Tag Archives: cherry picker

Monday 13th June 2022 – NOW HERE’S A THING!

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While you admire a couple of photos of various sea-going craft, including what looks like Marité out there in the bay, I’ll tell you about my rather surprising day.

In fact, I seemed to be rather better today. The walk up to the physiotherapist and back again wasn’t quite as bad as it has been of late, and I only crashed out for about 15 minutes today, and that’s rather surprising considering the way that things have been.

Especially when I was up and out of bed this morning at 06:00 ready to work on my radio programme.

Once again today I wasn’t particularly rushed to complete it and it was about 11:30 when I finally finished it. And that was despite stopping for a coffee and also for breakfast sometime later

trawlers yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Although it’s not one of the better programmes from a music point of view, it’s a good one from a technical point of view with some of the nicest joins that I’ve made for a while.

What slowed me down somewhat as well was that for part of the time I was having a chat with Alison on the internet. She had a few exciting pieces of news to impart.

When I’d finished preparing the radio programme i had a listen to one that I’d made several weeks ago that will be broadcast this coming weekend, to make sure that it’s all correct

And while I was listening to it, I was tidying up and sorting out a few files on the computer freeing up a little more space.

There was time for me to have a shower before going to lunnch, to make sure that I was nice and clean and presentable ready to go to the physiotherapist’s.

After lunch I had a listen to the programme that I’d prepared this morning while I was still doing some housekeeping on the computer, and then it was time for me to go out for my appointment.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022As usual, the first thing that I needed to do was to go to make sure that the NIKON 1 J5 was working properly.

That means going to the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the viewpoint overlooking the outer harbour to see what was happening there and take a photograph of it.

As it happens, there was nothing to see today. The tide is quite far out and there is no-one playing “Musical Ships” this afternoon.

But the tractor and trailer are down there on the lower level waiting for the boats to come in later on this afternoon. They will take away the boxes of shellfish although to where I don’t know. I’m not quick enough on my pins these days to break into a run to follow it.

yacht pescadore wavecat express chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Meanwhile I’d heard a racket coming from over in the chantier naval.

It looks as if the portable boat lift has just a yacht out of the harbour earlier today and is presumably waiting for the tide to come in so that they can lower it back in.

And apart from that, there’s no other change in the occupants of the chantier naval. We still have Pescadore and Wavecat Express in there today along with the cabin cruiser and the catamaran that have been in there for a while now.

So with nothing else going on I wandered off down the hill towards the town.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022A little further on I came to the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour where I stopped to see what was happening there.

Marité, the large sailing boat, wasn’t there. We saw her in an earlier photo out there in the Baie de Granville, but there was a pile of freight waiting on the quayside.

That means that we will be going to be having a visit from one of the little Jersey freighters some time soon.

And it might even be Normandy Trader because I saw a photo this morning to suggest that her overhaul is complete and she’s gone back into the water ready to carry on where she left off.

cherry picker Rue de l'Abreuvoir Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There weren’t too many people in the town today – there never are on a Monday as many places are closed.

But what there was was a cherry picker in one of the side streets with a guy in the nacelle doing some maintenance work on one of the buildings.

He had the street coned off to traffic and as I watched, a motorist reversed out of a parking place, flattened a couple of the cones and then drove away. It’s not just pathetic parking that’s an issue around here.

And gritting my teeth, I prepared myself for the long, weary climb up the hill towards the physiotherapist’s.

furniture lift rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And here’s something that I’ve not seen before in France.

We’ve seen plenty of them in Belgium though, haven’t we? A furniture lift being used to help someone move from one of the apartments in the Rue Couraye.

One thing that I have noticed is that many of the stairs in the buildings here are steep and narrow and I must admit that I wouldn’t feel safe, even if I was feeling fit and healthy, carrying heavy loads down the kind of stairs that you find in some of the buildings here.

At the physiotherapist’s she had me doing a few exercises and then 10 minutes on the exercise bike. And things seemed to be a little easier today.

When the session was finished I staggered out into the daylight and down the hill towards the town centre, and then back up to the other side of the hill towards my building.

gerlean rocalamauve l'omerta la grande ancre le styx port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022By now all of the boats are coming into the port one by one to unload their catch.

We can identify several of them – Gerlean, Rocalamauve, L’Omerta, La Grande Ancre and Le Styx are the ones that we can recognise at a glance.

Round about here I bumped into one of my neighbours. She’s the nurse and home help who lives on the floor above and, biting the bullet, I told her that I’m intending to engage her services when I come back from my travels.

Cleaning my apartment is now quite beyond my capabilities and if I don’t do something about it soon, it’ll be too late and I’ll end up living in some kind of squalid circumstances and I need to avoid that at all costs.

car driving the wrong way place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Now here’s something else worthy of note.

Just now I mentioned a motorist squidging a couple of cones down in the Rue Paul Poirier. But up here outside my apartment we have something even more interesting.

You can see quite clearly the “no entry” sign by the gate. This street here is a one-way street but this motorist doesn’t seem to care less about any of that. He’s pushing on regardless.

There’s definitely something wrong with a lot of people when they don’t care less about the rules of the road.

It’s not just cars coming the other way but there are loads of pedestrians around here who are used to cars only coming one way with the flow of traffic and won’t be looking out for vehicles coming in the opposite direction.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Before I went in I went across the car park to have a look down on the beach to see what was happening there.

There weren’t all that many people down there this afternoon. Only a couple of people. There wasn’t anyone else taking advantage of such a nice day which was a surprise.

On the way back here there was another neighbour loitering around so I had a chat with her as well. She’s not doing very well at the moment either. It seems to be quite an epidemic of illness in the building.

Back here I made a strawberry smoothie and came in here to transcribe the dictaphone notes.

I was working behind the bar in this night club. Someone came in asking for a packet of cigarettes. They gave me the little square card with the barcode on and I had to go to the machine. It was hung from the ceiling so I had to climb up onto a couple of tables and 1 or 2 other things and then I’d be lucky if I could reach it. At one of the tables was a girl called Alison whom I knew from school whose surname ought to have been “Raleigh”. She was there with a guy so I was talking to her. The guy was looking at me rather strangely so I said that we knew each other from school and didn’t say too much. She made a few remarks about one or two people whom we knew and she knew in particular. Then I had to reach for this cigarette machine but I couldn’t reach it. It was one of those things that you were only ever going to have one go at reaching because if you overbalance you’ll fall. If you fell you’d need to grab hold of the cigarette machine to stop you falling into a void. I was there tottering away on the edge of this table thinking that I’m never going to reach this machine and get this pack of cigarettes. I had absolutely no confidence that I was ever going to do so. It seemed a strange place for this machine anyway. Everyone was urging me on to go and get this packet of cigarettes but I just couldn’t see how I was going to do it without it all ending in tears. It was all extremely confusing and extremely bad for the morale this kind of dream where I couldn’t even think about getting this pack of cigarettes. All I could think about was stopping myself from falling into the void.

Then there were a few of us walking through this shipyard when all of a sudden we were pounced upon by a group of people. They started to attack and torture us, asking us questions about the ships that we’d seen being built. Wr hadn’t taken very much notice so we weren’t able to say very much. They started to become even more aggressive and the attackes became even more painful as they tried to make us tell them things but we couldn’t really tell them anything because we hadn’t noticed anything while we were walking through the shipyard

I had a cheque for £347 that I had to take to the bank. I handed it over the counter to the cashier but she credited it straight away into my bank account without asking me what I wanted to do with it. A little later in the day I’d run out of money. I realised that I’d only wanted to pay £200 into the account and I wanted the rest as cash so I had to go back to the bank and argue about that they had done with this cheque. Eventually I managed to find the woman whom I’d seen earlier (at least I thought that it was her) and discuss the situation with her before she would then return some of the money that was paid into my account from this cheque

It was while I was finishing it off that I fell asleep but surprisingly it was only for a few minutes.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with rice and veg and now that I’ve typed my notes I’m off to bed. I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to be on form.

And who knows? I might have a better day tomorrow too but one swallow doesn’t make a summer, does it?

Wednesday 27th April 2021 – RULE NUMBER 14 …

… of “when you live by the seaside near a fish-processing plant” is “never go out without wearing a hat”.

So guess who forgot to do that today when he took the rubbish out?

And before you ask the obvious question, the answer is “yes, and from a great height too”. The seagulls around here have an accuracy that puts RAF’s Bomber Command to shame

They say that this kind of thing is supposed to bring one good luck, and I certainly could do with some after the last few days.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Today wasn’t any better, so while you admire a few photos of Thora, one of the little Channel Island freighters and her cargo, I’ll tell you haw it did (or didn’t) transpire.

Despite saying that I was going to have an early night last night, it didn’t end up like that at all as for one reason or another, I was rather side-tracked. It was well after midnight by the time that I finally fell into bed.

There was no hope whatsoever of me leaving the bed at 07:30 when the alarm went off. In fact I slept through all three alarms and it was 08:40 when I finally arose from the dead.

Actually, when I finally did leave the bed I felt much better than I had done for quite a while. But it wasn’t to last.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022In fact the morning was rather like yesterday when I crashed out once I’d taken my medicine – because I did the same again today.

And no surprise either that I was right out of it for about an hour and when I came round again, it took yet another while to get going again.

All of this is boding ill for probably the most significant weekend that I will have had in 30 years.

But anyway, I digress … “again” – ed. Once I’d pulled myself together I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

thora leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Last night I started off at my Aunt Mary’s. She was living in Central London right at the top of a huge skyscraper that was 194 metres tall and had 194x194m² of glass in the outside of it, the facade. We were right on top. I’d been to fetch a coffee and was walking back to my desk which was on the top floor. I was having to do it very slowly, very carefully because I was on the verge of having a panic attack about being so high and that’s not like me at all, is it? up there. I was glad that it was foggy and I couldn’t see the ground. She was telling me that she would only go up there id it was misty when she couldn’t see the ground either.

And then I was in Scotland last night watching a football match. The match had ended and there was a crowd of us milling around. I had to use the bathroom. It was New Year’s Eve so I was going to buy a meat pie and chips for a carry-out. The place at the football ground was exceptionally good as I seemed to remember so that was where I was going. I was talking to a few people. We were all discussing different kinds of food, where we could buy it etc. I had my heart set on this pie and chips. It was late at night when this match finished. I said that I wasn’t in any rush because my next train down to the south was at 04:25. I’d have to loiter around Glasgow station until then anyway no matter what time I arrived there. The discussion went on about the trains and the speeds at which they travelled non-stop down to London from Glasgow. Sometimes there would be the police waiting at Euston to catch them for speeding on the road. It was full of all kinds of nostalgia like that. But me looking forward to having a meat pie – can you imagine? A Scottish “bridie”!

Having dealt with all of that I’ve spent most of the rest of the day on the photos from the Canadian High Arctic in 2019. Right now we’ve sailed back up the Rae Strait and are currently in the Barrow Strait waiting for a coastguard to come and rescue one of our passengers who was disabled after an accident on board.

It wasn’t as straightforward as it might have been either. Not the editing, but the merging. I had three cameras on the go at once – the NIKON D500, the NIKON 1 J5 and the one on the telephone.

Well, not all at once, but I was swapping between them all during the course of the journey and with editing and renumbering the photos, the aim was to run all of the photos in consecutive numbers in date and time order regardless of the camera on which I took them.

And then I discovered 5 that I’d forgotten on the NIKON 1 J5, so I had to go back and renumber a huge pile of photos and move the explanatory text around to correspond with the new numbering.

With going out to the doctor’s this afternoon I also had a shower. And cut my hair too. Next time that I have a close encounter with a seagull I won’t have quite so many problems

There were the usual pauses throughout the day for breakfast, coffee, lunch and (very regrettably) another crash-out this afternoon as well. Another good one too and I’m pretty much fed up of all of this. I’ve been in this state for pretty much the last few years, apart from a few months here and there.

Anyway, eventually I set out for the doctor’s to see what he could tell me about my MRI scan.

fishing boats l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As usual, on my way out I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne where I could look down into the port and see what was happening.

The tide is on its way in right now and the fishing boats are coming home to roost. There’s a whole gaggle of them congregating at the wharf by the Fish Processing Plant, jostling for position around L’Omerta who looks as if she’s still there since yesterday.

Unfortunately, at this distance with the NIKON 1 J5 with its standard lens I’m not able to identify any of the other fishing boats down there.

There’s something parked on the lower level underneath the fish processing plant too. I can just about make out something down there but I can’t see what it is.

la grande ancre trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There is a pile of other fishing boats on their way into the harbour too.

By the looks of things the gates into the inner harbour aren’t open so they are having to wait around. And in the background, we have La Grande Ancre moored over by the ferry terminal.

And while we’re on the subject of the ferry terminal … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ve heard on the grapevine that the two Channel Island ferries are in Jersey having a trial run docking at the newt ferry terminal there.

That seems to indicate that it’s definitely “on” then, and they’ll be on their way.

cherry picker rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022From there I wandered off down the hill in the Rue des Juifs towards town.

The cherry-picker is still there today, but its operating arm is folded up so I was keen to see what was happening about that.

In actual fact, there was one of the operators collecting together a huge bundle of wood, presumably to lift back up onto the roof, although they seemed to have finished the roof on the one that was so badly damaged in the fire.

A wooden framework and then a large tarpaulin of some description thrown over the top to keep out the weather.

roofing burnt out houses rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022This is what they have been doing.

They’ve done two of the properties and are now working on the third. That wooden framework on the house on the extreme right looks quite substantial, which it will need to be to withstand some of the storms that we have around here.

The windows are blocked off too, to keep out the weather and also (and much more likely) to keep out the seagulls.

But they won’t be leaving it like that for long, I reckon. It won’t take much of a wind to tear that covering and that won’t be any good.

scrap on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022We saw just now the little freighter Thora all loaded up and on the point of leaving the harbour.

It looks as if she’s brought in a good load with her too. I imagine that she’s dropped off all of this stuff onto the quayside ready for someone to take away.

