Tag Archives: christmas lights

Wednesday 5th January 2022 – REGULAR READERS …

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a lorry taking away the material that had been used in resurfacing the Rue St Michel.

At the time I said that if I remembered, I would go that way down to the doctor’s to have a look at what kind of job they have done of it.

Anyway, this will teach me to post vituperative comments about things like the quality of the road surfacing that they do, because while I’ve seen better surfaces finished than this, it’s not actually too bad.

They seem tp have been somewhat confused with the curves in a few places, but considering that this is the 21st and not the 15th Century, I don’t suppose that they have the skill that they used to have.

rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Mind you, I don’t think that they have quite finished.

A little lower down in the Rue Cambernon they are still in something of a temporary situation as they carry on laying the electric cables in the street.

When they finish the cable-laying, they might relay the pavé to the same standard as in the Rue St Michel, but what is actually making me wonder right now is what kind of electric cables they are laying, and for what purpose?

The hope is that we might finally be having fibree-optic cable, some 25 years after we had it in Belgium and 4 years since they started to install it here, but I’m not that optimistic about that. This is the kind of work that can go on for ever.

lorry trailer minidigger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But they obviously have some kind of plans for something, because the lorry, its trailer and the mini-digger were back this morning.

Not unloaded though, so I’ve no idea what was happening. But they haven’t apparently finished quite yet.

But never mind the pavé. After today, I’m pretty much finished. I’ve had another really bad day where I seem to have fallen deep into the pit and been paralysed by inaction. That’s not doing me any good at all.

It’s a shame really, because although I didn’t end up going to bed as early as I would have liked, I was optimistic that I would have as good a sleep as I had last night. But it wasn’t to be. Nothing like, in fact.

There were a few travels during the night and once more, I was blessed with pleasant company. I started off with a girl last night, a young girl. It could have been Percy Penguin, it could have been Castor, one of those two. But I was in the Navy when I met this girl and I was going to take her home so we set out and drove and ended up behind a convoy of farm carts pulled by a tractor. We couldn’t go past it because the roads were narrow and it was too slow. The rear cart was just bumping around hitting just about everything so I couldn’t get too close to that. Then it disappeared somewhere so we could carry on. Then we had to climb over loads and loads of brambles and rocks down this well overgrown path to reach my house. In the end I had to go first and trample down as much as I could and help her over. She was standing on my clothes so I couldn’t move and that was where we ended up. And I wish that I knew which one of my female companions it was.

Some time later, Zero and I went off together in a car to Blackpool. She did a few things on her own and so did I, and then we did a few things together before coming home. It was quite late now as we drove home, which was my old family home in Vine Tree Avenue. When we went into the house I hoped that the two of us would have some time to be alone together but her parents were still up, which was surprising. It was Christmas morning so they had started to celebrate rather early. Surprisingly they said nothing whatever about anything.

Later still I was at the hospital last night and I’d had a booster injection, then I had an appointment with someone. But the booster injection didn’t show up on my passport so I went to see someone at reception. There was already one person being served, then there was me, then a girl came up behind. Thea someone came and started to talk to this third girl so I shouted “hello” quite loudly making it clear that it was me next. I explained the situation to this receptionist and she replied in English that it takes a day or two to come through. That’s why when someone comes to the hospital asking for a pill for the temporary effects they always take a note of their name and number

There was more to it than this but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you any inconvenience. But nevertheless, Zero and either Percy Penguin or Castor all on the same night. My luck really was in for a change.

But talking of people who I met on my travels a long way from home, we haven’t seen anything of The Vanilla Queen for a couple of years. I wonder how she’s doing.

Leaving the bed was agony this morning, and I didn’t have long to hang around before I had to nip off to the doctor’s.

christmas lights place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It came to my mind while I was on my way out that I hadn’t seen the Christmas decorations in the Place Cambernon yet this year.

On my way to the Rue St Michel I went that way for a look as it was still just about dark enough to appreciate them. But they were nothing special. Just the same old stuff that they have every year.

So I took my photograph to add to my collection that one day when I’m feeling better (whenever that might be) and pushed on down the road towards the Rue St Michel, chatting with one of my neighbours whom I encountered on my way down.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022We have a visitor in the harbout too today.

We can tell that this is Normandy Trader by the little raised deck behind the bridge. She’s come in on the morning tide for what I believe to be the first trip of the year, and is busy loading up.

And that might explain the lorry with the building materials that was doing a U-turn in the chantier naval yesterday.

At the doctor’s, he renewed my physiotherapy and my Aranesp prescriptions, and delighted on showing his student doctor a photo of THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR and telling her all about my voyages.

He mentioned the radio too. I hadn’t realised that I was such a celebrity!

But he also mentioned something else. Apparently he’s had some kind of sneak preview of the report that the cardiologist will present to me next week. There’s something somewhere in my body that I’m supposed to have 50 units of, but which some people might have as many as 250. I have 2246.

No idea what it is though. Craig thinks that it’s the size of my spirit, but I reckon that it’s the number or people whom I p*ss*d off last year. anyway, I’ll find out soon enough.

Next stop was the bank. I’d had my cheque for the last 3 months of my Belgian pension so I needed to pay it in. It also had my Christmas bonus too, so aren’t I the lucky one? And now I can go off and paint the town red with that extra €32:00.

moving apartment post office place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But I didn’t let it lie fallow for long.

There are bills that need to be paid so I headed off to the Post Office to post off a cheque. And there was an interesting removal job going on from the apartment up above.

They could do with a couple of these lifts that are quite common in Belgium. That will be a much more convenient machine that the pallet truck that they are using.

Next stop was the chemist’s to give them my prescription. She’ll have to order them of course, and I can pick them up again later in the afternoon.

normandy trader leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way home we had even more excitement.

Having seen Normandy Trader loading up on our way down into town, we were lucky enough to catch her stern as she sailed off out of the harbour back to St Helier. That’s what I call a quick turn-round.

Back here, the first job was to book my trip to Leuven next week. And that’s not as easy as it might be either.

Covid (would you believe more than 330,000 new cases of infection today?) has decimated the railway network and the trains are not running as they usually would

With the choice of either sitting at Paris Gare du Nord for almost 3 hours or making an early start, I’ve gone for the early start option and I’m on the … gulp … 06:55 to Caen and then to St Lazare in Paris, the reverse of the trip that I took a couple of months ago.

This means that I actually arrive in Brussels at 13:00 but I need to visit my bank there at some point, so this seems like the perfect opportunity. Do it on Wednesday early afternoon while I can.

That took longer than it ought to have done, but nevertheless there was time to start to edit a sound file of an interview before lunch.

After lunch I sat down to carry on with this editing but this is where I ran aground. And seriously too. I need to snap out of this. And it’s not even anything to do with the news that I had at the doctor’s either.

And with the travelling companions that I had during the night, I ought to have a smile on my face and a spriing in my step for the rest of the day

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However not even the thought that Percy Penguin, Castor and Zero might be waiting outside for me made going out at 16:00 to pick up my Aranest any easier.

But once I was out, I was out, and first port of call was the beach to see what was happening down there. And there were a couple of people down there this afternoon.

One person was walking around along the water’s edge, but I have no idea whatever what the other person was supposed to be doing. It looked quite unhealthy to me.

There were a few other people walking around in the distance too but they were too far away for me to see what they were doing.

trawler jersey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The air was extremely clear this afternoon – one of the clearest days that we have had for a while.

As usual I had a good look around to see what was happening out in the bay, and in the distance right out towards Jersey I could see a couple of fishing boats.

And they looked as if they were heading for home too. The tide might be well out right now but by the time that they arrive in the vicinity it will be quite a way in and they’ll be able to come into harbour without too long of a wait.

There were several other boats further out towards Jersey but I couldn’t tell from this photo which way they were heading.

baie de Granville st helier jersey Eric Hall photo January 2022But you probably noticed how clear the air was in the previous photos.

The buildings at St Helier were quite visible with the naked eye even though they are 58 kilometres away.

And that reminds me that I must go over there one of these days to have a look to see which buildings are which. I’ve had a virtual drive-round with an internet program but that’s no substitute for going for a real walk around the town itself.

Talking about going for a walk around the town, I ended up at the chemist’s to pick up my Aranesp and then walked back up the hill towards home, with no drama whatsoever.

It’s still not as easy as it used to be but a lot better than it was in the summer. I’m not sure whether it’s the physiotherapy, the Aranesp or the heart medication that’s doing it.

peche à pied port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back, I did stop for a moment.

But not for a question of breath, but for a photo opportunity. There were some people out there having a go at the peche à pied. But if I were going to be having a go at it, I wouldn’t be at it at the entrance to the harbour where several dozen boats pass right over the top four times a day.

Back here I had a coffee, but that was that. I’d really run aground by now. So much so that I couldn’t even think of what to have for my evening meal. In a total state of indecision and confusion I ended up with a curry from out of the freezer.

It beats me where this depression has sprung from, but I know that regardless I need to pull myself together and drag myself out of it. I have far too much to do than to waste my time sitting around feeling sorry for myself.

Part of it is the inactivity, with all of this time slipping away without going anywhere or doing anything. But then, I’m not fit enough to go anywhere anyway and even if I could travel, I’d be far too tired and exhausted to do it satisfactorily and to profit from it.

So i’ve no idea what the answer might be. But whatever it is, an endless circuit of physiotherapy and shopping broken by a trip every month to Leuven isn’t it. And with Covid running rampant at the moment almost everywhere, it won’t be anything else.

332,252 cases of Covid in one day is a disgrace.

Saturday 11th December 2021 – I’VE BEEN BUILDING …

… up to this for a couple of weeks now, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but this morning I failed miserably to arise from my bed when the alarm went off at 07:30.

In fact, it was extremely difficult at 08:55 as well but somehow I managed to drag myself out. I’m not doing too well at all with this.

Not that I had a late night either. I was in bed at a respectable hour, time enough to give me the better part of 8 hours’ sleep but there were things going on during the night that I can’t explain.

I was interviewing someone at work last night but had to go over and see Aunt Mary so I wanted to complete this interview as quickly as possible. It was a rather wealthy woman whom I was interviewing and she was having some kind of financial issues. I mentioned that a big overseas insurance company had recently gone bankrupt and wondered whether that might have been anything to do with it. They couldn’t understand that so I had a close look at the papers and saw that I had misread the date. It was 1982. They were quite angry about this so I said that I would write a letter of apology. He dictated the address but I couldn’t make any sense of it because the names were all completely different when he read it back to me to what I’d written in the first place. This went on and eventually when they had gone I looked at the time. It was 18:10 and my bus was at 18:20. I had to pack up my desk and pack up everything, change my clothes and so on. First of all all the bathrooms were occupied etc so I decided to go as I was and change at her house. I had to stuff everything into my briefcase but there was far too much stuff. I couldn’t get it to close. I had to run downstairs. In the meantime someone told me that Aunt Mary had been assaulted by someone who had called her by name and said so that I’d sent them. It was obviously something to do with someone at work and I couldn’t understand that. I’d only said something about my plans to one or two people. I ran downstairs hoping to find a bus to take me tothe station to catch my train. A kind-of weird bus pulled up. When it pulled up it was being towed by a Land Rover. The Land Rover parked at the bus stop and then uncoupled itself and pulled away. I noticed that it had a sign for “Alba” in the window of the Land Rover and I couldn’t understand what was happening here either. I was going to be horribly late for this appointment with Aunt Mary and I hadn’t a clue what was going on about this attack that she’d had or anything. It was all a great big mess.

There was also something else happening to do with the medieval King of Ireland. Some of his journeys from written accounts had been plotted onto some kind of map. Again, it was something to do with me having to go over there to talk to him but I can’t remember any more about this part of the journey apart from what I’ve already said.

When I went back off to sleep I went back into this dream about Ireland again with the King of Ireland being stuck over there I had to go over to see him, everything like that but again I can’t remember anything. However it involved going on a lorry but the lorry was already full of people in the cab and in the back. I can’t remember anything else really.

Later in the night I had a couple of cats. One of them was a little grey and white one. They were all outside but this little grey and white one stayed close to home which was quite unusual for her. After Nerina had gone to work I went inside and lit the gas fire because it was cold. I’d make myself a cup of tea but I poured water into a colander, not a saucepan. In the end I managed to fill the coffee machine with water and make myself a coffee, but it was warm, not hot. I put some food down for the cats and some water for this grey and white one but one of the girls said “she wants to go out”. Why she couldn’t have let it out I don’t know. I had to cross the kitchen and open the door for it and let it out. I don’t know where this dream was going after that.

When I went off back into the arms of Morpheus I was back at work and had to interview the same woman whom I had interviewed earlier in the evening. And we had exactly the same encounter.. There was me, another person from work, this woman and her adviser. The first thing was that she was having difficulty obtaining a repayment. I said that there was no difficulty as far as our end goes. I showed him a letter or something where the instructions were clear but they actually referred to payment, not to refunds. I didn’t know exactly what he was saying so I wanted to find out some further information. Then he said that she was experiencing a lot of financial difficulties that she shouldn’t be experiencing. I had a look through his papers and saw that an insurance company to which she was a contributor had gone into liquidation. I pointed this out to him but he replied “that was 1982” so I had another look. Yes, I’d misread the date. He was rather annoyed about that so I agreed to send him a letter of apology. he told me the address and I wrote it down. When he read it back it was different. Each time I corrected it and he read it back it was different again. I wasn’t sure what on earth was happening here about this because nothing seemed to be making sense. There was a lot more to it than this but I can’t remember now but it may well have been the same that I experienced when I first dreamt it.

Later on I was with someone and we were at the fruit-picking farm at Shavington where we used to go as kids. We were talking about things that had happened there when we were kids and how things are completely different these days. Even the layout of the farm was different. We talked about the girl who was supposed to be picking blackberries but ended up picking raspberries claiming that they were unripe blackberries, and ended up being given the sack. We ended up in the potato fields there. They had quite a few mis-shapen potatoes. This girl went to fetch a spade. I asked why and she replied “I’m going to get some potatoes to take home to my mother”. I said “you want to be very cow because you can be overlooked from here”. Sure enough there were quite a few people going past who could easily see what she was trying to do. They were higher up on a hill on the main path that went between one farm and another.

