Tag Archives: caroline

Sunday 24th April 2022 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… my walk this afternoon took me around the medieval city walls to see what was happening around there.

And so while you admire the progress that they have been making with the repointing of the medieval city walls in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux and the Rue du Nord, I’ll tell you all about my rather quiet day today.

“Quiet” was definitely the word to use because it didn’t actually start until 11:40 when I finally fell, not without a great deal of difficulty, out of bed.

And even then I wasn’t really in all that much of a mood to do very much for a while.

repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022After brunch I eventually buckled down to work and the first task was to pair up the music of the next radio programme.

That didn’t take too long and then I turned my attention to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

There was a war on. The whole system of supply chains and everything was totally disrupted and nothing was being produced anywhere. One person organised something that churned out tonnes of stuff much quicker than anything else had ever been churned out and was rescuing people from cars (including a girl in a wheelchair whom I know), all kinds of things. It became some kind of by-word on the TV what he was doing but someone actually went behind the scenes afterwards and showed loads of collateral damage that had been done. This was really something that could only be done once because they couldn’t afford the damage that was being committed to the infrastructure and everything in doing it. There was litter and junk abandoned all over the place that couldn’t ever be used again. Barges were just emptied and dumped and didn’t go back for return loads etc.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was also something about a delivery service something like ours … “whose?” – ed … that had all kinds of weird and strange rules about delivery. They were catching people out because of the volume of stuff that they were sending. There was one case where they were sending stuff to be collected by a young family on behalf of a relative but were totally overwhelmed with packets. They had to bring in someone from the company to try to deal with all of these deliveries and deal with all of these children as well in this family who were being disturbed by the continual flow of parcels etc. Again there were parcels dumped all over the place. It was like a runaway juggernaut type of situation with these kids in a pram or pushchair and this guy from the parcel company trying to control them and the parcels, trying to obtain all of the address details changed etc. These two dreams were extremely stressful.

Finally there was a group of soldiers, an informal group who rode into a fort in order to help defend it. They eventually found where the colonel’s office was. He was totally intoxicated rather like the colonel in THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY. He told them to take their place wherever they thought fit. Having had a tour of the walls with the colonel, the guy in charge took a huge lump of bread and some cheese, pickels etc and went back to his men. He started to talk to them about the defence of the city and the battle and shared out the food amongst them.

When I listened to what was on the dictaphone, I was quite surprised. I was convinced that there was much more than this too. I had the feeling that I was awake for much of the night dictating into the dictaphone. I know that in the past I’ve caught myself dictating into my hand instead of the dictaphone and I wonder if I’ve been doing that again.

All of this took me up to the time when I would usually go for walkies around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But as I had made up my mind to go around the walls this afternoon I made a little diversion to have a look over the wall at the end of the car park to see who was down on the bach this afternoon.

Although there was quite a strong wind it was really bright and sunny this afternoon and so there wre quite a few people down there, not that there was an awful lot of beach to be on right now.

No-one actually brave enough to put their feet in the water though. It wasn’t actually that warm. That will probably be for another time later on. There are a couple more Bank Holidays coming up imminently

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While I was out there looking down at the beach I had my roving eye looking around out at sea.

Although there was quite a haze out there and not even the Ile de Chausey was visible, there was plenty of activity just offshore. There was a cabin cruiser and a couple of speedboats for a start, and probably a few other things that I couldn’t make out.

No fishing boats though – they must all be having a day off today.

So I pushed on … “pushed off” – ed … along the path down past where they were repairing the medieval city walls, dodging the English family with the dog who were trying to negotiate the scaffolding.

But the repairs are continuing along the Rue du Nord right now, even though the big crack in the walls where they have been repairing is filling me with some kind of concern.

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022From the Place du Marché aux Chevaux I passed through the arch and along the path underneath the walls where I used to go running all that time ago.

Down at the viewpoint overlooking the beach at the Plat Gousset I stopped to have a look down there to see what was happening.

The summer season hasn’t officially started yet. The promenade cabins haven’t arrived on the Plat Gosset yet and the diving platform on the pillar hasn’t been put back. I imagine that that’s for some other time later on.

The tidal swimming pool is looking nice though, although no-one is taking advantage of that right now either.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022From there I continued on to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Maréchal Foch.

As well as the vertical-axis wind turbine spinning around in the foreground, we had lots of people milling around on the beach and on the Plat Gousset. The fine weather has certainly brought them out in their droves.

Even the seagull that bombed the photograph on the extreme left-hand edge seemed to be enjoying itself too as it prepares to alight on the roof of the casino down there.

seagull nesting rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While we’re on the subject of seagulls … “well, one of us is” – ed … it’s that time of year again.

The town’s gardeners have been out cutting the grass and the seagulls have been collecting it. They’ve built all of their nests on the roofs of the houses and they are now settling down to lay their eggs.

In a couple of weeks we might catch sight of the eggs and then we can watch the seagull chicks slowly growing up. I shall have to make a note to come by this way more often in order to watch the events as they unfold until the chicks are ready to fly away.

planters square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Here in the Square Maurice Marland there have been a few more developments too.

A few years ago they spent a lot of money renovating the square and then the let it run to seed somewhat. At one time just recently it was looking quite shabby.

However, while I’ve not been paying attantion, they have been slowly bringing it back into condition.

These planters are quite new. They certainly weren’t here before. I wonder what we’re going to see planted in them.

marité belle france ch711273 hermes 1 ch651332 hera ch639451 philcathane ch642969 Galapagos sm734551 hermine Bastien Steeven pl626645 Le P'tit Caprice port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Back into town there wasn’t anything happening so I went to have a look at the port.

With having seen no fishing boats out at sea this afternoon I was expecting to see them all in the harbour. And they certainly were there too.

Quite a few whom we have seen before, like Hermes I, Hera, Philcathane and Galapagos but there are a couple there who are strangers. SM734551 is called Hermine Bastien Steeven, the SM telling us that despite her Dutch name, is from Saint Malo, and PL626645 is called Le P’tit Caprice, registered down the coast at Paimpol in Brittany.

Marité and Belle France are in there today too which is a surprise. They ought to be out at sea earning their keep with a couple of loads of tourists.

Back here I had a coffee and then sat down with the guitar. On the playlist earlier, the song ROLL ME AWAY had come round. When I listened closely to it, I reckoned that it was a fairly simple chord progression so I sat down to work it out.

And it works too. So for my next trick I’ll work out a bass line to it.

Regular readers will recall that I said in the past that I won’t add any more songs to my own acoustic playlist set until I can master the ones there, but this particular one has always been a favourite of mine and it has a certain significance.

“Stood alone on a mountain top
Starin’ out at the Great Divide
I could go East, I could go West
It was all up to me to decide”

Doesn’t that remind me of when I was standing up there on the HIGH PLAINS OF WYOMING in 2002?

And what about
“12 hours out of Mackinaw City
Stopped in a bar to have a brew
Met a girl and we had a few drinks
And I told her what I’d decided to do
She looked out the window a long long moment
Then she looked into my eyes
She didn’t have to say a thing
I knew what she was thinkin’
Roll, roll me away
Won’t you roll me away tonight
I too am lost, I feel double-crossed
And I’m sick of what’s wrong and what’s right
We never even said a word
We just walked out and got on that bike
And we rolled
And we rolled clean out of sight
We rolled across the high plains
Deep into the mountains
Felt so good to me
Finally feelin’ free
Somewhere along a high road
The air began to turn cold
She said she missed her home
I headed on alone”
?

And the air certainly was cold where we were at the time that all of this was going on. Yes, one day I really will, I promise you, write about those three missing days on my blog.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Tea tonight was, as usual, a vegan pizza.

After lunch I’d taken out a lump of frozen dough from the freezer and it had been happily defrosting during the afternoon. When I’d finished what I’d needed to do I rolled it out and when it had proofed I assembled it.

After last week’s unsatisfactory attempt when it was overcooked, I turned the oven down slightly today and that produced a much better effort. I didn’t break any teeth this evening.

But I’m off to bed in a minute. An early start and a radio programme to complete. And two to send off – I mustn’t forget that, as I’m not here next week.

Well, in fact I’m not all here at any time but let’s not bog ourselves down in semantics.

