to have travelled quite far during the night.

We started off filming a western in the POWDER RIVER COUNTRY last night. There was a scene in it whereby the hero had to do something – travel a couple of hundred yards and do something on his horse and then get back to the main body of his troop and at the same time a group of native Americans was attacking him. There was this woman out in front. There were quite a few pages of plot line about this with speech and stage directions rather about how this was to be performed. But when we actually got round to performing it, there wasn’t really enough time to do these stage directions about how to handle the approach of these native Americans so in the end he did the basis of what he had to do and fled back to the main body. The natives led by this woman pursued him and was captured. It ended up being quite a different plot than the one that they were trying to film in the first place.

And I’m sure that there was much more than this, but I can’t remember it.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallLater on last night I was at the football. TNS were playing and we must have arrived late because when I arrived, to my surprise they were already one goal down. A couple of minutes later someone passed the ball back to the keeper but it was one of these high balls that was bouncing around and then keeper had to trap it. But as the ball bounced to the ground is swerved with the spin and went into the back of the net (this brings back an unhappy memory of a match in which I played in goal 50 years ago) and TNS were 2-0 down. People couldn’t believe this so they had a look and it wasn’t the usual goalkeeper but some young lad they had in goal. As if TNS would ever concede two goals with Paul Harrison in goal.
Someone else counted the players and TNS only had 10 on the field so we began to wonder what on earth was going on here.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallSome time later I’d been at school or college or somewhere. We were in a big room taking notes on something. It was something like a free study period. I was doing whatever it was that I was doing and there was a load of girls busy looking at maps. They kept on picking up these maps looking at them. In the end it was time that the lesson was over so they put these maps away. We all had to move off. I moved off behind a girl of mixed race with curly hair. There was some dry toast lying around so I picked up three or four slices to take with me to eat on the way. A few days later there was another free study period taking place outside. Everyone was sitting there around these little tables in this square surrounded by these old ruined houses. I found a vacant seat, sat down and started to look through my papers. I was feeling hungry so I was thinking of going to see if there was any food again. The guy sitting at our table facing me who had chosen his seat first – I mentioned to him that I was going to go. What I had also seen were some pictures of people jogging around in another square nearby. I thought that it was ages since I’d been jogging so I thought that I’d go and do some jogging and then get some food and then come back. This guy said to me “is your chair comfortable?” I replied “yes”. He said “you don’t mind if I sit in it for 10 minutes while you aren’t here. It’s a bit hot where I’m sitting”. I didn’t say much about that. I stood up and took my camera off the table. I noticed that there was a really nice cool breeze so we moved the table a little so that it would be in the centre of all this breeze

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallNow that the arrears have been dealt with, instead I carried on with some other work, of which there is more than enough.

Much of the morning was spent alternating between two tasks. Firstly, the photos from the trip on the Spirit of Conrad and also some rearranging of the kitchen. I alternated between one and the other as I became bored.

A pile of the photos bit the dust and I’m beginning to sense that I’m reaching the end of this batch (still plenty more batches to do though) of photos and all of the storage jars that I bought are now out of the bedroom and stacked on the shelves.

Some of them even have things in, and if that isn’t a sign of progress, I don’t know what is.

Even more exciting, a couple of weeks ago the metal retaining clip on an old one broke. And when I was sorting through the jars back in the Auvergne, I had a jar with a broken lid. So the idea was to fit the lid off the one with a broken clip onto the jar with the broken lid.

And if that sounds straightforward, it might be if I had a set or two of mole grips, because trying to keep two very strong spring metal clips in tension at the same time with your bare hands as you wrestle the one over the other is not easy.

At one point one of the clips soared off down the whole length of the apartment and it took me 20 minutes to find it. But it’s all done and assembled now, and I wonder what my next trick will be.

After lunch, I rekindled another old project of mine. Rewriting the web pages from the early days. I’m somewhere round by the Bay of Fundy in Canada at New Year’s Eve 2001/2002 and that’s making me so nostalgic you couldn’t imagine (or maybe you can). And I incorporated something from the course that I did a couple of weeks ago too.

While I was doing that I was continuing with the tidying up and also recording LPs with the USB turntable. Another 4 of those have gone the Way of the West.

But I’ve been giving more thought to the issue about the recording of cassettes. Knowing that my ZOOM H1 will record off the hi-fi via a direct line from the headphone socket, I wonder if it will record from the cassette unit from the old hi-fi stack via the RCA plugs and a suitable adapter.

There’s only one way to find out, isn’t there?

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThe walk outside this afternoon was horrendous. So much so that I elected not to hang around too long. Particularly after my hat took off in a gust of wind and I had to run after it.

The waves were being whipped into a frenzy by the storm that was raging flat-out right now. Trying to walk up the path towards the lighthouse was incredibly difficult in the teeth of this howling gale.

Round the other side of the headland at least I had the wind behind me. And you saw for yourselves earlier what it was doing to the waves and the sea wall for the tidal harbour.

You can tell how bad it was out there too by the fact that I didn’t hang around to take a photo of the pathetic parking at the College Malraux.

After the guitar practice was tea. But before I mention that, I found myself spending my half-hour bass session working out the bass line to one particular song.

And writing it down too. Not in proper musical notation – that’s a bit too far – but I’m amazed that I can still remember something from that music course that I did earlier this year too.

place d'armes porte st jean eglise notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy france eric hallTea was a curry out of the fridge, followed by rice pudding. And then I took my life into my hands by going outside.

Here’s a photo that you don’t see too often. I notice that they’ve managed to find a shilling at the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou because at long last they’ve illuminated the church spire again.

The Porte St Jean is looking quite nice too in the dark and lit up by the floodlights. I have to say that this is a really nice area to live despite the wind.

buttress medieval city wallsgranville manche normandy france eric hallNo-one else about at all, which was hardly a surprise so I didn’t have much company tonight.

The wind on the footpath underneath the walls was swirling around something wicked and running was extremely difficult. I made it to my mark though, which much effort and on looking back behind me I could see one of the buttresses illuminated by the street lights from the street above.

Despite the headwinds, I managed my two other runs all the way back here – and not without some difficulty. Not simply because of the winds per se but also because of the overturned street furniture, panes of glass (some second-home owner is going to be in for a shock when he returns) and the like littering the place.

Still, what do you expect with winds gusting well over 100 Km/H?

It’s shopping tomorrow so I imagine that not only will we have the gale-force winds but also a driving rainstorm and plagues of locusts too.

We’re definitely heading for winter now.

Tuesday 8th September 2020 – THIS EVENING …

… I have seen something that has caused me a great deal of disquiet.

There was an ambulance and police car in the rue Cambernon here and about half a dozen people, ambulancemen and police, were struggling with a hysterical adolescent girl to put her into the ambulance.

There was no clue as to what had caused the incident, but her hysteria was way beyond the norm and quite suggestive of some kind of stupefiant-ignited issue although of course from the distance at which I was observing the affair and the fact that it was in the dark, there was nothing other than the audible indication to promote this idea.

But whatever it was, my hat goes off to the police and ambulancemen. It was a very stressful event, quite a battle to put her inside and strap her in, and they showed far more patience and discipline than I ever would have done.

It goes without saying that it’s not the kind of incident that one photographs, but it’s still bad news when the affairs of the banlieux of Paris come to, quite literally, our own doorstep.

As for me, much to my and everyone else’s surprise, I was out of bed before the third alarm went off. At least – I was sitting on the edge of the bed trying to summon up the courage to take some kind of drastic action, like moving.

Once I’d gathered my wits, I had a listen to the dictaphone.

I was on a galleon last night, one of these Spanish galleon things with crowds of people on it, a big tourist attraction. I was there with a certaib lady of my acquaintance. Something happened, me being careless I think, and she ended up with a sea-full of face – or, more likely, a face full of sea. I said that I was sorry but she started to whine on and on and on in this silly voice that she had, mimicking what I was saying so on that point I’d had enough so I just turned round and walked away. She changed her tune afterwards, apologised and asked me to come back but I’d really had enough so I just walked off. There was someone climbing up a ladder into the rigging of this ship. He was carrying a tray with about 10 different drinks on it. I thought that that was adventurous. I wouldn’t even do that with two. I was wandering around this ship, trying to find my way around and try my best to totally ignore her while she was still having one of these tantrum display things. There were some people sitting down – I was wondering whether to go to sit with them but I thought “no. I really want to be somewhere quite a way from this end of the ship somewhere on my own”.
Somewhat later we were having a look at some photos last night about all of the abandoned properties around Crewe and Nantwich, places like the old Co-op brewery and so on, a lot of them with photos of abandoned cars on them. There were several in Nantwich, three of them being churches close together in Hospital Street and their congregations transferred to the main parish church there. These churches, one of which was called St Werburgh’s, were all very eerie but very magnificent, Victorian Gothic-type but in terrible states of disrepair and decay. Even though I don’t remember them as a kid (because they weren’t there) we were having a good prowl around these places last night in this dream. It was really quite interesting. On one occasion we ended up being at a church service. They came along and asked for a collection. The girl I was with said she didn’t have anything and I just had a few copper coins that I gave them. later, we were on a railway station watching the trains come in. We moved away but a train had pulled in so I prepared my camera to take a photo. As it pulled out another one, a magnificent really big powerful locomotive pulled out of this station hauling an express train so I went to take a photo of them with the NIKON 1 J5 as it pulled out of the station but it wouldn’t work at first. I had to press the shutter a couple of times for it to work. While I was doing this there was some woman standing nearby. She was excited because she could see the main railway station from here. I thought that she meant the one at Manchester which was quite some way away and you can’t see with the naked eye, but bathed in fog anyway. But she said “no, it’s Denton station! Look over there! So I looked over there but I couldn’t see it at all with my naked eye.

Having dealt with all of that, I finally got round to having a look at Sunday’s effort. And after a good deal of listening, of thought and of transcription I managed to sort something out and you can READ IT HERE.

Surprisingly, even though I had the strongest impression that Pollux was one of the people with me, there was no mention whatever of her name at all, so I’ve no idea where this impression comes from. Mind you, there are several minutes missing here and there, either because

  1. I didn’t dictate it (there seems to be a hole in the middle of the story somehow).
  2. I didn’t transcribe it because I couldn’t decipher it (there was some of that too)
  3. I didn’t type it out because there was a significant part of the voyage that would put you off your tea. And there seems to have been quite a bit of that just recently. I’ve been having some really disturbed – and disturbing – nights just recently.