Finally I was at Barlow’s scrapyard in Crewe but it was nothing like Barlow’s scrapyard that I ever saw. He was having a clear-out. I’d only popped in for something because I was on my way round to see my sister because I had a date at 19:30. We were talking and he was giving me a few little bits and pieces. He said “your girlfriend has a mini, doesn’t she?”. He came out with a pile of things like air filters, all this kind of thing, all new old stock and handed them to me. By this time Nerina had turned up so he brought her a toolbox and a whole pile of nuts and blots from minis he’d dismantled. We were having a whole pile of stuff given to us here. When I looked, not only was it late for me to go round to my sister’s, it was getting late for me to go on this date as well. Then he wheeled out something that was an astonishing machine. It was an ancient motorbike but as the tale unfurled it became something on three storeys like a racing car but you sat on the third storey in like a torpedo body with a tiny engine on that level. and then there was a pile of equipment underneath it, and another level underneath that which was where the wheels were. It was all belt-driven. he explained to me what it was and I’d vaguely heard the name but never seen one. It was a racing car from about 1910. even though how frail and unwieldly it looked it would do 200 mph when it was tuned up. He asked me if I wanted it. I thought “of course I want this. Who wouldn’t?”. My German friend was there too. He wasn’t the least bit impressed. My idea was that seeing as it was a kind of sectional thing I could take it to bits and take each section up to my apartment and renovate it in the kitchen then take it downstairs to reassemble when it’s done. But no-one could really understand what was so fantastic about it except me. I thought that it was a fantastic thing.

As you can see, it was probably one of the most turbulent nights that I’ve had and it’s no surprise that I was totally wasted this morning.

While I was lying in bed I set myself three tasks to perform before lunchtime.

The first was to pair off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. I can’t do that on Sunday as I usually do because if things go according to plan (which they usually don’t) I’m baking my Christmas cake. And that will be a labour of love

The second thing was to sort out the photos from last night’s festival, edit them and post them off to the person who is preparing the radio programme

Third thing was to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night. I knew that there would be plenty – but not quite as many as there were. That really was quite extraordinary.

To my surprise, I finished everything on time and then went to eat my butties for lunch.

After lunch there was football. Aberystwyth v Y Drenewydd from last night. Y Drenewydd ran out comfortable winners 4-2 due to Aberystwyth’s defence pushing too far up and not getting back quick enough to counter the speedy Drenewydd breakaways.

But here’s an interesting fact. I’ve often talked about Lifumpa Mwandwe of Drenewydd and how he’s far, far better than the average player in the Welsh Premier League. According to some statistician 150 could have been awarded in Newtown’s favour before thise match started, of which 50 of them were awarded for fouls on Mwandwe.

It seems that kicking him off the park isn’t just confined to TNS.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk. And I didn’t want to, because it was teeming down outside.

Nevertheless I wasn’t the only person out there this afternoon. There were actually three brave souls down on the beach – one man with his dog who we have seen before, and another couple wandering about in the rain.

And then there was me, wandering around in the rain up here too. I wasn’t going to loiter around because I was becoming rather wet rather rapidly – not that that is any great news to regular readers of this rubbish who will recall it as my regular state of existence.

damaged flagpole pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that we have been battered quite severely just recently by a couple of really impressive storms.

As I was to find out when I arrived at the Memorial to the French Resistance up here on the lawn at the end of the headland. One of the flagpoles has taken a right battering.

And it has too. It’s anchored to a block of concrete by a set of heavy duty concrete anchor bolts and two of the three have been ripped right out of the concrete. And it takes some force to do that.

So having photographed it I wandered off to the end of the headland but there was no-one there – not that I expected there to be – and no-one out at sea either. everyone else had far more sense than me.

waves breaking on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Although there wasn’t a great deal of wind there was a great deal of power in the wind still stored up from the storm the other day.

As I walked around the headland I could see the waves breaking onto the sea wall. They weren’t quite going over the top but some of them were really impressive nevertheless.

This wasn’t the best one that I’ve seen but usually it’s every seventh wave that’s the best and by the time three had gone round both the camera and I were soaked to the skin so I took this photo and cleared off quick, which was rather a shame but a practical necessity.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021A few weeks ago I mentioned that I won’t be taking any more photos of the portable boat lift unless there was some change in the situation there.

Well, we certainly have that today. The last time that I took a photo of it, it was because the wheels had disappeared. Today, not only are they back but they are fitted onto the lift as well.

It looks as if the major overhaul that it’s been undergoing for the last couple of months is now drawing slowly to a close and the chantier naval may soon be back in business.

Back at the apartment I came in here to carry on with some work that needed doing, and then at 18:30 I set out again.

The purpose of my trip out was two-fold.

  1. to photograph the Christmas lights
  2. to do some work for the radio

Having taken a few photos on the way down we met at a restaurant in the Rue Couraye where I had a delicious but expensive salad while everyone else ate normally. And then off to the cinema to watch half a dozen short films of this “Fish and Films” Festival.

Our purpose wasn’t the films themselves but to interview the people who were leaving to ask their impressions of the films. We ended up with quite a mixed bag.

On the way home I photographed the rest of the Christmas lights in the town centre and that’s my task for tomorrow afternoon while my cake is baking – to edit and post the photos that I took.

But not now. It’s almost midnight and so I’m off to bed. A nice lie-in tomorrow and I’ll need it to recover from the distance that I travelled during last night. I don’t think that I’ve ever travelled so far in one night before and it left me quite exhausted.

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.

Thursday 18th November 2021 – JUST A FEW …

… brief notes because even though it’s not yet 21:00 I’m off to bed. I’ve had a very long an exhausting day and I’ve already crashed out once.

What didn’t help was that I didn’t have much sleep last night. And it wasn’t just a case of tossing and turning, I was off on a few voyages too I was in Bolton last night. I’d gone to see a friend and had ended up at some crossroads not too far from his place. There was something that I had to do and that meant doing it in the college so I walked from the crossroads down the hill turning left down this steep hill through these roadworks and was nearly knocked over by a few bicycles, all this kind of thing. I ended up in Bolton town centre which was a seaport. There were loads of ships around and this huge festival taking place. I had a rough idea where the college was but I hadn’t seen any signs to it. When I reached the town centre I turned left to follow the river with all these fishing boats, even a little toy fishing boat with kids on it pretending to fish. There was a huge display of like artificial city walls with castles, fires and people running around waving a strange red and gold flag. I came to a street that was written in Basque. It said “street of the high college” which I imagined was the road that I wanted. It said “to the south college” also written in Basque even though this was at the north end of the town. I thought that I would go that way. On the way down I’d passed this area where they had loads of garden sheds installed and they were renting these out £48:00 per month for people to use as storage. I thought that that was a good idea for me if I go back, to rent a storage place there and I’d have everything that I needed at my disposal. According to my dictaphone Id walked 15 minutes and 47 seconds before I’d seen this sign to go to the college but it seemed like an awful lot longer than that. And what I couldn’t really understand was that I was so close to seeing Zero again but I turned away instead.

Later on I’d received a message to go to a scrapyard somewhere in the North Midlands in connection with my insurance company. I was in the Opel Senator. I arrived there and someone gave me the precise details of how to park – put the steering wheel at 111° then 1° the other way then 111° the other way. I ended up alongside a compound. While I was waiting a guy came over and opened the door to say something to me and some other guy came along and hobbled in. He said that he was going to Harwood in Essex. Then I realised what this was all about. I was part of some group that would take people to wherever they were going if it was on the way of a journey that you were actually doing. You would basically register your journey and someone would come along and add themselves in. This guy had been in a car crash and his car had been taken here after the crash on the motorway. Because I was going somewhere down south they had patched his journey in with mine and I was to take him home

Leaving the bed was rather difficult an it took me longer than usual to shake a leg. And after checking the mails and medication I selected the music for one of my future radio programmes before heading off to the hospital.

alfa romeo guiletta spyder tiensestraat leuven Belgium photo November 2021How long is it since we’ve seen an old car on these pages?

At one time we used to see them quite regularly but we haven’t seen one for a while, so when this Alfa Romeo Guiletta Spyder went past me in the Tiensestraat I had to take a photo of it.

It’s a shame that the photo has come out blurred but the car came upon me just as I walked around the corner and I didn’t have any time to prepare the camera. In fact, I was lucky that I had the camera to hand.

crane herbert hooverlaan leuven Belgium photo November 2021A little further on down the Tiensestraat I came into the Herbert Hooverplein.

Lifting equipment seems to be all the rage these days. We saw a cherry-picker yesterday in the Martelarenplein as we arrived, and this morning there’s a crane here on the corner of the Tiensestraat and the Herbert Hooverplein.

Mind you, I can’t think what they would be lifting around here that would need a crane of this size to lift it. It’s an impressive piece of machinery. However the lorry in the background with the scaffolding might give us a clue as to what is happening here.

interior of old shop rector de somerplein leuven Belgium photo November 2021There have been quite a few changes of occupancy in the Rector de Somerplein just recently, and there looks like there might be another one in the offing.

There’s another shop-cum-office premises here that has been looking rather shabby over the past couple of years and as I walked past today it looks as if someone is finally doing something about it.

They are busy ripping out the ceiling at the back but that’s all that I could see and there was no notice or anything on the door to hint at what was going on. So I’ll have to keep my eye open on this place and see how things develop.

site of marquee brusselsestraat leuven Belgium photo November 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last time that we were here there was some kind of marquee at the back of the velodrome on the site of St Pieter’s Hospital.

That has gone the way of the west right now and the place is almost empty. They have even taken away the potted palm trees that were there.

However, the guy who is there looks as if he’s doing something quite interesting although I can’t see what it is from here and I didn’t want to go over there and disturb him.

demolition site brusselsestraat leuven Belgium photo November 2021On the other side of the velodrome I couldn’t see much that has been removed since I was here last.

Not enough to create that extremely large pile of rubble though. And I seem to remember as well that there was a huge hole there too, so there’s more in that rubble than meets the eye.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen the site plans for this area. It’s all going to be apartments, shops and a small park, so maybe the rubble is for use in the building programme that might be under way soon.

medieval tower demolition site brusselsestraat leuven Belgium photo November 2021While I’m here, I had to go and look at the old medieval tower.

Prior to the demolition of the hospital here I had no idea that this tower existed. Behind me alongside the river is 100 metres or so of city wall of this are and we’ve seen a few scattered bits and pieces here and there, but I thought that that was that.

At least they have done something to protect the tower from damage from all of the building work that’s being undertaken here and who knows? They might even restore it. It’ll be interesting trying to find the matching stone.

house building zongang leuven Belgium photo November 2021Another thing that regulr readers of this rubbish will recall seeing is the building that’s taking place in the Kapucijnenvoer that’s backing onto the Zongang.

There was a beautiful building that was uncovered when the previous building on that site was demolished and I’ve commented in the past that building a building of this type is going to make that nice little building really dark.

As you can see, I’m not wrong either. And as the sun sinks even lover in the sky it’s going to be even darker. There are building regulations in many countries about heights of buildings relating to widths of streets and I’m intrigued to know what the position is in Belgium.

But that’s fir another day. I pushed on towards the hospital.

roadworks monseigneur van waeyenberghlaan leuven Belgium photo November 2021Up at the top of the Monseigneur Van Waeyenberghlaan they were busy digging up the grass verge.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that several months ago we saw them digging up the verge just here and laying a pile of cables, so I wonder what has caused them to dig it up again.

When I arrived at the hospital, first port of call was the cardiologist. He ran exactly the same series of tests that I’d had in France a few weeks ago. And when he’d finished I could stagger off to the day centre for my usual treatment.

In the middle of that they called me back down to the cardiology department so I had to be uncoupled from my machine and go off on the Great Trek downstairs. After waiting for a while they gave me an electrography scan, just like I’d had at the cardiologist’s in France. And surprise, surprise. The results were the same too.

THe net result of all of this is that they are going to consider the results and see me in 4 weeks time when I’m next back for my treatment.

Back in the day centre they had an extreme amount of difficulty restarting the machine that pumps the plasma into me and as a result it was long past 18:00 when I finished there.

Having picked up my medication at the chemist’s (and doing my best to cut down on my medication I’m now up to 13 tablets each day) I headed off into town.

site of marquee velodrome brusselsestraat leuven Belgium photo November 2021A little earlier, we’d seen a man messing about at the back of the Velodrome in the Brusselsestraat.

Of course, it’s dark now when I came back this way and they have installed some form of lighting in the area. I wonder if he was actually connecting it up to the mains electricity just now.

It’s not exactly what I would call “artistic” but I suppose that it’s better than nothing. It’s just a shame that it’s lighting up a bed of compressed rubble but I don’t imagine that they will be doing much to it as there will be some permanent redevelopment here in due course.

christmas lights brusselsestraat leuven Belgium photo November 2021Back in the Brusselsestraat, going up the hill towards the Town Centre, they’ve installed the Christmas lights and they are now switched on.

Unfortunately they are the same as last year’s lights, and the year before, and so on und so weiter. It’s not just Granville that is lacking in imagination when they come to light up the town.

As you might expect, at this time of the evening my favourite supermarket was closed. I shall have to go elsewhere to buy my food for tea tonight and tomorrow. It’s a shame that I wasn’t able to make it to the big supermarket yesterday afternoon.

town hall grote markt leuven Belgium photo November 2021In the Grote Markt the Town Hall is all lit up again.

Usually, the colours of the lights change all the way through the ranges of blue and red, but as I watched the lights didn’t change colour at all. Maybe it will be different in a couple of days when everything is installed and working correctly.

The supermarket down the road is more expensive than the ones that I usually use, but at least it’s open so I can at least buy some food for tea. There’s not much choice either so I’m going to have to make do with falafel tonight and tomorrow

Now I’ve finished tea, I’m off to bed. It’s miles walking around one of the largest hospitals in the world and I’m up to 140% of my daily activity. No wonder I’m exhausted.

Here’s hoping for a good night’s sleep and that I’ll be fighting fit in the morning.

Monday 8th November 2021 – GUESS WHO …

… has just dropped his rice and veg down the sink?

So we ended up with not very much for tea this evening. Mind you, it’ll do me good for once in a while.

There has however been some good news. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m having heart problems right now.

