Tag Archives: canada

Monday 18th July 2022 – WE’RE LIVING …

burnt grass on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022IN A DUST BOWL.

That’s the path that leads up to the lighthouse at the Pointe du Roc (the lighthouse is behind me) and “scorched earth” has nothing on this.

The grass is dying and whenever there’s a gust of wind it whips a cloud of dust into the air. We are “living in interesting times” right now and if people don’t get a grip and do something, it will be like this much more often.

Nature is indeed starting to fight back at the human race and we have only ourselves to blame.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that back in 2018 I was on Bylot Island in the Canadian Arctic with an Inuit guy. He told me that where we were standing was where he used to come with his kayak when he was a boy to collect ice from the glacier that was here so that his grandfather could have some fresh, pure water for his tea.

He then took us to where the glacier was on that day. We had to walk a little over two kilometres.
“How old are you, Michael?”
“I’m 22”

Anyone who doesn’t believe in global warming needs to take a little trip to the Arctic and talk to the Inuit who are watching their traditional way of life evaporating before their eyes..

But anyway, I digress.

Nature was certainly getting its own back on me last night. It was far too hot to sleep and I had a miserable night tossing and turning.

However I must have done at some point because there was some stuff on the dictaphone. I’d been with the boys in the band, one of the groups in which I used to play back in the mid-70s. We’d had to go to the Post Office to pick up some new equipment for one of them. When we arrived there was an enormous queue so we had to fight our way to the front eventually. There were crowds of people in the Post Office but the woman didn’t have the time to look for it. She wanted us to come back later. I said “yes, how about 45 minutes?”. That would give us chance to have a bag of chips or something for lunch. She replied “yes, that’s OK”. We went outside but the other 2 didn’t want to wait. They got into the van and drove off home which left me wandering around Crewe wondering what I was going to do. Eventually I drove home and parked the vehicle. I took this speaker cabinet out of the van. It was on 4 castors and I had to push it home over a muddy farm track. It wasn’t easy to push this. It was narrow and there were cars and bikes coming so I had to pull into the side to let them go. A girl appeared – a girl who lived in our building. She said that she would help me push it. I replied that there was no need, I could manage but she pushed it quite easily which surprised me. We reached the part where I’d put down a wooden flooring in this lane. We started pushing it and it really was easy. We pushed it between us up to my building. She made some facetious remark about the carpet that I’d laid down for my speaker. I said “yes and I’d have finished the rest of the way to the van had I had more wood but I’ve not been to Canada for the last few years and that’s where I usually buy it. It’s dirt-cheap there”. We entered the lift and I asked her what floor she wanted. She said “the first floor”. I wanted the ground floor so the lift took us down. I thought that it would take us to the first floor where she lived but instead it went on down to mine. We both left the lift and started to move the speaker cabinet. I thought that it was polite to ask her if she wanted to come in for a coffee or something but my place was a total tip. Even so I thought that it was the polite thing to do to ask her if she would like to come in.

Later on I was driving a taxi last night. On the radio the instructions came through to go and pick up someone called “Jagger”. They said that the address was in Walthall Street. I reached the street and asked for the number of the house. They said that they didn’t have it but it was the one with the wooden frame and the music. I drove down the street, eventually found it and knocked on the door. This old woman came out and Mick Jagger came as well. They both got into my cab. I asked them where they wanted to go to. The woman said that she lived next door to TB Furnishing. That shop I didn’t have a clue where it was. She said that it was one of the streets off Nantwich Road. I headed up that way and when I reached Nantwich Road heading towards the railway station the woman said “it’s not in this direction. Everyone else usually goes another way”. I replied “you tell me which way they go and I’ll take you that way. It’s no problem”. I couldn’t work out where this place was. Mick Jagger was going to Nantwich once I dropped off this old woman but I couldn’t get this old woman out of the cab because I didn’t know where she wanted dropping off.

Finally I was at work and someone came over to me to ask if I recognised a song. They said the first line of it. It was a Barclay James Harvest song “See The Gambler Make a Stand”, one of the tracks that I play on the acoustic guitar. I recognised the song immediately and told them the name … THE WORLD GOES ON” – ed … and which album it was off … “Octoberon” – ed … one of the best albums ever recorded in Progressive Rock (which it is). They asked a little more about it so I said that I would look it up on the computer. I went over to their computer to call up one of the music sites to look at it. They were busy playing on their computer, playing something on there so I had to use a different keyboard. This involved pressing piles of mud, pushing my finger deep into these piles of mud outside their vehicle to type this up. Of course, dealing with mud is not very easy to find the correct keys and their computer was even slower than mine. I thought that it would take quite a time to go through.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I was up and out of bed quite quickly. Having taken my medication and checked my mails and messages I sat down to prepare the radio programme that I wanted to do today. I wasn’t in any rush and it took longer to do than some of the ones that I’ve done quite recently.

But it really ought to have taken longer than it did because what I do is to prepare 10 tracks for about 48 minutes, 10 speeches that go for about 8 minutes after being edited, work out how much time is left for a final track, knock off 45 seconds for a final closing speech and then choose a track for the time that remains and then record the final speech which, after editing, should last for 45 seconds.

And in case you are wondering, 300 characters of text works out at 17 seconds of speech.

Anyway, usually it all over-runs so I have to edit some speech out from here and there to make it all fit and that can take a lot of time, but today it was a perfect fit. Just 0.3 seconds under, and lengthening a few pauses took that up in a couple of mouse strokes.

While I was listening to it, I was on the hunt for a Welsh Summer School. The problem with having a teflon brain is that nothing sticks to it so I need to keep it working.

Coleg Cambria, with whom I study, had a couple but for some reason that I don’t understand, our tutor didn’t tell us about them. So they have been and gone.

So rummaging through a few of my contacts elewhere I ended up with a tutor whom I know from Coleg Gwent with whom I did those supplementary classes earlier this year. Her college had a Summer School that started today and after much binding in the marsh I managed to blag my way onto it.

So that’s me occupied for the rest of the week.

While I was at it I also had a good session on the guitar today.

For a change, I missed breakfast so I ended up having my fruit bun for lunch with a pile of fruit. And then, regrettably, the bad night caught up with me and that was that for an hour. No problem sleeping in this heat when I’m on my chair, is there?

As usual I headed off out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And I rather wished that I hadn’t either because it was breathtakingly hot and I was seriously considering going back into my apartment.

As usual I wandered off across the car park to the wall at the end to have a look down at what was going on down there

There weren’t all that many people out there this afternoon and that’s no surprise because anyone with any sense would be sitting inside the fridge keeping cold on an afternoon like this. Somehow I don’t think that being in the water will cool anyone down enough today

seagulls people in water plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There wasn’t anything at all happening out at sea this afternoon, but I was rather intrigued by the people here.