But you can tell that I’m getting old. 20 years ago I would have been down on the quayside late at night removing the number plates off that van ready to reuse on something else. Foreign plates are like gold-dust in my armoury.

One of these days I’ll write a book about my early life and include a few details about my mis-spent youth but I need to swot up carefully on any Statutes of Limitations and check up a few Extradition Treaties first.

Not for nothing did I go hiding in the mountains of Central France

removing scrap port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there was a pile of junk lying around on the quayside that had been there for several weeks.

There was someone here today moving that lot away too. But it sounded quite metallic to me so maybe it isn’t the remains of the bouchot stakes that they pulled up on teh Ile de Chausey. I was in half a mind to go for a closer look but I noticed the time and had to run for my appointment.

At the doctors, he didn’t say too much about my knee. What he has done is to give me a letter to take to a Sports Therapist whom he knows who might well be able to help. He doesn’t think that surgery is going to be much good.

He reckons that it might be due to age but I told him that he was talking nonsense. My other knee is exactly the same age as this one and there’s nothing wrong with that.

While he was at it, he gave me a prescription for my Aranesp and another for a blood test tomorrow.

There’s a new assistant in the chemist’s who didn’t understand the procedure about my Aranesp. It’s rather complicated because it doesn’t follow the usual French medical procedure so another assistant and I had to explain it to him.

And while I was there I bought some magnesium tablets. The doctor had noticed that I had a deficiency and thinks that one or two symptoms from which I might be suffering may have something to do with that.

There weren’t any neighbours prowling the streets this afternoon so I had an uneventful walk home

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022as usual, I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

The weather wasn’t as warm as it has been just recently but there were still a few people down there making the most of it, including someone who looks as if he has just come out of the water.

Back here I had a coffee and then backed up this month (so far)’s work onto the little memory stick that I take with me to Leuven. I’ll add the rest of the files in due course before I leave on Friday morning (if I ever get going) and update the portable computer as usual on the train.

Tea tonight was a kind of mixture of the leftover stuffing with kidney beans and tomato sauce with pasta and veg. It wasn’t anything special but I have to finish off the odds and ends of food hanging around before I leave. There’s a sweet potato that needs eating so I’m going to try to make some chips with it in the air fryer and see how they come out.

So now I’m off to bed shortly. I have to find some strength and energy from somewhere ready for the weekend otherwise it will be something of a disappointment. In more ways than one

Tuesday 19th April 2022 – THINGS ARE MOVING …

cherry picker rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… at the site of the huge fire in the Rue du Midi the other week

On my way down into town for my physiotherapy appointment this afternoon I came across a rather large cherry picker parked in the Rue des Juifs.

With some men up there with a load of building material it looks as if they are starting the repairs to at least one of the houses that was badly damaged in the fire.

Of course, they can’t leave them open to the elements for too long. If the rain sets in there will be more than just the roof than needs replacing.

What else was moving this morning was me – a good few minutes before the first alarm went off as well. Never mind being able to do it when I have to, this just goes to prove that I can do it when I don’t have to as well.

So why can’t I do it all the time? That’s what beats me.

Once I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages I settled down to deal with the slowest radio programme on record – at least since I have been properly organised. It wasn’t finished until after I returned from the physiotherapist and I still haven’t heard it yet to make sure that it’s OK.

And that’s despite the fact that I’d written some of the notes over the weekend as well.

What happened today was that I was plagued by a whole series of interruptions. I was actually making good time, regardless of coffee and breakfast breaks, and then Rosemary rang me. It goes without saying that that threw all of my plans into a cocked hat because we are quite capable of chatting about nothing at all for several hours.

As it happens, Rosemary has a real problem right now, a problem relating to her health, and she needed a shoulder to lean on.

After we had finished I had to dash around and steam-clean the apartment. It’s been a good few weeks since I’ve done that and I have visitors this afternoon so it needs to be something like.

After lunch my visitor arrived. He has plans to set up a ratline bringing Ukrainian refugees from the Polish border to Normandy on the train and we wanted to pick my brains, such as they are

He’s not actually going to find it as easy as it might be because there are a lot of variables in all of this and even knowing the ropes, doing research, having the contacts and the accommodation (because you aren’t going to do it in an 18-hour railway day) I still ended up having to wait around for hours

Moving small groups around is reasonably straightforward, especially if I’m going that way anyway, but he’s talking about doing it with large numbers and that’s completely impractical, especially on the Paris Underground.

My advice was to go to Moldova and hire a coach and a couple of drivers.

No problem with finding accommodation there. Everyone can sleep on the coach as it’s travelling. Two drivers can do a 28-hour shift between them and that’s all you need to come up from Chisinau. I’ve done that a couple of times in the past when the roads and the coaches were nothing like as good as they are now..

After he’d gone I had a shower and cleaned myself up, and then set out for the physiotherapist.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As my appointment is later than usual today, it was round about the right time for me to go and look down onto the beach so I headed off in that direction.

Of course, it’s no longer Bank Holiday so quite a few people are now back at work. Consequently I wasn’t expecting to see all that many people down there on the beach this afternoon.

And I was right too. There couldn’t have been more than a dozen people down there. Mind you, it was extremely windy again, but that’s not usually enough to keep people off the beach when it’s nice and sunny.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Next stop, as usual, is the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was happening down at the port.

The three boats that we saw moored up at the quayside down there yesterday have moved on but there is another, different boat moored down there this afternoon.

And no prizes for guessing who she is either because we’ve seen her down there on dozens of occasions in the past. It is of course L’Omerta, one of the big shell-fishing boats.

The tide is well out so she’s going to be there a few hours yet at least until she can float off elsewhere.

reroofing rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Having taken my photograph I headed off down the hill towards the cherry picker in the Rue des Juifs.

From here, we can see what is going on and why they have the cherry picker. There are a couple of people up there in the nacelle taking roofing material up there onto the roof. The repair work to that house seems to be beginning in earnest.

As for the ruins of the burnt-out one next door, there isn’t really all that much that anyone can do to it. I imagine that they will have to pull it down in the end. The stench of burnt wood would be enough to put off anyone from living in there again.

bar ephemere place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And on that note I carried on down the hill into town.

The last time that we were this way we saw them beginning to set up Chez Maguie, the Bar Ephemère or “temporary bar” that is set up on the corner of the boulodrome for the summer.

It’s pretty much all set up now and I imagine that it will be opening up before too long, although I would have expected it to have been open in time to catch the Easter trade, especially as Easter is so late this year.

Nevertheless, the presence of the Bar Ephemère isn’t putting off the boulonauts. They are still carrying on around all of the other activity down there. It takes more than this to put them off their stride.

road closed rue roger maris Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On my way up the hill towards the physiotherapist I noticed that the Rue Roger Maris was still closed.

What I’ll do will be to go that way home and find out why. There didn’t seem to be too much going on to cause it to be closed for so long the last time I was there.

Today I had a new physiotherapist. She explained the results of my MRI scan and it doesn’t sound as particularly serious as I thought it might have been. Still, we’ll see what the doctor has to say next week.

As for my treatment, she gave my knee a massage with the electric machine and then had me doing a few exercises.

rue roger maris rue du boscq place des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Having been thrown out until next Monday, I headed off to find out what was happening in the Rue Roger Maris.

And what I could see was “nothing at all”. There doesn’t seem to be any reason why the road should be closed.

However what I could see was that they had been putting sets of studs in the road, presumably to mark out a pedestrian crossing of some description. But that’s all completed now anyway so the road ought to be open.

There wasn’t anything of any interest going on in the town centre so I pushed on up the hill.

marité belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On the way up the hill towards home I stopped for a look down into the harbour.

Marité is down there, back from her overhaul. But I’m surprised to see that she’s not out working this afternoon. There are plenty of people around and so there’s a marketing opportunity that’s being missed here.

Not that it surprises me. I’ve made several remarks in the past about the staff who run the operation who seem to be much more interested in chatting amongst themselves rather than dealing with customer enquiries.

Belle France, the new Ile de Chausey ferry, is down there too. The other two boats are missing though, presumably running out to the Ile de Chausey.

government boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was something else that caught my eye while I was looking around the port.

Over there on the right is a boat that I haven’t seen before. She’s in the colours of the French Government so she’s presumably an official boat but I’ve no idea what she’s doing in the harbour.

And in the background there’s a mechanical digger doing some work. That’s something that has escaped my notice until this afternoon. I’ve not seen anything about that anywhere either.

But while we’re on the subject of the port and the redevelopment, the story that I mentioned yesterday of the Big Wheel not coming to the town is creating all kinds of controversy and I expect that there will be much more to say about that in the near future.

trawlers fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Another thing that I noticed was what I thought was some kind of strange phenomenon on one of the trawlers just down there.

At first I thought that it was a trick of the light, some kind of prismatic effect creating all kinds of arrays of colour, but a closer examination revealed that it’s just a collection of plastic boxes.

The chute and pipework at the side of the trawler by the way is an ice chute. The trawlers fill their holds with ice before they leave and that helps keep the catch fresh until they return to port.

Back here I had a coffee and listened to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

it started off with something about Ukrainian people coming to Shavington for shelter, all loaded up with all kinds of fishing equipment but I can’t remember any more about it than this

And then there was a prison break organised for a town in Mexico with some young boy in soldier’s uniform who had gone to see a bandit chief about smuggling 3 revolvers into the local prison so that they could escape. 3 American women came into town and ended up working at some kind of job in town where they could watch everything and keep an eye on the prison break. They set up the town so that there were all kinds of weapons like machetes and daggers deposited in certain strategic places so that if these guys escaped but lost their guns could grab hold of some kind of weapon to defend themselves as they tried to make their way out of town.

Later on I was browsing through a newspaper and came across an advert for a Suzuki GS550 4-cylinder for sale for £1000. It said “ex-Shearings” on it so I was rather tempted by that. My brother rang up the garage in London and yes, they still had one. He said that it was a 1987 model so I took over the phone and had a talk to them about it. It had had new shock absorbers all round and a few other bits and pieces so I said that if I paid £100 deposit could they keep it for the weekend and I could come down and listen to it. If it was making any strange noises I could have my money back otherwise I’d pay the balance. They agreed to that so I gave them my details where they could send their details. Then I spoke to my friend from the Wirral and asked if he fancied a trip down to London on Saturday. He said that he had something to do but he could do it early in the morning then we could go down to pick it up. One of the young girls there said that we had to take 2 cars because she didn’t want to see a motorbike so I had to sit by her and ask her what was the matter with motorbikes, why she didn’t want to see one and what problems she had etc.

Finally I was in Virlet last night. There were quite a few of us round at my house including my brother. He was spending all his time tormenting the next-door neighbour’s dog. In the end I told him off and told him to leave the dog alone. The next-door neighbour came out with his dog and a couple of people who were there and we all started to go for a walk. They came round to where we were standing and had a little discussion. Then we went off for this walk having something of a chat. We ended up back at my house. A little girl who was with us and one with them went and sat next to each other and started to play. The guy asked questions about my tomato plants that I had growing. A girl with me borrrowed my pen and wrote out a note for him. It all started to become reasonably friendly. I thought that this doesn’t sound like my normal neighbours to me. I wonder what’s the matter with them.

And I wish that my brother would clear off. It’s rather annoying having my family hanging around like this. I ran away from home 50 years ago this summer in order to put as much distance as possible between me and the rest of them and I really can’t do with them keeping on coming back like this to haunt me during the night when there are many more people, like Castor, zero and TOTGA for example whom I would much rather see.

As I have said before … “and on several occasions too” – ed … I don’t mind Nerina putting in an appearance every now and again. After all, I did quite happily invite her to share my life, for better or for worse, and I would much rather have her about than quite a few people I could name.

Tea was the stuffed pepper that I should have had last night – well, in actual fact it was one that I found from the previous week that I had forgotten but found when I was vacuuming out the vegetable trays. Still, it was just as delicious. I put a bit more chili powder in it and that gave it something more of a kick.

Tomorrow I have my travel arrangements to make. I’m going a few days earlier, for reasons that will become clear in due course.

But if fortune smiles upon me which I hope that it will, something for which I have been hoping for the last 30 years will surely come to pass, and there might even need to be a name-change somewhere along the line.

Thursday 10th March 2022 – THAT WAS THE …

… quickest “in and out” that I’ve ever had from a doctor at Castle Anthrax.

She asked me how I was, If I’d been ill, if I had any pains and if I had any tingling in my fingers

She then poked and prodded me about , asked me for my medication requirements and that was that. She cleared off.

And I made a mental note never to drink any strong ginger beer just before I’m due to be poked and prodded about.

Last night I was in bed early and with no alarm I was hoping to have a really good sleep but it didn’t quite work out like that. One look at the list if files on the dictaphone will confirm that.

There was some kind of competition going on with these Chinese girls. We had to pick 5 of them so I picked my 5 and they should have been packed in a cardboard box wrapped in tissue. But one of them burst into tears so I asked her why she was so upset. She said that it was because I knew nothing about her life prior to this competition and it was dreadful. I asked why she doesn’t simply tell me about it. The quicker she tells me, the quicker we can solve the problem. But she was extremely reluctant to do so and we had fits of tears and hysterics and all kinds of things but she still wouldn’t explain the issue. In the meantime there were other people choosing one of their 5 girls to marry and I was desperately wanting to marry this particular one but with all of this going on she wouldn’t let me get close enough to her to take hold of her.

Later on I was back here again. By now all of the prizes had been given. One of my friends of 19 had carried off loads of prizes but he still wasn’t given this ideal couple or this female couple or exciting couple. It seems that most of his girlfriends …. (fell asleep) … give half a chance I’d go back but she had to be willing to … (fell asleep) …

Meanwhile, it was all about this girl being sent off. One of the others had been sent off too. They had been disguised as something or other and positioned in between the window and the attackers to prevent the attackers from becoming too close. That’s all there was to this mystery and it was ever such a disappointment when I found out that it was simply that.