As I was finishing everything, which had taken me long enough, someone with whom I wanted a chat appeared on the internet. We ended up having a lengthy chat and that was, basically, the morning finished.

After lunch I set about the radio programme. All of the tracks have been paired and combined and the text is written. Not dictated though because I ran out of time.

There had been a few interruptions during the afternoon.

speedboat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallFirst of all, there was the afternoon walk in the beautiful pleasant if not slightly windy afternoon.

There wasn’t all that much activity out there at sea this afternoon. Whatever that big ship was yesterday, that’s cleared off and there was only a speeedboat roaring past out at sea.

They are clearly going far too fast for fishing and I can’t think of any other good reason why they would be out there this afternoon. It’s not as if there’s anywhere to go in that direction.

tractors beach breville sur mer granville manche normandy france eric hallIn theory I suppose that they might be heading towards shore because there is something exciting going on over there on the beach by the looks of things.

We saw the other day that the bouchot harvesters were out there on the mussels beds at Donville-les-Bains. Over there on the beach bear Breville-sur-Mer they seem to be gathering again.

They are quite possibly waiting for the tide to go out so that they can access the mussels beds over there too. I doubt that the cabin cruiser there has any involvement in the activity.

fishing pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThey are probably local fishermen, because there have been quite a few of those out there over the last week or 10 days. There are plenty of mooring buoys and pot markers out there right now.

And plenty of other fishermen too. While I was walking along the path on the north side of the promontory a boat came around the headland. They are clearly intent on fishing as they have rods and fishing nets clearly on display.

It beats me why, because I have yet to see anyone out there ever catch anything.

painting trawler chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy route arounf the headland took me past the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale.

And there was plenty of activity in there once again. The usual seven boats of course – nothing has changed that much. But the fishing boat from which they had been stripping the paint the other day, that’s now in the process of being resprayed.

Give it a week or two and we may well find that boat back in the water. And one or two others because there was a considerable amount of work being carried on on the other boats too.

Back here, another interruption was to deal with the question of Strider’s insurance. That expires in a few days and needs to be paid, even though I won’t probably have the pleasure of going over to Canada to drive him this year.

So this involved several e-mails, a ‘phone call to Canada, a complicated series of transactions with the bank and then a discussion on the internet with Rachel.

That took much longer than I expected and meant that my third interruption, my session on the guitar, was somewhat curtailed.

Tea was my burger on a bap with potatoes and vegetables, followed by a slice of my delicious apple pie and soya dessert.

yacht sunset english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWhen I went out for my evening walk it wasn’t quite dark outside.

In the distance out in the English Channel there was a yacht looking as if it was heading towards port. Of course it was far too far out for me to be able to identify it.

There were also plenty of other lights out to sea on the horizon. It wasn’t possible to say anything whatever about those.

Instead, I carried on and ran all the way along the footpath underneath the medieval walls. And, having recvered my breath again I ran across the Square Maurice Marland

trawler docking in port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallDuring my walk across the Place Cambernon I observed the incident that I related earlier and by the time that I moved on, it was now quite dark.

We’ve seen a couple of fishing boats here and there just recently – not as many as we saw three or four months ago. However there was one coming into port and performing a U-turn to tie up alongside the fish processing plant, presumably to unload its catch.

From there I walked down to the road and then ran all the way home to write up my notes.

And having done that, I’m now ready for bed. A nice early night, finish off the radio programme (which might take all day) and then do some tidying up

There is still plenty of work to be done and I’m not really catching up with very much at all. That needs to be changed, and rapidly too.

Sunday 23rd August 2020 – SUNDAY IS …

… a Day of Rest.

Even so, you might think that 11:00 is something of an exaggeration, especially as I had an early night. But you might change your opinion when I tell you that about 5 or 6 times during the night I was awoken by some really bad attacks of cramps.

Bad to such an extent that I had to leave the bed and walk around to ease off the pain.

And so it’s hardly surprising that once I finally went off to sleep I slept all the way through to about 11:00 or thereabouts.

Plenty of time for me to go off on a few nocturnal rambles – and it’s just as well as I must have travelled miles during the night.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallSo while you admire some photos of people on the beach in the sun, a welcome return last night for a certain young lady who at one time was a regular companion of mine on my nocturnal voyages. I’d been out somewhere and gone round to her father’s house. It started off with me being offered a cup of tea and for some reason i’d only half-stirred it with the spoon and put the spoon down and went to get another one. As people were watching I couldn’t use my own spoon to finish it off, I had to use a second one of theirs to do it. Then someone thanked me for the slide that I had given them. It turned out to have been one of these kids’ prefabricated garden amusement type of thing, a great big slide. Someone had given it to me and i’d given it to this girl’s dad. They had finally erected it and it had matched the one that she had had. She’d had a great time this past year or so playing on this. They all thanked me so I went in to see it and she was sitting there. Then they all came back with the tea, all kinds of chips. For some unknown reason there weren’t any for me so we were going through all the piles. I asked “which one is mine?”. Her brother said “hang on – i’ll make you yours now”. I asked “didn’t they get any for me from the chip shop?” We went through and calculated again. The father said “ohh no. What’s happened is that two of you must have gone and asked for chips without bread at the same time and they’ve only done one of them. My boy will make you another helping”.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallLater on I’d been out with a general of the European Army who wasn’t in fact the general but one of the directors and I’ll tell you his name in a minute. I’d applied for another job and i’d practically got it but his secretary said that he wanted to see my ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels and I couldn’t understand why. She said “he thinks quite highly of you and he wants to keep you” so I had to go and get my education sub-folder out as all my certificates were in there. I went to see him and said “here’s my degree to start with. We may as well start at the top”. We got chatting about everything and then he started talking to me about Official Secrets, what I had to do and what needs signing. I told him that when I was in the UK the guy for whom I drove actually did his job for the Uk so I know all about secrets. Someone said “you can’t be much good if you’ve had to go through this procedure twice” which surprised me. So then we went out for a drive and he went through all of my paperwork then he asked “I need that form back”. I thought “which one?” so I gave him the folder again to look for it and it wasn’t in there. I said “if it’s the security form you left it back in the office” to which he said “OK”. We went back and got out of the car and there was some of my paperwork that had fallen on the floor and was all damp. I had to pick all of that up. A couple of my cats were there and he started to stroke Sid. he said “ohh yes, Sid is definitely my favourite”. Nerina was there too and that was when I had yet another bad attack of cramp. How many attacks of cramp is this that I’ve had this morning?

I was talking to one of my sisters of all people last night about my father who had died. I asked if he had any papers or newspaper cuttings or anything like that. She said that he had died and left nothing, and his place was in a total mess. I asked about these press cuttings. She said “yes he had a pile of those”. I said that I would like to see them. She replied “I thought you might”. I told her the story about the chat that I’d had on Facebook with those people who lived on Wardle camp. One of them had mentioned that my grandmother had a great many gentlemen callers, which my sister doubted, which I found rather strange as I didn’t think so either. We had this conversation about it. This guy Clive – his name was mentioned and I couldn’t think of his family name. He had a market stall in his name and it will come back to me one of these days. We were talking about all of that. We were at school and she said “you’d better keep an eye on the time, you know, because it’s 13:15 and lunch break is nearly over” so we wandered off to sit in a corner to continue our talk. Just for a change I awoke with just a small attack of cramp.

To finish off, we had a right Boys Own adventure, of people who were in cars of the 1920s who were chasing each other about the countryside. There were a couple of married couples and one married couple had fallen foul of a single man who was a bit of an evil type and who had kidnapped the wife and their kids and was taking them somewhere. The other guy was busy trying to hunt them down. There was another married couple or something involved as well. There was all this confusion going on. In the end they all met up at the docks in Dover. They just parked up at the side and I had to go and persuade them to park up in the queue for the actual ferry crossing which eventually I managed to do. There was a couple of people who wanted to know if they should be going there, mainly kids, that kind of thing but it was one of these things like someone called Harold. he was the hero and it was one of these Enid Blyton Famous Five types of thing only starring this boy called Harold who was there trying to lead everyone, all that kind of thing. I might have been him but I don’t really know now.

With it being a Sunday it’s been a very quiet day today and I haven’t done very much at all.

hang glider pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hall There was the afternoon walk of course.

We’ve seen the crowds on the beach already, and there were crowds on the footpaths too, but it wasn’t just on land that we had the hordes. The Bird-men of Alcatraz were out in force today too . They fly perilously close to the buildings some times and one of these days we’re going to have a disaster.

However, as long as there is enoguh wind to gove them scope for manoeuvre, we’ll see plenty more them up and about in the air.

roofing place marechal foch granville manche normandy france eric hallToday’s route took me around the city walls and along the footpath at the clifftop.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the roofing job that has been going on down in he Place Marechal Foch for the last few months. As you cans ee, they are still at it. All this time and they haven’t finished yet. They still have some scaffolding up there.

Mind you, the seagulls look as if they have been busy, don’t they? They appear to have well-and-truly christened parts of the roof that have already been completed, and I bet one or two of the scaffolders have received Blessings from above too.

crowds braderie rue paul poirier granville manche normandy france eric hallOne of the things that I found out this afternoon, and maybe I should have gone down to investigate, was the braderie taking place in the town this afternoon.

The Summer Sales have been going on for the last few weeks and it’s the custom at the end of the month for the streets to be closed and for the retailers to have a public exposition of everything that they wish to be sold off.

All at bargain prices too, and while some of the reductions mean that the products just cost an arm instead of an arm and a leg, sometimes some goods might be sold at real bargain prices. But by this time of day, near the end of the afternoon, most of the bargains will be long-gone.

ulm microlight pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWe spoke about the Bird-men of Alcatraz just now, but we haven’t finished with the air just quite yet.

As I was walking back across the Square Maurice Marland I was overflown by a couple of the ULM, or microlights that I believe come from the airport at Donville les Bains.

There are all kinds of exciting aerial machines that loiter about there. We’ve already seen plenty of examples. One of these days, as I keep on saying, I’ll have to go out for myself and see what’s happening and maybe even blag my way on board one of the machines for a lap around the bay.

home made apple crumble vegan pizza granville manche normandy france eric hallMeanwhile, back at the apartment I was having something of a bake-in.

