Tag Archives: computer issues

Tuesday 23rd May 2023 – REMEMBER YESTERDAY …

… when I said that I was feeling that my injections weren’t doing what they used to do?

You probably won’t believe this, but I promise you that it happened. But this afternoon I had a phone call from the hospital in Leuven.
“Over the last two weeks we’ve been examining your medical results from your last visit to the hospital. We’ve noticed several anomalies in the tests and so we want you to have your Aranesp injections every week instead of every fortnight starting from next Monday, and for your doctor at home to have blood tests taken every four weeks to control the results”

Things are obviously heating up around here now. So whatever will happen next?

Actually, I know what didn’t happen. And that was that it was today, not Thursday, that I should have had my appointment with the nerve specialist but I mixed up the dates. So I’ll have to contact him tomorrow too and rearrange the appointment.

It’s been one of those days where not all that much has gone right. For a start, I didn’t beat the alarm this morning. I’d had a late night but even so, it’s not very often that I sleep right through until the alarm. But at least, I awoke in bed rather than on top of it.

And then I couldn’t get going. It took an age to finally come round into the Land of the Living and start to prepare for my Welsh lesson.

And then we had a tragedy. The college at Mold doesn’t have much money so we’ve been making do with whatever on-line video conferencing has been available. And the one that we used until recently revoked all of the free licences so we had to go elsewhere.

The only free video-conferencing that they could find is one that’s very resource-hungry and it won’t run on any of the portable computers around here (there are, for various reasons, five of those that work at the moment, including the one that I bought in desperation in North Dakota in 2019).

However, luckily, ages ago I’d bought a cheap webcam so I had to configure all of that and run it off the big desktop machine, something that I didn’t want to do.

And then to configure a microphone to run directly off the computer because everything here usually runs through various mixer desks

In the end I missed half of the lesson with all of this messing around but at least it worked. And once the lesson was up and running it passed off quite well too.

This afternoon, sorting out a few things that I needed to do, I came across a football match that I’d missed from 2 years ago, Caernarfon Town v Barry Town in a Europa Cup playoff match. So despite everything else going on, I took a couple of hours off to watch it.

And in news that will surprise almost everyone (because it certainly surprised me) I carried on with what I started last week and did some more rearranging of the bedroom. It’s starting to look a bit more like home now, which is always nice.

After a good session on the guitars, I had a listen to the dictaphone. Despite being stark out during the night there was some stuff on there from a little voyage. There was some kind of case going on about a large company where there was some manipulation about to take place with the shareholding in respect of a battle over who had control. Whilst I didn’t fully understand the implications of what was happening, it all sounded extremely suspicious to me. When I was looking through some paperwork I found that the company had been brought to the attention of the authorities on another occasion in respect of something or other underhand and was undergoing investigation. I thought that I should make a report of this conversation and pass it through to whoever it was who was investigating it but as I couldn’t grasp the implications of it and couldn’t really understand much of what was taking place, it was very difficult to write a note. I thought that the more I keep it waiting while I make up my mind what to write, the more distant this is going to be and the more I’m going to forget. It’s not going to help anyone by me waiting for too long. I need to pull myself together and write something down immediately

After the ‘phone call from the hospital and missing my nerve specialist, the physiotherapist came round. He gave me a really good workout – the longest session that we have had so far and I was exhausted at the end of it.

Tea was a taco roll with rice and veg, but the cooking session isn’t over by any means. There’s not very much in the way of leftovers for a curry tomorrow night so as I have plenty of tofu and some lentils, I’ve set the slow cooker on the go.

The lentils are being cleaned right now and as soon as I’ve finished this, I’ll take them out of the slow cooker and rinse them, and then put them back in with the spinach-flavoured tofu that I have and a load of spices, and leave it all to marinade in the slow cooker until tomorrow evening

That should make a really good curry, and I do have to admit that I’m in the right kind of mood for one of those.

In fact, anything to distract me because I’m not very happy about the idea of doubling the dose of Aranesp. It’s the medicine of last resort and there’s a warning that it is “recommended for patients with chronic kidney failure or cancer to use the lowest possible dose”.

Over the last year or so I’ve gone from 20mg a week to 60mg a week to keep me going and I’m not sure where you can go after all of this.

Monday 14th February 2022 – HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY …

… to everyone who has not been wished a Happy Valentine’s Day by anyone else today. I didn’t even have a Valentine’s wish from any of my virtual travelling companions either which was rather depressing. You can rest assured that I wished all of them a Happy Valentine.

It’s the only available female company that I can find these days. Times are definitely hard.

What a state to be in, hey?

Last night although I was tired, I couldn’t go to sleep and it wasn’t until about midnight or thereabouts that I finally crawled into bed.

And there I stayed until about 09:30. I’d been awake for an hour or so before that and I couldn’t go back to sleep so in the end I crawled back out again. So much for my idea of staying in bed until I awoke.

Well, I suppose that I actually did really, but that wasn’t quite what I meant.

After the medication I spent much of the morning slowly working through the notes of where I’d been during the night. I was giving a language course last night on board a ship. One person was going to come along and join in. He hadn’t taken part in any of the others. I knew that someone had put a few notes about pronouns into the mailbox of the class so when the class assembled I rummaged through the mails, folders and files, everything that was there. I found this paper and gave it to him. I said that he needed to give it back to me after the class because I had to write it out properly, photocopy it and give it to everyone. Someone said “you are a one, aren’t you? Giving him a note that’s going to have to make him work down it sideways”. I rounded on them and said “I don’t really know if you understand how much I have to do for you and I’m busy co-ordinating all of this, busy writing a play for the office, busy with 4 or 5 other different things that I had on the go. And of course I have my normal work to do as well. If anyone would like to do any of this for me I’d be more than grateful for whatever assistance I could get”.

And later on we were in the USA heading north into Mexico, don’t ask me how, scrambling over the fields etc. We were saying that with the USA at war we would find the countryside so much emptier when we cross the border. We set off and scrambled through these rocks in these fields and when we came to a main road we had to hide behind a fence or wall until a car went past. Then another came past, travelling quite quickly through these bends but on its correct side of the road. Another car came the other way doing the same thing but this one was slightly over on the other side of the road. It hit the first car and spun it round. The driver of the second car tried to drive away but the one in the first car rammed him so that he couldn’t go. We ran over there to see what was happening and the driver of the car was someone we knew. I challenged him about trying to drive off. He said “you did the same thing once didn’t you?”. I replied that I hadn’t but what did that have to do with anything anyway. A big argument developed between the two of us. He finally calmed down so I went over to the Spanish guy in the other car to see what he was going to do now

There was a dance taking place in the town. A whole group of us went, mainly people like the friends of a girl whom I once knew in the Auvergne, dressed in a hippy-type of trendy clothes etc. I was just in my usual outfit but that brought a fit of derision from some people but I didn’t care – I was comfortable. Someone else turned up in a suit but he was mocked and told to go home and change. There was a big discussion about labels being worn on your clothes etc. Gradually the crowd built up and more and more strange people were coming. There was a girl tied to a post in the town centre. I asked her what was going on. She replied that it was some kind of joke. I asked if she saw the funny side of it and she replied “yes” so I left her to it. It was a really, really strange gathering, all kinds of old hippy-type vehicles, vans and so on around there. Whilst I didn’t mind everything like that and it’s a really good idea to go out once in a while it wasn’t my usual way of enjoying myself but I thought that I’d give it a go, see what happens and see who I met.

There was some French village and the Germans had been. They had set up a machine gun post and killed quite a few of the villagers. There was no doubt that they would come back again so we were busy making sure that there was nothing with which they could set up their post and generally disrupt what we could so that they wouldn’t have an easy time of it. Sure enough they came, engaged in a looting party keen to grab hold of what they could. Someone took a fancy to a kind-of desktop lathe. He was wrenching at it, trying to pull it off its stand, everything like that so in the end I went over there and showed him how to dismantle it, making sure that I drained out all of the oil so that it wouldn’t work. Then I gave him a huge mouthful about how incompetent he was, going to wreck everything and he had no idea. His commandant was standing by so I made a few remarks to the commandant about his methods as well. I just made life extremely unpleasant for this particular German soldier.

So none of my special visitors last night to wish me a Happy Valentine.

There was time for a shower and a weigh-in before lunch. My TRAVERSÉE DE PARIS, even without Bourvil to carry my suitcase, didn’t result in any loss of weight.

Now it seems that I have grounded out. 9 kilos over the weight that I was when I was swanning around the States of North-West USA and how I wish that I could be at that weight again. But I wouldn’t see that again even if someone were to lend me a telescope.

After lunch it was time to go tot he physiotherapist and see what she was going to do to me today.

trawler naabsa port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022

So as usual I stopped at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to test the camera, and there was an ideal subkect over there against the far wall.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen this trawler on several occasions but woe is me! Her name has slipped right off the tip of my tongue.

But there she is in a NAABSA (Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground) position – or, at least, she must have been earlier – by the steps where the crew can go up and come down again. I suppose that she was late in earlier and missed the opening time for the harbour gates.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Further on down the hill in the Rue des Juifs I stopped to see what was happening in the inner harbour.

Down there on the quayside is a pile of freight. There’s a load of freight that I can’t recognise, stacked up on racks over there, and there’s also a swimming pool.

That would seem to tell me that Normandy Trader is coming in quite soon to pick it up. I know that they have the contract for delivering the swimming pools.

It won’t be the Normandy Warrior, her sister ship, because she’s currently aground in the Channel Islands, having something of a refit.

chausiaise belle france joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Not long before I went away I posted a photo of Chausiaise, Belle France and the newer of the two Joly France boats tied up together at the quayside.

By the looks of things, they haven’t moved since we saw them last. They are still down there. Presumably the older Joly France boat is out somewhere at sea because she wasn’t tied up at the ferry terminal as far as I could see.

Just by here is a ramp of four steps and that’s where I test my knee to see how it’s doing, trying to climb up these steps. And there’s been a deterioration over the last 12 days or so. Not enough power in my right knee to lift myself up even one of the steps.

Climbing up the hill to the physiotherapist’s by the railway station without my luggage was much easier and I did it in one go. And most of the time she spent massaging my patella and she found a spot that hurt when she touched it – something that I hadn’t felt before.

Well, when I say that, after I broke my knee as a teenager it hurt really badly whenever anyone touched it anywhere and that lasted for a couple of years and I had to give up playing football for a while. But it slowly eased off and after a few years it stopped hurting.

Anyway, she’s asked me to take in my medical reports on Wednesday so she can see. She can’t prescribe any medication or anything but she can make recommendations and I have to see my doctor in a week or two’s time to have some more Aranesp.

That’s another thing that gets on my wick as well. Having to have a booster injection so I have the strength to go to the hospital.

On the way home I called in at the Carrefour and picked up some mushrooms and a pepper. I fancy a stuffed pepper for tea and the rest of the mushrooms will come in handy for a curry in midweek.

kiddies roundabout Place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022You can tell that it’s still half-term somewhere in France right now.

The kiddies’ roundabout is still in place in the town centre. having had a closer look at it, I’m sure that it’s a lot smaller than it used to be when the Mairie became so excited about it.

The argument was that it was blocking the pavement and forcing pedestrians to walk in the road around it where they were at risk of being squidged by a passing bus or something.

With the cancellation of Carnaval this year, this is really the only vestige of anything that can be called “entertainment” right now in the town and that’s depressing in itself.

chant de sirenes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And so I trudged my weary way up the hill towards home and a nice hot coffee.

The tide had come in a lot further than it had earlier when I was on my way out and the first of the fishing boats has now come in and is waiting for the harbour gates to open.

You can tell which one this is because of the mermaid painted on her bow. She’s Chante de Sirenes – “Song of the Mermaids”.

Over to the left is another one but I can’t tell which one she is from here. And the one that we saw earlier is still over there against the wall and is now well afloat.

There were one or two more further out but I wasn’t going to wait for them. I wanted to go home.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022On the way back I went to have a look at the beach to see what was happening down there.

Not very much beach and I couldn’t see anyone down there making use of it. Hardly surprising because it was trying its best to rain while I was out there and I think that most people had more sense than being out there.