There was a kid on the rocks at the edge of the water doing something or other and an adult with a couple of kids in some swimming rings shaped like swans.

Interestingly though there was a flight of seagulls on their way over to inspect the proceedings and presumably making a bombing raid on the people in the water. That would have livened up the proceedings quite considerably.

The path was completely empty this afternoon. There wasn’t anyone at all out there as I headed off towards the lighthouse.

powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There might have been nothing happening out at sea but we had something going on in the air this afternoon.

It was making quite a racket even though I couldn’t see it, but eventually I managed to lay my eyes on it. It was one of the powered hang gliders on its way out into the bay.

Unfortunately I can’t tell which one because it was flying so high that I was struggling to make it out.

At the car park at the end of the headland there were just four or five cars and no more than 15 people in total. That was all that I saw out there this afternoon.

No real surprise. One of my friends told me later that the temperature this afternoon had reached 41°C and sent me a photo to prove it. That’s what I call warm.

buoys pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There wasn’t anyone sitting on the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban this afternoon.

Nor anyone walking around the lower path either so I was having a good look at the buoy that we saw yesterday, simply because today it seems to have found a friend. There’s another buoy there by its side now.

There were a couple of others further on round the headland too but I left them to it and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what was happening in the harbour.

Not that I was expecting all that much.

chausiaise joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Over at the ferry terminal this afternoon we had a couple of boats moored up.

At the front is the little freighter Chausiase and behind her is one of the Joly France ferries to the Ile de Chausey. No step cut out of the stern so she would be the older one of the two.

No Channel Island ferries though. Victor Hugo is still moored up in the inner harbour.

But the situation regarding the Channel Island ferries is becoming clearer by the day. There was a court hearing today that seems to suggest that the previous operators of the ferry service have not handed over the keys and documentation that the new operators require.

They have entered a defence against the action but my understanding is that it’s been struck out, so they are appealing.

l'omerta saint andrews port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022For that reason we’ll have to turn our attention elsechere.

Like to the quayside by the Fish Processing Plant where our game of musical ships continues with L’Omerta moored there again in her usual position. And behind her is the little trawler Saint Andrews.

Plenty of vehicles around there too on the lower level, and up above are a couple of piles of fishing equipment.

There is one of the little harbour lighters there too but I can’t identify her unfortunately, even if she does have a name.

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022On my way back to my apartment and my coconut drink, I noticed that Martité was back in town.

No point though in going to ask when their next trip out will be, because the answer will be “it’s all on the website” and they’ll go back to chatting amongst themselves.

So with my coconut drink I pressed on with dealing with this Welsh Summer School and making sure that I had been accepted. And, of course, thanking Karen (who taught the supplementary courses and who found this course for me at lunchtime) for her assistance.

Byddaf i yna I said. “I’ll be there’.

As I said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … they are taking quite seriously this “Million Welsh Speakers by 2025” or whenever the time limit is.

Tea tonight was a rather sad stuffed pepper. “Sad” in the sense that it was the pepper itself that was showing signs of age. The stuffing was excellent.

So now I’m off to bed. I have four days of Welsh Summer School now for the rest of the week and that will keep me out of mischief for a while. But I bet that I’ll forget it all by the time that our course starts up again in September.

Tuesday 29th March 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

peccavi carteret trawlers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… various photos of various sea-going craft that were out and about on the water this afternoon, I’ll tell you about my somewhat depressing day today.

It couldn’t have got off to a worse start this morning. When the alarm went off at 07:30 I leant out of bed and switched it off. And the next thing that I remember was when it went off again at 08:00.

Although I didn’t go back to sleep at that point, it was … errr … somewhat later when I finally arose from the dead.

After I had taken my medication I came back in here to sit on my chair where I … errr … fell asleep again for 20 minutes.

cabin cruisers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Nevertheless, I awoke in time to prepare for my Welsh lesson today but there was actually no need because we didn’t finish the first lesson last week and we only just about reached the end of it today.

That’s because we spent much more time talking in this lesson and after my weekend course I was feeling much more confident about things. As a result the lesson passed quite well, to my surprise.

There was lunch as well and it seems that I might have miscalculated the bread issue. Even if there’s enough bread left for tomorrow, there won’t be enough for sandwiches on my journey tomorrow and I don’t want to take the bread out of the freezer just for a couple of slices.

What I’ll have to do is to make other plans for lunch on my travels.

ch933900 carteret jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After lunch, having fought off yet more sleep, I had a listen to where I’d been during the night.

I was a famous footballer in the days before I was famous and I’d fixed a car for one of my clubmates, a white 2000E with a black vinyl roof. I had it running really well and everyone came to see it. They stood there and listened to it. Someone noticed the ice in the radiator. I explained that it had only just gone in and it would melt but they all started making fun of this ice that was in there. Just then I was violently sick. This went on for 3 or 4 minutes that I was violently sick. Someone else who had a white 2000E came up, a footballer, and said “come with me. We’re going to the chemist. Apparently it was something to do with what I was eating. It was good for sport and energy but not for my general health. Someone went to fetch his car and beckoned to me get in it but I noticed that one of his rear lights was not working.

belle france joly france black pearl peccavi charlevy port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I was then with a group of people last night in a house somewhere. One person was having trouble with his car so he set off and we followed him. He went down a hill, you could hear his car misfiring from here, and reached the bottom, pulled off and went round the roundabout underneath. It was obvious that he was still having problems. His car managed to go round the roundabout but he ended up in the wrong gear and tried to come back. He was struggling up the hill and an ancient Austin 7 went past. By the time we returned to the house the guy in the Austin 7 had checked the car over, adjusted the points and was giving him a few other suggestions about how he could improve the performance on his car like put a shaft in to connect the gear lever up to the flywheel, one or two other little things like that. They’d made a meal for me but first when I came in the offered me a cup of tea but I asked “what about everyone else for a cup of tea?”. I went to pour some tea for everyone and have mine with my meal in a couple of minutes.

omerta calean chant de sirenes trafalgar pierre de jade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I’d been to see people like those whom I knew from the Wirral and the like. We’d been talking about all meeting up in the States sometime at the end of the summer. Gradually there were just me and one of them left. We were on a petrol station. He was on his Harley Davidson, a gold one. I said goodbye to him and “see you in a couple of months”. He said “what?”. He’d plainly forgotten about this trip about which we’d been talking. I knew really that it wasn’t going to happen so I just thought that I’d mention the trip but without any real hope that it would actually come off. We were looking at all these electric motorcycles including tiny little 33cc ones. I was estimating how much time it would take me to return home on one of those, not because it could travel quickly but obviously it was so uncomfortable that you could never have a comfortable ride on a motorcycle so small as this. We had a look at the 50cc and 75cc ones but they didn’t seem to be all that much better. I set off home and as I walked out of this garage there was a blind spot for the security cameras where I could easily have picked up one of these motorbikes and walked off with it but I decided against it. I set off to walk home, interested to see how many hours it would take me so that I could compare it at some other time with one of these small motorbikes. I didn’t think that it would be any quicker because although you could move quicker, you’d need to spend more time recovering from the uncomfortable position.

