Tag Archives: cramp

Sunday 11th July 2021 – I’VE NOT HAD …

… a very good day today, and I don’t know why that is.

Well, I do, but it’s something that I don’t care to talk about on here and involves a trip down Memory Lane to places that I’ve been trying to forget.

But I would ordinarily say that I don’t know what’s brought it on, but actually I do – I just don’t know why it’s caught me unawares like this.

It’s one of those things that always seems to hit us when we are at our most vulnerable so I’ll need to have a good night’s sleep and in the words of the boxer Jack Johnson, “Eat jellied eels and think distant thoughts”.

This morning after my walk around the upper town at midnight (and about which I haven’t forgotten the photos, by the way) I was to my surprise awake at 07:00. But badger that for a game of cowboys. 09:30 was too early too but 10:45 is much more respectable for a Sunday.

After the medication I came in here again to listen to the dictaphone. At first there was something going on in a big old rambling house full of kids last night but I can’t remember what it was now. And waking up with an attack of cramp and when was the last time that I did that as well? I thought that some of this medication was supposed to stop that.

So having had some kind of meeting (when did this take place?) with a Greek girl with whom I was very friendly in Brussels who put in an appearance I was off in some medieval city somewhere in medieval times. There was some kind of difficulty that I can’t remember now but a man became involved in it who was a so-called spy and he helped me resolve this difficulty. In the end he stood on this bridge of this canal with his hand behind his back hiding a gun these 6 people road up asking for information. He replied “sorry, I don’t have one”. They replied something like “how is it possible to be in this country without an identity card?”. At that moment, from behind his back he pulled out a gun. He made them all drop their guns. Somehow at this point he became me. I ordered 5 of those people away and the 6th guy I mounted on a camel and told him to set out to such-a-place and I’d follow him. On the way out there was a barge going past on the canal so I stopped to take a photo of it. We had another one of these sessions when the NIKON 1 J5 wouldn’t work. All the time this guy was getting further ahead of me as I was trying to take this photo. In the end I said “sod it” and chased after this guy on the camel. Then I got to thinking “how stupid am I? I made those people drop their guns in the street and walk away. Why didn’t I throw them over into the canal? All they need to do now is to wait until I’m out of sight, pick up their guns and come along and chase after me. At least had I thrown their guns into the canal they might have chased after me but they couldn’t have done very much without any weapons”.

There was also something somewhere about me being with a few people and the subject of dreams came up. I was told to go and see a woman with whom by some lucky chance I’d just been talking because she was very keen on the subject. I wish I knew where she’d gone so I could chase after her. I explained to the people with whom I was talking that I’d been following my dreams for nearly 30 years.

So at least I managed to go off somewhere at some point.

One task that I wanted to do was to to pair off the music for the next radio programme and find a suitable chat line for my guest. That was all done and organised and took me nicely up to lunchtime.

Before I could make my lunch though I needed to make some bread mix. Only for a small loaf though because I’m going to be away for a while next week and there’s not much room right now in the freezer.

Talking of the freezer… “well, one of us is” – ed … I also took out the last pile of dough from the freezer so that it could defrost ready for tonight.

After lunch I came back in here and the first thing that I did was to sort out the camera equipment. I have three cameras on the go – the NIKON D500 which is the main one, the little NIKON 1 J5 that I use when weight and/or privacy and discretion are czlled for, and the old NIKON D3000 that I bought ON QUECEC IN 2012 after I had broken the Nikon D5000 and which keeps on rolling along.

Each camera now has its own bag with all of its own accessories inside it and surprisingly, I bought a brand-new upmarket camera bag last year. The D3000 has found its way into that and the D5000 is in the bag that the D5000 used to occupy and which I’ve had for ages.

The J5 is in an even older camera bag that belonged to one of the older 1st-generation digital cameras that I had and which packed up nearly 20 years ago.

One of these days I’ll have to go through the redundant camera equipment, sell it off and use the money to repair the D5000.

With time to spare I sat down to deal with the photos from last night. They are all uploaded, edited and some of the text was written. But my afternoon walk intervened.

Before I went on my walk though I kneaded the bread mix, added the sunflower seeds and put it in the bread mould.

full car park place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe crowds outside this afternoon were unbearable. You couldn’t move for people and cars. It was not very pleasant at all.

You can see what I mean from this photo. The public car park just outside this building is bursting at the seams and if you look quite closely at the photo you’ll see the crowds of people milling around there today.

In fact, while you are looking closely, you’ll see a group of several people standing together just to the right of centre on this photo, looking over the wall there. That’s my usual spec for when I’m taking photos of the beach if I’m going off around the headland on my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I’m not going round that way this afternoon. I’m going off on a trek around the city walls.

That means I’m having to look down onto the beach from the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord so the view is rather different than usual.

The tide is well out so there is plenty of beach to be on, and there were plenty of people on it this afternoon taking advantage of the space.