We started off as usual with the pizza this evening. Sunday evening has been pizza night for as long as I can remember and there are no good reasons that I can recall to change my habits right now.

While the pizza was cooking, I made a couple of apple crumbles. It should have been just one but there was too much crumble and of course, that won’t keep. As for what it tastes like, I’ve no idea. The pizza filled me up pretty much and there wasn’t enough room for any pudding.

flagpole flags resistance memorial pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWhen I went out in the evening it was almost dark. The nights are definitely drawing in. And I was glad that I wore a jacket because there was a vicious wind tonight too.

Having been around the city walls this afternoon my walk took me around the headland tonight. Past the Monument to the Resistance Fighters from the area who continued the fight against the Axis powers after the debacle of June 1940.

And if you compare the photo here WITH THIS ONE FROM JUNE you’ll notice a little difference. The German flag has now gone and the European flag has been raised in its place. i wonder what might be the significance of that.

night port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallNot only has the German flag gone, but the light has gone too – as quickly as that and we are now well into dusk.

My route continued along the headland at the top of the cliff until I came to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour. The harbour gates are closed and the red traffic lights that the boats in the outer harbour see is casting a nice reflection onto whatever is left of the water there.

It looks to me as if the tide is receding quite rapidly now.

joly france baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith it being a summer weekend, the ferries over to the Ile de Chausey are quite busy.

They are running quite late too, but as long as there is water enough to get into the Ferry terminal they willl be still be out there. It may well be gone 21:30 and fairly dark, but here’s one of them coming into harbour right now.

This one seems to be Joly France I, the newer one of the two. Yu can tell that by the shorter upper deck superstructure and the longer depth of the windows on the deck underneath.

joly france baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallRight behind her into the harbour came her sister Joly France. She was quite busy too.

You can see her navigation lights quite clearly. There are five letters in “Green” just as much as there are in “Right” so it’s obvious that the green light will be on the right, or starboard side. The opposite side to starboard is port, and port is red, so it’s obvious that the port, or left side light will be red.

There’s the white central navigation light too, and it’s the juxtaposition of these lights on a ship at night that mariners at sea are able to tell in which direction a ship is sailing and whether it’s going ahead (forwards) or astern (backwards).

big wheel place albert godal granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that as we were setting out on our big adventure at the end of June we saw a lorry bringing in the bits to make the big wheel that sits every summer in the Place Godal.

Ever since I came back at the beginning of July I’ve been trying to take a decent photo of it in the dark so I thought that I would have another go tonight. It’s important because at the end of August when the tourists go back the wheel will be dismantled.

In previous years, I’ve almost always been away in Canada during the period when it’s been operating and I’ve never had a decent picture of it in the dark before.

trawlers heading out to sea baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallBy now, the light has gone completely and it’s getting to be very much like pitch-black.

That’s not anything to stop the fishermen going out to work though. My hat comes off to all of them who face a peril out at sea, working day and night like this in all weathers. There are plenty of easier ways to be earning a living.

So watching them disappear out to sea, off around the headland, I turned round and continued my walk back towards home.

gate porte st jean granville manche normandy france eric hallNot all the way home though.

Now that it’s going dark earlier and the tourists are still here, the town has switched on the lights to illuminate the medieval city walls. This is the Porte St Jean at the back of my building, and it does look nice with the lights switched on. I’m glad that someone in the Mairie has found a shilling at last.

Anyway, back at home now. Tomorrow I’m starting back to work so I’m going to have an early night. And a decent sleep, I hope, without any cramp.

And, for a change, some pleasant dreams. Over the last couple of days they haven’t been quite so healthy. It must be my confused state of mind.

Saturday 18th July 2020 – I’M NOT HERE

This morning, although I heard the three alarms, I didn’t get up until about 06:30. Tons of stuff on the dictaphone, as I discovered, so it must have been a very restless night.

We were in a classroom last night having a talk on climate change, this kind of thing. A question that came up interested me, about New Zealand. The lecturer was saying that all of the difficulties about New Zealand – in Iceland the volcanos and glaciers were pushing out the centre of New Zealand – rather, pushing it up, the centre of South Island and changing all of the weather. There were storms and this thing. I asked if this was going to be a permanent thing or a temporary arrangement. One guy in this classroom was making notes, doing it with a kind of hammer-press thing and it was making a racket even louder than a typewriter. I wanted to ask him to shut up if anyone was able to talk to me about my question, to which I never actually had the answer. There were a couple of girls in this class and I was quite keen on one of these. For some reason the question of cycles and motorcycles came up. These two girls rode motorcycles so I was thinking “should I buy a motorcycle too so that I can keep up with them?” and that way I can keep up with them and be close to them I suppose and so on. But it was a case of how long was this going to continue? Is it just a flash-in-the-pan kind of course and we’ll all go our separate ways in a week or is this going to be some kind of long-term situation. As usual, I was full of indeciaion yet again.

Later on I was back in my house in Winsford of all places. There was a lot going on there as if it was in Central London and actually a car. I was sitting there watching all these events going on behind me – a little old woman tottering back to her home and someone I was with running out and shouting after her. But this little old lady didn’t seem to hear. There was another older person with us. The three of us came back and the reason why I hadn’t heard anyone reply was that the 2 old women were talking really slowly. It seemed that they were taking this old lady to show her this Old People’s Home, whether there was a vacancy in it, something like that. Off they went and they were climbing up the steps just as an ambulance pulled up and dropped off a load of elderly ladies all on crutches. I was back in my house and a couple of rooms were really cold and a couple really warm. I had the central heating all confused. This was the first time that I’d been in this house for God knows how long. I got back in there and there was a small cupboard on the wall. That was where the food was. I thought “God I’d left my steps in Belgium”. I don’t know why I said Belgium. I had to open it and everything was all crammed into these shelves and I thought “where am I going to put my freezer now?” There’s no room to put that in the kitchen. I had a pack of drink and for some reason this drink needed to be put in another bottle so I cleaned another bottle with bleach and had to rinse it out. Of course there was all the calcium in the water and it took ages to try to run clean before I could start to use it.

Another thing that came was that I was on a bike cycling home and for some unknown reason I fell asleep when I was cycling and woke up to find that there were some girl cycling alongside me. As I awoke she sped off. I then had to go and retrace my steps. it was through this hilly area and I remember a few things of the route and got on a bit of route that I didn’t recognise at all. It was steep and windy. I thought “God, did i cycle through this in my sleep? I was doing really well!”. Then I came into a town and by the bus station were loads of people with skis and it turned out that this was a … march. This was a big ski resort and you flew into the airport and a bus from the airport brought you into the town. Right at the bus stop was the start of the chair lifts so it was the easiest place to go to if you wanted to ski after work. All these crowds there and I fought my way through. This woman said something about this but I can’t remember what the something was so I replied to her in French and said “it’s not a problem”. She said “I was referring to you” I replied that I have to get home so I have to fight my way through everyone to get home. Everyone laughed at that and that was when I ended up back at my house in Winsford.

Having gone back to sleep at some point I stepped right back into that dream again, right back into Winsford and right back into my house. The house had been built for 2 years but I’d only just moved into it. I’d had it that long that I hadn’t lived there. it was in the middle of some kind of shopping centre where all of these shops were half-built or quarter-built where the money in Winsford ran out. The didn’t have the money to finish off all of the shops to let. a very decaying place indeed it was. I was walking through there and there was another couple in front of me. the guy was telling the girl about how the election in May 2015 2 years ago had changed absolutely everything and the new party decided to stop work on the shops.

Later still we were in a water mill that produced electricity with the water wheel. This mill hadn’t been used for years due to some kind of faults and complications about a diesel fuel blower and all of this and had set the place alight. There wa s no way of getting any modifications for it and they needed to get some kind of money coming from the mill so they decided that they would open it as a water-powered mill and let nature take its course. I was there but everyone else was off looking for things but I was screwing up the sluice gates so that the water instead would pass through the main centre of the mill. I started to open the main mill doors and the water started to rush in there. it suddenly started to go at a hell of a rate, this, as if a huge flood had built up outside for hundreds of years. It was necessary for me to slow down the flow of water otherwise it was going to sweep away the mill.

After all of that I was surprised that I wanted to go away. That sounds like it was more than enough travelling to be going on with.

But the first task was to finish off the packing and start to load up Caliburn. Basically, I just threw the stuff in because the back of the van has a huge pile of old cardboard boxes in it.

When everything was packed and loaded I tidied up and took the rubbish down to the waste disposal, vacuumed the living room and kitchen and then washed the floor with bleach and disinfectant. While the floor was drying I had a shower and a weigh-in. And I’m keeping this weight down, although what I will be like by the time I return will be anyone’s guess.

Cleaning and disinfecting the waste bin was next and then bleaching and disinfecting the WC and sinks.

Once all of that was done We set off.

First stop was the dechetterie where all of the cardboard, the old Caliburn battery and the old electric kettle bit the dust.

Next stop was Noz. But there wasn’t all that much in there, apart from a few small tims of potatoes.

After that wes LeClerc for a full tank of diesel, a couple of memory cards and a few basic items of foodstuffs – nothing much at all.

Off to Roncey to Liz and Terry’s. Terry loaned me a brushcutter which went into the back of Caliburn – while I was there I tidied it up a little too but I’ll be doing some more tidying up in there as well as I go round

Liz made lunch and we all had a very good chat for a couple of hours.

Round about 15:00 I hit the road. 260kms to travel on the first stage of the journey. Via Caen, Liseux and Evreux. Eventually I ended up in St Marcel, on the outskirts of Vernon in between Rouen and Paris on the banks of the Seine.

Here there’s a hotel, the Hotel du Haut Marais, and this is where I’m staying tonight.

old cars 1913 panhard levassor duranville france eric hallOn the way down towards the banks of the River Seine we had a little interruption that delayed me somewhat.

As I drove through Duranville in the département of the Eure I came across a garage that had seven or eight old cars out on display, and that kind of thing is enough for me to stop and have a better look to see what is going on,

And I seem to have found myself at the garage of a dealer of vintage and historical vehicles and almost everything in this yard is available for sale if you have enough money, which I don’t.

strawberry moose old cars 1913 panhard levassor duranville france eric hallThe first car that I saw and which tempted Strawberry Moose out of Caliburn to come for a ride.

