Tag Archives: castle anthrax

Wednesday 16th June 2021 – NOW HOW ABOUT …

hellmans vegan garlic mayonnaise leuven belgium Eric Hall… this to go on my lunchtime butties?

This is something quite new in the shops. I’ve never seen it before. And I shan’t have to worry about visits from vampires during the night because I tried some of it with my pasta and vegetables and believe me – it took the varnish off the door when I breathed out. This was definitely a good buy and no mistake. It’s the kind of thing that will put hair on places I don’t even have places.

But be that as it may, let us return to our moutons as they say around here.

That is, around France, because Im not in France right now. I’m actually in Leuven because it’s time to visit Castle Anthrax again.

At 06:00 when the alarm went off, I leapt out of bed – sort of, something like – and the first task of the morning after the medication was to peel, dice and then blanch a kilo of carrots that I’d bought on Monday. And then I put them to drain in the sink.

Secind thing was to make a coffee and then make some sandwiches etc for my lunch. Packing my stuff and then giving the kitchen a good clean and disinfecting and, of course, taking out the rubbish before it walked out on its own.

At 08:05 when I went out this morning it was already scorching hot. Heaven alone knows what it’s going to be like at 15:00. But heaving my pack up onto my back I set off down the hill in the Rue des Juifs.

street repairs rue des moulins Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown in the town there was already some excitement going on in the Rue des Moulins.

They had a concrete cutter and a digger down there, sticking a pile of earth in the back of the lorry down there, and the workmen are busy admiring the hole that they have dug. For a moment I was wondering if I should go over and fall in with them but instead I pushed on.

At the railway station, my train wasn’t in yet so I had a nice relaxing sit on a bench on the platform while I waited for the train to come in.

GEC Alstom Regiolis 84581 gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere wasn’t all that long to wait. The train pulled in round about 08:45. Just one six-car unit instead of two six-car units coupled together.

Climbing aboard, I went off to find my seat. For some reason or other that I don’t understand, they had me sharing a 4-seat combination with a couple of other people. No chance of my supporting that idea so I grabbed an empty seat where I could sit all on my own.

Having had a very late night last night, I wasn’t up to doing all that much but I did managed to copy onto the laptop all of the files that I’d backed up onto my memory stick. And the music ones took some sorting out. I’ll have to research the albums that I cropped the other day and work out which song goes where.

Our train was delayed at Argentan and so we arrived 10 minutes late at Paris Montparnasse. But there was no delay on the Metro and I arrived at Gare du Nord with plenty of time to spare.

TGV INOUI 206 TGV Reseau Duplex gare du nord paris France Eric HallJust as I arrived at the station concourse the train from Lille Flandres was just pulling in.

It’s one of the TGV Inoui Reseaux Duplex trains that we travel on regularly – one of the double deckers, but we aren’t allowed to board it yet. There is going to be a delay because these days they give the train a deep clean before we’re allowed on.

As soon as the cleaners had finished they announced the train, and there was a mad scramble of passengers towards the gate. And there as a slight delay from my part because it took me a minute or two to work out how the rail ticket on my phone works.

TGV INOUI 206 211 TGV Reseau Duplex gare du nord paris France Eric HallThe train is actually two eight-car units coupled together and so it goes without saying that I was in the second half down at the far end of the platform.

And you’ve no idea of the confusion that I caused trying to find my seat, because it didn’t exist. Even the ticket collector couldn’t find it.

On close examination however, we discovered that I’d gone into the wrong carriage. I’d gone in through the correct door but at the top of the stairs I turned right instead of left and hadn’t noticed that I’d walked over the bellows into the next carriage.

But once I was sorted out, I had a good sleep all the way to Lille Flandres.

We had a curious incident after we left the station. Some woman was asking some passers-by “which is the way to Lille-Europe?”. I told her “follow me, I’m going that way” and she did – for the first 100 yards and then she shot off ahead.

She must have known the way after all for she was standing outside the station smoking a cigarette when I caught up with her.

The train wasn’t in yet so I was able to sit down and eat my sandwiches in comfort

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4523 PBA gare du midi brussels belgium Eric HallWhen the train pulled into the platform we all swarmed down the steps.

It’s one of the tri-volt TGV Réseau 38000 train sets, known colloquially as the PBA, or “Paris Brussels Amsterdam” sets. This time there was no problem finding my seat and I spent most of the journey reading an e-book while my neighbour spent most of the journey speaking to someone on the telephone.

At some point I must have dozed off because the rattling over the points as we came into Brussels awoke me. And so I packed my things.

Having gone through all of the procedure about Covid tests, Passenger Location Forms and the like, there was no control at all at the railway station and I felt quite disappointed.

There was a train to Leuven and Liège on its way into the station so I ran off to platform 15.

am80 automotrice 390 gare du midi brussels belgium Eric HallThe train was another one of these disreputable Am 80 automotrices or multiple units.

Old, tired, dirty and graffiti-ridden, they should have been put out to grass a long time ago from that point of view. But they are quick and reliable, and perform a lot of long-distance work like Brussels to Luxembourg and the one on which I’m riding – the Belgian Coast to Liège.

If these trains were cleaned, the graffiti was removed and they were given modern interiors with a modern seating configuration, they could keep going for another 40 years.

When the ticket collector came down, I couldn’t find my ticket on the SNCB app on my phone. Luckily the ticket collector could. We learn something new every day.

martelarenplein leuven belgium Eric HallThe heat at Leuven was searing and I burnt myself on the metal handrail on the steps down from the passenger walkway

But from up there, there was a good view down onto the Martelarenplein. I’ve taken a few photos of that just recently but usually from ground level. This is the first opportunity that I’ve had of taking an aerial view and so I wasn’t going to miss it.

The heat was really oppressive as I struggled around the ring road to the Dekenstraat. I had to stop a few times to catch my breath. At one point I was overtaken by some weird kind of solar bicycle but he cleared off quickly before I could photograph it.

At the Dekenstraat I found my room – another one of the upmarket duplexes. They are very good to me here, giving me a free upgrade whenever there’s one vacant.

Having sorted myself out I sat down to do some work. There was something on the dictaphone from the night but the only thing that I remember about it was being on a bus coming out of Hanley down the Etruria Road. Suddenly it had to manoeuvre into the outside lane, round in front of a couple of cars then off to the left down a slip road onto the “D road”. The slip road had all kinds of houses alongside it and it was cold and foggy and it hav been snowing heavily. I asked the driver what was happening. He said that the police had told him to go that way so that he didn’t have any other choice. I asked him “what about the people who live in Longport and places like that?” He replied “that’s rather a shame but the police have told me to do this and this is what I have to do”. Then I awoke in a really cold sweat again. There was much more to it in this dream and I think that my ex-friend from Stoke on Trent appeared in it somewhere

Having finished that I had more things to do but instead I crashed out on the sofa. I awoke with a start at 18:45 and there was shopping to do so I had to nip out smartish because they close at 20:00.

road works naamsestraat naamsevest leuven belgium Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been watching the roadworks down at the junction of the Naamsestraat and the Naamsevest.

They are now at the stage of resurfacing the road so I reckon that in another three or four years they might actually have it finished. We all know how quickly they work here in Belgium.

Normally I would be going to the Carrefour but I didn’t have the strength tonight so I ended up at Delhaize. And I was only just in time too because as I was queueing up to pay, they switched off the lights in the shop.

In order to get back up the hill and return to my digs I had to have an energy drink. But I made it back and made myself tea – falafel burger with pasta and veg – with the latter all mixed up with that garlic dressing. Pudding was pineapple slices with sorbet.

There was the intention to write the journal entry for today but instead I fell asleep again. When I finally awoke I just went to bed to sleep it off. I can write up my journal tomorrow.

Monday 24th May 2021 – I’VE NOT HAD …

… a very eventful day today.

Mind you, I was awoken at 04:00 by the night nurse kneeling at my feet. I wondered what she was doing at first but it turned out that she was simply making my glucose drip work. Apparently it had stalled.

At 06:30 someone else came in to take my details – blood pressure, temperature and the like, and to take a sample of blood. Then I was left alone until 08:30. I could get on and check to see where I’d been during the night. I was with my family again. I didn’t know what I was doing or what we were doing but we had some kind of car there and we were examining it for something or other. There was some baking involved too. I offered to bake someone a special cake but for some reason found that it was actually one of the very few for whom I’d already cooked, so that wouldn’t work and I didn’t have another suggestion.

One of the guys was an old guy with flowing white hair who made all kinds of inventions, most of which were rejected out of hand. One particular night ne went downstairs to go home and he had some kind of weird jet-powered low-slung tricycle on the lawn. He got in it and it started up with a whizz and a bang. I thought that this doesn’t sound in the least bit healthy to me and wandered away.

Breakfast was served and then my dressings were changed, and you should have seen the size of the needle that was taken out of my hand. They weighed me too and I’ve lost 1.7 kilos. And judging by the liquid that’s come out of me since my operation (which seems to have done the trick) it was all due to water retention.

First we had the doctor who has been treating me. I didn’t ask him about the blood count but he didn’t propose another transfusion so I suppose that that’s good news.

As the urologist hadn’t been by 10:00 I wasn’t allowed to have a shower but I could have a good wash and a shave. At least I look more human now. Well, slightly anyway.

There was hardly enough time to go back to bed before the urologist came to see me trailing behind him a gaggle of students, like something out of DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE with James Robertson Justice. And if I had heard the WHAT’S THE BLEEDING TIME I wouldn’t have been surprised.

And I had my discussion with him in Flemish which is a good sign. I’m definitely improving.

He was replaced – in fact, crossed at the door – by the doctor from haematology with her gaggle of students. They had a discussion and compared notes. Basically, they intend to unplug my pipes and cables tomorrow and then monitor my weight for a few days.

They are certain that I shall still be here on Friday at the very least and I’m in no hurry to go. Being waited on hand and foot by a gaggle of young student nurses? Who would want to leave here. Not for nothing is this place known (by me at least) as CASTLE ANTHRAX.

Lunch of soup, pasta with tofu in a tomato sauce and followed by a pear came early, and then I followed up by dealing with a pile of correspondence that had built up over the last while. I also had to write to the Welsh Senedd and the Welsh First Minister

And to my tutor. It’s my Welsh lesson and of course I don’t have the course book with me. It’s available to download to paid-up course members which I am, so she sent me the link which was nice of her. It’ll be interesting to see how this course goes with me in an operating gown on a flaky internet connection with people coming and going like the waiting room on Euston Station.

There were Internet chats with Rosemary and Alison – and my chat with Alison was a video chat too, and several other exchanges of messages with other people. And a grateful thanks to all of your support too which is much-appreciated.

In between all of that I started to write the text for a radio programme but I didn’t get very far as everyone was coming and going this afternoon too. It’s not as peaceful and undisturbed as you might think in a hospital.

But now that this is done, I ought to go off to sleep but even though I’ve had my sleeping pill thing, I’m not in the least bit tired. I suppose that I could watch a film on the laptop but that doesn’t seem to have the same soporific effect either as it used to.

Thursday 13th May 2021 – IT’S AN ILL WIND …

kite surfing beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… that doesn’t blow anyone any good.

And sure enough, as the weather deteriorated after lunch and we ended up with high gusting winds and a torrential rainstorm, there were people out here who were able to enjoy it, as I noticed when I went to look at the beach on my afternoon walk.

They seemed to be enjoying themselves out there, which was more than I was doing with the rain falling down the back of my neck.

And during the night, I didn’t enjoy it very much either. I had another miserable night of suffering continual attacks of cramp that made me have to get up on several occasions to walk around to ease everything off.

It goes without saying that I knew that I was going to suffer for this during the day, and I wasn’t wrong either.

Nevertheless I managed to be up at the sound of the first alarm and after the medication I came in here to sort myself out.

One thing that I’d planned to do was to to sort out the music on the computer. I have stuff all over the place that needed tidying up and I attended to that first. That led to the rather unfortunate circumstance of renaming 13 files that I didn’t want to rename and not the one that I was trying to do.

Later on I went for a shower and then set the washing machine off on a cycle prior to going out to the shops.

trawler entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd I seemed to have picked the right time to go out too because there was quite a lot of activity in the outer harbour right now.

The weather was quite nice and I actually went out without a coat. It was cloudy to the east and looked pretty dismal but with a westerly blowing the good weather towards me, I wasn’t too bothered about the clouds.

There was quite a lot of wind out there too and the yachts in the Baie de Mont St Michel weren’t half being tossed around. The trawler that was coming in to the fish processing plant was rolling about rather wildly as well and I was glad that I wasn’t out there in all of that.

trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was a lot calmer in the inner harbour of course. It’s well-protected from the wind and the waves.

I had the impression that the gates hadn’t been open all that long because there were one or two boats heading in, and a couple of trawlers moored at the Fish Processing Plant were now casting off ready to go out to sea.