2 weeks ago I went to see the cardiologist who checked me over, found that I still had a heart (which means that I’m not a Conservative) but it has a few problems.

He gave me a report that I scanned and sent off to the hospital in Leuven, on the grounds that if I’m going to have another major health issue, it makes much more sense to have them both treated at the same place to avoid complications.

Anyway, they have now replied. And they’ve offered me an appointment earlier on the same day that I have my usual treatment in 10 days time. So they obviously think that there’s something worth following up.

This morning’s 06:00 start was rather painful seeing that I didn’t take full advantage of the night in bed that I had.

But after the medication and checking my mails and messages I attacked the radio programme that I wanted to prepare. And by 10:50 it was up and running. I could even have finished it earlier except that for a while I was talking to someone on the internet about something or other.

And that included a break for coffee and for breakfast too.

It was the old ZOOM H1 that I used too, not the new ZOOM H8. I’ve not as yet worked out how to record in stereo with just one mike on that.

While I was listening to the finished product I was doing some research. I’ve received a pile of paperwork relating to our family history and I’ve been going through it.

And if anyone wonders why my mother’s side of the family (including me) is so … errr … combative, it seems that somewhere in our family tree we are related to EDWARD KENEALY of TICHBOURNE CLAIMANT fame, or rather, infamy.

One thing that I’ve been doing as well today is to attack the dictaphone backlog, and another few days from late October have now been updated.

While I was at it, I had a go at last night’s voyages too. There was some kind of machinery or equipment used in connection with my health. I posted something about it and someone posted back that it was ridiculous, that this didn’t exist. I had to go through all this rigmarole to prove that it did and how I was supposed to use it because of my health

Later on there was some guy who had a mine of some description. He had a girlfriend and she and her father went off to look at this mine leaving the guy and his two friends like Bulldog Drummond behind. When they didn’t come back at the end of the day he started to become worried and decided that next morning he would set out to the mine to look for them. Next morning instead there was a press release that this woman considered that he’d been exploiting her and that she was now assuming control of the mine. It was necessary for him to infiltrate this circle of people with whom she was now working. He and one of his friends arranged to disappear and the disappearance became headline news. The 3 of them set off for this hotel where everyone was staying. When they arrived they found that it was some kind of show with cheerleaders or something. They found a cheerleader uniform and dressed in it as girls, but found another group who had exactly the same uniform. They waylaid a couple of girls, borrowed their uniforms and went on to do a kind-of dance routine. One of them lost her dress so quickly the 2nd one had to drag her away and lock her in a room somewhere. This guy couldn’t understand why he was being treated like that. His friend explained to him that with the scientist being missing, he couldn’t go around identifying himself as who he was even if it was simply over the case of a missing dress because everyone would immediately put two and two together, knowing everyone’s relationship wtth each other and immediately guess what was going on. It was very important for them to remain anonymous for as long as possible.

Somewhere in all of this I was fostering a kitten, a tabby and white one. Someone came to see me and saw the kitten. When I went to bed the kitten came and got into bed with me but it got up again, ate some food and wouldn’t settle after that

Later on I was back in Virlet and, surprisingly, back with the kitten. There had been a big rainstorm and a lot of the houses were flooded. Mine was OK. I came back from work, it was my last day at work. I opened the outer door but when I came inside I found that I had left the inner door open. I walked in and there was someone in there. She said “look what your kitten has got”. I had a look and the kitten had one of my bread buns. I said “it doesn’t really matter because it’s been here over a week now so it’s bound to be no good”. She put the kitten down and let the kitten run off with it. We were talking about voyages to space, the stars, saying that they need to be somewhere deep at the bottom of a deep quarry to launch the rocket. We were working out other suitable places. We thought that the Auvergne would be fine for that because it was so soggy that if you put a rocket on top of the ground somewhere it would just sink in and go down to any depth you like before you could fire it.

For some reason or other, the nurse never came round today to give me my injection. I changed the time from 15:00 to 12:00 so I can go for my physiotherapist for 15:30. He didn’t come at 12:00 and he never rang me later on to say that he was here at the normal time but had missed me.

courreur des iles charles marie lorries unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way out to the physiotherapist I went down to look at the port to see what was going on this afternoon.

What caught my eye were the two lorries over there unloading. I’m not sure what they were unloading but the old cold storage plant over there has been closed since cod-fishing on the Grand Banks was suspended in 1992.

There were a few of the charter boats down there this afternoon too. Charles Marie is moored up against the harbour wall, with Courreur des Iles moored alongside. There won’t be much going on with them now until maybe Christmas.

repointing wall Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Something else that regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a while ago they had some work experience people out repointing the wall at the Rampe du Monte à Regret.

They did half of it and then stopped, but today I noticed that there were scaffolders down there erecting scaffolding down alongside the part that they didn’t make a start laat time.

Perhaps we’re going to be having another lot of Work Experience people learning the trade. There’s plenty of work for them when they qualify, and not just around the city walls here in the medieval city. There are plenty of stone houses and walls that could benefit.

Once again I walked all the way up the hill to the physiotherapist without stopping. She had me on this tilting platform thing doing exercises to strengthen my knees and shoulders. We finished off with 5 minutes on the cross trainer.

It has to be said that i’m doing much better now than I was when I first came. But then that’s the point of the exercises, isn’t it?

place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Going back, I went the short way right down the Rue Couraye into the town centre.

The kiddies’ roundabout has now gone, and we aren’t sure if it’ll be coming back again. The owner was in front of the local council last Friday arguing his case about his roundabout, which is larger than he said in his planning application and which forces pedestrians to walk in the road.

He’s asked for a 12-month adjournment of the case to give him time to buy a slightly smaller machine and the council has offered him another site. They haven’t been able to agree a compromise so we’ll see how things develop over the next few days.

erecting christmas decorations rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Meanwhile, around the corner, the Rue Paul Poirier is closed to traffic.

They have a cherry picker out there and he’s busy putting up the Christmas lights. Unfortunately, they look just like the Christmas lights that they had last year and the year before that, and the year before that as well.

The lack of imagination that they show round here in respect of the Christmas decorations is dispiriting.

Once again, I made it all the way back up the hill to home without stopping once, which pleased me very much. I wonder if these heart tablets that the cardiologist prescribed are having some effect, or whether it’s the effect of the physiotherapy.

It’s still a struggle to make it up the hill and I don’t really feel comfortable while I’m doing it, but I have to do what I can.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Before I went back into the building I went to have a look down on the beach.

Today the weather was cool, windy and overcast so even though there was plenty of beach down there, there weren’t all that many people down there on it. And I wasn’t surprised either.

Back here in the apartment I made myself a coffee and then attacked the photos from that rock concert the other day. There’s another huge pile of those that are now done.

What I’ll be doing will be to create three-column *.css layout to show the photos off. I’ll have to dig deep into my memory for that because it’s been probably not far short of 20 years since I was doing three-column *.css stuff.

Two-column stuff is quite easy because it’s either “align-left” or “align-right” and I use that all the time. But I’ll sort it out.

Tea was stuffed pepper with whatever rice and veg remained in the sieve after I’d finished pouring it into the sink. And it was quite nice too, what I was able to eat.

But now I’m finished my notes I’m off to bed. A nice long sleep, I hope, but if it’s anything like the last few weeks it’ll be a disappointment. I’m seriously considering sleeping pills if this carries on.

Friday 1st January 2021 – I’M GLAD …

… that 2020 had finished. That was one difficult year and the first time that I haven’t been to North America for I don’t know how long.

And in case you are wondering, which I’m sure that you aren’t, I’m not convinced that 2021 is going to be much better.

At least we started off on the right foot because despite not going to bed until about 02:00 this morning, I was up and about, with no alarm, at 09:30. A few more days like that will suit me fine but I shan’t be having them.

After the medication I came back here to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

My friend from the Saone valley and his friends came to visit me during the night. I was in Virlet – or what passes for Virlet and I was very embarrassed when they saw the kind of state in which I was living. I was trying to interest them in things like the radio telescope in the valley down below. The he asked where all of my CDs were even though they were in plain evidence all over the walls. It was a very strange meeting and wasn’t exactly how I intended it to be or thought that it would be. They stayed for a while and all cleared off again. I shook my head and couldn’t see the point of that and what was going to happen next.
But next I had to leave the house and I was in the van. Part of this area was a building site round by Joey the Swan in Crewe. One of the ways to get up where I was was to reverse back up the hill past these half-built houses and reach the main road that way, or the 2nd thing to do was to cut through one of the driveways and onto the main road through the back of one of the drives. I must have driven and reversed up and down that road 3 or 4 times trying to work out which would be the best drive to go up. There was one but for some reason I kept on overshooting it and ending up in one that was more unsuitable.

Apart from that, I had a half-hearted go at doing my Welsh homework and at least that’s now up to date. Apart from that I’ve done nothing at all. Even for lunch I just had a slice of toast.

christmas lights naamsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallYesterday I remember saying that I would go out this evening to inspect the Christmas lights that I hadn’t seen yesterday when I walked though the city on my way home.

At least, later on after it had gone dark I managed to tear myself away from whatever I wasn’t doing and headed off into the freezing cold . I ended up in the Naamsestraat to see what the decorations were like, and as you can see for yourself, they are pretty depressing.

At least the lights wrapped around one of the towers of the town hall provide some kind of relief to the start environment.

christmas lights oude markt leuven belgium Eric HallFrom the Naamsestraat there are several little alleyways that lead on down to the Oude Markt.

The Oude Markt is, in more normal times, the centre of café life in the city, crowded with people even in the middle of winter and in the past there have been some really beautiful and impressive Christmas lights here. But while these look quite nice, they aren’t a patch on what we’ve seen in the past.

A real sign of the times right here and now is that there isn’t another soul in the image this evening apart from someone on a bicycle heading my way.

food delivery cyclists kortestraat leuven belgium Eric HallThe far end of the Oude Markt is a small street called the Kortestraat, or “short street” that leads into the Grote Markt.

This is the street where almost every commercial ground-floor premises is a fast-food takeaway and I’ve had a couple of good meals in one of the fritkots here. But these days they are all closed to customers except for takeway and delivery, and one of the very few benefits of the current situation is the explosion in the number of food delivery cyclists in the city.

There’s a couple of dozen loitering here waiting to be beckoned by one of the food outlets.

christmas tree and lights grote markt leuven belgium Eric HallYesterday I took a photo of the Town Hall – the Stadhuis – with all of its illuminations.

In previous years there have been all kinds of other decorations, such as creches and stables and the like in the Square but this year there is nothing at all like that. There’s a Christmas tree and natural tree that is illuminated and in between them is a small creche but that’s just about your lot.

Mind you, the buses are driving around the usual Christmas route deviation instead of driving through the Square

christmas lights mechelsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallOne thing that you have probably noticed is the absence of pedestrians in the city this evening.

From the Grote Markt I walked around the back of St Pieters Church and down the hill into the Mechelsestraat and here I struck it lucky. In this photograph you can actually see five other people, four on foot and one on a bicycle.

What I don’t see though are any really exotic Christmas decorations. A few lights strung up across the street and a few draped over a shop display by a private individual and that’s it.

christmas lights bondgenotenlaan leuven belgium Eric Hallhaving inspected the Mechelsestraat I continued on my lap around the church without noticing anything special, and found myself at the bus stop in the Rector de Somerplein.

From there, there is a good view all the way down the Bondgenotenlaan to the Martyrs’ Column in the Martelarenplein and the Railway Station in the background. Every year the trees in the avenue are illuminated with lights draped in the branches and while this has never been anything startling, at least they have maintained the decorations this year.

And before I could regain the pavement I was almost squidged by a family on pushbikes weaving around in the street

christmas lights university library monseigneur ladeuzeplein leuven belgium Eric HallBack on the pavement I walked on along the street and then cut down a side street into the Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein.

Once again, the lights here in the Square are pretty disappointing. In front of us is the famous University Library, burnt to the ground along with all of its priceless possessions and collection of ancient books by the Germans in 1914 during the Sack of Leuven. And the lights here on this building aren’t anything like they have been.

Even so it looks extremely impressive, illuminated just like this.

christmas lights monseigneur ladeuzeplein leuven belgium Eric HallOn the way back home I walked across the Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein towards the Tiensestraat.

Looking behind me, I noticed that the trees had received some kind of decoration to relieve the monotony, but again, I’ve seen much better than this in the past.

When I arrived back home I went to sit down for a couple of minutes but ended up crashing out for an hour. For some reason, this walking thing is taking a lot out of me.

Not feeling hungry I just made a sandwich for tea. There’s no need to eat if I’m not feeling particularly like it.

Now I’ve written my notes I’m off to bed. There’s an alarm tomorrow so I want to be on form. I have a date in the afternoon.

Thursday 31st December 2020 – BY THE TIME …

… that most of you read this, we will be in a New Year. 2020 will have ended and we’ll have 2021 to contend with. Many people are hoping that this New Year will be better than the last but that’s an optimism that I can’t share.

Especially for the Brits who not only have Brexit with which to contend but also a miserable figure of just under 56,000 new Covid infections and just under 1,000 deaths despite a lockdown. What’s interesting is that whereas in the USA they are taking almost no precautions whatsoever, the relative figures per 1,000 of the population are much less.

Historically, all of these previous viruses such as The Black Death, Cholera, Spanish ‘Flu have all come in several waves and there’s no reason to suppose that this is any different. So I don’t see this year as being any better than the last.

But why be so miserable? Let’s look on the bright side of life. At the hospital today they have told me that symptoms of the disease that I have are now being traced in the kidneys. So you won’t have too much longer to suffer this depressing diatribe by the sound of things. And that’s enough to cheer anyone up, isn’t it?

monseigneur van waeyenberghlaan leuven belgium Eric HallWhile you admire the snail-like (lack of) speed of the new sewer and roadworks in the Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan that seem to be taking for just about ever, I myself managed to crawl out of bed to beat the 3rd alarm this morning.

And that’s not something that happens every day these days, is it? And considering that I had another miserable night where I took about a week to go off to sleep, it’s pretty good going for right now.

