Tag Archives: college malraux

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 10th June 2021 – IT SEEMS THAT …

century 21 electric bicycle place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… the phrase “The Office Bike” has a completely different meaning here in France than it does in the UK.

There was an estate agent in the building dealing with an apartment that’s for sale in the building (it’s way overpriced so don’t worry) and sticking visiting cards in everyone’s letter box. And instead of a company car, he has a company electric bicycle on which he can get about the town.

How times are changing. I suppose that it’s better than going on a private jet.

As for me, I’ve had a better day today. And it’s high time that I had one of those, isn’t it?

In bed slightly earlier than usual just recently but it was a disturbed, tossing and turning and cold sweat night. That’s a few of these sweaty nights that I’ve had just recently, and the reason why I comment on them is because they ask me about them at hospital. It’s a possible side-effect of one of my medication, but I can’t remember which one.

Tons of stuff on the dictaphone to whet my appetite.

Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson had won an adventure and thewere seeing this out of the way when suddenly something even more new and terrible came along from somewhere in the Indian Ocean which had nee, inspired by Moriarty, which was when I awoke in a cold damp sweat again

There was something in this dream as well about me having an old Vauxhall, old car, a big old Ford type of thing – I can’t remember now. I’d been at work and taken very ill again. I’d ended up spending most of the morning fast asleep in a bed. In the afternoon I decided to go home. The illness was far too much for me to cope with now. There was some firewood to put on the fire and I wondered if I was actually going to leave it or whether I ought to take it. I thought that if I take it then I could use it and they won’t miss it here. I picked up and went outside. It was Clifton Avenue and my car was outside covered in snow. It had been pouring down with rain and my car was covered in snow, damp snow. I went down and got in and started the engine. Then some kind of Hillman Minx came up behind me followed by a Vauxhall Cresta. The Hillman Minx did a U-turn at the end and drove back down the hill again totally followed by this Vauxhall Cresta. Then about 3 minutes later this Hillman came back and did the same thing again only this time it went onto the pavement to do its U turn down the far side of my van – car and then back off. It came back a 3rd time with this car pursuing it and there was an awful row, these people shouting. I was wondering what was happening so I was interested in following them so I could see. So I got to turn the corner with some tight manoeuvres to get round and end up behind them without making it public what I was trying to do with the third vehicle, third parking space. I had to go into Jubilee Avenue to turn round and ended up on Wistaston Road (actually Stewart Street) at one time so I had to turn round again to get behind these cars
At a car park where the cattle market used to be and there were cars being stripped down there. They would just come and dump them and Shearings used to pick up there and we’d always find a few cars dumped. One day I went down there and there was another one dumped. Well there were 4 or 5 but this one was encroaching onto our field and I had to move it out of the way. Then I noticed that all of my tools were there. Someone had broken into my car and pinched all my tools and had been using them to work on one of the abandoned vehicles and had scattered my tools and equipment and everything all over the place everywhere and I wasn’t very well but I had to spend all this time picking them up. It really annoyed me, not just the fact that people had stolen them but they couldn’t be bothered to put them back or even in any kind of resemblance of being tidy after all the effort that I’d made to sort them out and tidy them up in the past

There had been a reorganisation of electoral boundaries in Crewe. Where I lived had been moved into another constituency area for the town but this was an area that was heavily dominated by the Conservatives and my area was a marginal seat held by the opposition. I felt that this was a way of trying to win that particular seat for the Conservatives by moving the boundary to move out some of the people who would be voting against them at the election and I was trying to write a letter of complaint to the CSEB about this but I couldn’t find the address and no-one there seemed to be able to find it either but I wanted to complain about this gerrymandering

Did I say anything about a group of us? Four of us were together and we had some kind pf hire car from somewhere. We’d all ended up staying in a room in a hotel. A couple of people had the itch and decided that they wanted to move on so I’d awoken and started to assemble a fishing rod with the idea that I was going to go out and fish for things as a way of doing something different. But gradually one by one 2 other people awoke and the 3 of us decided that we would all move away and leave that person behind. The guy assembled all of his stuff and went off to the bathroom to have a bath while the girl started to prepare a ton of make-up. I thought to myself that the idea of makeup was not what I had in mind. We were going to be footloose and fancy-free and all to do with nature, getting back to basics and going back to our roots. Putting on a ton of makeup and foundation cream and all that kind of thing had nothing to do with what I was intending

After the medication I had to sort out all of the paperwork that I’m taking to the doctor. There’s so much of that now that it’s difficult to know where to turn. After that I had a shower and in the few minutes that remained I edited some of my photos from August 2019 in Wyoming.

When it was time to go out I hit the streets.

scaffolders college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as you might expect, my attention was distracted the moment that I stepped out of my front door here.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the scaffolding that has covered the building here since late summer last year. That’s the company that installed it, and they are here with a large pick-up and a pretty big lorry armed with a crane.

All of this can only mean one thing, and that is that they have come to collect the scaffolding. It’s taken them long enough to complete the job and as you saw in the photo a week or so ago, the job looks as if it’s finished. So with a bit of luck the scaffolding will be gone by the time that you read this. I can check when I go out this afternoon, if I remember.

skip lorry place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallthat wasn’t all that was going on right outside my door either. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw the skip lorry here yesterday. Well here he is again.

It’s not clear at all if he’s been bringing an empty skip or going to take away a full one. He was parked up in this position when I came out, and didn’t move for the whole time that I was outside here, so I’ve no idea what he was up to.

And as it happens, I was out there for a while too. One of my neighbours was also outside waiting for someone who was coming to pick her up. We had quite a little chat, and then she climbed into her friend’s car and I cleared off down the road towards the doctor’s for my appointment.

pointing rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing is the pointing work that’s being undertaken on the wall by the Rampe du Monte à Regret by one of these Job Creation Schemes.

The progress was slow as you might expect from one of these Organisations and its puplis, not that there was much supervision, but now it seems that the work has ground to a halt. Not only have all of the students departed, leaving the wall unfinished, but they have taken away all of the scaffolding too.

Wasn’t that something of a flash in the pan? Unless of course it’s to do with the summer tourist season and they will be back once the tourists have cleared off home again.

At the doctor’s, he and I had a good chat. He had a report from the hospital and he was greatly concerned about the amount of blood that they took from me during my operation. Apparently it’s no surprise that I’m tired and exhausted with all of that.

He reckons that it will be a long hard road before I’m feeling myself again, and I can’t even do that right now. They say that a man has a brain and … errr … something else, and only enough blood to work one at a time. I don’t even have that at the moment.

He gave me some information that I requested and wrote out a prescription for my medication. I know that I usually pick it up in Belgium and I still shall, but I want to be a couple of months ahead in case I go off on a ramble some time and need to build up a stock.

Interestingly, he had a stock of Lyrica in this office and he gave it to me. I forget now how many times I’ve been given this from different people now. I suppose they can’t dispose of it, except to people like me. But I suppose that it’s safe for me to take it because I had all of the side effects before I started to take it. “impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless” – I was all of that even before I was ill, never mind all of the rest.

So after having gone through all of that, the doctor threw me out and I headed off for LIDL.

workmen preparing base of terrace rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere in the Rue Couraye we have some excitement going on this morning.

The mayor has passed some kind of rule or regulation that cafés and the like can occupy one car parking space in the street outside their premises, or as near as they can get, to make some kind of outside terrace, if they don’t already have one, in order to welcome the tourists in the nice weather.

It looks as if we are having another one installed here, although I can’t see who would be occupying it as there doesn’t seem to be a café or restaurant just here. I suppose I’ll have to wait and see who moves in to occupy it once it’s finished.

At LIDL I didn’t buy all that much. mainly because I couldn’t carry it. You’ve no idea how difficult it was just to bring me up the hill. The hill at the other end of town in the Rue des Juifs is just as steep and just as long and to go up there with a load of shopping is not my idea of fun.

One thing that I did buy was a litre of drink, which I demolished quite quickly. My raging thirst has come back again, and in spades too.

After leaving LIDL I headed for home via the Rue St Paul.

portacabin rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that several months ago we witnessed them demolish the old café on the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo.

Very shortly afterwards, a planning notice for several apartments went up on the site, and it looks as if it’s been granted because we now have a portacabin office and another temporary building on site. Who knows? They might even be starting work sometime soon if we aren’t careful.

But the answer to the scaffolding question that I posed earlier has now been resolved, jusding by a notice that I saw stuck on the building. The mayor has banned the erection of all scaffoldings and the like for the period until September this year, in order to keep the town pretty for tourists.

So now we know.

home made bread rice pudding place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo now that I’m ready to have my lunch, let me show you my culinary delights for today.

Not much in the way of excitement. Just a beautiful, soft loaf of bread and a rice pudding for dessert for the next few days. The rice pudding is quite nice, because I had a little sample when it was cooked. As for the bread, I think that I have that sussed now because it really was nice and tasty. I’ll go with that.

After lunch I had a few things to do –

  1. ring up for a Covid test. But that was a waste of time because they are only open in the morning. I’ll have to try again tomorrow.
  2. try to change an appointment in Leuven next month. This new app thing has a facility to send messages, so I did. Whether it works or not is another question.
  3. Book my accommodation in Belgium. And he’s given me a nice discount, for which I’m always grateful. They do look after me there.
  4. Book my rail trip to Leuven. The bit from here to Brussels was fine but on the SNCB for some reason every time that I tried to pay for my ticket, it was refused, no matter which card I used. However, on the app it worked fine first time and I don’t understand that at all.



As a result, all of that took far longer than it should have done.

The rest of the day apart from desperately fighting off waves of fatigue, I’ve been splitting LPS that I digitalised into their individual tracks. Due to an error in the admin side at the radio where the broadcast of a programme was missed, I’ve ended up with a vacant week and I don’t really know what to do with it.

Several suggestions have come to my mind, but the one that I’ve decided on is that I have piles of stuff that hasn’t yet been allocated into their parent groupings, and some of them are new artists with no previous example of their work anywhere in my broadcasts. And so I’m going to do a programme of completely new, unique and individual stuff.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou’ve already seen the photo of the bike that I took on my way out of the building, so here’s one of the beach that I took next.

With nothing on the car park right now to distract me I wandered off to look over the wall down onto the beach and blimey! Where has the water gone? The tide is well out to sea today. And to my surprise, despite the nice day, there were probably no more than half a dozen people on the beach that I could see.

But there’s an interesting phenomenon over there on the horizon, something about which I’ve talked … “AT GREAT LENGTH” – ed … elsewhere ON ANOTHER OCCASION.

Yes, the bank of cloud in the background. There’s a clear blue sky and hardly any cloud today but the prevailing winds that are coming from the west from over the sea have picked up an amount of water vapour water vapour. The air has to rise up to clear the cliffs and the hills over there on its way into the interior and this causes the air to cool down and so the water vapour condenses and forms clouds.

That’s one of the ways in which ancient mariners could tell if they were near land, by seeing the cloud formations.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOut there at sea again today is the yellow inshore fishing boat that we’ve seen on several occasions just recently.

And I’m slowly coming round to the conclusion that maybe it isn’t the same yellow boat that we saw up on blocks in the chantier navale earlier in the year. If you look very carefully, down the side of the hull you’ll see a wide black stripe edged in white. I don’t recall seeing that on the boat that was in there.

There wasn’t anyone else out there close enough for me to photograph – they were all too far away – so I left them to it and I set off along the path to do my lap around the headland with the madding crowds that were thronging around this afternoon

aeroplane 50 nj pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt some point or other, as I wended my weary way along the clifftop, I was bound to be overflown by an aeroplane this afternoon.

And it’s another one about which I know very little, if nothing at all. I can’t even see its registration number properly. It might be 50-NJ in which case it’s definitely a new one on me. But whatever it is, it’s another one of these strange series of numbers that crop up quite regularly in one manner of another.

No point in looking for a flight plan because it won’t have filed one. And it won’t have flown high enough to have been picked up on radar, so basically we can forget all about this one. I really must make an effort and go out to the airport to make further enquiries..

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLe Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour, was looking very nice today.