And I’m not sure why because while the conditions weren’t Arctic today the sky was quite overcast and it was cool (if not cold) for the time of the year and there was plenty of wind about. It’s not the kind of day in which you’d catch me sunbathing o the beach, that’s for sure.

people fishing in rock pool beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other hand, I might be down on the beach for other reasons, rather like this family here.

The retreating tide has left several large rockpools behind it, so while daddy supervises the operation, mummy and the two kiddiewinks have taken off their socks and shoes and, in one case, trousers, and they are scavenging around in the rock pools for whatever they can find.

Which I hope they will remember to share with their friends because, after all, one shouldn’t be selfish with one’s shellfish.

And as for paddling up to my knees, I’ve done that twice now in water that was much colder than this – AT ETAH IN GREENLAND just 700 miles from the North Pole and the second time in the North West Passage in the Canadian High Arctic, about which I’ll write when I can think of what i’m going to say that will express how I felt on that day with the events that were goign on all around me, without causing too many problems.

But meanwhile, trying to dig myself out of the Black Pit into which i’ve fallen, let’s return to our moutons as they say around here and ask why there are all these people wandering around this afternoon.

people at brocants rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe answer to that is that it’s the annual brocante or car boot sale in the old town, and that always attracts the crowds, which is not a good thing from my point of view.

Not 50 yards from where those people are, and they must have walked past that spot to be where they are is a sign “face masks mandatory”, and yet there are so many people who just couldn’t care less.

Having brought the figures down from over 20,000 per day to just a thousand or so, it can’t give anyone any pleasure to see the infection rate rising again so rapidly and yet people totally disregarding even the most basic of rules because they just don’t feel like it.

But anyway, that’s enough of me moaning and whining for the moment. Let’s return to my afternoon walk around the walls

medieval city wall crumbling place du marche au cheveaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the main reasons that I came around this way was to see what they were up to with that scaffolding the other day, but I wasn’t quick enough with the scaffolding and it’s now gone.

But we can see just so clearly now exactly what is the problem with the city walls at the Place du Marché au Chevaux. You can see the vertical crack in the brickwork right there and it’s not before time that they are going to be dealing with it.

It does in fact remind me of the rather nasty crack that appeared on the outside wall of 10 Downing Street but Carrie called in builders to cement over it before Boris Johnson could read it.

And I still haven’t worked out what that wooden structure is that they have built on top of the wall and what its purpose is supposed to be. I suppose that it will become clear over the next few days, but I remember saying that a few days ago.

cement mixer workmen's cabin place du marché au chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo the obvious question is “what are they going to be doing with the walls?”

Here in the little compound we have what looks like a couple of workmen’s huts but also a cement mixer and tubs full of something or other, so it looks as if they are going to be making a start some time soon on repointing. But I think that it needs a bit more than repointing, if you ask me.

And if you look above the nearest workmen’s hut, you’ll see a map. It tells us of work that they have done in the past in restoring the walls, and what they will be doing this year here in the Place du Marché auc Chevaux.

And I wish that it would tell us what they are going to be doing subsequently because sections of the old medieval walls are being closed off quicker than they can repair them.

It was round here that I fell in with a family – mum, dad, a girl about 12 or so and a grandfather. They were not from round here and were struggling to make out a few of the local landmarks. Jersey was really clear to me today so I pointed it out to them, as well as the Ile de Chausey and even the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel which was perfectly clear with the naked eye today.

bouchot beds donville les bains medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was talking to them, I noticed that the bouchot beds at Donville les Bains were quite visible today too with the tide being so far out.

The tractors were taking advantage of the low tide this afternoon and were out there doing the harvesting.

The medieval fish trap had some water still in it too although no-one was taking advantage of it. I’d love to see it restored and people in there catching their own supper with their own bare hands just like they did in the Middle Ages.

After all, there were enough people down there to have had a good go and made a good catch this afternoon had the fish trap been working properly.

f-gcum Robin DR 400/180 Regent baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I was doing that, I was overflwon by a light aeroplane. I mean – we have to have one of those, don’t we, on a day like that?

She’s another one of our old friends, F-GCUM, the Robin DR 400/180 Regent that’s owned by the Granville Aero Club.

And she’s been out for a nice long flight this afternoon. She took off at 13:38 and did a nice figure-of-8 going gown to Avranches then across to Cap Fréhel, back to Granville, over Coutances, up to Barneville Carteret and then back home.

She disappeared off the radar at 15:58 presumably when she went into her landing approach and I saw her about 15 minutes later so it must have been a long, shallow dive into landing.

crowds avenue de la liberation place marechal foch plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIf you think, by the way that everyone is here who is coming here and that the crowds will slowly die away, then look again at this lot.

There’s a whole stream of cars coming down the hill nose to tail in the Avenue de la Liberation. And good luck to them if they can find somewhere to park when they finally get to where they are going.