First task of course was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. And to my surprise, I’d covered the miles yet again.

monseigneur van waeyenberghlaan leuven belgium Eric HallI’d started the night with all of us queueing at the ferries last night with lorries. I was in an artic with a big flat trailer and I’d managed to get my lorry down into the hold so when it came to driving onto the ferry I walked on behind the lorry in front and just stood behind it so as to mark my place. There was a big discussion about the ferry – whether we were to go from Grande-Synthe or Petite-Synthe and where it was situated, all this kind of thing, but I’ve forgotten it all now

Later on during the night I had a girl with me, a young girl and I don’t know very much about her at all. The 2 of us were talking about things and she was saying how she didn’t think much of prefects or housemasters or such. She was working herself into such a state that as someone walked past who was a prefect or whatever she just hit them with this iron crowbar and literally split their skull and knocked them to the ground. I picked up the girl and dragged her away and took her to another room where I phoned the police and ambulance to come to the victim. I was really wondering what I was going to say about this and my part in getting the girl all worked up like that.

monseigneur van waeyenberghlaan leuven belgium Eric HallHaving transcribed the dictaphone notes I went and made some sandwiches for lunch as I was to have a busy day today.

That was followed by a clothes-washing session and then a shower. I have to make sure that I’m clean, smell nice and look pretty for the nurses there.

By the time that I’d arranged all of that, I was starting to run behind and I had to put my skates on. Luckily the rain that had awoken me at some point during the night had stopped and it was comparatively dry outside.

Surprisingly the streets were totally deserted. There wasn’t even a handful of people out there on the streets.

hospital sint pieters brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallMy route went as usual down into town, through the centre and out along the Brusselsestraat heading west (or going west of course).

Over the past year or so we’ve seen them demolishing the Hospital Sint Pieters, the hospital that was apparently built for the French community in Flanders but never used due to them all decamping to Louvain-le-Neuve. The demolition has been going on for so long now with so little progress being made that it must be costing them a fortune.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – edMY OLD NEXT-DOOR NEIGHBOUR would have had that down in the twinkling of an eye, never mind over a period of more than a year.

They don’t make them like that any more

parking sint jakobsplein leuven belgium Eric HallSomething that’s been going on for even longer has been the digging and subsequent filling-in of the big hole in the car park in the Sint Jakobsplein.

It seems that at last they have filled in the hole and resurfaced it, not that they have made a particularly good job of it. But it’s still not available for parking by the general public as it’s all fenced off still.

It seems to me that it’s now being used as the storage area for the equipment and material for the work that’s going on in the Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan and the Sint Hubertusstraat.

sint hubertusstraat leuven belgium Eric Hall and so it seems like this area of the car park will be unavailable for the next forever, I imagine because they don’t seem to be in any rush.

Here in the Sint Hubertusstraat, the lower part of the Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan the repairs are also a long way from being completed and while that vehicle is making a valiant attempt to pass down the length of street it’s making heavy weather of the journey.

So I pushed on up through the roadworks that you saw earlier, and arrived at the hospital with 10 minutes to spare, the time for which was lost trying to work out where I was supposed to go.

And if you think that the town was empty, the hospital was even more empty too. There were very few people wandering around there and hanging around waiting for appointments.

Eventually I was seen by the student at the Kidney department following the x-rays that I had a while back. She interrogated and examined me, and then she went off to talk to the Professor who is in charge of that section.

He came back and told me the news that I mentioned earlier, which isn’t the best news that I’ve had so far. The plan is that they will write to me to give me an appointment when they have the results of the samples that she took from me.

Then I went upstairs to the Oncology department for my usual treatment. I wasn’t long there, with no visit from a doctor, so it wasn’t long before I was allowed to leave. And then I had to go back for a prescription for some of my medication. Abd by the time that I’d picked that up, the chemist’s was closed – early for New Years Eve of course.

Universitair Ziekenhuis gasthuisberg leuven beigium Eric HallOn the way into the hospital I noticed that there was a Christmas tree outside the hospital door.

By the time that I left, it was going dark and so the tree was all illuminated. The decorations were not exactly inspiring but still I suppose I ought to take a photograph of it for the record seeing as I’m not getting about as often and as far as I would have done had things been different.

It was quite cold outside now so I wasn’t going to hang about very long. I headed off down the street back towards town and my lodgings.

christmas lights brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallMy way home retraced the steps that I had taken on the way out to the hospital.

By now it was quite dark and the Christmas lights in the town were illuminated. Here in the Brusselsestraat from roughly where I took the photo of the Sint Pieters Hospital and looking to the west there was a good view of the lights, or at least, such lights as there were here this year.

Apparently it’s not just Granville that is economising on its Christmas displays this year. The lights in Leuven aren’t all that much to write home about either.

christmas lights brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallFrom the same spot looking eastwards back to the town centre there are more Christmas lights to see.

But once again, I’m rather disappointed by the lights that are here in the Brusselsestraat. Of course, it goes without saying that with all of the uncertainty, the loss of revenue and the increased expenditure due to the current situation, there are going to have to be economies made here and there with regard to the budget.

Nevertheless it’s a shame that they have decided to do this with the Christmas decorations It’s the kind of thing that would cheer up everyone and bring a little happiness into people’s lives in these grim times

christmas lights stadhuis grote markt leuven belgium Eric HallIn the background of the previous photo you saw the spires of the Stadhuis – the Town Hall in the Grote Markt lit up by strings of LED lights. And so with the aim of wanting to see them in all their glory, I went home that way.

In previous years they have been multicoloured lights that change colour at regular intervals and make a rather beautiful spectacle. But not this year, unfortunately. We have a golden yellow light and that seemed to be that for the time that I spent looking at it. Not a change of colour anywhere.

Beautiful that it is, it’s again something of a disappointment. But I’ll go out tomorrow evening after dark for another good look around and see how the rest of the town centre looks.

christmas lights herbert hooverplein leuven belgium Eric HallIt’ll have to look better than the Herbert Hooverplein because this really is disappointing.

No Christmas market, which is no surprise, but they could still have done something better than this. And if you are dismayed by this, the decorations and lights in the Tiensestraat were non-existent. I came on home.

Back here I crashed out for a while and then made tea. Nothing at all exciting – just pasta and tinned veg, followed by tinned apricot and some Soya strawberry dessert stuff.

Having written my notes, I’m off to bed, ready (I don’t think) for the New Year.

To all of you, I hope that this year will be better than the last year and that we can move about once more. I wish each and every one of you everything that you wished for everyone else last year, wishes for Brexiters and Trump supporters excluded of course.

Take good care of yourselves and we’ll see each other again – hopefully not at Philippi

Monday 28th December 2020 – HERE I ALL AM …

… not exactly sitting in a rainbow but pretty near enough. I’m curled up around a radiator in my little home from home in Leuven where I’ll be staying until Sunday.

And much as I like Leuven, it’s a pretty dismal state of affairs because firstly Alison is stranded in the UK by the new Covid rules and my appointment has now been pushed back until Thursday as I discovered today. So I could really have spent an extra two days at home, travelled on Wednesday and come home on Saturday thus saving a third day out.

But you live and learn.

What else you learn the longer that you live is that you can do it when you really try and so not only did I beat the third alarm, I was up and out of bed and running around while the 1st alarm was still ringing. And so plenty of time to tidy up, have a shower, take out the rubbish, back up the computer, send off a pile of radio files, make some sandwiches for lunch and cut a large slice of fruit bread to take with me for breakfast – pretty good and nourishing stuff, this fruit bread.

Tons of stuff on the dictaphone too, And what surprised me was that I was able to leave the bed so early with all of this going on. I’m surprised that I’d even made it back home.

I was having to make tea for Marianne last night and the guy she was having to sit with who was ill so I made them a kind of roast dinner as best as I could which didn’t look too bad. But I realised that on his plate I’d forgotten the gravy so I mixed up a white sauce and put it on his plate and went to add the gravy powder to mix in, but first I added chocolate powder. I thought “that will never do” so I scraped it off the plate and put another lot on. The next thing that I tried to put on was coffee powder and hat didn’t work either. It took about 3 or 4 goes for me to actually get his sauce right
Before that, I’d been out for a walk and there were a couple of people loitering around so we had a bit of an ad-hoc game of football and it was quite pleasurable. I came back into the house. Later on that evening when I was writing up my notes I couldn’t settle and I couldn’t make myself comfortable, moving from 1 chair to the next and 1 machine to the next, then trying to find some paper to write it out in longhand. In the end I settled on a shorthand notes reporter’s diary but found out that it was full. All the time my brother was asking me questions about this and that and I was trying to answer him as well, and I was trying to write out this report and I wanted to embellish it, to make it look a lot more than it is but I could never do it. I was getting so confused by the fact that I just couldn’t get comfortable and couldn’t make a start and couldn’t get anywhere with this
Art one time a girl dresses as a ballerina appeared on the scene and you could see according to the effort that she was putting into it and the way that she was walking and holding herself that it was a great big effort. I hoped that she would hold out physically and with the virus because it would be very sad if she were to succumb to it with all of this effort.
Later on I had to go and pick up Alvin from Hampton Close. I had my motorbike, my old CX and I decided that i’d go and pick him up. That went OK for a while until I got to Chester and I thought that I’d better programe the route to Hampton Close on my GPS because it’s years since I’ve been there. I spent ages fiddling around trying to make the GPS work. I had to drop off something at someone’s place and coming back I couldn’t make the GPS work. It took ages with all of this messing about to get it to go. The bracket broke off it and when I made it work I couldn’t programme it. It was all a nightmare, this journey was for some reason. Suddenly it worked and it was 18 minutes to there but I only had 15 minutes left but I thought that that’s not too much of a problem. He’s not going to be that concerned. Then I noticed on the back of the butty box the L plates had all faded off and you couldn’t read that it was an L plate. I was worrying about that for a while but suddenly realised that I didn’t need L plates on it because I had a full licence. Yes, I had to post off Ann’s present, that’s why I’d stopped and had to take it to the post office. Then Alvin came. he was there. I told him the story of my adventures which he thought was hilarious. We mounted the bike ready to move off to wherever we were going to next.

I’d gone out for a walk and I was the other side of Sandbach close to the motorway. I’d taken the wrong route which I’d taken before which was a dead end and I had to retrace all my steps. This time though I thought that I’d push on and climb up this embankment at the side of the motorway into a field and walk along the field at the edge There’s bound to be a bridge that goes over at some point I walked on and by now the motorway had transformed into a canal so I was walking along the towpath of an abandoned canal. It gradually came into a little village. I was really enjoying this walk and thought that this is going to end bu around Middlewich way. It’s a long way home but it will be really nice and i’ll stop for an ice cream. I walked through this little village. There was a shop there with its shutters half down. I thought an ice cream would be nice but i’ll push on to the next village. At this point there was some guy messing around in the road. He couldn’t make up his mind whether to go left or right so I swerved round him, making some kind of remark but banged my hip on a parked car. he didn’t say anything aboutt hat but he was going on and on about what he was doing. So I dropped in that I was working on the radio and things that I was doing that I’d inflated. Then he had to go and sort out a puncture in his car so I took him as a passenger in mine which was strange because I’d been walking up to this point. There were 3 of us in the end in this car. He was still going on about his radio and I was still going on about mine. He was saying “that’s a fine hobby to have”. I said “it’s a bit more than a hobby”. We reached Middlewich in the end and he told me where he wanted me to drop him off. he asked how much he owed me for the ride. I replied “nothing. I hope that someone would do the same for me some day if I ever need it”.

But the walk around Sandbach and Middlewich reminded me of a walk that I’d been on during a nocturnal ramble when I’d set out to walk from Chester to Nantwich via, of all places, Wrexham. Or as the skunk said when the wind changed – “it all comes back to me now”.

christmas lights rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving organised myself as much as I could, I headed out for the railway station.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we haven’t as yet seen the town’s Christmas light in all their glory but this morning they were illuminated. My route took me up the Rue Lecampion and we can see here exactly what they have done as far as this street goes.

In fact, it’s all rather underwhelming, isn’t it? I can recall the decorations from last year being so much better than these. It looks as if the town has been on an economy drive this year.

christmas lights place generale de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA few days ago in the daylight we had a trip around the back of the kiddies’ roundabout in the Place Generale de Gaulle to see what they had been doing there.

This morning, the Christmas lights were illuminated here too and we can see how they are getting on now. On the left illuminated by a pink light is supposed to be a wooden polar bear, and I suppose that a blind man would be pleased to see it. And strangely enough, a couple of Christmas trees further along weren’t lit up at all. That’s a strange decision.

The newspaper offices at the end of the street are all rather garish and somewhat tasteless but I don’t suppose that there is any particular reason for them to bother themselves too much.

christmas lights cours jonville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFinally, I walked along the Cours Jonville.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago we saw the electricians stringing up the light in the trees down here with a cherry picker. With the lights being on, we can see their handiwork today. It’s all nice, bright and airy, but it doesn’t exactly inspire the imagination, does it? The could have done much more than this with the facilities that they have.

But I wasn’t going to hang about and argue. By now the rain had started again so I pushed off towards the railway station. And the farther I went, the more and the harder the rain fell.

gec Alstom Regiolis 84574 gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy the time that I reached the railway station I resembled something like a haggard, drowned rat. But at least my train was already in the platform so once I’d stamped my ticket I was able to clamber aboard and find my seat.

Today I was right by the rest room and right in front of the luggage rack so it was something of a convenient seat. No-one sitting next to me either so I could eat my fruit bread and fruit in comparative quiet and luxury.

To while away the journey I uploaded all of the backup files that I’d done this morning and then started to go through to identify duplicate files and remove the earlier versions

snow near vire Normandy France Eric HallIf you think that the rain that we were having was pretty rough, we weren’t having it as rough as some people were.

By the time that our train reached the region in between Vire and Argentan the heavy rain had turned to snow and thrre was a lovely white colour in the fields all around the train as we sped on to Paris. It didn’t hold my attention for very long though because I dozed off to sleep. And when I awoke again near Versailles we had long-since left it behind.

We reached Paris more or less on time and compared to how it has been just recently, it was quite busy. And we had to wait a while for a Metro which was something of a surprise.

And somewhere along the route a couple of cleaners climbed into the train with a cleaning machine the size of a small zamboni. That disrupted everyone on board.

