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Saturday 20th August 2022 – IF EVER I LAY …

… my hands on whoever went past here in what sounded like a steam engine at 06:08 this morning, they’ll be eating soup through a straw for the next month. I was having a really good sleep at that moment and after it had gone past I didn’t go off to sleep again.

And there I was, hoping for a decent sleep as well.

belle france joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while you admire a few photos of the Ile de Chausey ferries, including a rather delightful “Greek v Greek” moment between Belle france and the newer of the two Joly France boats, I’ll fill you in.

Although not in the same fashion as I would had you been driving steam engine around here at 06:08 this morning.

Anyway, I suppose that I was being somewhat optimistic about a good night’s sleep. It was another late night, later than intended so I was fighting a losing battle before I started.

Just as I was going to bed last night, the broadcasting company that covers the Welsh Premier League posted the highlands of the games that evening, Y Drenewydd v Y Fflint and Connah’s Quay Nomads v Airbus UK Broughton.

joly france leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Of course I had to stay up and watch them before retiring, didn’t I?

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I used to enthuse about Lifumpa Mwandwe at Y Drenewydd. He’s no longer there, having moved to the North American professional game in the Summer.

But it looks as if he’s been replaced in my estimation by Okera Simmonds, about whom I said a few positive things last weekend.

Top of the League now, Y Fflint, after their impressive victory last night, but they’ve been there before and fallen away towards the end of the season so I’m not making all that much of it.

joly france leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022This morning despite the early awakening I had a difficult start yet again to the day, struggling to leave the bed.

But a good shower after the medication livened me up somewhat. I also set the washing machine off as I’m running out of clothes. By the looks of things I haven’t done any washing for months but that can’t be right

Having organised all of that I headed off to the shops. Well, shop, actually because I only went to Leclerc. There’s not much point going to Noz these days although one of these days I’ll have to go to Lidl I suppose.

At leclerc I didn’t buy anything special at all. It was rather a mundane shop today and didn’t cost very much at all. A few more months of spending like this will sort me out, I reckon.

On the way back home I went to the dechetterie.

Last night I took out the printers and left them by the side of the rubbish bins so that anyone who would like to can help themselves to them and see what they can make of them.

While I was at it, I stuck all of the cardboard boxes into Caliburn and seeing as I was quite early (I was there at leClerc at opening time) and didn’t have any frozen food, I went by the dechetterie to drop them off.

container dechetterie Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022But I was surprised by the grills that they have around the containers these days. It means that you have to tear up or crush your boxes to pass them through the slots and drop them into the containers.

It was all very reminiscent of the old piano-smashing competitions where you had to demolish a piano and pass the debris through a hoop, and the quickest one would win.

Anyone as old as me would surely remember those. And what a waste of good pianos that was.

Back here I put everything away (and that’s a surprise), hung up the washing and then made some toast and coffee for breakfast.

le loup joly france leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While you admire another photo of Joly France going out and passing Le loup on her way back to the Ile de Chausey, I was finishing breakfast and then having a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

There was a concert that I didn’t attend for some reason but a lot of my friends did. I had a visit from someone who told me that the rock group for this concert so would I think about doing something? I took my guitar and things and went off to this concert. There were about half a dozen people messing around on stage. One was my friend from the Wirral with his drum kit. I gestured to the stage and he picked up what I was doing. One of the guitarists stayed up and in the end we made ready to play an impromptu set with just a dozen numbers of typical 3-minute standards. The guitarist was sulking with me and I’m not quite sure why but I determined not to let that bother with me. I’d just ignore him and just be my usual gushing outgoing self on stage and he can sort out his own problems.

Later on I had a girlfriend who worked in a Chinese restaurant. We were due to go to the cinema so I turned up to see if she was ready but she was waiting on in the restaurant. I asked her what was happening. She said that she had to work today because no-one else had come in and her mother who ran the restaurant wanted her to work. I rolled up my sleeves, took off my jacket and said “here, I’ll give you a hand”. I was running around clearing tables etc. A group of young people came in. They knew the girl and saw me. They asked why I was there and I said that I’m taking her to the cinema but she’s having to work and can’t go. They started to talk to her and asked what was on etc. They wanted to know the reasons why she was working in the restaurant instead of being out enjoying herself etc.

Actually that dream reminded me of something that happened many years ago when we used to go skiing on a dry slope on the Wirral on a Sunday evening.

There was a Chinese take-away just down the road with a really cute young girl who worked the counter. We used to go there for a takeaway for tea. Not that I like Chinese food but I would have gone anywhere to see her.

On one occasion a group of us was going to a Chinese banquet so I had a cunning plan. Without saying anything, I asked her to show me how to eat with chopsticks so that I would look good at this banquet and so she gave me a few lessons.

When I felt competent enough, I put my plan into operation. “You’ve been so kind and helpful that i’d like to thank you. Would you like to come with me to the banquet as a recompene?”.

She replied “no”.

Ahh well … . Someone else who had a lucky escape, I suppose. My life is littered with those.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I was somewhere like in the story of Tim The Magician from MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL but he was actually walking forward as he was making the explosions. They were assembling a team to meet him.

It was at that point that this steam engine thing, whatever it was, went whooshing past on the street and awoke me. I could actually hear the noise that it was making when I listened to the recording.

However prior to that I’d been back at work again, another one of these dreams where I was sitting on piles of arrears of work and thinking to myself that I could retire today if I like because I’m past retirement age and it wouldn’t make any difference. I started to drop a couple of hints to a couple of people. They were talking about where I was going. I replied that if the Northwich office has air conditioning I’ll be going there tomorrow. It’s high time that this place brought itself kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. They started asking someone else questions about the place in Northwich but she couldn’t tell them much.

And isn’t that a recurring dream too, about me being at work past retirement age with piles of arrears?

We had yet another mad fit of enthusiasm and I transcribed the notes for another day when I was off in the Great Wild World back in June-July. I’m not sure what’s happening there.

But it wasn’t as enthusiastic as it might otherwise have been as I rather regrettably dozed off for 20 minutes while I was doing it. Mind you, with having had such a rude awakening, I’m not really surprised.

After my lunchtime fruit I peeled, diced and blanched a kilo of carrots. They were on special offer at LeClerc so I reckoned that I should pick some up. Believe it or not, there was actually some room in the freezer.

Next task was to pair off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be doing on Monday. I know that that’s usually my task for Sunday but I need to make the most of this enthusiasm and go ahead while the going is good.

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

There were quite a few people down there on the beach this afternoon. The weather has improves somewhat and while it wasn’t actually warm, it was quite sunny and that had brought out the crowds.

Some of the people had even managed to drag themselves into the water and my hat went off to them because the weather wasn’t quite that good.

You wouldn’t catch me going into it but then again, water for me to immerse myself in it needs to be at 37°C.

yachts speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual, while I was up here on the cliff looking down I had my other eye roaming around offshore.

Out there in the bay there was quite a bit of activity today. In the foreground we had a speedboat that looked as if it was in a devilish hurry, as you can tell by the size of the wake that it’s creating.

A little further behind it is a couple of small yachts. Judging by the sails they belong to one of the sailing schools that are in the vicinity.

There are several of those and when I find out what this series of medical appointments is all about, then I really am going to see whether or not there’s a way that I can fit a course of sailing into my activities.

commodore goodwill english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022It wasn’t just in the immediate vicinity where I was looking either.

Right out in the English Channel way behind the Ile de Chausey was something quite large out on the horizon. It’s definitely a ship, but which one?

Back here I had a look at the radar and nothing obvious presented itself. However Commodore Goodwill left St Helier at 11:59 and arrived at St Malo at 19:34 and she has the same silhouette as the ship out there on the horizon.

However 7.5 is an awfully long time for the crossing so I don’t know what happened there.

She wasn’t the only mystery ship out there this afternoon.

la cancalaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Further round was a small sailing ship, far too far out for me to identify it, but I took a photo of it all the same so that I could have a closer look back home later.

Having enlarged it, it’s still not possible to say with any certainly and you’ve no idea how many other ships were out there confusing the radar screen this afternoon.

However one of the boats out there was La Cancalaise, sister ship to our own La Gravillaise but based across the bay at Cancale, and the outline of the boat in the photo is not unlike their outline.

Consequently, I reckon that it would well be La Cancalaise out there, in the absence of any better suggestion.

f-guxa Robin DR-400-120 Petit Prince baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was out there admiring the shipping I was overflown by a light aeroplane that was coming from the direction of the airfield.

She’s F-GUXA, a stranger to us. She’s not appeared in our notes before.

She’s a Robin DR-400-120 Petit Prince, construction number 2467 and is owned by the Aéroclub Regionale De Caen.

Unfortunately she doesn’t seem to have filed a flight plan as far as I can see and she must have been keeping quite low because she wasn’t picked up on the civilian radar to which I have access, so that’s really that.

cabin cruiser speedboat yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022But meanwhile, back in the ocean, the sea was crowded today.

Considering how quiet it’s been out at sea just now, it looks as if everyone has been saving up for the weekend. It’s certainly brought them out in their droves.

There might only be three or four boats in this photo but I reckon that in total there were about 50 altogether in the vicinity of the port today here and there.

No-one from the sailing school, which was a surprise though, although on my way to the shops this morning they were having kayaking lessons in the tidal basin next to the Nautical Centre behind the port.

A right bunch of oars if you ask me.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022at least the people down on the bench by the cabanon vauban were having their money’s worth this afternoon.

Those who were down there during the week didn’t have all that much to cheer about but with all of the traffic out there today, that probably made up for it.

And all of the pedestrians too. The car park was heaving yet again and there were crowds down on the lower path.

The buoys for the lobster pots were still there, and in fact they seem to have acquired yet another friend for company.

yellow powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022having seen what there was to see at the end of the headland I walked down the path towards the port.

On my way I was overflown yet again, this time by the little yellow powered hang-glider. He’d just come up from down at the end of the bay, presumably having taken a passenger for a sight-seeing trip because there were two of them on board.

There was no change at the chantier naval today either. There were still the same boats there as yesterday.

And no-one at the ferry terminal. We’d seen the Joly France ferry come in but she’d unloaded and gone back out straight away. It must be busy out there this afternoon.

zodiac diving boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There were none of our usual suspects at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon.

However my attention was drawn to what was going on at the slipway underneath. One of the harbour lighters is there – the one that takes the divers out and about – and there was quite a crowd on board.

As well as that, a van towing a zodiac had pulled up and there was quite a crowd around there as well. There’s plenty happening over there this afternoon.

Back here I made a coffee and then came in here to play about with the photos for a while.

That took me up to kick-off this early evening, Aberystwyth Town v Cardiff Metropolitan

Both teams had won their opening matches last weekend but with the result tonight, how poor must Airbus have been last weekend?

Even though this game was played at Aberystwyth, the Met tore Aberystwyth to shreds and the final score of 0-4 was no exaggeration. Apart from a spell of about 15 minutes in the second half, Aberystwyth offered nothing at all.

Last season their defence was incredibly shaky and at times they were in deep trouble at the wrong end of the season, but they have made a few new signings and they have done nothing to improve the side.

The defence is going to have to be stiffened up quite considerably and they really need something up front. Alex Lang in the Met goal had very little to do today.

Tea was another one of those breaded quorn fillets that I like from Lidl. They are really nice in vegan butter with baked potatoes and steamed veg.

Tomorrow I’m having a lie-in. It’s Sunday and having done all of my work already it’ll be a quiet day I hope. Who’ll come along to disturb it? Or will that blasted steam engine thing go past again at 06:08?

Saturday 23rd April 2022 – THIS GAME OF …

fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… musical ships moved into a new dimension this afternoon.

Neither L’Omerta nor Briscard were there when I went past on my afternoon walk. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I speculated that either Titanic or Mary Celeste would be there in their place but instead, we have two anonymous inshore shell-fishing boats.

Unfortunately I’m too far away to read their registrations so I can’t tell you who they are but they are new players in the game so we’ll have to watch this space much more closely to see how things develop in the near future.

However in the immediate past, I had a better day and actually managed to go through a day without falling asleep, although it was touch-and-go at one point this afternoon.

And when I saw how far I’d travelled during the night, I’m amazed that I could keep on going. But we’ll leave that for a moment.

Once again I managed to beat the second alarm so that’s progress of sorts, and after the medication and a quick shower (and washing a couple of pairs of trousers because I seem to have run our) I was off early for the shops.

Noz still had some of those mini-burger things, although I noticed this evening that they aren’t the same, but anyway I bought another packet to add to those in the freezer.

LeClerc didn’t come up with al that much either except that coffee was on special offer so I bought a four-pack of the variety that I like. I use a lot of coffee.

They also had carrots at €0:99 a kilo so I bought a packet of those, and actually peeled, diced and blanched them as soon as I came home. Even as we speak, they are freezing up ready for the next couple of weeks.

Finally I could turn my attention to the dictaphone. I was on that … “which?” – ed … space rocket last night. I had my own comfortable room and my bass guitar with me. I seemed to be in there for months as I kept orbiting the earth.

And then I was supposed to be going to Paris. I was staying in a hotel. It was going to be a quick train into Paris and back on the TGV for the evening because I was playing bass in a rock group. There was some kind of commotion in the station at the front of the hotel. It turned out that all the TGVs were cancelled. I’d have to go on a standard train which would take hours and it wasn’t until 20:00, the next one. I asked whether there would be one back later at night or whether I ought to stay over. He said “we’ll find out later” but it was gone 18:00 already so there wasn’t much later to find out. If I couldn’t have a train back I would have to book a hotel etc. I went back to my hotel room. I was in and out a couple of times and suddenly realised that I’d locked myself out of my hotel room. I had to go down to rception. They gave me a duplicate key. Some woman must have overheard me speaking English because she came up to me and invited me to a party “when the war is over” she said. “You’ll have to come round to the party” and she gave me a card. I went to give her a card. She said “yes, I’ll cook you a really good meal”. There was another woman standing nearby. We both said at the same time “oh we’re vegans”. This woman smiled and wandered off leaving the 2 of us so we started to talk. I invited this woman into my room now that I had the duplicate key. I asked her if she wanted a coffee. She said “no”. We started to talk, bearing in mind that I had to be gone in an hour or something like that and I had a lot of things to arrange in the meantime.