But what’s interesting about this photograph is that Aztec Lady isn’t there at the moment. She seems to have slipped out on the tide overnight and headed off elsewhere out of the way. At the moment even as I write, according to my radar she’s just outside the harbour at St Cast le Guildo, one of the places where we slept when we were on board Spirit of Conrad.

swimming pool port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday I mentioned that the little freighters that come over from Jersey must be keeping a low profile as I haven’t hears of them coming over for a little while.

That looks as if it’s about to change. I know that Normandy Trader has the contract with a swimming pool manufacturer to take their swimming pools over to Jersey, and there are a couple down there on the quayside by the loading crane. That must mean that the arrival of Normandy Trader is expected some time fairly soon.

In town I bumped into Pierre, the owner of Spirit of Conrad, and we had a little chat. And then I headed off to the railway station to pick up my tickets for next week’s trip to Castle Anthrax. At the moment the trains are running normally so I don’t have to worry about an 04:30 start.

At LIDL I spent a little more than usual but they had no cocoa powder or frozen peas. And so I’m not going to get away with not going to LeClerc on Saturday. Mind you, it’s been several weeks since I’ve put my sooty foot in that direction so it won’t do any harm.

Coming back from LIDL was a struggle and it took me a lot longer than it normally would. I’m definitely not feeling myself right now which is just as well, because it’s a disgusting habit. It was so late when I returned that there was no point in having my fruit bread. I just made my hot chocolate and then emptied the washing machine and hung everything up to dry.

Unfortunately I also crashed out on the chair and was well away for quite a while – to such an extent that I ended up with rather a late lunch.

Fighting off another wave of sleep I carried on with sorting out the music. I’ve ended up with about 40 concerts that I can use for the radio shows without having to be inventive or imaginative. That’s quite a useful and will save me a considerable amount of work in the future, I hope.

If I can do three concerts on Monday I’ll be right up to date except for the concert that I’ll be doing for the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival and the “special” programme that I’ll be doing in respect of a CD that I found in a junk shop in Maine, USA a few years ago.

later on, despite the torrential rain, I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSurprisingly there were quite a few other people out there too despite the weather.

There’s another very low tide this afternoon when the water level drops below the leased concessions so there were some folk out there with all of their equipment going for a scratch around in the sand and on the rocks to see what they can harvest.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we did an outside broadcast from the peche à pied last year, talking to the people out there scavenging and collecting recipes from them as to how to prepare their catch. There were even a couple of guys having a banquet among the rocks with fresh oysters and the like.

But despite what people say, oysters aren’t all they are cracked up to be. I had a dozen on my wedding night and only 9 of them worked.

jade 3 trawler chausiais ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’re back on the subject of NAABSA – “Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground” – fishing boats again.

Over there is a trawler (who I later identified as Jade 3 tied up to the wharf by the terminal for the ferries to the Channel Islands and the Ile de Chausey and left to sink onto the silt now that the tide is out. It still bewilders me as to why there are so many boats left out in the outer harbour rather than being tied up properly in the inner harbour.

Behind her is moored Chausias, the little freighter that runs supplies out to the Ile de Chausey. She seems to be living there at the moment, which I suppose isn’t too much of an issue seeing as the Channel Islands ferries aren’t sailing right now.

Back here I had a coffee and then started on the photos from Wyoming in August 2019 but unfortunately I crashed out yet again and missed some of my guitar practice. I’m doing no good at all right now.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with rice and vegetables followed by more of my delicious chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce. And fool that I am – I’d had the laptop on all day editing a rather large concert and after tea I forgot myself and switched off the laptop. I lost all of the work that I’d done and had to do it all over again which made me late for everything else.

Rosemary rang me too for a chat while I was doing it so I was rather distracted and it took me longer than it should to set it all up and prepare it ready to do again. But now that I’ve set it up, it can spend all of the night doing its stuff now though while I’m asleep (I hope).

So while that’s doing I’ve written up my notes and I’m off to bed. Much later than I wanted but it can’t be helped. There’s plenty of work to do tomorrow but at least I have all day to do it.

Part of the work was to listen to today’s dictaphone notes that somehow slipped through the net, and find out where I’d been during the night. I’d actually been to rescue Nerina. She’d been out somewhere in the beige Cortina and I finally caught up with her around Nantwich/Acton way. The lights had gone out, the headlights, so I pushed the connectors back in and they came back on but they weren’t very bright but she managed to get back going home. I mentioned to her about the time all the lights had gone out at such and such a time. She replied that she knew that she had gone out before then but “I knew that I could drive because I knew where I was. It wasn’t difficult” but I couldn’t imagine her driving all the way around Warmingham without any lights on. She was laughing about one of her friends saying “driving tests and driving regulations are all important because that’s how you pass your test” and yet her friend had followed all the rules and regulations and failed. We got near to a town that might have been Nantwich and we were talking about Hughie Green and Monica Rose, how Hughie Green used to give specific instructions to Monica so that she knew exactly what was happening, where it was happening and when it was happening and why it was happening so that everything went off really smoothly. We were confusing him with Wilfred Pickles. Just then she noticed that he was around somewhere so we thought that we’d go to see him. We walked down that way and came to one of these food caravans that we knew. I asked her if she wanted a drink. She said that she would have a pineapple, but she said it in French ananas. As she got there she went to a special machine where they had some kind of home-brewed hot drink of some description and she poured herself a big glass. I asked “get one for me as well” which she did and we could get some food in the inside and then go and have a chat with Wilfred Pickles

Tuesday 23rd March 2021 – WE’VE BEEN HAVING …

fisherman english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… something of a nautical day again today instead of the aviation day that we had at the weekend.

This guy out there in the English Channel in his little cabin cruiser with a couple of fishing roads hanging out over the back is just typical of what was going on out there this afternoon.

It’s quite possible that it has something to do with the arrival of the Parisians fleeing confinement at their main address and heading out to their second homes of whatever accommodation they have been able to hire at short notice, but the sea was absolutely heaving with people this afternoon in all kinds of water craft.

man plankboarding english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd when I say “all kinds of water craft” I really do mean that because this is yet another example of what was going on down below me in the English Channel.

Someone has decided to go out for a paddle on his paddle board and if he has paddled like that all the way around the Pointe du Roc from the port de plaisance, then he’s been doing really well because that’s not going to be an easy paddle, even when the weather is calm and the sea is smooth.

Actually the weather was quite calm this afternoon and it was rather warm, although not that warm that taking off your shirt was ever going to be any kind of option as far as I was concerned.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis on the other hand is more like the kind of maritime activity that we are accustomed to see around here these days.

The tide is well in and the harbour gates are open so every now and again a trawler will set sail and head out to the open sea for another bout of fishing activity.

Regardless of the effects of Brexit to date, fishing is still continuing out there in the English Channel and the Bay of Granville although with relations between the UK and the EU deteriorating rapidly as the UK breaches Law after Law and Agreement after Agreement, how long this situation will continue is anyone’s guess.

This morning, I was up once more just after the first alarm went off and after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been but to my surprise there was nothing at all on there. I must have slept soundly all the way through until the alarm.

With nothing to transcribe on the dictaphone I attacked the photos from July 2019. Right now I’m just pulling into the Travel Inn Motel in Lamoure, North Dakota, and there’s only about 90 to do now before the end of the month.

That’s only part of the problem though. For the month of August having made an initial run-through of the photos, there are 2091 of those that survived the first run-through so bearing in mind that many of them will produce two or even more images, we are looking at probably 2500 photos that will be done. And about 20 videos too.

There was the Welsh lesson this morning too. Having completed my day’s supply of photos I did some preparation for my course and then armed with a mug of hot chocolate and a slice of my sourdough fruit bread, I went for my lesson.

In contrast to last week it went rather better although it’s sad that I have forgotten more than I seem to be remembering right now.

For the rest of the day I haven’t stopped for a meal as I started a project that is taking more time than ever I anticipated that it would and I can see the computer being left on all the time while I’m away in Leuven. I have a couple of computer drives that failed a while ago and as regular readers of this rubbish will recall I’ve been trying to get them to fire up.

A few weeks ago I managed to make one of them work and so this afternoon I started to access the sectors manually. It’s probably 20 years since I’ve done anything like this and while computers have speeded up dramatically in that time, using pseudo-DOS hasn’t and hard drives are measured in Terabytes these days not Megabytes.

Having started at about 14:30 this afternoon and it’s now 21:50 and it’s done 2.5%. I thought that it would be a slow, laborious process but not quite as slow as this. And that’s not to say that I’ll be able to salvage anything. If any individual item of the data has spread over a defective sector then that will not be recoverable for a start.

While the computer was doing what it could do on its own I nipped out for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlthough there wasn’t all that much beach to be on right now because of the tide, it was proving to be quite popular this afternoon. The weather was really beautiful this afternoon with bright sunshine, bright blue sky and very few clouds in the sky.

There were plenty of people wandering around there on the paths too. Not much respect for social distancing and not as much respect for mask-wearing either. But I’m sure that you are fed up of me going on about all of this. It will become as obsessive as the pathetic parking that features on here when I’m having one of my moments.

Instead, I pushed off along the path down to the end by the lighthouse and across the lawn at the bottom.

police interaction rue du cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as I reached the end of the lawn by the car park I bounced into an enormous pile of excitement down there by the roundabout.

From this viewpoint I wasn’t able to understand exactly what was going on but there were a couple of police motorcyclists down there and they seem to have pulled over a motorcyclist and his female pillion passenger.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, while I’m not usually averse to going down and asking what is going on, there are moments when it is clearly inappropriate and this is one of them. I’m sure that they didn’t want me going down there intruding at a moment like this so I left them to it.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallInstead, I concentrated on what else was going on all around me.

The most important thing that is happening right now is the reroofing that’s going on down at the College Malraux. As you can see, they seem to be making some reasonable progress since the last time that I had a good moan about it and they now have ripped off yet another bay on the roof.

They have almost finished putting the laths on there now too so it looks as if the fitting of the slates won’t be too far behind. It’ll be interesting to see where they will have reached when I come back from Leuven on Saturday afternoon, assuming that they let me out of Castle Anthrax.

zodiac baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier on I mentioned that there was all kinds of activity going on out at sea this afternoon and all types of water craft out there at sea this afternoon.

From my vantage point at the end of the headland I could see this zodiac roaring away into the bay down below. There didn’t seem to be any fishing rods on display but that isn’t to say that they are or aren’t fishermen. But the lifejacket that the passenger was wearing looked to be rather more substantial than you might expect for someone who would have to wield a fishing rod around.

Anyway they soon cleared off round the corner and out of sight towards the port so whatever it is that they were doing, they seems to have finished it and the tide has still a good while to go before the harbour is inaccessible.

While I was admiring the zodiac out in the bay I was overflown by a light aircraft. We’re having some aerial activity to day too.

f-bukk Wassmer WA54 Atlantic pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis aeroplane is F-BUKK, which tells me that it’s a Wassmer WA54 Atlantic, a design of aeroplane that dates from as far back as 1966. They have a special place in aviation history as they are the first aeroplanes built of composite materials.

They are actually probably the only type of true passenger aeroplanes that we have seen flying out of Granville airport as they have seats for three passengers as well as the pilot.

This one is a WA54 rather that a WA 50-something else because it has the larger 180hp Lycoming “O-360-A1LD” engine rather than the 150 hp Lycoming “O-320-E2A” engine. 55 of this model were built.

She had taken off from Granville and gone for a good flight down the Brittany coast almost as far as lannion where she turned round and came back to Granville again.

spirit of conrad hermes 1 lys noir freddy land aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the chantier navale there was a surprise waiting for me.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw the mobile boat lift hovering away over Hermes 1 and I speculated that it had come to load up the trawler and drop it back into the water at the following high tide.

Anyway, I don’t know what must have happened but Hermes 1 is still there and the mobile boat lift is back in its parking place. All that I can think of is that they needed to reposition her chocks so that she would sit in a different position so that they could work on another part of her hull.

unloading lorry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were things going on in the inner harbour this afternoon too. A large lorry seemed to be unloading its charge down by the loading bay.

Presumably this means that we are going to be having a visit from one or other or maybe even both of the two Jersey freighters in the course of the next couple of days.

From there I headed back to home and my hot mug of coffee and to see how my manual analysis of the disk was doing. And, as I said, it was very, very slowly. This is going to be a very long job.

While it was doing bits and pieces that I could leave it alone to do, I did a little more of the arrears of my trip to Central Europe and I’m now IN A HOTEL IN FÛRTH in Central Germany.

After the guitar practice I carried on with the disk analysis and then I wrote out my notes for the day. And now I’m off to bed. I have an early start tomorrow as I’m off to Castle Anthrax and there’s a lot to do before I go.