The car itself is a Panhard-Levassor of 1913 although what model it might be I really have no idea. Being a 2-door 2-seater it’s not going to be one of the Model 20s that Président Poincaré adored but that’s all that I can say.

The company was a big fan of sleeve-valved engines – ports in the engine casting to vent the gases, protected by a kind of rotating sleeve between the piston and the bore. Very quiet running but very heavy on oil consumption and a technique that faded away when conventional valve seating technique improved.

Some Panhards had sleeve valves and some were conventional, but I don’t know about this one.

old cars strawberry moose cadillac convertible duranville france eric hallThis car is much more like what you would expect to see in a place lke this.

One of the most opulent and ostentatious mass-market vehicles ever to hit the road anywhere, the Cadilac convertibles of the 1950s were the acme of bad taste in the 1950s. Big, powerful V8 engines and wallowing suspension were great on the open roads of the south-west where WE HAD LOADS ON FUN IN THE MUSTANG all those years ago, but in the crowded streets of the major cities they were a nightmare.

Nevertheless it was the kind of vehicle to which everyone aspired back in those days, and everyone had to be seen in one, just like Strawberry Moose and his new friend.

old cars Ford V8 pickup duranville france eric hallThis is a vehicle that will probably appeal more to the traditionalists and the practically-minded amongst us.

It’s a Ford “steppy” – a step-sided Ford V8 pickup of the design that when I first started going to North America 20-odd years ago, were still reasonably common on the roads over there but now you will be very lucky to see one moving about under its own steam on a day-to-day basis.

Possibly from the late 1940s or early 1950s was my first thought. In fact the unofficial Québec number plate that it has on the front (Québec doesn’t require legal plates on the front of its vehicles) suggests that it’s a 1952 model. If so, it’ll have the 239 V8 sidevalve engine in it.

old cars ford model T duranville france eric hallOn the other hand, 30 or so years earlier, just about everyone in the USA would have been seen in one of these.

“Every colour you like, as long as it’s black” said Henry Ford of his Model T “Tin Lizzy”, or “Flivver” as Paul Getty called his, so I’ve absolutely no idea at all what he would have had to say about this one in a bright lime green.

Te one advantage of cars of this era with separate chassis and body is that they could be cut about as much as anyone likes, and so you could buy them in all kinds of shapes and body styles. And if that didn’t suit you, you could customise your own.

This little pick-up is a beautiful example.

old cars ford modet t fire engine duranville france eric hallIt’s not the only Model T here at Duranville either. We have this one here to whet our appetite.

Or, rather, should I say “wet our appetite” because this is the former fire engine of the town of St Laurent in Québec. That’s a town that now no longer exists, having been conjoined to Montréal in 2002. But it’s an area of Montréal that regular readers of this rubbish will know very well because it wasOUR OLD STAMPING GROUND AROUND THE METRO DUCOLLEGE beFore I was taken ill.

As for the vehicle itself, it was new in 1924 and is said to be the first motorised fire engine of the city, serving between 1924 and 1944, and just imagine going out to fight a fire in that in the middle of a Québec winter.

She underwent a complete restoration in 2006/2007.

old cars dodge convertible duranville manche normandy france eric hallYes, as well as the cars outside, there was quite a number inside the building too as you can see and they let me have a wander around inside with the camera.

Right by the door was this Dodge Convertible. It looks beautiful from this distance but that’s because it’s had a full restoration by the looks of things. It wouldn’t have looked like this maybe 20 years ago, I bet.

Unfortunately there’s no indication of what model it might be but it has the styling of a Dodge of the mid-late 1930s

old cars dodge convertible duranville france eric hallIt’s carrying a set of French numberplates issued within the last 3 years or so but there’s no other indication about where it comes from.

It’s not the kind of North American vehicle that I would have expected to have seen being sold in Europe at that particular time – after all, there was a quite a big volume-car marked in Europe at this time churning out all kinds of stuff that was as good as this at probably half the price.

There wouldn’t have been an “exotica” market back in those days, so I suspect that this is a comparatively recent import, like much of the stuff seems to be.

old cars barn find bugatti replica france eric hallThis of course isn’t a recent import, but it’s certainly a lot more recent than it looks.

Had this been a genuine Bugatti “30 plus” you wouldn’t find it in a place like this looking as if someone has dragged it out backwards from a haystack. It would have genuine alloy wheels on it for a start and be locked up in a vault somewhere because it would be worth a fortune.

My guess is that this is a replica, of which there are several examples available and on the road. It has a few quite modern features that you wouldn’t have found on the originals 90-odd years ago.

old cars dodge pickup duranville france eric hallWe saw a Ford stp-side pickup just now parked outside, but here tucked away in a corner is a Dodge pick-up of an earlier vintage, I reckon.

There was a series of lightweight Dodge trucks, the WD series (or DD series if made in Brampton, Ontario) between 1939 and 1947 of various carrying capacities between half a ton and one ton and if I had to guess, I would say that it’s one of these.

The position of the sidelights on the A-pillars suggests that it’s later rather than earlier but the absence of window vents suggests that it’s not one of the final ones made.

old cars buick 8 renault prairie 1952 mgb duranville france eric hallThis is a bit of an eclectic assortment of vehicles stuck away in a corner.

The MGB is of no interest to us of course but the big Buick 8 in the foreground is of course. Again, it’s difficult to say much about it except that because of where the spare wheel it is, it might actually be a Buick 8 Special of the late 1930s

The Renault at the back is a Renault Prairie of 1952 and if you want to see a close-up of one of these I’ll have to dig out my photos from 2007 because regular readers of this rubbish in a previous guise will recall that we found one in a scrapyard in France back in those dats.

Talking to the owners later, it appears that they have an agent in Québec who sources this kind of thing and has it shipped over from there. So much for yet another business opportunity then, unfortunately.

But right now I have other things to think about, like finding a hotel.

hotel du haut marais saint marcel 27950 eure france eric hallThere are several along the river but I need to be careful because one of th bridges is closed for repair. I have to track my way through all kinds of countryside before I arrive at Vernon.

And this is my hotel for this evening, the Hotel du Haut Marais at St Marcel. It looks as if at one stage it’s been one of the Accor group’s places but really these unit hotels all look so alike that there’s no way of telling.

Anyway, it’s a reasonable price without going too far and it’s comfortable. And I’m off to have an early night. It’s been a long day and there is plenty to do. A good night’s sleep will do me the world of good.

Sunday 12th July 2020 – MY BREAD …

home baked bread place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hall… seems to have gone somewhat berserk today.

This isn’t cooked. This is it on its second rise in the windowsill. It’s totally overflowing the bread mould and about to expand onto the windowsill.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall my previous attempts at bread-making. I’ve never ever had bread perform quite like this. But then again it’s new flour and new yeast, and that must make a difference.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall So while you admire this evening’s sunset, let me tell you that the bread rose a darn sight better than I did this morning. Although for a Sunday, 10:00 is quite an acceptable time for me to be up and about.

There’s some stuff on the dictaphone too so I must have been somewhere during the night. Unfortunately what with one thing and another I forgot to transcribe the notes today.

You’ll have to check back tomorrow to see where I’ve been. I for one can”t wait to find out!

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallNo time like the present! First thing that I did was to mix the bread dough. 600 grammes of flour and a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds seeing as they were reasonably handy. A couple of teaspoons of salt in there too, all mixed together.

Meanwhile I’d heated 400ml of water to about 30 degrees or so, added a little sugar to activate the yeast, and then a sachet of yeast.

That went onto one side until there was a really good froth on top of the water to show that the yeast was working, and then tipped into the flour and thoroughly mixed together.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe thing about bread dough is that you know when it’s exactly right. It makes a lovely elasticky ball that no longer sticks to anything and takes all of the floury mess off your hands.

It’s something of a “trial and error” procedure so you need a bit of flour and a bit of water stabding by in case your mixture is either too wet or too dry.

When it’s done, you stick it on one side under a cloth for a couple of hours and let it do its stuff.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd while it was doing its stuff I was busy editing some more photos from my trip on the Spirit of Conrad. There are about 400 of those and if I’ve done a quarter I’ll be lucky.

For lunch I had breakfast – muesli with soya milk and some grape juice.

Following that, I made some pizza dough – basically the same recipe as the bread dough except that I add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. 500 grammes of that is enough for three pizza bases.

That went on one side while I greased my bread mould and put the bread dough into it. That went onto the side next to the pizza dough.

crowds pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallSunday is the day when I go for my very long afternoon walk and end up in town for my treat of the week – my vegan banana sorbet.

But with it being such a delicious hot day and all of the bright sunlight that goes with it, it had brought out the people in droves.

And no question of Social Distancing either. Crowds congregating as they wish. Anyone would think that this virus had passed and wasn’t coming back. But several hundred infections and several deaths every day ought to give someone a clue about what is happening.

yachts speedboats english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallAt least, out at sea, social distancing of a sort can be maintained.

And how many boats did you count out there in this photo? I haven’t counted them but there must be several dozen all jostling about in the English Channel in between the mainland and the Ile de Chausey.

We have yachts, speedboats, zodiacs, everything. You name it and it’s out there somewhere having a splash around at sea. And if I had the chance, I would be joining them.

yachts speedboat english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallBut it was a really beautiful day for photography.

The sky was hot, the air was clear and there wasn’t a trace of sea mist anywhere. It had all been burnt off. And so the view out to the Ile de Chausey was spectacular.

It’s not every day that you cans ee the colours of the buildings on the island as clearly as this. The lighthouse is there on its peak just to the left of centre, and the semaphore station is the square building on the ridge to the right.

st helier jersey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd it wasn’t just the Ile de Chausey that stood out really well in the afternoon sun.

The island of Jersey was looking quite spectacular too today. We can actually see the houses at St Helier too – and that’s at a distance of about 58 kilometres away.

Unfortunately we can’t see if either Thora or Normandy Trader are on their way to pick up that load of timber that’s still on the quayside here awaiting collection

cap frehel brittany granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd down the coast the weather is just as good too.

We saw yesterday the outline of the lighthouse away down the coast on Cap Fréhel but today we can even see the the Cape itself away on the extreme right of the image here.