TGV Reseau Duplex 213 gare du Nord Paris France Eric HallWe arrived at the Gare du Nord in Paris with plenty of time to spare and I was luck enough to find a seat straight away where I could sit in comparative comfort until our train was called. These big French mainline stations are draughty, windswept affairs with very little public seating.

Today’s train is one of the usual TGV Reseau Duplex double-decker trains, old but comfortable and rattle along at a rapid rate of knots towards Lille. it was crowded too, although once again I was lucky enough to have a double seat all to myself so that I could eat my sandwiches in comfort.

And that bread that I made the other day is delicious. And furthermore, there’s half a loaf awaiting me in the freezer for when I return, along with the leftover frozen leeks, broccoli and endives.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4525 Gare du Midi Brussels Belgium Eric HallWe were a few minutes late arriving in Lille Flandres Railway Station so we had something of a scramble across town to the Lille Europe railway station for the TGV coming from the Midi that was going to take us on to Brussels.

By the time we arrived, the train was already in the station so making sure this time that it was in fact the correct train, I dashed on board to grab my seat. This time I wasn’t quite as lucky. I had a neighbour which meant that unfortunately I wasn’t able to spread myself out very much.

One thing that I forgot to do with this one was to check the times so I couldn’t tell how the journey went. But it passed off without any incident.

multiple unit automotrice AM80 303 Gare du Midi Brussels Belgium Eric HallArriving in Brussels I was in time for the 15:37 to Leuven and Liège. That was late pulling into the station and with a technician scrambling around in the drivers cab, it was very much later pulling out.

It’s one of the old, dirty graffiti-ridden AM80 multiple units and it’s high time that these relics of a bygone age were put out to grass somewhere but it brought us into Leuven and now that the rain had stopped I had a nice walk down to my hotel in the Dekenstraat.

For a change they’ve put me in a different room than usual, but it’s still an upgrade so I’m not complaining. And there was a little Christmas present for me too which was a lovely little touch.

Later on I went to the Carrefour and stocked up with shopping, but I forgot a few things like the vegan mayonnaise so I’ll have to go again. And I failed to notice that the tinned apricots didn’t have a ring-pull so I had to hack my way in as best as I could.

Having fallen asleep already while typing out my notes, I’m off to bed. No alarm – I’m having a lie in tomorrow. And then I have several days of Welsh homework to catch up with. There will be the dictaphone notes too, and another trip to the shops for the stuff that I forgot so it isn’t actually going to be very much of a day of rest

Friday 18th December 2020 – AS YOU PROBABLY …

… might have guessed – after yesterday there was no hope whatever of my beating the third alarm to my feet. Not a hope.

In fact it was 09:35 when I finally shook off whatever it was that I was suffering from and arose from the dead.

After the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone. And while I might not have been here in body, I was certainly out and about in spirit.

We started off in the living room in Shavington and there were piles of us there – we’d got ourselves into little groups. Suddenly another 11 children arrived and we had to add a couple of children to each of the groups. Not being able to find anything and not being able to think of a good way of doing it I cut up a paper into 8 with 8 squares because 2 of the kids were quite well known to us and one of the leaders of one of the groups immediately bagged them as soon as they walked in. That left 8 or 9, maybe there was 1 left over. The idea was that someone would call out say 1 and 2, or 7 and 4 or 3 and 1 or something and that way have these kids allocated. This took so long in doing, for reasons that I don’t understand – there was a dog asleep on the sofa and I couldn’t find half my paperwork, I’d lost my keys and there was something that I knew before I went to bed that I couldn’t find. And everyone had crashed out to sleep in a heap anyway so it wouldn’t make any difference whose group anyone went to.

Later, we’d been off on a University field trip. Again, we’d been divided into groups and we’d been to visit all of these particular sites. Our group came across a particular site where there was a destroyed statue or cairn or something and the remains of what was quite classed quite clearly as an Iron-Age fort. We reckoned that there had been a battle here maybe and that the fort had been overwhelmed by the Romans and they had built a Victory cairn. of course, time had weathered everything away. The tutor came to see how we were doing and we showed her this and explained our theory. She was immediately all excited and said “there’s a Mr so-and-so coming round with another group. Make sure that one of you grabs hold of him and show him all of this”. Of course I had the short straw so I had to stay behind while they all moved off but I forgot his name so that wasn’t any good. When I tried to ask each group that came along, no-one would actually identify themselves as being this special person doing this special research. By then it was almost time to go home and everyone was congregating down at the bottom so I went down to the bottom and there were 1 or 2 more groups that I hadn’t seen who hadn’t made it round yet so I asked them. Someone stepped forward but this person didn’t correspond with the description that I’d been given. I don’t think that I ever solved that particular problem about finding that person and showing them that sight.

Still plenty to go at yet. I was next somewhere around the Crewe Road in Nantwich. I was looking in a driveway and there was a shoot of what looked like one of these ground alder trees pushing up. I took hold of it and pulled it to pull it up but off shot this root. I had to follow this root and it went for a couple of hundred yards all the way down Crewe Road pulling it up out of the tarmac. In the end I thought “this is going to go on for ever” so I cut it off with a pair of sharp scissors, making sure that I did it behind a bud. Then I had to go and wash my hands that were filthy so I went into a garage of a house – the door was open. I had a look but there was no water in there but the drain was like a drain down from the house above the garage went off in a 90° elbow but the pipe that it went into wasn’t a tight fit at all – just something pushed over and was dripping away. I pulled it apart to clean it but I lost a piece, the drain plug underneath the elbow. I had to reassemble it but still it wouldn’t go on correctly – there was this piece missing too. In the end I found the piece and put it in but the junction was no better and probably even worse than it was before I’d started messing with it. In the end, after having been there for about 10 minutes I just left it and thought that the occupier will have to deal wit it when he realises that he has a really bad leak worse than he had before.

Finally there were 2 of us inside this hospital ward, me and a woman or girl. I can’t remember how this started now but we were in there talking away and I thought “I’d better go and put some clothes on in a moment” so I looked around for a dressing gown but thought “no, I may as well go down to my bed” which was a few floors below. Off I set down the stairs but someone accosted me going down the stairs and asked “do you think that there ought to be separate stairs for patients?”. I couldn’t be bothered about that so I said “yes, absolutely right” and trotted off down these stairs and ended up at my bed on floor Minus 2. it was really early in the morning and a lot of people were still asleep even though the alarm had gone off a long while ago. I had a chat with a few people while I made my bed and then went to make myself a coffee in the put but it turned out that I made soup instead – I must have opened the wrong sachet and there were these dehydrated vegetables everywhere. The lid of the pot was on wrong and that wasn’t going to help matters any. I was having a bit of a moan about this. I noticed that there was a little girl in bed, about 4 or so, asleep in one of the beds, fast asleep with her arms open really wide as if she was hugging something. I remembered that she has her big teddy bear in the cupboard underneath her bed so I thought “wouldn’t it be nice if I got her teddy out and put it on her bed so she could put her arms round it and cuddle it while she was asleep?”. Then I had another thought that I’d better get dressed, but how was I going to remember where this room was that I’d just come from that I’d go back and meet this woman? Then I realised that with it being to common day room of our particular ward it should be written on a piece of paper somewhere on a list so I ought to go and find this list and check to see which room it was that I had just come from.

With all of that going on, it’s hardly surprising that I didn’t leave the bed until 09:35, is it?

And it goes without saying that it took me all of the morning to type out all of that.

Next task was to book my few days in Belgium. Much to my surprise, the trains are actually running according to the timetable (although there is still plenty of time for all that to change of course) and in view of the fact that I had a Christmas bonus voucher from the SNCF the price of the return ticket to Brussels – 1300 kilometres of which about half is undertaken on a TGV – came to just €121:00. I reckon that that’s about the cheapest that I’ve had.

My departure is on Monday 28th December and my return will be on Sunday 3rd January, so I’ll be celebrating New Year in Belgium.

After lunch, I had a look at the kefir.

This morning I finished one of the bottles which mean that the last bottle of Kiwi Kefir went in the fridge. The next batch is ready and so I attended to that. 4 of the clementines went in the whizzer and were whizzed up nicely to extract the juice which was then passed through my nest of filters into the large 3-litre jug.

clementine kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe kefir was then poured through the nest of filters into the jug, leaving about an inch of the mother solution behind. 40 grammes (7 large lumps) of sugar, half a lemon cut into slices and a dried fig cut in half went in too, and then the bottle was filled up with 2.5 litres of water and the top sealed.

The clementine kefir was then run back through the fine filter and funnelled into the various bottles that I use, and here’s the finished solution.

That’s enough for about 5 days of medication in the morning and if it works properly (and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t) it will be delicious. I like my Clementine kefir, but I’m going to have to experiment with other varieties.

Next step, which I mustn’t forget, is to feed the sourdough. As I said, my next batch of bread is going to be a standard batch of yeast bread, just to see whether it’s my technique at fault, but I’m not going to completely abandon the idea of sourdough.

Despite still not feeling very well, I wasn’t going to let it prevent me from heading out to my afternoon walk around the headland.

colours in water rainstorm ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while it wasn’t as yet raining, I could see that at any moment it was about to, and I’m glad that i’d donned my raincoat.

You can see from here that the Ile de Chausey is shrouded in a rainstorm and quite luckily at the moment the wind is blowing out to sea. The moment the wind drops we’ll be getting all of that on our heads.

And you’ll notice that other weird phenomenon that we have sometimes over here too. The different colours in the water there. And I wish that I had a tame oceanographer handy who could explain it all to me.

marine debris peche a pied Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe high winds and damp weather were keeping most people indoors this afernoon. There can’t have been more than half a dozen folk out there this afternoon.

But there was at least one brave soul out there this afternoon. After I’d walked around the headland and started back on the other side I came across this guy out there having a go at the peche à pied to see what he could find.

And while we don’t usually see much marine debris around here, and I’ve never known for sure why, there’s some in this photo. What looks like a concrete block to his right and a sheet of moulded composite board further over.

yacht chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a little cabin cruiser in the chantier navale.

You’ll remember that I speculated that it wouldn’t be around here for very long, and it seems that I was right on that score because here she is today, gone. Conspicuous by her absence.

As for the big yacht that’s been in here since time immemorial, it looks as if she’s having a new coat of paint. So here’s hoping that the rainstorm is going to keep well away until it’s dried. It’s really not the kind of weather to be out there painting anything right now.

As for me, it wasn’t the kind of weather for me to be out there either. I came on back home for a coffee.

After the coffee I spent an hour or so working on the arrears of the summer, and then knocked off for guitar practice, which went much better. I discovered that I could even play the bass to “White Wedding” while I’m singing it, which would have astonished me three months ago.
“Hey little sister, what do you think about that?”
“It’s a nice day to start again.”

christmas lights rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallPutting down the guitar I was back out again quite quickly for my evening runs.

And it seems that I’ve started a trend. I had a letter put through my letter box by one of my neighbours to thank me for brightening up the place with my lights, and it seems that the guy who lives in the house by the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord has decided to follow suit.

There were plenty of fishing boats out there tonight but I imagine that you are pretty sick of seeing substandard photos of blurred boats beating a retreat across the Bay back to port, so I left them alone. Instead I ran on all the way round to the viewpoint over looking the Place Marechal Foch, a rund that I do in three legs, rather lake Jake The Peg.

christmas lights rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing happening there but seeing as it was before 19:30 all of the lights on the shops in the Rue Paul Poirier were illuminated.

We’d missed them by a tiny fraction of a second yesterday and I was determined not to miss them today to make up for it.

The run across the Square Maurice Marland was totally painful. I wasn’t feeling so good and the runs up to this point had been difficult, but trying to run into the teeth of a gale was agonising. I really struggled to make it across to the other side and had to stop for a few minutes.

Nothing much happening anywhere else so I ran on home from the walls and started to make tea.

And tea was very pleasant tonight because I had company. Not physical company, I hasten to add, but my friend Esi who lives in Brussels was having a Zoom party so while I was eating my tea I joined in. Curry and rice with convivial chat for an hour or so was very nice indeed and made a pleasant change. There were about a dozen or so of us all told.

But I had to leave after a while because there’s football on the internet. Caernarfon v Y Drenewydd, with the latter badly in need of some points.

But you can’t play football in a monsoon with a howling gale blowing the ball anywhere except where you want it to go. The Cofis, playing with the wind in the 1st half scored the first goal even though Newtown had the better of the chances, but in the 2nd half the boot was on the other foot as the wind helped Newtown move up the field.

And after about 75 minutes, you could se the light go on in the head of Chris Hughes, the manager of Y Drenewydd. Sitting on his bench was Jake Phillips, who probably has the longest throw in professional football right now. And with the wind behind him, he should have been on from the restart.

But onto the field he trotted – and his first task before he’d even entered the pitch was to take a throw-in. He heaved a really long throw right into the penalty area, helped by the wind. It was headed on by a Newtown attacker to a colleague who slotted it into the net to equalise.

And that’s how the game ended – one goal each. It could have been more but Tibbetts in the Cofis goal had an excellent game to keep Newtown out, but this match was never going to be entertaining in the weather that they were having and I was glad to be undercover in my apartment.

Bed now and shopping tomorrow, if I can remember to wake up in time. There’s so much that I need to buy for my Christmas cooking and it isn’t going to be easy. I’ll have to scan through my recipes before I set out and see what I need.

Thursday 17th December 2020 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… day I’ve had today.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile you admire a couple of photos of Thora leaving port under cover of darkness, let me tell you all about it.

And it all went wrong rght at the start when I missed the third alarm. And missed it by a good 35 minutes too which is extremely disappointed. It wasn’t as if I had had a late night last night either. I was actually in bed at about 23:30 which is early for me these days.

And so there I was, late again. I hauled myself off (eventually) into the kitchen for my medication and morning kefir. Kiwi kefir, which was my favourite until I discovered that clementines work well in it too (note to self – “buy more clementines”.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd then back to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been.