Thursday 25th February 2021 – YESTERDAY I MENTIONED …

roadworks monseigneur van waeyeberglaan leuven belgium Eric Hall… the slow pace of work at which they bare rebuilding that house in the Dekentraat.

And you won’t be surprised to learn that it’s not just in the Dekenstraat that they are taking their time. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last 18 months or so we’ve been following the trail of several other renovations and repairs that have been undertaken in the town, such as the laying of the new sewer in the Monseigneur Van Waeyeberglaan.

Here, they have been dragging their heels over this work for all this time without the slightest hint of urgency and they are still miles away from finishing it off.

parking sint jacobsplein leuven belgium Eric HallEven before they started over there, they had dug a huge hole in the car park in the Sint Jacobsplein.

That looked as if it was having a storm overflow tank installed there and while they might have installed it and surfaced it over, it’s still fenced off and being used as a builders’ store for all of the materials and machinery for the site.

It’ll remain like that, I reckon, until everything else is done, whenever that might be. I don’t know about you but I’m not holding my breath.

This morning it was rather difficult for me to haul myself out of bed. But then that’s always the case after my journey here. It takes rather a lot out of me, all of this travelling.

After the medicine, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

Last night I had been out in VBH, my yellow Cortina, and I was following someone who might have been in a Volvo. They were doing all kinds of tricks. We came to a junction where a road came in from the left hand side and there was a police car, a Rover SD1 there waiting to pull out. He was going to turn to the right so we were going to go past him. I didn’t realise that I didn’t have my seat belt on and there wasn’t much that I could do about that. As we went past I saw him change his indicator over from the right to the left and he pulled out behind us to follow us so I slid into my seat belt with the idea of clipping it on at a certain moment. While I was distracted the car in front slammed on his brakes for no good purpose whatsoever. I didn’t realise and VBH went straight into the back of this Volvo whatever it was with an almighty thud. Of course the police were there so I told them basically what happened. They had a look and they were certain that VBH was going to be scrapped. They pointed to the left hand side and the sill. The whole sill and inner sill had broken away from the rest of the body and was waving around. i said “I can weld that” but they were quite insistent that this was scrap.

Later on we were doing some building work in an attic somewhere. We were demolishing part of the wall and going to enlarge it because there were two rooms in the attic. I didn’t know where it was going because the alarm went off in the middle and awoke me. There was rotten wood that we were ripping out and someone had built a beam out of bricks would you believe and you could see that that was sagging away from what it was supposed to be supporting. There was about a 3 inch gap and I was convinced that there hadn’t been a gap until we started moving around in the attic. I was wondering if this meant that the attic was unstable and that the work that we were going to be doing was wasted.

This morning I was a very busy boy. What I did was to choose the music for three radio programmes that I’ll be preparing in the future. I might have completed them even quicker except that, once more, one of the plug-ins that I need for certain files isn’t uploaded onto this machine.

That was the case with one of the other laptops but seeing as I shall be keeping this one going for a while, I tracked down the missing plug-in, downloaded it and configured it. And all of that took longer than it might otherwise have done too.

Round about 11:30 I knocked off for a shower and a clothes-washing session and then made my sandwiches. And then off to Castle Anthrax.

demolition sint pieters brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallOn the way through the town passed by the site of the old Sint Pieters Hospital that never was.

In the past, I’ve talked … “at great length” – ed … about this building and its history, in particular how it became surplus to requirements before it was even properly commissioned And after many years of standing almost empty, they are now finally demolishing it

They have bulldozers and cranes all over the building dismantling it, but they are really taking their time bringing it down. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’d have used dynamite and brought it down accordingly. Just a couple of days’ work and maybe a month of cleaning up the debris rather than spending a couple of years at it and still not getting very far.

roadworks biezenstraat leuven belgium Eric HallSint Jacobs Kerk was locked up so I couldn’t see inside today so I wandered off to check on the laying of the main sewer.

There has been some little progress on the end of the sewer at the Biezenstraat. They’ve battered down the road surface and put in the kerb stones that go down to the Kapicijnenvoer. And you can actually react the Frittoerist now without going through any complicated manoeuvres too. A fritkot in Belgium with restricted access is a Belgian person’s idea of purgatory.

The next stage for the road will be the tipping of gravel, but as to when that may be, that could be anyone’s guess.

roadworks sint hubertusstraat leuven belgium Eric HallFrom here I have to walk along the Sint Hubertusstraat and then up the hill in the Monseigneur van Waeyenberglaan to the hospital.

The St Hubertuslaan hasn’t changed all that much in the last four weeks either. There was no-one working down at this end either but if we look in the distance halfway up the Monseigneur van Waeyenberglaan we can see a pile of diggers and other machinery working away.

And as I went past, I counted a grand total of 8 workmen doing all of this. No wonder it seems to be taking them all so long to make much progress.

At the hospital, I had a stroke of luck. When I first came here 5 years ago, they gave me a car park pass, for which I had to pay a €50:00 deposit. At various times I’d found the card but not the receipt or else the receipt but not the card. But while I was sorting out a few things back at home I’d managed to lay my hands on them both.

So seeing as I arrived early at the hospital I went to the Cashier’s office and handed them back – and recovered my €50:00 deposit. Spend, spend, spend, hey?

Everything ended up running terribly late in the hospital. They wouldn’t treat me until I’d had a Covid test so I ended up having another Q-tip shoved up my nose (which is one of the most horrible things that I could imagine) and then I had to sit around and wait for half an hour while they examined it.

So on finding out that I’m not Covid-positive (and that I’m no pregnant too – it’s amazing what they can find out with a Covid test) they could actually treat me. And eat my lunch too – at 15:00 now that I was plugged in and switched on.

When they threw me out I nipped round to the Chemists and stocked up with medication. Owing to some kind of confusion I’d been given two prescriptions for my monthly supply, and knowing the confusion that arrives when I try to obtain a large supply to take with me on a North American voyage, I took full advantage.

roadworks monseigneur van waeyeberglaan leuven belgium Eric HallOn the way back down into town I could take a photo of the roadworks at the top end of the Monseigneur van Waeyenberglaan.

On the way up, it had been a glorious, hot, sunny day and I had been sweltering as I walked to the hospital. I’d felt rather silly walking up there in my large jacket while some folk were wandering around in shorts and tee-shirts.

But by the time that had thrown me out of the hospital it had clouded over quite dramatically, tte temperature had dropped considerably and the sun was no longer in my eyes at this viewpoint.

demolition sint rafael kapucijnenvoer leuven belgium Eric HallWe’ve seen them knocking down the front end of the Sint Pieter’s Hospital. Down in the Kapicijnenvoer we can see the work that’s going on at the rear of the premises.

The site has been cleared and they’ve now erected a couple of tower cranes in position so it seems that redevelopment of the site is under way. It will be interesting to see what they are going to be building there, with cranes like that. I suppose that in another 100 years we shall find out.

Alison was waiting for me in the town centre so I hurried along there. It’s good to see her again and hear all of her exciting news. There’s quite a lot going on.

crowds sint donatus park leuven belgium Eric HallWith it being a beautiful evening for being out and about, especially for a February night, we went for a nce long walk around the town.

There were crowds of people out there tonight too, taking the air. I’ve no idea what was happening but the Sint Donatus Park just outside the city centre was bursting to the seams with people out there picnicking.

The Sint Donatus park is one that we have visited on several occasions. Apart from all of the water features, it also contains vestiges of the old medieval city walls, but we aren’t going to see them tonight, not in the dark anyway.

crowds sint donatus park leuven belgium Eric HallIn the centre of the park is a kind of bowl or amphitheatre and this was crowded with people. You could hear the noise from a couple of hundred metres away.

There were several policemen patrolling this part of the park and I have to say that they were taking absolutely no notice whatever of the social distancing, or lack thereof, of the people congregating here.

There is one thing that I can say about this is that as long as I can hold out until early April when I (hopefully) will have had my second anti-virus injection, then these people can congregate as much as they like. Darwin will take care of them and we’ll have a much wiser, healthier population remaining when the pandemic has passed, if it ever does.

ramberg leuven belgium Eric HallAlison and I continued our wander around. Down the steep hill in the Ramberg to where it joins up to the Naamsestraat and walked back to her car.

We both came back here and had a coffee (seeing as all of the cafes are closed) and another long chat.

After she went home I sat down to type out today’s notes but I fell asleep halfway through. It’s always pretty exhausting having my medical treatment and walking around doing … errr … 136% of my daily target of exercise contributes quite a lot to that. So when I awoke I simply hauled myself off to bed and I’ll finish the rest in the morning.

Tuesday 3rd November 2020 – I DIDN’T …

… accomplish very much of my plans today.

The plans all started to misfire last night when I listened to the radio for hours instead of going to sleep. And then I couldn’t doze off once the programme stopped.

Eventually I suppose it must have dropped off, and once I did, I went off on a little voyage.

I was in a psychological thriller again last night, on a couple of occasions too. There were five groups of us, all different colours and we were combining somewhere in some way in which to go off on a voyage but a few people were unstable and led to a few incidents. Everyone was watching closely everyone else until I became alone with someone who then exploded and hot me with a bottle, this kind of thing. Eventually he was overwhelmed and tranquilised. Then we drifted on again but it turned out that it wasn’t this person. He was someone who was suffering from the stress and I ended up alone with the other person who was manifesting allthe signs of everything, and I was hit on the head with a bottle again. This guy escaped through a window to run around the roof. They left him to it. I had to go to the top of the stairs and shout for someone and they came up. They all seemed to occcupy themselves with this guy, not me. I was in a bit of a state. In the end the guy came back in and basically admitted everything. he said “well I suppose that Igoing to be hanged now?” or something. They said “no. We’ll take you away and get you all patched up and cut a few bits out here and a few bits out there and you’ll be fine. All the tlme I was sitting on this sofa. I’d been hit over the head twice with a bottle but no-one was paying the slightest bit of attention to me and my wounds.

Although the alarm went off at 06:00 etc it was about 07:40 when I finally left the bed and after typing out the dictaphone notes, I prepared for today’s Welsh course;

That involved trying to make Zoom work on my mobile phone and for some unknown reason that wasn’t as easy as it might have been. But apart from the fact that it was difficult to see what the tutor was writing or displaying, it worked very satisfactorily on the phone. It’s a good idea that I obtained a digital copy of the course book and uploaded it to the laptop.

The course went quickly today too and I actually felt a lot more confident about it than I have done just recently.

But the bad news came during the course work. The ‘phone was pinging all the way through the lesson and when I looked at the end of the course, I found that my train from Lille to Paris and from Paris to Granville are cancelled. This is going to take some planning, I reckon, if I want to get home.

For lunch, I had finished off the last of the bread so I decided to go off and buy some more.

house with new roof dekenstraat leuven belgium Eric HallSeeing as it was daylight and quite a pleasant afternoon to boot, I decided to retrace my steps of last night, only this time being able to see where I’m going.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a month or so ago we say them ripping off the roof of one of the houses in the Dekenstraat and so I was interested to see how they had progressed with it.

And by the looks of things, it’s actually completed, the scaffolding has been dismantled and everyone has gone back home. And by the looks of it, they’ve done a pretty good job too.

Onze Lieve Vrouw Ter Koorts vlamingenstraat leuven belgium Eric HallCarrying on along the labyrinth I came to the corner of the Vlamingenstraat. As I said yesterday, I’ve not been down here during the day so I wasn’t aware of what there is to see here;

And here is one of the interesting buildings that I must have missed last night. It’s the Onze Lieve Vrouw Ter Koorts, the Chapel of Our Lady of the Sorrows. It’s another one of these places where originally there was a tree and then there was a statue in the tree, and then people came on pilgrimages to see the statue and so they started to build a chapel for the pilgrims and so on.

It was purchased by the University in 1986 and is now part of the research and archive centre of the university.

tower old city walls sint donatuspark leuven belgium Eric HallAcross the road, the Sint Donatus Park was now opened so that I could go for a walk around there today.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve taken a couple of photos in here before in the distant past. There are quite a few relics of the city’s glorious past in here and the medieval defences are quite prominent here;

Leuven is much more lucky than many cities in Belgium where the medieval defences have been totally swept away. Here, we still have a few walls and towers and as we saw last month round by the River Dijle, they actually are taking some kind of care of them.

scene stage sint donatuspark leuven belgium Eric HallIt’s not just the medieval remains in the park that are worthy of attention;

There’s this stage in here, down at the southern end of the park. I would imagine, not that I have any evidence to support it, that it’s the kind of place where they would have open-air concerts in the summer. That’s the kind of thing that goes on in mist parks.

The painting od the whale is particularly interesting and in fact, the rear of the building seems to resemble the scales of a fish.

Centrum Agrarische Geschiedenis Atrechtcollege Naamsestraat 63 3000 Leuven belgium Eric HallSome of the gates in the park were locked so I found my way out into the Naamsestraat by way of the grounds of the Centrum Agrarische Geschiedenis Atrechtcollege.