Nerina and I had this huge pile of money. I’ve no idea where it came from – I can’t remember. We were driving around Crewe (although it wasn’t Crewe and it wasn’t Brussels either although it might have been) trying to find a bank that was open. We ended up down all kinds of back streets looking for all kinds of obscure and offbeat banks. In the end we couldn’t find anything at all. We decided instead that we would go to Bonn because there would be bound to be something there. We ended up sitting at a table with a couple of people whom I knew from the EU (although I didn’t). One of them had a horribly disfigured face. We were talking. One of the people was quite a senior person and the subject of finance came up so I told them the French stein joke which of course made everyone laugh but I had to explain it to the guy with the disfigured face. They thought that Bonn was an excellent idea so we were planning on setting off. At one point we found a side street where I knew there was a bank and I tried to park with 2 feet on the kerb and 2 on the road to let cars go past although there wouldn’t be many cars going this way. There were bollards in the way and of course some car came down and couldn’t go past so I had to drive round again but that was through Brussels or wherever it was before we’d gone to this bar to meet these people

I’m not sure if I’ve dictated this I haven’t) but I was with someone called Allota Fagina, the Austin Powers character. We were going somewhere (that I couldn’t identify from the dictaphone) … old house that was derelict and part of it was falling down. In front of it was a new house. There were several old cars parked there including tow old early Austin A45s that had identical number plates ONA432. She asked whose it was so I said that the one that had fallen down was the one where Austin Powers’ grandparents lived, the one that is standing still is where his parents live and the new one at the front is where he lives. We carried on and all met up at the end of the street for a chat. In the meantime there had been a TV crew so there were lots of people and lots of reporters. They had actually filmed part of this trip and they’d filmed the arrival at his parents’ house where someone had been there and wanted the film crew to record his children because they weren’t going on any further to the end. There were several reporters dotted along the street to ask the questions and the TV crew picked up one of them and it was someone whom we knew. They asked her some questions to which she gave some very nebulous answers

I forgot to mention that at one point Austin Powers’ grandfather had disappeared. When they asked where he was, he’d actually gone off – he fancied a chicken to eat so he’d actually gone off hunting a chicken. Someone was saying that this was his current mode of life and interest hunting his food for his tea

Then we had a dispute between two neighbours. One neighbour had moved in and the one who had been there the longer tried to lay the law down to him but that hadn’t worked and there had been some kind of confrontation between them that had left the long-living neighbour in a bad light. He’d found out a few things about the new arrival that he was repairing a boat down at the bottom of his garden so he called the Council’s Enforcement Officer over to make a formal complaint. The new neighbour had caught them both discussing it and it was quite obvious that this was going to lead to a major confrontation between the two

And when someone (the nurse, in fact) telephoned me at 08:30 to ask if he could come round and inject me, that was that. Of course, there’s no danger of the nurse coming to see me here in Leuven. He’ll be back round to see me on Monday morning.

After breakfast I washed my clothes and had a shower, and then spent the rest of the morning working on choosing the music for the next series of radio programmes.

Having made my sandwiches I set off for the hospital, stopping off at Origin’O on the way. Alison had forgotten that I was coming so I had to buy some vegan food for tea.

And it’s not Origin’O now anyway – it’s changed hands. It’s now called something else whose name I have forgotten. But there’s only half the range of products and the prices have increased somewhat dramatically too.

If this is how it’s going to be, I can see yet another vegan food shop being crossed off my list.

cleaning balcony with cherry picker mural brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way to the hospital this mural on the end of a café in the Brusselsestraat caught my eye – “Progress in your own fashion”.

Normally, I don’t feature any advertising on my pages unless I’m having a share of the profits but I thought that I’d include it because first of all it really is new and secondly, it really is an eye-catching piece of art that must have taken a great deal of effort to complete.

There was also a cherry-picker there too and at first I thought that it was something to do with the mural but it looks as if those men on there are cleaning the windows of that building next door. Although why they need a cherry-picker and why the can’t do it from the inside by tilting the windows over is beyond me.

building facade kapucijnenvoer Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022One building in the Kapucijnenvoer on which we have been keeping an eye is this one that backs onto the Zongang.

Last time we went past they were fitting the windows but over the last four weeks they seem to have made some dramatic progress. They are now busy building up the facade with some kind of machined stone blocks and it doesn’t look as it it will be long before they have finished.

We can no longer see the really nice building that is behind it and I bet that with the height of this building in front, it will be quite dark there. It’s a shame that a building as beautiful as that one has been consigned to the shadows.

new building kapucijnenvoer Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022The other building in the Kapucijnenvoer on which we have been keeping an eye is the huge one that is slowly going up further down the street.

Last time we were here we saw them beginning to fit the walls to the ground floor. And today, we’ve having to step back across the street to take a photo of it because it’s now mushrooming up quite quickly.

It’ll be interesting to see where it will be up to when I come back next month.

The climb up the hill was the usual exhausting agony but I made it right the way to the top without actually stopping for breath which is something, I suppose.

digging up pavement monseigneur van waeyenberghlaan Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022When I reached the roundabout near the top I did actually stop, but not to draw breath.

Something else on which we’ve been keeping an eye is the work, whatever it is, that’s going on in the Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan.

They have dug this up, laid electric cable, filled it in and then dug it up again more often than I care to mention. And look at the state of the paving at the side. I wonder how long it will be before someone trips over an uneven paving slab and does themselves a mischief.

At the hospital, my transfusion didn’t take long to complete, and I wonder why that was. Usually it takes hours but I was ready to leave at 16:30.

However I had to wait for a while for Alison to finish work and then we went round to her house for tea. She thought that my coffee cake was delicious and she was certainly right there.

Now, back here, I’m ready for bed. No alarm in the morning though because I’m having a lie-in to compensate for what I didn’t have today.

And so I wonder what will come along to disturb me.

Wednesday 9th February 2022 – HERE I ALL AM …

.. not actually sitting in a rainbow, but sitting in my little room here in Leuven, after one of the most uneventful journeys that I’ve ever had.

man with giant teddy gare du nord paris France Eric Hall photo February 2022One of the only two things of note about this journey took place in the Gare du Nord in Paris.

There, I came across a guy with an enormous teddy-bear strapped to his back, with the bear carrying a backpack.

Of course, it goes without saying that I went over to him and told him how much I admired his choice of travelling companion. And then of course that led to a discussion that involved STRAWBERRY MOOSE.

And that of course served to remind me that it’s been 18 months since His Nibs and I last went on an adventure, when we did our tour of Central Europe, and two and a half years since we last set foot on North American soil.

And like me, he’s getting itchy feet. We need to be on our way somewhere, moving about.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4520 PBA gare du midi brussels belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022The second incident of note took place on board my train at Lille Europe.

There was a couple sitting in my seat and at first they refused to move, insisting that the numbers on the seat in front related to their seats. It was only when I asked them if that meant that the people in seats 75 and 76 had to sit on the luggage rack that they reluctantly agreed to move.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t have bothered and would have sat somewhere else but there was something about this couple’s attitude that rubbed me up the wrong way and these days my good humour evaporates much more quickly than ever it used to, especially when I’m confronted by intransigent people.

Apart from that, it’s been a very fair day today. When the alarm went off at 06:00 I was (for a change) out of bed quite quickly, made my sandwiches, had a coffee and, to my own surprise never mind yours, steam-cleaned the kitchen, including washing the floor with disinfectant.

l'omerta fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022At 08:00 or thereabouts I left the apartment with my gear and headed off for the station.

First … errr … port of call was the viewpoint overlooking the fish processing plant where I checked the NIKON 1 J5 to make sure that it was working.

The fish-processing plant was this morning’s first subject. It might be early in the morning but there are plenty of people down there working as we can see. All of the lights are on in there and there’s a refrigerated lorry down there waiting to take away the catch.

And L’Omerta is still down there where we saw her yesterday, sitting on the silt.

dawn st pair Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Although it was still dark, the sun was starting to rise.

The sky in the distance over at the back of St Pair sur Mer is becoming lighter with a beautiful pink tinge.

What they say around here is “Red Sky at Night, Shepherd’s Delight. Red Sky in the Morning, Avranches is On Fire”.

And as I was on the point of taking the photos, most of the streetlights in St Pair sur Mer went out and what would have been a glorious photo suddenly turned into something rather more banal.

On that note I headed off down into town and then out the other side and up the hill to the railway station.

modernisation gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It only took me 25 minutes to reach the station this morning, with only one stop on the way, which is progress of a sort.

And at the station, I had a surprise. There has in the past been some kind of vague talk about some improvements at the station and today, they had fitted out the entrance hall with a pile of scaffolding.

It looks as if it’s “all systems go” and it will be interesting to see what they’ve been up to when I come back next month.

You can see the yellow boxes there. They are for passengers to use to stamp their tickets before they board the train. All paper tickets have to have a timestamp on them to make them valid.

84571 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Despite my being there early, the train was already on the point of pulling in, and that was a welcome sight. I didn’t have to sit outside in the cold.

Today I had a seat all to myself right next to the toilet so I didn’t even have to walk very far.

There was all of my work to back up from the large computer and while I was doing that I listened to my Hawkwind “concert” again. I stomped all my way to Paris, except for the 10 or 15 minutes when I was … errr … resting.

We were bang on time in Paris and the trip on the metro to the Gare du Nord was straightforward, especially my little walk along the street and I can’t understand why I didn’t check this before.

There was a bit of a laugh though. The metro was crowded but I managed to find a seat. A woman grabbed the seat next to me and beckoned to her daughter, who was about 11, to come and sit on her lap instead of standing up hanging onto a strap.

“I think that that’s a bit too baby” I said, which brought a smile from daughter and a sigh from mother, and despite repeated entreaties, daughter steadfastly refused to sit on her mother’s lap all the way to the Gare du Nord.

tgv inoui 225 tgv reseau duplex gare du nord paris France Eric Hall photo February 2022Having exchanged pleasantries with the guy with the teddy-bear, I went to find my train to Lille Flandres.

As usual, it was one of the TGV Reseau Duplex double-deckers, looking as if they are in need of a little paintwork these days. Nevertheless they are quite comfortable, even if there is only one power point per seat.

This afternoon I was lucky because I didn’t have a neighbour so we didn’t have to fight over the power point and I could carry on listening to Hawkwind and reading my story about a Michigan cavalry unit in the American Civil War all the way to Lille.

And for a change, I was on the lower deck. No fighting with the stairs

TGV POS 4404 gare de lille flandres railway station France Eric Hall photo February 2022At Lille I found that we had brought another trainset with us – one of the POS units from eastern France so once more it was something of a hybrid train.

In fact, it actually brought us because it was certainly coupled up at the front of our trainset and there weren’t any passengers at all on it, so I imagine they’ve taken advantage of our trainset to carry out a positioning voyage.

We were 8 minutes late arriving at Lille so we had to push on rather rapidly to Lille Europe for our train from Montpelier to Brussels. Some young woman was looking rather lost so I brought her with me and we had a nice chat. However when we reached the station she disappeared off somewhere else and that was that.

There were a couple of minutes to spare so I used them wisely in eating my butties, and then I had my little … errr … discussion on my train.

The journey to Brussels doesn’t take long so I didn’t mess about with the computer. I listened to an album that I’d stored on my phone.

Colosseum Live, one of the greatest live albums ever, and something bizarre usually happens to me whenever i hear it.

In the Canadian High Arctic in 2018 I had a strange encounter with an interesting young lady whom I met on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR while I was listening to it, and in The Canadian High Arctic in 2019 on the same ship sitting in the same seat on the same deck listening to the same album, I had an even more strange encounter with another even more interesting young lady, about which I’ll write one of these days.

However, to my dismay, nothing whatsoever happened this time to ignite my curiosity.

class 27 electric locomotive gare de leuven railway station belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022A train to Leuven was already in the station when I arrived – a push-me-pull-you – so I scrambled aboard, and we set off, at a snail’s pace, down the line.

When I arrived at Leuven I went to see what was pushing us and to my surprise it was one of the old Class 27 locomotives. 60 of them were built in the early 80s and they were the first of the modern generation of electric locomotives.

“Powerful” is not the word to describe these locomotives. One of this class pulled a train of 70 carriages, the longest passenger train ever assembled in the world, so I’ve no idea what was the matter with mine going so slowly.

At the back of the station is the little Match supermarket so I went there to buy the bread and drink for the next couple of days and then headed for my room

cherry pickers martelarenplein leuven belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022In the Martelarenplein they had a couple of cherry-pickers but they were parked up and it wasn’t easy to see what they had been doing.

Back here I didn’t have an upgrade but instead I’m in my usual room up two flights of stairs that kill me having to climb them.

After a coffee I … errr … relaxed for half an hour and then walked down to Delhaize for my shopping. I bought everything that I need and even “won” a trolley token from one that had jammed in an abandoned trolley. A trolley attendant saw me wrestling with it and gave me one from his pocket.

At some point I finally managed to catch up with the dictaphone notes. I was up in the Scottish Borders last night with a couple of young girls whom I met there once upon a time, at the festival indoor. The two girls were dancing. They were carrying bottles of drink around and I’m not sure why because they weren’t drinking them. We’d filmed them dancing, as well as quite a few others. We were watching it, and I can’t remember now, but she was most offended when she saw them dancing with the alcohol and had quite a lot to say about it. There was something about food too, making queues for the food and serving the queue, how if you had your food in one room you couldn’t go into another but eat in that room etc, something to do with the fact that some parts were licensed as a takeaway and some weren’t. It was all quite complicated. We were talking about my flat-bottomed boat festival. The film went on to talk about it and said about how these two girls would be invited to attend as well but of course the older one by this time had been killed so it was totally irrelevant.

It’s surprising, this little voyage, particularly about the death of one of these girls. In real life I’d actually met them a couple of times and then after one of our meetings, the older one was actually killed. She was driving to work early one morning when a German tourist who had driven up from Dover through the night without stopping pulled off the M74 onto the wrong side of the road and hit her head-on.

In her ancient and frail Open Corsa, she didn’t stand a chance.