I was also in Eastern Europe last night. I had a filing cabinet with me in the back of the coach and there was a load of files in it, including ones on Putin and things like that. While I was doing something a girl came up and took a file from the cabinet. I took the file back from her but she had a piece of paper on her hand. I went to take that too but she didn’t want to give it to me. In the end I had to wrestle it from her hand. She went to ‘phone the police. When I looked at the paper I saw that it was one of hers so I apologised and gave it back to her. I got into my coach to drive away, fearing that any moment now I was going to be swept up in a police patrol and taken off somewhere

It was becoming close to Brexit. Boris Johnson had some kind of notice prepared with the date on it. He was out there in no-man’s land standing by this notice. We could all see him dithering. He went to unhook the date so people started cheering that he was going to call it off. Instead he suddenly and decisively put the date back on and said “right, let’s go”. This immediately started a riot. People began to set fire to everything, piles of paper, coal, buildings, etc. Rees-Mogg went to collect his things together but he found that someone had been into his jewellery box and stolen every single item of his jewellery. This led to a lot of discussion. We were talking to someone about that. They mentioned his jewellery box so I asked “where’s his father?”. The penny dropped with them as well. Everyone immediately understood what I meant and what had probably happened to his jewels. Someone who was rather pro-Brexit asked me where mine was. I replied that he was near Betley, Wrinehill, the last time that I had any news of him.

We were then back on Brexit again. First of all though I had a dog that I was trying to lose. I arrived at Crewe Station and there was a bus coming in going to Chester. It was packed so I led the dog on I was hoping to disappear but at the last moment I had a pang of conscience and couldn’t let it go. In the end I climbed aboard – there was just about room. I went to pay my 50p to the driver but I dropped it. The bus was so crowded that I couldn’t pick it up so someone whom I knew paid my bus fare and picked up my 50p from the floor. We left the bus at the Hurleston reservoir. Rees-Mogg was there, he’d just turned back since … I fell asleep … he was going on about how he’d me this nice lovable clown who had promised him all kinds of riches and wealth and so on. Of course that was Johnson and his proposals for Brexit.

Of course, when I say that “I fell asleep”, I don’t mean that because I am actually asleep while I’m dictating, in some kind of subconscious state. What I mean is that I slip out of this subconscious state into a much deeper state where I don’t function.

Finally I was with Nerina last night. Somehow we’d encountered my father’s sister somewhere along the road. We were all out somewhere. We had a huge, lengthy chat. We’d set out to go shopping actually and somehow encountered them. Then we drove a little way together out of Crewe and Nantwich. It was a really cold, icy winter. First of all I’d been off somewhere and had to walk back. Nerina had been out working when i’d gone but she’d obviously gone in because the weather was too cold. There we were and I suggested to her seeing as it’s a nice cold day and we aren’t doing anything and it’s rather boring why don’t we go to do our shopping in Whitchurch which is where my aunt lived. She thought that that was a good idea. We took my aunt back and dropped her in the centre of Whitchurch. Then we were talking. I was qaying “look at me becoming all family-orientated again. Not like me, is it?”. She made some comment and said “no, particularly as we have to go through your father in order to contact your aunt”. She led me off down these alleyways, down these steps. We had to step through these tables and restaurants where these people were playing chess. It suddenly dawned on me that fancy me having to be shown around a town by Nerina when I knew everywhere but of course she worked in Whitchurch (at least, she did last night anyway) so it was only natural.

But over the last couple of weeks my dreams are becoming quite political and I don’t understand why. I could understand it when there was all of the uncertainty about our position a couple of years ago but these days we are all regularised and our lives haven’t changed so considerably that there is any great cause for concern.

So what’s happening?

After lunch there was football. The final day of the regular season with four clubs – Aberystwyth v Connah’s Quay and Hwlffordd v Cardiff Metro chasing the one spot to play off for wild card in the Irn-Bru Cup or whatever it’s called these days. There was just two points separating the four clubs so it was effectively “winner takes all”.

We were watching Hwlffordd v Cardiff Metro with the other game in the corner of the screen. And the producers made the right call because while the game at Aberystwyth was a drab midfield battle that ended 1-1, we had a game full of excitement that ranged from end to end and back again, one of the best that I have ever seen.

The Met won 2-1 in the end with a winning goal that was worthy of any championship, but how different might things have been if Henry Jones’s diving header in injury time had been half an inch lower and crept in underneath the bar.

And having watched closely a few of the incidents that took place in the various penalty areas, I’m convinced that at times Dean John the referee was refereeing a different match to the one that the rest of us were watching.

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

And the first stop was as usual the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach.

Not that I was expecting to see anyone down there this afternoon because the weather had turned cold and overcast. I was even wearing a jacket when I went out.

One saying that I like to use quite often is “your level of success is measured by your level of expectation” and so seeing no-one down below on the beach was no surprise and no disappointment, even if it was a Saturday.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was however something going on out at sea, as I noticed while I was looking round.

Not too far offshore was a yacht swanning around in the bay having a whale of a time.

No fishing boats out there though, at least, as far as I could see, because visibility was quite poor this afternoon. It wasn’t even possible to see the Ile de Chausey this afternoon.

And nothing in the air either. In fact it was quite a quiet day all things considered.

fishermen zodiac baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There were a few more boats out there around the corner in the Baie de Mont St Michel though, I noticed

There was this rather large zodiac floating around just off the end of the headland, with three men in it. I thought that they might have been fishermen but I couldn’t see any equipment and they certainly didn’t have any rods out in the water.

But even so, I can’t think of anything else that they might be because the boat wasn’t actually moving when I saw it. It was just sitting there about a mile offshore waiting for something to happen.

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There were some yachts from one of the sailing schools having a run around in the bay as well.

These two were having something of a race across the bay, with the rearmost one slightly in the lead. Somewhere out of shot there was a zodiac keeping an eye on the proceedings.

And while we’re on the subject of the sailing school … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ve been carrying out a few rather desultory enquiries and discovered that there’s a “boat permit” that licenses you to operate a powered craft of a certain maximum size within a certain distance of shore.

Apart from wanting to sail, of course, that permit is something that I might find to be of use as well. But at the moment everything is on hold until the hospital and the doctor can sort me out.

cabanon vauban person sitting on bench Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022With all of the activity going on out in the bay, I was half-expecting to see it all having something of an audience this afternoon.

And here I wasn’t disappointed either. This woman sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban seemed to be taking rather a keen interest in what was happening with the zodiac.

The way things were, I had half a mind to go down and join her but it wasn’t the kind of day for loitering around. Instead I pushed on down the path on the other side of the headland to see what was going on in the harbour this afternoon.

ch922398, sm735890 lysandre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There wasn’t all that much going on in the harbour either. All in all, it was extremely disappointing for a Saturday.

There were a couple of inshore shellfishing boats out there in the outer harbour. The blue one is of course Lysandre on a visit from across the bay at St Malo but although I can read the registration number of the other one, she’s not in the fleet list that I have.

Still the same boats as yesterday in the chantier naval but no-one over at the ferry terminal either.

You’ve seen the photo of the two boats over at the fish processing plant, and that was really that. I came back for my coffee and to finish off the dictaphone notes.

There was time for another good session on the guitar too this afternoon before tea. A couple of these new mini burger things with potatoes and veg. And even though these burgers aren’t the breaded quorn fillets that I thought they were, they are still just as delicious.

A lie-in tomorrow, at long last. And I can’t say that I don’t need it. It’s been a tough week and it’s going to be even tougher next week as I have physiotherapy twice, a Welsh lesson for which I’m not prepared, an injection, a visit to the dcotors, a trip out and a weekend away.

By the time that I come back I’ll be ready for another break to recover.

But I wonder what I’ll be doing this time next week.

Sunday 6th February 2022 – NOT VERY MANY …

vegan pizza fruit bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… photos today. In fact, only the one, of my rather overcooked (don’t ask me how) pizza and some fruit buns to tide me over for a few days.

The truth is that despite it being a Sunday, I’ve been extremely busy – to such an extent that I haven’t set foot outside the door today. There has been plenty of work, which won’t be done by itself, and even so, I’m a long way yet from finishing it and there’s still plenty to do.

Tons, and I do mean “tons” of stuff on the dictaphone too. I was working in an office somewhere and I heard a couple of people talking about working at C-radio and it sounded from what they were saying that they wanted me to do it. I thought that it might be something interesting to do so I waited until they approached me. They invited me into their little office. I went in but only one of them did and the other one didn’t. It took me a minute to realise that the other one hadn’t followed me in so I immediately dashed out to where I worked to hide all my confidential and secret papers etc. I ended up with a cucumber in one hand and something else in the other. I went back into this room but they had gone. I spent the next few minutes hunting around in all kinds of different areas and different rooms trying to find them but it seemed to me very much that I had lost my chance because of that.

Later on I was in a house with some guy last night and he had put the contents up for sale so there were people coming along and walking around looking at everything. There were kinds of things that you carried with you and you put them down when you saw something that had caught your eye. These people were doing this, walking around making sure that they had declared their interest in the particular item that they wanted. Of course they then had to negotiate a price or maybe come back later. It was really complicated. I was with him for a good while while this was going on. Eventually someone turned up who admired almost everything that the guy had which wa well represented because there was too much stuff, the place was cramped. But this guy really liked most of the stuff so he sat down and started to have a pretty in-depth discussion about everything and all of his possessions.

There was also something about carrying some signs for some sort of purpose and if you won’t then there were some people who were supposed to shoot you but I’m not quite sure how that worked out because everyone did take their signs so that was something that never really happened although it was told to me that it might (and I wish that I could hear this more clearly).

There was something about hijacking a train like THE TITFIELD THUNDERBOLT too. This train was roaring down between Carlisle and Newcastle being pursued by just about everyone including the police. The crooks who were supposed to stop the train to take the goods from it couldn’t work out how to stop it. It was just going faster and their accomplices were going even faster on the road trying to catch up with it. All the other trains were shunted out of the way to let this one run through. An old lady who was crazy about cats was involved in it somewhere. After taking a dog-leg around the junction at Hexham the train disappeared and these guys in this car suddenly came into a yard full of locomotives. They thought that maybe it would be better if they were to steal a locomotive and give chase in that. It was a really weird and unusual dream, all of this. I remember that there was a town and they had to close the level crossing gates and there were crowds of 100s of people watching the first train coming in and having to be shunted out of the way and the second one racing through followed by this car that was trying to catch up with it.

As well as all that I was running a coach business last night and someone was talking to me about some of the confrontations between some of the drivers. I explained that there were some people out there doing work in coaches that they have bought for £1500 and others in coaches that they paid £200,000 for and it’s all a rat race of undercutting to the bottom. It causes a lot of problems. A job had been arranged by someone and he was going to drive the coach. His son dressed up in his school uniform to drive it and he looked a lot younger than 25 but he never was. He and his father and sister who was about 6 set out to go. I bumped into them and said “we’re leaving there now”. I said to the girl “doesn’t your brother look smart?” but she mumbled and grumbled something. We ended up going to a coach open day. We walked into this yard and into the offices. You could smell the diesel fumes everywhere. The offices were like in a cave. I said “you can’t go on presenting a place to the public like this”. He replied “yes but you have to keep a coach running to disguise the noise”. I wondered what on earth these people were up to if they were making a noise and didn’t want people to know that they were up to something and would suffocate all of their visitors by doing it.

We were on our way to Dover last night – or, at least, there was a TV programme about it – which I suppose beats being on our way to Wembley, and there was a story, I dunno if it was about Amundsen or someone like that and his ship was sailing from Dover. There was a kind of sculpture up on the cliffs so they showed this sculpture thing and a memorial. Down below on the main road was a kind of café that was like “the Amundsen Café” and I thought “I’ve been there”. Outside there were loads of people milling around as if they were going on a winter holiday, carrying skis and there was someone with a shopping trolley with skis in it etc. They were all talking about “the Monty Python Cheese Shop” sketch. Someone was saying that everyone was surprised when he said “ohh pooh!” when he had done something wrong. There was someone there with an LDV van and someone was explaining to him about how they had intended to modernise the front of the LDV and how it would be a different shape. The guy replied “yes, I know. There were one or two that were actually made like that but forward control vans are very old-fashioned and not a very safe design these days.

What didn’t help was not leaving my stinking pit until 11:05 this morning. I know that it’s a Sunday and there’s no alarm (and quite rightly so) so that I can stay in bed until I want to, but that was rather exaggerated with the amount of things that I need to do.

There were in fact several moments when I could have been up earlier, as I noticed when I checked my watch, but I couldn’t be asked to haul myself out.

When I finally did, I had my medication, checked my mails and messages (the helicopter rescue yesterday was because someone had become stranded on the beach at high tide – no surprise there) and then made a start on preparing a few live concerts.

One concert has worked out surprisingly well. It was a collection of live (and not-so-live) tracks that I found on a set of old CDs representing left-overs from the past of various concerts by a group from the 70s and 80s. I had to re-record the tracks, prepare a pile of applause to overdub so that the applause sounds consistent and then merge it together to make one concert out of it.

It actually sounds surprisingly good although it needs a little tampering.

The second one, which isn’t quite finished, has also turned out well. I’ve done a lot of chopping and changing around with this one so that it sounds much different from how it was played back in 1974.