This is the Centre for Agricultural History and the students here are studying the heritage and history of rural life, food and agriculture since the 1750s to the present day and have created a knowledge bank of more than 12,000 photos and documents relating to the last couple of centuries;

There’s also a large collection of artefacts but these are housed elsewhere in West Flanders which is a shame because that would have been somewhere that I would have liked to visit.

De Kangxi-Verbiest hemelglobe Centrum Agrarische Geschiedenis Atrechtcollege Naamsestraat 63 3000 Leuven belgium Eric HallIn the courtyard of the Centrum Agrarische Geschiedenis is this really beautiful bronze globe:

It’s a replica of the globe that was used by the Flemish missionary and astronomer Ferdinand Verbeist at the Chinese court in 1763 (the original is still in Imperial Observatory in Beijing) to try to demonstrate that western science was superior to that of the Chinese, something that apparently provoked a great deal of merriment.

Apart from that, Verbiest has a claim to fame in that some suggest that a design of a self-propelled steam-powered vehicle that he drew and about which he wrote in 1672 was actually a working model and this would have been the first “automobile”.

sint michielskerk naamestraat leuven belgium Eric HallDown the road from the College is the Sint Michielskerk.

It’s considered by some to be one of the “Seven Wonders of Leuven” and was declared a National Monument in 1940. It dates from the third quarter of the 17th Century and designed by Father Willem Hesius for the Jesuit Order, who took his inspiration from Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola’s Il Gesu in Rome.

Many people have said that it strongly resembles an altar, an effect that Hesius managed to continue on the outside as well as on the inside.

After the Austrian occupiers dissolved the Jesuit Order, the church then became a Parish Church.

old city walls Redingenstraat Leuven belgium Eric HallRound again through towards the Groot Begijnhof I had to take a little detour from my normal route due to roadworks.

Down the Redingenstraat, another street down which I have never previously set my sooty foot, I came across yet more historical relics, to wit – another length of the old city wall.

It seems that there is a great deal of this wall still standing and one of these days I shall have to make an inventory of what there is. But whatever there is left, it’s a real shame that more effort wasn’t made to retain more of it.

groot begijnhof leuven belgium Eric HallFinally finding my way through into the Groot Begijnhof I could have a little wander around to pass the time,

As I said the other day, this is a place where I would really love to live. Nice and peaceful in some wonderful medieval buildings.

From here I found my way to the Carrefour where I bought my bread and some stuff for pudding. And a few more vegan articles that were reduced for special offer. There was also a 2-kg sack of bread flour “just add water” for just €1:00. Not that I’m expecting it to be much good but at that price I’ll give it a try.

Tea was burger and pasta in tomato sauce followed by peaches and sorbet. And then my notes;

Bed-time now, and then Castle Anthrax tomorrow. They haven’t cancelled my appointment yet but there is plenty of time to go. And then I have to worry about getting home. That’s a job for after my appointment is finished. No need to do anything quite yet as they too are likely to change.

Friday 23rd October 2020 – ANOTHER FLAMING …

… shambles of a morning where I couldn’t find the energy to drag myself out of bed when the alarms went off.

That was despite having a relatively early night too. And nothing on the dictaphone either to disturb me. Although I do seem to remember something about hitting someone with a golf club so that he couldn’t take part in a competition in which I was competing, something like Tonya Harding, I suppose.

First task was then to finish off THE BLOG FROM YESTERDAY by adding in all of the photos that I took last night. And when I say “all of them”, I mean “all of them that survived the cull” because most of them ended up in the bin.

It was a very disappointing session last night.

Another thing that I did, which took up the rest of the morning, was a two-week course in “How To Create Great On-Line Content” from the University of Sheffield. I studied the course, took the exam at the end and ended up with a score of 80% and a certificate. Yes, the World’s my oyster now, isn’t it? And all in a couple of hours before lunch too!

This afternoon I attacked the outstanding 46 photos from August and now they are all done. Right on cue too.

woman swimming in sea plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving compeleted my day’s tasks, I went off for my afternoon walk.

Not as enthusiastically as this lady here, of course. She has come here to take the waters and that’s plainly evident by her actions in leaping into the sea. A braver man than I am, Gungha Din. I know that I’ve been it up to my knees 700 miles from the North Pole but I had a coat on at the time.

You wouldn’t get me doing what she’s doing, not for all the tea in China. I’m sure that I don’t need to repeat the discussion that I had with Castor and Pollux on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR.

light aeroplane Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallso instead I wandered off on my afternoon walk around the medieval walls of the old city.

Having seen someone in the water, several people on the beach and crowds of people around on the footpath, it only remained for me to see someone in the air and I would hit the jackpot. And sure enough, a light aeroplane from the airport at Donville-les-Bains duly obliged.

You are probably wondering why I didn’t include any of the scaffolders on the roof of the College Malraux or the house in the Rue St Jean as my aerial representatives, but the fact is that they had all cleared off and gone.

joly france baie de mont st michel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I’d been out at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord, I’d seen some movement out to sea near the Ile de Chausey.

My money was on it being one of the Joly France ferries coming back from the Ile de Chausey and as I came around the corner into the Square Maurice Marland, sure enough, she came around the headland and headed for the port entrance.

Unfortunately there were far too many people around so I couldn’t break out into a run. What with one thing and another, I run like a dromedary with dropsy and it’s not for public consumption.

joly france baie de mont st michel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy the time I reached the far side of the Square, Joly France was making her tight turn into the harbour entrance.

Down there on the left-hand side, there’s a current that swirls away at the silt and it’s worn a channel over there that is deeper than the rest of the harbour entrance. When the tide is quite low like it is at the moment, the boats need all the sea-room that they can get and even so, I’ve bumped along the bottom over there once or twice.

But she successfully negotiated the entrance and then went over to the ferry terminal to tie up and disgorge her passengers.

pallet loader loading onto trailer port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn fact, there were quite a few strange goings on in the harbour this afternoon.

A van and a trailer pulled up at the quayside and then a pallet loader came along and dropped some rectangular metallic object onto the trailer. And as well as that, there’s a huge pile of what looks like wood dumped in one of the gravel bins over there. That’s something else for me to keep an eye on in the future.

But not right now. I headed for home as I had plenty of things to do this afternoon.

So, what were my plans for this afternoon?

First of all, I had to feed the sourdough. And it was a mistake to tip the excess down the sink because it’s clearly working, extremely sour, and has stunk the place out to high heaven. The next step, probably the middle of next week when the current loaf is exhausted, is to try my hand at making a sourdough loaf.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that several weeks ago, in the process of digitalising all of my music, I asked the question “could I record straight off the cassette unit of the old Hi-fi into the ZOOM H1 unit that I use for outside broadcasts when I’m out on the streets WITH THE RADIO.

Well, now I know the answer. And the answer is “yes, I can”. I tired it and it works. But not very successfully, unfortunately. There’s no output control on the cassette unit so it’s a tinny sound and it’s also overwhelming the recording level range of the machine. My next trick will be to dig out the old amp (which, as you might expect, is at the bottom of the pile so inaccessible for the moment) and run the cassette unit through the amp with the Zoom plugged into the headphone socket on there.

It’s a long and complicated process but in the end I’ll get there, I’m convinced of that.

The hour on the guitars was rather more interesting tonight. On the bass playlist a couple of Jimi Hendrix tracks came round. When I played in a group back in the mid-70s with Jon Dean and Dave Hudson we performed a few Hendrix numbers so I was reliving old times. But it’s depressing me because 45 years on and I can’t play the bass lines as rapidly as I used to be able to. So instead, I concentrated on singing.

That made me feel better, but I don’t think that anyone else within earshot did.

The half-hour on the 6-string, I just bashed out a few Lindisfarne numbers and then had a go at Led Zeppelin’s “Tangerine”. That’s not going to be the work of five minutes either.

Tea tonight was a potato and veg curry out of the freezer followed by more of my delicious home-baked apple pie.

lights of St Malo Brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was another beautiful clear night out there tonight. Not across to the Channel Islands but down the Brittany coast it was marvellous.

But no tripod tonight. The gale-force winds that we were promised for Wednesday and Thursday that we didn’t receive have arrived this evening. Instead, you have to make do with a hand-held photo of the Brittany coast – but with the correct lens tonight.

That photo was taken with me leaning up against one of the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall. A solid support but still plety of wind about. The tripod would never have worked here.

lights of St Malo Brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut this is so much better, isn’t it?

No tripod, but a handy flat-topped stone pillar being used as a route marker was pressed into service. And with the timer delay and suitable long exposure I managed to conjure up this photo. And for an ad-hoc photo of the lights of Cancale on the left and St Malo on the right reflecting from the clouds, there have been much worse than this.

Happy with that, I continued along on my run along the clifftop down to my rest area at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

yacht chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis was the view that I was hoping for last night that didn’t come out at all.

It’s a far cry from when we had 8 boats in there a few weeks ago, isn’t it? Now we’re just down to the one and that’s not a working boat either. It’s not the Spirit of Conrad, the one on which I went down the Brittany coast either. It has a wind turbine on the stern and that makes me pretty sure that I’ve seen her before.

From here I ran on back home and, to my surprise, without even thinking about it, I ran on a good 20 metres beyond my rest stop too – and uphill. I’m slowly getting myself back to fitness. It’s been a while and there’s still a long way to go too

Having written my notes, I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow of course and I don’t need much because next weekend I’m off on my travels. I’m going early to Castle Anthrax because I have a few things to do in Leuven. That means that I have to do two radio programmes next week. Luckily one of them is a live concert and hey! Have I got something special for that?

But that’s not all. Schools are out, the holidays have started, the holidaymakers have arrived, and three cases of Covid reported in the town – one of which is apparently in the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs which, as everyone knows, is the building behind mine.

Monday 19th October 2020 – LOOKING BACK …

… over my posts from a few weeks ago (which is one of the reasons why I write this rubbish that you read) I noticed that I was taking four – and on one occasion 5 – days to prepare just one radio programme.

This morning I sat down at about 07:15 to make a start on one and despite a break to speak to someone on the telephone and another break for lunch, it was all done and dusted and ready by just after 14:10. And that has to be something of an all-time record.

It’s a really good programme too with a couple of interesting and one extremely rare piece of music that will be bound to excite the interest of my listeners. Both of them will enjoy it very much.

What helped the matter very much is that the third alarm and I had another draw this morning. Just as I’d thrown off the covers and I was about to sit up, the alarm went off.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone. I was with three others and we’d arranged to go to the football but we didn’t for some unknown reason. When I was on my way home, all of Gresty Road was cordoned off because there was a big match. I quickly went home to dump my things and then ended up back in the ticket office for a ticket for me and a programme. I couldn’t remember how much the match was so he said “as a special favour for you we’ll do it for £20:00” which sounded pretty cheap for me but I could never be sure if that wasn’t the admission price normally. I fought my way back out through the crowds to take my position. He’d asked me where I wanted to sit and I said “in the stands nearest Gresty Road” so I thought that that was where he’d given me. As for my 3 friends whom I was supposed to be meeting I gave up any idea at all about seeing them again

It reminded me very much of the time that the Police caught three boys climbing over the fence at Gresty Road. They made the boys climb back and watch the second half.

Then I cracked on with my radio programme. I had a ‘phone call at about 11:00 from some people in the Isle of Man and then I had to send off to the engineer this week’s programme. A break for lunch, when I used the last of my home-made hummus (I must make some more tomorrow) and then I finished. A new record time to.

But it helps that I have a new system of working that’s much more efficient and choosing the tracks now only takes me a couple of minutes instead of the hours that it used to take. My record collection is divided into 7 groups now that it’s mostly digitalised, and there’s a playlist for each group. If I’m doing, say, Group D next week, I’ll be listening to Playlist D this week and making a list of the interesting and appropriate tracks, their length and (if appropriate) the week in which the track was previously played.

It only takes a couple of laps around the groups and there’s probably a list of 200 or more tracks in each group now indexed to play. I just take 50 minutes’ worth of each group each week, write out the text, dictate and edit it down, merge it all together, add on 35 seconds for a final speech, and then choose a track of the appropriate length to make up the hour.

When I’d finished, I had another task to perform. That is, to make the arrangements for the trip to Castle Anthrax. Some of us are going out on the Sunday so I’m going out on Saturday and coming back on the following Friday.

Fishing Boat English Channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving completed the day’s work extremely early, I went out for my afternoon walk, suitably masked for the occasion.

This afternoon I went, for a change, around the walls of the old town, so at the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord I had a good look out over the beach. And I was surprised, not only to see a fishing boat out there off the coast by Donville les Bains, but to see it so close to the shore.