Regular readers of this rubbish in one of its many previous guises will recall that the after-effects of this accident were quite considerable and are still rumbling on today

Later on we were back at the Scottish Borders again later and there was another girl there in between the age of these two girls, probably about 15 or so. She was dancing as well but I can’t remember where this started or why it was significant.

My friend Marianne was in hospital so I’d been staying in her apartment. I’d been there for five months from September until February. There was some talk that she might come out very soon so I’d had to have a good go round and tidy everything up and make sure that everything was where it was supposed to be, all of her clothes and everything, find her bank cards, find her money and all that. It was extremely complicated. At one point I found her cassette player so I put some music on and was listening to that while I was working. When I’d finished in the bedroom I couldn’t make up my mind whether to leave it on or switch it off. In the end I switched it off but this was something extremely emotional, all of this.

I was with Lise last night (and who is Lise?), on my way home in a car. There was some kind of news report about an Italian who had done something and taken an Israeli person hostage. I was driving home and I came to the road junction which I thought that I needed but for some reason I couldn’t see clearly out of the car. I ended up driving past so I had to find a place to turn round. I came to a place in a village where I could turn round but parked in a field were a couple of steam traction engines, all overgrown and covered in weeds, creepers etc so I went to take a photo of them. No matter how I tried I couldn’t find a decent viewpoint. In the end, after a while, I gave it up as a bad job, went back into the car, turned round. Then I noticed several ruined buildings from the Middle Ages so I stopped to take a photo. All these kids swarmed around me and kept on standing in front of the lens so I didn’t have a clear shot. Then the camera wasn’t recognising the lens. This was proving to be extremely awkward. In the end I was having to push these kids out of the way but the more I pushed, the more they formed back and kids started appearing from everywhere. I never did take that photo.

And that wasn’t all either. But as you are eating your tea right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

Now that I’ve had my tea, I’m off to bed. It’s early but I’m exhausted and I have my hospital appointment tomorrow so I need to be fighting fit. 123% of my daily activity deserves a good rest.


Thursday 3rd February 2022 – SOMETHING HAPPENED …

… last night that hasn’t happened for weeks and weeks, if not months and months.

and that was that I went to bed at something like a reasonable time, fell asleep quite quickly, and slept all the way through until the alarm went off without awakening once.

The sleep was so deep that I made an executive decision (and for the benefit of new readers, an executive decision is one that, if it’s the wrong decision, the person making it is executed) to switch off the alarms and go back to sleep.

It was just after 10:00 when I finally arose from the dead, hours later than intended, and it remains to be seen whether it’s done me any good. But I don’t care.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Immediately after the medication, before I’d even checked my mails and messages, I set about making the bread.

500 grammes of wholewheat flour, some salt, several handfuls of sunflower seeds, yeast and water (I forgot the Vitamin C tablet), and it all went together perfectly. In fact, the dough felt like the best that I’ve ever made.

It rose quite well too and it was cooked to perfection after 75 minutes. It tasted quite good too, as I was to find out later. I’m quite happy with this;

Half of the loaf has gone into the freezer to keep it fresh for later.

While it was doing its stuff I was checking my mails and messages, and writing a message to someone. It was a very difficult message to write, for all kinds of reasons, but she did ask …

After lunch I worked on the missing radio interview, and that’s all done and dusted now. In fact they are all done because I re-edited a couple of previous ones that needed improving, and tomorrow I’m going to start assembling my programme.

It’s going to be a major “cut and paste” job with plenty of music in between. Hans in Germany wrote a song especially for the occasion, someone else sent me two of his songs, and I’ll be cutting bits out of them to use as appropriate. I’ve no idea how it’ll turn out but I’ll just be glad to have it finished and on its way.

Let’s see if I can do that before I go to Leuven next Wednesday.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As you might expect, there was the usual afternoon break for my walk around the headland.

First stop though has to be the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach this afternoon.

Plenty of beach this afternoon, and quite a few people down there for a walk too. There are four people in this photo but altogether I counted at least a dozen or so and there were probably more too.

Not so many up here on the path though. I was pretty much on my own.

boat ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As usual, I was casting my other eye out to sea at the same time as I was looking down on the beach.

Surprisingly, after yesterday, there weren’t any fishing boats out at sea that I could see, but there was something out just off the Ile de Chausey on the right-hand edge of this rather murky photo.

Out of interest, I took a photo of it and tried to enhance it to see whom it might be, but to no avail. She has a similar kind of silhouette to La Grande Ancre but I don’t think that it’s she.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Out at the end of the headland we were having yet another glorious sunset.

This time of the year is well-known for these, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall because I have said so in the past … “and on many occasions too” – ed.

While the Brittany coast was shrouded in a rainstorm that was stretching all the way down the bay, there was a touch of blue sky here.

And that was all there was of it. The rest of the sky was quite grey and miserable.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There wasn’t anyone sitting down on the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon.

No surprise because the whole of the town was out on the beach this afternoon engaged in the peche à pied – “fishing on foot”.

For the benefit of the recent readers of this rubbish, the area of the shore between high and low tide is let out to commercial fishermen who exploit the shellfish that might be found.

However, we have probably the widest tidal range in Europe here and several times per year, the water level drops below the level that is commercially exploited. On those days, subject to a few conditions, the area below the low water line, when it’s exposed by a very low tide, is a free-for-all where anyone at all might harvest whatever they might find.

Including human feet and unexploded munitions too, of which there have been more than just a few.

sparrowhawk pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There might not have been many people wandering around on the path or sitting down on the bench below but I did have some company up here this afternoon.

We haven’t seen our friendly neighbourhood bird of prey for quite a while but here he is this afternoon.

He’s usually to be found on the other side of the headland where there’s a colony of rabbits, but I don’t know what there is that might be of interest to him down here.

In fact he didn’t swoop down to investigate anything in all of the time that I was watching him so it must have been rather slim pickings today. He’ll probably be back on the other side tomorrow if he has no luck here.

le tiberiade chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022A little farther on along the path I noticed some more activity in the chantier naval this afternoon.

Yesterday we saw Coelacanthe in an unusual position at the quayside, moored stern-on, but today all of the excitement centres around her little sister Tiberiade.

She’s made her way into the chantier naval for some kind of attention, to join up with Le Roc A La Mauve III who is sill over out of shot on her blocks near the portable boat lift.

And if you want to tell Coelacanthe and Tiberiade apart when they aren’t side by side (the latter is smaller), then Coelacanthe has wings on the railings at the side of the bridge whereas Tiberiade has open railings.

pollarding crew rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Yesterday we saw the pollarding crews out in the town by the Place Pelley working on the trees down there.

By the looks of things this afternoon they are working their way up the Rue des Juifs. They are at one of the viewpoints overlooking the inner harbour where there’s a good view, a comfy bench (which, inexplicably, faces the street and not the port) and more importantly, a handful of trees.

It looks as if it’s their turn to have having the treatment this afternoon. Tomorrow, I suppose, they’ll be finishing off down there. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that they did the trees in the Boulevard Vaufleury a few weeks ago.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was here I had a quick look down into the inner harbour to see how things are developing.

There’s another pile of freight that’s appeared on the quayside since we last looked. And that reminds me – we haven’t seen Thora, one of the three little Jersey freighters, in port for a while. I know that the two others were in St Malo this morning but they have gone back to Jersey.

Perhaps we’re going to be having a flying visit sometime soon, or else Chausiaise, currently tied up with her sisters in the inner harbour, might fancy another run out to stretch her legs. It will be interesting indeed if she has decided to pick up the cudgel.

cherry picker place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … apartment, it looks as if we are in for interesting times too.

Right underneath my dining-room window someone has parked a cherry-picker. It looks as if there is going to be some work done around here somewhere at some time in the near future.

They used something like this when they patched up the flashing around the skylights at the front a while back. I wonder if they are going to be starting work on the skylights at the rear, or is it for something else?

Back here I had a coffee and finished off the radio stuff that I’d been doing. Then I had a listen to the dictaphone.

Last night there was a group of us with a couple of American tanks that we’d disguised and painted to be like German small tanks. We were in German uniforms, behind German lines during the German retreat across Europe. We’d been continually held up, which was not part of our plan because it wouldn’t be long before someone recognised what we had. At one point we had to wait around for a while and then we were waved on and ended up in a queue to cross a large river. One of our party wandered off and found a place where he could have some ice-cream. he was sitting there eating it when a large party of Germans turned up. he immediately suspected that these Germans would recognise the tank and arrest everyone who was with it. He decided that he would keep a very low profile with his ice-cream while the events unfolded between these 2 groups of people

And later there was me and my brother (again!) and several other kids. We were playing around at some kind of thing and we ended up, 4 of us, me, my brother and 2 girls, one younger than the other, spending most of our time playing badminton. The other kids weren’t interested at all in it. It was all taking place in some kind of garage. The 4 of us were reasonably clean although we had a few marks on us where we had touched oily things. We gradually split up into 2 camps, the 4 of us badminton players and the others. We wrote a kind-of poem about what we were doing and that was when we discovered the names of these 2 girls (I can’t remember them now). I was sitting down somewhere in this room and I made a gesture to the older of these 2 girls if she wanted to go to play badminton. One of the other kids saw me make this gesture and pulled a face and didn’t seem very keen at all, but it wasn’t anything to do with them. The other girl said “yes, ok” so I picked up my racket, she picked up hers. I asked “where’s your sister?” – I imagined that they were sisters. She replied “she’s gone off to play with your brother somewhere”.

Tea tonight was a handful of those small breaded quorn fillets with veg and potatoes, and that made enough room to put the half of a loaf into the freezer. It’s really cramped in there with no more room to put anything at all.

At the moment I’m resisting the temptation to sort through it all because it’s so well-packed that if I disturb it, I won’t be able to fit everything back in and then I’ll have some real problems. But I’m sure that there are tons of stuff that need eating that have been in there for ages.

Having had my hot chocolate, I’m off to bed, hoping for as good a sleep as I had last night. Not much chance of that, I know, but we can all live in hope.

And then to see what happens tomorrow about this series of radio programmes. Won’t I be glad to see it gone?

Monday 17th January 2022 – I FINISHED …

… the radio programme this morning by 10:35, breakfast and coffee included.

Mind you, I cheated. At 05:00 this morning I was wide awake and no matter how I tried, I couldn’t go back to sleep. So in the end I gave it up and by 05:45 I was up and about having my medication.

The programme could have been finished even earlier too had I been motivated and had I not stopped half way through to watch the highlights of Ayr United v Greenock Morton. And that new cable that I bought last week in Leuven is exactly what is required and does a really good job.

While I was listening to the finished product I was dealing with some correspondence that had been stacking up. I’ve been letting a few things drift just recently as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

During the night I’d been on my travels again. There was a rock concert taking place at some seaside resort miles away – 60 miles at least – so I set out to walk there overnight. And so I did. I arrived there in time for the concert. After the concert the Government was giving away oranges as there was a surplus so I joined the queue to have some for my journey back. Eventually I was standing in this queue for ages and was given a bag full of oranges and also a couple of lemons. Then it was so late that I had to wait there until the morning before I could set off. But there was something going on and I can’t remember what it is. I didn’t actually start out when I wanted to.

After a shower I went and had lunch and a good clean up, and then made myself ready to go out for my physiotherapy session.

cherry picker Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And I hadn’t gone far before I shuddered to a halt

There is this beautiful house here built on top of the walls but it looks as if there’s some kind of issue with the roofing tiles. And that’s hardly a surprise with all of the wind that we have had just recently.

They have blocked off part of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and rigged up a massive cherry-picker with a couple of men in the nacelle working on the roof between the two towers.

And I’m intrigued to see the white van the wrong way round in a one-way street. Had it been me, I would have gone down the hill in reverse to at least make a pretence of obeying the Code de la Route.

building material quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There is also a great deal of activity down there on the quayside in the loading bay.

A whole pile of building material has arrived there since I last looked, and that would seem to indicate that one of the little Jersey freighters will be coming into port in due course to take it all away.

My trip through the town and up the hill to the physiotherapist was quite uneventful. I made it all the way there without once stopping for breath.

Today she let me have five minutes on the cross trainer and 15 minutes doing kinetic exercises. Finally she took me into the back room, put me on the couch and did some work on my right knee for 10 minutes.

And she can put me on the couch and manipulate my metatarsals any time she likes.

From there I carried on up the hill and went to Lidl. It’s been a while since I was there and I needed some salad stuff for my sandwiches so it seemed like a good plan to go there.

building work rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way home I went to look at the building site that’s been going on for almost a year on the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo and the Rue St Paul.

They actually had a couple of bricklayers on there today. The ground floor has been built of concrete slabs but now they are building up with those large lightweight bricks, and not making a terribly good job of it

Watching them doing their stuff is the kind of thing that makes me very wary of buying somewhere that hasn’t yet been built.

But having said that, my first house was a Barratt house which was pretty much jerry-built but then the enticements that the company offered to impoverished potential purchasers were unbeatable and it was the only way that I could ever have afforded a house of my own.

A few hundred metres further on, I was roused from my reverie by a motor horn. One of my neighbours had been at the physiotherapist’s and he was on his way home. He stopped his car and asked me if I would like a lift, which was very kind of him.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022After he dropped me off, I came inside, deposited my shopping and the NIKON 1 J5, picked up the NIKON D500 and went back outside.

First place to visit was the beach of course, so I headed off to stick my head over the wall to see what was happening.

There wasn’t much beach to be on right now, but that can be explained by the fact that I’m rather later than usual with having gone to the shops. But nevertheless, there were a couple of people down there walking around at the water’s edge making the most of the afternoon.

trawler patrol boat helicopter baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But there was a tremendous amount of excitement taking place out at sea this afternoon.

It wasn’t very clear so I had to enhance the photograph considerably before I could make it out. And never mind the trawler at the front of the phot, it’s right behind it where all of the activity is taking place.

The boat that’s there has aa array of radio antennae that are more of a military designation than that of a commercial fishing boat, and hovering overhead is the air-sea rescue helicopter.