There were several interruptions today too. Lunch of course, and football was the other. The League Cup Final between Connah’s Quay Nomads and Cardiff Metro.

At the end of play the score was 0-0 but despite that, it was quite an exciting and absorbing game and certainly not a drab affair by any means.

We went to penalties and, unbelievably, we had 24 penalties in order to decide on who would be off to Scotland in the Challenge Cup next year. A couple were missed on the way but when the Met’s Eliot Evans hit the post that was that.

But if the Met play with that kind of spirit in subsequent matches they won’t be bothered too much about relegation

After all that, no wonder I didn’t have much time for anything else.

With no pizza dough I made some more as well, and also some fruit buns as I’m right out of those. And I don’t know why my pizza was way overcooked as everything was just as usual. One of those things, I suppose.

With an 06:00 start in the morning I’m off now to bed and hoping for yet more pleasant dreams and charming company. It’s hard to believe that with all that travelling last night, not one of my favourite companions made an appearance, but I hope that I’ll be lucky and that they’ll come out to play tonight.

Tuesday 25th January 2022 – DAY EIGHT …

… of my self-imposed exile and I actually set foot outside the building this afternoon, for the first time in over a week.

My Covid test result has come back and, as I expected (well, as I knew, really) it was negative so tomorrow I’m going to restart my physiotherapy sessions.

My plan is to take Caliburn, and for several reasons too –

  1. with not having been out for exercise for over a week, I’m not sure how I’m going to manage the climb up the hill and back again.
  2. with everything floating around and my still not feeling 100%, I don’t want to pick up something while I’m out and about in town.
  3. with having been stuck inside for 10 days and not having done any shopping for a week before, supplies are running low so a trip to Lidl with Caliburn is in order.

And so I went outside to make sure that Caliburn will start, having been idle for almost three weeks and with the temperatures hovering around zero. And sure enough, he fired up fairly easily.

While we’re on the subject of zero … “well, one of us is” – ed … I spent much of the night in the company of Zero. And several other people too but it was she who figured the most in all of my lengthy travels.

For some of the time, she was with one of my sisters. They had moved into a house and shared a bedroom, with posters and everything like that all over the bedroom door and wall. I’d been working in the area so I popped in to see how they were doing.

Later on, I dropped straight back into the dream at some point near or nearabouts, with the three of us travelling on a train somewhere.

Later still, there was a reality TV programme about a young girl who I reckoned was Zero, who would choose her boyfriend. The choice had narrowed down to 2. 2 guys turned up, 1 of whom looked like the young dynamic type and the other looked like a slightly older, shy person. It goes without saying that she chose the 1st one. The guy who was 2nd was extremely bitter and disappointed about all of this but I explained to his that he had come a darn sight farther in this competition than almost anyone else and what wouldn’t I have given to change places with him and been up there on the stage at that particular moment when Zero was on the point of making a choice? The conversation drifted around to talk about general life and happiness etc and I can’t remember very much about where it went after this. It was certainly one of those things that if you set your goals too high you’ll fail and you’ll always be unhappy. Success is measured by the level of expectation and I have several examples of this that have occurred during my life. I gave him a few examples but I can’t remember what they mean now.

Still plenty to go at yet. There was 1 of these guys again with a baby or very small child who was about to board a tram. He pointed to one of the trams and said “it’s nice to see some Bristol artwork these days” and went off and boarded his tram.

And then we had 2 girls who had been friends for years. There was a huge pile of glass bottles stored in the garage of one of them. They loaded them into the boot of the 2nd one’s car to take to the recycling plant but half an hour later she was back with the bottles. Her friend asked why and she replied saying “(the name of the other girl’s partner) he’s round there with her at the moment and didn’t want to enter up them”. The other girl went somewhat ashen and said “yes, it was the same with Hugh. They don’t stay faithful for two long”. They began to put the bottles back into the space where the woman had been tidying up after they had gone. Just then her boyfriend or husband came back. He saw what was going on and probably got the message straight away. They started to have an argument which on the girl’s part was more sadness than anything else. By this time I was there and I don’t know why. The girl was talking to me saying “this is where all our money goes”. He was saying “don’t you show him that! Don’t you show him that!” but she showed it to me all the same and said “look where the red circles are”. It was all about guitars that he’d bought and music that he’d bought, everything like that with just 2 or 3 gigs where he’d made a bit of money. The conversation turned round to things like people growing up and taking responsibility, being adult, something that of course never ever happened to me, and it gradually petered out on that kind of discussion.

And finally I was visiting the university and a friend had come over from North America and was staying in the University for 10 days or something. I’d gone to see my niece and her husband, so had he actually come over from North America? I dunno. But I’d gone off to see him and he asked me to stay for a few days so I did, and shared his room. He also had another room-mate and 3 of us in there was rather cramped. We had a very bad night’s sleep the 1st night and the 2nd night his room-mate moved out to go to stay with friends. He and I shared the room but I had another bad night waking up every 5 minutes. In the end he awoke and said that he had things to do so I said that I’d catch him up. It turned out that he had to take a bus to the main university building and the refectory there. I told him “leave some kind of indication where you might be and I’ll catch you up”. He went and I gathered my wash things together and went to find a shower but couldn’t find one. I found some urinals but that was about it. I thought “I’m going to have to go back and take my shower in his room”. I remembered that there was somewhere where food could be obtained so I thought that I’d have a quick look. I couldn’t find it but I found a place where half a dozen old cars had been dumped. Someone was taking some spares off one of them. On the way back to his place there was some kind of dispute between some boys and a couple of girls and a couple of older students from the University had involved themselves in it and were arguing with these boys. I broke into a run, to my own amazement, and ran for miles all the way round the University campus and up these side streets thinking to myself that this is really good with me running like this but I’m never going to meet my friend now because I want to organise myself, go to the bathroom, have a shower, find something to eat and this will take me most of the morning. I wonder where he’ll be by the time that I’m ready to go on the bus and go to the main building to meet him. But I was so happy running that I didn’t really want to stop

There was even more too as it happens, but as you are probably eating a meal or something right now, I’ll spare you the gory details. But is it any wonder that I’m so exhausted these days with all of the mileage that I’m putting in during the night instead of sleeping?

When the alarm went off I arose quite quickly and went off to take my medication, and then to check my mails and messages. Having done that, I sat down and revised my Welsh from last week and prepared for today’s lesson.

There was a new pupil this week as well so some time was spent in introductions, and the lesson itself passed quite uneventfully, and quickly too.

There was some soup left – not much – but there were a couple of frozen potatoes in the freezer that needed eating so I tipped them in as well.

After lunch I started to transcribe the dictaphone notes and it’s no surprise that it took me almost all afternoon (apart from going out to play with Caliburn), although I might have had then done sooner had I not … errr … closed my eyes for quite a while. Much longer than I would have expected or would have hoped for.

But there was a pile of mail in my letter box, all of which were for my next series of appointments at the hospital. And instead of being at 13:30 they are for 11:10 which puts paid to my lie-in to recover from my journey.

With something of a start, I noticed the time. 20:05. Tea thus ended up being out of a tin because there was a football match kicking off at 20:45. Cardiff Metro v Barry.

Both teams at the wrong end of the table and it wasn’t difficult to see why because whatever skill there was only occurred in brief flashes. Cardiff Metro have only a small and diminishing pool of players from which to pick, but Barry seem to have gone backwards this season.

Surprisingly, the Met won 2-0. And surprisingly because at one stage they were really lucky to have nil and I reckoned that it would stay like that if they carried on playing until the next matches on Saturday evening. However one goal from a defensive error and a second from a breakaway down the field in the final minutes as Barry were pushing everyone up for an equaliser sums it all up really.

This isn’t Barry’s season, is it?

Right now I’m off to bed, and to see where I’ll end up during the night. If Zero is as tired out as I am after everything that went on during the night, she won’t be joining me, but TOTGA has had a couple of days off and Castor has been away for a week or so so who knows? I might end up with yet more pleasant companions.

But knowing my luck, I’ll get my family again.

Saturday 16th October 2021 – THIS NEW WAY …

… home actually seemed to work a lot easier than going home the normal way. So if ever my 07:17 from Brussels is cancelled in the future and I can’t have another cheap ticket any other way, I’m going to consider quite seriously going this way home again.

The alarm was set for 06:00 but it was pretty much a waste of time because I didn’t have much sleep at all. The heating made so much racket that in the end I went down and switched it off, and then I ended up with people talking outside my door for what seemed like hours.

Nevertheless I was up and about as soon as the alarm went off and it didn’t take me long to finish packing and to make my sandwiches. There was even time for coffee and toast for breakfast.

During the night despite the lack of sleep I’d been on my travels again. We’d been having a history class at University but the teacher hadn’t turned up so we’d been running it ourselves. He finally turned up and started, going round the class talking to each one of us. He mentioned to me about going round to teach his daughter guitar if I was free at 17:30 that evening. When I left work I went to park up somewhere to wait. After a while I thought that I’d better ring Laurence to tell her where I was, that I’d be late. She had obviously been asleep because she was very slurred with a tired voice. She just muttered something about the management but I didn’t hear a thing after that. Then I realised that I didn’t have my guitar so I thought that I’d better return to the office and fetch it.

We were all in a car somewhere. We turned up at a house where we were supposed to be. I couldn’t get my car into the drive because the cars were parked too far close up. I had my brother move his car but there still wasn’t enough room which I thought was really strange. Then I realised that the one on the left was too far over so I pushed that out of the way so that I could drive in. Parked in there was the red Opel coupé of a girl whom I knew, really rusty and rotten. Whoever it was with me said “no tax again”. I replied “it’s taxed until June”. Then I had a closer look and it was June 1988 in the window. I said “that sounds just like her, doesn’t it?”. We walked round the back of the house to go in ready to see the lighting of the Christmas tree.

07:00 is the latest time for me to leave my digs because there’s an express train to Brussels at 07:33. But I was on my way at about 06:50.

martelarenplein leuven belgium Eric Hall photo October 2021The work that’s taking place in the Martelarenplein outside the station is another one of these tasks that seems to be taking forever. It’s been going on for a couple of years now and progress seems to be very slow.

The fencing is still all around the work so it’s very difficult to take a photo, and the dark early morning doesn’t help very much either, but I did the best that I could in the circumstances.

With having set out so early, I was well in advance of my timetable and luckily, there was an earlier express train, the 07:21, so I didn’t have to wait too long because it was absolutely taters out here and I wish that I’d brought a coat..

class 18 electric locomotive 1903 gare du midi brussels belgium Eric Hall photo October 2021The train that came into Leuven was pulled by, despite its number, a class 18 electric locomotive of the type that we catch quite regularly.

In the darkness I couldn’t see anything of the journey, but we pulled into Brussels with 45 minutes to go before my train to Paris.

And sitting on a draughty station in this weather for that long froze me to the marrow. If there’s a waiting room at the gare du Midi I have yet to find it.

Luckily though, the train came in early and we were allowed to board pretty quickly, which was just as well

Thalys PBKA 4304 gare du nord paris France Eric Hall photo October 2021The train that I’m on is one of the PBKA – Pars, Brussels, Cologne, Amsterdam – trainsets, the one on the left in this image taken at the Gare du Nord in Paris.

having scrambled aboard the crowded train to warm up, I found myself sitting next to a Chinese student who was confused about the application of the Eurorail pass. He didn’t realise that there’s a supplement to pay on the TGV and so he was stuck for an excess charge.

This train is a direct one to Paris. No changing at Lille, which is good news for me because the walk is a painful one in my state of health.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I don’t know why the train from Lille to Paris goes from a different railway station to the one that the long-distance TGVs use.

Much of the route to Paris was spent catching up with my beauty sleep so I was wide awake when we arrived in Paris. I had to show my vaccine passport on arrival and then go to look for RER track E.

It’s actually quite a walk but it’s on the level with no obstructions and on a really good surface so it didn’t seem like too much effort.

Down in the bowels, I didn’t have long to wait for a train. Much more comfortable than the metro, rather like a cheap mainline multiple-unit in fact, and it was only 15 minutes to the Gare St Lazare.

There was quite a walk from there too but once more, it was all on the level and going up to the station was on an escalator so there wasn’t any struggle with the baggage.

clocks outside gare st lazare paris France Eric Hall photo October 2021According to my notes, I’ve never been to the Gare St Lazare before so I went outside for a look around as I had some time.

This was quite interesting, all of these clocks. It’s a design by someone called Armand Fernandez, known as “Arman” and not “Arman in Havana”, and was commissioned by the French Government in 1985.

The station is pretty cramped in its surroundings by other buildings and nowhere is it possible to take a decent photograph.

gare st lazare France Eric Hall photo October 2021Inside the station though, it’s light and airy, having been modernised and upgraded about 10 years or so ago.

It’s not very easy to navigate though as the destination boards and platforms aren’t very clearly indicated.

And while finding where the platform that I need is one thing, finding my way onto it was something else completely.

There’s a “magic eye” that reads the QR code of your ticket, but the eye isn’t where you expect it to be and it took me 5 minutes and the assistance of a passer-by to enable me to find a way to pass the barrier.

56643 class Z 56600 electric multiple unit gare st lazare paris France Eric Hall photo October 2021My train is a newish double-decker multiple-unit, a class Z 56600 Electric Multiple-Unit “Regio 2N” double-decker built by Bombardier and entered service in 2014.

It has all mod cons and is very comfortable. Furthermore it’s non-stop to Caen and it doesn’t hang about either, with a top speed of 200kph.

It’s certainly worth remembering this route for the future if ever there’s a perturbation on my regular route. And if they do electrify my line, something that is under discussion right now, we might even see these in Granville which would be nice.

gare de caen railway station Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021At Caen there’s a one-hour wait for the train to Granville so I could go for a walk around outside.