The thought went immediately to my mind that maybe it’s run aground and waiting for the tide to float it off, but that’s unlikely. I’m sure they know what they are doing.

People on Beach Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever, I’m not too sure that these people do.

It’s half-term now for French schools and so the brats are out and enjoying themselves. And quite right too. This group of people were engaged in making very pretty patterns in the sand – some kind of temporary artwork. Still, it keeps them out of mischief.

For my part, I was keeping out of mischief too. Far too many people for me to break out into a run so I had a quiet walk along the path.

Drained Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo-one about on the Square Maurice Marland so I took the opportunity to go for an extra run across to the other side.

And here, a quite interesting spectacle met my eyes. Thet had drained the inner harbour – which might explain why Granville and Victor Hugo, the two Channel Island ferries, cleared off to Cherbourg the other day.

Having made “certain enquiries”, it turns out that they have done this today so that they can examine the pontoons that they installed over the winter and also check on the seals of the gates that they installed about two years ago at the port entrance.

Sacks in Drained Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy eyes however alighted on these objects and I wondered what they might be.

My first thought was that a group of seals or some such had entered the port when the gates had been open and were refusing to leave. And so I waited around to see if there was any movement – but there was not so I ruled out the possibility that it might be a living creature.

Closer examination revealed that they might be sacks of something or other – perhaps dropped off a fishing boat or one of the little freighters. Doubtless there will be some remark in the Press tomorrow to clarify the issue.

Back here I made a start on a couple of other tasks but Rosemary rang me up and we had a very long chat. That took me right up to teatime. A stuffed pepper with rice followed by half of the apple turnover. And even though I say it myself, my apple turnover was totally delicious. I’m really pleased with that

Trawlers Baie de Mont St Michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I went out for my evening walk and runs. Mind you, I didn’t want to. The wind was blowing a howling gale the brought me to a dead halt on a couple of occasions.

Despite the wicked wind, it wasn’t going to stop the fishing fleet from going out to sea. There were a couple of trawlers battling through the waves on their out to sea to join a few of them already out there.

There were several other photos that I wanted to take too but I found to my dismay that I had forgotten to swap the lenses and put the f1.8 50mm lens – the one that I use for night-time photography – onto the NIKON D500 so nothing would work out in the dark tonight.

Instead I continued on my runs as best I could in the conditions and came on home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow I have my Welsh course so I need to be up early and do my revision. And then for the rest of the week I can finish off the photos from August 2020 and maybe even start work on some more arrears. There are plenty to go at of course.

And meantime you can have a look at THE INCIDENT ON SATURDAY that led to the sending-off. One additional defender (Priestley Farquarson, and we know how quick he is) covering, the ball 10 yards in front of the attacker, Lewis Brass the goalkeeper off his line quickly to clear the ball. Imminent goalscoring opportunity my Aunt Fanny.

The ref should be ashamed of himself.

Friday 2nd October 2020 – I KNEW THAT …

Repairing Roof Guttering College Malraux Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… it was a mistake for me to have those baked beans the other night.

The storm that was brewing last night was actually Hurricane Alex or whatever it was called and it finally arrived round about 02:00. By 05:00 is was in its full fury and round about 05:20 the weather station just down the road here recorded a gust of wind at 142Km/H – that’s 85MpH for those of you still working in real money.

This afternoon when I went out for my walk, they were out repairing all the damage – because damage, there was plenty. There was a cherry-picker just across the car park putting part of the roof and the guttering back on the College Malraux. And that’s the leeward side of the building too. I wonder what it must have been like on the windward side.

But imagine being up there on that with the wind gusting like it did. Luckily the wind had died down considerably by the time that I went out and everywhere was slowly getting back to normal – until the next storm.

It’s not surprising therefore that I had a bad night. It was difficult to sleep with all of this going on – that is, unless I was in mid-dictate because in the middle of recounting one episode I did fall asleep. And my apologies to the much-maligned Percy Penguin, who doesn’t appear in these pages anything like as often as she deserves. Yes, so I do sometimes snore when I’m asleep. Et Alors?

For a change I beat the third alarm to my feet this morning. But it didn’t make much difference because there was that much on the dictaphone that I still didn’t have the early night for which I was hoping.

We started off with people all dying off in this country house – a typical Agatha Christie murder thing and there was an investigation going on. Hercule Poirot came to carry out the investigation but he mysteriously died as well. That left everything in the clear so I thought that it was best that I made my getaway at the moent while everyone else was preoccupied. I nipped out. There were all these people at the seaside at tables having a communal meal down the coast. I ran past them. What I hadn’t realised was that Poirot had come to life again. He’d tried a trick. He chased after me and actually caught me. A proper detective led me away. I tried to argue my way out of it but to no avail. He took me to his car which was a long way away by foot. His car had some kind of publicity thing like upturned cows’ udders on the roof for milk.
Rather surprisingly, a while later I had exactly the same dream but it finished differently. It was 2 other people who cornered me, not Poirot. They managed to stop me and the police came up and took me away. But it was the same, identical dream except that it finished in a different way.
Somewhat later, there was a note on my dictaphone about which I don’t have a clue, because it appears that I might have missed the start. There was in fact an entry prior to this, but it was a blank one so I must not have recorded it. However – “This was done (what was?) first in film then it was done the second time also in film, glorious technicolour. Then I walked back to the town at Granville again past a group of (I fell asleep here) said they would kill me. I went to drag them away. (I fell asleep again here for a good few minutes). So I ran but in the end they caught me and that happened twice in both particular dreams. Later still it all came into a hospital, not a country house party, and all this started to happen but I was arrested before I actually poisoned too many of those”.
At least it looks as if it has something to do with the events of the previous dream, but I’ve no idea what it’s about really.
Later on last night I was joined by someone who fluttered briefly into my life 12 or so years ago and who has recently reappeared quite dramatically. I was planning on moving house out of my parents’ home into the one I’d bought at Winsford. She was moving house as well so we were all discussing our plans and so on. I already had a lot of furniture in my house but the dining room table in my parents house belonged to me and what was I going to do about that? Would I take it? Leave it? Sell it or something? It ended up being quite a lengthy discussion. We had had a bit of a lie-in that morning but had things to do. Suddenly it announced on the radio that it was nearly 12:00. Someone said that they’d better get on with this tin of beans while they still can before the contents go off. It was a huge tin of baked beans and someone had tried to open it and made a right mess of butchering the top so someone else had to open it. I had some things to take round to my house, which had now become my house in the Auvergne. I got there and went to quickly look at things and put things away because this girl might come round. Sure enough she suddenly presented herself. She asked if she could use the bathroom. I explained to her that the toilet was a dry one. She replied “ohh no, I can’t use that!”

There was far more to it than this but some of my readers have delicate sensibilities and they are probably eating their meals right now.

So what have I done today?

For a start-off, I’ve done some rearranging of things in my office. I’m fed up of cables that go absolutely everywhere except where they are supposed to go. So I’ve moved a few things around and tidied up the wiring to some degree. That means that as well as the place looking neater, I can actually now get into the two drawers that are in one of the bookcases. I can now start to put things away.

There was still 1kg of carrots that needed freezing. They have been washed, peeled, diced, blanched with bayleaves, drained and they are now in the freezer taking care of themselves.

But I spent all day working on the photos of July this year. All of the ones from the trip on the Spirit of Conrad have been dealt with and I’m now well into the ones for my Great Trek around Central Europe.

What was disappointing though was that I could have done much more except that I crashed out no fewer than three times during the course of the day. An early start is no good if I end up being asleep for all of this time during the day.

Le Loup Baie de Mont St Michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe had the afternoon walk as usual, and although the wind had dropped somewhat, I still didn’t want to spend too much time out there.

No boats of course, as you might expect, and not much else going on. I took a photo of the Baie de Mont St Michel and Le Loup – the light that’s on the rock at the entrance to the harbour, more out of the fact that there was nothing much else going on anywhere. At least you can see how grey and miserable everything looked today.

But when I said that there were no boats out there, that’s not strictly true. Somewhere out there on the rocks is a yacht. The gusts of winds snatched one from its moorings over at Cancale on the Brittany coast and drove it across the bay onto the rocks neat the Pointe de Carolles. There was no-one in it, but a lifeboat did go out. They managed to rescue it and tow it into the harbour during the afternoon.

debris Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound in the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne there is yet more devastation.

It’s effectively an alleyway between the high walls of the medieval city on one side and the high walls of one of the old barracks buildings. It’s like a wind tunnel up there at the best of times and so earlier this morning it must have been horrific. It’s brought down mortar and even small stones out of the walls of the barracks. That lot certainly wasn’t there yesterday.

Back here I carried on with my work and then had my hour on the guitar. And strangely, I didn’t enjoy it at all. I couldn’t seem to be able to do anything properly and it really annoyed and frustrated me. I’m not supposed to have days like this.

Tea was taco rolls, using up the rest of the stuffing left over from my stuffed peppers with a small tin of kidney beans chucked in for good measure. That was followed by yet more strawberry flan with coconut soya dessert.

Calm Seas Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor my evening walk tonight, the wind was behaving itself a little more. Now, it could just be classed as “strong”. Nevertheless there were still some brave folks sitting outside at La Rafale.

There wasn’t anyone else wandering around so I had the old town to myself. I ran on down the path to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset and if you want any confirmation about how dramatically the weather has changed, then one view of the sea should tell you all that you need to know.

The tempest that was raging last night even before the storm reached anything like its peak has subsided as dramatically as you can get. Tonight, it was like a millpond out there and as long as I looked I didn’t see a single wave of any significance.

Moonlight Behind Clouds Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe sky was beautifully bright tonight and you could see for miles in all directions, including upwards.

That is, until you reached where the moon was. Here, there was some cloud cover and the moon was obscured. Not enough though to stop the bright moonlight seeping out around the edges and that was just beckoning for a photograph. And all in all, given the limitations under which I’m working, it came out rather well.

No sign of life in the harbour tonight, which is no surprise seeing as there were no boats out today in view of the weather. I know that they go out on most occasions in adverse weather, but today it really was adverse. With nothing to see, I ran on home to my apartment.

Tomorrow is shopping day so now that I’ve finished my notes, I’m having an early night. In fact, I don’t need much from the shops as I’m not going to be here for a few days next week. It’s Castle Anthrax time, but whether or not I go is another thing. Lille is a hotbd of the virus and there’s talk of a severe lockdown. And that’s where I change trains for Brussels.

That’s going to be exciting.

Thursday 24th September 2020 – NO PRIZES …

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… for guessing what the weather is doing today.

Summer has well and truly gone and we are now full in the grip of autumn. I mentioned yesterday about the winds and perhaps I ought to have added – but regular readers of this rubbish will recall – that not only do we have the highest tides in Europe, we have some of the highest winds too.

Just one look at the dark and rolling sea (whatever happened to the emerald-blue sea that we have been having) and the waves doing their best to clear the sea wall a good hour or two before high tide tells you everything that you need to know.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhat else that you need to know – I mean – you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t interested – is that I beat the third alarm clock out of bed.

After I’d sorted myself out I had a listen to the dictaphone and I was surprised that given the short time that I’d had in bed last night, I’d managed to go so far.

So while you admire a few more photos of the storm that we were having this afternoon, I can tell you all about my various journeys.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was something going on about babies last night. She was feeding them Spam. The two smallest ones had 3.6mm thickness of Spam and the other one had 4mm – it was slightly older. I thought 11.6mm of Spam (so much for my maths when I’m asleep) – that’s less than half an inch between three. They’ll just have their particular size of helping and they are going to be hungry immediately again. Even the woman with me too raised an eyebrow when she heard me talking about the measurements.