Back here I had a nice hot coffee and then regrettably I dozed off and that was that

Later on I went and made tea. Stuffed pepper with rice. And it was delicious as usual. I seem to have the knack pretty well these days about making those.

The plan was to go to bed early and have a decent sleep before my Welsh lesson tomorrow but I ended up repairing someone’s computer over the internet and that was certainly interesting.

But now that the “client” has entered into the BIOS and knows what to do, I’m going to bed. It always takes me a couple of days to recover from my journey and yesterday’s trip was more fraught than usual.

And then I have a radio programme to prepare. I can see it being really busy this week. So nothing new there then.

Wednesday 8th September 2021 – I HAVE HAD …

… a nightmare this afternoon after I came home from the physiotherapist – a real nightmare

new fishing boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But more about that anon. Let’s first say “hello” to the New Kid On The Block.

If that boat had been in and around the harbour previously, I would have been sure to have noticed it with its pretty distinctive, if not garish colour scheme.

She seems to be fitted out as an inshore fishing boat, the kind that fishes for shellfish, and she’s local to some extent in that her registration number begins with “CH” indicating that she’s registered in Cherbourg, so she obviously belongs somewhere up the coast here.

She’s not easy to miss so I’ll have to keep my eye open to see if she hangs around for a bit.

Anyway, this morning I didn’t hang around at all. As soon as the alarm went off I fell out of bed and went to take my medication.

Once that was out of the way I finished off the computer that I’d been repairing. While I was writing up my notes last night I was thinking of a way round accessing the files on the old hard drive that was locked in “administrator only” mode and because it was in a caddy, there was no way of entering the admin password.

Well there is, actually, if you think about it and it’s not for nothing that I have 32GB of RAM these days in the big desktop machine. Mind you, I was there until almost 01:00 doing it this morning fighting my way in but by the time that I’d finished everything was now on an external drive.

So this morning it was a case of loading it back up and performing a compare with the directory names. These days Windows writes its own and is no respecter of case so I had to make sure that the names on the external drive corresponded with the names that Windows created, otherwise that would have caused more problems.

Once that was all finally done, I could turn my attention to last night’s voyages. One of our number was due home at about 19:00 from her work in Stockport so about 18:30 mother started to fill the oven and warm it up ready to start cooking and baking the bread. The oven was on and everything was in there but she didn’t show up. We wondered where she’d got to – she’d left no messages or rung any of us to say that she was going to be late. We were puzzled as to where she was. It was getting close to Christmas and we had all of out Christmas shopping to do, all that kind of thing and we couldn’t really afford to be wasting several hours here and there while someone goes off gallivanting and we have work to do. One of the people in this house was a little girl probably about 8 or 9 or something. There was a game on the market, like a multilingual game about being in charge of a fire engine. Part of the publicity was about a house that was burning down. I’d already seen this game once in English but the publicity that we saw just now was being displayed in Welsh. Then she said that she was going to be visiting Aberhonddu and I was impressed that I said that in my sleep rather than the English “Brecon”. I thought that it was strange that I’d heard nothing about that so I asked how she was going. She said that they were going by aeroplane which I thought was a really weird way for a school trip to be setting off like that with schools so strapped for cash.

Another large pile of arrears disappeared too and now there are only 5 of them.

The rest of the morning was spent looking through my collection of photos from 2006-07-08 for 9 or 10 significant ones that currently have a very important meaning. I eventually found them too, after a great deal of difficulty too

After lunch I had a quick shower and then headed out for my physiotherapy.

delivery van transshipping porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Just out at the back here we have yet another delivery that can’t make it through the Porte St Jean into the old walled town.

It’s not for me to say anything … “not that that’s ever stopped you in the past” – ed … but this is a local delivery from a local company, and so I thought that they might be aware of the difficulties of delivering to the old town.

They don’t really need a vehicle of that size to deliver their domestic appliances ao surely a smaller one that can pass underneath the walls would have been a better bet.

peche a pied port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Out in the Baie de Mont St Michel the tide is well out this afternoon, so we have some people out there at the pêche à pied.

Not that the pêche à pied is anything that interests me over-much but were it to do so, I wouldn’t be doing it just there right at the entrance to the harbour where the boats pass by directly overhead.

What is interesting about this photo is that back in the early part of the year we saw the big earth-moving machines down there digging out the sandbank that forms to the right in the harbour mouth. It didn’t take too long for it to come back again, did it?

thora unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was walking on down the Rue des Juifs I could see a familiar antenna sticking up and visible from above the walls, so I went to the viewpoint overlooking the port for a good look.

Sure enough, our old friend Thora is back in town this afternoon. And a very clean and spruced-up Thora too. When she first came into port a few years ago she was looking beautiful but the weather and the sea had taken a dreadful toll of her.

But now at least on the superstructure above the waterline, she’s looking really tidy with a fresh coat of paint. I wonder if they’ll take her out of the water at some point and paint below the waterline.

unloading vehicles from thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By the time that I arrived at the viewpoint, it looked as if I’d missed the exciting bit.

The big crane was just lifting its jib up and away from the lorry down there, so it looks as if Thora has brought into port that motorhome and trailer that are on the back of the lorry.

It’s quite possible that this has been the repatriation of a broken-down motorhome and the freight and transport charges via St Malo have made them think about another way of bringing it home to France from the Channel Islands.

roadworks diversion rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From the port I headed off up the Rue Couraye toward the physiotherapist.

Near the top I stumbled across another diversion in the street. Roadworks in the Rue du Boscq by the looks of things so I shall go that way and check them out on my way home.

At the physiotherapist’s I was put through my paces with a different collection of exercises today. He’s certainly making me work in there and I hope that it’s going to be doing me some good. I need to be much better than this if I want to do any good in the future.

roadworks uprooting railway line rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back, I went down to the Rue du Boscq to see what was happening.

To the immediate left where these concrete pipes have been dropped, that was where the old railway line down to the port used to run. They’ve ripped that out as far as down here now by the looks of things.

Then there’s the street itself. The surface has been ripped out and is probably going to be resurfaced in the near future, with new drains (hence the concrete pipes).

Somewhere underneath all of this is a little river that flows down to the port. Wouldn’t it be nice if they were to remove the culverting and open it up. But there’s little chance of that.

uprooting railway line boulevard louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021That photo was taken to the left at the bottom of the hill. This is the photo taken looking to the right.

You can see the railway lines embedded in the road but further on, they’ve been ripped up. This was the part of the line that we saw them dismantling from the other end when we were off on our way to leuven one morning.

It’s really a shame to see the railway pulled out like this. It really marks the end of an era, signifying that the port is no longer important enough to warrant a railway connection. All of the seafood goes by road now, and we’ve seen the refrigerated lorries at the Fish Processing Plant.

It’s not really encouraging when you consider the drive for carbon neutrality.

On the way back to home I dropped into an estate agent’s. There’s a project to convert an old bank building into apartments and the sign has been on there for as long as I’ve been living here. I went to ask what was the latest state of play and, basically, we’re no further on that we were 4.5 years ago at all.

bouchot beds donville les bains people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The climb back up the hill was a little easier so while I was here I went to look at the beach to see what was happening.

There had been a terrific thunderstorm and rainstorm this morning that had soaked everything in sight so even though the storm had long gone, I was surprised to see so many people on the beach as there were.

With the tide being way out right now, the bouchot beds out at Donville are well out of the water. And they stretch for miles too. You can see the tractors and trailers out there harvesting the crop while they are clear of the water.

Back here my problems really began when I returned. I had my banana smoothie and came in here to drink it. Instead I fell asleep for another 90-minute marathon and I could have well-done without this afternoon.

And then disaster struck. All of the cheap seats on the train to Leuven and back have gone – in fact my favourite train, the 7:17 back, is fully booked up and there’s no seat at all. There’s no room at my favourite bolt-hole either so I’ve had to shack up at an Ibis Budget.

That’s not the worst of it either. My credit card isn’t recognised by my card reader – it will only recognise the previous card. But that is blocked of course because the more recent one has replaced it. And then my Belgian Visa Debit card won’t work for some reason either.

In the end I had to pay with my French Mastercard and I’m not at all happy about that. All in all, I’ve had a disaster today as far as all of that goes.

Tea was pasta and a vegan burger and still no dessert (I’ve lost 100 grammes since Monday) so I’ve come back in here to write up my notes and then have an early night. My appointment at the doctor’s is … gulp … 08:30 and I’m not looking forward at all to that. Not at all.

Tuesday 7th September 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… much better and much more productive day today – due almost entirely, I reckon, to the fact that I had a sleep for about 90 minutes or so on my chair this morning not long after I had risen from the dead

As you might expect, it was a struggle to leave the bed this morning when the alarm went off and when I came back in here after the medication, I didn’t do very much in the way of work before I was away with the fairies.

When I finally awoke and came back round into the Land of the Living, I made myself a coffee and then attacked the dictaphone.

Yesterday’s notes were transcribed and went on line, and then I turned my attention to today’s notes.

I’d been on the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR last night and it was our final day out. We’d all been off looking at something and I was wandering around. Suddenly I had this uncomfortable feeling that everyone else had gone. Not to worry, because these were the days when I could run so I set off at a run back to it. Matthew Swann and a few others were there. Yhey were being quite derogatory about it They asked what had happened and I told them that I had fallen asleep. They had a moan and everything like that. I was quite literally leaping over obstructions, scrambling down hills and so on. But it turned out that it was all like giant beds with blankets and sheets on and I was falling down the side of these giant beds and running up the other side of them, hanging on to the sheets and everything as I went over the top. Every now and again I would bump into someone who knew me. They all were wondering what I was doing, whether I was doing something for a bet or a personal achievement. I explained what had happened, and I was wondering what would happen when I would reach the other side of the island. Had all of the boats gone out to the ship and left me right behind? But I awoke in a night sweat, as I have been doing for the past couple of weeks.

Later on there was something about we were driving somewhere in Germany and retracing our steps back the way we had come. It all started to become confusing when we arrived in a big city. There were all these weird blue and white buses and trams driving around and I couldn’t quite follow the signposts for some reason. I wasn’t even sure where I was supposed to be going. After we had driven out of the city and going into the suburbs I suddenly looked over to my right and saw a couple of shops in the distance that were extremely familiar so I turned round and started to head off that way thinking that if I remember them it must have been from when we came in and therefore it’s that road over there that must be the right one out again.

While I was asleep just now I was driving around Montreal with one of my Canadian friends talking to her. She was asking me all kinds of questions about places in Montreal and its vicinity and I knew none of them. I came to the conclusion that I didn’t know Montreal anything like as well as I thought I did. We were discussing dating sites with someone else. he was wondering about their popularity. I said “well sex is the most important part in people’s lives and people just aren’t meeting up as they used to” which he agreed. I went out anyway, going to post a letter and get some food. In the meantime a bus did a U-turn in the road in front of me and clipped a car that was in front. Another vehicle clipped another car somewhere else. I was driving around finding myself in an area that I didn’t really know at all and wasn’t really sure how I was going to find out anything.

Grabbing another mug of coffee, I went for my Welsh lesson and ended up being rather late because the portable computer chose that inconvenient moment to perform an upgrade.

The Welsh lesson passed really well and then after lunch, because I was feeling very lively, I caught up with an outstanding task. A while ago someone gave me a laptop to fit an Solid State Drive in it,seeing as I have a certain little computer program that means that I can do it without going through any complicated back-up procedure.

It took me quite a while because it’s an old steam-driven computer, dating to at least the year 2000 running an underlying DOS operating system so I had to dig deep into my memory from 20-odd years ago.

It works fine now except that I can’t extract the data files from the old drive because this computer doesn’t have a USB 3.0 port so tomorrow, if I’m feeling up to it, I have a cunning plan that I can use to make things work.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021This took me right up to the time that I go out for my walk around the headland this afternoon.

Across the car park I went to look out over the wall down onto the beach to seed the crowds of people down there this afternoon. And crowds there were as well today.