What were even nicer was the large black dog and the girl who was looking after him. At one point there was a photo crying out to be taken but just as I was about to take it, they both moved and the moment was gone. I had to take one of Le Loup instead.

And from this photo you can tell how far the tide is out today. The rock on which the light sits is actually exposed, but when the tide is right in, it’s almost up to the lower of the two red bands. I suppose that the red bands are there so as to give any ancient mariner an idea of what the tide is doing.

yacht rebelle trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we’ve had yet another change of occupier today in the chantier navale. It’s all happening in there.

My walk along the clifftop on the other side of the headland took me to the viewpoint overlooking the port where I could see what happening.

And there’s been a tactical substitution of trawlers today. Hera, the trawler that has been there for a while has now gone back into the water and another trawler has come in to join the yacht Rebelle.

I can’t see who she is but I can see that she’s having some electric arc welding being done on the bottom of her hull, and there’s an angle grinder working around the other side so it’s all systems go down there with that boat.

microlight aircraft baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith nothing else of note happening down there I headed for home, on the way to which I was overflown yet again.

This time it was a microlight or U.L.M on its way out for a lap around the bay. It’s certainly been a very busy day with so much going on.

Back at the apartment I carried on splitting LPs until it was time for guitar practice, which for some reason tonight was pretty gruesome. I’ve no idea why I’ve lost my touch and my co-ordination. I was glad when I could knock off and go for my tea tonight.

And having bought or made the necessary, I had stuffed peppers and rice for tea followed by rice pudding, which was delicious.

But I’m totally exhausted now and I’m off to bed. And I need it, and I deserve it. It’s been a hard day and I shall be glad of some rest.

Friday 4th June 2021 – CAN YOU IMAGINE …

… the shame of crashing out and falling asleep while you are talking to someone on the telephone.

And not once, but twice too, and to the same person. And I was definitely away with the fairies too because the second time that I slipped off there was a young schoolgirl in a traditional blue girls’ winter uniform handing me a piece of paper.

Mind you, it was one of my marathon chats that go on for, in this case, almost … errr … three hours, and you know just how well I’m (not) coping with afternoons just now.

Mornings though, I seem to be OK just now with those because once again I was up and about with the first alarm at 06:00. Feeling extremely perky too, which makes a change. Yes, lucky perky. As long as pinky doesn’t become jealous.

So after the medication, which takes much longer than it used to, first task was to see where I’d been on the dictaphone during the night.

And the answer was “nowhere”.

But never mind, that means that I have to edit two day’s worth of arrears of blog rather than one. And you can see where I’ve been, nocturnal voyages included, by going to THIS LINK and then THE FOLLOWING PAGE.

With that out of the way I took the bull by the horns and spent an hour revising my Welsh ready for next Thursday’s exam. Yes, me revising! Whatever next?

Well, next was dealing with a pile of correspondence that had built up. And I hop that Sean received my mail this morning. I had trouble getting it through.

And with that done, I made myself some hot chocolate, grabbed a slice of fruit bread (which is delicious by the way) and attacked the photos, bringing myself all the way to Independence Rock in Wyoming. That’s a very big, prominent rock in the middle of the Upper Wyoming Plain by the side of the Sweetwater River near Avoca.

It’s one of the more important trail markers and the emigrants on the trail and the emigrants on the Trails West reckoned that they needed to be there by Independence Day if they were to pass over the Rockies before the snows.

Edwin Bryant and his party, having broken away from the Donners due to their slowness and pushed on on their own, didn’t reach Independence Rock until 8th July 1846 and travelling much quicker with mules rather than waggons, they were still caught in frost up in the Rockies at the end of August.

The Donners didn’t arrive until 11th July and with no sense of urgency whatsoever, plodded on quite casually meeting disaster after disaster until the end of October when they were trapped in the snow near Truckee Lake at the foot of the Rockies and with no provisions remaining, began to eat each other.

Talking of eating, by the time that I’d done almost 50 photos it was lunchtime so I went to have lunch. That bread that I made is beautiful of course so I had a lovely lunch, and then I set to make a pile of hummus.

Or at least, I would have done had I had enough tahini. I’m certain that I had a couple of jars of it last time that I looked but like several other things that I’ve looked for in that kitchen, they are no longer there. I did what I could with what I had and while it will be a rather strange hummus.

the amount of garlic that I put in it means that it will be thoroughly wicked.

Then I had to ring Rosemary. I have a cunning plan and for that I need a suitable apprentice. And so we had a chat – for about three hours. That’s all. And as a result I was extremely late going out for my afternoon walk. More like an evening walk if you ask me.

fishermen in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd of course I didn’t go far from my front door before I was side-tracked yet again by my favourite subject.

Fishing seems to be quite the thing right now, whether it’s men in boats or on rocks trying to catch the fish, or me making trenchant and pithy comments about them. Anyway this afternoon we have a couple of men armed with fishing rods in a zodiac cruising up and down looking for what I have no idea at all.

Eventually they found a suitable spot to park their boat and settle down. I really did think that they were going to cast their lines but another boat came up for a chat.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo that was that. I went about my business and strolled across the car park to look over the wall down onto the beach to see how things were going on down there.

There wasn’t very much beach for things to be going on on this afternoon. My rather late walk had meant that the tide was by now well in. But even so, a couple of people were down there enjoying themselves in the sun and, I hope, out of the wind because this afternoon the cold, bitter wind is back.

Not the kind of weather for me to be hanging around either. And not just that – I’ll be missing my guitar practice if I don’t get a wiggle on.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here’s a photo that I’ve been meaning to take ever since I came back from Leuven but always seemed to be forgetting.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been following the adventures of the roofers fixing the roof at the College Malraux across the car park from my place for longer than anyone cares to remember.

However, right now it looks as if they might actually have finished. All the tiles are on anyway even if the scaffolding is still there. We’ll have to keep an eye on that to see if it disappears.

Actually, I could do with a couple of bays myself.

yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s not just zodiacs that are out there on the water enjoying themselves today. I’d seen something moving on the water in the distance so I walked down the footpath and across the car park to the end of the headland for a closer look.

It’s actually a yacht that’s out there today, and there’s a full load of people on board by the looks of things. I bet that they are having a bumpy ride out there in the wind today. As you can tell by the whitecaps on the waves, it’s quite a lively sea this afternoon.

The sea is certainly more lively than I am right now. I feel as if I’ve aged about 20 years while I was in hospital. I staggered off down the path to see what I could see.

unidentified aircraft pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was on my way down the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the port, I was overflown by an aeroplane.

It was quite high up and I couldn’t see it clearly. I thought that it might have been the Ryanair flight from Faro to Newcastle upon Tyne that flies overhead round about this time, but in fact it seems to be a turbo-prop aeroplane, so that rules out Ryanair.

It’s hard to tell anything really at the height that it was flying. I can’t even read the registration number on this kind of resolution so I don’t have a clue as to what it might be, which is a shame. It’s the first decent-sized plane that we’ve seen for a while.br clear=”both”>

aircraft 55-oj pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s not just large aircraft that we haven’t seen for a while. There’s not been much in the way of light aircraft either. However one of them overflew me while I was looking down at the harbour

From this angle I couldn’t see the registration number, so I carried on with my observation of what was going on down below. And there was nothing new of any importance. The trawler Hera is still in the chantier navale along with that strange hulk, and that was my lot today.

Nothing of any excitement in port either Normandy Trader is of course long-gone and we haven’t seen Thora for quite a while either. I hope that she’s okay.

aeroplane 55-oj pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now the small aeroplane that overflew me just now has done a U-turn over the Baie de Mont St Michel and is heading back to the airport at Donville les bains.

And I can see its registration number too – OJ-55 and we’ve seen her before, but I’ve still not found out who or what she actually is. That number isn’t any number of any series that I have ever seen or have access to.

Anyway I came home, grabbed a coffee and came in here because it was guitar time. And so ngrid rang me and we had quite a chat too although I was exhausted and couldn’t concentrate.

And that was the story of my bass guitar practice too. No concentration tonight. This isn’t doing me any good at all, all of this.

For tea I had chips and falafel, fried in Rachel’s microwave cooker. takes a while but does a good job eventually. With the little salad that I had, it was good stuff. Especially when followed down by apple crumble and thick custard. What can be better?

A good sleep would be a start, so I’m not hanging around. Despite the interruptions I had a really busy day today and yesterday. Shopping tomorrow, which will cost me an arm and a leg, and then Sunday is a Day of Rest.

And I can’t wait.

Monday 10th May 2021 – AFTER ALL OF …

fishing boats ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall.. shenanigans that went on last week out at sea, it was very interesting to see the position of the fishing boats on my radar today.

The port itself was practically empty except for the odd fishing boat here and there and everyone else was out at sea. Half of the fleet was fishing away in the Baie de Mont St Michel and the rest were in between the Pointe du Roc and the Ile de Chausey, many of which boats we can see in this photo. It seems that the local fishermen are keeping a low profile right now until the situation cools down.

There were however one or two boats right out in between Jersey and Guernsey, but they were the larger boats from the fleets that operate out of here so I don’t imagine that they had as much difficulty obtaining their records over last weekend.

Talking of things not having much difficulty … “well, one of us is” – ed … I didn’t have much difficulty leaving my bed this morning after the first alarm. And after the medication, the first task was to deal with the carrots.

Last night I’d forgotten to mention that while things were cooking I peeled, diced and blanched a kilo of carrots and they had been draining overnight. They went into one of these ziploc plastic bags and were bunged in the freezer.

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

I was living in Virlet and a new British couple had appeared on the scene. I’d been in the shops and tomorrow the shops were going to be closed so I got up, bought a few things that they might need which I could always use if they didn’t and went round to see them. They said that they were fine for stuff. In the end we chatted. He had a Wartburg saloon that he was going to restore. We talked about Income Tax and other kinds of things. He showed me his income tax form which he didn’t understand. Not having seen a French income tax form I wasn’t any more the wiser either but I was able to work my way down and in the end I arrived at some kind of calculation which didn’t disagree at all particularly from what the French government’s calculation had been. I was able to explain the fact that this was only an estimate based on what they had said that their provisional tax might be and how it could all changed depending on what they did earn and all the allowances and reliefs that they could change simply through reading this form.

Armed with a mug of coffee I attacked the radio programmes for the next while. The live concerts have fallen behind somewhat in the rota and I wanted to do two of them today and, to my surprise, I managed it too.

It wasn’t too difficult though really because the first one is of a group with whom I had a very long and animated correspondence about 18 years ago and they had sent me a pile of stuff back then. Some of it was hopelessly confused and I never succeeded in untangling it but I managed to rescue enough today to make up a concert.

The second was a concert from the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm in 1973 that some of my friends who played in that group sent me. The difficulty with that was that It was extremely difficult to trim it down to the right size and in the end I had to resort to what I can only call “imaginative editing”.

It wasn’t easy but in the end I managed it even if there was only space for an intro of 42 seconds. And I do have to say that it all went together really well. In fact when I listen to some of the stuff that I did when I first tried doing this back in the olden days I cringe with embarrassment. And I’ve improved a lot more over the last 18 months too.

Having finished that I attacked a Louis de Funes soundtrack to extract a few more soundbites for my radio shows. He’s the special guest on my radio shows and I make up dialogue with me asking questions and using the soundbytes to manufacture replies. It provides some levity in the programmes.

And, shame as it is to admit it, I fell asleep at this point. That was a real disappointment, although it probably isn’t much of a surprise. But whatever you might say about it, it meant a rather late lunch.

After lunch I had a listen to the radio programme that will be broadcast this weekend and then sent it off to the guy who maintains the internet schedule to fit it into its little slot.

By now it was time for my afternoon walk

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it seems that I can’t go for an afternoon walk without first going to the end of the car park to look down over the walls to see who was about on the beach.

There was no neighbour around today to squidge me so that was a task that I could perform in comfort. But even though the tide wasn’t right in as yet and there was plenty of room on the beach, there was no-one around.