There doesn’t seem to be anyone being lowered down or winched up from what I can see, but it really was difficult to make out anything at all with the naked eye. It was exciting all the same.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way home in the car I’d seen a trawler or two lined up at the gates to the harbour, so I went back there with the camera to check.

By now there were quite a few boats out there lined up ready to go in as soon as the gates open, and several of the smaller ones unloading at the fish processing plant.

Back in the apartment I made myself a nice hot coffee and brought it back in here to drink. And I’m not sure what happened to the rest of the afternoon. I didn’t crash out or anything but I certainly didn’t do any work. I seem to have run aground again, to my dismay.

Nevertheless I did manage to scrape up the energy from somewhere to make my tea. There was a pepper that was looking rather sorry for itself so I made a pile of stuffing and had stuffed peppers with rice.

Right now though, I’m thoroughly exhausted yet again after the night that I had. I’m off to bed for a good sleep (if only …) because I have my Welsh class tomorrow and I want to be on form for that.

And then i’m going to try to pull myself together and sort myself out. It’s high time that I did something like that.

Thursday 23rd December 2021 – WELL, THAT DIDN’T …

repairing portable boat lift chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… last very long, did it?

While I was out on my post-prandial perambulation this afternoon I went along the path at the top of the cliff above the chantier naval to see what was going on there now thatAztec Lady has gone back into the water.

In fact there’s very little of any excitement going on today because by the looks of things, the lift is out of action. It’s fenced off again and there’s a cherry picker parked at its side with a man scrambling on top.

That didn’t last very long, did it?

Mind you, it lasted longer than my night did last night. It wasn’t so early when I went to bed because, to warm myself up, I had a nice mug of thick, hot chocolate. But even so, I was still wide awake at 06:45 waiting for the 07:30 alarm call.

And typing that made me remember how nice it was so I have just been to make myself another one.

Stuff on the dictaphone too. I’d been on my travels last night. In fact, there was tons of stuff going back for over a week that I need to transcribe at some point when I’m feeling better.

Anyway, I managed to deal with last night’s, which is a major step forward. Last night I dreamt that I’d joined a volunteer fire brigade. I’d been organising my equipment and getting everything ready for being out on call, everything like that, but someone said it wasn’t quite that easy. I had to attend a training session and that was going to take place at 01:00. Of course 01:00 is a crazy time but they had to do it when there was very little interruption around. I looked around at 01:00. It was a cold, wet day and I couldn’t imagine that any kind of rehearsal would take place there, regardless of the fact that in the real world, as a firefighter you are out in all kinds of weather. As I was sitting there debating what to do, I ended up being in Scotland carrying buckets of water for a bakery. I’m not sure where this fitted in but I dozed off to sleep apparently because the next thing that I remember it was 03:20.

Later on, we were at work again, discussing holidays. I happened to mention that if I could I was planning to go to Axel Heiberg Island with one of my explorer friends. We would hire an aeroplane and try to land there. Of course this made everyone go “wow!”. One girl in particular was poring over a map of the High Arctic, all these places, saying about where she wanted to go, what was the sea?. I told her as much as I possibly could. She wanted to know how to get there so I told her about my friends in Canada. She said “I’ll have to go to a travel agent for a brochure”. I replied “no, you can ring the company direct”. I gave her all of the co-ordinates for it. I was being quite a good salesman in my dreams last night

Finally we ended up back at Virlet, me, someone else and some guy. We were talking about the place and I showed him round. I did some tidying up in the attic, all the nails and screws that were all over the floor using a magnet to pick them up. We were talking about it and I said that I lived down here permanently for several years from 2006, a chat like that. Then we had to leave. He wanted to take a photo of something or other, I’m not quite sure what it was. He got down on his knees on a blanket to photograph something in the stairwell. That was when I awoke

After breakfast, I didn’t do much. In fact, I haven’t done much all day. But in the spirit of doing something – anything – is better than nothing, I’ve been wading through one of my hard drives sorting out duplicate files. That’s another 210 GB of free disk space that I’ve created today and there’s still plenty to go at.

There were the usual breaks – for breakfast and my banana and molasses cake; and then lunch of course.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021My afternoon walk too around the headland, as I mentioned earlier.

Down on the beach there were several people wandering about – both down here and over at the Plat Gousset too.

There were quite a few people walking around on the promenade too as well as on the path underneath the walls.

Today was quite a bit warmer than it was yesterday, but it was cloudy and damp. The kind of weather when you might expect to see a few people out there.

Nothing out at sea though, so I had a nice quiet walk down to the end of the headland.

person on rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Down at the end of the headland there was no-one sitting on the bench this afternoon, but there was someone sitting farther out on the end of the rocks.

These days, since the events of 6 or so weeks ago, you have to keep a watchful eye on people sitting on the rocks, just in case…

Having inspected the chantier naval I came home for my hot coffee and to carry on weeding this back-up drive and throwing out the duplicates. I think that I’ll be here for ever doing it but at least I’m doing something.

Tea was a burger on a bap which was delicious. And now that I’ve drunk my delicious hot chocolate, I’m off to bed. I’ve a really bust day tomorrow that will end up in a late evening so tomorrow’s notes might be even later than usual.

And don’t forget my Christmas concert tomorrow night at 21:00 CET ON THE RADIO.

Wednesday 8th December 2021 – I WAS RIGHT …

replacing cobbles rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… when I said the other day that maybe I was being rather too hasty with my vituperative comments about the surface of the Rue St Michel

Those big bags that we saw on the back of that pick-up yesterday were actually full of cobbles and then are all now dumped on the corner in the Rue de Cambernon. But several have actually made it up to the far end of the street.

If you look carefully at this photograph you’ll see that a pile of them have even been laid and the work is slowly progressing down the hill towards where I’m standing.

Mind you, it’ll take them a good few days to reach this end of the street. And then, I suppose, someone else will come along and dig it up for some other purpose.

After last night’s antics I needed someone to come along and dig me up out of bed when the alarm went off because firstly I was in bed late, not being tired earlier, and then I was awake after just about 4 hours of sleep and couldn’t go back to sleep until, as usual, about 5 minutes before the alarm went off.

Consequently I was staggering around for a good few minutes trying to gather my wits once I finally made it out of bed.

Once I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages I went and edited the sound-file from Sunday morning. It was a mess as I expected, with pops and bangs everywhere, but I’ve managed to trim well over 40 minutes of sound down to half that – and there’s plenty more to go as well.

However I need to send it off to Laurent for a listen and for him to dictate some supplementary questions.

A propos of absolutely nothing, two of the interviewees started to talk about the Erasmus scheme and the ending of mutual recognition of qualifications and that will make a pretty good interview all on its own so I cut it out and filed it separately.

All of that took me right up to 18:20 this evening, but it was a job well-done.

There were the usual interruptions of course, one of which was for breakfast, and another was for a shower. And having weighed myself again, I’m down to my lowest weight since it piled back on after I stopped running. Those were the days, hey?

With a late lunch as well today, it was almost time to go straight out for my walk to the physiotherapist’s.

repairing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Seeing as I was a few minutes early today, I went to have a look at the repairs to the medieval city wall at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

First thing that I noticed was that they hadn’t re-erected the shelter that was blown down by Storm Arwen, the shelter that they have over their heads when they are pointing the wall, to stop objects from above falling on their heads.

But then by the looks of things, the pointing has hardly advanced at all since we saw it last. Mind you, they have had other things to worry about, like gale-force winds and the like. And this afternoon’s wind was nothing to be ashamed of either.

You have already seen the photo of the Rue St Michel so I pushed on and walked over the drawbridge into the Rue des Juifs.

marité chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021The other day we saw a photo of all of the Ile de Chausey boats moored up in the inner harbour.

However today, there has been some shuffling around of the fleet. The Joly France ferry that was over on the far side of the harbour has now disappeared completely.

Chausiaise has also moved, but not as far. She’s now in front of Marité in the loading bay underneath the crane but I don’t think that all of that freight just there is for her.

As for the other two boats, they are still tied up here against the quayside right underneath where I’m standing.

site of christmas market place pelley le pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There’s quite a lot of activity going on down below too on the Place Pleville de Pelley.

That’s where the bar ephemère hangs out during the summer and is used as the boulodrome for the rest of the time, but today they are setting up some little wooden cabins there.

We’re going to be having a Christmas Fair, so I’m told, and that looks as if it’s it. It doesn’t look particularly impressive though.

Given half a chance I’d be in Aachen or Köln next weekend at a real Christmas Fair, but I’m going nowhere unnecessary while there’s all of this going on.

On the way up the hill I stopped at the Carrefour and bought a bunch of bananas. I’m running low on them and I can’t survive at all without bananas.

At the physiotherapist’s, she had me on the cross trainer again for 5 minutes and then more kinetic exercises, including throwing this ball about again. Today though, I don’t know what happened but I wasn’t feeling anything like as well as I have done this last couple of weeks – and that was nothing much to write home about was it?

ambulance rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021As I stepped out of the physiotherapist’s, I was overtaken by an ambulance going down the hill at some speed.

There must be some kind of emergency somewhere for him to be driving like that with all of his lights flashing.

Having taken a photo I pushed on down the hill where I bumped into “Father Christmas” coming out of a shop. We had quite a chat about our interview the other day and he was quite impressed with how well it came out.

In the end, they didn’t do a bad job of it but it could have been ohhhh! So much better and I feel that an opportunity has been let slip here.

cherry picker fixing wreath to town hall place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There was more excitement going on when I arrived at the town centre.

There’s one of the Council’s cherry-pickers down there in the Place General de Gaulle and the gus in the nacelle are erecting some kind of Christmas wreath on the wall of the Mairie.

Not that I have any idea why they would be wanting to do that because putting it as high up as they seem to be doing, it’s not as if many people are going to notice it up there.

empty port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021By now we were having a really heavy hailstorm so I wrapped my rain jacket tighter around me and carried on through the town and up the hill.

The part of the port where the fishing boats tie up was strangely deserted this afternoon. Almost every boat was out at sea, and in this weather too. They must be expecting a bumper harvest this evening when they all come back on the tide.

When you think about it, it’s quite a heroic endeavour being a fisherman and since the demise of coal-mining in the West, it’s probably one of the most dangerous occupations going. On the other side of the Cotentin Peninsula a trawler with four people on board was lost at sea two nights ago.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Despite the lousy weather right now, I went over to have my customary look at the beach.

As I expected, there was no-one down there at all right now. People have far more sense than to be out and about in all of this.

Back here I made myself a nice hot coffee and then carried on with editing this sound file. I was glad when I finished it too – at least this particular bit. There will be plenty more work to be done on it, and on the other sound files too that relate to this project.

And who knows? Maybe even one of my colleagues might contribute something to this project, but I’m not holding my breath.

Tea was the rest of last night’s curry and left-over curry is even more delicious the next day when all of the spices have marinaded deeper into the food.

So that’s enough for today. I’m off to bed. For the next two days I’m staying at home with no plans anywhere. So that’s the cue for Caliburn’s bits and pieces to be delivered to the parcels centre and for his new tyres to arrive, isn’t it?

Monday 29th November 2021 – SAY HELLO, EVERYONE …

marité normandy warrior port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… to Normandy Warrior.

Moored down there behind Marité is the newest freighter to visit the port. You won’t have seen her before because we are lucky enough today to catch her on her maiden voyage to the town

She’s the sister ship to Normandy Trader and you can tell them apart because Normandy Trader has a small upper deck behind her bridge on which lightweight articles can be loaded.

normandy warrior port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A few months ago I mentioned that the crew of Normandy Trader were talking about buying another boat.

What I had assumed that they meant was that they were going to replace her with a larger ship, but actually there’s an issue about licences and permits for larger boats and so they have managed to track down a sister ship and they are going to be operating the two simultaneously.

So here is Normandy Warrior busily being loaded with a huge pile of freight that has accumulated over the last few days for her first return journey from Granville to Jersey.

replacing christmas decorations Place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Something else that has been going on today has been the repair to the town following the devastation of Storm Arwen.

The Christmas decorations in the Place General de Gaulle were savaged quite badly. Father Christmas was blown halfway down the street and the trees that they had erected to surround him were all bowled over.

As I walked past on my way to the physiotherapists they were busy re-erecting the trees. Santa had already been restored to his previous place, so let’s hope that he stays there this time.

broken slates rue general patton Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021That wasn’t the only sign of a tragedy either.

As I was walking home along the Rue General Patton I was trying to avoid all of the broken slates that were littering the floor.

It seems that there has been a roof quite badly damaged in the storm and there were broken slates everywhere. This is going to be quite a bill for someone to have to pay

It’s actually quite a testament to our building that despite being exposed to the full force of the wind, we seem to have escaped quite lightly.

school children college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021However I’ve no idea what might be happening here.

When I returned with Caliburn from having his windscreen replaced, all of the schoolkids from the College Malraux were outside on the public car park hanging around.

Whatever had caused it had happened before I arrived so I wasn’t able to identify a reason, but the fact that all of the fire doors are open seems to indicate that there has been a fire alarm and the school has been evacuated.

While we are on the subject of alarms, my alarms didn’t go off this morning. Not that it made any difference because I was wide awake. I’d had another bad night where it seemed that I hadn’t slept at all.

And seeing that there are no files recorded on the dictaphone (and it’s been quite a while since that has happened, hasn’t it?) that’s a distinct possibility.

So I fell out of bed at 06:00 and staggered off for my medication. Then back here I checked my mails and messages and then had an hour or so working on the radio programme that I should be doing this week, although when, I don’t know.

A shower was next, to get myself cleaned up, and then I changed the bedding. I’m not sure when I did that last but one thing that I did notice last night was that it was high (and I do mean “high”) time that I changed it.

And then I put set the washing machine on the go.

Having made sure that Caliburn would start, I prepared myself to leave and then headed off to the windscreen fitter’s. And with the temperature being at 2.5°C, I put my woolly hat on my woolly head for the first time this winter.