Although there are a couple of people wearing swimwear, walking away from the water, there weren’t any people in the water here this afternoon. And this was surprising because this was one of the nicest days that we have had so far this year

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further out along the coast down at the Plat Gousset, there were even more people on the beach.

Quite a few people in the water too, making the most of the opportunity presented to them by the availability of the water in the medieval fish trap.

Way further out on the beach at Donville les Bains, there are dozens of people taking advantage of the sunny afternoon. Of course, you might well expect this now that the children have gone back to school and the holidaymakers have all now gone home.

There was nothing whatever going on out at sea in the Baie de Granville – no kayakers, no frogpersons and not even any fishermen so I had a very lonely trudge around the headland in the heat.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I walked around the corner by the old bunker I could see that out in the Baie de Mont St Michel on the other side of the headland that Le Loup, the marker light on top of the rock at the entrance to harbour, was looking splendid today.

The dark line underneath the lower of the two red lines is where the tide reaches and so it gives you a good idea of how high the tide can be.

Out in the background on the beach at Kairon-Plage in between St Pair sur Mer and Jullouville, there seem to be hordes of people this afternoon. More than I would expect so I wonder what is happening there today.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned that there were no fishermen out in the Baie de Granville.

On this side of the headland however there were plenty of people down on the rocks having something of a scavenge about.

With the tide being so far out this afternoon the public part of the foreshore down there is now uncovered so they can have a good forage for the shellfish and other seafood in rockpools that have been left behind as the water recedes.

Judging by the size of the containers that they have, they must be having a good and successful time.

trawler baie be mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Over the past few months we’ve seen the local fishing boats working out in areas that have previous been unexploited.

Today, right down at the end of the Baie de Mont St Michel close to the Brittany coast, we have a trawler down there this afternoon having a go to see what it can pull up out of the water.

At this kind of distance I can’t see who she is, and I’m not even sure that she comes from here.

So with nothing else happening, I pushed off along the path on top of the headland towards the port.

l'omerta fishing boat massabielle trawler chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And down at the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval I could see that we have had plenty of excitement down there today.

The little trawler Briscard that was nearest the camera and Pierre de Jade, the trawler next to her, seem to have gone back into the water this afternoon.

It didn’t take long for their places to be filled either. L’Omerta, the little shellfish boat that we’ve seen so often sitting on the silt by the Fish Processing Plant, and Massabielle, a trawler whom we haven’t seen before, have taken their places.

It’s all go in the chantier naval these days.

Back here I had my banana smoothie and then had another play with that computer, which took me up to teatime. Taco rolls with the rest of yesterday’s stuffing.

Tomorrow I’m at the physiotherapist’s so I need to have a good relax and gather my strength during the morning. But not 90 minutes-worth.

And while I was typing up my notes, with my other hand I fixed the computer issues that I mentioned just now

Thursday 26th August 2021 – THERE HAS BEEN …

… a calamity!

This morning I dropped a full mug of coffee onto my keyboard.

It goes without saying that that has now been filed under “CS” and the rest of the morning was spent hunting down the spare one that I have here.

After a good search I came across two, a very flaky old Belgian one and a more recent French one with “NumLok” stick permanently in the “On” Position. (And it could have been worse – it could have been stuck in the “off position”).

When I had finished lunch I tried to work out why the new keyboard was totally misbehaving and doing all kinds of strange things. That turned out to be a stuck “CTRL” button which I freed off.

All I need to do now is to find out why the “N” doesn’t work, and I’ll be in business. I’m using a keyboard shortcut for now so if you find any missing “N”, then you know why.

Thinking about it later, it would probably have been quicker to have driven to LeClerc and bought a new one instead of all of this messing about.

Strangely enough, the flooded keyboard had a fault with the “N” too. There was a delay in the “N” appearing when I touched it so I found myself often ending up with “GN” instead of “NG” if I wasn’t careful.

But I digress … “again” – ed

Despite yet another late night, I was out of bed as the first alarm rang and the went off for my medication.

After that I came in here to read my messages and as soon as it was light I dashed outside with the NIKON D500

chausiaise joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd without falling over a bollard this morning I headed off to the viewpoint overlooking the port.

And it seems that I should have bee here 30 seconds earlier because they had been loading Chausiaise. I’d seen the crane swinging around as I was coming down the street but as I made ready to photograph it, they closed it up.

Parked behind Chausiaise is one of the Joly France boats that runs the ferry service to the Ile de Chausey. the older one of the two, I think, with the rectangular windows in landscape format.

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here’s the pride of the harbour for the moment.

When I first saw her name I misread it. She’s actually called the Galeon Andalucia and is a replica of a 17th Century Spanish Galleon. She was built in Punta Umbría as a typical “Galeón de Manila” at a cost of about €450,000.

She was launched in 2010 and went out to represent Spain at the Universal Exposition in Shanghai. Since then she’s been visiting various ports around the world, including a couple of weeks in early July in St Malo, and I wonder if that coincides with that mystery sailing ship that we saw.

chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSeeing as I was up quite early, the sun was quite low to the east so we were having all kinds of unusual views that we don’t often see.

The chantier naval was nicely illuminated this morning by the low rays of the sun. You can see quite clearly all of the seven boats that are in there, and they all look pretty much like the seven that were in there yesterday.

Away in the distance on the horizon we can see the town of Cancale quite clearly. I’ve made no effort to enhance this photo so even at this range today, the views were pretty good.

baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that wasn’t the best of it either.

There’s a high hill away in the distance somewhere a little way into the interior of Brittany and I can’t recall having seen that more than once or twice. Today though, it was probably about the clearest that I have ever seen it.

The coastline was pretty clear too this morning. And I’m not sure if it’s a trick of the light but that looks like an enormous flotilla of yachts out there in the distance over by the coast.

fishing boat calean leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMuch closer to home there were other things going on.

The harbour gates were now open (I’d only just made it down to the port in time) and already half of the local fleet (that bit that isn’t in the chantier naval) had headed off into the sunrise. One of the last to go out was this little shellfish boat, Calean.

You can the shellfish boats by the covered awning over the open hold. That’s to stop the seagulls diving down and pinching the catch on the way back from the beds.

fishing boat bay de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLeaving the port, I wandered over to the other side of the headland to have a butcher’s at the Baie de Granville to see what was going on over there.

And out at sea many of the fishing boats had taken up their positions and were starting work, like this blue and white one here.

One thing that I had always wondered is “how do they decide which boat fishes where?”. They can’t all surge out en masse and fight for a spec in a glorious free-for-all. There must be some kind of organisation.

Do they draw lots? Or do they take turns on a rota for different specs?

Normandy Trader approaching port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow here’s a thing.

While I was looking out at sea at the trawlers I noticed something else heading my way, and as it approached me, I reckoned that the silhouette was quite familiar so I photographed it for a closer look when I returned home.

Back here I had a close look at the photo and had something of a play around with it. Sure enough, it’s Normandy Trader, one of the little Jersey freighters, on her way into port. I wonder what she and her crew will make of a Spanish galleon here in port.

Having done that, I edited the rest of the morning’s photographs and also the ones from last night. Then I began to update the journal to add the details of last night’s meanderings.

Round about 10:45 I knocked off for breakfast – coffee and my fruit bread. The bread was fine but it was round about then that I had my calamity.

Accordingly, the rest of the morning and early afternoon was spent messing around with the computer.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNone of the foregoing stopped me from having my afternoon walk of course.

You will have seen the glorious morning that we had earlier today, but by now there had been a dramatic change in the weather. It was cloudy, overcast and cold, just like any late October day.

It was no surprise therefore to see that the beach was totally deserted. There wasn’t a soul down there that I could see. The weather had finished off the holiday season in a way that no-one will ever forget in a hurry.

There’s even a rainstorm by the looks of things a few miles out to sea to put the tin hat on it.

harvesting bouchots donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I said that there wasn’t anyone out on the beach, that’s not strictly accurate.

Away in the distance out at Donville les Bains the bouchot harvesters are hard at work. They have all of the tractors and trailers out there this afternoon bringing in the shellfish from the beds that are to the right of this image.

And in the background there are a few people walking around on the beach. Probably tenants of the holiday park just along there. They will be walking along the beach because, to be frank, there isn’t anywhere else for them to walk around there.

crowds footpath pointe du roc lighthouse semaphore Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo I’m sure that you are now wondering where all of the holidaymakers have gone if they aren’t on the beach.

The answer to that is that they are all on the path that leads down to the semaphore and the lighthouse at the end of the Pointe du Roc. Hordes and hordes of them too.

And they weren’t all holidaymakers either. While I was walking around on top of the cliff overlooking the sea, I fell in with one of my neighbours and we had a really good chat.

While we were chatting, we were overflown by a helicopter, our friend F-GBAI and also the sparrowhawk but you can’t be rude and interrupt a conversation by taking a photo.

Just my luck, isn’t it?

ulm microlight powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, I didn’t have long to wait before someone else flew by overhead.

The familiar rattle in the distance gave me a clue as to who it might be and it wasn’t long before the red microlight who we have se so often came fluttering by.

Interestingly, it just went a mile or so out to sea, turned round and headed for home.


Nothing else flew by so I carried on to the end of the path and across the car park, which was crowded yet again.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe other day I asked the question “what do you do if you head back to port and find the port gates closed with the tide.

Almost on cue, we saw a yacht riding at anchor about half a mile outside the harbour. And here today we have another one. And I wonder if he has also missed today’s window of harbour gate openings.

There doesn’t seem to be anyone on deck so maybe they are riding at anchor an gone below for a cuppa. However, they are supposed to display a signal – a black ball – if they have their anchor out but I can’t see anything of that nature hanging from the mast.

people on beach port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further around the headland there was a group of people out on the beach and rocks underneath the harbour wall.

My first thought was that they were doing a bit of peche à pied but a closer look failed to convince me. And apart from the fact that there’s no sun right now, that’s no place to go sunbathing.

Meanwhile, in the chantier naval there was no change in occupancy since this morning. Everything was the same as yesterday except for an infernal racket from down there as if someone was doing some heavy-duty sand-blasting.

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the inner harbour I noticed that Normandy Trader had already left. That was a quick turn-round.

Galeon Andalucia on the other hand was still down there with a huge crowd of admirers around her.

And well there might be too, for she’s a gorgeous machine. She’s 38 metres above the water (and 3 metres below it) and her three masts carry almost 2,000 square metres of sail.

Altogether, there are 6 decks which amount to 315 square metres of usable floor space. She looks as if she could launch a broadside of 14 guns

Sadly, she also has an auxiliary engine.

Back here I finished off yesterday’s notes and then went for tea. Aubergine and kidney bean whatsit with pasta.

Finally, I managed to find time to listen to the dictaphone. I was in Villedieu les Poeles last waiting to catch a ferry to go somewhere and there was a talk about how this town was one of the most important in the area as a fishing port, which considering that it’s 20 miles inland, is pretty good going (and I fell asleep here). It was a story on the radio about how important it was and how it was about the 4th most important bridge in France. I thought that it was the first and I was looking for a few reasons out of UP POMPEII to substantiate it. Then I was going through people’s different houses (and I fell asleep again). There was more to it than this but I can’t really remember now which is a shame

later on we were on the top of the cliffs looking down onto the village at Villedieu and the ferry and there was a bridge there as well (yes, I’ve stepped right back in where I left off, haven’t I?). We had to go down to the bottom and somehow fight our way across on rubber boats or something to the other side. We all charged and it was quite a bloodthirsty do with fighting everywhere. Eventually I managed to reach across to the other side of the river, cheered and pushed on. A few of us overwhelmed everything and we were all extremely happy that we had done this and survived and conquered this town.

Now that I’ve finished today’s notes I’m off to bed. I’ve been having too many late nights just recently. I have to put a stop to that.

Friday 6th August 2021 – JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT …

yacht rebelle trawler monaco du nord 2 trawler charlevy chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… that is was safe to go back into the chantier naval, look who’s returned.

And judging by the pile of water underneath her, she’s not long returned either.

Sure enough, the yacht Rebelle whom we witnessed going back into the water yesterday afternoon as now turned up back on her blocks in the chantier naval. Putting her into the water yesterday in the middle of that tempest found out a few things about her.