That was something of a surprise because although it wasn’t as warm as it had been yesterday and there was slightly more wind, there was plenty of beautiful sunlight out there and it was a nice spring day. The kind of day when you might have expected the madding crowds to be out and about.

There were a few people on the path but not the crowds of yesterday which made a nice change so I could go for my walk in comparative comfort.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the end of the path by the lighthouse I stopped for a look back at the College Malraux to see how they are doing with that roofing job that they started a couple of centuries ago.

And despite all of this time since they started, they still haven’t finished it as yet. Judging by the material that’s around here there is no heavy or major work being undertaken so I really have no idea what is taking the time.

One possible answer to that is to take a closer look at the photo. A nice sunny day, albeit a little windy, it’s not yet 16:00, and there is no-one up there working. It seems to me that they have all knocked off and gone home, and that’s no way to work at all. It’ll never be finished at this rate.

kite surfer baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier I mentioned the hordes of fishing boats … “not hordes, actually” – ed … of fishing boats in the Baie de Mont St Michel and I was determined to go along to the end of the headland and look at them.

Indeed they were there and I was intending to take a photo of them but I was rather distracted by this guy here. I’m not quite sure the name of this activity that he was practising – it must be kite-surfing or something.

But whatever it might be called, he was certainly brave to do it around a fleet of fishing boats. I mean – you can see the boats but not necessarily the equipment that they trail out behind them and it wouldn’t be very much good tripping over all of that.

So forgetting to take a photo of the fishing boats, I pushed off along the path round the other side of the headland.

le styx trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd today we have more excitement in the chantier navale, so I dashed down the path in order to have a closer look.

And we now have another occupant in here as of this afternoon (or, at least we will haven once she’s dropped onto her blocks) in the form of Le Styx, one of the smaller trawler-type of fishing boats.

Mind you, judging by how far out the tide is right now, they seem to have left her in the portable boat lift for quite a lengthy period of time. And with the van parked up by her, it makes me wonder if she is actually going to be put on blocks or whether they are simply giving her an inspection, rectifying a few minor matters and putting her back in the water at the next tide.

Mind you, after my prophesy with Aztec Lady that backfired so spectacularly, I’ve given up speculating on the boats in here.

fishing boat aground port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlso over there we have another fishing boat that has been left to go aground as the tide has gone out.

There are actually a few people aboard her so I wonder what it is that they are doing. If it’s simply a case of provisioning the boat, it still beats me why they can’t do that in the inner harbour. There’s definitely something going on about that.

The diving boat is still there too, so I wonder if when we saw the men with the jetski the other day, it really was nothing to do with any diving activity and the disturbed water was just a coincidence.

But on that note I came home for my hot coffee and because I had things to do. Like pay for my Welsh course and also to book everything for my next trip to Castle Anthrax. That’s come round quicker than even I had anticipated.

After all of that I had a session on the guitars which I enjoyed and then went for tea. Burger and pasta followed by the last of the summer w … errr … jam roly poly

Now I’m off to bed for an early night. I have my Welsh lesson tomorrow and I need to be on form. I can’t remember anything at the moment and I need to find the motivation from somewhere.

Wednesday 5th May 2021 – HAVING READ …

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… the Press from yesterday, you’ll probably understand now why we are seeing fishing boats working away in the Baie de Mont St Michel these days.

With the eternal conflict going on around Jersey right now, it’s probably just as well that they take this opportunity to explore new fishing grounds closer to home to see what they are likely to be able to provide by the way of catch.

There were three or four out there this afternoon too. This one out near the Brittany coast is the closest to my point of view. All of the others were too far out for me to be able to photograph them appropriately. And I wonder how long they are going to be out there too. I haven’t seen them this diligent in the bay before now.

trawler leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as I watched from my vantage point up on the walls, another one went out to join them in the bay. She left the harbour behind and headed off deeper into the bay.

But I have a feeling that this might not be as permanent arrangement as I might at one time have thought. In the Jersey Press today was the usual propaganda and sabre-rattling to placate the natives over there, but tucked away in a corner out of view was a little notice that the Jersey Authorities have approached the British Government and the European Union to seek permission to negotiate directly with the Normandy and Brittany fishermen.

The threat of cutting off the electricity to the islands did the trick. It didn’t take long for the French to bring the Channel Islanders to heel, did it?

And it didn’t take long for my bad habits to resurface did it? After a day yesterday where I went without crashing out, I succumbed this afternoon. Not as badly as I have done in the past just recently but it was still a dismal state of affairs.

Mind you, I blame the fact that I couldn’t sleep last night and it was about 02:30 by the time that I went to bed. No-one is going to feel on form after just 3.5 hours sleep. In fact I’m surprised that I kept going for as long as I did today.

After the medication I didn’t do much and that’s not a surprise. I stirred a few papers around and that’s just about it as far as the morning went. There were so many things that needed to be done but I ended up doing nothing at all.

One of the things that I forgot to do this morning was to make some more hummus. As a result I had to have vegan cheese with my salad on my butties and I don’t have all that much of that left.

This afternoon I finally started work and brought my journal up-to-date by indexing the entries that hadn’t been indexed, and there were quite a few of those. And then I attacked the dictaphone entries. Most of them are done but I’m not going to update the journal until they are all finished. I can however add in today’s to let you know where I went during what there was of the night last night.

But talking of last night, It’s been a good while since I’ve had a night sweat but I had one then. I can’t remember now very much about my voyage now except that there was a horse involved in it somewhere. I was having to meet some people coming home or I was coming home and had to meet some people, something like that, I can’t remember now but I awoke drenched in sweat.

After going back to sleep I was back in County Durham again on the east coast. There were plenty of car scrapyards around one of which was full of lorries and bits of garden hose, all kinds of other stuff as well. There was more to it than this but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

In fact there will be a couple of the arrears that won’t make it on line. There have been a few very disturbing ones just recently.

place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall
For a change this afternoon I decided on going for a walk around the medieval city walls. It’s been a long time since I’ve been that way round.

While I was out here I took advantage of the viewpoint that goes across the top of the gate that leads outside the city walls. There’s a nice view along here to the Place d’Armes where I live. If you see just to the right of centre the white building with the sloping roof, my own building is the big stone one immediately behind it.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) you can’t see my own apartment from there.

The large building further back with the modern extension to the right is the College Malraux, the local High School

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s a good view out to sea from up here on the walls.

In the distance I could see something moving about over by the Ile de Chausey so I took a photograph of it with the aim of blowing it up (something that I can do, despite modern anti-terrorist legislation) so that I can see what it was that I had seen.

At first I thought that it might have been Joly France or Chausiais coming back from the Ile de Chausey, even though it’s off the usual route that they take coming back. But in actual fact she’s one of the trawlers out of the port.

At least she’s managed to get out to sea today despite the current issues with the Channel Islands.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFinal thing that I must do while I’m on this side of the headland is to look down onto the beach to see if there was anyone about.

But there wasn’t all that much beach to be on as you probably saw on one of the earlier photographs. The tide is quite far in as I was taking these photographs. Mind you, this guy and his little daughter seem to have found a nice corner in which to sit. Anywhere on the beach near the sea is good enough for a small child regardless of the weather and the state of the tide.

On the footpath underneath the walls I might have been tempted to break into a run, but there were far too many people around for me to want to embarrass myself like this. Instead, I had a nice leisurely walk underneath the walls.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually I arrived at the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch and the Plat Gousset.

There was certainly no shortage of people wandering around there this afternoon. It’s half-day closing at the schools of course so many people here have the afternoon off to look after their kids. So if you ever want to find a crowd of people at some time other than a weekend, Wednesday afternoon is the time to be doing it.

There aren’t any Birdmen of Alcatraz out there today though. And thinking on, we haven’t seen any of them about for quite a while either. So musing on that particular thought, I set off across the square Maurice Marland and headed back for home and my coffee.

road works rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way home, I managed to track down the workmen who have been doing stuff around the Rue Cambernon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last week or ten days ago we’ve seen signs of them setting up a camp in the Place d’Armes and driving around in dumpers loaded with gravel and I mentioned that I’ll have to go and find out where it was that they are working. And there they are, down there at the corner of the Rue Saint Michel.

And that was exactly the same place where they were working the last time that we were round here, which was before Christmas if I remember rightly when they were doing things all the way up the street.

road works rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s difficult to believe that after all of this time they are still working there and haven’t finished off what they were doing.

It was my intention to take a short cut down the alleyway at the far end of the Rue St Michel but that was ruled out because the workmen haven’t finished at that end either. There was a guy there with a compactor flattening everything down in the street and sweeping up the debris quite diligently with his broom.

In the end I had to go the long way around and leave the workmen to whatever it was that they were doing. And when I reached the walls, I could see the trawlers that I photographed earlier.

And as I write these notes I can add that since I started them I’ve discovered that the British Government has sent two gunboats to the Bay of Granville. Bearing in mind that the entire might of the Royal Navy couldn’t defeat a handful of Icelandic trawlers in the 1960s, I can’t see this doing much good.

And as I have said before, it doesn’t matter how much fish the British fishing boats catch. If they can’t sell any of it, it won’t make the slightest difference.

chevrolet car from connecticut parvis notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomething else that hasn’t changed much is the little Chevrolet car.

It has Connecticut licence plates but the stickers expired a long, long (as in 10 years or so if I remember correctly) time ago and was abandoned here last Summer. Like the car in the Rue St Paul, they don’t seem to be in too much hury removing it.

As it happens I’m keen to find out who the owner might be, for the simple reason that I would like to know how he managed to bring the vehicle over here. It’s not a high-value vehicle so the costs of shipping it would be more than the cost of a replacement vehicle, from what my researches have revealed.

If I could find a way to move Caliburn economically back and to across the Atlantic every year I would do so at the drop of a hat.

Back here I carried on with a little work and then went for guitar practice.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap followed by jam roly-poly and home-made custard. And While I was making the custard I was thinking that why don’t I make another one of those chocolate sponges that I made once or twice and them instead of vanilla flavouring, put chocolate powder in the mix for the sauce? That would be nice.

So now I’m off to bed. I’ve done enough today. Hopefully I’ll awake early and have a grandstand seat at the naval battle that will take place offshore. I can’t imagine that the French would let British gunboats cruise around just offshore here without bringing in one or two of their own.

Tuesday 27th April 2021 – IT’S THAT TIME …

peche a pied le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… of the year again.

And it’s going to take much more than a global pandemic to stop the hordes of Frenchmen and women (and even children) from the local area and many kilometres around from swarming onto the beaches with their various tools and implements.

Yes, it’s the lowest tide of the season and the time when the public areas of the beach below the leased concessions are uncovered and the general public has the right to go harvesting down there.

peche a pied le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd not only that either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that at the low tide several weeks ago they had made a start on laying some kind of pipeline from the harbour out towards the sea, for a reason that totally defeats me.

But anyway they are back out there again extending it even further out towards the sea. And if you look closely you’ll see that it’s propped up on some concrete blocks, blocks pretty similar to those that they were manipulating in the outer harbour a week or two ago.

But returning to our moutons as they say around here, the one big problem that I have … “only one?” – ed … is that if I happen to go to bed early, I have a tendency to wake up early too.

Usually that’s no bad thing, especially if I forget to set the alarm, but if I have set the alarm but wake up at … errr .. 04:10 then it is. And so lying there tossing and turning and wishing that I can go back to sleep is a bit of a shame, wsting all that resting time. It’s not as if I have too much of that.

Of course, there is usually always a point at which I do manage to go back to sleep and it’s usually always about 5 minutes before the alarm goes off. And this morning was no exception.