Having dropped off Caliburn I went for a walk – to buy the stuff that I need to clean his wheels, to go to Bio-Coop to see if they had any vegan cheese (which they didn’t) and then to LeClerc for a coffee, where I fell asleep for 20 minutes.

When Caliburn was ready I picked him up and drove home, and I was amazed about how pitted and grimy his old windscreen must have been.

unloading scaffolding place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Back at the building there was someone here unloading a scaffolding.

Not to climb up onto the roof, but they were actually taking it inside the building.

These rooms are quite high and to reach the ceiling is not very easy at all. It looks as if someone is redecorating and the scaffolding must be to enable them to paint the ceiling.

Back here I sat down to carry on with the radio programme but unfortunately I dozed off again. As a result I had rather a late lunch.

After lunch I tracked down the rest of the things that I need to give Caliburn his showroom appearance and then headed off to town.

black pearl spirit of conrad Courrier des Iles charles marie anakena aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury I could see that a trawler was just pulling up at the Fish Processing Plant.

She’s Black Pearl, one of the newer trawlers in the port whom we saw sail into port a while back.

Also in the shot are a load of the hire yachts that re laid up over the winter. We have, from left to right, Spirit of Conrad on whom we went up the Brittany coast 18 months or so ago, and then Charles Marie with the little Courrier des Iles moored against her.

Over on the right, Anakena is moored against the quayside with Aztec Ladymoored against her.

installing christmas lights avenue de la liberation Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021With the Rampe du Monte à Regret being closed while they repoint the wall, I carried on down the Rue des Juifs.

Down in the Avenue de la Liberation the Council’s cherry picker was out installing more Christmas lights. I wonder what this lot of lights is going to be like this year.

Heading through town, I climbed back up the Rue Couraye towards the physiotherapists, stopping off at Carrefour on the way. I forgot the tomatoes this weekend and I bought a can of energy drink to help my climb the hill back home.

At the physiotherapist’s she tightened up the screw on the cross trainer t make it harder for me to work the machine, and then I had a few kinetic exercises to carry out.

Finally I was put on the tilting platform and she obviously likes my company … “I can’t think why” – ed … because she let me stay on the machine for an extra 10 minutes.

abandoned railway line parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home I came back down the steps at the Parc Du Val Ès Fleurs to see how the work was going.

From up above though, I could see that they are slowly advancing with the kerb along the line of the old abandoned railway. They are still a long way from finishing it though.

They’ve not made it to the road yet so it was something of a muddy tramp across the churned-up grass onto the car park and then down the steps to the bottom by where they have installed the keep-fit equipment

cutting wood parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I was on my way down there I heard the sound of a circular saw being used .

As I walked a little further on I could see that there was a van and a trailer. There was a generator in front of the van and they were using it to power a circular bench-saw.

Having cut the wood into the required length the guy working the saw carried it off to his friends who were working out of shot on the course of the abandoned railway line.

And judging by the amount of wood that he has on the trailer, he’s going to be working there for quite some time.

creating boardwark abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021What they are actually doing is construction some kind of boardwalk at the side of the concrete pathway that they have laid.

While I was going past I asked them if they would be going the full length of the abandoned railway track and they replied in the affirmative. And I can imagine that it will be fun riding a bike on that in the pouring rain.

But once again it’s pretty dismal, all of this concrete that they have been laying all over the place. I’m sure that they could do much better than that if they really tried, but they seem to be singularly lacking in imagination around here.

parc des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Meanwhile further down the road I came upon the Parc des Docteurs Lanos.

It’s still quite a mess, churned up by all of the heavy vehicles that have been driving on there moving all of the stuff about, and that is going to take a considerable amount of effort to restore it, unless they do as they have done elsewhere an sink it under a mass of concrete.

And talking of stuff, there seems to be considerably less stuff on there now. They are using it up as a considerable rate and the fact that they aren’t replacing it with any rapidity seems to indicate that the work is slowly coming to an end.

rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And talking about masses of concreete, here’s a photo of the view behind me showing the Rue du Boscq.

Last time that we looked down here they were laying yet more concrete reinforcement matting and sure enough, while I was away in Leuven they have poured yet more concrete down.

One of these days I’ll post a photo of the car park at Lezardrieux where we visited with Spirit of Conrad. There, they laid out the car park with small stone setts and used setts of different colours to mark out the lines and it all looked quite nice.

rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the other end of the street, the situation was just the same.

Another mass of concrete poured down at this end too. It all looks so dreary and depressing.

Mind you, there’s a lorry-load of earth down there and they are tipping it into the gap between the edge of the concrete and the stone wall to the right. I wonder if that is where they will be planting the hundreds of trees that they have promised.

But anyway I left them to it and carried on home dodging the broken slates in the Rue General Patton.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Yesterday we saw a really nice sunset, with what remained of the sun peeking through a small gap in the clouds.

This afternoon, we had a similar phenomenon. There wasn’t as much cloud this afternoon and so the effect was much more dramatic.

In the background we can see the church at Cancale across the bay on the Brittany coast, silhouetted against the orange sky, just to the left of centre.

It is one thing that I like about this time of year. At the time when I usually go for my walk, we have some wonderful lighting effects. We’ve seen quite a few already and there will be plenty more before Spring, I hope.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Before I went in for my afternoon coffee, I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to look over onto the beach.

There wasn’t anything going on down there this afternoon, for the simple reason that there wasn’t much beach for anything to be happening on. The tide was well in right now.

So on that point I came back in for my coffee and carried on with some work, but I knocked off earlier than I normally do.

That’s because in a fit of extravagance (or forgetfulness) I bought two loads of peppers at the weekend and I had no idea of when I was going to use them. So I made one of my mega-curries with peppers, mushrooms, a tin of diced veg and a tin of white beans.

It was absolutely delicious and there’s plenty left. So when it’s cooled down and there’s some more room in the freezer, I’ll parcel it all up into individual helpings and freeze them for later use.

But right now I’m off to bed. I’ve had a very long day, walked miles and I’m exhausted. I want to make the most of this and hopefully have a really good sleep for a change.

Monday 22nd November 2021 – REGULAR READERS OF …

painting shutters bar la civette rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021 … this rubbish will recall that at the start of the lockdown in March last year one of the bars in the Rue Paul Poirier, La Civette, took full advantage of the enforced closure by ripping out their shop front and replacing it with a nice new modern one.

It’s had a drop-down aluminium shutter to close it off after hours, but when I walked past today there was an elderly gentleman painting a scene of Granville Harbour on it.

It’s a beautiful job that he’s made, and so on my way past to the physiotherapist I went over and told him how much I appreciated his effort. It’s the kind of thing that the town needs to brighten it up

vehicles blocking rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that there are several regular features on these pages, one of which is “pathetic parking”.

And so when I saw this lorry and trailer parked on the pavement with a van parked (it really was parked, with no driver in it) in the middle of the street blocking it, I was in my element.

After all, not only is this the main route up to the old medieval walled city where I live, it’s a bus route too with service buses coming up here every so often. I was all ready to write something extremely offensive about it.

cherry picker rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021However, as Proverbs Chapter 16 Verse 18 tells us, “Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall”.

And that was certainly the case here. Further down the hill I noticed that the street was closed off and there was a cherry-picker doing something to the electric cables that feed the Christmas illuminations.

So I slunk off ignominiously down into town and onwards up the hill to the physiotherapist. I had a feeling that it wasn’t going to be my day today.

And I was right too. I had another awful night but you are quite used to those now so I shan’t trouble you any more about it.

What I can say though is never mind an 06:00 alarm call. I was wide awake at 04:53 this morning wishing that I was fast asleep. Even though it was a late night last night, I still had difficulty sleeping.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages and then launched myself into the radio programme that I need to prepare. And I would have set a new record for completing it too except that half-way through I had a ‘phone call.

The nurse who gives me my fortnightly injection just happened to be in the building taking a blood test and so could he come up and inject me while he was here instead of coming later as usual.

The place was looking like a tip with my stuff from Leuven scattered around the place, and I hadn’t had a shave or a shower for a couple of days, but if he’s here he’s here and he’ll have to take me as he found me.

When I finished the programme I had a listen to the one that I was to send off today and then had a listen to the one that I had prepared just now.

While I was doing that I was sorting through the mess of photographs that I’d discovered the other day, sorting out everything into proper directories ready to go through and weed out the duplicates of which there are more than enough.

There was a little break while I went for a shower and then I went one better than David Crosby and actually did cut my hair. Not that it was very long but it just so happened that for a change I wasn’t in a dreadful rush after my shower.

After lunch I made a start on identifying duplicates in the collection of photographs and by the time that I’d finished, 86GB had gone into the bin and I’ve only scratched the surface of it.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was a break for me to go off to the physiotherapist and as I said the other day, I’ll go today through the town to see what’s happening with the work that’s taking place here.

First stop was the medieval city walls were a couple of months ago we saw a big hole at the foot of the wall. You can see that they have made considerable advances in repairing the wall down there.

They have built themselves a nice mobile shelter as the advance along the foot of the wall. We saw the other week that the workmen working above had a nasty habit of leaving their tools on top of the wall and so some kind of protection against objects falling from above is essential.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On top of the wall it’s all quiet. There wasn’t anyone around working here today.

But they haven’t made a great deal of progress over the period since I’ve last passed by.

You can see the size of the coping stones that go on top of the wall and you will notice that several are still missing. If while they are refitting them they happen to drop one over the top while the men are working down below, then that little flimsy protection that they have built isn’t going to me of much use.

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But what I really came here to see was what was happening in the Rue St Michel now that they seem to have finished and the workmen’s compound has been dismantled.

This is pretty awful isn’t it though? When they build the medieval town here in the early part of the 15th Century they went to all the trouble of surfacing the streets with some nice stone setts, but what they have done here is to just throw down a layer of asphalt.

It seems to me that despite the advances in technology over the last 100 years or so, the skill of relaying stone setts is a skill that has long-gone.

But this is a work that has been undertaken on behalf of the town council. Can you imagine what they would say if I as a private individual did work like this on a historic or listed building?

Anyway, I headed off to physiotherapist and she had me doing exercises and then some time on the tilting platform. And as he rnext patient didn’t need the tilting platform she let me stay on for some overtime.

On the way back I stopped at the Carrefour for some pears and a few other bits and pieces. They had more of those potatoes at €0:99 for 1.5kg and seeing as I’ve run out, I grabbed a bag of those as well.

Instead of going through the town centre I took the back way, the way that I took on Saturday, and it was much less busy.

tractors and freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Halfway up the hill in the Rue des Juifs, I had a pause. Not to catch my breath but to drink the drink that I’d bought.

While I was there I took a photo of the quayside. As well as the shrink-wrapped boat, there’s another pile of freight as well, and two tractors parked up on the far side. It looks as if they are going to be busy down there very soon.

From there I walked straight back home and just as I was reaching the door of my building A young boy ran over to me and asked me if I had the time.

Had it been the young girl who was with him who asked, I would have asked her if she had the inclination but things don’t happen to me like that these days.

And that reminds me. Just recently they have installed a clock factory in the leaning tower of Pisa. They thought that seeing as they had the inclination, they may as well make the time.

Back here I made a coffee and carried on with my photos, with such intensity that it was 20:15 when I noticed the time. Too late to make a stuffed pepper so I had pasta and vegetables in a cheese sauce.

Eventually I managed to listen to the dictaphone and judging by the amount of stuff there, it really must have been a disturbed night. Something had happened and we’d gone round to arrest a guy who was a film star. We’d taken a guard dog with us and also a woman who was an actress. She was in charge of the party. When we got into his house we found where he was sleeping. He was fast asleep so we were expecting this police woman to come along and awaken him and arrest him. But she seemed to be doing everything she could to avoid going along to arrest him, checking over this first and checking over that first, checking over the times of plays, running orders, all sorts of things. There was one thing there, one film and she was saying that she expected it to be a little longer than it was, all this kind of thing. The dog was starting to become restless so she told me to keep the dog under control. I told her that she ought to be arresting this guy and it wouldn’t be an issue but she was still putting off arresting this guy as much as she could.

Later on I was working as a lorry driver last night. I absolutely hated the job so I decided to leave. I went up to the dormitory and waited around until everyone had gone to sleep. There were two other people who knew how much I hated it. I decided that I would leave and let them in on my secret. Once everyone had gone to sleep I crept over to the door and they were there. The door was closed so we had to open it very quietly. Someone made a noise, but we were through and out. The lift dor wasn’t closed so we had to close the door, call the lift, get into the lift and press the button for the ground floor. The lift descended but as I looked up I could see one of my colleagues looking down on the lift and shouting into the dormitory “I can see the lift moving and it’s someone who looks like him on it”. With these other two guys we were talking about how we could exchange information about photocopying files and everything, even doing that with LPs. I said that that would have been really good with my programme of digitalising my radio equipment and everything. Of course I had half an eye on what was happening elsewhere because I was convinced that my escape had been noticed. I wondered what was going to happen next.

Finally I was leaving work again. I’d gone to the lift only I was on my bike so I cycled into the lift. Just as it was about to go down I heard voices so I pressed the door to close quickly. Unfortunately I pressed the door open and two of my colleagues, young girls, came in. They were cursing because they thought that they had missed the lift. We went down again and went out but I had forgotten my bike so I had to go back to fetch it. I ended up at the junction of Broad Street and Hightown. There I bumped into Derek Guyler, the Men From the Ministry. He and Richard Lamb were in a car going to buy some food. I’d already said to someone whom I’d met that I was on my way to buy an Indian meal for tonight’s tea. I ended up in this car with them. From the noise that it was making, one of the wheel bearings was going. Derek Guyler dragged Richard lamb out from behind the steering wheel and drove himself. We set off and ended up driving down this country lane. At the last moment I could see that part of the lane was cordoned off so I shouted “turn right”. At the very last minute he did. We went down this side road and should have turned left immediately but I forgot. We carried on driving for a while. We came across a group of Romany, women and children, who were throwing bread at horses but the bread was still in its plastic bags. We went past an area that was lined with targets for bows and arrows. We then came to a road junction where of course we would have to turn left to continue on the way that we were going. This looked like the main road between Whitchurch and Chester. I thought that if we are going to have to get to Wrenbury to pick up this meal we’ll have to do some manoeuvring down this road and I’m not quite sure of the way.