The next question is “how long is she going to be staying here this time?”.

A few other items of note as well, while we are here at the viewpoint overlooking the port *

  1. we now know the name of the blue trawler that has been there a while because they have finally got round to painting it on her superstructure. She’s called Monaco du Nord II, “Monaco du Nord” being the nickname give by the people of Granville to their town
  2. where the smaller fishing boat was that went back into the water yesterday, we now have another small trawler up on the blocks in her place.

There’s no peace for the wicked, is there?

Certainly not for me, anyway. It was at 00:20 this morning when the revellers awoke my by carousing underneath my window on the way home from wherever it was that they had been. I could have done without that, thank you very much.

Especially as it was difficult for me to drop off to sleep again afterwards. I had a very fitful, disturbed sleep.

After breakfast, I had a little listen to the dictaphone and sure enough, I’d been on my travels during the night. Someone was pushing a photo or drawing around and wondering what it was. I had a very good idea what it was but I wasn’t going to tell them and I’m not going to tell you either – you’re probably eating your tea of something. An “exploded diagram” could not have been a better description.

Later on I was out climbing with an explorer friend of mine in a limestone cliff kind of thing. We were following a map and we didn’t really have a great idea of where we were going but we were working it out. There was like a canyon through these limestone rocks and that was where we were heading. We climbed up about 3/4 of the way and stopped to get our bearings and have a chat. I thought that I could see the cleft so I pointed it out to him and he thought so too so I set off to climb in the front. But it seemed that the whole cliff had fallen over and was hard up against the wall of his attic so when we reached the top of course the cleft was on the side that we couldn’t reach which was up against his attic wall. That was a disappointment. I asked him how long he had been living in this house and he replied “6 years”. He asked me if I knew Ottawa and Gatineau. I replied “not really, no”. He asked how well I knew Canada. I replied that I knew the east pretty well but once I started going west of Montreal it all became a question of reliability of any vehicles that I owned. We had quite a laugh about that. I was going to ask him if he had lined out the attic himself with plasterboard but I didn’t have the time.

There were a few tasks that needed my attention this morning and I settled down to do them but feeling my eyelids become heavier and heavier in the end I succumbed – on the grounds that I wasn’t going to be doing anything at this rate if I didn’t bring matters to a head.

For about 50 minutes I’d been crashed out on the chair and during that time I’d travelled a surprising difference. I had a Moskvitch car, a dark green 412, given to me to take me to the airport or somewhere like that. I’d left it parked up at the side of my lock-up garage but decided that I’d go back and re-park it a little better. When I got there I found that someone had done something to the front left-hand wing, putting a cut in it as if they had pushed in a pile of rust or as if they had used a metal-cutter or something. It made quite a mess of this wing and it looked pretty dangerous. But at another point as well i was driving somewhere. It must have been in North America but I was driving on the left, a big, long main road and there was a vehicle in front of me. I couldn’t see very well what was going on coming towards me because it was that dusk time of day. Suddenly I noticed a huge collection of headlights that indicated that a load of vehicles were coming. As I couldn’t see anything silhouetted in the headlights I worked out that it was clear in front so I put my foot down to overtake. But these vehicles coming towards me were approaching a lot more rapidly than I thought so I had to put the brakes on and slow right down again. There was some debate going on too about the vehicles that my father had driven at his last place of employment. At first I was remembering that they were AEC Mercurys but of course they were all Fodens and ERFs so must have been Mercurys where he was working prior to that.

The morning was spent tidying up the music. That’s pretty important because of the radio programmes and I can’t just do things any old how. It wasn’t as easy as it might have been either, having forgotten to take screenshots of the music directories before I took out the old hard drive.

Eventually I managed it, and it would have been much easier and quicker had I first, rather than last, remembered that I had a full_size SATA hard-drive caddy. It took quite a while to set that up, mainly due to dirt and some such on the contacts but at least I could check what I’d done.

By the way this SATA caddy takes, in theory, 4x6TB hard drives and now that I know that it works with at least one (and maybe more if the computer has a multiple port SATA driver) hard drive, I shall be experimenting

Anyway, all of that was after lunch. I had to have my break for my butties and my fruit, and the coffee for afters.

Having finished playing with the computer I went outside for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo off across the car park I trotted, over to the wall to look down onto the beach to see what was happening.

And the tide is encroaching further and further and there is less and less space on which people can congregate. So there weren’t all that many people down there this afternoon.

And if you want a clue as to what the weather is doing, just have a look at the clothing. Not quite winter woollies but pretty damn near, I can tell you. And that will explain why there doesn’t seem to be anyone swimming in the water today as well.

yachts ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallas usual, while i had one eye roving the beach this afternoon, the other eye was roving out to sea.

And today, you could actually see things out there, which was surprising after yesterday. I thought that that weather was going to be here for good. At least the two yachts out there were making the most of the weather right now.

The sea was a lot calmer despite the wind, and the Ile de Chausey was quite clearly visible. It was even possible to see Jersey out there today. It was rather a shame about yesterday’s weather.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor the last couple of days there have been quite a few moments of excitement when ships and boats of all descriptions have come around the headland.

Not today though. It was quite disappointing. Just this small yacht and nothing else. I can’t think where everyone else has gone.

But I know where I’m going. I’m going across the car park and round the headland to the other side to see what excitement awaits me around there. We can’t have a nice day like this (figuratively speaking) and nothign happening at all.

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six F-GVJC baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut right at this moment, I was overflown yet again by an aeroplane that has taken off from the airfield.

The outline or silhouette of this one is quite distinctive with her long nose and tricycle undercarriage. She can only be F-GVJC, the Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six that we have seen on a couple of occasions just recently.

And she did indeed take off at 15:47, which fits in with my photograph, and was still airborne when I checked two hours later, drifting up and down the coast between Avranches and Lingreville for no good purpose as far as I could tell.

joly france carolles plage baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA few minutes ago I was wondering where everyone had gone to. And now I know the answer for at least one of our seaborne craft.

Right out down the bay near the Pointe de Carolles was a dark outline leaving a wake behind it. Too far in to the coast to be a fishing vessel so I took a photo to enlarge and enhance back at the apartment.

And while it’s not clear from the image exactly who she is, her colour scheme and general size tells me that she’s one of the Joly France boats taking punters for a lap around the bay for a few bob a head while there’s time before nipping over to the Ile de Chausey.

Anything to keep busy, I suppose. They had a rotten season last year.

sailing school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSome other people keeping quite busy this afternoon are the various sailing schools. They are out in force after the whitewash yesterday afternoon.

And rather strangely, this bunch is quite strung out with several stragglers. usually they keep together in some kind of tight formation. Unless they happen this afternoon to be doing some kind of nautical danse macabre.

All the others were bunched up out of shot down by the shore to the left, not doing very much that was exciting. And they still had a couple of hours to go before they needed to be back home again.

storm waves breaking on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday of course we had the big storm as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and as I do too. My clothes were still wet this morning.

But while the storm has abated somewhat, it’s still piling on somewhere out at sea as you can tell by the force with which the water is hitting the sea wall.

And it beats me why so many people are opposed to harvesting the energy inherent in the sea when you ssee the waves coming in like that. The power in that lot down there could keep the area running for a while.

The answer to the conundrum about how to cope with the world’s energy demands is not to consume as much energy, but that’s far too simple a solution.

Stopping to admire the chantier naval, which you saw earlier, I came back home and carried on with the photos from Greenland 2019. That’s another pile of those moved on although I’m a very long way from finishing them. They’ll just be added to the piles of other arrears, I suppose.

There was guitar practice of course, followed by tea. Pie from the freezer with veg followed by the last of the coconut whatsit with pears. And I used the wrong bowls with those because that’s two now that cracked under the heat.

An early night now and I’m ready for this. Shopping tomorrow of course and so a clean-up at long last. I might even push the boat out and change the bedding if I’m not careful. This lot will probably walk into the washing machine on its own.

Wednesday 4th August 2021 – I HATE COMPUTERS!

For most of the day, and still continuing even now as I speak, I’ve been rebuilding my big desktop computer

And generally speaking, it’s working fine and many of the faults that existed before I took it to bits have been corrected. And with 32GB of RAM instead of 8GB, it bounces along quite quickly.

What has been an issue has been that of the hard drives. It previously had 3 hard drives, a solid-state drive of 256GB that is the system drive and two standard hard drives, one of 1TB and the other of 4TB, which are for data. The 1TB drive is the working drive and the other one is the back-up drive.

It now has a 1TB SSD and two standard hard drives of 4TB each.

According to the destructions, one just plugs them in to where they ought to go, and the computer works out for itself which one goes there. So now what I have is that the computer boots up off the new 4TB drive, has created two partitions on the Solid State drive and won’t recognise the previous 4TB drive, even though I can feel it moving around.

This new “plug and play” system isn’t working as it should right now. It was much easier in the old days when hard drives had jumpers where you set for yourself the bootable order.

What I can see me doing is to disconnect everything and connect up the Solid State Drive and load up the operating system to there before I add the other two drives.

But at the moment, having some USB 3.0 ports and a wi-fi instead of an ethernet cable is already something.

This morning I could have done with an ethernet cable to help me out of bed. Last night, having struggled throughout the day with tiredness and going worse and worse as the evening drew on, I ended up crashing out in bed at 22:30 in eager anticipation of a really good sleep.

And so if I ever get my hands on whoever it was who was shouting underneath by bedroom window at 03:20 this morning, they’ll be on a liquid diet with a straw for the next few weeks. You can’t imagine how I was feeling at that particular moment.

But at 06:00 I staggered out of bed and went off for my medication. And back here afterwards having sorted out the post, I finished off the journal entry from yesterday.

While I was making breakfast (and my fruit bread has died a death as well now) I started on what was the laborious task of backing-up of the big computer and that took a couple of hours to do. But once that was done, I made a start on the dismantling and reassembly.

And there isn’t all that much of these modern systems of assembly that I like either. It seems that they have tried absolutely everything and gone to great length to avoid the use of screws and it’s certainly not an improvement.

There were the usual breaks for lunch and coffee and then I went out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst port of call was the wall overlooking the beach so I could see what was happening down below.

And of course, having followed the comings and goings of the tide over the last couple of weeks, we’ll know that there wasn’t all that much beach for anyone to be on today. However there were enough people trying to grab their own little corner so that they could sit in the … well, cloud if the truth be known.

And there were even some people braving the sea. And that demanded some kind of courage that not many other people might have. Certainly not me.

microlight powered hang glider ulm pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here we go again. I haven’t set foot out of my front door for more that 30 seconds before I heard the distant drone of a Nazgul heading my way.

Sure enough, overflown once more a couple of seconds later by one of these powered hang-glider things. And today we have the yellow one rather than the red one. It feels rather like an episode from Play School.

He roared over my head at a height of about 500 feet and soared off into the distance. I felt like joining him – soaring off into the distance I mean, but I have other fish to fry right now.

la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving dealt with the issue of land and air, all that remains now is to turn our attention to the sea.

Having seen La Granvillaise sailing past offshore for the last few days, it’s almost inevitable that she’s going to be out here again this afternoon, isn’t it?

And just one look at her will tell you exactly what the rest of the weather is like this afternoon. There’s quite a wind that’s blowing from the north and the ship was heeling over at an angle of about 15°. I bet that those on board were loving it.

marite baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s not all that was out there either today.

Remember yesterday when we saw two ferries one after the other come sailing around the headland? Well today we have two sailing ships. We’ve already seem La Granvillaise and now coming around the headland in her wake is Marité.

At the moment she’s being buzzed by a few people in a zodiac and I don’t think that that will make them very popular with the ship’s commander.

And going back to what I was saying just now, look at how the yacht to the left is canting over in the wind.

fishing boat belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while we were discussing sailing ships just now, I happened to drop into the discussion the question of the ferries that ply their way out to the Ile de Chausey and back.

And almost directly on cue, into camera range comes one of them on her way back from the island. She’s too far out for me to be able to identify her but judging by the speed at which she’s approaching the headland, I bet that she’s the new Belle France.