As for the thing that’s farther over to th right, I’m still undecided as to what that might be. It could be a yacht or it could be one of the lighthouses off the coast of St Malo but I really have no idea.

1943 carving in concrete pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallAnyway, leaving that to one side for the moment I carried on with my walk along the top and then down the stairs to the viewpoint right at the end of the Pointe du Roc.

And here’s something that I don’t recall seeing before – or maybe I do, I dunno. A nice flat piece of concrete in the steps leading down, with a little design in it and dated 1943.

Probably a souvenir from when they were building the Atlantic Wall and there must be a story behind this if only I knew what it was. I wonder who inscribed it here.

seagulls on rocks in sea pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallAs it happened, I’d gone down there for a special purpose.

While I was descending the steps I noticed a huge swarm of seagulls on the rocks and riding the waves and I hadn’t a clue why. My first thought was that they might have been fishing but I didn’t notice any bird catch anything – rather like my local fishermen.

It wasn’t as if they were sleeping either. There was plenty of activity going on down there, so it beats me.

fishing from rocks pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBut talking of fishing … “well, one of us is” – ed … one of the rocks out there had a fisherman or two perched thereupon.

Jusding by the writing on the back of the tee-shirt – BELGIUM – they are probably grockles come to disturb the peace of the local inhabitants.

For a good few minutes I stood and watched them too but, true to form, they didn’t pull anything out of the water. As I have said … “on many, many occasions” – ed … I’ve yet to actually see any fishermen actually catch anything there

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy walk continued along the old road that eventually comes out by the chantier navale.

And dodging the swarming masses I finally made it down there to see what was going on. We still have six boats in there. I know that you can only see five but the sixth is in front of the two on the extreme left and you can’t see it.

There were massive crowds too on the quayside around here. Holiday season is in full swing and it was definitely a case of “dodge the covid-carrier” around here today.

portacabins gone from port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe gates across the harbour entrance were closed so it was possible for me to walk across the top to the other side.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago we saw a rack of portacabins over here for some reason or other – I never did find out why. But they have gone now so whatever they were doing is finished.

ulm microlight granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving dealt with that I walked through the port and then around the town in a glorious figure of 8, ending up at the ice cream parlour for my Sunday ice cream

But not before I was buzzed once more by yet another low-flying object. A microlight, or ULM as they call them around here, was flying by overhead disturbing the peace.

So having picked up my ice-cream I headed off once more down the Rue Lecampion and down the Rue du Port

buoys on boatd fishing boat port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe new car park down there is depressing me completely. A solid mass of tarmac without one blade of grass or any other greenery What a shame.

And that thought brought me along to one of the fishing boats here. Do you notice the buoys and the flags at the stern? Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve often wondered about those, but now I know.

The flags are an indication that a casier such as a lobster pot, is at the other end on the sea bed. And the round buoys can either serve that purpose too or otherwise they might be mooring buoys

coelacanthe tiberiade port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallA couple of our more well-know trawlers are in the harbour today.

Coelacanthe and Tiberiade probably belong to the same company, seeing as they carry the same livery, but they are in fact different types of boat.

Coelacanthe seems to be a bigger boat, with more solid superstructure at the side rails and with a different array on the cabin roof.

One of these days I’ll have to blag myself a ride out to sea in one of them.

Rosemary called me while I was out so I arranged to phone her when I returned home.

Back here, by now we’ve already seen what has become of the bread in the bread mould, and the pizza dough has expanded dramatically too.

In the meantime I phoned Rosemary back and we had a chat. And I worked out a cunning plan, more of which anon

So while the oven was heating up I prepared an apple crumble. The bread went into the oven when it was hot, followed by the crumble. But there was plenty of crumble mix left over so with another apple, I made a small apple crumble too. There will be enough for ages, I reckon, like that.

Once the bread and the crumble was under way I split the pizza dough into 3. One I rolled out and shaped to fit in the pizza tray and the other two were rolled in olive oil, wrapped in greaseproof paper and put in a plastic bag in the freezer for another time.

vegan pizza place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving left the pizza on its tray for half an hour, I then went and prepared it ready for the oven.

When I took out the bread and the crumble, I put the pizza in and let it cook for half an hour. And this is the result.

The pizza base had risen to perfection – it really had – and the toppings of course were the usual delicious items. I have to say that this was the best pizza that I have ever cooked – and I’ve cooked plenty of them, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

home baked bread apple crumble place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallAs for the bread and the apple crumble, then the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

And the eating didn’t take place tonight because I was rather full after my pizza and i’m trying to cut down on what I eat. So I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow.

One thing though – with all of this cooking there was a whole pile of tidying up and washing up to do. Not my favourite occupation at all.

later on, I went out for my evening run, dropping off the bin bag in the bin as I went.

people sitting in sunset pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWith a little effort I managed to extend my run up the hill another 50 metres again, and then having walked up to the corner, i ran down to the clifftop.

Nothing much going on there so I walked across the lawn to the other side. On the viewpoint was a couple watching the evening sunset. And quite right too because, as you have already seen, it really was beautiful again tonight.

The next stage of my run took me along the clifftop but there was nothing going on there very much.

striations colour variations in water pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWe did however have another case of the different colours in the water.

And while I was on the train the other day i was reading the account of the journey of Vilhjalmur Stefansson to the Arctic coast of Canada between 1908 and 1912

Of the Mackenzie River he wrote “The huge volume of fresh water in the spring (the river usually opens between the fifth and twenty-fifth of May) not only melts away the sea ice, but also by its current drives away any that happens to be floating about, so that none but the strongest ones from seaward can fill the immediate vicinity of the delta with ice. The volume of fresh water is so large, tluit the whaling ships in passing outside of Mackenzie Bay take water for cooking and drinking purposes that has not a taint of brackishness
even where land is not in sight from the masthead”.

Doesn’t that sound familiar?

people on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallI ran on down the Boulevard Vaufleury and having recovered my breath, I ran on round to the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord.

We’ve already seen the sunset out to sea and while there were no picnickers this evening, there were still a few people on the beach.

Crowds up here watching the sunset too so I didn’t hang around for long after the sun had gone down. I ran on home to write up my notes.

And having done that, much later than I intended, I’m now off to bed. It’s been a long day and I deserve a good rest.

Thursday 7th May 2020 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hall… this evening’s beautiful sunset, let me tell you about my day today.

Just for a change, I went to bed last night at a not-unreasonable hour and I was just about on the point of throwing off my bed covers when the alarm went off.

So, a narrow defeat this morning, which was a shame. It’s high time I got myself onto a winning roll with all of this getting-up lark. I can’t afford to spend my time lying in bed.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see if I’d been anywhere during the night.

There had been some kind of radio meeting during the night. There was a new woman there and we’d been discussing a few things. There was a brochure that we had prepared, like a magazine. It was in French with an English translation. I was looking through this translation and I noticed that this new woman was standing there not too far away and she was trying her best to speak in English. I’m not quite sure why. And then the meeting came round about we were going to abandon our Saturdays. One project that the chief decided on was that we were each going to bring in a piece of fruit once a week and we’d talk about this piece of fruit. He went through the catalogue and when it got to Saturday, he said “of course Saturday we won’t be here so we can’t do Saturday”. Then he came out with a list of reasons why we couldn’t do it with coffee – because some people like it with sugar and some don’t and so on. And it all became confusing.

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter breakfast I had a go ata couple of pages of the website and upgraded them.

That all led to a shower and a general clean-up. And for all of my efforts this week, i’ve lost another 100 grammes. At this rate it’ll be years before I’ll disappear completely.

But in other news, I’ve cut my hair today. And it needed it too. I’ll probably find that I’ve lost half a ton of weight now that that lot has gone.

crane pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThursday today and so that means shopping. I grabbed my bag and headed to the hills.

One thing though, and that was that I was interested to see what was going on today with all of the shenanigans down in the harbour over the last few days.

And so this morning we could admire the big yellow crane that was now back again, and it seemed to be doing some stuff with the new pontoons over there.

So that looks like progress.

new pontoon walkway ramp road marking car park rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallDown here on this side of the harbour by the rue du Port we saw them last week manoeuvring one of the walkways into position.

This week we can see that it’s been installed properly now. I can’t wait for the detention à domicile to end so that I can go for a walk down there and see how it is. I want to find out how the bottom is fastened to the pontoon because the pontoon won’t be at a constant height.

But just look at that car park on the right. How disappointing is that? There was so much that they could have done to it to make it so beautiful and all that we’ve ended up with is a slab of tarmac with painted white lines.

So, filled with disappointment I pushed on through the crowds (and I DO mean crowds) up the hill out of town.

First stop was at the laboratory for my test results and to pay the bill. There’s a one-way system in force there so we had to go in through the back door (and out of the front).

And in astonishing news, it’s been months since I had any treatment and my blood count has gone UP! 9.7 is quite ridiculous if you ask me. I’ve no idea what’s going on there.

house renovations avenue marechal leclerc granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way up the hill to LIDL I went past a house renovation that appears to have started, here in the Avenue Marechal LeClerc.

In fact one of the things that I noticed was that in a lot of the shops that are currently closed there are all kinds of repainting and redecorating going on. It looks as if everyone is getting ready for reopening, and using the downtime profitably.

At LIDL I spent a little more money than usual but there was a reason for that. I need a new plugboard with more sockets, and there was a seven-way switchable one on offer for €5:99. So that joined the happy throng.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back I called at la Mie Caline for a dejeunette and then headed home. And the shopping was really heavy, what with everything in it. Like two bags of flour for a start.

But my eye caught a change over at the chantier navale. There have been four boats in there just recently but today it looked as if there was now a fifth.

And even more interesting – the boat on the left in the line of four is not the same boat that’s been there for the last couple of weeks. That’s gone and another has taken its place so it seems.

Back here I had a coffee and then made a start on the images for July 2019. For a couple of hours I had a good back at those and another 40-odd have bit the dust.

Right not I’m on the upper deck of The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour watching the tight manoeuvres as we attempt to make our way into the port of Vestmannaeyjar on the island of Heimaey.

old cars citroen acadiane place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was a break for lunch of course, and I happened to glance out of the window where I saw this.

It’s been years since we have featured an old car, so this old Citroen Acadiane is a welcome visitor to our pages.