But now at last I’m going to bed. I have my Welsh class tomorrow and I really do need to have a decent sleep beforehand.

Wednesday 17th November 2021 – HERE I ALL AM …

… not exactly sitting in a rainbow but sitting on the settee in my little room in the Dekenstraat in Leuven. It’s that time again.

After having a really bad night yet again, I was up and about fairly early and it didn’t take too long for me to sort myself out, make my sandwiches and coffee and do a little cleaning up (only a little) before I headed off towards the railway station.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Before I went too far, I wanted to check to see that the NIKON 1 J5 was working properly and the dull sky of the early morning was a good time to try.

At the viewpoint at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne overlooking the Fish Processing Plant. The plant was illuminated as the refrigerated lorries were loading up and I reckoned that if it would produce something reasonable out of this, there would be no need to nip home and fetch another camera.

And when I looked at it later, it’s come out much better than I expected. I’ve said before that it’s not that the camera is a bad camera, it’s that I’m pushing it to the limits of its capabilities.

baie de mont st michel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021The photo encouraged me to have a little tinker with the settings and try to push the camera on a little more.

Here’s a nice wide-angle photo of the northern part of the Baie de Mont St Michel. The light on Le Loup is quite clear, as if a little blurred (which is hardly a surprise in this light at this speed with a hand-held shot) and the street lights around the bay from St Pair to Carolles are quite clear too.

It seems to me that the repair that I’ve had done to the camera is working well enough and now I’m tempted to send away the old NIKON D5000 that has never worked properly since I dropped it on A CONCRETE FLOOR IN QUÉBEC

The steps down the Rampe du Monte à Regret are still closed so I had to walk all the way down the Rue des Juifs and the Rue Paul Poirier which adds a few minutes to my time. But in compensation, the climb up to the top of the hill was much easier than it was the last time I dragged a suitcase up here.

There were only one or two stops to catch my breath and in reality I suppose that I could have pushed on regardless had I tried.

gec alstom regiolis 84563 gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021The train wasn’t in yet so I had to wait for about 20 minutes for it to arrive.

It was just a 6-car unit today and there weren’t all that many passengers on board. I had a pair of seats to myself and that enabled me to back up my computer in peace and quiet for a change.

There was even 15 minutes when I could have a comfortable little doze to make up for what I didn’t have during the night.

The train pulled into Gare Montparnasse on time and once more I tried the route all the way down the Rue du Départ to the metro entrance. It really is much quicker and easier than going down into the labyrinth and clambering up and down all these flights of steps.

There was only one person in the queue at the kiosk at the bottom of the steps at the Metro entrance so I thought that this would be the moment to buy another pile of tickets as I’m running low.

However the woman in front of me, a Spaniard, was having difficulty with her French and was there for ages trying to understand what the guy behind the window was trying to tell her.

Eventually I managed to be served and I dashed down onto e very crowded platform where I had to wait a few minutes until an equally-packed train came in. We all scrambled aboard and I was lucky enough to find a seat.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4551 PBA gare du nord paris France Eric Hall photo November 2021At the Gare du Nord I was still earlier than I used to be despite the encounter at the ticket window.

Consequently, as you might be expecting, we had to wait for an age for our train. There was already one trainset standing at the platform, one of the TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt “Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam” trainsets, but it was too much to expect that this was going to be mine.

Our train was going to be a two-trainset unit and the rear portion arrived from Lille rather late and had to be cleaned and tidied before we could board it.

TGV INOUI 216 are TGV Reseau Duplex gare de lille flandres railway station lille France Eric Hall photo November 2021It goes without saying that I would be right down at the far end of the train. However, although it took me longer to walk right down there, it means that I have less distance to walk at Lille.

It’s one of the TGV Reseau Duplex trainsets, and so once again we are travelling in a hybrid train made up of two different types of trainset. That’s becoming more and more of a regular occurrence.

Although we were late setting out from the Gare du Nord, the train made up the time by the time we reached Lille Flandres railway station. That was good news for me because I wasn’t in the mood to run down the road.

And the walk to Lille Europe was easier than last time too.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4519 PBA gare de lille europe railway station lille France Eric Hall photo November 2021As I walked down the steps (the escalator wasn’t working) into the station at Lille Europe, the train for Brussels pulled in at the same time.

That’s not an issue because there’s a 20-minute wait while they uncouple the front trainset so there wasn’t any panic. The trainset that was left behind was another TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam trainset.

Our train set off on time and I had a nice relaxing journey reading a book on the laptop all the way to Brussels

We were a few minutes late arriving in Brussels so I had to run for my train to Leuven.

push me pull you gare du midi brussels belgium Eric Hall photo November 2021However I gave that up when I found that the escalator to the platform was out of order. I wasn’t up to running all the way up the stairs with my suitcase. Instead I went and waited for the next one.

That one was one of the pushme-pullyou trains that run between Eupen and Oostende and as usual, the locomotive was at the rear end pushing the train along.

It was only 10 minutes behind the one to Hasselt and Genk so I didn’t have to hang around too long and for a change at the Gare du Midi it wasn’t too cold and draughty standing on the platform.

class 18 electric locomotive gare de leuven railway station leuven belgium Eric Hall photo November 2021When we arrived at Leuven I had to hang a round for a couple of minutes to see what the locomotive was.

As I expected, it was one of the Class 18 electric locomotives behind (or in front of) which we travel most of the time. They provide most of the motive power to the long-distance Inter-City trains.

Once the train had pulled away I went to the supermarket at the back of the station for my drink and, for a change, my bread too. I’m not going to have time to go to the supermarket this evening so as long as I have my stuff for breakfast I’ll be fine.

cherry picker martelarenplein leuven belgium Eric Hall photo November 2021Outside the railway station across the road in the Martelarenplein, there was a cherry picker parked up.

That can only mean one thing – and that is that the Christmas decorations will be going up any moment soon. It’s that time of year already.

The walk down to my little room was easier than it has been of late, and as I arrived I bumped into the centre manager. We had a little chat. After all, it’s been a few months since I’ve seen him last.

After a little doze I had a shower and washed my clothes and then went out to meet Alison. We went back to her house for falafel and chips, and a nice long chat..

Now I’m back here and I’m off to bed. I’ve had a hard day and I’m exhausted as you might expect. A good sleep will do me good and hopefully I’ll be fighting fit for my appointment.

And an early trip out to buy a breadknife as there isn’t one here and I’ll be struggling to cut the loaf that I had bought.

Monday 15th November 2021 – NOW THAT REALLY WAS …

… a bad night. Had it not been for the fact that there was something on the dictaphone I would have said that I didn’t go to sleep at all. It certainly didn’t seem like it at all.

But during the night I was wandering around Crewe at the back of Delamere Street and Market Street. There was an area of houses that had been condemned and the roofs were off and everything like that. One had been a bar and one a café. I’d gone there with my desktop computer and I’d set myself up in there, doing some work as well as having a little sleep on the bench that was there. After a while I went off to do something quick but when I returned this place was pretty busy. It was advertised as a bar but it was still open. There were some people sitting on the bench where I’d been sitting and working so I had to have them unplug my computer and pass it over to me. They weren’t very happy and neither was I. It was a right grumpy situation there at that bench where I was.

The alarm didn’t go off with its usual serenade this morning at 06:00 and I don’t know why, but as I was awake anyway it didn’t make much difference.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages and then set about dealing with the radio programme that I needed to prepare.

There weren’t any records set today though because there was a continual series of interruptions, mostly to do with the radio interview that I did on Friday night. And I do have to say that in the time it took me to sort out everything, including yesterday’s work, I could have made the programme myself and had it up and running ready to go.

While I was listening to the finished product and the programme that will be broadcast this weekend I was having a play around with the new ZOOM H8.

And now I seem to have somehow enabled it to record in stereo with one microphone, and now I can’t remember how I did it and can’t return it to mono. I’m going to have to learn so much more about this machine, I reckon.

After lunch I went and had a shower and then prepared myself to go to the physiotherapist.

fishing boats waiting to go into port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down to the corner of the city walls I went where I could see what was going on down in the Harbour.

And by the looks of things, it seems to me that the gates of the inner harbour are about to open. That’s judging by all of the fishing boats coming into the outer harbour right now.

There will be plenty more of them coming in within the next few minutes but I’m not going to be here to watch them because I’m running rather late as it is. I’ll probably catch them on the way back.

boats freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Further on down the hill I paused at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a lorry loaded with a couple of shrink-wrapped boats pull up on the quayside. When I looked this afternoon I could see that the boats are now down there waiting to be picked up.

Neither of the two Jersey freighters has been in today, and they’ll need to come in soon because there’s quite a pile of builders’ material building up down there too and they’ll be struggling to get everything on board if it builds up like this.

The walk through town and up the hill was one of the easiest that I’ve had for a while. I didn’t stop at all and I wasn’t in as much distress as I have been just recently by the time that I reached the physiotherapist’s.

Today she had me doing a few more kinetic exercises and then a good 15 minutes on this tilting platform thing.

drains fitted abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home I came back by the Parc du Val es Fleurs to see how they were doing with the engineering work.

Last time we came this way we’d seen them doing something with a load of drainage pipes. They now seem to have laid them and buried them in because there are now some drainage access points that have been installed.

This gives you some idea of how high they are going to be building up the road surface. And you can also see the electric conduit that they have fitted. It looks as if we are going to be having some street lights down here too.

workmen working on abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little bit further on I could hear the sound of a cement mixer.

From where I was standing I couldn’t actually see what was happening but there definitely was a cement mixer working away by where they were standing.

Now that winter is arriving, it won’t be possible for me to sneak down there in the evening and spy out the land because by the time that they will have knocked off it will be far too dark to see anything.

When I come back on Saturday, I’ll have too much stuff with me to come back this way.

sports equipment parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing last time that we were down here was the workmen installing some sports equipment.

By the looks of things it’s all here now, installed and ready to use. And according to a notice at the side, there’s even an application that one can download to work out some kind of exercise routine.

Had I not just come from having a go on the cross trainer in the physiotherapist’s, I might have bbeen tempted to have had a little play on the one here myself.

concrete shuttering abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Whatever those guys were doing with e cement mixer the higher up the track, it must have been something to do with this.

This looks like another load of concrete shuttering that they are installing on the edge of the track. There was someone there working on it so I had to wait until he turned his back before I could take a photograph.

And how I wish that they would show some initiative and imagination and use something else. But on that depressing note, I headed off down the street towards the town

workmen parc des docteurs lanos abandoned railway Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at what used to be the Parc des Docteurs Lanos or whatever it is called, the work is still continuing.

And they are really churning it up into a right quagmire. It seems to be the material store and as I watched, an engine with some kind of fork lift attachment came by and picked up a pallet of kerbstones.

He made quite a difficult task of it too, with two wheels off the ground at one time.

With all of this going on here, I imagine that this will be the very last area to be completed, whenever that might be.

concrete reinforcement matting rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But this across the road is absolutely awful, isn’t it?

You can see that all of the area over there, except for some very small parts of the surface, are covered in concrete reinforcement matting. This probably means that they will be pouring concrete all over all of it.

If we are lucky, the small areas that are not going to be concreted might well be reserved for planting trees. That will at least be something, I suppose, but it’s nowhere near enough greenery for my liking.

workmen working on roof rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Now that the border of the road on the left-hand side is fully concreted, I walked along there on my way down the Rue du Boscq.

Half-way down I came across some more workmen. With a rather large cherry-picker or skyjack or whatever it is, they are carrying out some work on the roof of this building down here.

But the machine that they have is a useful piece of equipment and I would have loved to have had something like this when I was down on my farm. I could have had hours of endless fun with this.

concrete reinforcement matting tactile pavement rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the far end there is yet more concrete planned.

They’ve filled all of this in with concrete reinforcement matting so they will be pouring concrete down there any day now.

But you can also see the slab of tactile pavement that has already been installed. Regular readers of this rubbish in one of its previous guises will recall that I once met the girl who worked for the RNIB whose claim to fame is that she was the person who invented tactile pavement.

At one time I could tell you exactly how many times of tactile pavement there were and what the different shapes indicated, but that’s something that has long gone out of my head.

boats freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021The way back up the hill towards home was much better than it was a few weeks ago.

Although I did stop halfway up, it wasn’t to catch my breath but to take a photo of the freight on the quayside, totally forgetting that I’d taken the same photo earlier.

Something else that I forgot when I arrived back home was to go and take a photo of the beach at the Rue du Nord. I went straight back home instead. And I suppose that you are grateful for that.

Back here I had a coffee and there were a few things to do but after the events of last night, I ended up drifting off into the Land of Nod for about 10 minutes. And that makes a change from a few months ago when it was well over an hour, and sometimes even two hours.

Tea tonight was a curry made up of everything lying around in the fridge. And there was enough for two nights too, which is good news because it means that I don’t have to cook very much tomorrow.

And now I’m off to bed. I have my Welsh class tomorrow so I need to be at my best. I’m hoping that tonight I might actually go to sleep.

Wednesday 22nd September 2021 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… I’ve actually had a good day today. Not that I’ve done very much in the way of work, but I didn’t crash out. And any day when I don’t crash out is a good day today.

Not that going to bed early helped much, because, as you might expect, I was awake again at 05:20. It’s rather pointless, isn’t it?

After the medication I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. It started off with something somewhere about me having a twin VHS recorder and I was trying to copy films from one tape to another, but it was so long since I’d done it that I couldn’t remember and I wasn’t doing very well at this. I’d tried 1 or 2 but it didn’t seem to work so I was having to go away and sit and think about how I used to do it and try to do it again. I can’t remember much more than that.