If that inshore fishing boat isn’t careful, she’s going to be run down by the ferry if the ferry doesn’t look where it’s going.

And right now, I’m going. Off down the past and across the car park at the end of the headland.

joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomethign was moving down on the other side of the headland – I could tell that by seeing some kind of aerial or mast going past under the cliffs.

As I came around the corner, the ship came round the corner in the other direction at the same time, and it’s the older one of the Joly France boats. She has quite a crowd of people on board too.

It would surprise me if they were going out to the island at this late hour of the afternoon, so they are probably just going for a lap or two around the bay to pass the time. And I only just had time to take a photo of her before she disappeared out of sight behind the coastguard building.

marite baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now, Marité had done a loop around the entrance to the bay and ina figure S shape was now heading out for sea.

As for where she’s going, I really don’t know but she can’t be going far because the harbour gates won’t be open for too long and she’s not the easiest ship to manoeuvre through the gates and park up at the quayside.

But here’s a thing. Look on the extreme right-hand edge of the image near the top. You’ll see thatthere’s the outline of another sailing ship there. I wonder who she is and what she’s doing around here in the bay.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut that’s a question for another time. i’m pushing off around the headland on the path on the other side to see what’s happening there.

It’s evidently busy at the ferry terminal this afternoon with all of the comings and goings of the various ferries. So much so that Chausiaise has been evicted from her berth and has to moor up against the wall by the harbour gates.

That’s her spec for loading up, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and her hold is open too so I imagine that she’s about to be taking on a load of freight for the island, unless she’s just unloaded.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut in the meantime I’m focused on what’s happening beyond the harbour wall.

The yachting schools are out there again but they haven’t managed to make it back out into open water as they had the other day. Instead they are sticking vlose to shore.

These ones are being shepherded back into calmer water by a couple of pilot boats. All of the others are in there already.

And you can see the yellow buoy in th =e background? That’s the limit of the patrolled beach at the Plage d’Hacqueville, whenever the beaches aren’t closed to the public by the Préfet or the mayor.

belle france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now, the ferry boat that I’d seen out in the Baie de Granville was coming round the headland.

And it’s exactly as I was expecting when I saw the speed at which she was approaching. She’s definitely Belle France as you can see. And she has quite a crowd on board whom she has brought back from the Ile de Chausey.

So while she was manouevring her was into the harbour, I was looking at the chantier naval to check on the occupants. But there was no change in there. Still the same boats from yesterday. I wandered off home intead.

f-gbai ROBIN DR 400-140B pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as I was heading back towards the apartment I was overflown once more.

This time it’s one of our regular visitors, F-GBAI, one of the Robin DR 400-140B aircrafts from the Aero Club de Granville. She’s used for navigation and flight training, but is available for local flying.

It was at 16:46 that she took off, did a few laps around just offshore and then headed off south-south west where at 18:44 she disappeared off the radar near Dinan Trelivan Airport

High time that I was disappearing off the radar too.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut not before I’d checked out the situation in the inner harbour.

Yesterday we saw all of the freight piled up on the quayside waiting for a lift out to the Channel Islands and sure enough, in port this afternoon is Thora, the smaller one of the two boats. And these days I’m lucky to catch her given the speed of the turnround here.

Back at the apartment I had a coffee and carried on with my work, suddenly realising that I’d forgotten to index the music files before taking the disk our.

That’s taken me all night to do it despite a pause for tea – falafel and pasta followed by one of my desserts that I made yesterday.

But now despite the fact that it’s not all finished, i’m switching off and going to bed. And hoping that no-one wakes me up at some stupid hour of the morning.

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.

Friday 12th March 2021 – I’VE HAD MY …

… first anti-virus injection today.

But let’s not go gettign ahead of ourselves here.

Last night was another bad night. Although I was in bed a little before midnight I spent most of the night tossing and turning and trying, not very successfully, to go off to sleep.

But I must have gone to sleep here and there at some point because there were several little trips recorded on the dictaphone.

We were off on the Spirit of Conrad last night going off to the Far North. This dream is all about getting ready, who we were going with, the stuff that we were taking. It was all very confusing. I didn’t really know where I was but at one stage e had to move the boat and I had to find a gallon of petrol from the stores to do that. Then we needed to manoeuvre the boat again. The guy who owned the boat was asking about petrol. I explained that we’d used a gallon so we had to hint for another gallon. They kept on finding things like oil but they weren’t sure whether or not it was petrol. I was dismayed because nothing was labelled, which was going to make life really interesting later on as we got further round. I remembered that one of the girls on board had brought 50 gallons of petrol with her. He said “yes, there was some confusion about that. She wouldn’t give us the petrol until we’d done something else” but I didn’t find out exactly what that something else was, or whether we actually got the petrol. It was just one confused thing whirling around all the time and I can’t remember hardly anything of it now.

There were issues with bus tickets and getting on board, having the passport and all kinds of things that made this trip really complicated. Add to this the fact that I was waking up regularly with attacks of cramp that didn’t help matters very much at all.

Later on we were given a lecture about suitcases and how the airlines would be banning all non-standard sizes. Someone asked for questions so I asked “how are we going to make sure that Strawberry Moose moves. Everyone else shouted the name of a little boy who was in this meeting. He travels with us to North America and he has a wheelchair. They reckon that maybe Strawberry Moose could be taken by him on board the ‘plane as a kind of hand-luggage kind of thing.

Once again I was up just after the first alarm even if I didn’t feel much like it, and after the medication I peeled, diced and blanched the rest of the carrots ready to freeze. And while they were draining off, I attacked a few of the photos from Greenland in 2019.

A little later I prepared myself ready for my day out, and then Caliburn and I set off for Valognes, stopping for fuel on the way. The first fuel since 6th August last year.

The drive out there was interesting. There was bright sunshine and around the next bend it was raining, and then over the next brow of a hill it was windy. And we went on and on like that all the way there.

Finding the Simone Veil hospital at Valognes was straightforward but finding the Vaccination Centre was something else. It was something of a treasure hunt all around the hospital site until I finally came across it.

And they took some persuading to make them give me the vaccine. One of the nurses didn’t think that my Spenectomy was “serious grounds” even though my doctor did, and then because I didn’t have a health card, another one of the nurses had a moan about that as well.

However in the end logic prevailed, especially as I’d just driven 100kms to be there, and I had my injection. They even gave me a date for the second vaccination – 10th April 2021. I can see that I’m going to be very busy travelling about for the next 4 weeks.

On the way home I called at Liz and Terry’s. Liz’s portable computer has been playing up for a while. Terry had had a look and told me that the Hard Drive was easily accessible, so we had ordered a new SSD. I fitted it into Liz’s computer this afternoon and with my little magic tool I was able to configure it and now it’s working fine.

So much so that Terry has now ordered one for his computer (his hard drive is easily accessible too) and I’ll be doing that one next time that I’m out.

Liz cooked tea and then afterwards I came on home, braving the curfew and thoroughly exhausted after my day on the road.

An early night is called for and then I have the shops tomorrow and I need to be on form. I need a really good sleep too, one of these days, and the sooner the better as well.

Thursday 4th March 2021 – YOU HAVE TO ADMIT …

high class graffiti rue saint sauveur Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall … that the standard of graffiti that we have around here is far superior to anything that you’ll find anywhere else.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day on our way to the railway station we saw some banners stuck in the windows of a few of the bars and restaurants, made by someone with some kind of skill in calligraphy. It seems that our phantom calligrapher has been out on his travels elsewhere too.

The town is now littered with more of the same kind of notices talking about all kinds of different subjects. I wonder where he’ll be going next.

As for me, I’ll probably be going back to bed next because once again, I’d been up very early. Just after the first alarm again this morning.

Plenty of time to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’d killed some woman and I’m not sure how and I’m not sure why. I didn’t admit to it. This woman was a friend of someone who was something of a tough character and he was trying to find out who did it. I was quite confident that I would be particularly safe. He was talking to me one day and the subject of minivans came up in the conversation. He asked me if I knew what a minivan was. Seeing as we were in North America at the time I said that it was something like an F250 or an F350. He immediately said “it’s you, isn’t it? You’re the one who killed these people. I’m going to make you suffer as much as these other people suffered”, grabbed hold of me and went to put me in this car, to take me to pick up the rifle and the books I’d been reading at the time and 1 or 2 other things.

Later on some woman in a block of flats where I was living had had a row with everyone, I don’t know what about but she got into her car and drove it around the car park. She’d bumped into 1 or 2 cars while she was doing it and ended up rolling down the steep bank and ended up with her car in the pond. I’m not sure what else had happened but my yellow estate car MMB was in the pond as well and a couple of motorbikes and so on. I asked my father “what are we doing tomorrow? Do you think we could rescue my car from out of the pond?”. He said “yes, I suppose we could” so I asked “what time? Morning? Lunchtime? Afternoon?” and he didn’t really give me a definite answer. I was just chatting saying “I really hate working in water” which I do. I was loitering around because I was half-expecting someone to come along to call a breakdown truck and winch this woman’s car out of the pond. I was thinking that if they were going to do that I may as well slip them £50 or something and winch MMB out of the pond as well at the same time so I was loitering around waiting for something to happen.

There was plenty of time to have a shower and set the washing machine off on a cycle (a clever washing machine, mine) before I went off out to the shops.

la granvillaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot that I had gone very far before I had to start to brandish the camera about.

Although the harbour gates were closed, there was a big yacht coming sailing into the port. With her sails not being up I didn’t recognise her at first as she was so far out but as she sailed in deeper to the port I could se the number – G90 – painted upon her bow.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recognise her as being La Granvillaise, another one of the charter yachts that plies for hire from the port. And with the harbour gates being closed, I couldn’t work out why she’d come round here right now from her berth in the yacht harbour, although I did have my suspicions.

marite normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was actually quite a lot of activity in the port this morning.

Marité is still in there tied up in her little corner, and while we don’t have a gravel boat (we haven’t seen one of those in here for a good few months) we have Normandy Trader coming to pay us a little visit. She always seems to be here on a Thursday morning.

Once more she’s fully loaded, and I’ve heard a little whisper here and there that her owners are contemplating buying a bigger ship as they are actually having to turn away freight. It’s one of the very few upsides of Brexit that rather than export their goods to the UK and then into mainland Europe, all of the difficulties that this is presenting means that it’s easier for them to send them direct to here first rather than last.

pointing rampe du monte à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the pointing of the wall on the Rampe du Monte à Regret ground to a halt a few weeks ago and nothing more was done to it since.

Today, the workmen are back and the work has recommenced. They aren’t working particularly fast of course, but the fact that they are here is something.

My walk up to LIDL was quite energetic and while I wasn’t quite at the “invading Poland” speed I made it all the way up the steep bank without stopping for breath and that’s rather better than it has been of late.

At LIDL I loaded up with tons of stuff and had I been able to carry it, I would have come away with more. But I wasn’t going to turn down 3kg of potatoes at just €1:69 even if I have to live on potato curry for the next couple of weeks.

So loaded up like a packhorse I staggered out into the fresh air (because I’ve never seen LIDL as crowded as it was today) and headed for home.

wall prepared for pointing rue des juifs rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier we’d seen them pointing the wall at the Rampe du Monte à Regret – the face that looks down onto the Place Pelley.

But it looks as if they are going to be doing this face too – the one that looks out onto the Rue des Juifs. That’s all been raked out and cleaned out They’ve left a few weeds growing in there, I have to say, but I imagine that they are hoping that the lime in the mortar will do for them.

That’s horrible, nasty caustic stuff as my hands will testify when I was pointing the wall of my house in the Auvergne.

Back here I had a hot chocolate and came in here to work – but fell asleep. It was a short night, an early start and an exhausting visit to the shops so what do you expect?

For most of the afternoon I’ve been clearing out the back-up drive on which I copied all of the data from every single hard drive or memory stick that wasn’t actually connected to the big machine. Little by little I’ve been eating away at it and now there are just 4 items to examine.

Even more interestingly, there is now 715GB free on it and I need for that to be over 1TB so I can start to back-up onto it from the big computer – although a lot of stuff on the big computer will over-write some of the older stuff.