Regular readers of this rubbish in one of its many guises years and years ago will recall that I had one of these that I bought at an auction, but it was “lost” when the lock-up garages where it was kept were swept away when the site was cleared for houses.

After lunch I launched an attack on the updating of the web pages. And here I made an exciting discovery.

At one stage a while ago I was looking for the working files for my 2014 trip to Canada that I could never find and which I assumed had been lost when the old laptop gave up the ghost in Germany.

But I’d obviously at one stage done some kind of directory compare between the files on the computer and files on my web server, presumably found them on both and knowing that they weren’t ready for publishing, deleted them – but from the computer and not from the web server.

They’ve now been moved over to the correct location, so obviously some more good has come out of this project.

But what with that and an early finish this afternoon I didn’t manage to do as much as I would have liked, but I can’t win a coconut every time.

So after my hour on the guitars, my early finish had given me half an hour spare so I put it to good use.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve run out of pudding and so I decided to make a small apple pie.for the rest of the week or so.

However, rather than use a pastry roll, I’d seen a simple recipe for making simple pastry – basically any given welght of flour and half that weight of butter (or in my case, vegan margarine) all kneaded together until it looks and feels good, and then a couple of tablespoons of water added and kneaded in until the texture feels good.

Take out your silicon baking sheet, dust it with flour, stick your pastry on there, flatten it out and then roll it with your rolling pin, keeping it dusted with flour so it doesn’t stick to the rolling pin as you roll it.

Grease your little baking pan (I used a 15cm one) and cut your pastry to fit it. 150 grammes of flour was enough to make the top and the bottom and there was some left over.

Peel, core and slice a couple of baking apples and add the slices to the pie with some cinnamon, nutmeg, desiccated coconut, brown sugar and lemon juice.

Then add the top, milk the edges and press them down with a fork to seal them. Brush the top with milk and dust with brown sugar, then put a couple of slits into the top to let out the steam, and then bung into the oven.

apple pie apple turnover place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallWith what’s left over (pastry and apple) make an apple turnover.

And here’s the finished product. It looks absolutely delicious. And the apple turnover certainly was because I had it for pudding with some of that almond soya stuff after my burger-on-a-bap and baked potato.

And I’ll have another go at this pastry lark because it really was quit straightforward and simple. In fact, I’m wondering what I can attempt next.

trawlers english channel ile de chausey brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter the washing up (of which there was more than enough) it was time to go off on my evening runs.

There were quite a few people out there tonight, presumably fed up of the lockdown (which seems to be working – only 600 new cases today). And we had plenty of fishing boats to admire too – like these out and about in the stretch of the English Channel between the Ile de Chausey and Bréhal-Plage.

They seem to be working all kinds of new areas these days, and a lot closer to home too.

fishing buoys english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallSo much so that it didn’t surprise me to see these buoys just a few miles offshore.

At first I thought that it might be a seal or a porpoise or something so it was rather a speculative shot that I took. But back home where I could crop it out and blow it up (the cropped image, not the object) I could see that they were these temporary marker buoys that we see floating about every now and again.

Despite all the time that I’ve lived here I’ve never been able to find out exactly what they are but having seen them on fishing boats, my best guess is that they are markers for fishing traps, like lobster pots and the like.

trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday (and for a couple of other days just recently too) we’ve walked round the headland to discover a fishing boat setting out of the harbour.

There was another one today heading off out today too. There were a few boats out fishing off the Brittany coast near Cancale across the bay and it looked as if this one was on its way to join them.

Looking more closely though, it seems to be surrounded by seabirds so I wonder if it is in fact fishing with its nets out just there.

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut here’s another thing.

My evening run took me along the path on top of the cliff past the chantier navale and I could see that there was yet another change of occupants.

We’d seen this morning that we’d increased to five occupants – two of which were new because one of the older inhabitants had gone from the chocks. But tonight we’re down to four again, with one of the new ones having now been put back into the water.

It can’t have been much that she needed

chausiais port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallThe next leg of my run takes me all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury and round into the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and once I reach my marker (the second pedestrian crossing) I can pause for breath.

So I walked back down the road to the walls overlooking the harbour to se what was happening. Chausiais is now back in her habitual mooring spot at the ferry terminal and Marité although you can’t see her, is still moored at the far side of the harbour (and I forgot to look this morning to see why she had been moved).

Apart from that, there was nothing very evident to indicate what work they had been doing around there.

fishing from the steps rue du port granville manche normandy france eric hallSo I ran off round to the viewpoint at the rue du Nord just in time to catch the sunset, as you have already seen.

There were a few people out there again tonight, including these people who were fishing with rod and line from the steps that go down to the beach (or would do at low tide, of course)

They seemed to be having a great deal of fun, whether they were actually catching anything or not, so I left them to it and ran on home.

Half of my notes are finished now, but so am I too. I’m off to bed and I’ll finish the rest tomorrow. It’s a Bank Holiday (VE Day) in Europe tomorrow but in defiance of usual practice I’m setting an alarm so that I can finish my notes early tomorrow.

If I can.

Wednesday 6th May 2020 – THE LEAST …

… said about this morning, the better.

It was quite a late night last night as a pile of good music came onto the playlist just as I was thinking of going to bed, so that was that. I stayed up to listen to it.

And even though I heard the three alarms, ask me if I cared. 08:15 when I finally exerted myself and that’s no good to anyone at all.

To make things worse, there was nothing on the dictaphone either. That’s always a disappointment because I have said on many occasions … “indeed” – ed … as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, that I have more excitement on my little nocturnal voyage than I ever do in real life, and meet far more interesting people

In fact, apart from a brief bonjour to two women walking their dogs together while I was out, I haven’t spoken to anyone else today.

After a very late breakfast I had a knotty problem to resolve. For some unknown reason, none of my mice (or mouses, I dunno) want to work on my big computer, except one that isn’t up to much.

As to why that might be, I’ve no idea. They work fine on other machines and the USB ports work fine with other appliances so it beats me.

After a good rummage around the apartment I eventually found an ancient radio mouse and, to my surprise, that seems to work for the moment.

The rest of the morning was therefore spent editing photos from July 2019. There wasn’t much time to do many and right now I’m on a sandbank in South-East Iceland admiring a bunch of harbour seals.

That loaf of bread that I made seems to improve with age because it was totally delicious – even better than yesterday.

But I was thinking about that at lunchtime. There’s too much of it and it’s going to mean that there will be some left by the weekend. So what i’m going to do is to make a smaller amount (maybe 400 grammes of flour instead of 500 grammes, always assuming that I can find some tomorrow) and make two small loaves.

Smaller loaves will also mean that it will bake quicker too and that’s always a good plan.

After lunch I took out the 10x4GB memory sticks from their quarantine and set about reorganising the music. It took two of them and there was still about 3.5GB left on the computer, mostly of incomplete files that need looking at. But they’ll receive “the treatment” in early course once my hi-fi arrives, whenever that might be.

For the rest of the afternoon I carried on updating the web pages and there’s another 16 or so now done. I’ve no idea how many are left to do but I have to go back and do the earlier ones again – the first batch that I did – as I missed something off.

As for my hour on the guitars, I’m not sure what happened but I couldn’t find the enthusiasm. It was a very long, weary but not very productive time.

It’s probably a sign that that the spirit must be quite weak these days and that usually means that I’m due a bout of ill-health any day now.

And that’s not surprising because it’s now three and a half months since I’ve had my four-weekly cancer treatment and I remember how I was feeling when I was in the High Arctic. The last couple of days out there, I was running on pure adrenaline and I well remember the counter-reaction that I had while I was waiting for the aeroplane in Kugluktuk and my two days in that hotel in Calgary.

Tea was falafel and steamed vegetables in a cheese sauce followed by the last of the rice pudding. I might bake a small apple pie for pudding for the rest of the week, and if there is plenty of flour in LIDL I might have a go at making my own pastry to see where that takes me.

road marking painting rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThe other day I mentioned that they had been planning last week to repaint the white lines in the car park at the back here.

So off I went on my evening run tonight and sure enough, the painters have been past. They’ve done the car park, right enough, but they’ve also repainted the yellow lines here in the rue du Roc for the area where buses and coaches are allowed to park.

Judging by the signs that have now appeared on the other side of the road, it looks very much as if they are going to be back to paint those lines there sometime in the near future.

beautiful sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving recovered my breath, I ran on down to the clifftop to see what was happening out there in the English Channel.

For a change just recently, there weren’t so many clouds in the sky so we had this beautiful sunset out there over the Ile de Chausey.

There were a few people out there enjoying the evening, including a couple with a dog. And they were disturbed by the arrival of these two women with their mutts who wanted to play.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallNo social distancing for pooches of course but there are for owners and they were amm rather tangled up for a while.

What I did was to ignore them and concentrate on what was going on out to sea. There were the usual trawlers and other fishing boats out there and this one here was on its way out to join them.

This evening I could see about five in total, working away a little farther out to sea this evening.

full moon granville manche normandy france eric hallI USED TO BE A WEREWOLF!
But I’m all right nooooooooooooooooow!

Yes, it’s full moon again and with there being no clouds to speak of in the sky I had a really good view of it tonight.

Again, it’s a hand-held shot so it’s not as steady as it might be with a tripod.

And that reminds me – I need to set up one of the function buttons on the NIKON D500 to work a “delayed action” shot sequence

chausiais trawler cap pilar port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThis photo was interesting because it shows that Chausiais has moved over to the harbour wall by the harbour offices.

And in the foreground is another trawler-type of fishing vessel, the Cap Pilar. I’ve no idea why she might be here or what she’s doing, because she’s actually a boat from St Malo.

So pondering over that, and also the fact that there’s still no change of occupant in the chantier navale I carried on with my run down the Boulevard Vaufleury.

trawler cap pilar leaving port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHalfway down along my run I noticed that Cap Pilar had “cast off forr’ard, Mr Phillips” and was turning round.

So having reached my marker (the second pedestrian crossing up the hill) I walked back to see what was happening. So off she goes out into the evening sunset.

As an aside, when I returned home, I checked on my AIS detector beacon to see where she might be going. And to my amusement her destination was signalled as où je veux – “where I like”.

It’s all very amusing, that kind of remark, but it’s not very much help if she fails to arrive anywhere. No-one can report her missing if they don’t know where she’s supposed to be.

pontoons road marking rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw the first lot of new pontoons put out and fastened to the support pillars that they have installed.