So after the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. I was round at my father’s in this old flat that he had, Peggy Tyrell’s flat. he had this big old smelly dog there. I was apparently going to be staying the night looking after his place for him but I wasn’t all that happy about having that dog. I don’t do dogs. I had things to do and I certainly wasn’t take it for a walk in the morning and clean up all its mess. This led to a bit of an awkward time because I didn’t want to tell him this outright. He was getting this dog ready, cleaning it up, everything then in the end he shipped it off on a train to Stoke on Trent. I had to go off somewhere near Knutsford way to hire an inflatable dinghy. We’d been to see them the day before about it so I went back the next morning. Everyone was busy to I started to take this dinghy down. Someone came over and asked me what I was doing so I told him that I was hiring the dinghy. In the end they dismantled the apparatus for me to take this dinghy and they stuck it in the back of Caliburn for me. Then they were talking to me about “we’ll just get you a mat to go inside it, we’ll just get you this and just get you that”. This was taking absolutely ages to prepare. I asked “what am I going to do if I’m back late?” I couldn’t see me doing what I needed to do in the time that they were going to be open on a Sunday. He replied “that’s OK because someone’s on a run down to London so they aren’t going to be back until late so we’re still going to be here for them”. I still wasn’t convinced. In the end they agreed that I should just leave it roughly where I found it, by the metal skip. They had it in the back of Caliburn and it made the back doors of Caliburn bulge a little. And I noticed that there was a huge gash down the side of Caliburn and the gash had even gone through the metal. That part of Caliburn’s body was bowing out alarmingly. I thought “this doesn’t look right at all here”.

One thing that I wanted to do this morning was to have a shower and change my clothes. Even I was starting to notice it now.

The rest of the morning was spent revising my Welsh, attending my Welsh class, talking to a neighbour about his missing thermometer and then vacuuming the living room and kitchen floor because that was another thing that was getting on my nerves too.

After lunch, which was much later than usual, I posted a couple of photos of old lorries to an Abandoned Lorries page on the internet. It’s amazing the stuff that I was unearthing while I was in the depths of darkest Wyoming in August 2019 and there are always people who are interested in it.

That took me up to walkies-time

peche à pied people on beach buoy rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I went over to the end of the car park to look over the wal to see who was out and about on the beach this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I was probably expecting to see half of the town out there this afternoon and I wasn’t disappointed. I’m not sure why anyone would be out there at the water’s edge with a couple of very large dogs though.

The weather was a little warmer today and the wind had dropped slightly and I suppose that that encouraged the crowds to come out and try their luck on the beach.

and have you noticed the yellow buoy bobbing about just offshore.

f-gorn Robin DR 400-120 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd not just on the beach either. We had a little bit of air traffic too flying past overhead.

This aeroplane is our old friend F-GORN. She’s a Robin DR 400-120 and is owned by the Aero Club de Granville. We’ve seen her out and about a couple of times just recently doing a few laps around the block and today was another one of these local trips.

She’d taken off from the local airport at Donville les Bains and apparently flown north because she was picked up on the radar near Lessay at 15:23. She did a circuit around and back, landing again at the airport at 15:52. So not exactly what I would call an interesting adventure.

peche a pied le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLe Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour was looking quite interesting today – or, at least, it would have done had it not been for all of the haze that was about today.

This is a view that I always like, the light out there in between the two trees at the edge of the car park. It’s the first thing that I see as I walk around the remains of the large bunker at the back of the lighthouse and onto the path that leads down to the car park.

And the crowds of people that you can see congregating around the light down there scratching away at the rocks tell their own story.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom this vantage point, I can also see the rear of the roof of the College Malraux that is opposite my building in the Place d’Armes.

That reroofing job has been on the go now for a considerable length of time and they are slowly moving closer to the end of the job. A couple of days before I went away I took a photo of the roof of the building and took this one today to compare the two and see how far they progressed over that period.

You can see the results of the difference FOR YOURSELF. That photo was taken just two weeks ago.

It’s not exactly a rapid rate of progress.

digging out harbour entrance port de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, around the path on top of the cliffs I headed towards the port to see how things were developing around there with the work that was being undertaken at the entrance to the outer harbour.

Now that they have made some advancement with their little task I can see more clearly what it is that they are doing. There’s some kind of sandbank or embankment that’s built up by the red or port light, presumably due to tidal scouring elsewhere that’s building up over in that corner.

And what they are doing is digging it out and depositing it elsewhere where the tidal current will carry the silt out to sea.

We can see the end of the pipe too, and the concrete blocks upon which they are laying it. It’s going to be interesting to see how far it goes out to sea, and also to seee ho long it withstands the rigours of the forces of nature out there.

anakena aztec lady fishing boats chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom my viewpoint on the cliffs I can also see down into the chantier navale just here, and I notice that we have yet another change of occupier in there today.

Anakena and Aztec Lady are still in there, as they have been for quite some time, and the two fishing boats that arrived in there yesterday morning. But there’s another fishing boat that has appeared in there this morning. That’s the little fishing boat, the blue and white one, that’s in the middle of the other two.

And have you noticed all of the cars parked on top of the harbour wall? It seems that the pecheurs à pied don’t have the energy to walk to the car park just down the road.

draining inner port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here’s the reason why Marité cleared off so smartish-like yesterday (she’s actually now in Lorient, presumably having her annual check-up) and why the two Channel Island ferries Granville and Victor Hugo are no longer there.

Someone has forgotten to close the harbour gates after the tide has started to go out and the inner harbour is now drained of all of its water.

That’s probably indicative of the fact that they are doing some work in there as well and once more, I’m bewildered why they didn’t wait until now to install the new pontoons. It would have taken them a quarter of the time and a quarter of the money to have installed them with the harbour drained of water.

Over the next couple of days I’ll be keeping an eye on this too to see what happens.

Back here I had a coffee, not as strong as I would like it because I can’t find my spare coffee, and then I came in here to carry on with the photos from Wyoming. I’m now in the middle of the Midwest Oilfield, centre of the Teapot Dome scandal in the early 1920s and I can see the teapot from where I’m standing right now.

And as it happened I might have gone way beyond it too except that there were a couple of interruptions. I fell asleep while I was doing it, which was one reason, and the second reason was that the bank phoned me. We’ve arranged to have a little chat in mid-May when (or if) the curfew is lifted.

The hour spend on the guitar was much better than yesterday and then I went for a quick tea, as there was football on the internet.

After their debacle on Saturday a very much-changed TNS side took the field against Caernarfon Town in a match that not only would they be expected to win at a canter, they would need to win as well to restore their credibility.

And what we were treated to was a defensive masterclass that made a total fool of Caernarfon’s depressing negative-goal difference because although the match was played for 99% on the time on the edge of Caernarfon’s penalty area, TNS couldn’t put the ball in the net.

Well, they did once, but it was ruled out (and rightly so) for a foul and they missed yet another penalty too. And one thing that TNS won’t be bragging about is that Caernarfon ended up with just 9 players on the field by the end of the game.

It was probably the most magnificent defensive performance that I’ve ever seen from anyone and Lewis Brass, who has been out of the game for 6 months but was called into the team due to a long-term injury to Josh Tibbets had a tremendous match in the Caernarfon goal.

TNS have hit a run of poor form just at the wrong time, exactly as they did last season. There’s the return match against Connah’s Quay on Saturday evening and I reckon that the championship of the Welsh Premier League is riding on that game.

So on that night I’m off to bed, later than I intended. But it can’t be helped. Football always comes first.

Tuesday 13th April 2021 – I HAVE JUST …

… seen a most extraordinary football match.

When you see a score something like Caernarfon 1 Connah’s Quay Nomads 6, you’ll be thinking that Caernarfon were the victims of a right spannering from a team that is, shall we say, not renowned for its goal-scoring record.

And when you find that then Nomads took off their two leading attackers after about 70 minutes you’ll be as bewildered as everyone else.

For the first half the match was quite level – although the Nomads were 2-1 up, Caernarfon were still well in touch. But in the second half, two things happened.

Playing in midfield for the Nomads was a player called Neil Danns. He’s had plenty of experience in the English pyramid, playing for a couple of seasons in the English Premiership and on the international stage for Guyana.

He’s been out of the game for a while and when I first saw him a few weeks ago he looked distinctly sluggish, out of form and out of fitness. But whatever it was that Andy Morrison put in his half-time cup of tea, I’ll have a drink of it too. In the second half we were treated to a Neil Danns masterclass.

The second thing was a player called Johnny Hunt. He’s played on a much higher stage than this too but he’s also been out of the game for a while. He came on as a substitute after about an hour or so playing at left-back and although for the first ten minutes he looked well off the pace, he picked up remarkably rapidly.

He covered so much ground that his fellow full-back Danny Davies could push up forward into the attack and he scored two of the goals, simply because Caernarfon ran out of players to mark him.

If Danns and Hunt continue to improve at this rate, we could be in for something quite impressive.

But going back to the half-time cuppa that they gave to Neil Danns, had I had some of that I would have had a much better day today because me rising out of the bed at the first alarm was something rather like Dracula raising himself from the Dead. It was something very much like an ungainly stagger to my feet when the alarm went off.

After the medication, with nothing on the dictaphone from the night, I had a bash at the photos from August 2019. By the time that I’d finished I’d left the deep ravine near Last Stand Hill and I’m now sheltering with the pack train at the far end of the Little Big Horn battlefield.

As I said a few days ago, I’m going to be here at Little Big Horn for quite a while.

Having done the photos I spent some time revising my Welsh and then, armed with my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread, I went for my lesson. And to my surprise, it all went very well. I wasn’t expecting that.

We have three new students who have joined our class for the new term. We’re now no longer beginners but intermediates and these three people have some previous experience in the language. I noticed particularly that one of the new students was speaking Archaic Welsh, the kind that I picked up from my grandmother and from the elderly coach driver with whom I worked at one time.

After lunch I came in here to carry on with my work but I … errr …. went to sleep. And a proper sleep too. It was rather embarrassing seeing as I have so much to do.

But this led me up to my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, the first thing that I did was to go over to the wall at the end of the car park here and look down on the beach to see what was going on down there.

The tide was quite a way out so there was plenty of room for people to be enjoying themselves and as the weather was reasonably warm and it was quite sunny, I was expecting to see the massed hordes of tourists down there sunning themselves.

But to my surprise I could have counted on the fingers of one hand the number of people down there this afternoon.

But anyway I pushed off along the path on my walk around the headland.

trawlers english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been looking down on the beach I’d seen some movement in the water in the English Channel near Jersey so when I reached the high point of the path, I took a photo with the aim of cropping the photo and blowing it up (which I can do, despite modern anti-terrorist legislation) when I returned home.

What I was hoping to see was something like Normandy Trader or Thora, one of the little Jersey freighters coming over from the Channel Islands to take away the load of goods on the quayside on the loading bay. But instead I’ve captured a couple of they local trawlers heading for home.

And they are going to be having a long wait outside the harbour because the tide is well out and it will be a good while before it’s back in high enough for them to open the harbour gates.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was on my way around, I had a look at the roofing job that they are performing in the College Malraux.

As I was strolling along the path I’d heard all kinds of knocking as if people were hitting things with hammers and I reckoned that it was coming from the roof of the College. The workmen were up there this afternoon and with the two bays on the roof that they had stripped off, they were covering the roof with new laths ready for the new slates.

If they can finish the woodwork quite quickly, it shouldn’t take too long to put the slates on. And who knows? They might even finish the roof some time this year. They have taken long enough to reach this point.

buoys pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen this scene a couple of times just recently.

There’s been this buoy-type of thing that’s been bobbing up and down just off the Pointe du Roc every now and again, and today, it’s been joined by another one. Yesterday, we saw one of the little fishing boats doing something or other just off the headland with its lines out.

It surely can’t be a coincidence that this other buoy has appeared in the vicinity of where the boat was moored yesterday, and I imagine that it would confirm my suspicions that they are indeed markers for lobster pots or the like. But I still think that it’s a rather strange place to leave some lobster pots – on the rocks off the headland just there.

To my surprise, after all of the action that was going o out there yesterday, there was absolutely nothing happening today. And so I pushed off along the path on top of the cliffs.

And to my surprise I wasn’t almost run down on the zebra crossing by ay motor vehicle today either.

anakena hermes 1 notre dame de cap lihou pleasure craft chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was however some action going on in the chantier navale this afternoon.

Having seen Lys Noir go back into the water the other day, Anakena, Hermes 1 and Notre Dame de Cap Lihou have now been joined by some kind of expensive pleasure craft. Unfortunately I’m not able to see the name of the boat because of the two guys standing on the platform at the stern obscuring it, so I’ll have to have anothr look tomorrow.