Finally I’d been to see Morton playing but they’d been playing somewhere like Hamilton or Motherwell. I walked out of the ground down to the old A74 because the motorway hadn’t been built yet. I started to hitch a lift but there was no-one stopping for me to go home and I ended up in Stirling (don’t ask me how), walking through the town centre of Stirling at night. I thought that I’d better buy a few things to keep me going for the journey because it was a long way. I ended up talking to Louise, discussing changing part of a car. I showed her how to work a power bar backwards so that you didn’t have as long a swing but you could get more power on it. I was still a long way from home and working out how many hours it would take me to actually walk. I arrived at a figure of something like 80 hours if I didn’t have a lift.

person sitting on rock rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022That took me up to the time when I usually go out for my afternoon walk.

As usual, my first port of call was the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down there.

And there wasn’t all that much beach to be on this afternoon but there were rocks a-plenty and there was someone sitting down there like Piffy on … errr … a rock, acting as if she owned it.

There was quite a bit of mist out at sea again but as you have seen, there was plenty of maritime traffic today as well, with all of the fishing boats heading back to port this afternoon.

repointing medieval city walls place du marche au chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022However my mind was elsewhere this afternoon.

While I was looking down onto the beach, I could also see that there was plenty of activity going on this afternoon on the medieval city walls over at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

There were several people scrambling over the scaffolding, doing some pointing on the wall over there. And there’s plenty of it that needs to be done as well, but over the last couple of weeks since they seem to have made rapid progress.

They may well not be there for much longer, but then again I have said things like that before and been confounded.

storm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022One thing is sure though, and that it that they may well not be there for much longer this afternoon.

Over at the Ile de Chausey is one of the most wicked storms that I’ve seen for quite a while and while, for a change, the wind isn’t all that strong, it won’t be too long before it’s upon us.

That’s really the cue for me to get a move on. I’ve no idea how long it’ll take for the storm to arrive but I don’t want to be caught out and about in it.

But at least I won’t be alone because there were several other people out and about. But I bet that they won’t be out and about for long.

people sitting on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Nevertheless, there will be several people who will end up being taken by surprise by the rainstorm, if it does actually arrive.

Down here on the bench by the cabanon vauban, you can’t see over the top of the cliff and beyond the lighthouse and so the couple sitting down here won’t have any idea of what’s lurking out at sea. And it’s not exactly a place from where you can run easily, with all of the steps and the muddy path.

But then I suppose that they can always shelter inside the cabanon if necessary.

Leaving them to it, I headed off down the path on top of the headland towards the port to see what was going on there.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You’ve seen all of the fishing boats lined up waiting, either to unload at the fish processing plant or for the gates to the inner harbour to open.

But I was more intrigued to see what was happening with Chausiaise. She’s currently moored at the pontoon where many of the fishing boats tie up so they aren’t going to be too pleased to see her there.

And she has her crane extended too so there’s something going on with her right now.

Back home I made myself a coffee and then made another start on the photos from the High Arctic in 2019.

Right now we’re anchored off Devon Island and I’m stuck – there’s a hill there by the old RCMP post at Dundas Harbour where there’s a memorial monument. And I know the name of this hill – it’s named after a sailor on Belcher’s expdition of 1852 but can I think of his name?

To try to think, I had a good spell on the guitar but it didn’t work and even now, as I’m about to go to bed I still can’t think of his name.

Tea was a left-over curry which was delicious and then I came in here to write up my notes. And I had an interruption as well. I seem to be in great demand just recently and I don’t understand why because it’s not the usual state of affairs as far as I am concerned.

But all of that is for another time. I’m going to have a quiet play on the guitar and then I’m off to bed. I have the doctor in the morning and the physiotherapist in the afternoon. And then on Thursday I’m off on my travels again.

There’s no holding me back right now.

Monday 28th March 2022 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what it is with me but having had the news a few weeks ago that Kaatje, my “support worker” (really, my psychiatrist) at Castle Anthrax, is leaving her post at the end of the month, I had the news that Sonia my physiotherapist has decided to leave her post too

It seems to me that they are all sussing me out sooner or later.

Whoever is going to replace Kaatje remains to be seen but I bet that at the physiotherapist’s, they have some retired Bulgarian weightlifter lined up to take over. That is usually about par for the course, isn’t it?

repointing wall rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, in other news, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been keeping an eye on the repairs to the medieval walls, of which there are several miles thereof about the town.

One of the things that they did was to replace the brick capping on top of part of the walls and then leave it unpointed for all of the damp, humidity and frost, whatever else you like to infiltrate.

Anyway, today, they had a bricklaying class out there and to my surprise, they have made a start on repointing the brickwork that they did ever so long ago.

Not that they made much progress this afternoon, so I imagine that they’ll be back over the course of the next few days to complete the task.

scaffolding rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Something else that I mentioned the other day was the scaffolding that they have built over the Rampe du Monte à Regret.

As I was going down the hill I noticed that it was still there so I took a photo of it just for the record. It looks as if it’s going to be there for a few more days yet as they were busy moving the scaffolding around to different parts of the wall.

But anyway, be that as it may, I actually managed to haul myself out of bed just after the alarm went off at 06:00, which surprised me more than it surprised anyone else.

And after the medication, I made a start on the radio programme that I wanted to prepare today.

No records today though, because I was actually working on two at once. Having written the notes for the programme over the last week, I wrote them for the next one this morning and then dictated both one after the other.

There were several interruptions too – for the coffee and for breakfast, and also for the nurse who came round to inject me with my Aranesp ready to go off on my travels.

That prompted me to telephone the doctor for an appointment as I now have run out. That’s for Wednesday morning at 09:30.

Nevertheless, I’ve only prepared the one though. I’ll nibble away at the other here and there over the course of the forthcoming week and see where I end up.

When I finished the programme, I had a listen to it and also to the two that I’m sending off today. Yes. That’s right. I’m not here next week so I need to make sure that my programme will run next week without me.

During the three hours that it took for me to listen to the three programmes I attacked the photos from the High Arctic in 2019. I shifted a good pile of them too and now I’m just arriving at the abandoned RCMP post at Dundas Harbour on Devon island in the Canadian high Arctic.

During a pause here and there, I went and had a shower to clean myself up. I have to look my best for my physiotherapy.

After lunch I carried on with my photos while I listened to the radio programmes and then headed off out.

classe decouverte calean, spartiate, trafalgar, chant de sirenes, black pearl, charlevy fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was going on.

There was plenty of excitement there too this afternoon. All of the trawlers are coming in to unload and I can identify Calean, with Spartiate behind her. Then a couple of unidentified fishing boats with the blue, white and pink Trafalgar behind her.