Mind you, that could be because she probably didn’t think all that much of my maths either

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallLater on there was a group of us kids larking around last night and and one of them was called Heather or Hilary, something like that. We’d been having an exchange of banter or something then she had to go home for her tea. We all finished talking and so on. Then the subject came up about this girl and I said “I suppose we’ll be seeing her at school tomorrow” to which someone replied “Eric, you’re certainly going to see Heather (or Hilary) tomorrow”. I said “what do you mean?”. He replied “well you’ve arranged a date with her, something like that”. “Have I really? That surprised me”. “Well the way that she was talking when she left she seemed to be of the opinion that that was the case”. So we carried on chatting for a while and the question came round about this girl. I said “I’ll have to find out her school number”. I knew that it was a 4-figure one that ended something like “33” so I asked someone to find it. They found a number that was 5 figures and totally different but in the end someone went and asked this person to have another look and they came up with a number something like 4933. I thought “that must be it so I’ll make a note of that”. As we were chatting a policeman came up. He asked “did you know that there was a cucumber stuck in the lock of your gate?” “What they heck is happening there?”. Someone said that they has seen this Hilary/Heather girl when she went home she took a cucumber with her so she’s probably stuck it in the lock of the gate to make sure that we get it back. The copper said “it doesn’t want to stay there. You want to get it moved”.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was another incident later on with a girl with a similar name, a very quiet, shy girl also called Heather or Hilary – I dunno why I got stuck on that name last night. She and her mother and a few people had been around to see us and I’d been chatting to the girl. She was very quiet, very shy but very nice. I was thinking that I might go round to her house to see if she wants to come out for a walk or something. But then we had visitors round and I couldn’t. It got to being rather late, about 20:30. So I found her phone number – my mother knew it so I rang her up. I knew that it was in West Street somewhere. I mumbled her name to see if it was her and it was. I basically said that I was going to come round and invite her for a walk but as we had people round I couldn’t so does she fancy coming round one evening later in the week? She said “yes” which cheered me up. I suggested the following day but she had something on, and the day after that she had something on and it wasn’t convenient and so on. But she seemed keen enough but it didn’t seem to fit for the dates. In the end her mother took the telephone and said “why don’t you come round to our shop? We have a second-hand shop in West Street”. That rang a bell with me because we’d been talking about shop valuations and how they had had a good valuation on their house and how they were going to borrow some money to deal with it. Although the number was something like 475 West Street it was right up at the Hightown end which of course the numbers were the other way round – the lower numbers are at the Hightown end. She said “why don’t you come round here during the day and have a talk to her?”. That seemed to be a much more logical way of going about it if she was keen and her mother was keen enough that I could take her for a walk or something.

So I’ve no idea what was going on last night. Me in my mid-teens (we didn’t move to Crewe until just before my 16th birthday although that’s not significant) chasing after young girls called Heather or Hilary.

And my mother being helpful too – that’s something of a change of lifestyle. I’m surprised that I wasn’t overcome with shock. Normally, if there were any works going on anywhere, all my family usually used to go around and shove spanners in them as a matter of course.

But I definitely seem to be trying to recapture my lost youth right now. And I wish I knew who this poor girl was.

There was still plenty of time to look at the arrears and SHOCK! HORROR! they are all done and out of the way. It serves me right for taking a steam-driven laptop with me when I went away instead of one that works properly.

workman porte st jean rue granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter a shower and a clean-up I went out to the shops.

More activity taking place by the Porte St Jean. One of the workmen fixing the kerb at the edge of the pavement. Probably someone has dislodged it while manoeuvring in a car.

My shopping in LIDL ended up being one of the most expensive that I’ve had. Apart from all of the fresh fruit, it was a sale of motorcycling gear and they had motorcyclists’ thermal winter underwear on sale.

Despite everything, I still have high hopes of going back to the High Arctic one of these days and the thermal underwear that I bought in Canada didn’t seem to do the job as well as I liked. This stuff should be better – at least I hope so.

Before I went, I had half-an-hour to spare (the new dynamic me seems to be still chugging along right now) so I made two bread mixes – a large one with bread flour and cereal and sunflower seeds and a small one with banana, ground almonds, raisins and a banana.

While I was out at the shops I’d left them proofing and when I came back, I kneaded them and left them for the second proof.

To warm up the oven, I baked a rice pudding while the bread was on its second proof.

Once the pudding was cooked and the bread had risen sufficiently I put them both in the oven.

While the loaves were cooking, I diced some ginger very finely and brought it to the boil with a small amount of water and left it to simmer.

There were three kiwis and two lemons that needed eating so I peeled them, whizzed them to a purée in the whizzer and then added them to the ginger and water and left it all to simmer for an hour.

home made bread banana bread rice pudding kiwi lemon ginger cordial place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallAt the end of that time (which I’d spent washing up) I took the giner, lemon and kiwi mix off the stove, added two tablespoons of honey and some turmeric, and then whizzed it all into a nice cordial and put it into a nice clean bottle.

By now the bread was cooked so I took it out of the oven. But a minor disaster in that the bread had stuck to the bottom of the mould so it came away in two halves.

Greased or not, this porcelain dish thing that I used isn’t up to the job and I’m going to have to think again

After lunch I attacked the photos from my trip on the Spirit of Conrad and I made good progress. We’re now anchored in the roads at the Ile de Chausey.

And while I was at it, I made a startling discovery. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the small ship that we’ve seen a few times. It looks like a French government ship except that while the markings are the same, this has white where you would expect to see grey.

But looking at my photos of the Ile de Chausey I found that it was in port and under a microscope I could read her name. She’s called Les Epiettes and she is actually a French Government ship – owned by the Ponts et Chaussées – The Roads and Bridges Department

air sea rescue helicopter Airbus Eurocopter EC-145 f-zbpf granville manche normandy france eric hallThis afternoon I’d hardly set foot out of the door on my afternoon run before I was buzzed yet again by a low-flying aircraft.

Not the red microlight this time – since I commented last week about it, I haven’t seen it since, which is what you’d expect. Today, it was the turn of the Air-Sea Rescue helicopter to get me. Someone there has decided to get his chopper out this afternoon.

And being able to see the serial number today (it was so close that I could even see the pilot’s pimples) which is F-ZBPF, I can tell you that she’s an Airbus Eurocopter EC-145 built in 2003, build number 9012, and owned by the French Securite Civile – although at one time she was registered in Germany.

brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were just me and three or four other people out there this afternoon. It really was a wicked wind.

Strangely though, the sky was a lot clearer than I expected it to be even if it was very cloudy too. There was a really good view all the way down the Brittany coast and we could clearly see that those objects that I have thought once or twice might be ships going into St Malo are in fact islands.

The white caps on the waves are quite impressive too, so far out in the bay. We really were taking “a hell of a beating”, just like the England football team did in Norway in 1981.

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRound at the chantier navale we’ve had yet more movement

Our Ten Green Bottles have reduced themselves yet again as another one seems to have fallen into the sea We are now down to just four in there today, down from five yesterday and a far cry from the heady days of a week or two ago when there were as many as eight up on blocks.

You’ve seen the storm and the waves so I won’t trouble you any more with any of that. Instead I came on back to the apartment.

Another 4 LPs have been recorded this afternoon, reducing the pile of those. And then there was the hour on the guitars too.

Tea tonight was something different. I’d been giving some thought to the idea of meals when I’m away at Castle Anthrax in 2 weeks time. For some reason, beans and chips came into my head. it ended up being such an overwhelming feeling that tonight I cut up a couple of potatoes into chip-like objects and put them in my microwave griller with some olive oil.

While I was at it, I cooked some beans and a burger and that was that. The chips were, well, different but as a substitute for the real thing they really did go down a treat.

Rice pudding for afters of course.

Tonight’s walk was something of a disappointment.

Once more I was the only person out there which was no surprise given the howling gale. Running along the footpath under the walls was no real problem but it was impossible on the Square Maurice Marland. A howling gale hitting me full-on in the face stopped me dead (well, almost) in my tracks halfway across.

boats port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving taken a photo of the boats in the tidal harbour, I could just about manage to run all the way home but opening the door was something else. It’s heavy and the wind was doing its best to fight me off.

And now with the notes written up, I’m off to bed. I’ve been feeling much better this last couple of days and I haven’t even crashed out. but I’m not going to push my luck. I’m going to have an early night.

Tomorrow I have no plans so there will be another pile of photos and some more tidying up, that I didn’t do today.

And the place needs it too. i’ve been letting things slide just recently.

Friday 11th September 2020 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what has happened this week. I really don’t.

With all of this pressure that I seem to have put myself under with doing these radio programmes, it seems that I overlooked to actually send the one in for this weekend.

Luckily they had something in the pipeline, but it’s really pointless me doing all of this work if I’m not going to send it in. It’s pretty much a waste of time.

And not only that, it seems that I’ve also overlooked to do my second week of internet course.

What with one thing or another, it’s been a pretty miserable week and I’m going to have to be doing better than this.

At least I managed to be out of bed before the third alarm. Sitting on the edge of the bed waiting for the world to stop spinning round so that I could get off.

During the night I’d been in hospital and there had been some kind of operation. I was eventually allowed up. Someone from the hospital phoned me up to see how I was. They were interested to know if I was capable of doing my own shopping and they asked me about my plans. I said “the nearest LeClerc is 20-odd kilometres away so are you happy that i’m going to be cycling 40 kilometres just to go to the shops?” but they didn’t reply very much. It was a very non-commital answer that I had from them. The woman said that she lived in a small town where the nearest supermarket was only a minute or two away by car so she could do all her things like that. That didn’t help my matter very much. As I was walking around I came across a pub. It was a Sunday morning not quite before lunchtime. The pub was on a second level higher up. There were a few people whom I knew in there. I thought “should I go and have a drink?” but then though “that’s a stupid thing to be doing, going drinking”. So I carried on walking and came to the second one and there were even more people whom I knew in there. One of them was a boy whom I knew in school and with whom I shared a flat for a short while later. There was a group of about 4 boys and they were playing a few songs. On bass was another boy who was in my class – someone with whom I had very little contact whatever so how come I suddenly remembered him? I was extremely jealous because they were playing a couple of numbers that we used to play. I thought that they were going to steal a march from our bow and get themselves established in this pub.

While I was at it, I transcribed a few more days’ worth of dictaphone notes from the pile of arrears. There are still 47 entries remaining that cover a three-week period of my voyage to Central Europe.

Apart from that it’s been another slow day with something of a lack of motivation and an excess of fatigue. I’ve finished all of the arrears of photos from June and I’ve now started on those from July.

Only three days from my trip down the Brittany coast in Spirit of Conrad remaining, and then I can start on the photos from Central Europe. I’ve already done some of those but there is still a huge pile to do.

And then there are the photos from my two trips to the Arctic.

At least I managed to remember to book my trains and accommodation for my trip to Castle Anthrax. That’s one thing. Here’s hoping that I remember to print out everything and that my appointment isn’t cancelled.

speedboat english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallWe had the usual interruptions this afternoon too.

The afternoon walk was one of them of course. There were crowds of people out there today walking around in the beautiful weather. Crowds of people on the sea too. Plenty of small boats out there such as this speedboat that was roaring past.

Nothing in the way of large boats though. No Joly France no fishing boats and no Channel Island freighters. It seems to be quite quiet out there in that respect these days.

F-GDED Robin DR400 180 granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was plenty of activity in the air too.

Our autogyro was flying around but rather too far out of range to take a decent photograph. This aeroplane here was flying quite high but with the NIKON D500 and the BIG NIKON ZOOM LENS I could take a good photo of it, and even tell you what it is.

According to the official register, it’s a Robin DR400 180 light aeroplane.

Incidentally, you are quite lucky to actually see it. On 22nd May 2019 it suffered an engine failure and crash-landed in a field near Eurodisney. Luckily no-one was hurt and damage was said to be only minor.

It could have been much, much worse.

yacht baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was no less busy around the southern side of the headland in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

This beautiful yacht was on its way around and into the port de plaisance this afternoon. Just one of several small boats out over there this afternoon.

But apart from that, there wasn’t very much else going on. It was actually quite quiet as far as excitement went. I slowly wandered on home.

Much of the remainder of the afternoon was spent revising my Welsh ready for the start of my course next week. but shame as it is to admit it, I fell asleep on the chair again. To such an extend that I missed half an hour of my guitar practice.

lifeboatmen sauveteurs de mer place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallTea tonight was taco rolls with the remainder of the stuffing from yesterday’s pepper, lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans.

But while I was preparing it, I noticed plenty of movement outside at the Public Rooms. The lifeboatmen, sauveteurs de mer, were congregating outside the building.

As an aside, later on in the evening the band stuck up and there was a lot of music and noise coming from the building.
I enquired as to what was going on there.
“We’re holding a Lifeboatman’s Ball” came the reply.
“Well for God’s sake let go of it” I urged. “He’s making far too much noise!”

Later on I went for my evening walk around the walls.

The lights of Jersey were twinkling quite brightly in the distance and I took a couple of photos of them with the camera. Unfortunately, with them being hand-held and in the dark, they didn’t come out very well and I discarded them.

From there I ran on along the path and then across the Square Maurice Marland.

big wheel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe roadworks in the Rue Notre Dame were finished and the barriers and traffic lights dismantled. I walked past them and carried on around the walls.

But what caught my eye tonight was how nice the port area and the town looked in the streetlights, with the water tower on the skyline in the background just to the right of centre.

The big wheel was looking particularly nice so I reckoned that I had better photograph it tonight. This is going to be the last weekend that it’s here this year

people up to no good city walls granville manche normandy france eric hallBut I’m not quite sure what was going on here.

There were two people with a rather large briefcase and a couple or portable radios hidden away in a corner up on the walls. i’ve no idea what they were doing and they certainly weren’t too keen to enter into conversation.

Having observed them for a couple of minutes I ran on home. My three runs of about 600 or so metres in total once more. There’s only Saturday that I’ve missed in this respect but then again I’ve been well over 120% of my day’s activity ever saturday that I’ve missed.

it’s Saturday tomorrow and US Granville are playing away. I have shopping to do of course and I’m hoping that I remember everything. I’m having a really bad time right now and I don’t know what i’m going to do about it.