We were out somewhere driving last night and we got to Liège on the motorway – we’d been driving on the left as in the UK down a steep bank and everyone was going past me but I thought that when we reach the hill back up on the other side I’ll catch up with them because I had the cruise control set which will carry me on as they slow down – but we had to come off at Liège for some reason at the exit, down the slip road and turn left because the central reservation was closed off and it took us up to the Liège by-pass and we expected to be able to double back and return to the motorway again there. But apparently not. There were riot police and barbed wire all over the place. It turned out that there was a football match taking place in Liège that night between Standard Liège and some European opponent. I thought “this is some extreme to go to because of this football match” we had to inch our way along the ring road until we could arrive at the next junction. Someone else in the queue at the traffic lights to whom I was chatting counted that there were 7 sets of traffic lights between where we were and that next junction. While we were inching our way along, someone in a red Cortina S registered estate drove out of a side alley. Admittedly he was going slowly and it was impossible to see but it took me completely by surprise and nearly hit it. Then I ended up back at the EU and they were proposing a judo class so I went along to the opening lesson. There was a guy there interviewing all of the people there who wanted to join, asking about their experience. Of course with being the last to arrive they kept me until last. Then they came over to me, asked my name and what I did. I replied “as little as possible, like everyone else”. He gave me one of these tired, worn-out looks and went over to the computer screen to look up my details. I thought “if he wanted my details he should have asked for that instead of asking a silly question”. He started to scroll through but couldn’t see my name. I asked “why don’t you type me name on the screen and it will scroll right through to my name”. He replied “it won’t do that”. I said that it had been doing that for 20 years that I know of. He replied that there had been problems with the computer and it doesn’t do that. I had a look at the screen. It was all burnt and mangled, and looked a bit like a relief map of a railway line and a railway station. I was surprised that it was working at all looking like a mess like this

Having transcribed that, which took longer than it might have done, I had half an hour or so on the arrears of work from the summer before going for a shower and getting ready to go out to the shops.

normandy trader thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt looks very much as if we have a full house today down in the port right now.

Thora is still here after her adventures last night, and it’s been pretty common knowledge that Normandy Trader is really busy, so it’s no surprise to see her in port this morning.

She set out at about 03:00 so I’m told, so she’s come in on the morning tide and so Thora has had to move off into the gravel-loading bay in order to allow Normandy Trader to moor underneath the crane in order to be unloaded

I struggled up to LIDL though – not quite as bad as the last tie I went, but near enough. And I didn’t buy much today because I didn’t really need anything special. They had those nice multi-coloured AAA batteries on offer so I bought 2 packs to use for the high-quality equipment. And the clementines of course.

citroen saxo tyres marked rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe way home usually brings me down the Ru St Paul and for the past however many months there’s been a Citroen Saxo parked here. One of its windows is broken and it looks pretty much abandoned to me.

And it seems that the local council has noticed too, because since the last time that I was down here they have tagged the tyres and the road where she’s parked. The intention would seem to be to come back in after a reasonable period of time to check whether or not she has moved at all.

And if not, she’ll be taken away for disposal, I imagine.

But this tagging is interesting. In the old days the officials would note in their notebooks the position of the tyre valves in order to determine if a vehicle had or hadn’t moved. I suppose that there’s only me these days who still goes around with a notebook

Back here after a slow, weary crawl up the hill (noticing that Normandy Trader has already cleared off and that was a rapid turn-round, wasn’t it) I made myself a hot chocolate and cut myself a slice of fruit bread. And this is when I started to have problems because after about half an hour or so, no matter how many things I had to do, I crashed out completely.

And I DO mean “completely” too. It was 14:09 when I next glanced at the time – about 2.5 hours after I’d sat down. And it took me another half-hour to summon up the strength to leave the chair in search of food. You’ve no idea just how depressing that was today on top of the really bad start to the day.

But at least after lunch I managed to fit Caliburn’s new battery and he starts perfectly now too. He’s in need of a good run-out though so we might go for a little trip out on Saturday if I’m feeling up to it.

buoy people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite how I was feeling, I wasn’t going to go and miss my afternoon walk.

And neither did anyone else by the looks of things, that’s all I can say because it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the paths as crowded as they were today. Even down on the beach there were hordes of people moving around in the beautiful sunshine enjoying what may well be the last of the good weather.

And at the top of the photo towards the right you’ll notice a bright yellow buoy of some description. I’d be surprised if it were a lobster pot, so close into the shore at low tide, but who knows what it might be?

Threading my way through the throngs, I walked on along the footpath. Nothing else happening here so I walked across the lawn and the car park to the headland.

yacht cabin cruiser chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing doing there either so I walked along the path at the top of the cliffs to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale.

And it seems that we have a new tenant in there today. But it’s nothing to get excited about unfortunately. It’s only a very small cabin cruiser-type of boat and I don’t imagine that it’s going to be in there for very long, or that it will need all that much attention either.

We could do with a return to the heady days of late summer when we had as many as 9 of the largest types of boat in there receiving attention and there wasn’t room in there to swing a cat.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut down in the harbour, Thora is still there. She ended up not going out on the tail of the morning tide.

But interestingly, we saw in this morning’s photo that there was an articulated lorry pulling a trailer on which were two old shabby sea containers. The lorry and trailer have gone, but the sea containers are now on the quayside right by Thora. I wonder if she’s going to be taking them with her when she goes.

As for me, I must be going too. A nice hot coffee awaits me and I can’t say that I don’t need it. I need something to bring me to my senses, such as they are.

Back here, I did week 2 of my Welsh homework and then carried on with the arrears of work, making very little progress unfortunately. I just can’t seem to fire up the energy.

There was the hour on the guitars of course, which was quite enjoyable, except that I forgot my bass line to “Street Fighting Man” and that was disappointing. too. It’s not a very good day

In accordance with new procedures, it was time for me to go for my evening run about.

fishing boats english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou might have seen in the previous photos for earlier today that the tidal port was quite empty. There was hardly a fishing boat to be seen. And in case you are wondering where they all went, they are here.

In this photo I counted 12 fishing boats on their way back home now that the tide is a-cumen in. And there were probably just as many that didn’t make it into the frame as well.

What’s happening, I reckon, is that they are all out there catching what they can before the curtain comes down on fishing in the Bay on 31st December.

And while we’re on this subject, I heard the report of the meeting that took place the other day between the local fishermen. Basically, they have agreed that if they are restricted from the fishing grounds that were agreed under the Treaty of the Bay of Granville in 1836, then no British fishing boat will be allowed to land its catch in France.

This will complicate matters for our two coastal freighters, particularly Normandy Trader which is chartered by the Co-operative of Jersey Fishermen to bring their catch into Granville.

But I’m just surprised that they didn’t propose to cut the underwater cable that provides the Channel Islands with electricity. All of their electricity comes from here, and my way of thinking is that if they want to cut themselves off from Europe and from their obligations, then they can do, but that’s the kind of thing that works both ways.

donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord I ran off down the road until my next rest point. And I’m slowly pushing it a little further up the steep hill that’s there.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that very occasionally we have seen some very bright lights at the back of Donville les Bains, and we’ve been wondering what they might be. They were there again tonight so I took a photo o that I might have a closer look when I returned home, but nothing evident showed itself

The football ground is in that general direction, but when I was there, I don’t recall it having floodlights

christmas lights rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe next two legs of my run have changed a little. In view of the floods on the footpath I now go along the road and down the steps half-way along near the Place de l’Isthme

There wasn’t anything going on around here so I wandered over to the side. The Christmas lights in the Rue Paul Poirier were looking really good tonight. Both of the big green crosses for the chemists in the street were flashing away but as my first photo of it didn’t work too well I deleted it and went to take another.

And just as I clicked the shutter, not one but BOTH of the lights were switched off. 19:30 bang on the button. Closing time, I reckon.

crescent moon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom there I ran off across the Square Maurice Marland, straight intothe teeth of a roaring gale. I don’t know what had happened but the wind has suddenly picked up.

But as I walked up the ramp at the far end, this was far too good an opportunity to miss. the winds had blown away all of the clouds and this beautiful little sliver of a crescent moon appeared through the trees. It’s not really worked out unfortunately but never mind.

And if you look tothe left of the photograph, you’ll see the ramp that leads up to the viewpoint here that overlooks the port.

chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo I walked up the ramp to the viewpoint to see what was going on there in the port.

And I was treated to another beautiful display of nautical danse macabres as a little freighter steamed … “dieseled” – ed … into port with all of its lights ablaze. At first I thought that it was Normandy Trader either forgotten something or else she’s dome a most amazingly rapid turnround back in St Helier.

But not even Normandy Trader can turn round that quickly. It is in fact Chausiais who now wants a go at the loading crane, but she’s not going to be having that for a while.

thora marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the reason for this is that, surprisingly, Thora is still in port next to Marité. She seems to be taking her time getting in and out these days.

So I watched the procedure for a few minutes and then headed home.

As you saw at the beginning, just after I moved away Marité slipped her moorings and headed off out into the open sea on her way home again and Chausiais slid into the vacant berth.

having put my tea in the oven before I set out, I came back home to hot pie and baled potatoes with veg and gravy followed by rice pudding. Fresh sprouts were on the menu today, and with some steamed frozen broccoli it was all totally delicious.

Now that I’ve written up my notes, I’m off to bed. later than I intended, but that’s how things are these days.

There’s plenty of work to do tomorrow, a few ‘phone calls to make and that sort of thing, and then of course the arrears to attend to. So here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow than I did today. It was all quite depressing what with one thig and another.

But I am noticing little deteriorations in my health here and there. People with this illness have already died during the length of time that I have had it, and while I’m being very careful about what I do, who I meet and what I eat, and about keeping fit, I can’t go on for ever.

We’ll see what the future brings to me.

Wednesday 16th December 2020 – MY SOURDOUGH LOAF …

sourdough loaf place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… sasn’t any better than the previous one

And that’s rather disappointing because I had high hopes for this one. I sent a good deal of time kneading it and folding it and I ended up with a beautiful smooth dough that felt really lovely. So much so that I was sure that it was going to be a really good one.

But in the oven it didn’t rise by very much at all – not even as much as the one last week. It’s damp and soggy and as heavy as a brick. So I dunno what I’m doing wrong with it. Perhaps I ought to make a standard loaf next time to see whether it’s my technique that’s at fault or whether it’s my sourdough base. But the sourdough certainly looks, feels and smells like a sourdough does.

What was good though was that I managed to beat the third alarm to my feet despite a rather late night. That was a surprise and no mistake. And after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

There was a western going on last night and someone pulled up inside a town. There was a question of eyesight – you needed a permit or a licence or something and you had to have your eyes tested but where in the Wild West were you going to find a town or anyone that did it? But when this particular guy came into town there was someone loitering in the immediate who looked the suspicious type and when they went to quiz the other guy about his eyesight and so on, this guy was loitering around in the background. Anyway I’m not quite sure what happened about this eyesight but 2 toughs turned up to throw this fellow out. Ordinarily of course he could have dealt with this properly but he was rather cross-eyed and that was having him at a disadvantage and was making extremely heavy weather of this. In the end I went over to help him and between the 2 of us and about 3 or 4 really good punches we managed to lay these 2 guys out. The guy who had come into town then picked up his revolver and said something to the mayor about proving his eyesight and saying “well, I’ll have my 25 cents-worth of the town and leave the town something to think about. he put 2 bullets through the glass face of the town clock and said “right, the town can now fix that on my behalf”. And that was when the alarm went off
But there was something else that I don’t remember very much of at all, to do with the United Nations and the women were not particularly allowed to vote or express an opinion on certain matters but something came up in a small town somewhere and to everyone’s surprise not only was the motion defeated but 2 women actually voted against it. That caused something of a scandal
Someone in another place pulled out a timetable of the tides and the surprising thing about this was that it was the kind of place where there WAS a tide table and someone had actually recorded and calculated them about the arrival of the high tide in the town.
I’m sure that there was something else too that I’ve missed. I certainly remember trying to dictate it and I wish that I knew what it was.

This morning I had a couple of personal matters to deal with that involved the bank. Now that I’m a legitimate (in some respects) OAP I’m entitled to certain benefits and I need to make sure that I can claim them. That meant shuffling a few things around . For one of the things I needed some human intervention so I arranged a video appointment (this hi-tech stuff is great) for this afternoon.

And then I spent the rest of the morning on the arrears from the summer. And, as I said a day or two ago, this is going to be a very long job.

After lunch I did some tidying up and then waited for my meeting host to come on line. And waited. And waited. And after 75 minutes I called it a day. But it wasn’t a waste of time because while I was waiting I had the electric 6-string going and had my guitar practice on that.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat took me up to my afternoon walk so I stepped out of the building – right into a torrential downpour.

That’s no reason to hang around of course so I made it up the path and round the headland as quickly as I could. The only thing that was going on down there was this couple at the peche à pied, having a good scratch around in the sand for “cockles, mussels, alive alive-o, hey?”

No sign of anything different going on at the chantier navale so I had no intention of hanging around out there. The weather this afternoon was enough to dampen anyone’s ardour so I headed on home for my nice hot coffee that I remembered to drink.

having finished off one of the blog entries that needed attention, I spent the rest of the early evening researching into Chateau Gaillard. That’s my next trick – to deal with that. And that will be the last really long blog entry until I’m back in the Czech Republic. Once I’ve done the Chateau Gaillard I’m hoping that the blog entries for the following 2 weeks will be reasonably straightforward.

With another half an hour spare before I had a session with the bass guitar, I did the Welsh homework for week one. While “school’s out for Christmas” as Vince Fournier might have written, I’m going to try to do one week’s homework every day right from the beginning and try to catch up and revise.

After the bass guitar, I went off for my evening runs. And don’t ask me about any delayed action photography because the two photos that I tried on a long exposure and delayed timer were ruined by the rain that was falling.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs seems to be usual these days, I had to keep off the path underneath the walls as much as I could so I wouldn’t be swallowed up in a puddle, but I eventually reached the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

There was quite a row coming up from the waves down there and I couldn’t see much in the half-light so I took a photo “on spec”. But when I looked at it back at home, the tide was still out and there was nothing splashing up against the sea wall.

Waiting around for something to happen didn’t work either, except that I was becoming wetter and wetter, so I cleared off in a homeward direction.

thora marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I ran across the Place Maurice Marland I noticed some frenetic activity over in the harbour so I went up to the top of the walls to have a look.