Just coming in alongside the others is Chant de Sirenes with Black Pearl behind her, and then Charlevy just entering the harbour to the right.

Also on the quayside are several groups of school children.

One of the things that is quite common here in France is what they call the Classe Découverte – the “Discovery Class”.

They take groups of kids away from their natural environment and put them in another one for a week or so in order that they can experience life elsewhere. So what we probably have here is a bunch or two of kids from some inner city schools somewhere who are staying in the Youth Hostel in the town to find out about life in a fishing port.

And with all of the work going on down there with the seafood being unloaded into the vans, they will be learning a lot today.

And I learnt a lot on the way down into the town today. There is a series of steps that I use to test the force in my right knee and I found to my surprise that I could actually haul myself up them today. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do that.

la grande ancre swimming pool freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down in the harbour it looks as if we are going to be having one of the Jersey freighters in port very soon.

One of them has the contract for transporting the swimming pools out to the Channel Islands and with them being expensive items, they won’t want them to be lying around on the quayside for too long.

At least it won’t be going off on board la Grande Ancre. She won’t be taking them but the fact that she’s there in the loading bay means that they will be loading something onto her.

Down into the town I went and then up the hill on my way to the physiotherapists. And the walk wasn’t all that difficult today. Over the last week or so, things seem to have improved from that point of view and I don’t know why.

roofing rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Halfway up the hill I did come to a halt. But not for a breather.

They have been ripping the roof off this building here and they are currently in the process of replacing the woodwork. They certainly seem to have picked the right weather for it at the moment.

At the physiotherapist’s she had me on the couch with her electro-massage thing, followed by five minutes on the cross trainer and then a few exercises. And she showed me an exercise that I can do at home.

After she threw me out I staggered (and it was a stagger too) up the hill and round the corner to Lidl for a few supplies. But to my surprise, they don’t sell baked beans at Lidl and I fancied sausage, beans and chips for tea.

scaffolding on crane new building rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back I went past the building work that’s going on at the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo.

They had the Rue Victor Hugo closed off and they were unloading some scaffolding into the bucket that’s attached to the hook of the crane so I loitered around planning to watch them hoist it up.

When they had finished, they lifted it about a foot off the ground and then they all knocked off for a tea break, which seemed to be a rather strange thing to do.

Dodging yet another classe découverte I ended up in the town centre and picked up a few tins of baked beans from Carrefour. Can’t do without my baked beans.

On the way up the hill I bumped into one of my neighbours coming down, so we had a good chat for a while. I’m not usually the sociable type, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but I have to make an effort seeing as I live amongst them.

person in sea beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went back into the apartment I went to see what was happening down on the beach.

Not too many people down there today with it being a school day, but even so one of our intrepid adventurers had taken to the water. So hats off to him today.

Back in here I had a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone. I started off in Russia. I’d been collecting photos of steam trains and I had a couple of books to identify them. There were hundreds abandoned all over the place that I had photographed. But then the Russian authorities – something had happened and they didn’t want me to take any more photos. They made me sit on a bench in a station to wait for a train back home. The train was going to be in ever so many hours and hours’ time. all I had to do to thumb through were these photos and the couple of books that I had. Somehow something had happened and I ended up in some kind of industrial town in Northern England with terraced houses. The kids there were playing a game in the street. Even then, this was being gradually subsumed into this Russia thing where the kids were having to hang around in the street for hours and hours and amuse themselves which is difficult when you are bored, until something happens. It was very much the same scenario as me being in Russia

And then I was at work again. I’d set out to go to work fairly early but I’d gone off to do something else on the way. I arrived just before 10:00 and put my things on my desk and went into the assembly. When we all came out and went to sit at our desks there was a discussion going on about food and bread. Someone had been overcharged for his lunch sandwich etc. I already had my lunch sandwich for today but I had one for Friday which I was going to have for my breakfast because I hadn’t had breakfast yet. A girl with whom I used to work came over and said that someone saw me out at Peruwelz this morning on my way into work and wanted to know why I didn’t arrive until 10:00. We had a chat but I didn’t actually tell her the reason and I was intrigued to know who it was who had seen me. I was in a car a little later. I was driving and she was with me. We were going down this road that I don’t recognise and through a couple of speed limits. We wee chatting about nothing in particular.

I forgot to mention that somewhere in all of this I’d bought a black Rolls-Royce for £3500, a runner apparently. I had to go to pick it up at some point but I had nowhere to leave it. If it was a runner I could park it in the street or even park it in the place outside my building but I don’t know.

Regrettably, but not unexpectedly, I crashed out later. And for an hour too. Having made 90% of my daily activity today with having had a good session on the cross trainer, that’s enough to finish me off for today.

For tea, I fancied sausage beans and chips but one look at the sausages in the fridge told me that it wouldn’t be sausages that I’d be eating today. Instead, I had a burger with my beans and chips and, as I suspected, the beans from Carrefour were appalling. Not even pepper, grated cheese and rosemary could improve the taste.

So now that I’ve written my notes I’ll have half an hour on the guitar and then go to bed. I’ve had a busy day today and I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow. I need to be on form

Saturday 19th March 2022 – AFTER ALL …

old car communal rooms place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… of the excitement yesterday at the Communal Rooms, red carpet and all, it kept on going today.

When I went into the dining room to make a coffee, an unearthly rattle told le that there was something exciting about to happen. And sure enough, an ancient car from the 1920s limped into the courtyard.

Furthermore, there was some high-ranking communal official waiting there to receive them, as you can tell from the tricolour sash worn by the person standing at the top of the steps on the right.

All that was missing in fact was the red carpet and the cameraman and that was something of a disappointment.

Incidentally, there was nothing in the news yesterday about the purpose of the red carpet. Not that I thought that there would

people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Also extremely interesting today was the big crowd of people down on the beach.

It has to be said that it was a lovely day but even so, it’s a long time since I’ve seen so many folk down there. even Rover was having a good time.

That’s more than I’ve had today because you’re going to have to suffer another long moan and whinge as I talk about my day today.

Once more, I struggled to leave the bed when the alarm went off. I nearly missed the second alarm too.

But after breakfast I went for a shower and put the bedding in the washing machine to wash, and then headed off to the shops.

Noz didn’t have much – just a few varieties of alcohol-free beer that I like so I bought a few packs. Now I think that I have more in stock than they do.

There wasn’t anything special in LeClerc either, but it still ended up being expensive, mainly because they had coffee on special offer so I bought a pile of it. I seem to be going through it quite rapidly.

suzanga spirit of conrad chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back, seeing as I had no frozen food in danger of melting, I went to the chantier naval for a close look at the trawler that was in there.

It’s actually Suzanga, the new trawler that arrived here last August. It was interesting to have a closer look at her because this is the first time that we’ve seen her out of the water.