No problems with photographing the station here because there is very little to obstruct the view. i’ve actually been here once before, but not on a train. I came this way on the bus once when there was a rail strike and we stopped here for a breather

It’s not the original railway station of course. Like so many others in the battle zone in Northern France, it was heavily bombed during the early summer of 1944 to prevent the rapid deployment of Axis forces by rail.

eglise st michel de vaucelles caen Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further down the street in the distance above the tram is a church that I think is the Eglise St Michel De Vaucelles.

There was a church on this site in the days of Charlemagne but there is no trace now of any remains from this period. The church that we see today dates from the early part of the 12th Century although it has been heavily modified since then.

It’s one of the starting points for the pilgrimages to the Mont St Michel.

By now it was lunchtime so I went back inside to eat my sandwiches and I actually treated myself to a mug of hot coffee. I’m really pushing the boat out these days, aren’t I?

bombardier 82792 gare de caen railway station Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The train that I catch from Caen is one of the Bombardier units that we have seen quite regularly in Granville.

It’s quite bizarre because there are only four power points per carriage and they take some finding. I had to wait for half the journey before a seat at one of them became vacant.

But imagine that! Just four power points, and in the 21st Century too!

These trains are little branch-line rattlers and not as comfortable as the one on which I’ve just been travelling, but at least it does its job and brought me back to Granville.

marité philcathane belle france chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Coming back home was easier than it has been recently. I only had to stop four times coming up the hill to home.

One of my stops was at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour. Marité is down there of course, with the trawler Philcathane across the harbour on the other side.

Down here close to me are Belle France, the new ferry for the Ile de Chausey, and Chausiaise, the little Chausey freighter in orange, grey and white.

By the looks of things too, there’s someone having a go at mending his nets on the quayside too.

sailing school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further up the hill at another one of my rest stops I could see that the sailing schools were in full operation today.

There are a couple of the yellw and orange ones having a sail about, but the black ones seem to be having a conference of some kind.

Arriving back at the apartment I made myself a coffee and reflected on how nice it was to be back home. And only four stops coming back up the hill with the load that I had in my suitcase was quite some progress compared to how I’ve been just recently.

Football later on, in the Welsh Cup. Colwyn Bay of the 2nd Division against Cardiff Metro of the 1st. A game rather short on skill and technique, but a proper cup-tie all the same played in front of a big, noisy crowd. Cardiff Metro had most of the play, missed a penalty, had a goal disallowed for offside and missed three or four absolute sitters.

Colwyn Bay, who were on the back foot for most of the game and only had one real shot on goal. And so, as you might expect, Colwyn Bay won the game 1-0 to move into the next round.

Now that I’ve had tea, I ought to be going to bed but I’m not tired right now. I’ll go to bed at about 03:00 I suppose and then sleep through until tomorrow afternoon.

That’s what usually happens.

Saturday 11th September 2021 – IT’S BEEN ONE …

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… of those days where anyone who can possible get out to sea had been out there today.

We started off today with Marité having a really good sail around the Baie de Granville, in company with a pile of other yachts, some of which you can see in this photograph.

She was quite far out at sea this morning and I didn’t really have the time to wait for her to come back closer to the shore. But never mind. Read on …

armorique english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further out there in the bay, right out beyond Jersey, is another ship – a huge one this time.

At first I thought that it might be the high-speed Condor Voyager, which I know to to be out there somewhere, but then I had another think.

Another car ferry, a full-size one, left St Malo about 100 minutes ago and on blowing up my image (which I can do, despite modern terrorist legislation) she has a superstructure that is much more like a full-size ship.

And when I saw that the ship was the Brittany Ferries’ Armorica and compared a shot of her stern with my photo, then I’m now pretty certain that that’s who she is.

commodore goodwill english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There’s another large ship heading the other way, towards St Malo.

Just one quick glance at her was enough to tell me exactly who she is, without even checking the radar or the port arrivals.

Her colour scheme is that of Condor Ferries and so she must be Commodore Goodwill, their big ferry that takes cars and commercial freight between the UK, the Channel Islands and St Malo

In fact, I did check, and she did arrive in St Malo about 50 minutes after I took this photo.

la cancalaise english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Also out there this morning on the right of this image is a ship with a very familiar set of masts and rigging.

At first glance you might be forgiven that she is La Granvillaise but actually, it isn’t.

She actually has a sister boat, a near-identical twin that operates from Cancale on the other side of the bay and is called, surprisingly enough, La Cancalaise, and that’s who she is. I’m pretty certain of that.

As for who the other one is, she could be any one of a couple of hundred yachts that were out there early this morning.

We haven’t finished yet with the maritime activities, but I thought that I would give you all a break from the excitement and give you a chance to recover your breath.

When the alarm went off this morning, I was actually already awake. I’d awoken blot-upright for some unknown reason at 05:47 and there isn’t really much point in going back to sleep then.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. In fact I had been on a bus. I had to go and pick up my youngest sister from School. She was at a school called Pebble Brook which was in Shavington (which of course it isn’t). I had to catch the bus and I asked for Dodd’s Bank. The bus drove into Shavington and went clean past Dodd’s Bank so I had to press the button myself and have it stop. The conductor asked “how pressed the button?” I replied “I did. I should have alighted at Dodd’s Bank”. He asked where I was going and I replied “the Primary School”. He chuntered a bit but anyway I alighted, walked through the track alongside the brook and ended up at school. All the kids were milling around and I could see her there, except that she was more like Roxanne by now. I took her by the hand and we set off. I asked her if she had ever been to see any of the houses where we lived when we were kids. She replied “no. Where are they?”. I said “we’re here” because 61 Osbourne Grove is just around the corner from the school. I showed her that house. of course it’s nothing like the heap that it was when we lived there. It’s all been modernised and 2 houses have been knocked into 1. The people inside could hear me talking about what it was like but they never came out which was a shame so we set off to go round the corner and down the street to Vine Tree avenue.

While I was at it, with not going to the shops today I had a couple of hours to spare so I paired off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be doing on Monday. I may as well get ahead of myself just for a very rare change and it will give me some free time on Sunday.

Then there was some tidying up to do because I was going to have visitors. and sure enough, Liz and Terry came round. Terry gave me back my 3/4″ drive heavy duty ratchet and socket set, and I gave him back his computer that I’d been fixing.

Liz gave me a few old towels that she was planning to throw away. I have nothing here for mopping up heavy spillages, protecting surfaces or anything like that and half a dozen decrepit towels are ideal for this kind of thing.

A coffee at La Rafale was next on the agenda so we headed off out that way, checking out the ships in the Baie de Granville as we went past the viewpoint.

diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021After our coffee we went for a good walk around the old medieval walls.

Regular readers of this rubbish will be interested in the photo just here because if you compare it with THIS ONE taken from the same viewpoint yesterday, this will give you a really good idea of how high the tide is when it’s right in.

You can just about make out the crown of the diving platform, and even a seagull that is photobombing me.

marite baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned Marité, about how she was quite far out in the bay, and I told you to “read on”.

We’d spent quite a time in La Rafale and on our walk but even so, It was quite a surprise to see Marité just here in front of us as we came round the corner.

She’s done her morning lap around the Baie de Granville and it now looks as if she’s going to be doing a lap around the Baie de Mont St Michel before coming back home before the harbour gates close.

charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And we haven’t finished yet either.

There was another boat that seemed to be doing a lap or two around the inner harbour with a load of passengers.

She’s the Charles-Marie of course and this is one of the very rare occasions when we’ve actually seen her with her sails unfurled.

When we returned to the apartment Liz and Terry went to their car and headed off into the sunset – well, not exactly the sunset but you know what I mean – and I came in here because it was almost lunchtime and my nice fresh bread awaited.

After lunch, I had a couple of other things to do, such as carrying on sorting some images – a project that I started ages ago when I merged together all of my hard drives into one large one.

What had restarted my enthusiasm (such as it is) for this particular project was the other day when I spent half a day looking for a couple of photographs and couldn’t find them. I decided that I ought to be more organised and not let things drift as I seem to be doing right now.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021This took me up tp the time to go on my afternoon walk around the headland, and as usual, the first port of call was the beach.

Looking over the wall at the end of the car park I could see that there was plenty of beach to be on, and there were plenty of people making the most of it.

There were even a few people who had taken to the water, which was no surprise because although it had been quite cool this morning, as the day went on it warmed up quite dramatically and after the miserable summer that we had, it looks as if it’s going to be unseasonably warm for a while.

powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was out with Liz and Terry this morning there had been quite a lot of aerial traffic. Ordinarily I would have photographed some of it but you can’t really do things like that in company.

One of the aircraft that had gone by overhead was the red powered hang-glider, and I was lucky while I was out this afternoon because as I was watching the beach she came by again.

This time of course there were no hang-ups, if you pardon the expression, and I could take quite a nice photo of her as she roared by over my head. Unfortunately, from this position I couldn’t see who was in her.

50sa aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021and that was by no means all of the aerial activity. There was plenty more to go at yet.

Something else that went by overhead almost immediately was one of the little aeroplanes that seem to have a serial number range all of their own that I have yet to decipher.

This one is 50SA, whatever or whoever she might be. I keep on meaning to go one of these days over to the airfield and have a good look around, make a few suitable enquiries and maybe even blag myself a flight in the yellow autogyro. Who knows?

hang gliders pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And had I been out a few minutes earlier, I might even have witnessed some more aerial activity too.

But when I arrived at the lawn by the lighthouse at the Pointe du Roc, I could see that a couple of the Birdmen of Alcatraz had come to grief. It looks as if their Nazguls have given up the ghost, the wind has dropped or else Legolas has shot them down with his arrow in the dark.

Now, the riders are lounging around presumably waiting for someone with a car to come and rescue them from their peril and take them back home.

la cancalaise english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But for the last few minutes I’ve been digressing.

While I was watching the beach and watching the air, my third eye was casting around out at sea to see if there was anything exciting going on out there.

Earlier this morning, I posted a photo of La Cancalaise out there in the English Channel. And when I went out for my afternoon walk I noticed that she was still out there, with a couple of smaller boats to keep her company.

It would seem that they don’t have the same issues with the tides at Cancale as we do here

fishermen in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021It goes without saying that if there is going to be all this much marine activity, there are bound to be some fishermen somewhere.

What was surprising though was that despite the dozens of boats milling around, there was only this zodiac that looked as it it had any fishermen in it.

So I left them to it and pushed off on the path along the clifftop past the downed Nazguls and across the car park to see what was happening out in the bay.

To my surprise, the answer was “nothing”. It looked as if the crowds that we had seen out there this morning had all gone home. No point in my loitering around. I’ll head for my home too.

saint andrews catherine philippe l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The path along the top of the cliff on the far side of the headland takes me past the viewpoint overlooking the outer harbour.

From here, there’s a really good view down into the chantier naval and I was right yesterday when I thought that I could only make out four boats down there.

We have the blue and black one whose name I haven’t yet discovered, and facing her is Saint Andrews. The white blue and red one is Catherine Philippe and to her right is the shellfishing boat L’Omerta .

Nothing else has come in this morning to fill the empty places.

stalls and marquees parking boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the car park at the Boulevard Vaufleury are a pile of marquees and the like.

Ordinarily I would have gone for a nosey about to see what was happening but it’s a sign of how ill I am that I couldn’t face the extra few hundred yards to go and check.

What I’ll do is to go home now, and if they are still there tomorrow I can give them the once-over without having to take too much of a diversion.

But these health issues are really depressing me and no mistake.

Back here there was football on the internet and for once, the broadcasters had picked a match of two teams that are down at the wrong end of the table, Aberystwyth Town versus Cardiff Metropolitan.

Despite the lack of skill compared to the more successful clubs this was an exciting match as the action raged from one penalty area to the other. Aberystwyth played soe really attractive football but the Met were more direct and began to take control the longer the gamae went on.

They were unlucky to find Aberystwyth’s goalkeeper, the Slovenian Under-21 International Gregor Zabret, in stunning form and he kept them out right until the end when a wicked deflection off one of his own defenders sent him the wrong way.

Aberystwyth are now third-bottom in the table but surely, on this performance, they’ll finish higher up the table than this.

Tomorrow is Sunday, and that means a lie-in. I have more visitors in the afternoon so I want to be at my best and maybe even tidy the apartment a little. It does need it.

Saturday 27th March 2021 – THAT WAS PROBABLY …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 15th December 2020 – I HAD ANOTHER …

fishing boats st helier jersey channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… go at this long-distance night-time photography lark tonight

So winding the ISO down to a very reasonable daylight figure and slowing the speed down to an absurd 4 seconds, I managed to produce this shot. And you can tell how long the aperture was open because while the background is perfectly sharp, the fishing boats in the near distance (they are probably 10 miles out to sea in this shot) are comparatively blurred due to the distance that they have travelled while the aperture was open.

And as well as a nice, light background to the shot, we have plenty of stars in the sky because it was a delightfully clear, cloudless evening.

It’s a shame about the smear on the lens which rather detracts from the photo, but again considering the equipment that I have and the fact that the camera was actually perched on a flat rock to take this photo, I’m really impressed with it. Almost as impressed as I was with my galvanised steel dustbin.

What else that was impressive was the fact that yet again I managed to beat fairly comfortably the third alarm this morning. I seem to be making a habit of this right now, and quite right too.