And sure enough, Thora, one of the little freighters that tramps around between here and the Channel Islands is in port. And she has a full load of cars on board tonight too. It looks as if the ro-ro ferries to St Malo aren’t running again. So moored in the shelter of the illuminated Marité, she’s about to unload them

When I say “about to”, that was poetic licence too. I waited a good 10 minutes while they scurried around on deck to no good purpose and then, soaked to the skin, I headed off home. They can unload at their pleasure without me.

fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back home I stopped off on the walls to look over the fish processing plant.

On eof the failed “time lapse” photos showed three blurred lights that were trawlers I suppose heading into port. So round at the viewpoint overlooking the plant I could see them all tying up. One of them even performed an impressive danse macabre for me as it swung round 270° to line up with the quay just there.

This photo has actually come out rather well and I’m quite pleased with it. It’s one for the 5-star collection I reckon, and there haven’t been too many of those at all.

christmas lights place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the things that I mentioned that I would be doing today too was to move the Christmas lights around.

And so this evening you can see the red, white and blue ones in the window in the living room area. It seems that I’m the only one who has illuminated his apartment for Christmas, and that’s not like me at all. Usually I’m pretty … errrr … relaxed in these matters.

Back here it’s now teatime seeing as I’ve shifted my hours around due to the revised quarantine procedures. Tea tonight is taco rolls with the rest of the stuffing from the stuffed peppers, followed by more of the rice pudding.

Having written up my notes while fighting off waves of sleep, it’s bed time. Shopping tomorrow at LIDL, not that I need an awful lot, , and then Caliburn’s battery-fixing. His new windscreen wipers arrived today too but they aren’t being fitted until he’s had his new windscreen, which will be some time in the spring.

Another Welsh homework too, and we’ll see where we go after all of that.

Tuesday 15th December 2020 – I HAD ANOTHER …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But the timing of the phone call was spectacularly precise.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We shall see.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 13th December 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change just recently, I was up and about at something resembling more a respectable time of day on a Sunday – like 10:30 for example, which is a world of a difference away from 12:00 and 12:30, isn’t it?

So having taken my medicine, I went to have a listen to the dictaphone. And phew! Was I busy during the night?

I can’t remember much about the next bit that happened (I can’t even remember any first bit) at night but there was a young girl in it something like my youngest sister. I don’t know what she was doing but later I was out and they were controlling the stuff that was going out of this shop. I had a TV computer screen and took a felt-tip pen and wrote on the screen surround today’s date to make it look as if I’d actually brought this in with me rather than just buying it so that I could take it out of the store without actually paying for it but my big felt-tip pen was all discoloured and the ink didn’t show up very well on the brown surround so I had to take a felt-tip pen off them.

Later, it was my mother’s birthday and I wanted to wish her a happy birthday (don’t ask me why). I was living in Chester at the time so I had to go to Crewe. I had this idea of going with the aid of a stick where I leant all my weight on this stick and pivoted forward like that. I could work up a good rhythm with that and actually go at 7 miles per hour doing that all the way back to Crewe. But then I thought that I would have to turn round and do it all the way back again. There were all kinds of stories about how they were going to use paper boarding but this kind of thing was extremely dangerous after all they had said. There were countless people who had set out with things like this and thought that they could do really well.

Next, we had another one of my “wandering around London” dreams last night. I’d been to see my aunt with a pile of things – I think that I’d been on holiday and I’d called back there just to drop off some stuff. Then I wandered off around and met up with a friend – we were planning on having a night in. But she turned out to me a mixture of herself and my cousin in Canada and we were actually in Canada. I had to go back to her house so I got off this bus with all these people with whom I’d been chatting, and noticed that her street was under more development. They were building another restaurant so I went to talk to her about it and she explained that it was always being modernised and so on. I said that these other people had talked about this restaurant and how good it was going to be and she agreed. Then we got into her car to drive these presents round to Mary’s. But when we arrived it was after the time that their building had been locked up. I said that we ring on the bell and wait 5 minutes and she’ll let us in, then we can get ourselves organised. But she seemed to be reluctant to get out of the car to go to see her and said something about her mother who was in her 90s, the same age as my aunt. In the end I decided that I would go out as well and she would go out and maybe we would just put the presents in the letter box and come back or perhaps maybe just find the time to say a quick hello but we didn’t get to the point of making a quick decision

I was with this same friend yet again subsequently and we had been all around south-west London. She was talking about her relationships and how her husband was moving out at the end of January. I asked her if she knew for sure. Had he given her a date? She said not but reckoned that that was what it was going to be. I asked about her plans and she said that she was going to move to a place called “Sea Breezes” so if he came to look for her he wouldn’t find her. I asked her about this place and she was a bit vague about it. She said that things were going to change – the air, you would feel the sea in it and the ozone. I thought that it would have to be pretty close to the sea but she said “no, it’s in south-west London”. So we set off to go and have a look at it but we ended up being sidetracked miles off our course and we had to come back to retrace our steps. she had been on a bike and in the end she picked up another one and I picked up hers and we both cycled back and came to a place where the hill was really steep. We had to cycle down this hill at an enormous speed. I said “I hope that your brakes work on this bike that I’m riding”. She said “yes so do I”. That unnerved me a little. I had to use my foot to slow down but we reached the bottom and ended up in part of the big urban environment there. I’d lost my friend for a minute and ended up talking to a couple of women. One of them was speaking in a French accent so I started to reply in French. We had a bit of a chat. She noticed the dry ski slope and said “oh, skiers. It’s like Mont Blanc here”. I had a look and I could see someone who resembled my friend going down the slope. I thought “she’s been quick to get there” so I set off. Instead I found her standing in the middle of the road on a traffic island chatting to Jackie. There was a group of about 6 of them. I went over but kept on bumping into this guy and kept on excusing myself. He kept replying “it’s no problem” but I could see that he was starting to become irritated about this but it was a natural reaction that I couldn’t stop. Then I noticed that STRAWBERRY MOOSE wasn’t there so I asked my friend what she had done with him. She pointed “he’s over there” so Jackie went to pick him up. They were all talking to this guy who looked like someone from the OU warning him about the clothes that he was wearing – he shouldn’t go to a certain place wearing those clothes. But his clothes weren’t OU at all – they had some other logo on them that I didn’t recognise so this chat continued

It’s hardly any surprise after all of that that I didn’t have time to do very much today. Transcribing that took a lot of time

But I did find the time to make my fruit bread. Much as I enjoyed my chocolate cake, it was very fatty and probably responsible for the weight that I’m gaining. Not an ounce of fat in the fruit bread, except maybe in the oil from the ground Brazil nuts.

So that was stuck on one side again while I joined up the music tracks for my next radio programme. That’s all done too. And our journey around the World moves on into yet more uncharted territory.

helicopter english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now I was ready to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland. First thing though was to exchange pleasantries with a neighbour outside who was taking the air.

It was a good job that I was wrapped up in my rain gear as it was raining outside. And as I stepped out of the car park I noticed that our local air-sea rescue helicopter went flying by, right out there in the English Channel. Someone with his chopper out this afternoon

At first I wasn’t sure what it was because it was so far out at sea. It was only when I returned when I could enlarge the photo to see what it was.

Anyway, I set off down the track to the lawn and across and through the car park to the headland to see what was going on.

fishing boats chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the answer to that conundrum was “nothing at all”. Not even a boat anywhere out at sea. So I walked down to cross over the road and I ran off down the path on top of the cliffs seeing as there was no-one about.

There wasn’t all that much going on in the harbour either. There were no fishing boats at the fish processing plant but there was one moving around in the harbour looking as if it was going out to the fishing grounds.

There were several others moored in the harbour but they didn’t look as if they are going anywhere right now. I suppose that they are all having the day off.

jean claude rabec furniture removals chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut there was certainly something quite strange going on in the background.

The company that owns that lorry is one of the country’s leading furniture removers and you can see that from the lorry they are unloading some very large wooden crates. These are the kind of crates that you would expect to see in a long-distance furniture removal such as a removal by sea.

But why unload them at the ferry port? They can only be for Chausiais but surely it’s easier to drop them in with the crane at the loading bay in inner harbour.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here at the viewpoint on top of the cliffs, I had a look over at the chantier navale to see if there was anything new happening.

We’re still stuck at just the yacht right now. Nothing else has come in over the last couple of days since Ceres II went back into the water. Instead we can just admire the weather.

We’re having something of a rainstorm as you can see. The Pointe de Carolles over there in the background is shrouded in thick cloud and the rain is quite heavy out in the centre of the bay and it looks as if it’s settled in for the night.

sunset baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut out in the Baie de Mont St Michel the weather conditions aren’t quite as dismal.

We’re having another one of these “sunshine streaming through the heavy cloud” moments across near the Brittany coast, with the rain coming down to the North (on the right) and the South (on the left). In the centre of the image the corner of the cliffs by Cancale and the sea off the coast are really nicely illuminated by the rays of the sun.

But I wasn’t going to hang around to admire it for too long. I was becoming rather wet what with all of this rain. I turned on my heel and headed for home and my coffee, which I forgot to drink.

Instead I kneaded the bread a second time and shaped it, then dropped it into a greased tin to rise again. And having taken a lump of frozen dough out of the freezer earlier, I added some more flour to what was a wet mix, and then kneaded, rolled and shaped it, and stuck it in a pizza tray.

vegan pizza fruit bread rice pudding Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLiz was on line so we had a chat and I did some more work, but later on I put on the oven and when it was warm, stuck the bread in the oven, and then added a rice pudding to the oven as well.

While it was cooking, I prepared the pizza. I had no peppers and, unfortunately, I forgot the olives. But when the bread and rice were cooked, the pizza went into the oven.

The pizza was soon cooked and it was absolutely delicious – one of the best that I’ve made. The bread was left to cool and then stuck in a tin and the rice pudding ended up back into the oven to finish off as it wasn’t quite cooked.

I wasn’t hungry so I didn’t try it. That will be for tomorrow.

casino plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I went for my perambulations around the medieval city walls – not that I was feeling much like it and which I won’t be able to do when the 20:00 curfew comes into force on Tuesday.

As seems to be the case these days I kept to the dry land up on top of the walls and the view from up there is different from what I usually see, as is the case with the view over the Plat Gousset.

Down on the path I ran all the way round and after having a pause, ran off around and through the Square Maurice Marland towards home.

christmas lights rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallback on the walls again, I had to remind myself that there’s a little point where you can see the Christmas lights of the Rue Lecampion and I haven’t photographed those yet.

You can see right down the street into the Place Generale de Gaulle and the blue lights on the Mairie that we saw a couple of days ago from up on top. And in the distance in the top right-hand corner you’ll see the lights at the top of the Rue Couraye.

So back here I wrote up my notes ready to go to bed. I’ve already started writing the notes for the radio programme so I’m hoping that I can finish them and have time to go to the shops before lunch. But that remains to be seen. It’s more important to have a decent sleep and a good start in the morning.

But we’ll see about that tomorrow too.

Saturday 12th December 2020 – I DIDN’T …

… go to the shops today. I went outside to start Caliburn but his battery was flat and he wouldn’t start.

The battery has been somewhat feeble for a while so it’s not a big deal, and it was a second-hand battery anyway. So I’ve ordered a new one off the internet and it’ll be here by the end of next week. I can survive by that.

Last night’s late night meant that I only had 4.5 hours or so of sleep, and it felt like it too. But I still managed to beat the third alarm to my feet. After the meds and a shower I made a start on the arrears again until it was time to leave.

With Caliburn not starting, I took his battery off and put it on charge (and that battery charger took some finding too) to see what it might do. But it’s only a trickle-charger and with the battery being down at 11.7 volts it’s going to take quite a while to build up the charge and to hope that the battery will hold it.

The time that I spent at the shops, I chose the rest of the music for the radio programme that I’ll be recording on Monday. I might have to nip out to the shops on Monday for the supplies that I didn’t buy today so I need to be in advance and not waste the time. Let’s see what good I can do with all of that tomorrow if we have time.

christmas tree place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter lunch I had a go at putting up the Christmas decorations. Even though I don’t feel at all festive, I ought to make some kind of effort and make it look as if I’m enjoying myself.

And so I erected my little tree and stuck the Christmas balls on it, and then wrapped a garland of LED lights around it. Now the living room looks a little better and brighter as if Christmas is actually going to come.

And while I was at it, I switched on the heating in there too. The temperature has dropped alarmingly right now and winter is on its way.

christmas decorations place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was looking for the battery charger I came across another garland of LED lights that I couldn’t remember ever buying.

So while I was at it, I strung them up in the window in the dining area (which wasn’t easy) and then switched them on.

Now it looks extremely festive – but I do have to say that this will be all that I’m doing as far as Christmas goes. I just want t find some marzipan to go on top of my ginger spice cake, and some seitan slices for my Christmas dinner to go with my roast potatoes.

But all of that wiped me out and I ended up having 20 minutes of deep sleep on the chair. And when I say “deep” I DO mean “deep”. In fact I even went off on my travels. I was working in an office and all of the desks were arranged rather strangely in it. Mine was tucked away behind the door so when it was opened you couldn’t see me. I was doing something and ended up having to go for a wander around the building and a group of people was congregating by the door. I said something along the lines of “it says here that we have to get to know new people and make friends with them. If this next next girl who arrives has won £5,000 on the lottery I shall certainly be making friends with her!” Everyone immediately turned round and said “what new girl? Has she really won the money on the lottery?” they hadn’t realised that I was just being funny and making a wisecrack. They were taking it all so seriously. I thought that it’s best to get on my way. I picked up this coat which was like a cardigan but big and heavy and went all the way down to your calves. I really liked this. I thought that it was wonderful so I picked it up and started to walk back to my desk but someone else came up to me and started to talk about this girl again. I thought “my God, what have I started now?”

st martin de brehal Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was time now for me to go out for my afternoon walk before anyone rang me up and detained me.

It was another one of those days where everywhere was overcast and with the odd gaps in the clouds with the sun shining through. And through one of the gaps the sun was shining right onto the town of St Martin de Brehal and illuminating it like something on stage in a theatre.

We’ve seen quite a few views similar to this before but this is certainly one of the best that we have seen.

rainstorm brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOff I trotted along the path around the headland and if we look in that direction things are somewhat different over there.