In the background of course is a bit of Spirit of Conrad. She’s been here for a week or two now being prepared for her summer season.

Back here I hung the washing up to dry and made myself a coffee. Then there was a disaster. I’ve eaten the last of the magnificent coffee cake that I made for my birthday. How sad is that?

Settling down with my coffee I transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night. I was on my holidays going south. I was in some kind of vehicle. I came to some sort of tunnel that we had to go through. It was very narrow and very low so there were traffic lights where you have to stop to wait for your turn before you could go forward. I stopped but someone pulled up alongside me on the outside which was strange. Someone in a black suit and black hat rather like an Orthodox Jew came along and tried to sell me a bottle of spirits, absinthe or something like that. I said “no” but he insisted so I told him that I didn’t drink. Then he started to offer me all kinds of other things. While he was doing this, the lights changed and a whole load of people went past into the tunnel. I couldn’t shake off this guy or the car that was parked alongside me on the outside. I was in a left-hand drive vehicle but for some reason I was driving on the left. I went through this tunnel. By now I was on foot pulling my suitcase and my computer bag and other bits and pieces. I came out into a room in a large town where this tunnel ended. There were all these people there who had gone past earlier, loads of nuns and kids and so on. I had to renew my travel permit which I did. I went outside but dropped everything. I found to my surprise that as well as a magnifying glass I was carrying an extremely large sharp knife so I was trying to pick up all these little things like the knife and the magnifying glass and put them in my pocket while I was walking with my suitcase but that wasn’t easy and I was making a great mess of it.

Later on, a group of people from Runcorn were coach operators. The have a company called I-Coaches. They were running out of money so they decided that they would do a few hold-ups to try to bring some money in. They were not particularly successful. The guy who was leading them, his 3 friends were criticising him. In the end one of them said that he would lead the next one. Just then someone came down the hill in a car so they flagged him down. When he stopped, he was eating an orange. The guy who was now in charge pulled out a gun and shot him. Of course this led to all kinds of arguments between the 4 and they split up. 2 went one way and 2 somewhere else. We were back in Runcorn town centre and what was then happening was that there was a police cordon or something and the 4 people there in their groups of 2 suddenly noticed the town was being filled with police. There was a coach involved in it but I don’t know where this fitted in. The two, including the guy who had committed the murder tried to slip through the cordon but the police closed right in on them. The other 2 were there watching knowing that it was going to be their turn next to be pulled up. In court it was a woman in a wheelchair who was prosecuting them, the first lawyer in a wheelchair in the Uk

And then I was at work last night. I had a meal. We all ended up going for this meal, a huge group of us for a formal dinner. I was sat on a table with someone and we were discussing a report that had been prepared. There were 3 groups mentioned and the guy who was on my table was trying to work out who to send them to. He thought that 2 of these names were relevant because of their connection but the third one wasn’t. I said “if that’s what you think, send them there”. But he wanted this lengthy discussion and I was sure that we would arrive at the same conclusion no matter how long we spent talking about it. Then the waiter came round with some of the starters which was thin-sliced cold beef. I explained to him that I was a vegan so he took my plate away and it looked then as if I wasn’t going to have anything to eat. When everyone had finished their starter they started to mill around. I bumped into a colleague of mine and we ended up in a small group chatting. he explained about how when I was in a bad mood I’d drive to Nantwich and just sit and meditate. I wondered how he knew that. Then the waiter came round again putting a bottle of beer at everyone’s table for them to drink. Before I could stop him he disappeared. Knowing what had happened with the starter I knew full well that if I complained about the beer he’d just take it away and not leave me anything so I gave it to my colleague for him to drink.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I promised you some excitement today. And I lived up to my promise as well! At LeClerc they had carrots at €0:79 a kilo so I had bought a kilo. After I’d finished the dictaphone notes I went into the kitchen, diced them, blanched them and put them into the freezer to freeze.

Now how exciting is that?

Actually, it must really have been something because after lunch I came back in here, sat down and promptly crashed out. I’d gone for a good hour too, right out of it. Probably the deepest sleep that I’ve had for several weeks too and there I was, thinking that i’d gone past this stage.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Anyway, I managed to pull myself together and stagger off outside for my afternoon walk around the headland.

As I mentioned earlier, there were crowds of people out on the beach this afternoon. There really were too, as you can tell from this photo.

There was plenty of beach to be on too, with the tide being well out, and it was quite a nice, warm day for the time of year.

Nothing going on out at sea that I could see though. There was quite a thick sea-mist despite the wind and everything was obscured. Visibility was only a couple of miles out to sea.

f-guko Grob G120A baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Nothing going on out at sea but just like Thunderclap newman, there was something in the air.

This is a new aeroplane for us – the first time that we’ve seen her. She’s F-GUKO, a Grob G120A. That’s a type of aeroplane about which I know very little, except that it’s a type used by the Royal Canadian Air Force and a few other air forces as a basic trainer.

She took off from Granville airfield at 16:07, flew north for a while and then headed south to Avranches where she landed at about 16:43.

Her previous recorded flight was yesterday, so seeing as I took the photo of her at 15:59, this must have been an unrecorded flight below the level of the radar.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Several people on the path on top of the cliffs too so I had to dodge the crowds as I walked down to the end.

Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the mouth of the harbour, was looking quite nice this afternoon framed by the trees and the signboard.

You can tell how high the tide comes in from this photo. We’ve seen the water well up to the higher of the two red rings when we’ve had a very high tide.

You can also see how thick the sea mist is today. You can make out the Pointe de Carolles in the background but that’s about it. You can’t see any further than that.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With the tide being so far out today, there’s plenty of scope for the pèche à pied.

The people in this group have all come very well-equipped with all kinds of stuff that they will need for a successful afternoon. They all have a couple of buckets each.

But it was the guy in the fluorescent orange waterproof gear that caught my eye. He’ll stand out from the crowd on any beach dressed like that.

He rather reminded me of a press release that we received from the Paris police when I worked for a major holiday company in the UK in the late 80s –
“The policeman who stands in the middle of the Place d’Etoile directing traffic will from now on be illuminated to make sure that motorists don’t miss him in the dark”.

It was round about here that I had an encounter with a couple of tourists.
“Can you see the Ile de Chausey and Jersey from here?”.

So I pointed out to them the Ile de Chausey that you could just about see through the mist and I explained that in this fog, seeing Jersey, at a distance of 58 kms from where we were standing, would be pretty much impossible. I did however indicate the direction, in case they are about some other time when the fog has lifted.

le roc a la mauve 3 suzanga spirit of conrad chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche harbour Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Having dealt with the tourists I headed off down the path towards the port.

Earlier in the day we’d been in the chantier naval where we had seen Suganza and Spirit of Conrad. They are of course still in there, as is Le Roc A La Mauve III with its shiny coat of white polyeurethane paint.