And after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone. I was around on a huge liner last night but I can’t remember very much about a lot of it now. It’s gone right out of my head. At one point I had someone with me, a young girl and and I was going to take her to show her around the ship. She wasn’t sure whether she would go and she was dithering at the top of this spiral staircase thing that led down to the executive cabins. The purser came by and looked at her and said “if you want to go, go!” That gave her the courage and she came down with me. I showed her around the Executive Suites, everything like that. Then we found ourselves in the steerage where people were all crammed in like sardines. We were walking through there and I was saying to her that for us who were 3rd class passengers when we came on a cruise we just had one of these bunks that was together whereas they had 9 crammed in them somehow. They had no privacy, no curtains or anything yet we did. It turned out that she and her friend had been sleeping on a mattress somewhere. She sleeping in her friend’s room on a mattress, should I say. Yes, she knew about that, she knew where that was kept round the other side. We walked all around this ship and I was fighting the most enormous temptation to put my arm around her. It was really a strange kind of situation. I had the impression that this was Castor or someone like that but I couldn’t really see who it was. The face was very blurred all the way through this voyage, as if it was being done deliberately which is interesting. There was much more to it than this but I can’t remember it now, something that has filled me with extreme disappointment, as I’m sure you can imagine.

Later on there had been a dispute about some postings made on a Social Networking conference and someone had complained. It turned out that people were posting in one particular Group and the guy there was referring them to another one. Of course they were way off-topic and people were suggesting that they should be banned but they should have been banned in the other Group where they were and this was the argument between the two sets of Moderators about this. This escalated into something about families, I’m not too sure now. I was working at work, not doing anything at all and my arrears were building up (this is quite a recurring dream, isn’t it?) but I was leaving on the following Thursday, the day before Good Friday so it didn’t really make any difference to me anyway. I was thinking that I’d be back home and then I was thinking that there would be 2 generations of retired people living in our house. That was unusual these days when I retire on Thursday. A discussion took place about various different generations living together. It turned out that in one house there were 5 generations where a girl of 18 who should have been celebrating her marriage ended up in hospital having a baby so there were now 5 generations living in the house where she was living. This dispute about the internet rumbled on. In the end 2 burly Australian farmers were sort-of involved in it. They ended up having to get a car started which they finally managed to do, so where next? They’d hard some kind of description about something happening. 1 of them said “I know, there’s a place not too far away from here where they have sea lions, all this kind of thing, just by where you turn onto the main highway”. Everything he said had the right kind of description about it so 1 of them grabbed the steering wheel of this car they had just fixed and off we all drove in this car.

Having sorted that out, I had some stuff to attend to and then I cracked on and organised myself for my Welsh class

christmas lights place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it wasn’t just revision from last week and preparation for this week that was important, I had to make the place look pretty too – that was part of the activity.

If you look in the photo just here there are now some red, white and blue Christmas lights. I found those while I was tidying up so I strung them up over where I sit, at the dining room table. That’s only a temporary thing – they will be in the other window tomorrow.

Strawberry Moose came to the lesson too, complete with Father Christmas hat. He certainly helps to liven up the proceedings and brings a smile to everyone’s face.

As for the lesson itself, armed with a hot chocolate drink and a slice of my fruit bread, it passed quite well and we seem to be more confident. We were given the same set of questions to answer that we were given in September and the answers were much more rapid and profound.

Interestingly, just as we knocked off for a break, the ‘phone rang. Caliburn’s new battery has arrived, about two days before the suppliers told me that it would even be in stock, never mind delivered. So Caliburn will be having his new battery fitted tomorrow.

But the timing of the phone call was spectacularly precise.

After lunch I set to and made some sourdough dough – 500 grammes of flour and a pile of sunflower seeds together with salt, water and some of my sourdough started. In the attempt to make something decent, I spent absolutely ages folding it in to make it nice and smooth, but having had a look at it just now, it’s not increased all that much in size. I’m feeling that sourdough is not the way for me to go, especially as my fruit bread with yeast worked so well on Sunday.

There were carrots that needed peeling, dicing and blanching too, so I organised them while I was at it. They went into the freezer later.

wassmer w54 f-bukk light aircraft Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was time to go out for my afternoon walk (we don’t finish our Welsh lesson until late).

Quite a few people out there walking today, celebrating the semi-end of our detention à domicile. Also crowds in the air too. There were several light aircraft flying by overhead, including this one, F-BUKK. She’s a Wassmer W54 Atlantic, fitted with a Lycoming O-360-A1LD engine.

She’s actually quite an elderly machine, apparently built in 1973. And that might be quite right too because the company closed down in 1977. So it’s a surprise to see her still out and about.

fishing boats english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallPlenty going on out at sea today too.

Or, at least, there might have been earlier in the day because everyone seems to be coming home now. The tide isn’t yet in but it looks as if we are going to have a queue of boats waiting to get to the fish processing plant.

Not that I was intending to hang around too long. I had plenty of things to do and wanted to return home as soon as I could. I was rather disappointed in that there wasn’t any other kind of interesting movement out there to attract my attention. The correct thing to do was to go and make myself a coffee and move on.

There was some post waiting for me when I returned. The good news is that my Old-Age Pension has finally come through, so Spend! Spend! Spend! The bad news is that the Taxe d’Habitation people have finally caught up with me and there are residence taxes to pay.

So it comes in with one hand and goes out with the other. That’s quite typical, isn’t it?

So having listened to a few radio programmes, I sent three of them off to the technicians. They’ll be on holiday soon and if I don’t have them in stock down there, nothing will be broadcast. And my Christmas Day broadcast is something special.

Another thing to do is to send a bank transfer of cash to my niece for Christmas. She and her family are really kind to me and do such a lot to help me out. And as I haven’t been to Canada this year to repay them, the least I can do is to express my gratitude in another way.

There was the usual guitar practice of course, and then a change to the advertised programme.

We are now in curfew from 20:00 until 06:00 which means an end to my late-night perambulations unfortunately. That made me wonder how I was going to fit it in, because I can’t do without my runs, so I’ve decided for the foreseeable future at least, to go for my run as soon as I finish guitar practice and have my meal afterwards. I’m not sure how this will affect my digestion or my sleeping.

We shall see.

fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’ve seen the photos of the Channel Islands tonight anyway, so I carried on with all of my runs, along the Rue du Nord, down the steps and along the path, then through the Square Maurice Marland onto the walls.

There was plenty of activity in the port this evening. You saw in the photo of St Helier that there were plenty of fishing boats out in the English Channel tonight. They were starting to come into port as I reached the viewpoint over by the Eglise Notre Dame.

The Fish Processing Plant is working of course – you can see the lights shining from the open doors into the water, and there’s a refrigerated lorry there parked in the loading bay.

fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere had been some other bright lights shining in the harbour that I had missed.

There was a trawler parked on this side of the quay so I wondered if it might have been her, but then in the background there are all kinds of lights shining at the Ferry terminal, and while it’s unlikely that one of the Joly France boats would be coming back at this hour, maybe the little freighter Chausiais has had a little run out.

Nothing gave me a clue, so I walked round the corner, photographed my Christmas lights and then ran on home.

Tea was a burger with pasta and veg and the last of the delicious vegan pesto. No pudding because the football was about to start.

With a vital basement clash of Flint Town v Cefn Druids, a match that neither side could afford to lose or draw if they don’t want to be cast adrift at the bottom of the table, the broadcasters chose to broadcast Penybont V Cardiff Metropolitan, a meaningless mid-table match.

And meaningless it was too. I fell asleep towards the end of the first half for 5 minutes, and by the time the final whistle sounded I had long-since gone off to do other things. Penybont scored quite early in the match but they were restricted to maybe just 2 or 3 other shots on goal, and I don’t recall Ashley Morris in their goal having a serious save to make. The Met were clueless up front and never looked like doing anything at all.

We’ve seen some exciting matches in the JD Cymru Welsh Premier League in the past but this wasn’t one of them. A miserable, depressing match without a single moment of excitement. A poor advert for Welsh football, when so much was at stake up on Deeside.

But now anyway, I’m going to give my sourdough dough a good going over and put it in its mould to work away overnight, and then I’m off to bed.

Tomorrow I’ll be fitting Caliburn’s battery and making a renewed start on some arrears. I’m making no progress at al with those really and I need to sort it all out.

Saturday 3rd October 2020 – I ONCE STARTED TRAINING …

… as a fortune teller, but I had to give up my studies due to unforeseen circumstances.

That is just as well because I would never have made the grade. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last weekend I mentioned Y Fflint – a football club from Deeside that has just been promoted to the JD Cymru League I mentioned that “They are no mugs, and certainly not cannon-fodder like some promotees have been.”

Today they played TNS – and TNS put 10 past them. That’s the heaviest defeat that I recall in the JD Cymru League for quite some considerable time … “August 2016” – ed …. although in fairness, Flint’s keeper was carried off after 23 minutes and they had to put a substitute in goal.

But anyway, I’ll stop predicting and shut up. Except to ask the same question as I did last weekend – “just how good are TNS this season?”.

They are obviously better than I was this morning because once again I had trouble hauling myself out of my stinking pit. Only by a few minutes, but a miss is as good as a mile.

But it seems that I have a lot on my mind right now, judging by what was happening last night.

There was a boat last night and a few of us were on it. It was called the “Son Derwyn”, something like that it was called. There was some woman on there but I can’t remember what she was doing. In fact I can’t remember anything about it at all apart from that.

Later on I’d been seconded onto a job to go to work in the South Atlantic (that’s a coincidence, isn’t it?). There was a group of us and three of us were leaving on the same flight so we were waiting around at the ferry terminal (don’t ask me why). I was with Nerina. We were sitting there talking to each other and there were these two other people talking and making a couple of phone calls. It turned out that they were indeed two of these people. They’d been told to look out for a third so I was wondering whether to introduce myself but I couldn’t be bothered. Nerina and I sat there and carried on talking then we got on this plane and flew to wherever we were going. We ended up in the hostel where we were staying, all sitting around but these two other guys hadn’t come. We weren’t saying too much about anything to anyone. In the end it was time to go to our rooms to get ready for dinner. We went off to our rooms but ended up in the wrong one. We’d all been waiting in one of the rooms so we went off to ours. All it consisted of was two divans, sofas, wickerwork type bamboo things. We thought “this is strange. It’s not going to be very comfortable. We’re not going to be able to get up to much good in here”. We realised that we’d left all of our stuff in the other room. One of the other guys had been for a shower. He came out and said “God you don’t want to go in that shower. It’s freezing cold”. I said “I’m not a penguin. I don’t fancy that idea”. He said “it’s all there is”. We went down into the communal bar place. Apparently there was some bread and jam somewhere so Nerina asked one of the waiters or staff or someone where the bread and jam was. They replied “you have to do things for yourself you know here. You’re expected to work on Saturdays”. I explained that we were quite happy to go and get stuff for ourselves – that’s not a problem. We just wanted to know where it was because we were new. We didn’t get our bread and jam but nevertheless Nerina went off to try to find some and I went to find some tables. It was pretty crowded and in the end I found a couple of chairs and we tagged ourselves on to some other group we were with. Then I realised that I needed some names of people who did things in the town – tradesmen and I’d left the telephone directories that I’d pinched from the library in this guy’s room so I thought that I’d better go and find some more. I walked out into town and found a few. On the way back I was being harassed by this little boy and I almost picked him up and thumped him one but I restrained myself just in time. As I got to the traffic lights – we’d been passed by buses and whatever – I thought “this is a bigger city than I expected. Much more modern”. An ambulance came out of a junction and was rammed by a little white van. A few people piled out of this little white van and another vehicle pulled up as well. They started dragging people out of this ambulance. I noticed that the people in this little white van had police jackets on. One of them gave this gorgeous right hook on one of the passengers in the ambulance. i’ve no idea what this was all about. The ambulance guy was radioing through that he’d been hit by this van and that there was a fight going on with some of his passengers but he had a woman who was seriously ill who he was taking to hospital. Could they send another ambulance to pick her up and take her on while he sorted everything out here. I was making my way back to where I was staying. I do remember thinking “how the hell am I going to be expected to keep the peace in a town like this if this is the kind of behaviour that goes on and it’s such a busy place anyway?
Somewhere along the line was a pizza that had to be put in the fridge so we went to arrange the slices so we could but found that it was all too big for the fridge and there wasn’t the room to put it so what would we be doing about that? I had some ribald comments from my father and my brother about all of this while I was doing it to so I thought that if I can’t find a solution to a little problem like this how am I going to manage doing anything major?
And what was this next bit all about? “This train was crowded with people. Everyone was crammed in and no-one dare move in case someone took their seat. I was handed a telegram which when I opened it said that there was a mumbled something that I couldn’t decipher. immediately. I thought that this was a reference to this new job or else they’d found out something about me that I hadn’t wanted anyone else to know.

With a reasonably early start nevertheless I managed to edit about 15 photos before I went for my shower. And today I had the heater on in the bathroom. The first time this back-end. And I needed it too.

Next step was to empty out the fridge and switch it off. It’s frozen up again and needs to defrost. It can do that while I’m out at the shops.

NOZ had nothing exciting and Centrakor couldn’t supply a new bread mould.

In Leclerc I spent very little – most of which went on things like a box of 2kg of grapes. I bought three fresh figs too and when I reached home, I set another kefir mix en route. Mind you, I needed a boat to come home in, not Caliburn. It was raining hard when I set out but by the time I made it home we were having a torrential downpour of the type that you don’t see very often.

Brigitte had left the window open on her car too so I rang her and told her. But it was rather too late to do any good.

Having set the kefir going, I alternated between the photos and hacking lumps of ice out of the fridge. That latter is now done – all nice and clean and defrosted (but for how long?) and I’ve done almost 70 photos today. And some of them needed quite a lot of editing too. That took some time.

St Helier Jersey Channel Islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy the time that I was ready for my afternoon walk there had been a dramatic improvement in the weather.