Thursday 10th September 2020 – IT’S ALWAYS INTERESTING …

traffic lights porte st jean granville manche normandy france eric hall… the things that I see when I’m out and about on my travels around the town.

And it’s not as if I have to go all that far from home to find it either. I hadn’t gone 20 yards otside my front door this morning before I was confronted by a set of traffic lights.

“Road works going on in the old Medieval walled city” I mused to myself. I shall have to go for a look round later on to see what is happening.

roadworks rue notre dame pizza van place cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd sure enough, while I was on my travels later this evening, I did come across what was causing the issues.

The road has been dug up on the corner of the Place Cambernon and the Rue Notre Dame. And judging by the names written on the “no parking” signs, it seems to be the Water company whose turn it is right now to dig up the streets.

It’s Thursday night as well, and the Pizza van is there tonight. And with the tables of the bar La Rafale being out in the square and its reserve place prohibited by the road works, it’s had to perch itself precariously on the corner.

Talking of perching oneself precariously on the corner, when the third alarm went off this morning I was perched precariously on the corner of the bed with my feet on the floor.

Not exactly awake but it still counts as being up and out of bed.

What was surprising about this was I’d had such a bad night. At one stage I thought that I would never ever drop off to sleep. There isn’t really much point in going to bed early if you can’t sleep.

When I finally got off to sleep last night I met another strange girl. She was from Venn which wasn’t too far from Eching (which it isn’t, but let’s not go allowing facts to get in the way of a good nocturnal ramble). There was this weird girls’ school and they were teaching these children all this dance, everything like that and poetry recital, that kind of thing. They had a kind of dancing competition. I wanted to see them about something but it was “oh no we can’t interrupt these proceedings now. It’s far too important. You’ll have to come back later”. Off they all went and I went back. All of these girls were in school uniform, grey with grey hats, that kind of thing, a very posh private school, that type of place. They all had taken some strange kind of wooden furniture, shelf kind of thing with two sides like blackboards that you could write on them. They had all taken these with them but there was one left in the garden. I mentioned it to the headmistress. She said “you’ll have to take that. It looks like one of the girls has forgotten it”. “What do you mean ‘I have to take it’?”. She said “you have to take it”. I asked “what do I do with it?”. She replied “you have to learn the ritual and at the appointed time tonight you’ll have to perform the ritual”. I thought to myself “what the hell am I going to be involved in now?”. She insisted that it was terribly important that I did this, so I ended up taking it home with me and stuck it in a corner when I returned home. I had to be very careful about who came to my house. We were listing stuff to sell and I can’t remember who was helping me now, maybe my brother I dunno. We’d listed some stuff to sell and we’d sold it and now we were listing some free stuff. He was listing some stuff that I thought was much more important to sell – we could get a good price for this – but no, he insisted on it being free. There was one thing that he insisted that people make an appointment to come round to pick it up. I said “that’s crazy, tying me to the house and I don’t want to be tied to the house. I want to get rid of these things as and when!”. We had a dispute about that and in the end we agreed that people would just have to ring up and say when they were coming to pick it up, a kind of compromise. After we’d done that, I said “hang on – I have something else to show you”. There was a girl in my house at this time – it might have been Pollux but I’m not too sure about this. I went and brought down this furniture thing and assembled it. I asked this girl ” how’s your Latin?”. She said “I come from Venn, it’s Venn that I speak, that’s near Eching in Germany, like Germany and Austria”. I replied “you’ll get on really well with Hans”. “Yes” she said, “that’s right. From Eching”. I showed them this and explained about this ritual that I had to do. One thing that I had forgotten was that during this competition I had 16 dances to learn. There had been a musician playing all of the dances and for a minute I’d been round with him doing something, trying to work out what the music was for these dances. It was another hot and sweaty night when I awoke and it took me hours to go back off to sleep as well.
Somewhat later I was with a girl and my father was around somewhere. I’d had to go out in a car and there had been some kind of confusion over which one I was to drive. It was suggested that i would take my father’s Zephyr 6 – the MkIV, not the MkIII which was his famous one 3816 TD. I went to try to organise something about all of this and I ended up with a pocket of keys. I had to start swapping them over. Then I noticed – I had to get up from my table at this bar place – and on the way back I noticed this key on the floor. It was the one that I needed to start the car. I showed it to the girl I was with and said “phew! That’s lucky!”. She asked what it was so I told her that it was the key to the car. My father then went to move all of his cars away. he took his mkIII Zephyr and drive it home and came back with the MkIV. There was still a bit of confusion about how we were going to go somewhere. I had a pocket full of rubbish and wondered how I was going to fit this key in. Then I couldn’t find the key and it was hidden in all this rubbish in my pocket. There was the question again about what car I was going in and we agreed that it was my father’s. I asked “what’s going to be in it?”. They replied “just his coat and one or two other little things”. I wanted to ask my father a couple of questions about his cars. I remember the two Ford E83W vans that we had – KLG 93 and XVT 772 – and I’m sure that there was one before them that had become stuck in my head, a 1937 van, and I wanted to know what we had had before that, and what he would consider to be his typical car if someone had to connect him with one particular car, which one would it be? I thought that it was important that he would tell me because of course he wouldn’t last for ever and if I didn’t start asking these questions soon I would never know.

But I’m not too sure why it is that Pollux has suddenly started making a series of appearances in my nocturnal rambles. Where has Castor got to?

There was some stuff on the dicaphone from yesterday too, so I transcribed that and ADDED IT TO THE ENTRY FOR YESTERDAY.

As well as having a shower this morning, I also cut my hair. It’s been a while since I’ve cut it and it was becoming a little straggly.

mobile crane rue lecampion granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd then I went out to the shops.

We’ve seen the traffic lights around the corner but that was far from being the only excitement. There’s a huge mobile crane down there in the Rue Lecampion lifting a load of something or other over the roofs of the houses into the rear behind the Rue des Corsaires.

That was well worth a photo of course, and when I’m down there I shall make further enquiries to see what they are up to.

crane rue lecampion granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd sure enough, when I was down there I could see that there’s quite a major operation going on.

It’s difficult to say what they are doing but there was this kind of glazed roof – at least, it would be glazed had there been any glass in it but I imagine there soon will be – that they are presumably going to lift up and over and onto whatever it is that they are doing.

My first stop today was the railway station.

My Old Fogey’s railcard expired a few weeks ago and with me planning to go to Belgium for my hospital appointment at Castle Anthrax, I need it updated.

That was dealt with without any particular problem and then I went off to LIDL. There was nothing much there that attracted my attention although with fruit being so cheap right now (especially grapes, of course) I ended up with a huge pile of fruit.

archaeological dig square potel granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back I went past the Square Potel.

There’s an archaeological dig going on around there right now and we’ve seen the digger in the grounds of the museum. Today though, they were digging a trench in the square and there was an archaeologist examining some artefacts.

Having watched them for a short while I came on home, where I … errr … crashed out on the chair until lunchtime. That’s enough to make me feel really miserable.

After lunch I spent a pleasant hour or so working on the photos from Brittany at the end of June when we went off on the Spirit of Conrad.

joly france english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd the sailing – or, at least, nautical – theme continued while I was out on my afternoon walk.

There were crowds of people out there enjoying the pleasant weather and looking out to sea as something rather large was moving about heading towards us. These days I can recognise the silhouette at quite some distance without needing to crop and enlarge it.

And it is as I expected. Joly France is on her way back with the afternoon ferry from the Ile de Chausey. She seems to be quite busy right now despite the end of the holiday season.

fishing from speedboat pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were plenty of other boats out there too, as you could see in the previous photo.

There are several boats too much closer to home. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we seem to be in the middle of the rod-and-line fishing season. We have another small boat out there today with their rods out trying for a bite.

Here’s hoping that they will have more luck than anyone else who I have seen out there. Three and a half years have I been here and not a single bite have I seen

sailing school baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnyway i pushed on along the path and round the headland to the path on the south side.

One of the things that I regret not doing while I’ve been living here is to make the most of the opportunities that the local sailing school can offer. I would have thought that with the season being over their activities would have ceased but there seems to be another class out there today.

Not having gone down there to make enquiries is an opportunity that I have let slip and I hope that I’ll have another opportunity to put that right.

speedboat cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallWhen we saw the photo of Joly France just now, we saw another boat coming along behind it.

And as I carried on with my walk along the path this rather large pleasure boat came around the headland towards the port de plaisance and I reckon that this is the “other” boat from the previous photo.

Having a good look at this, it’s clear that there is plenty of money around here, what with one thing and another. Not around me though. It seems to have passed me by a long time ago.

Back here I did some Welsh revision and then had my hour on the guitars.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallTea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice, followed by apple pie. And then I went out for my evening walk.

There was a beautiful sunset tonight, although maybe I should say that the sun has long-since set. It was very reminiscent of some of the very late nights that I have seen in the High Arctic and makes me all nostalgic.

Before much longer, I’m going to have to make another return out there, even if it’s just to sit on the shore of the North West Passage and admire the sky.

My route carried on with a run down along the footpath, a walk around the corner to gather my breath and then another run across the Square Maurice Marland.

minette black cat rue notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that for a couple of years I had a regular encounter with an old black cat called Minette

Ever since the turn of the year I only recall meeting her once and the feeling seemed to be that she had gone off across the rainbow bridge. However, much to my delight, she was there again tonight sitting on her windowsill waiting for her stroke.

That cheered me up no end.

Nothing much else going on, apart from the roadworks that we have seen, so instead I came home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow I have a full day at home in which I can catch up with some arrears. I also need to book my voyage to Leuven for my visit to Castle Anthrax and so that will be a priority too.

But sleep is the first thing to do. And who will come with me on a travel tonight?

Monday 31st August 2020 – MY BANANA BREAD …

… was something of a success today.

Not exactly perfection, because if the truth be told, it was rather on the dry side, but nevertheless it was delicious and I shall be looking forward to a slice every day with my afternoon drink.

In fact, I do recall purchasing bread like this when I lived in Belgium so from a commercial point of view, it’s quite passable and I shall be thinking of ways to improve it as a go on.

full moon granville manche normandy france eric hallSo while you admire the almost-full moon this evening, let me tell you that my day today wasn’t all that much of a success.

Far from it, in fact.

It all went wrong last night where for some reason I wasn’t in the least bit tired and ended up still being wide awake at 02:00. But it wasn’t wasted time because I was actually doing some productive work.

Consequently, no leaving my bed this morning until 08:30 was not the disaster that it otherwise might have been.

I was in Nantwich last night walking up Welsh Row and there was a little girl far too young to be a grammar school pupil but she was in the grammar school uniform all the same walking up there. So I had a chat to her about the school. She said that she didn’t like it all that much – she wanted to go to one in Kent. That’s all that I remember about that.

This morning I have spent preparing another radio programme. All of the first 10 tracks have been selected, paired and merged and the intro added to the first pair.

That took me up to lunch where I tried my new loaf of bread. And that’s pretty good as well and i’m quite pleased with that.

This afternoon I was about to start the text for the radio programmes but Ingrid rang me up. We were chatting on the phone for a couple of hours about all kinds of things

fisheries protection vessel english language granville manche normandy france eric hallAs a result my afternoon walk was somewhat later than usual.

There was plenty of activity out to sea today. This boat here out to sea caught my eye because I couldn’t make out what it was at first. It didn’t look like a fishing boat to me.

Back here at the apartment I had a closer look at it. Although it’s difficult to see, the colour scheme seems to suggest that it’s some kind of official boat – although the police and customs boats are usually grey and blue

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallDown on the beach though it was quite busy today.

Lots of people seem to be taking advantage of the final week of official holidays and a rare warm, comparatively wind-free day.

There were plenty of people in the water today too. And that was no surprise because just look at the colour of the sea. We’ve seen it this beautiful emerald-blue on a couple of occasions this year and it’s really enticing when it’s as beautiful as this.

crowds on beach hang gliders plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk continued along the path underneath the walls of the rue du Nord and round to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

The tide seemed to be on its way out but what caught my eye here was the pile of seaweed on the beach. Usually it’s pretty clear of seaweed so I’ve no idea where all of this has come from today.

There were several bird-men of Alcatraz up in the air too although it wasn’t really as windy as it has been. Nevertheless they seem to be having plenty of fun out there this afternoon.

builders supplies on port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRound by the Square Maurice Marland there wasn’t very much at all going on so I pushed on to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw several pallets of granite on the quayside awaiting the arrival of one of the Jersey freighters. They are still there waiting, but they have now been joined by a pile of these big builders bags full of building materials.