She’ll be ready to go back into the water quite soon, I reckon. But then again, regular readers of this rubbish will recall what happens when I make predictions like that.

One thing that has gone though is Joly France. She was moored over at the ferry terminal yesterday but she’s not there now. The ground’s all flat.

It’s not really the right kind of day for a trip out to the Ile de Chausey and certainly not if you are going sightseeing, but if the service is advertised, they have to go. It’s a Saturday and the seasonal occupiers of the houses will gradually be turning up.

objects on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On my way home, I noticed this huge pile of equipment by the side of the crane in the bay where the gravel boats used to tie up.

Despite enlarging and enhancing the photo, I’ve still not been able to work out what it all is. Ordinarily I would have gone down for a closer look to satisfy my curiosity but it’s been a good 12 months since I’ve been well enough for a quick jaunt like that.

Back here there was a nice surprise. The postwoman has been. And so not only do I have my new course-book for the third year of my Welsh course, I have the new dictaphone too. I can’t wait to try that out.

And so I’ll probably not go off on a voyage tonight, simply out of spite.

This afternoon I’ve had another good session on the guitar, and then I edited some more photos of my trip to the High Arctic in 2019. Right now we’re in the Davis Strait on our way north-west to Lancaster Sound.

There were plenty of really good subjects for photography such as THIS ONE but as you might expect, they were all either early in the morning or late at night when the light is poor, and so when you are on board a moving ship in a lively current, the results are … errr … questionable.

Tea was a couple of those small breaded quornburgers with potatoes and vegetables, all cooked in vegan margarine. And as usual, it was delicious.

But I’m almost running out of those now and I don’t know what I’ll do when they are finished because I haven’t seen any in Noz for ages. I used to buy them in Belgium years ago, and so I suppose that next time that I’m in Leuven I’ll have to go out on the prowl and cast my net further.

Bedtime now, much later than usual as I’ve had a quiet relaxing evening. A nice lie-in followed by a good breakfast with plenty of strong coffee. Hopefully that will set me up for the week but whether it will or not remains to be seen.

Only 11 more days than I’m off on my travels.

Monday 14th March 2022 – THERE HAS BEEN …

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… some rather bad news about the fire in the house in the Rue du Midi on Saturday evening.

Yesterday evening, the firemen finally worked their way through the rubble to the ground floor where they found the missing person. And as you might expect, they found him far too late to be of any use.

It’s a rather sombre note on which to start today’s journal entry, but I suppose that there are times when sombre notes will creep in to everything at some time or other. There but for the grace of God go we.

Wherever I went on my travels last night is something else completely. For the first time since I don’t know when, one of my young ladies put in an appearance – Zero, as it happens.

And do you know what? I can’t remember why she was there or what we did.

How disappointing is that?

Anyway, I’m sure that you are all dying to know about where I went last night

I started off at a well-known square in Paris – I can’t remember which one – and it had some kind of weird fence and turnstile arrangements to control the flow of pedestrians but that’s all that I remember about this.

And later I was with Zero , for the first time for years, and her father last night and I can’t remember very much of what it actually involved (and isn’t that a disaster?) with them, but it led to me thinking about going to buy a motorbike so maybe I could take Zero around on the back of it. I went into a shop in Hungerford Road Crewe that used to be an old Co-op but was now selling motorbikes. They had a couple of Kawasaki 414 bikes in there for sale but they were more expensive than I was planning to pay although they looked quite nice. I thought that maybe something like that would be quite interesting. I had a good look around their shop but they didn’t really have very much at all. They had a few cars outside of course but it was the motorbikes that were interesting me more because I could go into Stoke on Trent on a motorbike, leave it to be serviced, overhauled and MoT’d while I was at work during the day, that kind of thing and probably Zero would enjoy going for a ride around on the back of a motorbike every now and again but there was nothing there that I liked.

There was something else as well. I was leaving work so I wandered off down the maze of corridors following the yellow arrows and yellow tape as I usually did. At one point I took a turn and found that the yellow arrow didn’t actually go that way which surprised me because I was pretty sure that it was the route that I took all the time I went back and followed the yellow arrow and suddenly found myself in a completely different security room. There was no way out. There were all kinds of security guys in there doing things. In the end I turned round and found another door that took me out. I could see that I was in a completely different place outside than where I would normally be when I was leaving the building. There were a few other people whom I knew around there as well so I went over for a chat and told them about the changes. They couldn’t understand what was happening either. Some girl came along and joined in. She was saying that she was now one of those people whose salary was a secret but she didn’t agree with that because it creates distrust amongst all the other employees. Someone else turned up with 3 daughters. She was talking to 2 daughters about giving their names to someone else and preparing for Christmas but for one daughter it was too late that they didn’t have any of what it was they didn’t have. They didn’t say. Then a couple of others turned up. One of them had had a dramatic cut in the salary that he was receiving as a Life Insurance broker so he was trying to chivvy up all of his friends and contacts to do something about increasing their insurance cover so he could receive a higher commission to offset his decrease in salary.

In fact, all told it was rather a bad night, and for many reasons too. I was tossing and turning around in bed for much of it and that’s guaranteed to set me off on the wrong foot.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 it was a struggle to leave the bed but I did manage – only just – to leave the bed before the second alarm.

The radio programme was the task for this morning and despite a couple of breaks for coffee, breakfast and so on, by 10:45 it was finished. And in a major departure from usual procedure, I’ve reused a song that I first used 18 months ago, simply for the reason that it seemed to fit so well with what I was doing.

“I have been around the world looking for that woman-girl who knows love can endure. And it always will”. And in my case, it endured for all of three days, didn’t it?

There were several phone calls – some of them long-distance – that I had to make and that took me all the way up to lunchtime. And the net result of all of those phone calls was … errr … nothing.

After lunch I had a shower, set the washing machine off on its cycle (a clever washing machine, mine) and then went out for my physiotherapy session.

chant de sirenes joly france belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Of course, the first port of call when I’m on my way to town is to check the camera at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne where the viewpoint overlooks the Fish Processing Plant.

The tide is on its way in right now – not far enough for the gates to open to let the larger boats into the inner harbour, but far enough for the boats with a lighter draught to pull up at the quay here to unload.

The Chante des Sirènes is easily identifiable with its mermaid painted on the side in a kind of green stripe.

Moored up at the ferry terminal in the background are Belle France and one of the Joly France boats.

repairing roof rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down in the town I walked along the Rue Lecampion towards the centre.

There’s something going on with the roof of one of the houses here. There’s a cherry-picker and a couple of guys doing something with the roof and a scaffolding.

Leaving them to it, I wandered off up the road and to the physiotherapist. And I don’t know why, but I haven’t climbed up the Rue Couraye as easily as I did this afternoon for quite a long time.

The physiotherapist had me on the couch and massaged my knee with her machine, and then had me doing some exercises.