And talking of older stuff, I’ve been finding files dated 1997 and 1998. It won’t be long before I find the stuff from 1992 when I first bought a PC. Stuff from the 80s when I had the Apple II – I think that Nerina might still have that.

sea fog people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was the usual break for lunch of course, and also the walk around the headland in the afternoon.

Mind you, I’m not too sure about the walk around the headland because it was another one of those days where had the fog been any thicker, I would have had to grope my way around the path.

It beats me what the matter might be the weather just now. We’re going from gale-force winds to this thick oppressive calm that’s letting the fog bank up against the cliffs here and we can’t se a thing. That might explain why there were so few people out and about on the beaches.

coastal path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe strange thing about this is that around the corner, the fog isn’t anything like as thick.

This is the lower footpath that goes right round the end of the headland and as you can see, that’s comparatively clear. Clear of fog, and clear of people too, which was surprising because up here on top in the car park it was heaving with all kinds of young families going walkabout. No-one braving the lower footpath though.

And nothing to see out to sea either. All of the fishing boats that were going out have gone out and they will be well out to sea by now.

workman painting seafarers' monument pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there’s a seafarers’ monument here on the path – in honour of two crews of lifeboatmen who lost their lives going out to sea to rescue distressed mariners.

All of the writing on the monument is very hard to read as it’s long-since faded away but today we had a guy from the local council with his fine paintbrush and pot of black enamel paint busily painting back into the monument all of the names and the details of the events in which they lost their lives.

It’s about time that they started doing things like this to make the place look as if people live here. Everything has become just a little run-down just recently.

joly france unloading building material port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if that’s not enough to be going on with, I’m not quite sure what all of that is over there.

Joly France is moored up at the ferry terminal. It doesn’t look as if she’ll be going anywhere anytime soon. There’s nothing doing over on the Ile de Chausey right now and while sometimes the ferries will do little trips with tourists all around the bay, there are no tourists particularly right now.

But I’m more interested in the rather large red builders’ bags that are being unloaded over there. They are dropping off a couple of dozen from that lorry and trailer so it looks as if there’s something really serious going to be happening there sometime soon and I wonder what it will be.

charles marie la granvillaise lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile we’re up here on the cliffs we can look down and see what’s going on in the chantier navale today.

And I was right about my little thought this morning. We’ve yet another change of occupancy down there today. As well as Aztec Lady, Lys Noir and Charles-Marie down there on blocks, La Granvillaise has now come in to join them. That was why she sailed into the outer harbour when the harbour gates were closed – she wasn’t going that way but coming over here for an overhaul.

As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … with no possibility of any yacht charters at the moment the owners may as well take their boats out of the water and have them overhauled ready for whenever the season might start. I shan’t be surprised to see Spirit of Conrad, the boat in which we went down the Brittany coast last summer, in there next for an overhaul.

naabsa trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust now we’d seen Joly France in a NAABSA (Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground) position over at the ferry terminal but here we have a trawler also in a NAABSA position by the firsh processing plant.

And being a catamaran, she is of course even more safely aground than the others.

Back here I had a coffee and some of my vegan coffee cake and then carried on with my work. I’ve done another 20 photos from Greenland 2019 and some more work on the arrears from Central Europe.

All of that took me up to guitar practice time, which passed quite enjoyably this evening.

Tea was a stuffed pepper followed by jam pie ad ice cream, all very nice and delicious.

But now I’ve finished my notes, I’m off to mix some sourdough before I go to bed. I have nothing to eat for my mid-morning breakfast so I reckon that it’s time to make a sourdough fruit loaf. I need some real bread too so if I make that in the morning they’ll both be ready to be baked in time.

No point in having the oven on just for one thing when there are two things to be made.

Monday 1st March 2021 – DYDD GWYL DEWI HAPUS.

daffodils place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s Saint David’s Day today so Happy St David’s Day to everyone from Wales who is a regular reader of this rubbish, Rhys.

When she came to visit me yesterday, Liz brought me some daffodils that she had plucked from her garden. They weren’t open but I’d left them in a glass of water overnight and this morning I was greeted with this gorgeous sight.

In fact, I have quite a lot of Welsh blood in me – more than you realise – because it’s only because of Welsh bedroom practices that I’m here. Like most people back in the 1950s, my father was a great believer in the use of Welsh letters.

And if you don’t know what a Welsh letter is, it’s a French letter with a leek in it and you need to say that out loud in order to understand it.

This morning, to my own surprise as well as to yours, I actually beat the second alarm, never mind the third alarm, to my feet. Mind you, I was in bed before 23:00 for the first time for ages so I suppose that that might have had something to do with it.

home made ginger beer mandarine kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing that I did was to vent the gases out of the kefir that I made yesterday.

You can see the bottles on the right here with the new batch that I’m brewing in the large jar at the back. And if you look very closely you can see what I mean about the stoppers on those two cheap bottles that I bought. I’ve replaced the washers with some that are more substantial and while they are certainly working much better than the cheap plastic washers that were on them, the stoppers still aren’t fitting correctly.

On the left is the remaining bottle of ginger beer. That’s definitely a success and I’ll be making more of that. I’ve seen a reference to orange ginger beer and I have some orange juice loitering around that I shall try.

After the medication I attacked the next radio programme and having done some of the work while I was in Leuven I’d completed the work aby about 11:40, only to find that I’d done the wrong programme. But it’s not a big worry because I’m several weeks ahead of myself so I can do the one that I missed next Monday.

For the rest of the morning I did some work on the photos from Greenland. Not very many of those because having now arrived in Qaqortoq in Greenland I needed to find a map of the town in order to identify some of the places that I had visited as I walked around the town.

But even if I do just 20 per day, it’s still going to be decent progress.

One thing that I ought to mention as well is that having edited some of the photos on the little travelling Acer and then on the laptop that I’d bought in North Dakota, the results were pretty dismal because of the poor quality of the screens and the graphics cards and I had to start again with them on this big machine.

But the ones that I’d done while I was in Leuven on the machine that I had repaired were just as they are supposed to be and look quite good on this machine.

All of this is making me think again for the moment about repairing one of the small laptops. This one that I fixed seems to be doing the business and with the CD drive that’s in it, I think that the extra 0.6 kilogramme won’t be such of an issue when I compare the advantages of the machine.

After lunch I had a form to fill in about my Welsh exam, the next radio programme to send off to the tech team and then to carry out some research into the big desktop computer.

The big machine is running with a 256GB solid State Drive as a C drive, a 1TB drive as a data drive and a 4TB drive as a back-up drive. Space is starting to run out on the C drive and the data drive so I’m planning to replace the 256GB SSD with a 1TB SSD, take out the data drive, convert the back-up drive to be the data drive and then add the largest possible drive as a back-up drive.

Or even add more drives in if I possibly can if there are more SATA slots on the hard drive.

It’s also running 8GB of RAM and I’m thinking of upgrading that to 16GB or even 32GB.

All of this means that I have to contact the manufacturers for some further information.

There was also the dictaphone to deal with.

I was up in Canada last night. Darren, one of his daughters and I were in an Artic heading down to somewhere in Maine with a tanker on the back. I was saying how good it was to be back in Canada after all this time. Darren was telling me what he needed me to do. he had a plate off a vehicle and was going to put it on another and I had to block something with this other vehicle so that he could do something with the lorry without having other vehicles inconveniencing him and getting in his way. I didn’t quite understand it but it would all become very clear in due course. We pulled up at a transport café and went in. While we were queueing up in there for something someone pulled up with a Mk I Cortina with British plates on it. I thought that this was really surprising. I had a look at the vehicle and it had some publicity on the side. I went to take a photo with the NIKON J1 but it wouldn’t photograph. We’re back to this thing about photos again and they aren’t working with the J1 (not another occasion with the failed camera!). I was trying for ages. When I looked again it had gone and another vehicle was there with French plates on it, a kind of flatbed mini lorry or something. A couple of minutes later this Cortina was back but with a different number on it now. Someone was playing around because the number ended with “40 G” and someone had written something to do with a lady’s anatomy after the G. Again I tried to photograph it but again the camera wouldn’t work. Those two wandered off out there and I was still trying to make this camera work. One of the guys at the till said something like “they’ve rung up and you have to go”. I made myself a quick coffee but the kettle wouldn’t boil. In the meantime I put milk in the wrong mug so after a couple of minutes and nothing was happening I just tipped it all away and ran off to go back to the lorry to join them again.

Later on I was working in an office and I was being sent on a mission to Germany somewhere. I’d been allocated a room on my own more by accident than design but then we found out that one of the people coming was a woman and they were wondering how best to accommodate her. I suggested that she could have my room and I’d share with someone else. I wasn’t really happy about sharing but there was nothing much you could do in a situation like this. For some unknown reason I couldn’t get them to hear what I was saying. They said “yes that’s the first thing we thought of” but started off on some other rambling explanation that I didn’t understand at all. it seemed such an obvious thing to do so I couldn’t understand why they were going through such a performance and rigmarole and ritual to try to think of another way round this solution. Then I returned home and told my partner whoever i was with that I was off on a mission to Germany. She asked “where in Germany?”. I replied “I don’t really know”. “What do you mean?” she asked. I replied “they are just sending me to Germany, that’s the important thing, that I’m going on a mission and it’ll all work out”. She was surprised that I wasn’t really interested in knowing which town it was that I was going to.

crowds on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallToday was another gorgeous, summer day with a bright blue sky and not a single cloud up there to obscure the view.

The kids are still out on half-term holiday by the looks of things as there were plenty of people around. The beach was swarming with people out and about this afternoon and I can’t say that I blamed them.

While I was out there, I bumped into one of my neighbours and we had quite a little chat about this and that. She told me about the new tenants on the ground floor and one or two other things besides.

However I couldn’t stay out there chatting all day, I had to carry on with my walk.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I reached the end of the headland by the lighthouse I discovered why there were so many people out there on the beach today.

The tide is miles out today so of course it must be the Grand Marée, the highest, and hence also the lowest, tides of the year when the water drops below the level of foreshore that are let out to commercial exploitation. And so everyone swarms onto the sands and the rocks for the peche à pied, scavenging about in the sand and the rocks for whatever they can find there that’s edible.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we did a radio report on the Grand Marée last year that went down really well.

lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the situation in the chantier navale.

Yesterday we saw it down from street level but today I’m up on the cliffs on top where I can look down into the yard. We can see Aztec Lady over there on the right-hand side where it’s been for several weeks now without very much happening to it, and over on the left is Lys Noir up on the blocks where it’s been for a while too.

But that’s all there is today. The fishing boat that has been there for several weeks has gone and while I was in Belgium the yacht that has been there for months on end also left the yard.

But where it’s gone to, I really have no idea.

diggers tractor men working in port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s plenty of excitement going on down in the outer tidal harbour today.

While I’d been walking round the top of the cliffs I’d noticed all of the tracks of heavy machinery out there in the silt and I wondered what was going on down there today. But here, there are several heavy diggers down there together with several workmen in attendance and a tractor with a large trailer attached thereto.

There was nothing about that would give any indication of what they were doing, but if anything were to be done in the tidal harbour, the time of the lowest tide of the year would be the right time to be doing it.

topiary trimming trees boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was other work going on in the vicinity this afternoon too.

At the weekend I’d seen “no waiting” signs up on the car parking spaces in the Boulevard Vaufleury and so I suspected that something would be going on there this week. It seems that we’re having a pile of topiary on the trees right now.

It’s quite possible that they are leaving it rather too late though. We’ve already noticed that the birds are starting to build their nests and I can easily imagine that they’ve trimmed out the odd nest or two from the outer branches of a few of these trees.

vegan coffee cake place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack here I made myself a hot coffee and unwrapped the birthday present that Liz had brought me yesterday.

A gorgeous vegan coffee cake made with her own fair hands and so I cut myself a slice to see what it was like. And here’s another one that receives 10 out of 10. It’s absolutely delicious.