Parked up here down in the rue du port is an articulated lorry with a couple of new pontoons on it. So they are pushing along with this plan to finish the port as soon as possible.

And we saw the road-painting earlier. It looks as if they have been down here too because there are white lines painted on the new car park.

And that’s a disappointment, that car park. They could have done so much more than a squalid slab of tarmac with just a little imagination.

pontoon marite port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut we can see why Chausiais has moved, and why the pontoons are on the back of the lorry just here.

First of all, Marité is now moored where Chausiais had been, so that means that there’s something going on down in her corner. I’ll have to check that tomorrow when I go out shopping.

But you can see that the line of pontoons has extended now, but they are still a couple short. So they’ll be taking those off the back of the lorry tomorrow, I imagine, and installing them.

Nothing doing at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord tonight. I’d missed the sunset and the crowds were dispersing. And so I ran home.

The notes are finished now so I’m off to bed. It’s not as early as I would have liked but I’m hoping for a decent sleep (such as it is) and an early start tomorrow. I must crack on.

Tuesday 5th May 2020 – I THOUGHT SO!

puddle boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy france eric hallFor some reason or other, I had it in my mind during the night that we were having a rainstorm.

It’s one of those things that I’m not quite sure why and when day dawend, although it was a miserable morning it certainly wasn’t raining. But on my run around the walls in the evening I pass by a spot that always floods when there’s heavy rain. It’s been dry for a few weeks yet this evening we have a puddle on the path.

And so there you are. Yet you would never have said anything because once the day got under way it was quite pleasant.

And for a change, I had quite a pleasant night too. In bed relatively early and I actually managed to beat the third alarm, which is always a good sign of progress.

After the medication I went and had a listen to the dictaphone. And sure enough, I’d been on my travels again.

First of all, Castor put in an appearance again. Or did she? Because on the dictaphone I definitely use the name on several occasions but even in my sleep I made a note that it wasn’t her. So do I count her as Castor or as an unknown?

No idea myself. It’s the kind of thing that’s really confusing me.

But anyway we were at a party that I was helping supervise. But when it was getting towards the end she said “could you go and fetch me some paper because I need some paper”. I said “there’s some here in the printer” so I went to get some out of the printer but there wasn’t any. I had to go downstairs for it. She came downstairs with me and she started to talk about this game. She’s got to do this – this game has to be done right now – it can’t wait any later as it all has to be finished by midnight and we were getting very close to the time. So we got a piece of paper out. There was a third person down there but we ignored that person. It was a case of asking the questions alternately and doing the actions but the 1st question had been cut out. She was a bit mad at that because some other people taking part in the game had cut it out to spite her and she was not at all impressed.
At some other point during the night I was making sandwiches. I had four people with me doing different things and I had to make sandwiches. I had to buy a pile of strange stuff and the kind of pastry stuff that I had to use as a base had all gone off and gone manky so I ended up having to get some bread and making some sandwiches, but I was just getting completely and utterly confused. It took me ages to do something so straightforward as I was so confused about this. When it came to packing everything up ready to take down to the people I couldn’t find any plastic bags to put them in. It was now 13:30 and I guessed they would be wondering what on earth had happened to lunch. I saw a post on Facebook – one of my people had bought lunch and donated money to LIDL for his lunch and I thought to myself it’s going to be an awful row when I get these sandwiches downstairs. But I had a bit of food everywhere that I couldn’t get organised as to what went on where, anything like that. It was all really confusing and it was taking place on the playing field at Nantwich Grammar School as well.
There was more to it all than this but as you are probably eating your evening meal right now I’ll spare you the details. But the interesting thing was that there was some kind of mix of circumstance – the usual confusion and indecision was there of course, but also for once (and which doesn’t happen very often) something was going right for me until, once again, someone comes along in the night and spikes it. That happens far too often – in real life as well as on a nocturnal voyage. The whole story of my life is that people can’t bear to see me being happy and do whatever they can to spike it.

But anyway, I digress … “again” – ed.

After breakfast (which was late due to the amount of stuff I had to type) I carried on with the radio project and that was done well before lunchtime.

Next task was to sort out the music. All of the irrelevant music (from the radio point of view) was moved into a separate directory so that they are excluded from selection for the radio programme.

The reason for this is that with the 6 directories that I have (AA-FF) next week it’s the turn of music from directory CC to be selected for the radio so I have all of that (50-odd artists with however many albums) going round on a continuous random loop for the next week and I’ll be making a note of likely possibilities.

There’s so much music these days in my collection that it’s easy to lose track of what I have and some really good stuff will slip though my fingers if it doesn’t spring to mind.

So moving the irrelevant stuff out of the way means that I don’t waste my time with it popping up on the playlist.

Another task that I have set myself concerns the updating of the web pages.

That’s a task that I started ages ago and which fell by the wayside as I started back to work on the radio. But now that I have the radio work under control (for the moment) I can return to the programme.

When I started MY WEBSITE it was in 1997 as part of a project for my technology degree. It was completely hand-coded from scratch and pretty basic but over the years it slowly evolved.

The last major upgrade that it had was back in 2007 and I’ve learnt a lot since then. The menus were all handcoded *.css, individually for each page and when the number of pages passed 50, I realised that this would present a problem if ever I had to update anything on the menus.

So while I was laid up in Canada recovering from my exertions in the High Arctic, I taught myself some basic javascript, designed a few javascript menus and some iframe procedure and set about changing the menus over from individual *.css stuff to one common set of menus that can be inserted as a javascript script.

Today, after lunch, I carried on with the project and amended 20-odd pages. I’ll do some more tomorrow too. As an aside, I was impressed with my bread. It’s a much better attempt than the last one.

That still left an hour or so , thus I attacked the photos from July 2019. I managed about 20 of them, spending more time wrestling with a recalcitrant mouse than anything else.

And despite that, I’m still in an inflatable rubber boat in a lagoon amongst the icebergs at the foot of the Vatnajokull Glacier in eastern iceland

After an hour on the guitars, I went to make tea. I had an aubergine and kidney bean whatsit with vegetables, all out of the freezer, with pasta. And having taken stuff out of the freezer, there’s still not enough room for the half of the pie that’s waiting in the fridge for a space.

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallAs I mentioned earlier, it was another pleasant evening.

The wind had died down somewhat and there was a beautiful sky and sunset out there tonight. I went to take a photo of it and then ran off up the road to my marker at the end of the hedge.

Having gathered my breath I ran on down to the clifftop past an extremely concerned pedestrian who gave me a weird look. I suppose that I really am a sight, running around the place at my age.

Walking around on the bumpy bit past the demolished bunker of the Atlantic Wall, I startled a woman having a relax in the bushes watching the sunset. Yes, I would give everything that I owned, and more besides, to be able to sing.

trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallOut in the Baie de Mont St Michel it was really busy tonight.

A brief perusal of the bay showed no fewer than four (and maybe more) fishing boats out there over towards the Brittany coast, and this one on its way out there to join0 them.

And that will come as a surprise to someone who posted this morning another one of these “news stories” about how the small fisherman is banned from fishing while the big industrial concerns are free to come and go as they like.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen enough evidence to know that that is total nonsense.

trawler ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallCarefully avoiding the big puddle I carried on with my run along the tp of the walls.

No change in the chantier navale today, but there is something bizarre going on in the ferry terminal. It seems that a fishing boat – one of the trawler-types – has decided to tie up there.

And I’ve no idea why that might happen either. I didn’t think that they were supposed to be over there, and for all kinds of reasons too. The pontoon to which it is tied is for foot passengers for the ferries.

floating pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOff on my long run down the Boulevard Vaufleury and round the corner to my marker, and then I walked back to see what was happening in the port.

There’s been quite a lot going on today by the looks of things. We actually have some of the new floating pontoons in place attached to the pillars that they have spent weeks piledriving into the ground.

And across on the other side, they’ve fitted a few new anchorage mounts on the wall. I’ve no idea what they will be anchoring to them, but we’ll probably find out over the course of the next few days.

But it’s all exciting stuff.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom a standing start I ran off up the hill and round the corner to the viewpoint in the rue du Port.

No-one else was there but me but that’s no surprise because the low cloud on the horizon prevented me witnessing the sun sinking below the horizon.

Instead I had to content myself to watching in pass through a gap in the clouds.

My final run was back to the apartment where one of my neighbours was disinfecting the stairs. They are a friendly, sociable bunch of people here, not like anywhere else where i’ve lived, that’s for sure.

It’s late now. There was some good stuff on the playlist. So not much of a sleep tonight but we’ll see how the day unfolds. It’s a bank Holiday on friday so at least I can catch up with my beauty sleep then.


Saturday 21st March 2020 – “I FEEL RATHER SILLY, REALLY” …

21 March 2020 queues or not lerclerc hypermarket granville manche normandy france eric hall… said one of the three security guards at LeClerc this morning.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day in Belgium there were queues of people stretching right across the car park at the Carrefour at Mont St Jean, and they had set up something of a similar crowd control arrangement here to keep the masses in order when they swamp the Hypermarket.

But it’s now about 09:30 and you can see the crowds of people fighting their way in. We were about 50 people all told in there.

One woman to whom I chatted in the car park later said “isn’t this wonderful? We’ll have to invent another virus scare when this one is over”. I didn’t realise that any French people had my sense of humour.

As for me, despite an early night, I missed the alarms and it was 06:45 when I hauled myself out of bed. And I’d been doing so well just recently too.

After the medication (now that I have supplies) I had a look at the dictaphone.