By now not only had the rain ceased but we were having a beautiful afternoon – one that had really brought out the crowds. And the views were splendid too. You could see for miles and miles – all the way to St Helier in Jersey 58 kilometres away. In all the years that i’ve lived here, I’ve never ever seen the Channel islands so clearly with the naked eye, and with the BIG NIKON D500 and the 18-300mm ZOOM LENS it all looked even more clear

It’s tempting me, if I remember, to go out with the tripod tonight if the wind has dropped to an acceptable level

Peche À Pied Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Halland it wasn’t just on the footpaths and the lawns around here that there were plenty of people either this afternoon.

The severe storms that we have had just recently, such as Storm Alex and what went of before it have certainly shaken up the sea bed and who knows what they have unearthed? And so that’s another reason for the people doing the peche à pied to be out there this afternoon, over and above the beautiful weather and the very low tide today.

And I hope that they share the catch with all of their friends and neighbours. After all, one shouldn’t be selfish with one’s shellfish.

Medieval Fish Trap Crowds On Beach Plat Gousset Bouchot Farming Donville Les Bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd so I left the viewpoint overlooking the beach and walked on along the Rue du Nord, and down the footpath underneath the walls. Too many people about today to go for my run so I shelved that until this evening.

There was quite an assortment of items to note going on this afternoon on the beach at the Plat Gousset and down all the way past Donville les Bains.

  1. In the foreground we have the medieval fish trap (at least, I’m assuming that it’s medieval). The water flows over the walls when the tide is coming in and when it retreats it leaves behind a large pool of water in which, in theory, there should be fish trapped which the inhabitants can then pull out with their hands.
  2. Plenty of people out there too, including more pecheurs à pied
  3. The bouchot farm. These are mussels that instead of growing in the sand, somehow manage to grow on the strings that are attached to those poles. These are supposed to be something of a delicacy because with not having been in the sand, they aren’t anythign like as gritty. I once talked to one of the ropes and asked him about the affair. He told me that at first he didn’t like the bouchots but then after a while they began to grow on him.
  4. More pedestrians
  5. The caravan park, with the airfield behind it
  6. The Church of Bréville sur Mer

Crowds Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt beats me sometimes where all of these people come from because as well as the crowds milling around on the footpaths etc., there are also quite a few loitering around on the promenade at the Plat Gousset.

You can see that all of the beach changing cabins on the promenade are no longer there, having been taken away for winter storage a couple of weeks ago. And that’s just as well because had they still been there the other night they would have been smashed to matchwood with the force of the waves that were sweeping up over the wall onto the promenade.

There are one or two people on the beach as well, but not as comfortably-installed as they were last weekend with their folding chairs.

Anyway, I left them to it and wandered off through the Square Maurice Marland where I was engaged in conversation with a boy about three years old.

Joly France Seaweed Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the viewpoint overlooking the port, I could see that one of the Joly France ferries to the Ile de Chausey, the newer one with the smaller upper superstructure, is there whereas the other one looks as if it might be out at sea.

But it wasn’t that which caught my eye, it was the seaweed in the dock. The storm has clearly devastated the sea bed, as I suspected that it might, and the tidal current has been so strong that it’s brought the seaweed right into the head of the harbour.

That must have been some storm.

Football tonight on the internet tonight again. And Sgorio is still having problems with its service. Apparently the English-language stream stalled and while they were fixing it they transferred the viewers over to our Welsh language stream. And the presenter apologised to the English-speakers – IN WELSH.

As for the match itself, it was Cardiff Metropolitan v Caernarfon Town.The Met had 60% of possession, 15 corners compared to the 5 of the Cofis and a dozen shots on goal compared to the 4 of the opposition. When the Met were awarded a penalty early in the game those of us who were watching were saying “here comes the first of many”.

However Josh Tibbetts in the Cofis goal saved it, and from then on the result was predictable. The Met could still be playing out there all alone right now on an empty pitch and they would still be unable to score. As for Caernarfon, three of their four shots went into the back of the net, to produce one of the most unlikely results that I have ever seen.

The Met had a right-winger out there – a young lad called Liam Warman. I’ve not seen him before but he impressed me considerably tonight and I’ll be looking out for him again.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite what I said earlier, I didn’t get out with the tripod tonight.

When the weather brightened up earlier this afternoon as it did, I reckon that it must have simply been the eye of the storm, because it’s back, and with a vengeance too. So well wrapped up and in my waterproof jacket (and how I wish I’d taken my waterproof trousers too) I went out to take a photo or two of the storm.

And if you are wondering about the dreadful quality (because they really are dreadfully blurred and over-exposed) there was a wind blowing at over 100 Km/H and a driving, torrential rainstorm right into the lens of the camera and I had to do the best that I could.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out there, I noticed that there was no-one else whatsoever taking advantage of the view tonight.

That’s hardly surprising because I don’t think that I’ve ever been out in such dreadful weather. There was no chance whatever of going around the headland so instead I went back around the walls. It was impossible – absolutely impossible to run down the path as I usually do. Not only was this absolutely awful headwind and driving rain, but the path was about two inches deep in water.

That meant that I had to pick my way gingerly around, which wasn’t easy as I had the hood of my raincoat pulled firmly down and I couldn’t really see where I was going.

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually, after many difficulties, I reached the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

Here, I was being battered and buffetted by a blinding blizzard of rain and I could hardly see a thing. But I’d caught glimpses of the spray as I walked around the path and you could hear the noise of the waves smashing down on the promenade for miles, so I knew that it was going to be a good one.

Basically, it was just a case of waiting for a really loud crash, counting to three to give the spray enough time to make it high into the air, and then pressing the shutter blindly, hoping that something would work out. And, quite frankly, it was something of a failure altogether but you can’t have everything. Ideal conditions and nothing to photograph – miserable and depressing conditions and lots of excitement.

isn’t it always like that?

Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving stuck it out for as long as I could and with rivers of rain running down the back of my jacket and soaking my legs through to the bones, I headed off for home, thanking the heavens that there had been no football in the area tonight that I might have gone to see.

The Square Maurice Marland was pretty well sheltered so I managed to run all the way across there and even halfway up the second ramp. I need to try my best to keep my heart working. But the final run that I do – from the church back home, there wasn’t any possibility of attempting it tonight in that wind. And I was right yesterday about the wind tunnel. The howling gust coming up there as I walked past almost bowled me over.

Back here I’ve written up my notes and that’s that. Sunday tomorrow and a day of rest too. No cooking or baking either (except for the usual pizza) because I shan’t be here for a few days. I might stretch myself and, having defrosted the fridge today, defrost the freezer tomorrow.

In this weather, it’s not as if there’s any danger of anything defrosting, is it?

Friday 20th December 2019 – FOR A FLEETING MOMENT …

… I actually had something like a stress-free existence. And it was looking so good too.

Unfortunately it didn’t last long.

It all started so well too. A late-ish night it might have been, but I was out like a light and slept right through until the alarm went off. And I beat the third alarm out of bed quite easily too.

As for a nocturnal voyage, It was something to do with a young girl last night. I can’t remember very much about it but I do remember that she was swimming around in this water and every time that she got close to the edge of the water she ended up being further away again. She then had to swim for the shore and when she’d be close to the shore she would end up back out again. Unfortunately I don’t remember anything about it particularly other than that, which is quite a shame because it must have been exciting.

So having had the medication I transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night and then went off for breakfast.

Back here afterwards I cut up the sound tracks of a couple of albums that I had downloaded as part of my digital upgrading. It took me a while because I was having a chat with someone on the internet as I was doing it and it was difficult to concentrate.

Next task was to turn my attention to upgrading the blog entries for last week. I’m now all the way back to Wednesday 11th December and had things continued to go my way I might have done more too.

trawlers baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy franceOf course, I had to go into town to La Mie Caline for my dejeunette for lunch.

We had yet another wicked wind this morning and I stood on my vantage point overlooking the harbour watching a couple of fishing boats battling their way through the waves – one coming in and the other one going out.

And as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I don’t envy them in the least having to go out in this weather.

repairing medieval city walls Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne granville manche normandy franceRemember yesterday when we saw the mini digger and the little lorry clearing up some of the rubble at the foor of the city walls in the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne where they had been doing all of the repair work?

As you might expect, I took the opportunity to go that way round to see what they had been up to, and it certainly has made quite a difference. It’s actually looking like it’s supposed to and I don’t think that it will be too long before it’s all finished.

On that note, I came back to my apartment with my dejeunette.

At 13:00, as usual, I stopped work to have lunch and then back to my desk and back to work. This afternoon I rather … errr … had a little rest for 10 minutes and that dismayed me because I’d been doing so well. And then I had an internet issue to deal with.

For some unknown reason, none of my *.ftp programs are working. I’m having to upload my files through the control panel of my web server and that’s not ideal at all. I’ve been “in negotiation” with my web host for much of the afternoon trying to resolve the issue.

Another thing that I did was to change the bedding. I haven’t done that since I came back from North America and so it was in the kind of condition that it walked into the washing machine all on its own.

buoy english channel granville manche normandy franceThere was the afternoon walk of course and it was fairly pleasant out there because the high winds seem to have died down for the moment.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we are starting to see piles of fishing boats trying their luck in the bay here off the coast of Bréhal Plage. There weren’t any out there today but we can see that there’s another one of these mysterious buoys bobbing around in the water out there.

One of these days I’ll catch the boat that’s doing it and then I can go down into port to interrogate the skipper.

ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceThe atmospheric conditions were quite good today too.

There have been a few of these days just recently where the sky has been so clear that the views have been absolutely excellent. We had one the other day when the Ile de Chausey was looking splendid in the sun, and it was another one like that today.

In fact the sky was so clear that you could see the waves actually breaking on the shore and on the rocks over there, all that distance away.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAlthough the wind had dropped, there was still a heavy sea and so I was surprised when I rounded the headland to see Thora in the harbour again.

Not surprised that she had battled the stormy seas becasue I didn’t doubt that for a moment, but surprised that there was such a quick turn-round from her last visit. I don’t know what’s going on but the cynic in me suggests that the Brits in the Channel Islands are busy stockpiling supplies ready for the hardest Brexit ever known to man.

Yes, I’ve read the papers and seen the vote. And if the British want to go to hell in a handcart, that’s their affair.

back in the apartment it was shower time – if I’m having clean bedding I’m going to have a clean me. And here’s a surprise – and a pleasant one too. I’m below my target weight. Yes, a weight that I never ever thought that I would see ever again when I was weighing 13 kilos more than this 12 months ago.

repairing medieval city walls Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne granville manche normandy franceAfter the shower I set the washing machine going and then headed out up town to the Centre Agora. Tomorrow we’re doing our first Outside Broadcast and we need to be clued up about what we are supposed to be doing.

On the way out I went past the city walls in the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what they had been up to now that they had knocked off. And you can see that not only have they managed to clean up a good proportion of the area, they’ve moved the dencing so that people can now walk around on there.

Doesn’t it look quite different from before they started? I’ll have to sort out a photo so we can see the difference.

at the meeting it seems to have been decided that I’m “outside techie” for a couple of the reporters, and it also seems that due to one of our interviewees withdrawing his co-operation I have to do a Christmas radio show live to plug the gap.

On the way back I went to LIDL for some supplies – one less thing to do tomorrow – and just about made it before they closed the shop.

christmas lights Rue Georges Clemenceau granville manche normandy franceStrange as it might seem, I don’t recall having been out down on the north side of town in the dark since they installed all of the Christmas lights. And so I was keen to see how it had all turned out.

This is the view of the little square where the rue Paul Poirier joins the rue Georges Clemenceau. I dunno about you but I was expecting rather more of the Christmas decoration and lights than this. It’s something of a disappoinment as far as I’m concerned.

They could at least have festooned the rest of the trees there with LEDs to add to the ambience. After all, this is the entry to the town for those coming from the north.

christmas lights rue des juifs granville manche normandy franceRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw the decorations in the rue des Juifs a couple of days ago.

They didn’t look all that impressive in the daylight, the decorations that they had put over the bollards, and at night it isn’t an awful lot better. The rue des Juifs is said by many to be the trendiest street in town and it’s where all of the art galleries and the like might be found.

And if a bunch of artists and gallery owners can’t get together and produce something more exciting and interesting than this, then that is really sad.

Back here I had tea – taco rolls with rice and veg – and then watched the football on the internet. TNS v Cardiff Met. 1st v 8th.

TNS had, as you might expect, the lion’s share of the game but were undone after a couple of minutes by a beautiful set piece from the Met.

TNS equalised shortly after and it was surely going to be a case of how many they could score in the rest of the match. Will Fuller in the Met goal kept them out with some excellent keeping, and then something astonishing happened.

Fuller pulled of two consecutive saves at point-blank range, either of which could (and should) have ended up in the back of the net. But the second one, he hung on to the ball, then cleared it upfield where The Cardiff Met striker Will Evans slipped his marker and volleyed the ball into the TNS net.

Despite having a man sent off later in the game and TNS throwing everything including the kitchen sink at the Met, they hung on for what was a most unlikely victory and a very rare TNS home defeat.

Then I had work to do. I hung out the washing from earlier and then cracked on with the music. Hans had sent me some of his stuff and I found a few other tracks, all of which needed converting to *.mp3 format and (in Hans’s case) some digital enhancement. Then, adding a couple of songs from my own collection, I ended up with enough to plug the hole.

They had to be sent off to be uploaded to the server, which is completed, so I can finish my blog and go to sleep.

One of these days I’ll have an early night.

Friday 29th November 2019 – IT’S A LIE!

I don’t care what Percy Penguin has to say about it. I do NOT snore in my sleep. Not that she would ever know because whenever we were together late at night, sleep was not the subject that was ever on my mind.

But how do I know that I don’t snore? The answer is that this morning I spent four hours listening to myself sleeping.

Well, okay. Not exactly listening, but examining a voice file with the aid of a graphic sound analyser program, and I could see three minutes of dictation, a thump when I fell asleep in mid-dictate, and then four hours of silence apart from the odd turning-over in my sleep and the odd banging of the headboard.