Friday 19th November 2021 – JUST A FEW …

… more brief notes because I’m in the middle of watching a football match and when it’s finished I’m off to bed because I have to get up at 05:00.

And I do remember that I said that I was going to update the notes from yesterday but unfortunately things didn’t quite work out like that. Not the least reason being the fact that I had yet another bad night last night and I ended off drifting into sleep a couple of times this afternoon when I should have been working.

It felt as if I didn’t have any sleep at all last night but considering the amount of stuff that was on the dictaphone from last night I must have fallen asleep several times.

I was out in Caliburn last night, going from Winsford to Crewe and it was very late. I couldn’t think of what was wrong. I’d been driving for a few hundred yards and I suddenly realised thet I had no headlights. I looked around and there were no electrics of any kind working in the van. Just then I was going past a farm so I pulled into the farm yard to get off the road before someone ran into the back. Jerry and Mike were there, leading some camels with kids on them. They passed in through Caliburn and out the other side and then came back that way. They asked me what I was doing so I explained. They had a few suggestions but I suggested that it was the main fuse that had gone. Jerry said “hang on. We’ll have a look” and lifted up the bonnet but said “ohh it’s a new Transit and I don’t know these ones”. I had a look and saw that the battery had shifted position so I put it back. Sure enough, there was the main fuse underneath the battery and it had broken. Some woman came by now from the farm and asked what was going on. I explained to her but she replied “we don’t have one of those”. I said that I’d have to order one but in the meantime I was sure that I could rig up something so that I could carry on driving and do whatever I had to do.
Later on there was something about dressing up in fancy dress in the Welsh class. One guy had dressed as a canwyll yr ysbryd but I thought that he should have been more like a ghost with a sheet over him as well while he was doing it. There was quite a lot to this dream but I can’t remember any more than that
Some time later I’d been out with with my friend from Congleton. She lived somewhere out beyond Manchester but I was far too tired to take her home so she arranged for her mother to come and pick her up from my family home which was actually where she lived in Congleton. We stopped somewhere for a quick flirt about, something like that, and then I drove back. She said “don’t park where you normally park. Pull up across the road” because her aunt had parked there once and a policeman had come along and moved her on
Finally someone was making a film about the Great Train Robbery. Of course they were disguising all the names and the names of towns and so on but it was quite clear what it was. I had some kind of rôle to play in it. I was on my way to the garage where everyone was assembling. There was a policewoman directing traffic so I had a chat to her. She was saying how glad she was going to be to get off work at the end of her shift. I thought “you’re going to have a surprise later on in that case”. I arrived at the garage and everyone was trying to organise themselves but there were still a few things that weren’t working. There was this red MkV Cortina and they couldn’t make the flashers work on it. One guy was frustrated and put a great big dent in the boot. The I noticed that a few of the things were going wrong in this organisation. Some of the equipment wasn’t up to much. I immediately thought that this was going to be a catastrophe. Everyone would be caught quite quickly because of all this. I recommended not sharing out the money until much later when the hue and cry had died down a little. Someone there had guns and everything like that. I could see that several tragedies are going to arise in this affair if we weren’t careful.

When the alarm went off I staggered out of bed for my medication and then checked my mails and messages. Liz was on line too so we had a little chat for a while.

Today’s task was to choose the music for the next four radio programmes and that took far longer than it ought to have done as well. Mind you, had I been wide awake and in the mood to work I could have done it a lot quicker than I did

After breakfast I went out for a walk. I needed a bread knife because there isn’t one here,

outdoor market herbert hooverplein leuven Belgium photo November 2021Down at the end of the Tiensestraat I came once more into the Herbert Hooverplein.

Being earlier than usual, the outdoor market here was in full swing.

This is the kind of place like one of these Middle-Eastern or North African street markets – apart from the weather of course. You can buy absolutely everything imaginable here, including bulbs for planting in the garden

Surprisingly, there didn’t seem to be too many customers around right now. It’s not actually that late in the morning. I would have expected the place to be heaving with folk.

outdoor market monseigneur ladeuzeplein leuven Belgium photo November 2021The market stretches on around and into the Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein.

Standing underneath the arches to the entrance to the University Library I have a good view of all of the stalls and what they are selling.

The University Library is the same one that was burnt by the Germans during the Sack of Leuven in 1914 and all of the books, some as old as 1300 years, went up in flames.

Collections were made throughout the World to rebuild the building and to restock it, so the Germans came by in 1940 and burnt it again.

house building diestsestraat leuven Belgium photo November 2021Sown in the Diestsestraat are a couple of cheap shops that sell household equipment so I wen to try my luck there.

First though, I went to have a look at the house-building that’s been going on down there.

They are actually making reasonable progress which is quite a surprise considering that this is Belgium where they seem to be taking their time about most of these building projects.

And you’ve no idea how hard it was to actually find a bread-knife around Leuven. I tried several shops in the Diestsestraat but had no success.

While I was out I went to Delhaize to buy the salad stuff and fruit for lunch today and for my butties tomorrow on my way home. And in Hema, a more-upmarket kitchen shop near Delhaize, I finally found a bread knife at a reasonable price, so I can make my sandwiches in peace,

man filming grote markt leuven Belgium photo November 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that taking photos of people taking photos is a regular occurrence in these pages.

Today I was eben more lucky because there was someone actually filming here with a film-camera. However I couldn’t see what it was that he was actually filming, and he didn’t stay long.

Back at my little room, after lunch I carried on with the music, fighting off wave after wave of sleep, mostly very unsuccessfully. However, at least it was only 10 minutes here and there, not several hours as was the case a couple of months ago.

Tea was falafel and pasta followed by soya dessert, and now I’m settling down to watch the football. TNS v Newtown.

TNS won the match 2-0 but it would have been a totally different story had the referee awarded maybe even one of the stonewall penalties that I would have awarded to Newtown had I been refereeing it.

And this is, shame as it is to say it, the first time that i’ve ever seen TNS set out to kick an opposing player off the park. As I have said before, Lifumpa Mwandwe is far too good for this league but he’s not going to last long in it if in other matches he’s kicked about as much as he was tonight.

Saturday 2nd October 2021 – YOU’RE PROBABLY WONDERING …

… why there aren’t any photos today. Well, read on.

Last night I didn’t finish my journal entry because I almost fell asleep on my chair and in any case it was almost bed time so I posted what I’d done and went to bed.

It was another depressing night, tossing and turning and not really going into a deep sleep at all, although there must have been some at some point because there was stuff on the dictaphone.

Once again, I awoke in a deep sweat – it seems to be happening almost every night now and why I note them is because it’s one of the things that they always ask me at hospital.

After the medication I came in here to organise a few things. With these new sleeping hours there isn’t time to do much before I have to go out to the shops.

Windy, grey and damp this morning but that’s enough about me. So was the weather.

At Noz they didn’t have a lot although there was some kind of book sale so I bought a couple more to add to my library.

LeClerc was an expensive shop because I bought more coffee. I always go for the instant coffee in the silver paper containers rather than glass jars to save on waste and (of course) they are lighter for me to carry upstairs – that’s the kind of state that I’m in these days.

They never seem to have any when I need some and last week I had to buy a different variety that I don’t like all that much. But this week they had my preferred brand so I added a packet to the weekly shop to keep in store.

As I mentioned earlier, the weather was windy, damp and overcast. When I went out of LeClerc it was teeming down with a torrential downpour of rain, the kind of downpour that we haven’t had for ages. From the end of the covered parking to where I park Caliburn is about 30 metres but I was soaked and so were the paper bags with my fruit and veg in them.

By the time I reached home it was pouring down even more, and that’s exactly how it stayed until at least it went dark. And if anyone thinks that I’m going out in that, they are mistaken.

Back here I put away the frozen food and then made a coffee. And while I was drinking it, I turned my attention to the dictaphone. I downloaded the files onto the computer but then I remembered that I had no hummus for lunch.

Luckily I had everything that I needed

At some point during the night Barbararling – and it’s probably been 10 years since she last featured in a nocturnal ramble so what’s made her reappear? – was there in her role as mother of Zero but I don’t remember much of that at all, which is a shame. Wouldn’t I have liked to have known how this would have ended?