The rest of the afternoon, such as it was, was spent working on the arrears of my voyage around Central Europe. But shame as it is to say it, I fell asleep. And how! I was out like a light for a good hour or so and I’d even managed to go off on a ramble while I was out.

I was doing some work at home when Nerina suddenly announced “We’ve forgotten Lil (one of the staff at the Oddfellows Club whom we used to take around in our taxis)”. I said I’d go straight away but she said there’s no real rush. Finish what you are doing. So when I’d finished what I was doing I leapt into a car and set off. I turned up at the pub, the Ash Bank, in Minshull New Road on the Badger Avenue roundabout but it was actually a mirror image of the pub on the other side of the road. When I arrived it was in total darkness and the last two people were getting into a car which then drove off. I looked at the time and it was 00:12 – I was almost 45 minutes late. I followed the car up Minshull New Road where it turned right into West Street. I was quite annoyed that we’d lost a passenger. Had I checked the time I would have dropped everything and gone out straight away. Nerina should have had more of a sense of urgency and I should have paid more attention to the time.

When I awoke, I was totally unsteady on my feet for a good while. I even missed my guitar practice.

Tea tonight was the rest of the pizza with a baked potato, followed by the apple turnover that I’d baked yesterday. And it was all quite delicious. And now I’m off to bed. Welsh class in the morning so I need to be on form.

I wasn’t really feeling much like it last week and I’m hoping to be in a better mood and more enthusiastic about it tomorrow.

Tuesday 23rd February 2021 – I’VE BEEN BACKING …

… up my computer all afternoon – and a major back-up too, seeing as I haven’t done a proper back-up since August.

It’s not as bad as it sounds because I have a travel laptop that comes to Belgium with me, so that’s only at the most, 3.5 weeks behind. And then there’s a 128GB memory stick in a USB port and every night before I go to bed I copy all of the day’s data files onto it.

What I did do at one stage though was that at the end of the month I’d take a mirror of the data drive in this machine (it has 3 hard drives in it) and store it on an external hard drive. But I’ve not done that for a while, so I set about doing it this afternoon.

It’s also given me an opportunity to merge in some of the stuff off some of the more ancient back-up drives that I’ve had lying around here since as far back as 1999. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a year or so ago I went through all of them and uploaded them to one of the drives in this computer and little by little, I’ve been merging them all in.

That’s a job that’s destined to go on for ever too, but a fair-sized proportion was dealt with today.

We had another day of actually being up before the third alarm, and if I had actually put my mind to it, I could have beaten the first one. But with my Welsh lesson looming, I thought it important to at least have some semblance of a repose.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see if I’d been anywhere during the night. A few of us had been out walking last night and we came to a canal. It was the middle of winter and we were walking along the canal. Everything was frozen and it was really cold, and we were taking a few photos but I went just over a bridge and there we had the most glorious effect of the sun in the clouds and everywhere you could see, there was proper pack ice out in the sea. This was really the most incredible winter scene. I had never seen pack-ice like this. I ran back and fetched the others. There was a girl about 5 or 6 so I put her on my shoulders and we ran back. One was a woman from my Welsh course. We reached a place where we could see it but the sun had gone so the scene wasn’t half as gorgeous as it could have been. We climbed up the towpath on this bridge and had a look. We couldn’t see the really good view that I had seen 2 minutes earlier. Walking back, you could see some of it and I took a photo. It was just so disappointing because it had been so beautiful. I was disappointed for this little girl who I was going to show it too as well. The other 2 people with us, my course-mate and another girl, they were saying that the couldn’t see the photos on their camera after they had taken them because that was a function reserved for men, not for women. They had to upload them to their computer in order to see the finished effect. I said “pass your camera to me and I’ll try to do that for you to enable it to be seen by them.

It took me a while to summon up the energy to start my Welsh preparation. Not even a strong, hot coffee could get me to start up and so I was very unprepared for the lesson and it didn’t go all that well. But there’s an exam in June to test us on the work that we will have done by Easter and I’ve enrolled in it all the same.

And the laptop that I fixed over the weekend worked perfectly with a Zoom program for a whole 150 minutes.

This afternoon after lunch I started on the back-up of the computer and that’s absorbed most of my efforts today.

There was a break for my afternoon walk though.

picnic on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallToday has been a really beautiful day today. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

The tide was pretty far in and there wasn’t all that much room left on the beach. But there was still enough room for some people to have a picnic and a little play around among the rocks.

With the schools being on half-term this week, there were quite a few kids running around, all told. The car park just outside the apartment was swarming with them this afternoon. It was like playing rugby trying to dodge and weave between them on my way out

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe sea was quite rough too this afternoon, as you can see in this photo. There was quite a gale blowing yet again, as if we haven’t had enough wind right now.

With the tide being well in right now there were plenty of trawlers and other fishing boats either in or near to the harbour. I was lucky enough to see this trawler sailing in towards the port. No hordes of seagulls swarming around the hold but I bet that she has quite a good load on board this afternoon.

She’s not a boat that I recognise and I can’t read her name but she has a CH (Cherbourg) registration so she’s a local boat.

moon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I mentioned earlier, it was a beautiful afternoon, a bright blue sky with not a cloud in the sky.

And there was a nice moon too this afternoon so I took a photograph. I’d much rather photograph the moon in the dark but of course these days we aren’t allowed out after 18:00 and it looks as if that’s a state of play that’s going to continue for the foreseeable future. No matter what they do here, there’s no sign of the Virus abating.

With the sky being as clear as it was today, I wasn’t expecting anything at all of a light show in the Baie de Mont St Michel this afternoon, so I wasn’t disappointed. No ships or any other activity out there eitier so I carried on around the headland.

yacht lys noir chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd there’s a change of occupancy in the chantier navale.

We’ve seen the same four occupants in there for several weeks now but as I walked along the path at the top of the headland I could see a new arrival. Nothing particularly exciting like a large trawler or one of the charter boats that hang aronnd the harbour but a small pleasure yacht having a little work done upon it.

And despite the hive of activity going on around the big yacht yesterday, it’s still there and there doesn’t seem to be much change in its condition. There were a couple of people working on there this afternoon though so you never know.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s also another new arrival down there today – in the port.

Normandy Trader has been in once or twice recently but I’ve missed her, but this afternoon I was lucky enough to catch Thora who has come in from the Channel Islands. There’s still plenty of work for the two little freighters even if some of their freight has to be dropped off at St Malo due to the new Customs regulations.

Back here I had a hot coffee and carried on with the back-up and then had my hour on the guitar. I’ve been trying to work out the chords to Al Stewart’s “Swiss Cottage Manoeuvres”, a song that reminds me of a night that I spent not too long ago and about which, one of these days, I actually might write something when I can think of how to express it.

Tea was the rest of last night’s stuffing inserted into taco rolls followed by an apple turnover. And while it was cooking I fed the sourdough and the ginger.

But now I’ve stopped the back-up and I’m off to bed. I’m off to Leuven in the morning and I don’t feel at all like it.

Monday 22nd February 2021 – WELL THAT DIDN’T …

… work out as planned, unfortunately.

Fitting the new hard drive into the little Acer laptop went quite easily in the end, but I went for double or quits in changing the RAM while the laptop was in bits. Dismantling it further to access the RAM went fine enough, but in reassembling it, I broke a pin holder on one of the data ribbons. They were a lot more fragile than I was expecting.

The laptop switches on fine but no matter what, the screen won’t light up and there’s no evidence that the disk is working. I put the old disk back in and that’s noisy enough to be heard when it fires up, but that’s not doing anything either.

Tomorrow I’m going to take it apart and swap the RAM back and see if it’s a RAM fault. If it still won’t work, all that I can think of is that the pin holder that I broke isn’t for the touchpad but for something else more important.

It was a shame, altogether, because it was looking so good. But you can’t win a coconut every time.

What was even better was never mind the third alarm or even the second alarm, I actually beat the first alarm out of bed this morning. And it’s been a long time since that’s happened. And having prepared a pile of music when I was in Leuven last time, I bashed away at the Radio Programme straight away and by 12:15 I’d almost finished.

“Almost”, I said, because somewhere along the line I’d miscalculated and I’d over-run by a whole minute. So I had to sit all the way through it and edit out a whole minute’s worth of speech. Luckily there are always little bits here and there that are specifically designed to be edited out if necessary if the programme over-runs but by the time that I’d found an excess minute I was scraping the bottom of the barrel.

After lunch I attacked the little laptop and we all know how that went But while I was doing that I was downloading and printing out all of the paperwork that I need for Leuven this week. Including the Belgian Government’s Passenger Location Form. Now that they are checking them at the station I mustn’t forget to take it with me.

And, unsurprisingly given my early start, I had a little sleep during the course of the afternoon too.

We had the afternoon walk today of course.

le pearl trawler english channel islands jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a really thick, heavy grey cloud out there this afternoon. Anyone looking out there would have immediately known what is meant by “leaden skies”.

However, although the cloud ceiling might be low today, the view was nevertheless quite clear as far as distance goes. There was a trawler right out to sea just about within range so I took a photo of it and to my surprise, I could see in the background the island of Jersey and even the buildings of the town of St Helier.

And considering how far away the town of St Helier is, the buildings have come out quite clearly. One of these days I’m going to nip over there on one of the freighters and inspect things for myself.

drain place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was leaning over the sea wall looking out at the trawler and the buildings of St Helier in the background, I found something else that I hadn’t noticed.

There’s a grid somewhere along the footpath but I hadn’t really thought about where it went and where its outlet was. But today, I noticed that there’s a pipe running from from where the grid might be, out over the cliffs.

Not that the pipework is going to be doing much good because, as you can see, it’s seen much better days. And I’m also intrigued to wonder why they bothered to drill a hole to pass it through the rocks down there.

And it’ll be interesting to see what’s happening to it when it’s pouring down, because it doesn’t seem to drain the pathway very much.

people lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving satiated my curiosity with regard to the goings-on around the Place d’Armes I set off on my walk around the headland.

The schools are out this week so there were crowds of people walking around this afternoon. Not as many as there were over the weekend but the weather was so much nicer then, despite the high wind. It had dropped quite considerably today but the overcast weather and the cold weren’t conducive to hanging around out there for long.

And you can see the sky pretty well from here. It’s all heavy, grey and miserable although it’s quite clear away in the distance down the Brittany coast.

frogmen in zodiac english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallCrowds of people about on the footpath going up to the lighthouse at the Pointe du Roc but that wasn’t all that was going on either.

There was a zodiac roaring up and down the English Channel just offshore and what was bizarre about that was that there were three guys in wetsuits astride it. And I wouldn’t have been surprised if they had snorkels flippers and aqualungs to go with it too.

They went back and forth out there for a few times as I watched, but I wouldn’t see what they were trying to do and they weren’t leaping out into the water. But the zodiac looked like an official one to me, something that the forces of Authority might use.

Having seen a trawler out at sea in the English Channel I was wondering whether there might have been anything exciting going on in the bay, so I headed off that way to look.

cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing at all of any note, but we do have here a good example of how there are the heavy clouds in the sky but in the distance the view goes on for ever. The town of Cancale is quite clear over there this afternoon, silhouetted on the clifftop across the bay on the Brittany coast.

And over to the left at Cancale there is one of these builders’ tower cranes so someone is having some building work done over there.

And that’s really dismal in the sense that in the old days, they would have labourers, hod carriers and apprentices swarming up ladders carrying the bricks and tiles and the like. Nowadays with all of the automation there is no longer the demand for unskilled labour on a building site and it’s no wonder why there are so many unemployed people around.

Not everyone is able to be a financial consultant or a doctor or a telesales consultant.

people working on yacht chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe other day I mentioned that I’d seen a couple of people working away on the yacht in the chantier navale.

Today I walked on down the path on that side of the headland to see what was going on, and I was in luck because there they were again and I was lucky enough to catch them with the camera.

And there seems to be plenty of work going on with the hull at the moment. They seem to have patched it and it seems to be all masked off in places as if they are going to be doing some patchwork painting. That might account for them putting up that plastic sheeting at the side of it, if they are going to start on some respraying.

le pearl trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out there looking at whatever was going on in the port, the trawler that I had seen out there in the English Channel came sailing … “dieseling” – ed … around the headland.