Obviously the arrival of either Thora or Normandy Trader is quite imminent. And with none of the passenger ferries to Jersey operating, they may well be bringing in all kinds of exciting things and in the past we’ve even seen cars being winched out onto the quayside.

working on medieval city walls rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallWhen I was out and about on my travels last week I noticed that in the rue des Juifs there were all kinds of warning notices advising of parking restrictions due to take place.

Today, I can see that all of the parking is now fenced off, and they had this skyjack machine roaming around in the streets.

When I go out to the shops on Thursday I’ll have a good look to see if I can see what they have been doing. It’s high time that they gave some of the walls a bit more attention rather like they did last year to the part a little higher up the street.

digger museum de granville rue cambernon  manche normandy france eric hallSomething else that’s been on my mind has been the town’s museum, situated in the old gatehouse by the drawbridge.

That’s been closed “for renovation” since before I came to live here and it makes me wonder when they intend to reopen it, because there has been little sign of any kind of movement. Today though, a digger has appeared in the grounds and they seem to be digging a big hole.

It’s just going to delay the opening even more, I reckon. I don’t suppose that i’ll ever get to see what the museum is all about.

unloading bouchots de chausey port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRound by the port, there was plenty of activity going on.

The fishing boat les Bouchots de Chausey had just come into port and was busy unloading piles of bouchots – the mussels that grow on strings – onto the tractor and trailer.

There were so many crates in the hold that they were using the quayside crane as well as the crane on the trailer. That looks as if it’s a really good catch and they can be well-pleased with that.

It’s nice to see something successful happening here, even if it is stuff that I don’t like.

hang gliders pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I trudged my weary way back home again to check my photos.

The Birdmen of Alcatraz were still out there and as I reached my building a couple of them flew by overhead.

Back here I had my slice of banana bread and then sat down to work on the speech for my radio programme.

And shame as it is to say it, I fell asleep on my chair. Not just for 10 minutes either but for a couple of hours too. When I awoke I felt totally dreadful and it took me a good half-hour to pull myself together again.

It’s probably the worst that I have felt for quite some considerable time.

Tea was a burger on a bun with potatoes and vegetables followed by the last of the apple crumble.

full moon over st pair sur mer granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was no-one about at all when I went for my evening walk tonight.

The moon was beautiful tonight as you have probably already seen. it was quite low in the sky tonight and looked really impressive shining as it did over the water at St Pair sur Mer.

Back here I had a chat with Liz and then wrote up my notes for today. having done that, I’m now off to bed, and not before time because i’m pretty tired again right now.

It looks to me if i’m not going to shake off this ill-health for quite some time and that’s really depressing. And if countries continue to pull in their borders it may well be that i might not be able to reach Leuven for my medical appointment at Castle Anthrax on 7th October.

It’s already 9 months since I’ve had my four-weekly cancer treatment and I’m feeling the strain terribly.

It’s also exactly 12 months today since I had my “life-changing” evening – the first of three that I had in the High Arctic that really did change my life for ever.

Three nights that I wanted to go on for ever and at the time, it seemed as if they would too.

It’s quite nostalgic right now, and terribly, terribly sad that it all ended like it did. I don’t regret a thing for a single moment and I’ll never be the same after all of that. Despite the fact that the water has flown well underneath the bridge, I won’t forget it for ever.

Wednesday 26th August 2020 – I WAS RIGHT …

… about last night.

What a waste of time that was. I was still wide awake at 04:00 with no sign whatever of going off to sleep. I’ve really no idea what happened there.

Mind you, I did eventually get off to sleep, having switched off the alarms first. There would be no danger of my ever being out of bed at 06:00 so it was a waste of time disturbing my sleep.

My eyes first saw the light of day at 08:45 but that was being rather optimistic. 11:30 was a much more reasonable time to rise up.

At some point in the night I’d been on my travels again. We were back in the Underground last night, somewhere else where I go quite often and it was to do with a girl whom I knew in Brussels. We’d arranged to meet somehow but we had kept on missing each other. Eventually we arranged to meet at a station on the Northern Line somewhere round by the North Circular Road. I had to make my sandwiches so I cut up a lettuce and got everything ready. There was some kind of confusion and I can’t remember what it was now about these sandwiches, making them, then having to leave and getting on this Underground – I can’t remember too much about it.

The most unusual think about missing half of a day’s work is that in fact I’ve done more work today than I did over the last two days. And that’s totally surprising. I’ve finished the notes for the radio programme on which I’ve been working. Tomorrow I’ll dictate them and edit them.

It’s just as well because there’s a new internet course starting on Monday next week on which I’m enrolled. Another one about *.css and javascript. High time that I brushed up on my technique.

peche a pied plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallLater on in the afternoon I went out for my walk.

For a change I was out earlier than I have been and the tide had only just turned. Not too many people out there on the beach right now, although one intrepid young girl was out there with her bucket and her gratter having a go at the peche à pied in the rock pools.

With nothing better to do, I watched her for a while but I couldn’t see what she was harvesting

hang gliders crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallFurther on along my path, there was something of a different scene from the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

The crowds were starting to come down onto the beach. The shelter underneath the wall was already packed with people seeking shade, and there were several people down there in the water enjoying the waves.

There were the Birdmen of Alcatraz out there today. One of them was already up in the air – a tandem machine with two people on board. There was certainly enough wind to lift them both into the air this afternoon.

Back here I finished off the radio programme and even managed 20 minutes on the acoustic guitar. I’ll have to hurry up and get back into my rhythm.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap with potatoes and vegetables followed by apple crumble and coconut soya dessert

bird of prey pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric halllater on this evening I went out for my walk in the dusk.

No-one was out there except for a couple walking their dog and a family on the car park. But the bird of prey that we saw a couple of months ago, that was out there again hovering around above the edge of the cliffs.

There are a few rabbits that run around on the clifftop so I’m wondering whether the bird might be after some of the younger babies in the family.

moon reflecting in rock pool pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk continued along the clifftop and then across the car park to the other side.

There was a nice moon up there tonight – about half-full. What was interesting about it was that while it didn’t look to be so bright, it was making a glorious reflection in a rock pool down there at the top of the beach.

It was really well worth a photo and it’s come out quite well too. It won’t be long before we have a full moon and then it’s all going to be quite impressive. It’ll be a lot darker by then too.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallJust further along the path is the viewpoint over the chantier navale

And i’m not quite sure what is happening down there these days but the boats seem to be multiplying rapidly. We now have a seventh boat down there in the yard and I don’t recall ever having seen that many before.

As I have said before … “on many occasions” – ed … a full yard is a very good sign for the town. It encourages people to moor their boats here if they know that they can be serviced and repaired in the vicinity.

Anyway, after all of that, I’m off to bed. I’ve already drifted away once or twice, despite having had such a very short day. if I’m ever going to recover, which is doubtful, I need to be taking more care of myself.

And that reminds me – i’ve had a letter from Castle Anthrax. They want me back on 7th October and as the appointment is for early in the morning it may well be that they intend to restart my treatment.

And seeing as I haven’t had my four-weekly treatment since January I can’t say that it’s before time. It’s not really any surprise that i’m feeling so unwell when I’ve not had my cancer treatment for such a long time.

Roll on October.

Monday 6th July 2020 – HERE I ALL AM …

… not actually sitting in a rainbow but sitting in my little room in this hotel complex in Leuven.

It’s that time again and I’ve been on my travels. I’ve finally made it back here for my appointment at Castle Anthrax tomorrow.

Just for a change I actually made it out of bed immediately after the first alarm, despite not going to bed until 00:45, which just goes to show that I can do it if I really try.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphonr but there was nothing there. I’d not been anywhere on my travels during the night which is a shame. I went and had a shower instead.

There was a little tidying up to do and then I headed off out with my bag, calling at Caliburn to pick up a shopping bag and my foldable rain jacket

tiberiade port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAs I walked off from the apartment I noticed that it seemed that the harbour gates had just opened.

All of the trawlers were jostling for position and streaming out of port. This one here is Tiberiade, the sister ship to Coelacanthe pulling away from the quayside and lining up ready to rush out to sea

Having watched them for a few minutes, I pushed on into town, avoiding the cherry-picker on the corner with a crew of men in the nacelle cleaning the windows of the estate agents.

84557 gec alstom regiolis gare de granville railway station manche normandy france eric hallAt the station, face masks are compulsory, although the casual way in which they are being worn is something of a surprise.

The train didn’t take long to arrive so we all piled in. There were quite a few people with suitcases either going off on holiday or going home from holiday.

And as the train pushed on towards Paris it became more and more crowded. I ended up with someone sitting next to me, which makes a total mockery of any kind of social distancing. At the station each alternate seat in the waiting room was blocked off, but it seemed to be a rather pointless exercise if we were all going to be crammed together on a train

We pulled into the Gare Montparnasse bang on time and despite all of the precautions at the station we were once again crammed like sardines into the trains.

tgv duplex 217 paris gare du nord france eric hallAt Paris Gare du Nord our train came in but was delayed in the station because someone had left a bag on board.

The bomb squad had to be called in and I was expecting a very lengthy wait. But it didn’t take too long to deal with the matter, which was a surprise.

Another surprise was that there were only 8 carriages on this train and I had a ticket for carriage 15. However the train was’t very busy and I found an empty seat at the top od the steps where there would be no-one alongside me.

We left 5 minutes late but caught up with the time by the time that we arrived at Lille Flandres.

A brisk walk across the city to Lille Europe and our train to Brussels was already in. I scrambled aboard and walked down the train to find my seat, to find that I ha a neighbour alongside me. I have a feeling that this “social distancing” rule in the railway stations is just a lip-service procedure and nothing more than window-dressing.

sncb class 18 electric locomotive brussels gare du midi belgium eric hallAt Brussels I only had a 10-minute wait before my train arrived – the 15:28 to Welkenraedt.

The front of the train is always the lest crowded so I found a seat down there and managed to go the whole way to Leuven without a neighbour.

Here at my accommodation all of the entry procedures had been changed, including the password on the electric gate. Luckily another resident was coming in at the same time so she opened the door for me.

The office was locked too and after making a phone call to the manager I was given the password to the safe where the keys were kept.

The place isn’t all that busy so I’ve had another upgrade to a duplex apartment.

river dyle redingenstraat leuven belgium eric hallLater on, I walked into town to meet Alison. It’s been quite a while since we have met.

It was a beautiful evening so we went for a very long walk around the town looking at the scenery in the old Beguinage and round by the River Dyle while we exchanged our news.

Alison was very interested in my voyage around the coast of northern Brittany and I was keen to hear about the renovations that were going on at her home.

river dyle leuven belgium eric hallWe ended up walking back into town and went for a meal at the Greenway.

The food there is pretty good and I had a Vegan Mexican burger with sweet potato chips and a can of ginger and lemom Kambucha. And that reminds be – I bought some seeder to make my own kambucha and when I return home I’ll organise myself to make some of my own.

We carried on with our walk afterwards round to Kloosters, the bar where we usually go for coffee, but it was closed so we had to go elsewhere.

city walls leuven belgium eric hallLater on in the evening we went for yet another walk.

There’s a beautiful footpath alongside the River Dyle alongside the old early Medieval City walls. And they seem to be in quite a depressing state too.

There’s not much left of them these days and it looks as if there will be even less of them in due course if drastic action isn’t taken to maintain them. All that section there looks as if it’s about to all fall down and that will be a disaster.

demolishing sint pieters hospital leuven belgium eric hallA little further on ze came across the Sint Pieter hospital. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I stayed there when I first came to Leuven.

The story goes that it was built for the Francophone community of Leuven but instead they all decamped to a new site in Wallonie – Louvain-la Neuve – and despite the millions and millions spent on the building it was never occupied.

They are now on the way to demolishing it and all of the site is going to be redeveloped. Apartments, commercial premises, a park and finally at long last, the culvert over the river there is going to be uncovered.

It’s going to be something well worth waiting for.

water mill river dyle leuven belgium eric hallWhile you admire the photo of the old water mill down at the Beguinage, Alison drove me out to look at the improvements that are being made at her home.

And they are impressive too. The house is looking beautiful and I was well-impressed.

She drove me back here afterwards and I sat down to write up my journal. But it’s been a long day and I’ve done a total of 175% of my daily activity.

That’s the cue foe me to call it a day and have an early night. You can admire the rest of this evening’s photos

Groot Begijnhof leuven belgium eric hall
Groot Begijnhof leuven belgium eric hall

Groot Begijnhof leuven belgium eric hall
Groot Begijnhof leuven belgium eric hall

river dyle Groot Begijnhof leuven belgium eric hall
“river dyle Groot Begijnhof leuven belgium eric hall

Groot Begijnhof leuven belgium eric hall
Groot Begijnhof leuven belgium eric hall

river dyle Groot Begijnhof leuven belgium eric hall
river dyle Groot Begijnhof leuven belgium eric hall