Somewhat later I’d gone to look at the new building to where I was moving. I was in the laundry on the 1st floor and to get down onto the ground floor I somehow missed the stairs and slid down a kind of post thing and ended up in the foyer. The foyer was full of plants that were not in very good condition but were giving off tons of fruit. All the people there were discussing the plants and fruit and what needed to be done. I happened to say something and someone asked “are you moving in?”. I replied “yes, on the 12th”. I’d gone and had a quote for a kitchen and some kitchen fitters and I was checking out the apartment but I couldn’t get in, something like that. So these people started to talk and they knew the person who was moving and thought “thank God she’s going”. Everyone said that they had seen her packing and driving off with some stuff. They tried to find the advert for me in a magazine for the property that was on sale but we couldn’t find it. Then the German army turned up and started to interrogate everyone quite roughly.

Finally, I was in New Brunswick last night as well. There were some people whom I knew who had a laboratory and making dangerous drugs. They sent some off in a car to someone and they rang him up to tell them that they were on their way. Someone said something about the last time the shipment was intercepted by the police and this guy went totally berserk and completely wrecked the apartment building where he was living.

After lunch I sat down and carried on with the journal entry from yesterday, but only in a half-hearted way because I’ve been shuffling the music around.

There are 6 groups of artists, grouped at random, each with about 50 artists, and I alternate from one group to the next so that I’m not playing the same group all the time. But over the last year or so it seems to have settled down into a rut so I wanted to shake things up a little.

No walk of course but I made a coffee all the same and carried on with my work.

While I was looking through my messages I came across a video of the highlights of Y Barri v Y Drenewydd from this afternoon, a match in which Y Drenewydd won 0-3.

And I’ll ask the same question that I asked a few weeks ago – “whatever is Lifumpa Mwandwe doing playing in the Welsh pyramid?”. He’s a country mile above everyone else whom I’ve ever seen.

Tea tonight was baked potato, veg and a couple of those small breaded soya burgers that I bought ages ago and froze. That’s the last of those which is a shame because I liked them.

Now that I’ve finished my notes I really feel that I ought to stick my head out of the window to see if the weather has eased off and if so, go for a walk, but I’m not up to that.

Instead, I’m going to have a little relax before going to bed. Make the most of my evening and have a nice lie-in tomorrow. And then bake my fruit bread because I’ve run out.

Sunday 29th August 2021 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… big fall today. Something along the lines of when I fell a couple of years ago when I dislocated my knee and broke my hand. This time, I landed on my knee and on my elbow and I have gravel rash just about everywhere.

Whatever else I have done remains to be seen, of course but at the moment I’ve cleaned my knee and I have an antiseptic pad on my elbow.

One gets the impression that it’s not safe for me to be allowed out without a keeper.

This morning I finally had a lie-in – until all of about 09:30. It was actually rather earlier than that because someone sent me a text message round about 08:30 but if anyone thinks that I’m going to respond at that time of morning on a Sunday they are mistaken.

After the medication I came back in here to do some work but after a short while I was disturbed by a phone call. I have a appointment to see a neighbour at 14:00 but could I come now?

We had a very lengthy chat for several hours about a project that I have in mind and she gave me a load of informatio which I could put to a great deal of use.

That took me all the way up to lunch and then for the first part of this afternoon I’ve been teaching myself how to write, synchronise and add subtitles to video files. It’s rather time-consuming and took me a while to figure it out, but now everything is working exactly as it should and I’m quite pleased with what I did.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat took me all the way up to my afternoon walk outside.

It goes without saying that the first port of call is the beach to see what is happening, so I wandered off across the car park to have a look over the wall.

There were quite a few people down there on the beach today which is no surprise as it’s about the last day of the holiday season. And chapeau to those who are going into the water because there is quite a lot of wind today and it’s really cold in all of that heavy cloud shadow.

zodiac speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I had one eye out on the beach, the other eye was, as usual, looking out to sea to see what I could see.

Unfortunately, there was nothing big sailing around the bay this afternoon, even though the tide was in and the harbour gates were open. All that I could see was a speedboat out at sea, and a zodiac full of fishermen hidden in the shadow of the cloud.

No sign whatsoever of Marité and La Granvillaise which is strange seeing as this is really their last opportunity to rake in the cash.

So off I set along the path, where I met my Waterloo. Face-down in the gravel and I could only just about manage to find the strength to drag myself to my feet.

It reminds me of the time that Hugh Paddick and Kenneth Williams fell overbaord from a lifeboat.
“Did you drag yourselves up?” asked Kenneth Horne
“Oh no” they replied. “We were dressed quite casually”.

belle france speedboat brittany coast baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallStaggering off down the path, covered from head to foot in dust, I went down to the end of the headland.

As I reached the end of the path by the lighthouse, aroud the headland came one of the Joly France ferries. This one is Belle France, the newest of the fleet that came in to port earlier in the summer.

The lunchtime train from Paris came in at 14:10 or thereabouts and will have brought in passengers who will be going over to the island for a out-of-season holiday. Belle France will be bringing back the people who are going to be taking the evening train to the metropolis.

Managing to keep on my feet, I tottered across the car park and down to the end of the headland. Surprisingly, there was nothing going on out in the bay around there so I headed off towards the port.

chausiase joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere wasn’t any change in occupancy in the chantier naval today. Still the same seven boats as before.

Instead, I had a good look around the port to see what else was happening in the port. I could see Chausiaise, the Ile de Chausey freighter over there at the ferry terminal waiting for things to happen.

Behind her up against the other side of the ferry terminal is another one of the Joly France ferries. This is the more recent of the older two ferries, with the rectangular windows in “portrait” format.

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere wasn’t anything else of note happening over there so I pushed off further along the path.

The Galeon Adalucia is still there moored in the harbour. I wanted to take a photo of it today because this is possibly the last time that we shall be seeing it. Someone was telling me that she’s hitting the road tomorrow for St Brieuc.

She’s still pulling in the crowds as you can see. There are masses of people over there on the quayside taking a last look at her before she goes.

And talking of going, I’m going too, back to my apartment.

red microlight ulm place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back home I was interrupted by a familiar noise going past overhead.

Luckily I had the camera ready so I was able to snap it as it went by overhead. It’s the red microlight, or powered hang-glider or whatever she calls herself. We haven’t seen her for a good couple of days.

Back here, I paired off the tracks for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday, and the unfortunately I fell asleep for half a hour.

Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone to attract my attention today

I started off on board a ship like the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR only this time I was someone else – a female. I had Zero with me and I wanted to see how she would respond to certain stimuli. I asked on the internet if anyone had any marijuana or cannabis to smoke and if so would they like to bring it round and share it with the 3 of us and see what happened as the drug unfolded. And I have no idea whatever about what was going on here.

There had been a few Hollywood films made with a low budget or even no budget as a strike had hit hard but all of a sudden it cleared up. This meant that this thing with Zero was back on the agenda. How it cleared up was that I was treating a girl not much older than that who had broken her hand. I was a real guessing game and I had to work it out in the end which I did, and the question of how she was going to get back to hospital. I didn’t want to run her because I was waiting to catch up my beauty sleep. It turned out that the traffic was all flowing again so she’ll get something or other (I must stop mumbling) from down the south coast for which I was grateful. She was talking about she’d rung up her brother and gave me her brother’s phone number. Luckily he answered me and said that he would come and fetch her for which I was grateful.

Later, I wanted to go and look at a car somewhere or other and asked my father to come with me. In the end he said that he would come with me one morning which meant that I’d be late for work. I took my car in to the garage and left it there. I asked them where there were any decent cars because I was retiring. He pointed to a garage about a mile down the road which I said that I knew but which occasionally had some old bangers in and a few other cars but I didn’t think that that was the kind of place that was of any interest. I went back to the office at 09:00 and my father was standing outside. We set off and somehow we ended up in this museum having a look round. We became separated and were having a look. It was pretty crowded. Then I thought “this isn’t getting anything done, is it? I’ll be without a car, I’ll be late for work, all this kind of thing”.

Now here’s a thing!

Here I am, at home on a Sunday with nothing much going on today, and I HAVEN’T had pizza for tea. So what happened there?

Yesterday, I’d taken a frozen burger in breadcrumbs out of the freezer in order to have it for tea but with Rosemary phoning me, I’d ended up missing my meal.