As an aside, Aztec Lady is still here in the chantier navale, out of shot on the far side to the right. There I was thinking when she first came into the place that she would only be there for a short period. She seems to have put down roots.

joly france ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s been some activity going on over at the ferry terminal too.

Yesterday we had two Joly France boats tied up over there as well as a fishing boat. But today, the fishing boat has gone off to somewhere that I don’t know and we have just one of the Joly France boats over there today, the other one being moored in the inner harbour this afternoon.

The pile of freight is still at the quayside in the inner harbour waiting for someone to take it away but I cleared off back to my apartment and a nice hot coffee.

And then I came in here to make a start (or a finish) on my Central Europe trip and although I managed to do something, I fell asleep again and even missed my guitar practice.

However I did manage to wake up in time to have a quick tea of burger and pasta followed by jam roly poly and dashed in here to watch the football.

Tomorrow I have no plans whatsoever so I’m hoping for a good day’s work. But it’s much later now than it usually is and I’m still not in bed. I can see that I’ll need a mug of Andy Morrison’s half-time drink tomorrow if I’m to do any good at all.

It’s been a difficult couple of days just now. I’ve gone for 4 years being careful about what I do but over the last couple of days I’ve smashed a storage jar, a mug and today, one of my plates.

What with the big computer’s USB3 port, Caliburn’s door handle, the big NIKON D500‘s SD memory card slot and a few other things that I could mention, every thing that I seem to be touching is falling apart right now. I’m at the stage where I’m afraid to go to the toilet.

Friday 9th April 2021 – I’VE HAD SOMETHING …

… of a bad day today and I really don’t know why.

It all went wrong during the night when I spent most of it wracked with attacks of cramp and having to get up and walk about to ease it off. They say that the medication that I’m taking takes its time to work but I was expecting it to work quicker than this.

As a result I missed the first alarm this morning. Well, I didn’t because I did actually wake up, but I must have gone back to sleep because the second alarm brought me round properly. And then I spent the rest of the day fighting off the impulse to go back to sleep, sometimes unsuccessfully.

After the medication I went to listen to the dictaphone to hear if, despite the disturbed night, I’d been on any travels anywhere during the night. There was a train that had pulled into a platform but had stopped short to allow a pilot engine to be coupled up with I so consequently getting to it was a bi of a problem. People were having to leap over some adjacent track and a bay platform in order to get to the train. 1 passenger made it and the crew of the train made it over with the help of someone. Then another passenger tried it. It looks as if he made it OK and he got into the train but apparently he hadn’t. Then a 4th couple tried it and made quite a mess of it all. Then the train took off and it was all swaying around quite dramatically. 1 person who had only just caught it was hanging on for dear life in between 2 carriages and it wasn’t long before the whole thing was derailed. That was when I had a wicked attack of cramp that forced me to get up and walk about.

Somewhere along here was the story of a guy and his 2 acquaintances who were rustlers and were knocking everyone off. They’d already had 2 off this particular train that we were talking about and I don’t know how many more they were intending to have before they did some real damage.

For much of the morning I’ve been working on the photos from August 2019. I’ve dealt with another big pile of those today and I’m well ahead today. I’m now at the site of the ghost town of Kooi north-east of Sheridan in Wyoming heading towards the site of the Battlefield of the Little Big Horn

As well as that, I’ve done some of my arrears of my trip around Central Europe and some of my revision for my Welsh course but unfortunately I fell asleep in the middle of that and ended up dropping my papers all over the floor.

All in all, it’s not been a very successful day.

There was the afternoon walk around the headland, rather later than usual today, what with one thing and another.

man leaning on rock beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut time doesn’t seem to be an issue with this guy here on the beach.

The first thing that I did as usual was to stick my head over the wall at the end of the car park here to see what was going on down on the beach. There wasn’t much beach for anything to be going on this afternoon but the guy here managed to find a place to rest, leaning on a rather large rock as he admires the view of whatever was going out at sea.

But with the tide coming in quite rapidly, he’s chosen a good spot, at the foot of the steps up to the Rue du Nord to which he could make a hasty retreat without being cut off anywhere by the tide

Having seen the beach, I headed off along the top of the cliff towards the headland.

philcathane trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was an endless stream of trawlers heading out of the fishing port this afternoon. One after the other they were coming around the headland.

There could have been any one of them that I could have photographed but the one that caught my eye particularly was the trawler Philcathane, on her way out to the fishing grounds in the English Channel.

We’ve had the opportunity to examine her in the past when she’s been up on blocks in the chantier navale for a while and ONE NIGHT LAST AUGUST when she was sailing around the harbour late at night.

So leaving the other trawlers to their fate, I carried on with my walk along the headland towards the end of the Pointe du Roc

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOur friendly neighbourhood bird of prey is out there again this afternoon.

And I’m glad that it was too. With having seen people on the beach and people i.e. trawlers out at sea, all we needed now to make up our trilogy is is SOMETHING IN THE AIR, as Thunderclap Newman might have said.

You might have noticed in the photographs so far that we have really thick ten-tenths cloud which means that it’s impossible for us to see anything in the way of airliners and there was nothing going on in the way of light aircraft going to and from the airport. A bird of prey is just as good a substitute for an aeroplane in these circumstances.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here I had a good look across the sports field to see how they were getting on with the roofing job on the College Malraux.

And they seem to have put a spurt on just recently. They’ve been working from right to left on this side of the roof so they have now done over half of the roof on this side. Give them another six months and they might actually finish the job. They’ve been at it long enough.

What’s surprising though is that they seem to have found enough scaffolding to go all the way down that side. When they were doing the other side they only had enough to do half of it and they had to dismantle it and move it down the side halfway through the job.

man fishing from rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs well as the man on the beach, there was another man out there this afternoon down on the rocks.

My journey from the lawn takes me down the path by the war memorial to the Resistance and then across the car park. From there I can go down to the end of the headland and see what’s going on.

Having seen two guys the other day fishing off the rocks at the headland, they were both there this afternoon but today they were fishing off different rocks.

And once again, they didn’t actually catch anything while I was there. I’m at the stage where I’ve given up expecting to see someone haul a sea-bass out of the water, bad-tempered or not.

joly france english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was taking the photograph of Philcathane I’d noticed something else out to sea heading our way from the Ile de Chausey.

Having seen Chausiais coming back from the Ile de Chausey yesterday, today it’s the turn of one of the Joly France boats to make an appearance on these pages. We’ve seen both of them tied up at the ferry terminal and in the inner harbour and it’s been a long time since we’ve actually seen one riding the waves.

As she came on over across from the Ile de Chausey I wandered off along the path along the south side of the headland towards the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what was going on down there this afternoon.

anakena hermes 1 notre dame de cap lihou chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we have a change of occupancy in the chantier navale this afternoon

Yesterday we saw the portable boat lift loitering around above Lys Noir as if it was about to pick up the boat and take her to the water. Today, we can see that Lys Noir has now gone from the chantier navale back into the water.

That leaves us with just Anakena, Hermes 1, the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou and, out of shot, Aztec Lady in there right now, with plenty of room for a couple of other boats to come in.

There’s plenty of activity going on at Anakena though right now with a couple of people standing on her deck talking. She is the boat that was marooned here when all of the ports in Northern Europe closed their doors to foreign boats. With Covid easing off now in several countries, it may be that she’s getting ready to leave port and continue with her journey.

Further on along the path I could see the boats that are still tied up at the fish processing plant.

coelacanthe tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallTwo of our favourite trawlers are moored to the quayside over there. They haven’t followed all of the rest out to sea this afternoon.

It’s not easy to tell which one is Coelacanthe and which one is Tiberiade when you see them on their own, but when you see them together like this you’ll see that Coelacanthe is slightly bigger and has the raised sides of the hull to protect the bridge doors.

The inner harbour was fairly empty this afternoon. Normandy Trader has left the port, probably on the early morning tide today, so I wandered off home for my hot cup of coffee and try to summon up the energy to carry on with what I had been doing.

As usual I knocked off for my guitar practice and then went for tea. I had a curry out of the freezer tonight with some rice and veg, followed by some more jam roly-poly.

But I imagine that I’m going to have some nightmares tonight because the video that I was watching while I was eating was one of these spaghetti westerns in Italian where right in front of my eyes we had a real genuine scalping with plenty of blood followed by someone being devoured alive by lizards and bats and the like.

Not the kind of thing that I enjoy watching at any time, especially when I’m eating my tea.

Now I’m off to bed. I don’t know where the time goes. Tomorrow I’m off for my second vaccination for Covid. It’s a long way to go, and an early start so I need to be on good form for that. Here’s hoping that I’ll have a better night than last night.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 18th March 2021 – HERE’S CALIBURN …

caliburn rue des noyers st lo Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… sitting waiting patiently for me in a little car park in the Rue des Noyers at St-Lô this morning.

And he didn’t have to wait very long because I was in and back out again even before the time of my appointment, and it isn’t every day that that kind of thing happens when you are dealing with French administration.

What does seem to be happening every day though (so just watch it not happen tomorrow) is that I’m leaving my stinking pit pretty quickly these days – just after the first alarm. This morning I was actually sitting at the computer working, having already had my medication, when the third alarm went off.

First thing that I did was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. We started off with Doc Holliday, a third person and Yours Truly riding a freight train escaping from a crime that we’d committed. We were happily going on this train doing OK. There was a low branch across the railway lines. The locomotive somehow managed to avoid it but Doc Holliday who was standing up was hit by this branch and knocked off the train. We all had immediately to leap off the train. 2 guys on a horse had seen this incident and gave chase. They followed the train, found in the end that we weren’t on so they came back and found the 3 of us. They held us at gunpoint while we explained some of our story – not everything. The sheriff of the county agreed and told us that we could go. he told us the story of a couple of other outlaws who had been here. Someone showed us the house where they had lived which was now an old metal barn. All very interesting. Something happened that we were unmasked so we had to flee. As it was me and the other guy, not Doc Holliday, we had to scramble our way through this industrial estate climbing over fences, this kind of thing. One place where we had to climb over the fence had some bird netting on it and of course the more you climbed up it the more you pulled it off. It meant that the 2 of us had to climb this bird netting simultaneously moving our hands and legs at the same time so that the net would stay in place and we could scramble up it otherwise we would just pull it out of where it’s tied.

A little later TOTGA came to see me. She was telling me about a problem that she’d had. The people for whom she’d worked had gone bankrupt and they had found loads of drawings and missing assets and so on that had presumably been misappropriated by one of the previous directors. Now they were making enquiries about her and her wealth – an in-depth enquiry and what should she do about it? I made a couple of suggestions. At that moment Nerina shouted me – she was also around doing something in a different room, something like that or whether she came later. So I went to her and happened to mention this story about TOTGA. Nerina said “why don’t you talk to her and see what we can do?”. Just at that moment TOTGA shouted up something from downstairs so I replied, saying “come up here a minute”. She came up and I said “just sit there on the bed a minute”. She said “I’ll need a chaperone”. I replied “ohh no you won’t” to which Nerina and TOTGA burst out laughing. We explained the problem again to Nerina and she came up with a few suggestions that didn’t seem quite right to me but I don’t know what else to expect. Then I awoke with an attack of cramp.

Later still I was at Virlet busy tidying it up and decorating it. It wasn’t Virlet but one of these 2-up, 2-down terraced houses in Crewe. I was getting ready to do one of the living rooms. A friend of mine turned up with a kind-of interior designer. They had all kinds of ideas for everything on the inside so I left them to it as he was going to pay for this. There was a girl here as well and we were talking to her. She was wondering what to do, whether she was getting in the way so we told her to make the coffee. Luckily there was some running water at the place so she started on that. I went to empty the sink but the sink had been blocked and a whole pile of dirt and filth came into the sink before it all evacuated again. I said “thank God for that” then I had another attack of cramp.

This cramp thing is really getting on my wick now and I must remember to speak to my doctor at Castle Anthrax next week.