And to my surprise, it was my left knee, not my right knee, that was hurting by the time that I had finished.

On my way home I called in at the Carrefour to buy something to drink. I had a thirst that you could photograph.

cable laying rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the town centre we had some more excitement.

There were some guys laying a cable in the duct under the street. The had the manhole cover up and had surrounded the hole with cones. And so an elderly woman in a black car drove over the cover and almost ended up in the hole.

And then she had the nerve to bawl out the crew. Some people really are unbelievable. I shan’t repeat on here what the crew replied to the woman. My journal is intended for all of the family, not just the over-18s.

place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Another thing that noticed was that the kiddies’ roundabout has now gone.

The carnival season is now over here and all of the fairground rides have packed up and gone off to their next engagement wherever that might be and we’ll be back with peace and quiet again until Easter when there will be more crowds descending on the town.

Bringing more cases of the virus with them, no doubt. This kind of thing really depresses me, especially as I don’t have the means to fight it.

fire engines rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I was up in the Rue des Juifs on my way into town the fire brigade was still there clearing up.

While I was in the town centre, they came through presumably on their way back to base. And it was extremely interesting watching them trying their best to negotiate the hole in the road.

And once they had gone, it was the turn of the school buses and that was even more interesting. The manhole covers and several cones took a right battering and there was what can best be described as “a frank exchange of views” between the drivers and the cabling crew.

repair facade rue georges clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While all of that was going on, I left them to it and wandered off down the Rue Paul Poirier.

The other day we saw them with a scaffolding outside one of the buildings in the Rue Georges Clemenceau and it had been intriguing me as to what they might be doing.

When I’d seen the carpenter’s van outside, I imagined that it might have been a roofing job but it actually looks as if they are working on the facade of the building. It could do with a good rendering and a new coat of paint.

ch933900 carteret port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the earlier photo of the boats in the harbour, I don’t know if you noticed a fishing boat that we haven’t seen before.

She was moored in the inner harbour with her crew working on the nets when I came back, and I could see her registration number from here.

It’s CH933900 – a number from this coast – and it’s so new that it’s not in the register that I have. But I was able to track her down from “other sources” and she’s called Carteret. She sails out of … errr … Barneville-Carteret.

She’s only 9 months old apparently and was built to replace a previous boat that was destroyed in a fire.

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back, I could have a closer look at the burnt-out house now that the fire engines and the crowds have gone.

It’s not just the house and the one to the right of it that have been affected, the one to the left has been badly-affected too. You can see that much of the roof there has been burnt away too.

This is an appalling thing to have happened. Apart from the loss of life which is a tragedy, the loss and damage is considerable and there are many people in these three houses who have been badly affected.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went home, I went to look at the beach to see what was happening.

The tide is now well in and there’s not much beach down there to be on. It’s no surprise that I couldn’t see anyone wandering about.

As I was looking down there, one of my neighbours pulled up in her car. She’s had some bad news from her doctor about her health and she told me all about it. Of course I sympathised, but there isn’t much that I could do.

Back here I made a coffee, hung out the washing and then came here to spend an hour on the photos from the High Arctic in 2019.

Talking about that, it made me all nostalgic and it reminded me of a poem about which Alison and I had chatted the other day

“Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?


That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again. “

Poetry at school was mainly awful with all of these depressing war poets and all of that. The only bright spark amongst all of that which we learnt was A E Housman and “A Shropshire Lad” is one of my favourite works.

Had I been born 5 miles away from my actual place of birth, I would have been a Shropshire Lad myself.

But seriously, when Housman said “The happy highways where I went and cannot come again. “, I don’t think that he had Covid and World War in mind. We won’t be going anywhere for a while yet.

In another mad fit of excitement I took out about half a ton of paper to the waste bin and then spent half an hour playing guitar. The first time that I enjoyed myself with the guitar since the summer. These pills must be working somehow.

Tea was a curry of leftovers and then I had to fight the good fight on the Internet. A discussion group of which I’m a member has become a very contentious place since War broke out and the Moderator was overwhelmed. She called for another volunteer and so I responded.

And tonight I’ve been dealing with a flame war – just like the “Good Old Days” on “First Class” – pulling warring factions apart, sending a couple of people to the naughty corner and … errr … “saying goodbye” to a couple of them. I’m surprised that I had time to write up my notes.

But now that they are done, much later than usual, I’m off to bed. I’ve a Welsh lesson tomorrow and I need to be on form.

Friday 4th March 2022 – I’M NOT CONVINCED …

… about these pills that I’m supposed to be taking before I go to bed.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While you admire a photo of the crowds of people on the beach this afternoon, what with going to bed early last night I took one of them. And I fell asleep quite quickly.

It didn’t stop me from going off on a few nocturnal travels though, some of which were quite incomprehensible. At the very beginning there was something very amazing about 3 little shopping bags that were like boats floating on the water. People were using them to take things to places but it was really confused I can’t remember anything about it apart from that.

Later on we were with Nerina round at the home of someone from the Welsh group. We were just talking around etc and we suddenly had to leave. She had made this big pile of sandwiches and so she gave us some of them, salad and hummus sandwiches. We ended up taking them and left. Just as we were going she said something like “don’t forget to bring back some of that gorgeous cake when you come back”. Nerina and I bumped into someone else and told them the story of the sandwiches and cake which they thought was funny. Nerina asked “what time should we go back?”. I didn’t know so she said ‘how about 14:45 and we can have a siesta before we go back in the afternoon?”. On the was back was a very narrow lane which was very difficult for 2 vehicles to negotiate. I was driving down and someone came round the corner in an old C15 van. He saw me coming but pushed on regardless. We had to do some incredible negotiation so that he could go past but in the end he dropped into a ditch and couldn’t extricate himself. I couldn’t stay where I was – I had to go on further but in the meantime someone else came and instead of waiting where it was safe he pushed on as well. I said to the second guy “what a stupid thing to do, trying to pass here with these ditches. It was much safer to pass back there where you’ve just come from.