Meanwhile, the burger had defrosted so it needed to be eaten. There were a couple of older small potatoes hanging around so I finished off all of that with some vegetables.

So now, an early night. I need to be on form tomorrow so I don’t intend to hang around.

And any case, I’m sick to death of this keyboard.

Thursday 11th March 2021 – IT’S BEEN ANOTHER …

storm waves high winds port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… miserable and depressing day again. And while you admire the force of the waves smashing down on the sea wall in the storm this afternoon I’ll tell you all about it.

It actually started off quite well and once again I was out of bed just after the first alarm went off despite the rather later night than I intended.

After the medication I had a listen to where I’d been during the night. One of my younger sisters – I can’t remember which one – had had an accident and was paralysed from the waist down. She was having to get all new stuff from school so I had to take her to the shop where the school uniforms were. While we were searching for the rooms we came across the right room for the blue and white pinafore skirts and grey tunics, that kind of thing. We started to make a list of things that she needed for next year. Then she got out of her wheelchair and very unsteadily went towards looking at the pens and papers, that kind of thing. I thought that she ought to go back in her chair because she wasn’t fit enough to be walking around. I had one or two words with her about going back to sit in her wheelchair again.

storm waves high winds port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on, there was something strange happening in a big office. It was necessary to follow some people and record their movements. I’d been on the lookout for suitable people to do this. I’d been driving around the hospital in a tractor and trailer and came across a young boy and his mother – his mother had been visiting the boy. I thought of going to ask them if they could do this but I had the tractor stuck. It meant a lot of reversing around. I ended up back in the public area in the library and TOTGA was in. She’d already done this a few times for me so I waited until she turned up and I asked her if she would do it again. I asked if she had all of the paperwork. She replied that she had left it all at home. I said “never mind. We’ll have to start again from scratch”.

storm waves high winds port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on Caroline put in an appearance too. This is the first time for quite a while that she’s put in an appearance in a nocturnal ramble.

There was much more to it than all of this too, but firstly I’ve forgotten most of it and what I didn’t forget, it’s not the kind of thing that you would be interested in hearing, especially if you are having your tea right now.

First task after I’d finished my dictaphone notes was to attack the day’s quantity of photographs. Another 20 went the way of the west today and I’m now wandering around Nuuk in Greenland looking at the sculptures.

storm waves high winds port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s only another 360 to review for July and then there are … gulp … 2500 or so for August and then a pile for September and October too. Then 2019 will be up to date.

When all of that is done, then I have to update all of the blog entries for that period, and I still haven’t worked out how I’m going to write about the three missing days in September when I was having … errr … certain issues.

Once I’d organised myself properly I wandered of and had a shower to make myself look pretty. That is of course a job that takes a darn sight longer than it ought to do as you can imagine.

The last thing that I really felt like doing was to go to the shops this morning. I really wasn’t feeling like it. But I hauled myself out and set off in the gale.

trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a trawler out there in the harbour, just pulling away from the Fish Processing Plant. At first, I thought that it was going to be heading back out to sea but instead it headed off across the harbour and went to tie up over there.

She’ll be in good company over there too. Tied up over there where she has been for quite a while just recently is La Grande Ancre. It’s not like her to be moored up for very long without moving.

There were some guys up there on the top of the quayside and by the looks of things they were unloading that red van. I wonder if they are going to be loading up one of the fishing boats ready to go out on a voyage.

unloading cargo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThursday is usually the day that we see Normandy Trader in the port. At the moment though the harbour gates are closed and she isn’t in there as yet.

But there’s a lot of activity going on down there right now with the unloading of a lorry and a pile of timber. I suppose that this means that she’ll be in here at the earliest possible opportunity.

From there I pushed on to LIDL for the shopping. I didn’t really need all that much but I bought what I thought that I needed. They had some more of these mis-shapen carrots at €1:59 for 2kg (1kg of normal carrots cost €1:29) so I bought a pack. I’m getting rather low on carrots right now.

On the way back I was caught in a rather dramatic shower and was soaked to the skin. But luckily the rain didn’t last for too long and the sun came out quite quickly afterwards.

Back here I had my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread, and then I came in here and … errr … fell asleep. I don’t know how long I was out but by the time I’d gathered my wits together after I awoke, it was 14:25. I made it about 2.5 hours that I was out, all told.

After lunch, I came back in here and shame as it is to say it, I fell asleep again and was late going out for my afternoon walk.

storm at sea beach rue du nord plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallTaking the correct camera with me today, I wandered off outside.

The storm that had been blowing up this morning was now raging outside. You can see from the whitecaps on the waves that we were having our money’s worth this afternoon. With the tide being well in, there wasn’t much beach to be on but even so, there wasn’t anyone at all down there picking their way around the rocks. It wasn’t the kind of weather to be down there.

For a change just recently, the view along the coast and inland was fairly clear today and you could see a good way into the distance although it was hazy yet again out at sea.

fishing boat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith the tide being well in, all of the fishing boats were on their way home.

Coming in from the English Channel braving the wild water was one of the smaller shellfish boats. That’s not the kind of boat in which I would like to be out there in all of this.

There were just two or three people walking around the headland today so there was no issue about social distancing. Apart from the boats that we have seen, there wasn’t anything happening out there at sea.

My route took me over the lawn and through the car park to the end of the headland but there was nothing exciting happening there either so I headed off along the path on top of the cliffs.

The storm was totally wild out here, as you have seen from the photos that I posted earlier. The waves were crashing away over the sea wall and the poor people out there were being soaked.

joly france chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver at the ferry terminal this afternoon there seems to be quite a lot of activity.

Both of the Joly France boats are over there right now, presumably making use of the ferry terminal, and that means that Chausiais has had to move out. She’s been obliged to moor up against the outer wall of the inner harbour.

Down at the chantier navale there was a hive of activity with people wandering around working on the boats that were down there. Still the same four boats though. We haven’t had any change in occupancy for a week now.

trawlers unloading fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I went out to the shops this morning there were five refrigerated lorries parked at the Fish processing Plant.

That means that despite the heavy storm and high winds, they are expecting a good catch coming into port. And sure enough, there were plenty of fishing boats down there this afternoon unloading at the wharf.

As well as the crowds on top hauling the stuff off to the Fish Processing Plant, there are several vehicles on the lower level belonging to private enterprises such as local seafood shops taking away the shellfish from the boats that they charter.

Back here, I had my coffee and the last of my coffee cake, and then I peeled, diced and blanched half of the carrots that I had bought this morning. As well as that, I fed the sourdough and the ginger mother-solution.

The guitar practice went OK and then I had tea – taco rolls with the remainder of the stuffing from the other day. The apple pie was delicious too.

During the day here and there while I’ve been doing other things, I’ve been doing some more of the file duplicates. I’m now up to 1.05TB of free space. From here now, it’ll be a very slow crawl file by file.

But I won’t be doing any more tonight. I’ve had a bad day and I’m exhausted. I’m off to bed early because tomorrow I have a lot to do. I have to go to Valognes near Cherbourg to have my first vaccination and on the way home I have to stop off and repair a computer. Such are the exciting things that I get to do.

Tuesday12th September 2017 – I’M IN GOOSE …

bed labrador canada september septembre 2017… Bay right now, and this bed-and-breakfast is far too posh for me. Even the spare toilet rolls in the bathroom have little hats on.

But then I shouldn’t even be here. I should have been staying somewhere else but according to mine host here, the guy whom I’m looking for is “out of town” and that’s a huge disappointment.

It means that yet another one of my projects has tombé à l’eau, as they say back home in France.

Last night, I had another disturbed night’s sleep – maybe crashing out for an hour or two in the afternoon yesterday didn’t help. But it took ages to go off to sleep, and I was tossing and turning all night.

But I was on my travels too. Back running my business and it was a Saturday morning, really quiet, and so I wandered away. I ended up at a house ful of people who were visiting someone who was quite ill.People were being let in to see this person two at a time, and there was a lot of noise coming from that room. Eventually it was my turn, and found that the sick person was another former friend of mine. She had a puppy with her – apparently her cat had died. She wasn’t interested in talking much about anything serious – just chatting about nothing. I asked her why her house was surrounded by scaffolding and she gave me a weird look. The other person there said that the house was a wreck and falling down, and this was apparent, although the house wasn’t as bad as the one next door.
Somewhere along the line I was in my bedroom when I noticed a young rat in there. That filled me with dismay.

cartwight experience labrador canada september septembre 2017After breakfast, I set out to tidy up my living accommodation, and that took me longer than i intended too.