Yes, I’ve finally reached the marathon four-hour dictaphone *.mp3 file and it is indeed, just as I suspected, a mistake.

We almost had a mistake this morning too. I was positive that I had dictated the details of a nocturnal ramble into the dictaphone, but something made me check, even though it was the middle of the night, and I found that I hadn’t. Dreaming that I was dreaming again.

But luckily I could remember a lot of it and so I dictated it on the spot. And I’m really curious now to know what else I have been missing, that I dreamt that I had dictated.

But anyway, last night we were in the High Arctic last night on a ship that might or might not have been The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour. We were doing some kind of research project and our group was involved in doing some kind of research project in respect of birds. So we were being pretty serious about this and some of us were out on the pontoon and they were looking at all these birds like crows and raven in the water with their beaks open and studying them. It was obvious that there were a few people not intent on doing anything and were just lounging around. of course we were pretty serious and after I had been onto the pontoon to see what was going on I had to get back on board the ship and there were a load of people queueing trying to get on so I mimed as if I was whipping them on which made everyone laugh, those who were lounging around. Eventually I got back on board and had to start to work, and remembered saying “come on, let the dog see the rabbit” when I was trying to get on board the ship. And what I remember was that there were loads of weeds around floating in the water , it was pretty close to shore. Someone was counting the animals and one of our group said that she had seen a moose or something. And she had also seen a Clayton diesel locomotive. I asked “where did you see that?” so she said that it was just after we had left Hvalsey to head down here. I thought that I can’t remember seeing this, or even hearing about it. But I decided that I would leave it to stand anyway

So whatever that was all about, I really don’t know.

The alarm went off at 06:00 as usual and this morning I definitely heard the second alarm, no mistake. But instead of leaping out of bed I somehow managed to go back to sleep yet again and the third alarm awoke me.

Today though, I was out of bed rather smartish and had an early medication and breakfast. And then I set down to work on the dictaphone notes as I had been promising myself.

By the time that I stopped for lunch, I was down to just 47 left. That’s been some quite dramatic progress today.

However, the morning was not without its interruptions. Three more parcels of this mega-order that I mentioned the other week turned up today.

Two of them I have yet to unpack, but the third one I did.

harvey benton 5 string fretless bass granville manche normandy franceWhen I was In Montreal in September I was playing about on a five-string bass guitar and that pleased me greatly. A few weeks later, I was having another play about, only with a fretless bass. And that pleased me just as greatly.

So when I was browsing around on the internet a few weeks back I came across a vendor who was selling a new but shop-soiled (I reckon that it’s a product return) 5-string fretless bass for a price that can only be described as “democratic”.

It’s not very often that I treat myself to extravagant expenditure, but I did the other day and I don’t regret it for a moment.

Not a patch on the Gibson EB3 of course. That will always be a special machine, but this one will do nicely as a supplement.

cock port de granville harbour manche normandy franceOn that note, seeing as we are talking about music, I headed for town and my dejeunette for lunch. Down to the fish processing plant and across the path on top of the harbour gates.

Nothing much going on in there at all, but one thing that for all the time that I’ve been going in and out of the harbour, I have never noticed this cock before.

That’s not like me at all, is it?

On the way back I stormed up the hill like there was no tomorrow. I don’t understand that at all. Fighting fit for lunch, I was.

And after lunch, I made a start on the data files for my projects. That’s taking me longer than I thought die to having to redesign it a couple of times and also … ahem … editing the wrong base file. I wondered why all of these amendments that I was trying to make didn’t work.

As usual, I stopped round about 15:45 to go for my afternoon walk around the headland.

paimpol brittany granville manche normandy franceThe weather was astonishing though out there. There were a few clouds about but the sky was so clear that you could see for miles.

Over there that is the town of Paimpol I reckon, with the Phare de Paon and the Chapelle St Michel clearly visible. And all of that is about 80kms away, I reckon, from here.

The camera and the lens did well to pick up all of that.

plenevon brittany granville manche normandy franceMuch closer to home is the town of Plenevon. Over there to the far right near where that hill thing is.

That’s a mere 60 or so kms from there I’m standing, and you wouldn’t think so either but it’s amazing what a little “crop, enlarge and sharpen” can do.

The camera even managed to pick up a little fishing boat half-way across the water.

st malo pointe de grouin brittany granville manche normandy franceNow this is much more like it.

That’s the Pointe de Grouin just there and the Ile des Landes. Behind it is the entrance to the port of St Malo and on several occasions we’ve seen Pont Aven, the big Brittany Ferries ship, come sailing out of there.

It’s a shame that she’s not there right now though because it would have made a spectacular photo. You’ll have to make do with half a dozen small fih=shing boats instead.

sunlight cancale brittany granville manche normandy franceWe’ve had photos innumerable of Cancale across the bay, night as well as day. That’s about 25 kms away from me.

But what makes this one so special is that we’re having another one of those “sunlight streaming through a gap in the clouds” moments as we have done on a regular basis just recently.

It really is as good as floodlighting if you ask me, and probably better than some recent examples that we have seen.

sunlight windows beach jullouville granville manche normandy franceIt wasn’t just Cancale that was receiving the benefit of the sunlight either.

Down the coast at Jullouville about 10kms away the big building right on the shoreline was also receiving the benefit of the sun, right full-on into the windows

That must certainly have been something quite spectacular for those people in that large room there.

No change of visitor at the Chantier Navale so I came home. And I had a few things to do on the internet that took up a lot of my time.

But I did stop for tea – another frozen aubergine and kidney-bean whatsit. Only 5 left now so soon I can start to think again about cooking mega-curries.

Outside for my evening walk, it was raining quite heavily. But I did press on nevertheless although I didn’t stop for photos. However, I did manage my run and made it halfway up the ramp at the end. I’m definitely geting fitter.

Football on the Internet tonight. Caernarfon v Cardiff Met in the Welsh Premier League. We had a brief discussion about the possible score and someone reckoned 2-1 to the Cofis. And at the end of the match I asked him if he had a recommendation for the 3:30 at Kempton Park.

Caernarfon did indeed win 2-1 and it was the correct result too. But it was a very quiet match with nothing much of any excitement, which is a surrpise where Caernarfon is concerned.

It was bogged down in midfield for much of the match with very few chances for either team. In fact all that really happened was that each side scored a breakaway goal from a loss of possession in midfield, and the winner was a tap-in following up a saved penalty.

The number of chances that they had, apart from those, you could count on one hand although Will Fuller in the Met’s goal was busier than Alex Ramsey up at the other end.

It’s very late now because I’ve been dawdling, so I’ll go to bed for the few hours of sleep that remains.

Shopping tomorrow plus dicaphone notes and project files. And then the cycle will start again.

Saturday 11th May 2019 – WE HAD MORE …

… football this evening.

The second of the two Europa qualifying semi-finals, between Caernarfon Town and Cardiff Metro.

The match was certainly not without incident as the bundary wall behind the goal collapsed when Caernarfon scored a goal and about 50 fans, mostly young kids, spilled over onto the field. Luckily no-one was injured or hurt, but it held the game up 8 minutes.

We had another surprise result. Cardiff Metro won 3-2 away from home to a team that finished 3 places above them. But that was the correct result. Caernarfon’s players aren’t particularly skilful but have a tremendous team spirit and the huge crowds act as an extremely potent 12th man.

But the Met are a very skilful side, if horrendously inconsistent, but tonight once they got going they played well.

So they are away at Bala Town for the play-off final next weekend. Should be exciting.

Talking of exciting, the night-time was exciting too. We were at the football last night and it was the Welsh play-offs. Of the first game, it was the unexpected team that won, rather like last night – znd tonight too. And we were getting ready for the second. There was this huge monstrous type of guy there watching the game and I can’t remember very much about what he was doing right now, but we ended up back on Ocean Endeavour and off sightseeing. We came into a harbour that was very narrow and restricted, and there was some kind of red bar across the harbour to stop boats in the river being brought out by the tide and current. I had to go in and out of here on a zodiac and every time I went past this red bar I had to be verified. It was the same man verifying me all the time. he had to walk up to me, I had to anchor the boat, he’d check the boat over and we’d walk back in together. When I was going out we had to do the procedure in reverse. He would be wandering off checking all these boats and I wouldn’t be sure where he was going. I’d look around and he’d disappeared up some alley of boats. It reached the stage where the locals gathered to see this pantomime, me and this guy walking up this river every now and again. I could always tell when he disappeared because I would get hoots of laughter and derision as I was carrying on marching, so I’d have to stop and wait for him. He’d go off, check a boat and come back and follow me. It was all a big pantomime
Later on I’d been given a new job as a doctor. Actually we passed all the exams so I turned up at the place where my room was to be given to me. There was some kind of discussion about the rooms because we’d all had pre-printed visiting cards showing our room numbers but people had changed into different rooms. We had to move everyone around and sort that out. In the end I got my room, or rather the corner of a communal room of four people, all furnished in heavy oak like a private library. We had to go off somewhere and I could choose my company car. I chose an old Jag XJ-S convertible with a 56 plate. I took some people with me and the car ended up in a terrible state with rubbish everywhere. I had to vacuum it but I needed to be careful because I’d pulled some things out of my pocket earlier and all bits of important things like micro-SD cards were everywhere. I mustn’t hoover them up. We discussed getting back into the car later but the people in front of us had already gone. We wre in Telford at the time so someone asked if I knew the way back to Stoke on Trent. “Are we going past the such and such nightclub where we could have a good time or drive straight back?” I said that I wouldn’t be in work the next day. They asked why. I replied that I had an interview for a job. People were amazed that I was going to turn this one down but I said “not really. I had five interviews for jons and this one I was offered but I wan tto go to all the other interviews just to see what goes on and how things sit and practise my interviewing techniques”

After all of that, I was rather late leaving my bed, but not too late that I would be worried.

We had the usual medication and breakfast, followed by a shower and I forgot to do the washing, and then I went off shopping.

Today? I spent very little. I didn’t need much and what I did need wasn’t in stock. lIDL had nothing special, NOZ just had a couple of little bits and pieces (and more coconut sorbet) and LeClerc had just the usual, minus my vegan burgers.

Back here I unpacked and put everything away, and then dealt with a few things relating to the blog for yesterday.

After lunch (which was taken indoors and was a lovely fruit bread from LIDL) I attacked the photos for September 2015. These are now done back to Saturday 19th September, which means that there are a mere 18 to go. I’m hoping to finish that off and even October’s before I go to Leuven next weekend.

people on zodiac granville manche normandy franceThere was the usual afternoon walk of course, seeing as there’s no football tonight.

And I wasn’t the only one out and about either. The sea was humming with people out there enjoying themselves, including a dozen or so people having a run around the bay on a zodiac.

Makes me wish that I was out there with them. And who knows? one of these days I might be.

yachts montmartin sur mer granville manche normandy franceThat wasn’t all either.

WIth the new telephoto lens I can take some good distance photos without having to change lenses.

Right out there across the bay near Montmartin Sur Mer there seemed to be a sailing school out there today. Dozens of yachts are down there sailing around offshore

hang glider cemetery granville manche normandy franceAnd hang-gliders too.

Here’s one taking off from the place that they always use – at the back of the Christian Dior Museum by the cemetery.

And I think that that is an appropriate place for them to begin their adventures. If they make a false manoeuvre on taking off, they don’t have too far to go.

person sitting on beach granville manche normandy franceBut at least I was enjoying the weather out there.

Whoever this person is here, she clearly isn’t. And I can’t blame her either because I wouldn’t have liked to have been sitting on the beach.

The wind was far too strong for that and I wouldn’t have lasted five minutes.

crowds on beach plat gousset cherry picker granville manche normandy franceOut of the wind, though, the situation was better.

There were crowds of people walking along there on the promenade and even a few people sunning themselves on the beach. Clearly the wind wasn’t as strong down there.

And there was a cherry picker down there too. I’ll have to go and have a look down there to see what is happening.

ferry ile de chausey coming into port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThere was a lot of action on the sea today;

We’ve already seen quite a bit of it but as I wandered further on round on my route, I observed one of the ferries from the Ile de Chausey coming in to dock at the Marine Terminal.

Hordes of people on board today. And they must all have had a good time out at sea today.

woman playing accordion square maurice marland granville manche normandy francePlenty of entertainment on land too.

At the Square Maurice marland there was a woman sitting on a bench playing the accordion. I asked her if she would mind me photographing her, and she smiled and carried on playing.

This is one of the most bucolic events that I have witnessed since I’ve been here in Granville.

playing palet rue notre dame granville manche normandy franceAt least, it was until I went around the corner into the rue Notre Dame.

A group of young men were playing some sort of wierd game, so I went over to ask them about it.

The game is called palet and it’s played in several different regional variations. They were playing the Palet Breton.

This is a similar game to boules or petanque in that there’s a pion or target that is thrown onto the board, and each person stands 5 metres away from the board to throw in turn their discs onto the palet. And the closest to the pion wins.

In Palet Breton the discs are made of lead and about 50mm diameter. Other regions use different metals and/or different sizes.

And in the background two girls were playing open-air darts.

Tea tonight was out of a tin, but it was delicious nevertheless, especially with more apple pie and coconut sorbet.

yacht baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceThere was time for a quick walk and a chat with a neighbour.

The crowds were still out and about on the sea. This rather beautiful yacht was sailing around in the Baie de Mont St Michel. And I must admit to admiring thr colour scheme.

And then back to the apartment, the sofa and the internet for the football.

So now it’s a long lie-in tomorrow – at least I hope so. I’ve had a couple of little crashes today so I reckon a good sleep will do me the world of good.

people on zodiac granville manche normandy france
people on zodiac granville manche normandy france

Sunday 31st March 2019 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… night I had last night.