Later on I was in Brussels and suddenly had a whim to go down to the Auvergne so I climbed into Caliburn and set off. It was rush hour of course so fighting my way around the ring road was something of a nightmare with all kinds of people doing all kinds of crazy things. Eventually I arrived. I don’t remember the journey and I don’t remember arriving but the next thing that I remember was that I was sitting in what I suppose was my living room on some comfy seat on castors that you could move around with your feet. There was a big roaring fire and Rosemary was there who had presumably lit the fire for me. Later on – because I dictated the first part and then afterwards stepped right back into the place where I left off, AGAIN! – there were 2 girls there and I had to show them how to use the bathroom and everything. I looked outside and it was snowing so I went to send a text to say that it was snowing but then I thought to myself that this can’t be real – in a dream as well! – because it was August. It was getting light so Rosemary who had now transformed herself into that woman whom I knew in Stockport wondered if she should make us all a cup of tea. I thought that that was a great idea. As it became light there was a couple of dogs flying around into the area and they met up with each other and started to fight.

This was actually one of the most realistic voyages that I have had and when I awoke I was all for immediately leaping into Caliburn and leaving Brussels for the south.

This morning I had a little relax and took care of a few personal things that needed attention, and then just as I was about to start work, Rosemary rang – by pure coincidence – and we had another one of our marathon chats that went on for ever – well, until lunch time actually.

After lunch I had a shower, set the washing machine off and then headed off to the physiotherapist

chausiaise buddy m port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we discussed the two cranes on the quayside and how one of them seems to have developed some nomadic tendencies of late.

It’s been off on its travels too since we last saw it. It’s now found a place on the quayside in between Chausiaise, the Ile de Chausey ferry, and Buddy M, the trawler that came over from Ireland the other day for a reason that I have yet to discover.

There’s plenty of traffic on the quayside too and I wonder why that is. Usually there’s no big issue about parking in the public car parks once the tourists have gone home and I’ve no heard of any big event going on in the town today.

trimming vegetation Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On my way downhill in the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne on my way towards the Rue des Juifs, I noticed that at last they have started to trim the vegetation.

Usually, I’m all in favour of letting the vegetation grow as much as it likes without doing too much trimming but regular readers of this rubbish will have noticed from some of the blurrings on some of the photos, that the vegetation has grown so high that it’s been getting in the way of my photos and I’m not tall enough to photograph over it.

So I’m hoping that clearing the vegetation will improve my view and improve the quality of my photos. and they need all of the improvement in quality that they can get.

“And who are the 2E et 202E de Ligne?” I hear you ask. The answer is that the Second and Two Hundred and Second Regiments of the Line were the regiments that were stationed in the barracks here where I now live.

From the town centre I pushed on up the hill towards the physiotherapist, stopping more times than I would like or care to admit, in order to catch my breath.

building due for demolition rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I came up to near the top, I stopped to have a look at what was happening to this building.

It used to be a hairdresser’s with apartments over the top but one day about a year or so ago an announcement went up in the window Fermé à cause de péril imminent – “closed on account of an immediate danger”.

A short while later I managed to wangle a view of the Order from the Préfet. The building was said to be in a dangerous, insalubrious condition with a list of faults in the apartments as long as your arm. In view of that, it was no surprise that they obtained an Order for eviction and closing of the premises.

notice of impending demolition rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The building went up for sale a while back, but today I observed that there was a sign affixed to the window.

It seems that the building has now been sold and the new owners obtained planning permission 2 weeks ago to demolish the existing building and replace it with a building of 8 apartments with commercial premises on the ground floor.

This will be another worksite that we shall follow and see how things develop, or, in this case, how they redevelop.

At the physiotherapist he put me through my paces and I actually went for 2:08 in the cross trainer thing before I had to stop for breath. That’s about 20 seconds more than my previous best.

But the sad thing is that the cross trainer is not the street on which you walk. That’s an entirely different proposition.

On my way home I called in at the Carrefour to buy an energy drink to propel me up the hill on the way back. It was quite warm and sweaty and the drink was cold so that was even better.

cherry picker crane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back, I stopped on several occasions to catch my breath.

One of them was at the viewpoint overlooking the loading bay. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing a cherry picker down there next to the crane that’s up at that end. It’s still there today, although it’s no clear what has been going on or what it has been doing.

The dark blue container by the crane is one that belongs on Mormandy Trader, by the way. She carries a few of them when she roams about, but on her last trip here (which was early Monday morning, by the way), she must have been fully loaded with other stuff.

windsurfers kayakers chateau de la crête baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further up, I had another stop for breath and a sit-down to attack my drink and cool off.

Over in the distance I could see that the sailing school was in action again this afternoon but to my surprise, they aren’t yachts out there but windsurfers.

They must do a little of everything there, because there are a couple of kayakers too whom I could see.

Incidentally, they are in the artificial lagoon there. There’s a wall that traps some of the sea when the tide goes out so that the people on the beach don’t have to walk miles to the water when the tide is out.

setting up marquee rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will also recall that on Saturday I talked about the chicane in the Rue du Port.

As I walked back up the hill towards home I noticed that they now seem to be erecting a marquee down there now, and part of the car park at the Fish Processing Plant is cordoned off too.

So it looks as if maybe this weekend there is going to be an event taking place in the town, so I’ll have to prime myself for another walk.

It must be something to do with the Fish Processing Plant, I reckon, because there must be 100 places where they could set up a large marquee without having to interrupt all of the traffic in the Rue du Port.

The walk back up the final 100 metres of the hill wasn’t as bad as I was fearing although it would have been even better had I not been almost squidged by a car full of Bretons coming the wrong way down a one-way street.

peche a pied beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Before I went back to my apartment I went to see how they were getting on with the peche à pied seeing as by now the tide was miles out

Sure enough, there were quite a few people scavenging around on the rocks down there this afternoon taking advantage of the very low tide and hoping to see what they can find.

One or two people too down at the water’s edge, although I couldn’t tell if they were scavenging for shellfish or paddling in the water. The afternoon was quite nice right now, but it wasn’t that nice. Not for me, anyway.

beach plat gousset Granville donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Of course it goes without saying that I went to have a look down on the beach.

Plenty of beach to be on, but surprisingly apart from the scavengers doing the pêche à pied, there weren’t too many other people there. It’s a Wednesday afternoon and the schools are closed so I would have thought that there would have been many more people down there making the most of our Indian Summer.

And I was correct about the disappearance of the beach cabins on the Plat Gousset. They were taken away yesterday morning, apparently. That probably means that the diving platform out at the Plat Gousset has gone too.

Back here in the apartment I hung out the washing and then made the dough for my next batch of fruit bread because I had the last slice this morning. And almost immediately that I finished, a neighbour came to see me and I had to go to talk to him for about 45 minutes.

After I came back there was just enough time to update a couple of earlier journal entries with the missing dream details before it was time to bake the bread.

While it was at it I stuck some potatoes and the last slice of pie in there, and then blanched the leeks that I’d bought on Monday ready for freezing.

Tea was pie with potatoes, veg, (leeks of course included) and gravy. It was very nice too.

And now that my delicious meal is over and my notes are written, it’s time for bed. Later than I was hoping. I have a whole day at home tomorrow so I’m expecting something to pop up at the last minute to disturb me.

Tuesday 8th June 2021 – I DON’T THINK …

boats in passage ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… that I’ve ever seen so many boats in the passage between the Ile de Chausey and the Pointe du Roc all at once.

It goes to show just how busy the place is and how many boats there are operating out of the port. But we’re coming to the time when the harbour gates are going to be open and there will be enough water in the outer tidal harbour so that the smaller boats will be able to tie up to the quay at the fish processing plant and unload their catch.

And talking of the number of boats in the harbour, there’s going to be another one very soon. The company that owns the Joly France boats are about to take delivery of a new one that has been built in Turkey. Business must be booming.

men fishing from boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t just the commercial boats streaming back towards the harbour this afternoon that caught my attention.

As you might expect, we’ve had the sports fishermen out there in numbers again today. This is just three of the dozen or so little boats that were out there stationary in the water today. A couple of zodiacs and a small cabin cruiser full of men casting their rods and line into the sea.

As to whether they caught anything, I couldn’t really say because I didn’t hang around for very long. That was because this afternoon, I wasn’t feeling myself this afternoon … “and quite right. Disgusting habit” – ed … and I wanted to be home without too much delay.

The problem actually began last night when I didn’t go to bed until 00:30 after everything that I had to do. And when you don’t go to bed until that time and you have to get up at 06:00 it’s a recipe for disaster. And awakening at about 02:30 in a cold sweat is another reason to be wary about how the events of the day would unfold.

Nevertheless I leapt out of bed as the alarm rang and went off to take my medication. Armed with a coffee I came back in here afterwards to make a start on revising my Welsh for the lesson today.

And that didn’t pass very well because firstly whatever I had read just wouldn’t stick in my head. and secondly I had to fight off waves of sleep.

When it came to the lesson I took my hot chocolate and slice of fruit bread over to the portable computer (there’s no microphone or webcam on this big machine) in the dining area. And there I had the misfortune to fall asleep twice in the middle of the lesson.

And once again, nothing at all seemed to stick. I need to be doing better than this if I’m to make good progress.

After lunch the tutor offered us a mock exam. Mine was at 15:00 and although I didn’t feel as if it was good, the tutor seemed to think that I’ll have no problem tomorrow afternoon.

Despite all of the other pressures under which I have been wilting today I didn’t forget to go out for my afternoon walk today, as you have probably noticed.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as usual, the first port of call was the beach to see what was going on down there, so I took myself off down to the end of the car park to look over the wall and down onto the beach.

Just as yesterday, there wasn’t all that much room down there with the tide coming in quite rapidly but these two people have managed to find somewhere to loiter. And they are busy looking in the sand to see if they can pull any shellfish out of one of the little rivulets.

But they aren’t particularly equipped for scavenging on the beach. No bucket and no grattoir to scrape the sand or pull the oysters off the rocks. They won’t go far without those.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was there looking over the wall down onto the beach, I was also looking around to see what was going on out at sea as well.

This boat out here looks familiar, doesn’t it? Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw a boat exactly like this up on blocks in the chantier navale for a while a couple of months ago having some work done on her.

It’s very hard to mistake that bright yellow colour, especially as it’s similar to the colour of Caliburn.

But whether she is the same boat of not, she doesn’t seem to be in too much of a hurry to go home right now like the other boats in the vicinity.

f-bxjq Robin HR-200-100 Club pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I moved off along the path at the top of the cliffs I was overflown by yet another light aeroplane that apparently had taken off from the airport at Donville les Bains.

She’s another aeroplane that we haven’t seen before. She’s F-BXJQ, a Robin HR-200-100 Club aeroplane and the 71st of her type to be built. She’s powered by an Avco Lycoming O-320-D2A air-cooled flat-four piston engine with an output of 119 kW, or 60 hp.

Unfortunately I’ve no idea where she’s going because she hadn’t filed a flight plan and she wasn’t picked up on any radar anywhere. In fact the last radar plot that I can find for her is over Belgium somewhere a while ago.

swathe cut through long glass pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route took me along the cliffs to the lawn, which they have left uncut for the last while and even planted a sign there to tell everyone that this area will not be cut so that it will encourage biodiversity, birds and bees and all of that.

And so I’m totally bewildered to see that they have been past here today and cut a great big, wide swathe right the way through the middle of it all. How this will promote diversity I really have no idea.

It was bad enough when someone came past with that lawn mower when they made a labyrinth in the long grass. But this swathe today is just inexplicable, especially as it’s right by the sign.

fixing flags to flagpoles pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday we saw the start of work being undertaken to remove the base of one of the four flagpoles that were installed near the Monument to the Resistance.

Today we have a couple of workmen here with a cherry picker and so I worked my way round to a good vantage point where I could take a good photograph of them without causing a disturbance.

It seems that they are attaching flags to the flagpoles which is rather late, seeing as D-Day was on Sunday. They have already fixed the flag of the USA and are in the process of attaching the French flag. And that’s a strange decision too. I would have expected them to have fixed the French flag first.

And whose flag will be on the third flagpole?

fishing boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEarlier in my walk around we’d seen all of the boats heading back towards the harbour. But one or two of them are well ahead of the game and have already arrived.

This trawler here just off the south side of the headland near the harbour entrance looks as if it will be first into the inner harbour, although it’s going to have a long wait, for while there’s some water by the Fish Processing Plant there still isn’t enough water in the outer harbour for them to open the gates to the inner harbour.

There seemed to be no-one fishing in the Baie de Mont St Michel this afternoon so I cleared off along the headland on the path as far down as the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

trawler hera yacht rebelle chantier navale port de Granville harbour  Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the chantier navale today there has been yet more movement of boats.

The trawler Hera is still in dock, up on her blocks, but the wooden hulk that we saw over the last few days has now gone. Instead there’s another yacht, called Rebelle down there on the portable boat lift and it isn’t clear to me as to whether she’s coming or going. I don’t like to speculate these days , having had a couple of spectacular failures just now.

Instead I pushed on home for my coffee and some of Liz’s ginger cake. And when I awoke at 18:00 the coffee was by my side, stone cold.

During that 90 minutes during which I was stark out, I’d been a-travelling. I was round at a girl’s house – I can’t remember whose house but it was a girl from school. She was asking me how I was and where I’d been so I replied but I also noticed some vegan cooking on the oven. Then I noticed that she had my notebook open. I said that I was grateful for all of the help and the hospitality that I had received, and I added “and the vegan meals”. She laughed and explained that she wanted to see what I needed and how she could help. She asked if I’d picked up any ordnance while I’d been out. “Not even from Verdun” I added. I didn’t want to tell her about the ordnance ie the automatic pistol loaded and in working order that I’d found elsewhere.

Guitar practice was depressing as you might expect with me being half-asleep tonight. Another dismal failure because I just can’t keep awake these days. But I remained awake enough to make tea – one of the last of the curries that were in the freezer followed by the last of the apple crumble and custard.

Having written up my notes, I’m off to bed. And I can’t say that I’m sorry about it. I’m totally exhausted and I’m not going to be any better. A good sleep would do me good so that I can be in good form for my Welsh exam.