And later on, I was in a gym. There was a set of weights , the bar and weights, that were in a ramp. I was underneath it ad I was having to lift up this ramp with this set of weights, hold it above my head and then lower it down. As far as I knew I went off and I was doing that

At some other point I was in hospital having my treatment but they weren’t giving me my infusion, they were examining me all over and they pushed this huge, enormous needle like a knitting needle into my arm and I had a panic attack. Everyone else started to laugh. I thought that that was most unprofessional and most unpleasant and I was really annoyed and angry by this. They didn’t seem to take my worries seriously – it was all a big joke and I was so annoyed. The woman came round with the trolley with sandwiches on it but there were no sandwiches on it for me and that made me even more annoyed. I disconnected myself, went outside to my motorbike and went for a ride. I ended up on the A51 that leads out of Nantwich towards Chester. As I was going up the hill towards the canal this absolutely enormous monster aeroplane flew overhead. I couldn’t find my camera so I stopped to rummage through my affairs by which time this aeroplane had flown away by the time that I found my camera. I was having a friendly chat with a little kid who was having some grief from his parents for something or other. As I was putting away my stuff a woman came up to me and said “if you need your washing doing let me know”. I couldn’t work out what she meant. I had to ask her 3 or 4 times for an explanation. It turned out that I was parked in the entrance to a hotel and she thought that I was staying there. I explained what was happening and the doorkeeper for the hotel came over to talk to me. he told me that I was lucky that I wasn’t dragged in and had to pay for a meal or something. I said that he probably noticed that I was polite and courteous to this woman. He replied “yes, that’s why you didn’t have any trouble. We were also impressed about how you were talking to that child”. I had to wait for someone to finish their ‘phone call before I could go into the ‘phone box to make myself ready. I put my things in the top box of the motorbike but it wouldn’t close. I had to spend some time on it to make it close. I then went to kickstart to motorcycle but the piston stuck in the barrel so that it wouldn’t kickstart. I thought “this is another one of those days that really isn’t my day, isn’t it?”.

Finally there were 3 young girls and I’ve no idea who they were, wandering around somewhere in this town. They had a bottle of spirits with them. They were having a crafty drink of these spirits as they were going around but something went wrong, one of them disappeared and the other 2 made a quick getaway. They carried on walking away from this town drinking these spirits. They caught up with the third girl. Then this scene drifted to the 3rd girl waking up. She could remember what happened up to that point where they’d met up but the rest was a complete blank. She couldn’t understand it. She’d never had a lot of drink before. One of her friends who had awoken came to join her and they were trying to dress. It looked extremely funny watching them having to swap socks, swap shoes because they couldn’t remember whose was whose and they were in a completely intoxicated state and well out of everything. They finally were ready and I had to take them somewhere. I had to fiddle with my camera to find out where I was and get my camera at the end of the reel, I suppose. My sister was with me. She suggested “that’s where you are isn’t it?”. I replied “no, I’m roling the film round the other way”. Eventually I could reach the starting place so that we could all prepare to leave.

When the alarm went off it was a real struggle for me to leave my bed. I finally managed to struggle out just before the second alarm but it didn’t do me too good because after my medication I came back in here to start work but instead I crashed right out.

10:10 when I finally awoke – for the first time – and I fell asleep a second time early in the afternoon too. I’m not quite sure what these pills are supposed to do but I don’t think that they are supposed to do that.

After transcribing the dictaphone notes, I performed the back-up on the computer that I should have done a couple of days ago on the First of the month. And then copied onto the portable USB drive that’s on my door key the files that need backing up onto the portable computer that I take with me to Leuven

All of that took me up to lunchtime. And with having finished the half of loaf that wasn’t in the freezer, I made lunch with some taco rolls. No sense in defrosting half a loaf for today that will then stand idle until Monday.

This afternoon the first thing that I had to do was to bring up-do-date the database that I keep for my radio programmes. The events of the last week or so have meant that some of the radio shows have had to be shuffled around, a few new ones inserted, all that kind of thing, that have led to several changes.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I went outside for my afternoon walk around the headland.

We’ve already seen a photo of the crowds of people down on the beach, and here’s a few more. And one or two of them look as if they might be brave souls who have actually been for a walk into the sea.

It’s not exactly the kind of weather for the sea today. It was overcast and quite windy but, as seems to be the thing these days, it’s not as cold as it might be for this time of year. We haven’t had a winter at all this year. Just two days of frost and that’s all.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And, as usual, I was also looking out at sea to see what was going on there.

In the distance was something or other so I walked all the way down to the end of the headland to take a photo that I could enhance when I returned home and have a look at what it might be.

It’s actually a trawler out there in the bay. The tide is too far out right now for the gates to the inner harbour to be opened in the very near future so it’s probably working out there. They are popping up in all kinds of strange places these days.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Whether the pople down on the beach at the Rue du Nord were engaged in the peche à pied I couldn’t really say.

But this lot down here on the rocks at the end of the headland are certainly having a go. These people here are just a few of the hordes who were down there this afternoon, armed with all of the equipment necessary.

There wasn’t anyone at the cabanon vauban this afternoon – presumably the lure of the peche à pied was too much for them – so I carried on around the path towards the port on the other side of the headland.

courrier des iles, le roc a la mauve 3 la granvillaise charles marie spirit of conrad les bouchots de chausey chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And at the chantier naval there’s even more excitement this afternoon.

We now have a couple more boats in there – boats that we all know quite well because we’ve seen them quite often during the summer.

G90 is of course easy to identify. She’s La Granvillaise. And then the blue and white boat next to Spirit of Conrad is Charles Marie. Both of these boats do charter trips around the bay during the season.

The ferry terminal is empty this afternoon. Both the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou and the Ile de Chausey ferry Joly France have cleared off.

belle france joly france chausiaise marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As for where Joly France might be, she isn’t moored in the inner harbour.

Her younger sister is down there on the left with Belle France and Chausiaise. Joly France is probably out somewhere running a trip to the Ile de Chausey.

Marité is down there too. She hasn’t moved for a while but I imagine that she’ll be off on her travels quite soon. She’ll need her certificate to carry passengers and as the portable boat lift isn’t strong enough to lift her ut of the water she has to go off elsewhere where she can be lifted out of the water.

removing vegetation medieval city walls rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022A little further on along the path I could see in the distance that there was some work going on on the medieval city walls in the Rue des Juifs.

When I was on my way to town the other day I noticed that there were “no parking” signs down there. And what they are doing is attacking the vegetation that’s been growing up the walls.

If the roots penetrate the mortar they will chisel it out and make the walls unstable, which is why they have to keep on removing it.

Back here I had a coffee and then pushed on with another pile of photos from my trip to the High Arctic in 2019. I’m now at Qikiqtarjuaq – Broughton Island – off the coast of Canada in he Davis Strait.

And I’m not sure why we called there when there was an abandoned whaling station just 50 miles up the coast from here that would have been far more interesting for me.

There was a quick tea tonight because there was football on the internet later – YNS v Y Fflint. TNS won 2-1 as you might expect but it might have been a different story had Y Fflint’s goalkeeper and their attackers been on better form. They certainly had the chances.

While I was watching the game I was talking to Rosemary. She had rung me up on the telephone and there was a lot of things to discuss, given the state of the world right now.

And now I’m off to bed. It’s late but nevertheless I’ll take a pill tonight and see what happens. I hope that I have a better morning tomorrow than I did today.

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 Zero who has accompanied me on many a nocturnal ramble over the years – probably my most regular companion even if she hasn’t featured as much in these voyages as she did at one time?

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

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

That was a marathon session and no mistake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Zero, 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 Zero’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.