It seems as if I hadn’t slept for a single moment although on reflection I must have been because at one point I was off on a voyage somewhere and when I find my dictaphone I can tell you all about it.

However, tossing and turning all night, I was eventually up and about at 07:20, to find that it is of course 08:20 because the clocks went forward this morning and we are now on summer time.

And that’s rather appropriate right now what with me stripping off yesterday and it looking quite good this morning too.

And much to my surprise, and probably the surprise of regular readers of this rubbish, who recall that I don’t usually work on a Sunday, I had a very productive morning.

First task was to find a pile of information that someone had asked for. That involved downloading a pile of stuff from the internet and reviewing it. And then organising a couple of links.

Once I’d done that, it reminded me that I had a form to fill in and send off. This is going to commit me to something quite significant but it’s one of those things that if I don’t do it right now, I probably won’t ever to do it again, and not for the obvious reason either.

So that’s now out of the way, but I’m expecting some “further correspondence” about it all. It’s quite inevitable.

Thirdly, I realised that I hadn’t booked any of my travel and accommodation needs for my next trip to Castle Anthrax. And so that’s now done and at the same time I booked my train from Brussels to Leuven. Since I’ve been buying those tickets in advance, I’ve never had them checked at all. You can bet your life that the only time I’ll be asked for them will be the time that I forget to buy them.

Another thing that I needed to do was to obtain the complementary information for my new passport. So I did all of that, only to find that I was actually on the wrong site and ended up wasting $29:00 which I won’t ever get back. A moment’s inattention has cost me dear.

And finally, I needed to contact a friend in Toronto about some issue that I might be having. But for once, she’s not on line. And so I’ll need to think again about that or find another work-around.

All of that took me up to a rather late lunch, so forsaking my usul habits, I had lunch sitting on the sofa watching the football. Connah’s Quay Nomads in the Welsh Cup semi-final against Cardiff Metro.

The Nomads won 3-0, which might make you thing that it was a pretty one-sided match, but that was far from the case.

The Met hit the woodwork three times, and had Will Fuller in the met goal not been recovering from a serious injury that has kept him out for a year, he would have been off his line to intercept a long ball out of the Nomads’ defence that led directly to their third goal.

And so the final will be, rather predictably, between TNS and the Nomads and with TNS having beaten the Nomads on every occasion this year, the result should be a foregone conclusion.

swimmers on diving platform plat gousset granville manche normandy franceIt was walk-time after that. Around the walls with the crowds of people out enjoying the afternoon sun. And who can blame them too because it really was nice.

There were even a few people out there swimming, but I thought that that was rather extreme.

I’m not really convinced that I would have been happy to have been on the beach just now. Not in my cozzy anyway.

yachts baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceThere were crowds of yachts out there yesterday making the most of the weather.

And today, there were even more of them out there too. It was a shame though that there was so much haze on the horizon. You wouldn’t get to see very much out there.

One of these days I’m going to have to find a way to go out there for a sail around. I need to cultivate a couple of maritime mates.

There were things to do here when I returned but I ended up talking to a couple of people on the internet instead. I really need to stop being so distracted.

Later on, I made a huge cornish pasty.

While I was searching through the freezer the other day I came across a pile of curry that I had made for some project or other that had been left over. And so yesterday I had bought some rolled pastry only a square one this time, and this evening I put the stuff in it and folded it over.

While that was going on, I made my pizza and it was delicious. Even though I say it myself, it was the best that I have ever

On my evening walk around the headland I was totally alone. There wasn’t a soul about, even though it was still comparatively light.

But by the time that I came back I was so tired that I did only half of what I was intending, and then crawled into bed.

I’d had enough.

speedboat buoy granville manche normandy france
speedboat buoy granville manche normandy france

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france
crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france

Saturday 19th January 2019 – PART THREE …

… of “hunt the passport” continued today. And the result was exactly the same as Parts One and Two.

Even donning a pair of rubber gloves and sifting through two weeks of putrefying rubbish in the waste bin in the kitchen failed to produce a result.

The alarm went off as usual and in accordance with usual practice these days I was rather tardy in rising from the dead.

After breakfast I made a start on searching in the living room for the passport. That involved firstly going piece-by-piece through all of the cardboard and paper that had accumulated here over the last two weeks.

Once I’d done that, it all went into the back of Caliburn ready for the tip one of these days.

fibre optic cable granville manche normandy franceA little later I wandered off into town.

I’d noticed the other day that a strange sign had appeared by the archway into the medieval town, and I had overlooked to go and read what it was saying.

So I took the opportunity to go over there for a read, and it’s concerned with the roadworks for the fibre-optic cabling that is taking place all over Normandy.

First stop was the Bank. I know that they told me on the telephone that they didn’t have it, but it needed to be confirmed. And it was too, much to my dismay.

But over the road is the photo place, and I need a pile of photos for various things, so he rattled me off a quick pile of them.

On the way back I called into the market for a baguette and then wandered round to the Police Station to see if by any chance the passport had been found and handed in.

But as regular readers of rubbish might recall, it’s times like this that the Police Station is closed. Instead I went next door to the Carrefour and bought my rubber gloves.

bedford CF caravanette granville manche normandy franceOn my way down into town I’d noticed that our old friend (and “old” being the operative word) the Bedford CF was parked up in it usual place in the rue des Terreneuviers

And so on the way back up the hill to home, I took a photograph of it. It’s been a while since we’ve featured an old vehicle on here

It’s probably at least 35 years old, but it keeps on rolling along regardless. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall a few months ago that they were taking out the engine at the side of the road on one occasion that it was here.

Back at the flat, Jackie contacted me. No luck at the Deutsche Bahn either but at least the loss is recorded and I have a file number. So I printed out the report, printed out a copy of the passport (I keep a scan of all of my important documents “just in case”), put it all in the expired passport from 2010 and put that in my pocket.

If I’m controlled on my journey, at least I’ll have something to show for it.

After lunch I went through the waste bin and that was horrible with all of the stuff that was in there. But it had to be done and at least I know that it’s not in there.

But I couldn’t see the rail tickets from my visit just before Christmas, so I don’t know where they are. And so I reckon that wherever they are, my passport is there too.

It’s certainly not anywhere else in the house. I’ve been right through it so I’m reasonably sure of that, so how did I manage to write the passport number on the form that I have?

Tea was out of a tin tonight, and then we had the football. The Welsh League Cup between Cardiff Metropolitan and Cambrian & Clydach, the team from Tonypandy.

Cambrian & CLydach are from the Second Level but they did really well and took some impressive scalps on their way to the final. They played quite well with a couple of really good players, but Cardiff Metro had much more experience. Cambrian should have had a penalty early in the game, but they should also have had two men sent off in the first 35 minutes – one for a stamping and the other for an elbow.

Cardiff Metro scored a goal in the first half, and a second with the final kick of the game following a breakaway from a Cambrian corner, with the Cambrian keeper stranded upfield.

The game hinged on a substitution from Cambrian after 60 minutes. They brought on a really quick and tricky forward, but took off the experienced centre-forward Richard French. He’s big and muscular and throws his weight around and while he might not have all that much skill, he was making his presence felt and unsettling the defence quite considerably.

Cambrian had a good spell for about 10 minutes after the substitution, and had they had French up front, they might have made their pressure count.

So now it’s bedtime. An alarm in the morning because I have a train to catch. And I’m not looking forward to it.

Saturday 17th November 2018 – THAT WAS A …

… little bit more like it.

22:30 or thereabouts was when I went to bed, and it took me a while to go off to sleep. However, once I’d gone, I was well-gone and that was your lot until about 05:45. It’s not quite a good night’s sleep but it’s better than what else I’ve been having just recently.

I was off on my travels too during the night. On a coach as a passenger heading into the centre of Shrewsbury. Of course, it didn’t even bear a passing resemblance to Shrewsbury even though there was a good wide river there. We had city walls, low gates and crowds of people to deal with. We reached the drop-off point at the centre of town and while the bus was to turn round (which wasn’t easy around here) I said that I would wander off and take some photos. Of course, it goes without saying that I intended to spend much longer photographing than the bus would take to turn round, but I reckoned that the bus driver would cope. Why I never asked him to drop me off by the gate into the town and pick me up later was something that even in a nocturnal ramble I couldn’t understand.

With an early awakening we had an early rising and an early breakfast. And then there was some stuff that needed doing. I followed that up with a shower and then headed off to town and LIDL.

saturday market granville manche normandy franceThe town centre of Granville was like a ghost town this morning.

Not even half the market was there, not even half of the usual customers and probably no more than a dozen cars.

Normally on a Saturday there would be market stalls all over the square and the place would be heaving with people. However everyone seemed to be respecting this Day of Action against the tax hikes here.

shop window ledge rue couraye granville manche normandy franceWhen Josée was here just now, we spent a considerable amount of time discussing the lengths to which some people are going in order to inconvenience pedestrians and others – preventing them from sitting or lying down in sheltered places when they need to rest.

Walking up the rue Couraye this morning, my attention was caught by this window ledge and its … errr … decorations.

This is exactly the kind of thing that we were discussing. It’s the kind of thing that brings the town and the shop owner into disrepute.

christmas tree place de la gare granville manche normandy franceYou’ll remember a few days ago that I told you about the cherry-picker that seemed to be erecting Christmas decorations near the railway station.

So here we are at the place de la Gare and you’ll see that we have now acquired a Christmas tree.

One of these evenings I’ll go past it and see if it’s illuminated. It’ll be nice to see some Christmas lights.

Lidl was practically empty this morning, which was a surprise. But despite that, they didn’t have much that I needed.

On the way back, I met the guy to whom I gave the Solex a few months ago, and then took a diversion around the docks. The heap of gravel on the quayside is growing – it looks as if a gravel boat will be here sometime soon.

aztec lady port de granville harbour manche normandy franceDo you remember that strange-looking boat that we saw coming into the port the other day? She was still moored up here so I went for a closer inspection.

She’s called the Aztec Lady and she’s out of Cherbourg.

Built in Southampton in 1977, she spent the first 20-odd years of her life going to all kinds of places around the world but since 2000 she’s specialised in sailings out to the North Atlantic and the Arctic. I see that I shall have to make the acquaintance of the owners.

She’s back in port after having apparently spent the summer in Norway and out in Spitzbergen and the Lofoten Islands.

la grande ancre port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnother boat in the harbour right now is La Grande Ancre

We’ve seen her on many occasions, quite often taking stuff out to the Ile de Chausey and on one occasion there was even a large van on board being taken somewhere.

Today though it looks as if she’s kitted out for going mussel-catching.

new harbour gates port de granville manche normandy franceYou’ll also remember that for several months the harbour was closed while they replaced the tidal gates into the inner harbour.

It occurred to me that I hadn’t been over to see the new ones since they have been installed and that’s not like me at all, is it?

They certainly look impressive enough and should last quite a while. But you can see that the sea water has already left its mark on them

hydraulic ram tidal gates port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe weight of the water behind the gates must be really substantial so not only must the gates be of solid construction, so must the machinery for opening and closing the gates.

And this little lot looks as if it really could do the business.

I don’t think that I have ever seen a hydraulic ram quite as solid as this one. This should do the business.

goelands fish dock port de granville harbour manche normandy franceOn the other side of the entrance to the inner harbour is the fish dock.

Wandering around on here was this cute little family, mummy and two baby goélands scavenging for fish waste.

The little ones were making quite a racket – so much so that it was giving me a nasty tern

fish dock port de granville harbour manche normandy franceIt also seems that I haven’t taken a photo of the fish dock either.

To the right, it’s the tidal basin and the fishing boats tie up here when the tide is in. The catch off the commercial boats is lifted up here on the cranes to the fish processing plant.

The private fishers park their vehicles on the deck underneath where we are standing and they can unload their boats straight into their vehicles as we have seen in the past.

fish processing plant port de granville harbour manche normandy franceWe’ve not had a photo of the new fish-processing plant either.

There was an older one on the other quay, presumably dating from when the trawlers from Granville went out to the Grad Banks fishing for the cod. Marité was one of the Grand Banks fishing boats in its prime.

But since the Cod Moratorium in 1992, the Grand Banks are off-limits. Now the fishermen are engaged in fishing in smaller boats much closer to home.

Their catch goes into the side of the building where it’s processed and then comes out of the front into the refrigerated lorries that distribute it

Back here I had a little … errr … repose, and then made a huge pile of hummus. It has olives and garlic as well as some cumin. And it’s delicious too. It was a large jar of chick peas so it made a lot of hummus so there is plenty in the freezer.

After lunch, I installed the new printer. And that took longer than you might have expected too. Basically because the wireless connection didn’t recognise the printer and vice versa. In the end, I had to set it up with the USB cable and that defeats the whole point of having a wireless printer.

This evening there was football on the internet. Caernarfon v Cardiff Metro in the Welsh Premier League. And the wheels seem really to have come off the Metro as they slumped to yet another defeat. There was no spark in the side – they looked tired and totally lacking in enthusiasm. And, shame as it is to say it, Alex Lang in goal is not even a shadow of the keeper that Will Fuller was.

Caernarfon won 2-0 and didn’t even break sweat.

Add to that the fact that, much to everyone’s surprise, Llanelli won again, it means that the bottom of the table is becoming rather exciting as more and more teams are finding themselves sucked into a relegation scrap. And if the Met don’t do something quickly, they will be in there too.

After tea, which was out of a tin, I went for a walk around the Pointe du Roc. I was the only person out there which was no surprise because it was freezing out there and my ears certainly felt it.

Winter is acumen in without any mistake at all.

harbour gates port de granville harbour manche normandy france
And I forgot to post one of the photos of the walkway across the top of the gates into the port.