That is the West over there and the sun goes down in that direction, so it’s usually brighter. But there’s another exciting phenomenon over there in that despite the brightness, there’s a huge rainstorm going on down the Brittany coast. Someone is having a soaking and no mistake.

We were lucky at the moment because we were still in the dry but there was no doubt that it was on its way. There were a few others out there but everyone was slowly heading away.

sunlight cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route continued across the lawn and across the car park to see what was going on out in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

And today, we are treated to probably the best view that we have ever had of Cancale in Brittany. Over there on the top of its cliff the church and some of the building stands out really well in silhouette against the very bright sky in the background.

And then of course we have a rainstorm as well over to the right. That’s a terrific rainstorm too and I wouldn’t like to be out there in that when it makes it over here.

yacht waves sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd so I headed off homewards along the top of the cliff down the other side of the headland.

The wind was blowing extremely strongly but as yesterday, blowing in the wrong direction and so despite the high tide, the waves weren’t crashing onto the sea wall at all but rolling off around the end. That’s rather a shame. I was expecting quite a show this afternoon. The guy walking around the top will be pretty safe but the yacht will be having a bit of a rough time.

With nothing else much going on outside today, I turned and headed for home and my mug of hot coffee. And the football on the internet. It was that time already.

A top-of-the-table crunch match between perennial champions TNS and Connah’s Quay Nomads, the team that was adjudged to have won the championship in the curtailed season last time round. In the first 5 minutes TNS had three gilt-edged chances to score but Nomads reserve keeper Oliver Byrne did really well to keep them out.

As the game developed it was clear to me at least that while TNS were playing the more skilful football, they didn’t look likely to score. Nothing seemed to be going their way up front. And neither did the Nomads, until all of a sudden round about the 60th minutes, when the Nomads scored 2 goals out of nothing at all, one right after the other.

There was a strange team selection out there, and then the manager made a strange decision in a couple of substitutions that saw them play for about 10 minutes without a striker at all. When they finally did bring Greg Draper on to play up front, it was far too late to do any good and the Nomads held on to win and draw level at the top of the table.

But I was bewildered by the TNS side. Greg Draper is by far the most lethal striker who has ever played in the Welsh Premier League but for reasons about which I can only speculate he only plays for about 15 minutes of every match. if he’s fit and healthy, he should be on the field for 90 minutes every match.

And Anton Cieslewicz is the most difficult, solid, aggressive attacking midfielder to play against and who would also be one of the first names on my team sheet, but he was also on the bench and I didn’t understand that decision either.

Both he and Draper should have been on the pitch from the start and have put some steel into the TNS side. Once Ebbe missed those couple of sitters he drifted right out of the game and Mullan was totally anonymous throughout the match.

Tea was a burger on a bap followed by a slice of frozen apple pie with the last of the banana sorbet. And now that there’s plenty of room in the freezer I could freeze the remainder of the curry from yesterday. As you can gather, I’m starting to fill up the freezer with cooked meals again having been through and slowly emptied it over the last 6 months.

man installing christmas decorations rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Halllater on I went out for my evening run around the walls, and I’ve never ever felt less like doing it than I did this evening.

But at least I had a little smile to myself as I went down the Rue St Jean. It seems that I’m not the only person putting up Christmas decorations this evening. This guy was out there stringing up a few of them outside his house.

having taken my photograph I drew my breath for a while and then headed off down the Rue du Nord at a run. I didn’t go down the footpath because of the state of the footpath and all of the rain that we have been having, so I carried on to the Place de l’Isthme.

christmas lights rue paul poirier place des corsaires Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was up there I walked across to the other side and there, there was a view that I hadn’t seen before.

Well, I had, but not at night with the Christmas lights in the Place des Corsaires. We haven’t seen them yet so I took a photo.

As an aside, starting on the 15th of December there’s a curfew of 20:00, with just a pause on Christmas Eve so that’s going to be the only chance that I’ll have to take a photo of them, so you can bet your life there will be a torrential downpour on Christmas Eve.

christmas lights place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith no-one about I ran on across the Square Maurice Marland and then walked around the walls.

From up on the walls there was a good view of the Christmas lights in my apartment. Unfortunately we can’t see the lights from the Christmas Tree which is a shame. And so I carried on home to write up my notes for the day.

Sunday is a Day of Rest but I have to make some fruit bread for next week. Much as I like my chocolate cake, it’s far too fattening, I reckon. We’ll see how the fruit bread goes. Luckily I have a banana left.

And then I need to find the time to combine into pairs the music that I’ve chosen for next week. If I can do that tomorrow I’ll be where I want to be and hopefully I can go shopping on Monday afternoon with the radio programme finished.

We shall see.

Thursday 10th December 2020 – ISN’T IT NICE …

christmas lights marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… when you see that someone has actually read something that you’ve posted and actually gone out and acted on it?

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days ago when we were discussing the miserable array of Christmas lights around the port, and I aid something to the effect that I thought that at least they might have made an effort with Marité and having lights strung up in the rigging?

It seems that whoever they are in charge of her have read what I have had to say on the subject and strung up some lights in the rigging as I suggested. But you can’t exactly say that they have pushed the boat out, can you? I’ve seen far better lights than these in my time, as I’m sure you have.

All in all, it’s a rather disappointing effort and they could – and should – have done so much better with this. But at least they’ve read my notes and done something.

But what a bad day I had today.

And that’s a shame because it started off so well as I beat the third alarm to my feet – something that it always good news.

With the medication today I tried the mint cordial-flavoured Kefir that I had made but it wasn’t anything special and was also pretty inert which was a shame. I’d expected something much more lively.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone. I was working on my own with doing a videographic thing and this kid and her mother had done some kind of magic performance and her father asked me if I could add it on to a video which I agreed that I would do. But it wasn’t going to turn out as easy as I thought because some of it needed cutting out because it was too long but there was music on there and it would disrupt all the sequencing so I had to think of a way in which I could do that. The father was very precise about the bits he wanted including in this film and I started to be worried about whether I had the technology to actually be able to do it despite what i’d been telling people. First I’d have to look for a video editing program but I don’t have one of those.

I was with Castor last night in a pub in south-west London (hello Castor!) but I can’t remember very much about it except that she went to the bathroom and was gone for ages and ages and I was wondering if she’d run out on me again. Eventually she came back. We’d been talking about doing a furniture removal, something like that for her. She said that people she knew had some stuff. They lived in a place called Abbey Sides. They said that it was only like a 5 minute walk away. I had a look on the A to Z and she was right – it wasn’t all that far away from where we were. I suggested that we drank up and went to have a look. For some reason this was taking an awful lot longer than it ought to have done. But I don’t remember any of the rest of this and I can’t really remember the beginning either.

After that, I had a shower and shock! horror! I cut my hair! Now I look a little more human. And I wish that I’d weighed myself after I’d cut it, something that might have made me feel better.

After the shower I made a start on some of the arrears of my trip to Central Europe. It’s one of the three big ones today – the one where I spend a whole day in Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic and this is going to take ages to deal with – there are about 50 photos in this.

Before setting off to the shops I had to pay a bill – or, at least, write out a cheque to pay a bill. The rates on my house in France are due again. And I bet that you wish you only paid … gulp … €26:00 per annum for your rates.

unloading goods at quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was cold this morning as I went down into town, so I was glad that I had taken my gloves.

They make it easy to operate my camera and so when I saw a lorry and a fork lift truck unloading goods at the quayside it was a pretty straightforward operation to take a photo. At least the camera was charged today.

But this unloading can only mean one thing of course. And that is that either Normandy Trader or Thora is heading this way from the Channel Islands, or even now that there’s quite a pre-Christmas and pre-Brexit rush on, that Chausiais is going to be doing another little run.

setting up christmas entertainment place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo down the Rampe du Monte Regret I went and up the Rue Lecampion into town.

Just here in the Place Charles de Gaulle they seem to be setting up some kind of stall for street entertainment, presumably for the Christmas period. I suppose that Christmas still has to go on, even if I have never felt as less Christmassy as I am feeling right now.

All the decorations in the town are there too, and I’ll come by one evening in the dark when (hopefully) they will be illuminated, and take a photo of them to add to the records.

But instead, I posted my letter in the post office and pushed on.

steps from rue couraye down to rue roger maris Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubish will recall that several weeks ago I stumbled by accident upon a little alley in the Rue Couraye that had steps going down to the level below.

It was an alley that I hadn’t noticed before, and it’s been my goal to track down the other end and see to where it leads. So when I reached the end of the Rue du Bosq I had a look around and sure enough, I could see it leading down into the Rue du Marias just on the corner.

And from here it looks as if it goes through someone’s terrace. I’m not convinced that that’s a popular idea with some people.

At LIDL I didn’t buy very much, and nothing at all out of the ordinary except a ginger spice cake. I’m going to find some marzipan at the weekend and marzipan it and then ice it. It won’t be the same as a Liz Messenger cake, but it will be the best that I can do.

pedestrian passsage rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back home, this delightful little notice here caught my eye.

There are building works going on all over the place and in the Rue St Paul there are at least three houses undergoing renovation. This is one of them and they have fenced off the front and indicated to pedestrians that they must somehow squeeze through the gap between the fence and the wall, unless they would like you to go through the window.

Either way, you need to be either very thin or very athletic so that rules me out. I walked around in the street.

By now the weather had broken and it was raining quite heavily. I was becoming soaked to the skin going home.

Back here I had a hot chocolate and some cake, and then promptly passed out fast asleep. And it was awful – one of these really deep sleeps that makes me feel so awful. I was stark out for an hour and then it took me an hour to come round, so awful was I feeling.

After lunch I crashed out again but I did manage to do some kind of work here and there on my day in Karlovy vary

fishing boat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut by now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

The rain had stopped falling by now but the wind was blowing somewhat and the sea was rather rough. This little fishing boat was making rather heavy weather of the journey back from the fishing grounds this afternoon back to the harbour.

And I now know why it is that these fishing boats have a roof over the deck like this. It’s to prevent the seagulls, who usually follow the boats in to harbour, from diving down and helping themselves to some of the catch.

rainbow english channel hauteville sur mer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was looking around, I noticed the view down the Cotentin Peninsula, and there was some astonishing stuff going on there as you can see.

The first thing of note was the rainbow underneath the clouds. We’ve had plenty of rainbows around here and this one is unfortunately far from the best, but it will do to be going on with.

The second thing is the sunlight. You might have to click on the image to see it but there’s a shaft of sunlight shining right down on the town of Hauteville sur Mer, illuminating it like a spotlight would on a stage.

We’ve seen quite a few of that phenomenon just recently too.

normandy trader english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou will remember earlier that we saw them unloading a pile of merchandise on the quayside and I speculated that one of the Jersey Freighters may well be on her way in.

Well, not only has one of them come in, she’s going out too on the same tide. That’s Normandy Trader heading back out to sea with a full load on board, having undergone probably one of the quickest turnrounds yet.

If she’s turning round as quickly as this in port, it’s hardly surprising that we haven’t seen her all that often even though I know that she’s been on her way in. And the same with Thora too. I bet that we have also missed her loads of times.

sun baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo after watching her fighting her way through the waves on her way home, I walked on around the corner and across the lawn and the car park to see what was going on in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

There’s nothing actually happening right now out there, but we are being treated to another one of these late-afternoon winter suns of which we have seen plenty just recently. If you thought that it looked impressive over at Hacqueville sur Mer just now, how about this for a spectacle?

This is probably just about the best one so far. It’s come out really well and if you look carefully, underneath the cloud you can see the Brittany coast.

yacht chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot wishing to hang about too long, I trotted off down the path, across the road (where there was no dog to annoy me) and then down the path overlooking the clifftop, doing my best to avoid falling into one of the very large puddles.

And look at this! There’s been a change of occupant in the chantier navale, so it seems. Ceres II has departed now and our yacht is in there all on its own.

It’s going to be pretty lonely there if it doesn’t find any shipmates to come and keep it company. Not that I’m wishing ill on anyone, but we need a busy shipyard here so that we can have a thriving port.

ceres 2 going back into the water chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut where has Ceres II gone to? She can’t have been gone long because the van that has been attending to her is still there.

The answer is that I reckon she’s there. The portable boat-lift still has its engine running so it’s been working quite recently. And that array of aerials and ancillary equipment that you can just about see looks as if it’s off Ceres II.

So I just about missed her going back into he water, which was a shame. But never mind. I decided to push on for home and a hot coffee, and do some work. There’s plenty of it, right enough.

Unfortunately my bad day carried on and instead of working I ended up crashed out yet again. This is absolutely no good at all and I wish that there was something that I could do about it. But it’s the story of my life right now and it isn’t going to improve.

After my guitar practice, which went according to plan, I had tea. I finished off the last of the fresh broccoli along with other steamed veg with some veggie balls and vegan cheese sauce, followed bu apple pie.

And while we are on the subject of tea, they had a big pack of mushrooms (well, it is the season, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall from the other day) on special offer in LIDL today so I must remember to do a pan of lentils in the morning ready to make a lentil, mushroom and potato curry tomorrow.

And if I leave the eyes in the potatoes, then it’ll see me through the week.

st helier jersey channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy runs tonight were rather half-hearted and although I completed them all (keeping to dry land) I can’t say that I was inspired.

But it was a really beautiful night to be out, another one of those occasions where I could see for miles. St Helier and Jersey could be seen with the naked eye 58 kilometres away and in the phot you can even see the red lights on the radio tower at the back of town.

That’s a hand-held photo by the way. It’s far too windy to take the tripod out at the moment but I’ll be out there with it one of these days when the wind calms down.

christmas lights rue des corsaires Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing much happening elsewhere either. It was all rather disappointing.

The lights down in the Rue des Corsaires were visible so I took a quick photo and then cleared off for my run across the Square Maurice Marland, where battling against a gale-force headwind thoroughly exhausted me. But I had a look at the lights on Marité and then ran on to home and warmth

And before I went to bed I did a little radio work. I had the music going on in the background, the music from which I’ll be choosing the tracks for the next programme, and two absolutely ideal tracks came up. So I’ve been dealing with them. I may as well make a head start.

But now I’m off to bed. Plenty to do tomorrow still land I really don’t feel like doing it, but I have to crack on, I suppose. It won’t do itself.