And then I had to take it all out and load it into Strider. Luckily I’d tidied him out the other dayso that didn’t take too long.

I could also take a photo of the caravan too. Expensive, but it was the only thing available and I was quite comfortable in there.

cartwright experience labrador canada september septembre 2017And so I went to cash up, and it wasn’t quite as painful as I was expecting. But then again, to do things like this you need to bite the bullet.

It also gave me an opportunity for Strawberry Moose and me to say goodbye to our crew.

Nothing had been too much trouble for them. I was made very welcome and I’ll be delighted to go back and carry out a further exploration.

labrador canada september septembre 2017The road into Cartwright the other day was beautiful and well-worth a photograph. But with it being late afternoon, I had the sun in my eyes to the west.

Not so this morning though. I have the sun at my back and the view is even better.

That’s Main Tickle over there again, I reckon.

muddy bay labrador canada september septembre 2017Somewhere down there, I reckon, is Muddy Bay where the orphanage was.

It’s impossible, apparently, to go there by road and so we were obliged to go by boat the other day.

But the weather was nothing like as good as it is today and so the photography wasn’t as good as it might have been,
and that was disappointing.

paradise river labrador canada september septembre 2017At a certain point the Métis Trail goes over the brown of a hill and just for a brief moment there’s a view in the distance of what I reckon might be Paradise River.

You can see why Cartwright gave it its name, can’t you?

This new zoom lens that I have bought is doing really well and while it’s not as sharp as I like, it’s producing the goods fair enough.

native living paradise river labrador canada september septembre 2017Cartwright wasn’t clearly the only one who considered it to be Paradise.

It looks as if a native Canadian has chosen this spot for his homestead and, honestly, who can blame him?

It’s the kind of place where most of us would like to settle if we have the chance – and I’ll show you my preferred spot in due course.

labrador city 813 kilometres canada september septembre 2017This is one of the places where we always stop to take a photograph as we drive by – it’s where the Métis Trail rejoins the Labrador Coastal Drive.

It’s the first place where Labrador City appears on the signs – only 813 kilometres away – and it’s only another 500 or so kilometres from there to the North Shore of the St Lawrence and Highway 138.

And I’m not going to be there for a good while yet.

rest area labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017Although this is one of my favourite spots on the Labrador Coastal Drive, this isn’t my ideal place – at least, from a personal point of view.

But with a stretch of 414 kilometres without fuel and any kind of facilities whatsoever, this would be the ideal spot for a couple of fuel pumps, a small motel, a little food shop and coffee bar.

But of course they won’t let me in live permanently in Canada, will they?

police interaction lorry labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017Around here on the dirt road the speed limit is 70kph. And although I was doing … err … about 70 kph I was passed by a lorry as if I were standing still.

A few kilometres further on, there he was on the side of the road, receiving the care and attention of the local Highway Enforcement Office, a member of which was busily writing out a ticket.

It’s the first time EVER that I’ve seen Highway Enforcement out here, and if anything is a sign that times, they are a’changing, then this is it.

highway labour camp labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017Somewhere hidden in those trees is another sign of the times – a Highway Labour Camp.

And they need it too because the road – bad when it was new in 2010 – was even worse in 2014, worse still in 2015 and absolutely disgraceful this year.

They can’t let it disintegrate much more than this, surely?

arctic meadows labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017One of the main arguments put forward about the veracity of the Norse sagas of Vinland concerns the cattle.

The Norse are said to have brought cattle with them, and how they had them grazing in the meadows. This is dismissed as fantasy by the critics.

But there certainly are peri-Arctic meadows in this region – dozens of them in fact, and from what I have seen there are more and more of them developing as the forests are cleared, whether by fire or other means.

labrador canada september septembre 2017Another thing that there are plenty of are eskers. These are like sand ridges and stretch for miles.

But they aren’t brought by rivers but by glaciers. The stones caught up in the glaciers rub against each other and are slowly reduced to sand.

When the glaciers recede, the sand is dumped along where the edges of the glaciers would have been, and they are spectacular where roads have been cut through them.

myI mentioned earlier where my ideal spot in Labrador would be.

If I could settle here, I would be extremely happy. But also extremely isolated too because it’s miles from anywhere.

Situated at N52° 52′ 30″ and W58° 19’52” in fact.

peri-arctic meadow labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017You can see what I mean about these peri-Arctic meadows. They are all over the place these days.

And assuming that the climate was kinder in the 11th Century – in the middle of the “Medieval Warm” period, there would have been many more too.

Bringing cattle here would not have been any problem whatever, especially if the cattle had been used to life in Greenland.

valard eagle camp labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017There’s another enormous work camp here at the side of the road.

We’re currently up on the Eagle Plateau and so it’s called, rather imaginatively, “Eagle Camp”.

I thought at first that it was something to do with Highway maintenance, but closer inspection revealed that it’s all “Valard” – the company that is constructing the electricity transmission cables across Labrador.

labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017Mind you, the highway DOES need attention. It was resurfaced with loose gravel in 2015 and it’s already been ripped to pieces.

At one point I hit a hidden dip, the rear end of Strider lifted off the road and I was going sideways heading for the drop off the verge.

We had an exciting couple of seconds (which seemed like a couple of hours) as I wrestled for control of the vehicle. But we are still here.

clouds of dust labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017I mean – you can see what the labrador Coastal Drive looks like simply by glancing in the rear-view mirror of Strider.

At this point we have loose gravel being thrown about everywhere and clouds – and I do mean clouds – of dust thrown up behind us.

No wonder that you spend so much time fighting for traction if you are thrown off course by the lumps and potholes.

But at least it’s not like the time in the Utah Desert where the trail was so rough that I was travelling slowly and the wind was so strong and in the wrong direction that I had the unnerving experience of being overtaken by my own dust-cloud.

asphalt highway labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017But oh! Wait a minute! Look at this!

When we were here in 2015 we noticed that the asphalting of the highway had started – but had come to a sudden stop with patches of gravel road in between.

But now, the asphalting has extended far beyond where it was back then. There’s the sign telling you to prepare for the gravel road, and there’s the guy cleaning off the edges of the road.

Another 5 years and it will be asphalt all the way.

labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017But despite how good the road might be, there are still challenges to face, such as the incessant climbs and descents.

We’re travelling from south-east to north-west and all of the river valleys around here are going from south-west to north-east.

You can see over there the line on the right – that’s the road back up the other side of this valley. On the left is the track of the Valard cable from Muskrat Falls.

churchill river labrador canada september septembre 2017But here is the final descent for now. That’s the valley of the Churchill River, and to the right are the towns of Happy Valley and Goose Bay.

That’s not quite my destination for tonight though – I’m driving on to North-West River where I have things to do.

But I’ll leave you here to admire the beautiful scenery.

muskrat falls protesters labrador canada september septembre 2017But a little further on is the entrance to the controversial Muskrat Falls hydro-electric project.

And opposite is the camp of the protestors. Not quite as big as the Faslane camp, but it’s limited by law, and here all the same.

I’m not going into the rights and wrongs of the project, because everyone has his or her own opinion about it, but it’s one of these things where, from my own point of view, the environmental and cultural objections outweigh the profit considerations.

But then again, as I keep on saying, I don’t have to live here

churchill river labrador coastal drive canada september septembre 2017But leaving aside Muskrat Falls for the moment, I clatter across the metal bridge over the Churchill River.

It’s been known by several other names, such as the Grand River (which it certainly is) and the Hamilton River, but it was renamed the “Churchill” upon the death of Sir Winston.

But whatever name it might have, it’s certainly the most famous river in the whole of Labrador,and probably the most important too.

goose bay labrador canada september septembre 2017As usual these days, arriving in Happy Valley, I find a different dirt road heading east and follow it all the way that I can.

And on this particular road, I can’t go any further. But it certainly brings me to a spectacular view over Goose bay and the head of the Hamilton Inlet.