First job after the dictaphone notes was to attack the Greenland photos. Another pile of them are done and we are just about to get up steam ready to sail off down Kangerlussuatsiaq Fjord on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR. And considering that we are on a diesel-powered ship, if we can get up steam and sail off, it will be something quite astonishing.

Later on I had a shower and then Caliburn and I hit the streets. And we were half-way to Liz and Terry’s before I remembered that I was actually going to St-Lô so we had something of a sight-seeing trip.

15 minutes early I was when I arrived in St-Lô and having found a parking space at the foot of the city walls underneath the Prefecture, I then found a set of steps up through a sally port – steps that I hadn’t noticed before.

Consequently I was there 10 minutes early. And with no-one in front of me, I was seen straight away and was standing on the steps outside the building, all done and dusted, when the town clock struck 11:00

And I would have been out even earlier had I not signed the form in the place reserved for the chef de service instead of the interessé so she had to start all over again.

One thing about which I wasn’t very happy was that she took my current carte de sejour. So what I did was to make her photocopy it and put on it the Prefecture’s official stamp. One thing that I have learnt with living in Europe is that people like to see lots of paperwork all covered in official stamps and the more you have, the better it is for the various officials whom you encounter on your travels. And I’ll be travelling a lot just now.

rue des noyers city walls st lo  Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack down the steps to Caliburn and at the sally port I took a photo along the walls.

One thing that you notice about St-Lô is that much of the construction is “modern austerity” because after D-Day in 1944 the Germans dug themselves in here and the city was repeatedly bombed, with the deaths of hundreds upon hundreds of French civilians. Not for nothing was it known as “The Capital of the Ruins”.

Because of the devastation, rebuilding had to be quick without any regard for aesthetics and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the cathedral here is half-built of breeze blocks, such was the state of things.

Caliburn and I drove to the railway station where we awoke a booking clerk who found my name in the database and was able to issue me with my rail tickets for next week as there is no automatic retrieval machine here. It’s important that I have my tickets in my hand before the day of my travel because the train leaves before the booking office in the station opens and if the ticket retrieval machine is out of order then I’ve had it.

Next stop was to the new LIDL on the edge of town and while the range of goods on offer was larger, there wasn’t all that much more in there that would have suited me and my diet.

LeClerc was pretty much the same. Bigger and more choice, but not for me. I did strike lucky in the sense that they had a special offer going on their litre-bottles of traditional lemonade – glass bottles with mechanical tops that I need for my brewing. Two bottles of that stuff worked out at €3:20, which is cheaper than buying two empty bottles from the housewares section.

While I was there I rang up Liz to see if Terry’s hard drive had arrived. No such luck, so I headed on home for a rather late lunch.

Having been rushing around like this all morning, it’s no surprise that I ended up crashing out for a while on the chair in the office. I can’t last the pace.

seagull on window ledge place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I picked myself up for my afternoon walk and went outside, where I said “hello” to the seagull that seems to have taken residence on the first floor window of the next block.

The weather this morning had not been too unpleasant but it seems to have deteriorated while I was indoors because the wind has increased, the temperature has dropped and while there’s not as much fog around as there has been just recently, there is still more than you would expect given the strength of the wind.

So gritting my teeth and hanging on to my hat I set off along the path around the headland. There were only a couple of other people out there, and that wasn’t a surprise given the way things are right now.

Looking out across the bay towards the Brittany coast there wasn’t all that much going on over there.

seafarers memorial le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd neither was there all that much more going on across towards St Pair and Jullouville.

Well, maybe there was, but if so, I couldn’t see it. We can see the seafarers’ memorial and then Le Loup, the light that sits on the rock at the entrance to the harbour. But the coast across there is nothing more than a misty haze.

From there I walked on down the path at the head of the cliffs. After all of the activity at the chantier navale just recently, it’s quietened down with just the same boats that were there yesterday. Plenty of people working on them, including my neighbour Pierre labouring away on Spirit of Conrad.

But I’ve given up predicting when they might be going back into the water. I’m not having much luck with that right now.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other hand, they seem to be racing away with the roof on the College Malraux right now.

Apart from having almost finished the part of the roof that they stripped off a couple of weeks ago, they have now stripped off a neighbouring bay and they are busy replacing the laths on that part. I wonder what has caused the acceleration.

Back here in the apartment I had my coffee and then made a start on the arrears of Central Europe. And that seemed to be somewhat productive because I managed to research and write some text for about seven or eight photos in the time that I was working. With a bit of luck, I might finish this before the end of the decade.

Guitar practice was enjoyable – on the bass I was messing around with a solo for “Jumping Jack Flash” again and also Neil Young’s “Like A Hurricane”.

Tea was a burger on a bap with veg followed by apple pie again. And then a couple of things came up while I was trying to write up my notes. Firstly, Rachel rang me from Canada with some bad family news. Secondly, I won’t be making orange ginger beer again. I now know what a shrapnel attack looks like and I need another bottle with a mechanical stopper. At least I know that the stoppers on those bottles are stronger than the bottles themselves.

Tomorrow is going to be a day of cleaning up and washing down the walls of the living room and I’ll be doing the next lot of brewing in the bathroom.

Wednesday 17th March 2021 – HAVING SAID YESTERDAY …

… that I was going to give up this fortune-telling lark because I couldn’t see any future in it, I’ve changed my mind and I’m now back in business.

spirit of conrad hermes 1 lys noir charlevy freddy land aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago when the charter yachts started to arrive in the chantier navale for overhaul, I said that I wouldn’t be surprised if we were to see Spirit of Conrad – the boat on which we went down the Brittany coast in the early summer – in there next.

Well, people, guess what?

That’s right. Over there on the far side where Charles Marie had been moored for the last few weeks, she seems to have gone back into the water and Spirit of Conrad is now there in her place.

There’s another pleasure craft in there today too. Nearest the camera is a small boat called Freddy Land about which I know nothing at all.

But there you are. How about that for a prediction?

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing about which I complained quite voiciferously the other day was the speed at which they seem to be repairing the roof on the College Malraux across from where I live.

It seems that they must have heard me, or else they are regular readers of this rubbish that I write, because they have put on a spurt that has taken le quite by surprise and in just 48 hours they’ve almost finished the part that they had stripped off

They can obviously do it when they really try, so I wonder what holds them up during the periods when they don’t seem to be making any progress at all

Nothing held me up this morning, I have to say. Once more I leapt out of bed with alacrity at the sound of the first alarm … “well, something like that, anyway” – ed … and went off for my medication.

Afterwards I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was a girls’ school that was undergoing a considerable amount of reorganisation and at the parents’ Annual General Meeting quite a few proposals were taken, one of which went against the advice of the headmistress, was to reorganise the year 7.5. That was voted on and the reorganisation was agreed. I pressed “refresh” to reload the document on my computer but my computer crashed so I had to switch it on again and reload the document so that I could read it. It came up OK this time but just then I had a bad attack of cramp (yet again and this is making me feel totally fed up) and awoke.

First task after I’d organised myself was to deal with the booking for my trip to Leuven next week. I’m going on Wednesday, coming back on Saturday, all at the usual time and hoping that I’m not going to be held up like I was last week. I can’t do with this waiting around killing time.

Interestingly, if you thought that the rail-fare was cheap last time, it was even cheaper this time. That can only be good news and it’s not as if I couldn’t do with it. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that it’s been a long time since I’ve had any.

Next thing was to have another go at the back-up drive and another pile of stuff has bitten the dust. But very little free space saved. We’ve reached the point, as I explained a few days ago, where the bulk of the big stuff has been done. It’s all little stuff now, 50kb here and there, that kind of thing.

After lunch, I was in great demand so it seemed. Both Rosemary and Ingrid rang me up for a chat – Rosemary twice in fact. But now that I’ve invented a hands-free kit for the phone I was able to take full advantage of the pause by working on the photos from Greenland and I did a huge bundle of those while I was chatting.

harvesting bouchots - the mussels on strings - Donville les Bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe weather outside was another day of mist and fog.

Nothing like as bad as it was the other day of course. The harvesters of Bouchots – the mussels that grow on strings – were out there in force as you can see, over at Donville les Bains near the holiday camp where I nearly ended up staying. The tide is well out just now so they have plenty of room to move about.

Regular readers of this rubbish might recall that I’ve mentioned the Bouchots before. This was a serendipitous discovery where someone left some ropes out in the sea for some kind of purpose and when he came back a while later he found the m all covered in mussels.

The advantage of mussels grown on strings and not on the sand is that they don’t have sand in them so they don’t taste gritty.

Just one or two people wandering around out there this afternoon as I walked down the path and onto the lawn at the end.

memorial to the resistance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe Monument to the Resistance Fighters of World War II was looking particularly attractive this afternoon so I took a photo of it.

The branches of that tree across the car park fitted nicely into the arms of the Cross of Lorraine and Le Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour – fitted nicely into the upright.

It’s a shame though that for some reason or other they didn’t treat the metal before they installed it. I’m not sure if a metal plaque streaked with rust was part of the plan at all because it does really look depressing and it will only become worse.

Out in the bay there was nothing at all happening so I walked off down the path to look at the port and the chantier navale.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe chantier navale we’ve already seen, but there was some activity in the wet harbour too.

Our old friend Thora was in there in the unloading bay and there was plenty of other things going on with those two large lorries over there and the tons of stuff piled up on the quayside.

With nothing else going on, I headed back for home and my hot coffee, and I spent the remainder of the afternoon dealing with a day when I was in Central Europe. I seem to be stuck on this day right now and I wish that I could advance.

The guitar practice was enjoyable. I spent my bass guitar session playing a bass solo to “Jumping Jack Flash” just to see how it sounded, and it was pretty impressive. With the acoustic guitar I was having some fun with ELO’s “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” and “Don’t Bring Me Down”.

Tea was a stuffed pepper followed by apple pie and then I came back in here to write up my notes. Now it’s bed time – an early night because tomorrow I’m off to St Lô and the Prefecture to have my fingerprints taken for my new carte d’identité. Things are slowly ticking over here and we might slowly reach a conclusion. And not before time.

On the way back, I’ll take advantage of the big shops there and see if I can’t lay in some stocks of stuff that I can’t get so easily around here.

Monday 15th March 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… much better day today.

Due without doubt to crawling wearily into bed at about 22:45 and sleeping right through until the alarm went off.

There was plenty of time for me to go off on a nocturnal voyage or two. I was out somewhere during the night. I went to see a house. I walked in there and walked out in disgust because it was pretty expensive. They wanted €16 per week until 2008. I thought that that was a lot but as someone pointed out, at least it’s a roof over my head even if it’s only temporary. Just then my personal manager guy who looks after me came past and we walked off together and were talking about things. It might have been a friend of mine from way back. We got into school and I’d had a can of drink on the way and this guy had paid for it. I said that I would give him the money back when we got to school so we got there and bumped into a girl who was in my year at class of all people. She’d had a bottle of drink and there had been a strange clip on the bottle that she had to hand back. I’d seen someone walking off with a clip of that sort but it didn’t really click for a minute what it was. After her drink she had a hunt around for this clip but couldn’t find it. She went to ask the girl at the till if she had seen it. They talked about this and she said something about “what have you done with your little friend?”. She looked up and saw me and went all red and blushed. This girl said something so I replied “it’s OK. I’ve had worse than that”. Then she came out with something about the school over the last couple of years has been really good because there’s been no-one foreign in it. No Irish and no foreigners. I replied that foreigners are more exciting and interesting so we had a talk about that.

Later we were on the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR trying to go through the North West Passage but there had been an incident and we had lost our mast so we were proceeding with diesel engines. There was a port nearby but we didn’t know which one it was so we’d head there anyway. One of the guys with us broadcast a silly message about how well we were doing and so on. We came into this town along the road on the ship and it didn’t look right at all because it looked far too green, somewhere like the north of Scotland. We pulled in and I thought “this is a big town. It has a Co-op and loads of shops so this isn’t somewhere in the North-West Passage at all. The street signs were in English with Chinese writing as well and all of the accents were northern Scotland. We parked where we thought the port was and there was a ramp going up into like a pub. He wandered off, the guy who was with me and I wandered around for a bit. he went off looking in the shops and he started to complain about the rugby pitch that he had seen. I looked out of the window and we were quite high up. There was a big valley down below us with gas holders in it. I thought “well, this is nothing like a port at all”. I walked up this ramp but it turned out that it was into a pub. I thought “we’ll never be able to get our boat up to here. There were no boats or anything and I thought “where the heck have we arrived now?”.