I was round at TOTGA’s last night and we were having one of these big deep discussions about all kinds of things. There was someone else there but this other person was being sidetracked out of it. We were talking about things, how she never imagined me with Laurence and that kind of thing. She asked “where did Laurence live?”. I explained that she lived on the edge of the city at one time then had an apartment in town – she asked where Laurence lived and I told her she had an apartment on the edge of the city at one time and then moved in. This discussion rambled on. Then her husband was there and some other guy and I’d already got my breakfast and thought “maybe I ought to get TOTGA’s breakfast as well”. But she’d wandered off into another kitchen somewhere and came down with a big breakfast of scrambled eggs, stuff like that. Then she asked for something else. I thought that it was for her so I got some fresh spinach and sprouts, one or two other things and put them on a plate. She said “you’ll need to wash and polish the vegan knife” and told me where it was. I took the stuff over to her and she added that onto her plate to eat it. This discussion skirted on and it was a case of “how long is this going to go on before we get to the point of what is probably going to be the real issue” because it was a talking all that time about nothing and there must have been something else going on that had made all of this happen and it was another one of these “teetering on the clifftop” kind of things again, not able to go d=forward and not able to go back
This was another one of these dreams with TOTGA in it. We were together in this house and talking about things. She had never imagined me in one situation she said she never imagined me in a situation with Laurence and Roxanne. She asked where Laurence lived so I explained that she had an apartment outside town then moved into the city at one time. This conversation drifted on and on. There was a third person and I can’t remember who it was but they weren’t involved in this. She came down into the kitchen with her husband and she had a plate full of something or other to have for breakfast. She sat down – she said “I’ve forgotten (whatever it was that she said), I’ve forgotten”. So i went into the kitchen and said “I’ll get it for you. What do you want?” She said “fresh spinach” which they had got, some bacon, baked potatoes, stuff like that.I had to microwave them in oil, I couldn’t cook them any way and then take them to her. Her husband was there but it was quite clear that TOTGA was on her own in this situation without anyone else. I was wondering when she was going to get round to broaching the subject about why she had got me down there. I thought that any minute she was going to come out with it or not. It was another one of those things without any exit, without any end. I wondered when it was going to be that she was going to ask me the question that was bound to be asked about the future of the two of us and she was just drifting on talking about anything that came into her head and wasn’t actually approaching the situation.

Now – do you spot the similarity between the two? And there would have been a third one too exactly the same except that I awoke in the middle of dictating it.

So the question is – “did I really dream it on three separate occasions, or did I just think that I did?” It isn’t ‘arf confusing.

After breakfast I was planning on a shower and so on but I had a ‘phone call. Someone had decided to have a group radio meeting on-line to discuss an idea that someone had.

With us not being able to meet up and go out, half of our radio programmes have fallen into dust. No surprise there. But how do we replace them?

One of the people has had a marvellous idea – why don’t we each keep a diary of how our life has changed. The discussion rolled on, and it set me thinking. Instead of a simple diary, why not an “audio agenda?”

Everyone has mobile phones these days and these have recording facilities. That’s half our work done before we start and it’s realistic and authentic. I hate these artificial things with a passion, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. People don’t want to hear a monotonous drone of an emotionless translator. They want to hear the real person, mistakes and all, in full flight and full of emotion! Authentic radio as it happens!

On that note, I went out. About half an hour later than I intended.

No NOZ today. It’s classed as a non-essential business and has thus been obliged to close its doors. Straight to LeClerc.

While it’s totally wrong to say that I’ve been panic-buying, there are three or four (yes, just three or four) more tins here than normal (small kidney bean and small chick pea tins), an extra roll of pastry, a three-pack of crackers as well as a loaf of bread which has gone into the freezer.

My difficulty is that I live so far from the shops, my favourite bakery has already closed its doors and then, of course, I have my health to think about. While I’m feeling pretty good right now, that’s not going to last.

Regular readers of this rubbish, my family in Canada and several people on board The Good Ship Ve … errr Ocean Endeavour were witness to how quickly my health deteriorated after three months without medication at the end of August last year, and I have a lot more than that to look forward to this year.

6 months minimum is what I’ve been told, and it may well be more. What kind of state will I be in after all of that? And will I be fit enough to travel? It doesn’t bear thinking about.

Back here afterwards, I reached a significant milestone. The last of the complete digital sound-track file was cut up into its individual tracks. And that has pleased me greatly. There is in fact just one left, but that’s an impossible one to deal with as it’s just a mix of segments and no complete tracks.

All that remains are the … gulp … 200 or so for which I couldn’t find any digital soundfiles, and I’ll have to plan another way to deal with those.

After lunch, I decided to do some work.

On my travels this morning I’d been having a little think about our phone call this morning. And I’d had another idea, which we discussed on another group chat.

As a result, I contacted a few people throughout the world and a couple of them have agreed to participate in keeping an audio-diary. It’ll be interesting to hear how kids in the UK and Canada are coping with a change in their lifestyles due to having to stay in at home. Doing it in French will be a challenge of course, particularly for one little girl who has only been learning french for 18 months, but the challenge will be good for them and bring them along.

While I was at it, I rang Rosemary and we had a good chat. She’s signed up to my little project too – may as well cast the net around. I’d rather have too much stuff than not enough.

And while we’re on the subject, if YOU fancy keeping an audio diary of how your life has changed due to this virus – what projects you’ve had to drop, what new ones you have started, how you are passing your time, what laws have been applied in your country, I’ll be pleased to hear from you.

French is good, but English is good too if you have a story to tell. Use the “contact me” button at the bottom right of the page to register your interest and I’ll tell you what’s involved.

Having done that, I did a little more organising and then it was time for tea. The second half of the curry from yesterday followed by the last of the rice pudding, and this was when Brain of Britain realised that he had forgotten to buy his cooking apples

deserted place cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallOn my walk tonight I was almost all alone. There were two people sitting in different places along the walls smoking cigarettes, and that was my lot.

The Place Cambernon was absolutely deserted which is bizarre for a Saturday night. But then it’s a sign of the times, isn’t it?

At least, I managed to fit in my two runs. And on my second I was well up the second ramp before I ran out of steam. It’s a shame that it’s so steep because that’s what is stopping me pushing on.

So now I’ve had a chat with Amber and one or two other people, and I’ll finish my blog. A lie-in tomorrow which will suit me fine and then I’m going to change the habits of a lifetime and do some work.

Today has been a lazy day when I’ve not done anything like I hoped. I need to put that right.

Saturday 2nd November 2019 – I REALLY MUST …

… get myself organised.

I know that I have been saying this for several weeks now, but I don’t seem to have made much of an effort to progress in the correct direction.

Listening to music again last night, it was well after 02:00 when I crawled off to bed and that’s no good at all.

What’s even worse (or better, depending upon your own point of view) is that I made a valiant, determined effort to beat the third alarm call out of bed.

And what’s more, I made it too … “will you make me one like it?” – ed … even though I felt like death.

So less than 4 hours sleep.

Not very much, you might think, but plenty of time to go off on my travels. Something was all closing down last night and people were having some kind of session where they were singing songs and reading poems about everything that they had been through. I did a little presentation but I hadn’t realised that it was closing so I hadn’t said anything about it so when I found out I wanted to go back and re-do it and do different stuff so but no-one was listening to me while I was saying all of this and no-one was really interested in listening to what I had to do or got to say or got to play on the subject.

It seems to me that during the last few days ago I’ve been making a habit of being ignored by other people. I really must change my deodorant.

Talking of deodorant … “well, one of us is” – ed … I had a shower after breakfast. I weighed myself too and found that I had gained 100 grammes. Must do something about that, like go for a brisk walk.

First though, I put a couple of weeks’ worth of dirty clothes in the washing machine and set it do a lap around while I headed for a brisk walk.

storm in outer port de granville harbour manche normandy franceOutside, we were in the middle of a hurricane. I had heard of an “adverse weather report” for the area for today but I wasn’t expecting this at all.

You can see what the waves are doing here – and that’s in the harbour too inside the outer wall. I don’t think that I’ve ever in the past seen it as rough as this out there

Not the kind of weather that I would want to be going out for a sail on the high seas.

port de granville harbour gates closing manche normandy franceI was tempted to go for a walk across the path across the top of the harbour gates to have a closer look but they were closed.

However by the time I got down to ground level they were just on the point of closing them. I should have waited for another 5 minutes.

And even in the shelter of the inner harbour you can see that the water is churned up somewhat

My trip this morning took me to the indoor market hall for some fruit, carrots and mushrooms. But there was nothing there that interested me too much so I didn’t buy anything.

Neither did the Super-U but the Carrefour came up trumps with some reasonable mushrooms – many of which will go on my pizza tomorrow night. And they had some more of the cheap baguettes too.

Back here I pushed on with this project that I have to do. And with a short break for lunch (the rest of the carrot soup and some of the baguette) I managed to finish it in time for the afternoon walk.

It’s not as good as I would like it, but improving it is beyond my capabilities. I’m having to do it in French and with having to think about what I need to say, it’s robbing all of the spontaneity and that’s probably the most vital ingredient of what I’m trying to do.

And as a result it took me a lot longer than it might have done and there’s so much editing that needed doing to edit out the pauses, the “umms” and the “ahhs”.

But be that as it may, I do have to say that the editing and the sound mixing is excellent and I’m really pleased from that point of view.

storm in english channel beach plat gousset granville manche normandy franceThat was the cue to go out for my afternoon walk.

And there had been a change in the weather.

It was much worse.

So I struggled around the headland with the other brave souls out there – all of us wrapped up to brave the wintry weather. And that reminds me – all of my winter gear is in my blue jacket which even as we speak is somewhere between Calgary and Centreville in Canada. I shall have to make “other arrangements” this winter.

Back here I did a pile of website amendments to keep the momentum going, and attacked a few blog entries. I’ll do some more this evening too.

Tea was a slice of vegan pie (from last April and it was just as delicious) with potatoes, peas, carrots and gravy. Followed by rice pudding (seeing as I had the oven on).

And then a huge washing-up session, including the oven to clean off all of the milk that had overflowed from the aforementioned rice pudding.

The rain was falling when I went out for my evening walk. And the wind was so strong that it was falling horizontally.

For my run tonight I was about 50 yards short of my distance from the last time. I blame the strong wind but really it’s a disappointment. When I started back running in Brussels in 1994 I could push out the distance every night and I ought to be able to do something like that here.

It’s not as if I’m running 5 miles or 10 miles like I used to – here I’m measuring it in hundreds of metres and I should be able to do it, even though I am an old fogey long past my sell-by date.

Another thing is that for the past week or so I’ve been plagued by a fly that has been flying around my room, and I’ve been wondering how to dispose of it. I don’t need to worry about it now – although I do feel sorry for it. It should never have alighted on that sheet of paper on the floor when I was above it with a large book in my hand

So I’ll do some more work for a while and then go to bed. It’s Sunday so I can have a lie-in. I deserve it