It’s very easy to picture the scene as the first European explorers – maybe Louis Fornel the fur trader or maybe John Davis of the Davis Straits – or maybe even the Norse explorers – made landfall here.

birch lane farm happy valley labrador canada september septembre 2017But hats off to this guy here at Birch Lane Farm. It’s not everyone who would attempt commercial farming in a place like this.

But he seems to have plenty of crops and a good growth of hay, so it looks as if he can make a good go of it.

It totally undermines the opinions that people have about the “Frozen North” – just as it did when I saw the shipping container marked “Alaskan Agriculture”.

fairlane terrington harbour goose bay labrador canada september septembre 2017A quick call in to the port here at Terrington Basin in Goose Bay to see who’s about.

It’s been a long time since we’ve had a “Ship of the Day” and we strike it lucky here. We have the heavy load carrier Fairlane who left Shanghai on 12th July and came here via the Suez Canal.

That’s a long way to come for any ship and it makes me wonder what it was that she was bringing in.

At North West River we hit a temporary setback. My contact isn’t answering his telephone so that rules out my accommodation and my project for tomorrow, which is a disaster.

Not only that, the B&B in the town is fully-booked up.

The motel has a room, but it requires me to drive all the way back to Goose Bay to pick up the key as the unit here is unstaffed. And the girl at reception is particularly unhelpful.

So badger that for a gale of soldiers. A quick telephone call (thanks, Josée for the ‘phone) conjures up a bed in a B&B in Happy Valley, at a price rather less than the motel. I can do that so I cancel the motel room.

bed and breakfast goose bay happy valley labrador canada september septembre 2017But it’s frightfully posh in here – way out of my league. The spare toilet rolls in the bathroom have hats on.

I’m more used to the kind of place where you can “spit on the deck and call the cat a b@$t@rd” as you know, but beggars can’t be choosers, not by any stretch of the imagination

At least I can use the microwave here, so it’s beans, sausages and spuds for tea. And then an early night.

I’m whacked!

Thursday 28th April 2016 – IT LOOKS AS IF …

… we’re getting back in the old routine again, at least as far as sleeping goes. I had yet another night of tossing and turning and only intermittent sleep and that’s disappointed me.

And I was thinking too, the other day, that with having stopped the Montlucon medication, these exotic, vivid and somewhat outrageous dreams that I’ve been having just recently have stopped too. But that’s not the case, because I was off again. And a welcome “hello” to Caroline who made her debut last night, accompanying me on a visit to a huge house on the edge of town (although I’ve no idea which town) in connection with someone who has appealed against a rating assessment on the grounds that she had been assessed as the occupier of a discrete property rather than part of a joint property. And so we went round, and it’s true to say that there was a big house that was divided into flats, and she was the occupier of one of those flats. However, there was an individual house there that caught my eye, not because of the house itself, but parked outside and clearly the worse for having stood for 30 years or so, was an old white Mini. In fact, it wasn’t a Mini at all but an Austin Seven, which was what the original Minis were called when they first came on the market and its registration number (576BMR) showed it, according to my 1958 Motor Dealer handbook which I had somehow managed to bring with me on my travels during the night (it’s actually upstairs in the attic of my place in France right now) showed that it had been registered in 1957, which meant that it was actually a pre-production factory demonstrator, as rare as hen’s teeth, so you’ve no idea just how excited I was by this find and I was determined to buy it.
And as we have said once or twice, sometimes, after a trip down the corridor or whatever, I can step right back into a nocturnal ramble right where I left off at a previous moment. And sure enough, there were Caroline and I in a car spares shop, buying plugs, points, a condenser, plug leads, distributor cap and all kinds of things for the car ready to have a good go at starting it up.

For breakfast, I didn’t have any fruit juice or soya yoghurt, but I finished off the last of the soya dessert instead. And then I came back, had a good wash and packed all of my possessions ready to leave. I paid the bill for my accommodation but I couldn’t get into the shower as it seemed to be in constant use.

On the bus on the way here, I realised that I’ve forgotten all of the stuff that was in the fridge back at Sint Pieters. I’ll have to remember all of that for when they throw me out of here, and go back to pick it up.

I’m now installed in my room with a much more sociable companion than last time (I’ll tell you tomorrow whether he snores or not) and I’ve been for my x-rays. They sent a wheelchair for me but badger that for a game of soldiers – I’m not dead or dying quite yet so I insisted on walking.

Much to my dismay, I have a male nurse looking after me – no young and nubile Danish student nurse unfortunately. Things had better start looking up for me tomorrow or I’ll be insisting on a change of hospital. What’s the point of being in a hospital if you aren’t going to be surrounded by a bevy of beautiful student nurses? But Hannelore the doctor is in charge of me again so that’s one thing for which I’m grateful because she can soothe my fevered brow any time she likes, and I’ve had several visits from other members of staff already. I’m certainly not going to be lonely.

But tomorrow morning at 08:30 is D-Day. This is when I’m having my operation so I mustn’t eat or drink anything after midnight. I’m not looking forward to this one little bit and I wish that I didn’t have to go through it. Everyone is doing their best to reassure me but I’m probably going to have a panic attack or something – I can feel it coming on already.

Sunday 13th March 2016 – PHEW!

When was the last time that I was up and about and eating breakfast long before the alarm went off? And on a Sunday too! And what has surprised me more than anything else is that after all of the travels that I was on last night, that I managed to make it back here in time.

But start as you mean to go on. And before you start, I perhaps ought to warm you that the sum total of my travels last night comes to something about 2200 words.

You have been warned.