What surprised me was that it was Le Pearl, the new trawler that arrived in port from the builders a few weeks before Christmas. In the few months that she’s been here, I haven’t yet seen her out at sea and as far as I’m aware she’s only been out the once. So seeing her out there, presumably having been out there working, is good news.

The flags that were waving around on her stern were of interest too. I was trying to work out what they were. They looked far too much like “Jolly Roger” pirate flags to me.

Maybe she’s been fishing in British waters.

aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving seen crowds on the paths around the headland and more crowds of people out at sea, it’s no surprise that there were also crowds in the air too.

A aeroplane went flying by overhead as I was there on the path overlooking the harbour. She was too high up for me to read her registration number and there were no details of any plane having taken off from the airport at Granville so I’ve no idea what she it.

Back here, I carried on with my less-than-productive work with the old laptop and when I’d finally abandoned my attempts I had a good play around on the guitars.

Tea was a stuffed pepper and rice followed by an old apple turnover from the freezer as afters.

Having finished my notes now I’m off to bed. I have my Welsh class tomorrow so I need to be on form. The photos from Sunday still haven’t been done yet so that looks as if it will be a job for when I’m in leuven later this week.

Not that I’m short of things to do, but it’s just one more raccoon skin on the wall.

Sunday 21st February 2021 – THAT GINGER BEER …

… that i made the other day isn’t ‘arf fiery stuff! I tried half a glass of i this evening while I was making my pizza and it almost blew off my head. It tastes just like shop-bought stuff and I’ll be making more of this when I return from Leuven, that’s for sure.

Definitely a success, that it!

What else was a success today? We can start by talking about the 8GB Acer laptop that I bought about 3 years ago and which the hard-drive failed 2 days after the guarantee expired. I’d had a look at this a while back and found that the hard drive is relatively accessible.

Consequently this afternoon, I fitted the second of the Solid State Drives into that. And not only is it working fine except for the touchpad (so I’m using an external mouse for now) I’m actually using that machine to type out my notes for today.

In fact, it was such a straightforward operation that I have made an executive decision. And an executive decision is, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, one where if it goes wrong, the person who made the decision is executed.

The third little Acer laptop, the one that accompanied me on my travels everywhere for five years until it died on me in North Dakota in 2019, is basically a functioning unit. Everything works fine on it except the hard drive. Unfortunately, it’s like most modern laptops, assembled upside-down with the motherboard on the bottom so you can’t access the hard drive (or the memory) from underneath.

So when I’ve finished my radio work, I’m going to take off the bottom and have a go at taking out the motherboard. If it’ll come out, I’m going to take the Solid State Drive that I installed in the second little Acer laptop and if I can, fit it into the third one. And if the memory that I upgraded is compatible too, I’ll fit that in as well.

If I make a dog’s breakfast out of it, I can salvage the keyboard at least and fit it into the second.

Last night I had one of the best sleeps that I’ve had for ages. I awoke at round about 08:00 having been flat out for almost 9 hours. But that’s not good enough for me. I turned over and went back to sleep. 11:05 when I finally surfaced and that’s good enough for me.

After the medication, I had a listen of the dictaphone.

I was living with Laurence and Roxanne and working at the Auchan supermarket in Lille last night. Roxanne and Laurence were goign somewhere and one of the neighbours asked if he could use the car to go into work and back. He said that he would pay so much per week for it. She asked if that was a good deal and I replied that it was. The first day came and he took it – it was a Sinclair C5. Later he phoned up and said that he had a problem so I walked into town to see it. He said that 1 or 2 of the lights were out, a side light and a brake light. I asked him what he was going to do. he said that there was someone coming to fix it. He had this thing about wanting it to be fixed so he could use it. I couldn’t understand the problem because I’ve driven cars for months without half the lights working, that kind of thing. In the end I had a look. I had a bulb with me and I tried it but that didn’t work. he had this Sinclair C5 on one side and basically wasn’t going to move until it was fixed. I walked back home and got two small 5-watt bulbs. As I started to go back I suddenly realised that one of them was a stoplight and needed a bigger bulb. I asked Laurence to get one but she started to look in all the wrong places for it. I thought that i’d better go and find it. Somewhere along the line while I was there I was talking to a girl. She came from France apparently, the Dordogne, but she was a refugee in Belgium and I have no idea where this fitted into the story.

Later on we were all in a coach. I was driving and we were talking about travel abroad, the cars on the road and how the cars on the road multiplied due to the effect of the war and European travel and so on. We were actually waiting to go to Waterloo Station with a coach load of passengers. Boris Johnson (what on earth is HE doing here?) was on the coach holding everything up so I shouted at him “Johnson, can we go yet?”. I suddenly realised that I didn’t know the way but I thought that I would do what I would usually do which was to follow the road signs into the centre of London and then follow the ones out again that I needed.

Even later on I was back working in General Accident in Manchester, and it’s been a long, long time since I’ve thought about them, isn’t it. Nerina was working in Manchester too so we used to walk to work and walk home afterwards. It didn’t take us all that long. It certainly didn’t seem like 30 miles. One particular day, I don’t know what happened but I ended up walking well ahead of her, a lot quicker than she was. I got to the office and Dave Herring was larking around a bit, I’m not quite sure why. And then his was telling disgusting jokes with Brian Horton about this and that, and probably the other too and I wasn’t really all that amused. Our office was actually a portacabin in the middle of the street and thinking on, there was no toilet or anything. I arrived early-ish and there was a whole day ahead of me and I had to think about what I was going to do if I wanted to go to the toilet, which was going to be more-than-likely during the course of the day.

And there was much more to it than this but you’re probably eating a meal right now so I’ll spare you the gory details.

The rest of the day I’ve spent dealing with the rebuilding of the laptop. It’s working fine and all of the programs that I need for travelling are now installed.

As for the data, that’s on its way. The back-up disk that I keep was in such a mess that I’ve been through, sorted out the most important files, copied it all ono a portable hard-drive and it’s currently undergoing a duplicate file deleting process.

That’s why there are no photos of my afternoon walk as yet. The USB 3.0 port on the front of the big desktop machine, whch I would ordinarily use for uploading the photos from the camera, has a portable hard drive plugged into it. How long does it take to delete 79,907 files at about 130 per minute?

But I did manage to go out and stretch my legs as usual, along with about half a million other people.

Tea was, as usual on a Sunday, a vegan pizza. One of the best that I’ve ever made, and you’ll get to see a photo of that too in due course.

So now, back to the grind and see what other damage I can do while I’m at it. I have a feeling that this is going to be a long, long night.

Saturday 20th February 2021 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

storm waves sea wall port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… the waves that are crashing down on the sea wall at the port this afternoon in the gale that was blowing outside this afternoon, I was trying desperately to struggle out of bed.

The two alarms had gone off and I’d even heard the one that I’d set to remind me that the third one is about to go off and give me a three-minute warning to rise.

However I felt myself drifting away and I just about managed to pull myself up out of bed in time to beat it. I didn’t want to miss out on another complete week of beating the third alarm call. It’s not every week these days that I can do it and two complete weeks on the run was is a memorable achievement these days, not to be discarded lightly.

storm waves sea wall port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

There wasn’t anything on there but I have a completely vivid memory of watching through a window as two white dolphins were leaping up and down in the water, calling my brother to look but he didn’t have the least interest in coming to see the spectacle.

Now that my magnum opus is done for now, the next task is to continue with the subsequent entries and make sure that they are up to date. And I even managed to do NEXT DAY’S ENTRY.

storm waves sea wall port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter a shower, I headed off to the shops to stock up with stuff for the next few days and have a few bits and pieces left over for when I come back from Leuven.

Noz didn’t have very much worthwhile except for a new Sports Bag. I’d been looking for one to take with me to Leuven so I don’t have to struggle with a shopping back to bring back the supplies. Black and yellow too!

At LeClerc, no confrontations or anything like that on the car park this week, and inside there wasn’t anything exciting or interesting or useful on sale this weekend. All in all it was rather boring. There was however 20 cents off soya milk so I bought as much as I could carry away because the sell-by date is a year hence and I can certainly use it.

Such are the highlights of my life these days, hey?

One thing that I had done was to go to the techy bit of the shop to see if they had a travel keyboard that might work with the laptop that I repaired. It was a forlorn hope anyway.

Back here I had a mug of hot chocolate and a slice of my sourdough fruit bread and carried on with my work. However at some point I crashed out – crashed out good and proper too and it was another one of those “feeling really awful” ones from which I seem to take an age to come round.

As a result, lunch was rather late today.

One task that needed doing is to feed the mixtures here – the sourdough and the ginger bug. They both seem to be doing quite well and the ginger beer that I made earlier in the week, after a very slow start, is now fermenting nicely. I’ve been venting the pressure on the ginger beer and the kefir every half-day and at last, this afternoon the beer almost presented me with a gusher.

One more feed of those on Wednesday morning before I head off for Leuven and that will see them right for when I come back.

crowds on beach rue du nord plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was a beautiful afternoon today even with the gale-force winds that were blowing and it had brought out the crowds in force.

I went out dressed for the Arctic temperatures only to find that it was a balmy 14°C – or maybe that should be “barmy” given the fact that we are in the middle of winter. But the crowds down on the beach were enjoying themselves. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many people down there at this time of year.

It’s not as if they had a great deal of beach to go at either because the tide hasn’t gone all that far out right now. But there are still quite a few people having a go at the peche à pied, scrabbling around on the rocks.

crowds on path pointe du roc gymnase jean galfione Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving satisfied my curiosity down on the beach I headed off along the footpath on top of the cliffs.

Considering that this is mid-February and there was a howling gale blowing, I couldn’t believe the crowds of people who were out and about. Everyone was jostling everyone else on the footpaths just like on an August Bank Holiday Weekend. The path down by the Gymnase Jean galfione was packed.

Despite how bright and sunny it looked this afternoon, there was quite a haze about. It wasn’t possible to see out as far as Jersey and it was just as bad down the Brittany coast this afternoon. Warm as it might be this afternoon, it wasn’t warm enough to burn away the haze.

Across the lawn and the crowded car park I went down to the headland. Nothing much happening there at the moment so I turned away to walk on down the path.

sunset baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut just as I moved away I felt the sun come out from out behind a cloud so I turned round. And there was the sun streaming down right into the middle of the bay with another one of these TORA TORA TORA moments.

Having photographed that I pushed on past the waves roaring into the sea wall with quite a force considering how shallow the water is there right now, and had a look over into the chantier navale

There were a couple of guys clambering all over the yacht that’s been in there since time immemorial . And just as I went to take a photo of them, they dodged back down into the cabin.

“Obviously very shy” I mused to myself. It wasn’t my day today.

trawlers victor hugo port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were fewer people around here on this side of the headland so, taking my time, I went to see what was going on in the port.

Not many fishing boats out at sea by the looks of things this afternoon. There are plenty of them tied up at their berths. Granville and Victor Hugo, the Channel Island ferries, are there too as you might expect. Apart from a brief flurry of activity in June, they haven’t sailed on a paid voyage for almost a year.

The future is looking quite bleak for the Channel Island ferries right now, and the Joly France ferries to the Ile de Chausey aren’t doing all that much better. I know that I haven’t been out as regularly as I have been in the past, but it’s been a good while since I’ve seen one of those out and about with passengers.

Back here I had a hot coffee and then carried on with the work that I’d been doing and there are now several days’ worth of updates that I’ve completed. I knocked off at about 18:30 to telephone Ingrid for a chat and then went for tea.

Baked potatoes, veg and one of those breaded soya fillets of which I’d bought a large supply from Noz ages ago. And the last of the apple crumble. For the couple of days that I’m here next week, I’ll defrost some slices of apple pie from the freezer.

Having written my notes, I’m not going to be up for very long. That repairing a disk failed – overnight it reached 30% before the repair crashed. But the drive is still recognised so there’s hope for it. There’s a diagnostic tool that I can try to see if I can access the files but it’s very complicated so I need to be at my best to work it to make sure that I don’t make an error.