After the medication I made a start on the radio programme for this week and having chosen the music and paired it while I was in Leuven, I’d finished and had it running to listen to by 11:15.

It’s a good jo that I had because while I was listening to it and trying to organise myself Rosemary rang and we had one of our lengthy chats. As a result I was quite late in going for my lunch.

After lunch I had something important to do – to make further enquiries about what I need to do to upgrade the big computer as I would like it to be. I’ll run the one that I repaired for 72 hours non-stop while I’m in Leuven next week and if it runs fine, I can use that while I have the big office machine in pieces.

man wading in water in waterproofs beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe weather was fairly cold and threatening rain when I went out for my afternoon walk so I dressed accordingly when I went out for my afternoon walk.

Not as accordingly as this guy down here on the beach out by the Rue du Nord. I just had on my winter jacket and cap. This guy seems to be in his oilskins and waders, and he probably has his sou’wester in his pocket in case it comes on to rain, which it might well do at some point, judging by the sky.

Mind you, he was the only person down on the beach who was dressed to such an extent. There were three or four other people down on the beach at different locations but they were dressed more … errr … casually. I’ve no idea what they were all doing down there and I didn’t hang around long enough to find out.

f-gsbv Robin DR400 180 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was plenty of activity in the air today too. While I was walking along the footpath I was overflown by a light aircraft.

Despite the poor quality of the photograph due to the distance that it was out at sea I could see her registration number. She’s F-GSBV, a Robin DR400/180 of unknown date. She’d taken off from Granville Airport at 15:53 and flew a figure-of_eight around the coast and landed back at the airport after just 11 minutes, her second flight of the day.

There wasn’t anyone else out there this afternoon so I had the path all to myself. I pushed along in the wind as far as the lawn near the lighthouse.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom here, there’s a good view back to the College Malraux where I could see what was going on with the roofing that they were doing.

They don’t seem to have advanced very far over this last couple of weeks. They’d had that corner of the roof stripped off when I came back from Leuven two and a half weeks ago. They need to be working quicker than that if they want to finish it sometime soon.

Nothing else was happening here, except for the Council grass-cutters, so I walked on across the car park to the end of the headland. There wasn’t anything happening in the bay and the Brittany coast was rather obscured by clouds so I headed off along the path on top of the cliffs.

workmen at ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a week or two ago we saw some workmen unloading a pile of builders’ bags onto the quayside over by the ferry terminal.

Those bags disappeared quite quickly and I never did find out what happened to to them, but today we have some more workmen over there. They seem to be doing something over on the far side of the wall and one of these days when I have a moment, whenever that might be, I’ll have to go over there and have a look for myself.

Down at the chantier navale there was no change in occupancy. The four large yachts and the trawler were still in there up on blocks and thy look as if they will be there for a while yet. And there’s not much room in there for anything else if the need arises.

trawler naabsa port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall noticing is that these days we seem to be having rather a plethora of NAABSA (not always afloat but safely aground) fishing boats over by the Fish Processing Plant.

It used to be very rare to see one – they’d all be taken inside to the wet harbour and moored there. But just recently we’ve seen a few abandoned over there to the mercy of the tide and I’m not sure why either.

Back here, I had my afternoon coffee and then tackled the photos from Greenland. Another 20 bit the dust in the time available. We’re still at the foot of the Sermitsiaq Glacier that runs off the into the Maniitsoq Ice Cap Evighedsfjorden or Kangerlussuatsiaq Fjord but all told, there is just 300 or so to be dealt with for the month of July 2019.

The guitar practice went OK and I finally managed to track down the chord arrangement for Al Stewart’s MODERN TIMES, something that I’ve been trying to find for quite a while, with one of the best guitar solos of all time right at the end.

With having a late lunch I didn’t fancy much for tea – just a baked potato with beans.

Now that my notes are written, it’s off to bed as I have my Welsh lesson tomorrow. Surprisingly, I haven’t crashed out today and that’s a surprise. That sleep must have done me some good.

Another one just like that would do me even better.

Tuesday 2nd March 2021 – WHAT I SAW …

ile de chausey english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… out to sea this afternoon.

Somewhere in that sea fog out there are the Iles de Chausey but you can’t actually see them this afternoon. After all of the nice weather that we’ve had over the last couple of days, we are now having a change of weather. It’s still warm and bright outside, but as for whether or not there were any clouds in the sky, that’s a completely different story.

What isn’t a completely different story is that once more I managed to stagger to my feet shortly after the first alarm went off at 06:00, and by the time that the third alarm went off I was already sitting at the computer working.

We were all on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR last night, heading off on a cruise somewhere and TOTGA and her 2 kids came to see me off. This was very nice of them of course and I was hoping that it would lead to something further but we’d have to see (and not for nothing is she known as “The One That Got Away). There was still a couple of hours before our ship sailed. Then I had to leave the group with which i was in order to go to the bathroom. This meant stepping off the ship. As I walked down to the bow there were all these people from the restaurant standing around at the front of the ship having a cigarette, people who worked there, so I made a cheery kind of comment which they took in good heart and I walked off down the corridor of the port to try to find the bathroom, all the time thinking that in 2 hours time something might develop with TOTGA if I’m lucky – but just at this point I fell asleep again. And my apologies to Percy Penguin whose word I doubted when she told me that I snored.

Incidentally, just before I went to bed last night I was having a long chat with TOTGA about her daughter. It just goes to show …

Later on, a lady who worked in the OU said that she would do a drawing of me in pen and ink or something so I went to see her. I ended up staying. She was only down the road from Nina’s so I’d been to see her and then gone down to see this woman. She lived just on the border between Wales and England in Wales, 1 mile from the border. We were chatting and she had some shopping to do so we set out and walked along the old railway line that ran past her house into the UK and got to Ashbourne although it wasn’t the Ashbourne that I knew. She did a few bits and pieces and I was trying to go to the toilet but everywhere that I was going was full or there were cars going past or something and in the end we ended up walking back to her house. She had loads of stuff all over the place that she was drawing for people I knew from the OU. I was saying that that was the area where I’d like to live, on the border there. It always struck me as being an extremely romantic type of place and there were places like Tamworth and so on within easy reach. It all seemed so historical and all so interesting compared to Crewe.

That’s something else we were doing too. We’d been to Virlet at one point too, I don’t know why. I had a tiny solar panel there with a USB type of plug on it that you could plug things like telephones that kind of thing into it which would charge up off the solar panel. Quite a few people were interested in that and I was telling them all about it.

Once I’d organised myself I sat down and ran through about 20 photos from my Greenland 2019 trip, making sure that they were edited properly. I’m pressing on with these

Next, I turned my attention to the preparation for my Welsh class. That involved reading through the notes that I made during last week’s lesson, going through it all, and then looking through the course book for the text for this weeks lesson.

The lesson itself passed fairly well, I suppose. I was in a slightly better mood then last week and feeling much more like it.

After lunch I spent some of the time dealing with a few outstanding issues. Now that the new ID cards are coming through the system and being issued, it’s clear that the enormous backlog is being cleared. This is the moment to make my application to convert my ID card to the new type to reflect our revised status on the Mainland.

We now have no more rights over here than any refugee from Somalia or Syria.

Another thing that needed doing was to go through my bank accounts and see how the land lies. I still have my Canada money kicking around and it’ll be two years’ worth soon. With no prospect of going back until at least 2022 and maybe not even then, I need to make it all work for me in the meantime. It’s doing no good in a deposit account.

Unfortunately, the guy whose number I was given wasn’t the correct person and he couldn’t think of anyone who might help me. So it’s back to the drawing board as far as this is concerned.

crowds on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

Once again, as you might expect, the tide is miles out at sea again. These are the highest and lowest tides of the year right now of course and the public areas of the fishing beds are exposed. There were crowds of people on the beach down there by the steps underneath the Place d’Armes but from up here on the cliffs it didn’t look as if they were actually doing the peche à pied

Maybe they were just enjoying the good weather because despite the rolling sea fog that we were having, it wasn’t cold and it wasn’t all that windy.

kids at gymnase jean galfione place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe schools are still out on half-term this evening so it was fairly quiet around the College Malraux this afternoon. No hordes of schoolkids and no parents parked up where they shouldn’t be.

But there was something going on at the Gymnasium Jean Galfione at the back of the school. These kids all seem to be dressed in some kind of corporate outfit so maybe there’s been some kind of team sport going on there this afternoon.

They were sitting there quietly, presumably waiting for Godot so I left them to it and carried on with my walk along the footpath.

renault voltigeur pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHow long is it since we’ve seen an old car on these pages? Quite a while, isn’t it?

My route took me over the lawn and onto the car park at the back of the lighthouse and there sitting quietly is a rather elderly Renault Voltigeur.

We all know about these vehicles and their heavier brothers, the Renault Goelettes. These were the vehicles used by all of the authorities for a 20 year period from the end of the 40s to the end of the 60s and were the typical paniers à salades, “salad baskets”, used by the Police to carry away detainees, although salade is a more polite way of of expressing what they were usually called.

High ground clearance and short wheelbase, they were ideal for the poor state of the roads in France after the war and with a traditional rear-wheel drive and cheap, basic and simple to assemble, they were much more common than the rival Citroen H “garden sheds” but never acquired the same cult status or lasted as long as their Citroen rivals.

It’s very, very rare to see one on the road these days.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been following the adventures of the roofers on their scaffolding at the College Malraux.

They have spent several months working on the side of the roof facing my building and about a fortnight ago they moved their scaffolding round to the side. While I’ve been away they seem to have moved their scaffolding round to the other side of the building and I noticed that they are now busy attacking that slope.

With all of that do do, that’s probably going to take them up to summer, given the speed at which they have been working so far.

digger port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound at the viewpoint overlooking the port there was nothing much going on, and there were just the two boats in the chantier navale.

But I did notice one of the two diggers that have been working in the port seems to have retired from the fray and is now clanking on its tracks up the ramp.

It was difficult to see what was going on with it over there but there was a workman round at the front of the machine, so maybe they are going to change her bucket for one of a different size, or maybe even fit a grab onto the end of the arm. But there wasn’t anything down there to fit it with.

digger tractor port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, out in the port, the other digger is hard at it with the tractor and trailer.

It seems to have dug up a pile of rocks from the bed of the port and is busy tipping them into the trailer to be taken away. And why they would be doing that I really don’t know because they’ll have to go down extremely deep in order to make it into a wet harbour at all states of the tide.

And that gives me an idea. Maybe they are going to fit a breaker attachment onto the other digger so that it can break up some more of the rock.

After watching them for a while I came back here for coffee and some of my delicious vegan cake and then carried on with my arrears of my journey to Central Europe. And once again I crashed out completely for a good half-hour and felt pretty dreadful again when I came round.

The hour on the guitars was quite enjoyable and then I went for tea. Burger on a bap followed by my nice jam pie with the last of the soya coconut dessert.

The good news was that the football is back. Y Drenewydd were playing Penybont and it was a good match. Despite Y Drenewydd being at the foot of the table they were far too good for mid-table Penybont and fully deserved their 2-0 win, and even missed a penalty. Despite the long pause in the season they’ve obviously kept themselves fit as the game was played at 100% for the whole of the 90 minutes. I quite enjoyed watching the game.

Now I’m off to bed, later than usual. But the football is always much more interesting than sleeping. Tomorrow I have a pile of correspondence that needs my attention, some tidying up, and then I need to crack on. There’s plenty to do.

Monday 15th February 2021 – I WAS RIGHT …

lighthouse semaphore people on lawn and path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… about the heavy rain last night washing away the rest of the snow and ice that was still hanging around after our famous snowfall last week, more’s the pity.