I started off last night by falling asleep watching a film on the laptop last night and it wasn’t long after that at all before I was on the road. It started off at first as if I hadn’t done a great deal because I’d been away with a group of people. There was a timetable for us and on the first day we had to inspect half a dozen countries and on the second day another half-dozen, on the third, yet another half-dozen and so on. This didn’t leave me much time to be going off on a nocturnal ramble but then I found myself in Chester. I don’t know exactly where I was living but it was on top of a bunk-bed somewhere and this was quite a long way off the ground and difficult to climb on to. There had been a young girl that I had quite fancied in the past when I was younger, and so had a few of my friends, but she had started to go out with a boy who was older than us and quite a bit older than her. There was some kind of correspondence that had taken place between the two of them, and one of these letters had fallen into my hands. I was busy parcelling up this letter into a brown envelope and trying to write a letter to one of these friends of mine to tell him about this letter. Obviously the contents of this letter were interesting and I reckoned that it was worth a couple of quid for me to give him this letter to read and I could buy myself a pint of beer. The difficulty that I was having was to make my letter sound sufficiently encouraging and interesting to make him part with the money and it was taking me hours to think of the ideal form of wording.
The next port of call started off to be quite amusing. I was out and about with a dwarf and we were trying to book ourselves into a hotel. While we were there at the reception desk, a message came downstairs to the effect that a woman in one of the rooms required a companion. Of course, the ears of the dwarf and I pricked immediately up, imagining full well what might have been meant by that and so as soon as we had finished registering ourselves into our room, we shot off to the room that had been mentioned. In the room we found a girl who was totally surprised by our intrusion because that wasn’t the kind of companion that she meant. She wanted a companion to talk to and confide in. All three of us were taken by surprise at what had just unfolded. The dwarf then left the room to go back down to reception and arrange a room for himself I started to chat to this girl and it seemed that she was intending to stay not for just one night but until the middle of next week and so I jokingly suggested that I could check myself into her room for a couple of nights and see how it goes. I slid quietly into her bed (it was a big double-bed)while she was adjusting her hair and her night attire and she didn’t seem to mind at all.
I’m clearly going to have to keep up these injections and anti-allergy patches and so on if this is the kind of thing that happens to me during the night. I’ve never had this kind of luck when I’ve been on my travels in real life.
Anyway, after all of this, I made a guest appearance as Sherlock Holmes (not for the first time just recently either) in the case of a girl who had been murdered. There were five people who had been arrested in connection with this and the newspapers were making ever such a fuss about all of this, how there was some really rough street in Leicester (why Leicester?) where all of the criminals seem to live and how this case was connected with this. But it turned out that only one of these five people was connected with this street
I next found myself out and about with Terry and Liz, but it wasn’t Liz but my friend Helena from when she was quite young (and making her debut in these voyages too). We’d all been for a drive out and had stopped somewhere in the salubrious surroundings of somewhere that looked like a gent’s restroom and changing rooms for a sports ground, but somewhere that had clearly seen better days and was creosoted rather like an outdoor toilet of the 1950s. We were all hot and sweaty, having been for a really good walk and we were all thirsty. Terry produced a tangerine for himself and Liz (or Helena) said that she was going to have something else and no-one asked me what I wanted. This depressed me a little, but then Helena produced an orange, a really nice juicy one, peeled it and gave it to me, which I thought was really nice. She asked me to save her a segment, which of course I was only too happy to do. While we were here, we were listening to the radio. Speaking was Mike Harris, the chairman of the TNS football club. The club used to play at a ground in the village of Llansantffraid but had moved up the road to the old army football stadium at Park Hall near Oswestry. He’d offered to sell the ground to the local community on some kind of share basis, £10 per share. This was of course about 10 years ago and property prices had risen dramatically since then and now the local council was trying to buy the ground at the price that Mike Harris had asked for it 10 years ago, presumably to sell on for redevelopment and make a profit based on today’s values. It goes without saying that Mike Harris was not at all willing to sell it under those terms and conditions, and this discussion was the basis of the radio programme that was being broadcast. What was interesting about all of this is that from where we were, we could see the old football ground across the valley behind a shopping precinct in the distance (which incidentally bears no resemblance whatever to the actual site or situation of the ground). I immediately dashed to the car to fetch my camera because what was going through my mind was that if this broadcast was live, everyone would be down at the football ground right now and the ground would therefore be open. After all, the old ground at Llansantffraid is one of the places that I’ve yet to visit while I’ve been on my travels around the various Welsh football grounds (this is in fact actually the case). The others saw my camera and wondered what I was going to do, and so I explained. But I had to go to the bathroom first, and this was when I awoke – right at that moment, because I actually did have to go to the bathroom. And once more, I found all of my bedclothes all over the floor. Rushing to the car for the camera must have been the reason for that.
After the bathroom break, which was actually the Easter break for me, I found myself back at work. The first thing that happened was that one of my colleagues said “hello” to me, which took me completely by surprise. And all of the new vehicles had arrived – new white vans of various shapes and sizes (and “H”-registered too, which was something of a complete surprise). We were to swap our vehicles for the new ones but I couldn’t find the one that had been allocated to me, and I couldn’t find a place to park my own either as the car park was full. So I went back to my desk and started to chat to Anne-Marie, a chat that went on for ages while I was trying to do some work. And someone had put a pile of files on my desk with all kinds of post in there dating back to 12 months and even more, all kinds of legal stuff and so on, a problem that I solved in the good old-fashioned and well-tried way of simply “losing” the post somewhere inside the file and filing the file away on the filing racks, where they would be lost for quite some time. Once Anne-Marie had wandered off, I went to take my coffee things back but I couldn’t leave the office by the front as it was all closed in with windows rather like the front end of the upper deck of a double-decker bus. Walking back up the other end I came upon Anne-Marie and her two friends Caroline and Theresa, lounging about on one of the side-on seats that you find over the rear wheel of the lower deck of a double-deck Lodekka type bus. I said “hiya, girls”to them but they all turned their backs to me which I thought was rather impolite. What had I done now? So downstairs with my coffee things, I found myself out on the edge of a cricket ground where a match was due to be played sometime soon, somewhere out towards Stafford. There was a huge discussion taking place about this match and about the players. I hadn’t been selected (I don’t think that I expected to be) but it seemed that a couple of footballers from FC Pionsat St Hilaire, Gregory amongst them, were going to be playing and the person who was organising it, none other than Mark Dawson, was urging the rest of the team to welcome them. Mark had been waving around a yard brush which had a plastic handle, but people had been stubbing out their cigarettes on it and burning the handle, so I took it from Mark and put it back up against the wall. “It wasn’t me” said Mark. “I don’t smoke”. I replied that I knew that he didn’t, but nevertheless it was marked and so I put it out of everyone’s way. There was someone else there with a Velocette Venom which had become the subject of some discussion. The owner said that it had cost £129 new but now it’s worth about £66,000. The bike was being pushed around and so I put it up on a piece of hard-standing right by this little building where we were congregating. Someone said that we had been told not to park motorbikes up there but I replied that it was OK because it had its centre-stand up on a paving slab. From here I was heading off onwards down south past Stafford and I noticed that Mark didn’t have transport and so expecting him to be heading now for the cricket pavilion, I asked him if he wanted a lift. I was in my big old Senator so I opened the door for him and he told me to drop him off near the town hall in Stoke on Trent, about 10 miles away through the traffic in the opposite direction and that will cost me a couple of hours in time. But a promise is a promise so I bit my lip and set off.
And I still haven’t finished yet either. Because all of this ramble about me being at work seemed to have started off with me being on a wide-bodied jet aeroplane (and I do mean “wide” – it was rather like a cinema auditorium). I seemed to be the first on board so I chose my seat in the central part but against the aisle, and put my black fleece there. There were four air hostesses in a bunch over on the other side in the aisle and they waved me over, so leaving my jacket behind, I went over to see what they wanted. “Ohh, come over here and sit by us” they said. “Why? What’s up?” I asked. “Am I the only passenger on the aeroplane?” “Ohh no” they replied. “But you’re first on so you can sit here if you like”. And so I went and fetched my jacket, and then came back to sit by these air hostesses. I’d boarded this plane by chance, really, just looking to get away for a few days and this was the first plane in. It was flying out to the Channel Islands somewhere on this Friday late afternoon and was coming back on Sunday evening, which suited me fine for a short break.
No wonder it was a surprise to find me up and about so early this morning after all of that.

So with all of this effort I had another day of sitting and vegetating. I mean – it took me all morning just to type up my notes from through the night.

But this afternoon, I finished all of the notes from September 2015 and I’ll soon be ready to start on the ones for August. And then, I have 2014 to do. Then, I can take the 2013 notes and merge all of them together in the appropriate places. It’s not going to be something that will be over in a day or so.

But with it being Sunday, Liz has been cooking. For lunch, we had home-made mushroom soup (made with real home-made mushrooms of course), followed by vegan carrot-cake for our afternoon snack, and then for tea we had home-made nut roast followed by home-made vegan chocolate chip ice-cream. As I have said before … "and you’ll say again" – ed … whenever (if ever) I’m fit enough to leave here, I’ll immediately try to find something else wrong with me.

And so on that note, I’ll leave you all. I’m not even going for a walk because I need the early night as I’m off to Montlucon and the hospital early in the morning and I’ll be doing more than enough walking while I’m there.

And if you’ve managed to read down this far then congratulations because it’s a mere 2474 words, a new record posting for a blog entry, and by a country mile as well.

Good night!

Saturday 18th June 2011 – YOU MAY REMEMBER …

… that I had a working day of 32 hours and 30 minutes yesterday bringing my Brian James Trailer and this Takeuchi mini-digger back from the UK, and it was late when I finally made it home. It goes without saying therefor that Saturday morning didn’t exist and it was 13:00 when I finally woke up. And it will be no surprise to anyone that I have done … errr … almost badger all today.

But I did manage to find the time – and the energy – this afternoon emptying Caliburn and then reloading him with everything that I need for this exhibition that I’m doing tomorrow round at Francois’ place at Barrot.

Meanwhile, here at home we seem to have had something of a disaster. I can’t find anything in the garden as plants and weeds have overgrown everything, and a tree has fallen down and flattened half my crops. That’s not good news at all.

And in other sad news, I learnt today that Caroline’s cat Bigsy has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Bigsy was 17 and yet had been in excellent health up until quite recently. But she had rapidly deteriorated this last few weeks and when I saw her the other day she was really poorly and it was only a matter of time. But at least she went in her own time and her own place, amongst friends.

Sunday 12th June 2011 – WE’VE DONE IT NOW!

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that Terry and I have been hunting for the last couple of years for a decent mini-digger. We’ve made all kinds of enquiries but the end result always was that we could never find anything that we wanted.

In the end we decided that we would have to pay more than we wanted and buy something newer, but that never worked either.

That is, until today.

I went to Bacup to see a digger, a 2007 Takeuchi and while it was dearer than we were ever expecting to pay, in the end we’ve bitten the bullet and gone for it, faute de mieux – in the absence of anything better.

The cash will be transferred over on Monday and I’m picking it up on Wednesday night after I collect my new trailer.

Did I tell you about that?

caliburn overnight parking bacup burnley lancashire ukAnd so last night after dropping off Caroline I had a pleasant drive around the back of Manchester, Rawtenstall, Rossendale and all of that.

I found a nice quiet lay-by in the pitch-dark somewhere up on the moors between Burnley and Bacup and settled down for a nice, quiet sleep.

And a nice quiet sleep it was too. I didn’t feel a thing.

caliburn overnight parking bacup burnley lancashire uk wind farmPretty windswept it was too up on this hilltop, as I was to discover when I finally awoke.

And that’s hardly surprising, given the glorious view. That was Burnley down there in the valley on the previous photo and on this photo, there’s a wind farm for you to admire.

So a nice drive on into Bacup where I met this digger guy, who took me to see it in Accrington where it was digging out someone’s footings.

Once I’d recovered from the shock of committing myself to spending all of this money, I went to Preston – or rather, the Tickled Trout in Salmesbury – to see Sandra.

We had a really good chat about one thing and another and It’s nice to learn that in OUSA – the Open University Students Association – things are carrying on just as I left them.

Chaos, panic, disorder – it’s all still going on.

This evening I’m on the M1 at Tibshelf Services. I’m moving off in a minute to find somewhere to bed down for the night as I need to be in Ilkeston early in the morning.

Saturday 11th June 2011 – HIS NIBS IS AT IT AGAIN!

caroline strawberry moose caliburn sandbach cheshire ukHere you can see him dipping into his Auntie Caroline’s cod and chips.

To pass the evening, I went to see Caroline again.

We ended up going out to the chippy (not half as good as a traditional Belgian fritkot), I have to admit, and that was where His Nibs joined in the (af)fray.

But Caroline’s cat Bigsy is very poorly and she might not pull through. I wanted to make sure that I saw her and gave her a stroke.

So after many vicissitudes, not the least of which was parking up for the night in a zone where there was no mobile phone signal (something that only I can do), I finally made contact with whatsername and, sure enough, my wallet was there.

That was just as well as I would shudder to have to think what I would have had to do had it not been there.

She was making breakfast for the family (it was quite early) I was also invited to eat there and that really put an end to my journey to Ilkeston and Vehicle Wiring Products, as they would have been closed by the time I would have arrived.

Instead I went to DK Motorcycles in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

As well as selling road-going machines the company also imports classic motorcycles from the USA. They arrive in all states of repair and I always like to go along if I can to see what’s arrived.

They had a few mint Hondas, including a couple of rare 1970s 350-fours as well as a pile of other stuff as well that was fit for renovation, including a 95%-complete Honda 160.

As an aside, I passed my motorcycle test on a Honda 160 belonging to my mate Ray Stigter.

Many of the machines that arrive there are only suitable to be broken up for spares and I always go to chat to the guys there because many of you might not know that I own probably one of the rarest of all Japanese motocycles – a CB92 “Benly” from 1961.

It’s basically complete and after we assembled it we even had it running after a fashion, but that was back in 1974 and that is a long time ago.

It desperately needs an overhaul but spares for it are impossible to find now – hence the regular visits to DK Motorcycles.

They might one day have one in that is only fit for dismantling but to date the guys in there freely admit that this is one motorcycle that they have never ever seen and don’t ever reckon that they will do either.

One regular feature of this blog in its previous incarnation was something to do with poorly-sited solar panels.

badly sited solar panels keele staffordshire ukBut we gave that up when we were overwhelmed with them. Some of these solar panel salesmen have no shame of course.

We’ve seen some dreadful ones on our travels in the past but this must be pretty near the bottom of the pile.

It’s all about the salesman’s income and nothing whatever to do with the reputation of the product that he’s selling

Lunch was at Waitrose in Sandbach and then I went to B&Q in Crewe to see if they had the doors that I need for my house. My house is dark and gloomy due to the small windows and if I’m putting partition walls in, this will cut the light down further.

What I need is some dirt-cheap glass-panelled doors and finding them in France is impossible. However B&Q does a nice cheap line in exactly what I want.

The door that I fitted into the attic came from there and you can see what a good job it does as well – hence a requirement for another half-dozen to match.

B&Q came up trumps in more ways than one.

  1. they had enough in stock.
  2. they had some that were only 650mm instead of 750mm and that’s what I need for the bathroom and the office.
  3. with my trade card I had almost £100 off the retail price – £240 for 6 instead of about £335 or so.

When you think about it … “you are always thinking about it” – ed … that’s just 20 weeks of rental on my mailbox paid off in one swell foop.

You can see why it’s important to have a UK address if I am buying stuff over here.

Now Caroline and I are having a coffee on Sandbach Services. In a short while I’ll be dropping her off at home and making my way in the general direction of Bacup.

I have to go to see a digger there tomorrow morning.

Sunday 5th June 2011 – HERE’S AN INTERESTING …

WOMEN ONLY WALK SIGN LADYBOWER RESERVOIR SHEFFIELD UK… notice.

I was always under the impression that the 21st Century was going to be all about doing away with sexual and gender discrimination, and promoting equality and all of this lark.

So what part in modern society does a “gender-discriminative” event such as this have to play?

And not only that, it is a blatant ageist-discriminatory event and even worse, it discriminates against single parents who are prevented by this ageism from bringing along their children – but yet no childcare or creche facilities are on offer.

The Sheffield City Council and its employees should hang their heads in shame. An event such as this has no place in modern society

ladybower reservoir sheffield UKThis was photographed at one of my habitual haunts – the Forestry Commission car park at the Ladybower Reservoir. That was where I spent Saturday night.

We’ve been here on many occasions in the past as it is one of my favourite spots. And you’ve been lucky enough to have seen the photographs in winter when there have been no leaves on the trees to obscure the view.

But I’ve known this area for much longer than that. It was here that the 1971-72 North West Schools Orienteering Championships took place and Yours Truly finished 18th – and no, there were many more than 18 entrants.

Having dropped Caroline off last night, I come over the top via Axe Edge, Buxton and Castleton to arrive here. A beautiful drive in the dark and even better in the daylight.

It was quite late by the time that I arrived so I treated myself to a lie-in (well, it IS Sunday) and then off to Towsure in Sheffield for some gas and some other assorted bits and pieces.

One thing that I wanted was a new mounting for the jockey wheel on the Sankey trailer. I want to tart that up a little this year. It’s showing its age

strawberry moose helena morley UKThis afternoon I went to Morley, just off the M62 to meet Helena, one of my friends from school. Something else for which Social Media has a lot to answer.

We haven’t seen each other in … oohhh … 38 years I suppose; so we had a lot of news to catch up on over a coffee or two.

Of course Strawberry Moose took the moment to have a photo opportunity like he does. He’s quite a hound for publicity.

Right now I’m at the Motorway Services at Washington on the M1 not too far from Newcastle-upon-Tyne heading to the seaside at Whitburn where I’ll be staying the night if all goes well.

Tomorrow His Nibs is being reunited with his sister. It’s been a good few weeks since they have seen each other and he has some things to give her.

Saturday 4th June 2011 – HAVING ORGANISED …

… most things around here, I’m moving on tonight.

Last night I slept in comfort and tranquility on the fishermen’s car part at the back of Moston near Sandbach. If there’s no night-fishing going on, that can be a nice peaceful spot, as indeed it was last night.

There was tons of work to attend to today – all kinds of paperwork that I had been letting go which needed bringing up-to-date.

There was also some stuff that I needed to check up with on the internet and so that involved removing myself down to Sandbach Services, for whose assistance I have long been grateful.

For lunch I nipped into the supermarket in Sandbach – a Waitrose, would you believe – to pick up some stuff and then went and found a quiet corner in which to eat it.

Later that afternoon I went back into Crewe. It was probably 20 years or something like that since I’ve seen Cassie, Joanie and Malcolm. it was only meant to be a brief one-hour visit but we had so much to say that it was gone 20:00 by the time I left.

That took me round to Congleton and Caroline’s to rescue Strawberry Moose after all of his adventures in North America, and we all went out for a pizza, a coffee and a good chat too.

Dropping Caroline off, I hit the road for the North.