If you compare this photo with the one THAT I TOOK THE OTHER DAY you can see immediately the difference between the weather conditions in the two photographs. I wonder when, or if, we might see snow again. It was a long time coming.

Beating the third alarm was another thing that was a long time coming, but once again I managed to be up and about before it went off.

There’s some stuff on the dictaphone so later on I had a listen. I was at work, working long past my retirement date which I was doing yet again. It seems to have become something of a regular occurrence. Suddenly a memo came down to say that Friday 8th February was to be my very last day. It was the Friday before that at the moment and the next week I was working away so I worked late until everyone had gone and I just took a bag and put some stuff in it, so much that it was really difficult to carry, and then I set off, thinking that I’d come back the Monday after I’d retired and bring a box to put the rest of the stuff in it. I walked all the way through town and ended up at the hospital. I was going there in the hope that I could have my 1st Covid injection before I set off on my business trip

Today I’ve spent all morning working on another radio programme. After the medication I sat down and started work and by the time that I was ready to knock off for lunch it was all done and dusted, the whole hour of it, and I was listening to it to make sure that it was okay.

It’s come out quite well too, and I’ve even managed to squeeze into it a track that has been on my playlist ever since the moment that I first heard it in 1970.

There was of course the morning break for hot chocolate and sourdough fruit-bread. There’s only one helping left of that so tomorrow afternoon I’ll have to make a start on preparing some new stuff.

And talking of the sourdough, after I fed it yesterday it’s gone berserk, erupted, and made a mess all over the worktop. It’s quite active now by the looks of things. I reckon that the ginger bug is ready too so while I’m at it I’m going to have a go at making my first batch of ginger beer.

Having listened to the radio programme and also the one that will be broadcast this weekend, I sent off the latter and for the next while I carried on with tidying up the hard drive with all of the back-up files on it, going through the duplicates.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAll of that took me up to my afternoon walk outside.

As we can see, the workmen are now back up on the roof of the College Malraux carrying on with the tiling after their enforced break at the end of last week. And I don’t envy them one bit whatsoever about their job, because there was another gale-force wind blowing and there was rain threatening too.

It’s hardly surprising, given the weather conditions that we experience around here, that the wind blew one of the workmen off the roof a couple of months ago while I was away in Leuven and they had to send the air ambulance out to pick him up and rush him to hospital.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was at it, I went over to the edge of the car park to look down upon the beach to see if there was anything exciting going on.

There wasn’t anything special that I could see down there, except for the fact that there seemed to a rather extraordinary number of people down there amusing themselves. This wasn’t really the weather for crowds of people relaxing at the water’s edge.

Despite the torrential rain last night, the paths were fairly dry for a change. I was expecting to be up to my knees in the mud and slush. It was quite easy to move around out there, although there wasn’t anything particular to see out there, and the heavy clouds prevented any sun from seeping through.

people working on aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith nothing particular going on out to se, I had a walk along the path to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale and the port.

And there was some excitement going on down there today. Whilst the occupants of the chantier navale are still the same, the area around Aztec Lady seems to be a hive of activity today. There were quite a few people wandering around there looking as if they might be about to start work on her.

They may even be thinking about putting her back into the water some time very soon, although I seem to recall having had a similar fit of optimism a long, long time ago when she was first hauled ashore.

rue du port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s a good view from here too all down the Rue du Port as far as the Place Pleville.

We can see that most of the fishing boats have all gone out to sea today. They must have had Sunday off. Of course, the tide is well out so we won’t be seeing them coming back for a while, especially as we have the curfew at 18:00. There’s no sign of that being lifted right now either given the fact that the casualty figures for the virus don’t seem to be decreasing by very much.

By now the rain was falling as I had expected, so I made my way back to my apartment. My hot coffee would just the job to warm me up after my exertions.

The postman had been today which was good news. He’d brought me a couple of little presents for which I was grateful.

The first thing was the SATA caddy for 2.5 inch drives. I need that to download the BIOS files for the new SSD drives that are on their way. The BIOS needs to be loaded onto the drives before I fit them into the machines so that the machines will fire up properly and I can download the operating system etc. These SSD drives are completely blank. I’ll plug them into the caddies which will then be plugged into a USB port on another machine and I can download the BIOS files like that from the laptop manufacturers.

But it’s also enabled me to carry out another task. I had an ancient laptop 10 years ago that gradually gave up the ghost and died after the charging pin broke off inside the casing. Soldering a flying lead onto the motherboard provided only a temporary repair.

At the time I salvaged the hard drive from it and put it on one side with the view of looking at it and salvaging the files at some time. Now that I have the caddy I can actually access the files and even as we speak I’m uploading the contents from the hard drive via the caddy onto the hard drive in this computer. And it’s going to be a long job.

The second thing that came in the post was the new battery for the little Acer that will be the recipient of one of the SSD drives. The battery had died in it completely and while I was surfing the net I came across a stock of spare batteries for it.

Surprisingly, the difference between a standard battery and a battery of twice the capacity was a mere €4:00 and so for a mere €23:99 including, this will be ready to go when it has its new 1TO SSD.

Even though it’s an old machine running Windows 7, the fact is that everything important is easily accessible in it and I remember when I bought it that I enquired about the memory and ended up ramming into it as much RAM as it could take. The processor is pretty slow but it did everything that I wanted of it quickly enough, and it’ll go even quicker with a Solid-State Drive.

It’s much smaller than a standard laptop, with an 11.6″ screen and very light so it was great for travelling. I need to cut down on the amount and weight of stuff that I have to take with me when I travel.

This took me up to guitar practice time, which went off okay although I wasn’t really in the mood very much..

At the shops on Saturday there were no loose mushrooms so I was obliged to buy a punnet of 500 grammes. They won’t keep for long so I made myself I great big potato and mushroom curry with vegetables and coconut cream. It was absolutely delicious and, even better, There’s enough for another four or five meals so I’ll be stocking the freezer when it’s cooled down.

So now I’m off to bed. No Welsh course tomorrow as it’s half-term but I do have my little 15-minute chat with my tutor. And then I need to nip to the shops. I need to buy a couple of things that I forgot on Saturday.

Sunday 14th February 2021 – WE’VE SEEN THE …

… last of the snow and ice for a while, I reckon.

The temperature has warmed up, the wind has risen and round about 118:00 this evening we had a torrential downpour. That will wash away the last of the snow and ice that’s been lingering around. Unless the temperature drops substantially and the rain turns into snow.

Talking of lingering … “well, one of us is” – ed … I didn’t linger around very long in bed this morning, just for a change on a Sunday. In fact by 09:30 I was up and wandering around looking for my medication. That’s not something that happens every Sunday.

Listening to the dictaphone, I could hear that I’d been on my travels during the night. I was with a friend and some kind of taxi driver person yesterday. My friend had wanted something doing and I had organised some help for him, this Pakistani person whoever it was was the right kind of person so I got the 2 people to meet. My friend and I had a very long chat about all kinds of things, the past, the future, all of that kind of thing. Then I had to go home. Round about, I dunno, it was dark in the evening. I had no socks on and I had to walk to my locker which was somewhere in Shavington in order to get them without any socks. I said goodbye to him and checked the dates for when we’d be meeting again and waved goodbye to this Pakistani guy and set off to walk. I walked back down Crewe Road towards Sugar Loaf Corner and I could hear in the distance the sounds of one of my sisters or brother being beaten for something or other for some act of misbehaviour. I could hear the kid shouting acts of defiance while this beating was going on. It seemed to far away yet seemed so near. I was the only person out there in the street just in my bare feet walking down the street. There was no-one else around at all.

First task was to book my voyages and hotel accommodation for Leuven. And luckily it seems that all of the trains are back up and running normally again. The price that they wanted from me too made it a very worthwhile occupation this morning.

Plenty of room in my little hotel too so it all worked out very well. It seems to have been a very good idea to change my day to a Thursday. The only downside is that I’m having to travel up on the Wednesday which is my birthday, so happy birthday to me, hey?

While I was there I had a little shuffle around of my money. With not going off on any holidays just now, the money that I had set aside was sitting there not doing very much.

Next task was to book an appointment with my Welsh tutor. We are all having a little one-on-one with her next week just for 15 minutes and I needed to reserve my little spec.

The rest of the morning was spent dealing with the photos from Greenland in July 2019. And one or two of them have really come out well too, like THIS ONE and THIS ONE.

After lunch I spent some time working on my Oradour sur Glane stuff. All of the notes are now finished and I’m starting to fit in the photos in the places where they ought to go. And that’s not easy either with 53 photos to go at.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt some point in the afternoon I went out for my usual afternoon walk.

At the end of the car park I looked over the wall down to the beach. There were several people down there on the beach wandering around this afternoon and, just like yesterday, I didn’t envy them one bit. The temperature has warmed up somewhat, but the wind has warmed up too and it’s blowing a gale right now.

The tide is of course way out, almost at its limit. It would be interesting to see how the sea would be behaving when the tide is right in. And I’m interested to know what those two tracks are down there on the beach.

sunset brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the car park I walked along the path at the back of the College Malraux and along the top of the cliffs.

Although it might not look like it, it wasn’t all that much later than usual. The clouds were quite dark and heavy, a promise of things to come, I reckon, with the strong westerly wind that was blowing. But there was that great big hole in the sky and with that lucky old sun having nothing to do but roll around heaven all day, the bright spot has now moved around a couple of degrees.

It’s now lighting up the Brittany coast, as much as we could see down there this afternoon with the rainstorm that’s falling down over there.

f-gnyz aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor a change, I’d taken with me the NIKON D500. I’d had a little play around with it this morning and managed to make the camera recognise the memory card that’s in it.

With having to use the NIKON 1 J5 which doesn’t have an eyepiece viewfinder, I’ve not been able to take any photos of the aeroplanes and other aircraft that have been flying overhead. And so I celebrated the occasion by taking a photo of an aeroplane that went flying by overhead at the Pointe du Roc.

Unfortunately I couldn’t quite read the serial number and there was nothing on the database having taken off from Granville airport this afternoon, so I’m not able to say exactly what it is. I shall have to do some further research.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the end of the headland there wasn’t anything at all going on. Nothing out at sea and of course with the tide well out there would be no fishing boats coming home.

Down at the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale I had a look down to see what was going on. There is no change in occupancy today – the four boats that we have seen for the last few days are still there not having done very much.

There’s no question as to why Aztec Lady and Lys Noir might be in there. With no business to attend to due to the postponement of all holiday activities, this is a good moment moment to have a full overhaul. But the big yacht has been there for months with no sign of moving.

fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther on along the path I had a good look down to see what was happening in the port.

There are quite a few fishing boats there in the port this afternoon and of course our two Channel Island Ferries Granville, with Victor Hugo hiding away behind her, are still there too. No sign of them moving as long as the pandemic is still running wild, and as I’ve said before, unless Jersey puts its hands in its pockets, there’s a possibility that they might not run again.

Seeing as I was ready for my afternoon coffee, I headed home, and not running either because of the howling gale that was blowing up.

Having finished my days’ work, Next step was to prepare my food. having taken out a lump of pizza dough from the freezer earlier this morning. I kneaded it, rolled it out and put it in the pizza tray.

While it was busy proofing, I made myself a big apple crumble. That’s going to be my pudding for the next week. Lots of apple, with sultanas, desiccated coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and lemon juice, all topped with a lovely crumble topping.

apple crumble home made pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile that was busy baking, I prepared the pizza and when the crumble was baked I took it out and stuck the pizza in for the usual 30 minutes. And it was absolutely delicious, as usual. It’s becoming something of a production line thing now, these pizzas.

As for the apple crumble, I’ll have to tell you what that’s like tomorrow, because I’m rather full right now.

Having now typed out my notes, I’m going off to bed. I’m working on a radio programme tomorrow so I need to be on form. I’ve already crashed out once and I don’t want to do it again. I may as well go to bed and make a really goos start in the morning.

There’s plenty to do, as usual.

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