It’s a Sunday of course and the public transport doesn’t run on a Sunday. Perhaps the local council needs to think about that in the summer when there are all of these events and organise a “Park and Ride” on the LeClerc Car Park

Plenty of people too in the Place Marechal Foch and walking along the promenade at the Plat Gousset too. And the ice cream parlour looks as if it’s doing a roaring trade.

seagulls rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOf course, seeing as I’m here now, I have to go and see how my baby seagulls are doing.

So off I took myself into the Square Maurice Marland, past a couple of little girls playing hopscotch, and up to the place where I can see onto the roofs of the Rue des Juifs where their parents have their nests.

Two of my seagull chicks weren’t up to very much, just curled up in the nest having a relaxing afternoon but the third one here was a little more energetic and he was off for a wander around on the roof.

And I hope that he doesn’t fall off like a couple of his friends seem to have done over the last week or two.

seagull rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallActually I was watching this particular energetic one for quite a while.

When I first saw him he was flapping his wings like Billio and I thought that he was going to have a go at taking off, but animals, like children, are very contrary and never do what you want or what you expect. Having got myself into a good position, he did nothing at all.

You can tell by the times of the images. 4 minutes after I took up my position he decided to inspect himself for fleas and that was about the limit of his activity while I was watching.

In the end I became fed up before he did and I cleared off, upon which I imagined him immediately taking off, doing a few loop-the loops and Immelmann turns

people in brocante rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the Square I walked through the alleyway into the Rue Notre Dame where it was all happening.

And the first thing that I noticed was the lack of face masks despite the notices plastered everywhere. And I know that I go on about this quite a lot but 4,000,000 dead and God alone knows how many people’s health permanently damaged, endless queues in hospitals, routine work cancelled (remember, I went 9 months without my four-weekly cancer treatment) just because people can’t be bothered to take the most basic precautions.

But anyway, even though I remembered to bring my money, I didn’t even look at what was on offer. I have seen the prices in the past and that’s been enough for me. Not even the chip van could tempt me this year.

people place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallCrowds of people in the Place Cambernon too, mainly at the bar down the far end.

However I didn’t go that way, I carried on around the church and at the edge of the walls overlooking the port I fell in with one of my neighbours chatting to a couple at the nice house with the nice round turret.

We had quite a pleasant chat for 10 minutes or so but then I set off for home as I had work to do.

autogyros pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I hadn’t gone very far before I was brought to yet another halt.

On my way along the street I’d heard a rattling from the air and I’d wondered what it was. But suddenly in a gap between two houses, two of these autogyros came flying past in formation.

Two-seater autogyros too so they were obviously up to something, like a photo shoot or a film shoot. And one of these days I’ll have to get myself up there in one of those things for a photo shoot.

But not right now. Ad I said earlier, I have things to do this afternoon. Like kneading the pizza dough that had now defrosted, rolling it out and putting it on the pizza dish that I had greased.

When everything was ready I switched on the oven and bunged the bread in to bake, and when the pizza dough had proofed sufficiently I assembled my pizza.

vegan pizza home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen the bread was baked I put the pizza in and let that bake, and here are the finished products.

Only a small loaf as I mentioned earlier, and I’ll tell you about that in a day or two, but the pizza was delicious as usual.

No pudding because there is still some chocolate sponge left and in any case, I’m pretty full right now.

And now my notes are finished I’m off to bed. I’ll sleep off my depression and have a better day tomorrow. And if I have time, I’ll finish off those photos from last night and post them up.

We’ll see how I get on.

Saturday 15th May 2021 – WE’VE HAD A

unidentified aeroplane place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… one of these aerial days today – a day when just about everything in the air flew past me today.

It wasn’t possible for me to count all the ones that went past today because I ran out of fingers. Several of them flew past out of range so I couldn’t photograph them but I did photograph those that I could, like this one here.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to identify it because I couldn’t see its serial number anywhere and it’s not a model that I recognise anywhere. It looks like a pretty lightweight machine so it’s quite possibly one of these kit-built aircraft that care classed as microlights.

unidentified aeroplane place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is another one that I didn’t recoognise, but that’s for a completely different reason.

As it flew past overhead, it didn’t present to me a surface that carried the registration number. That will be underneath the port wing of course and it wasn’t going that way round. But whatever it is, it’s not one of the aircraft that regularly flies out of the airport here that we see quite regularly.

There was nothing shown on the flight radar for these aircraft of course. It’s unlikely that they file flight plans and they probably don’t fly high enough to be picked up on the radar anywhere.

powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it wasn’t just aeroplanes that went flying past overhead either.

As I walked out of the building here to go for my afternoon walk I was overflown by one of these powered hang glider things. That wasn’t shown on my radar set either and that’s no surprise. It’s the kind of thing that struggles to lift itself over my building, especially as it’s carrying two people therein.

As this went past overhead I was thinking that all I needed now was to see Godzilla going past and then I’d have the full set. Either that or the Loch Ness Monster. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many aircraft on one particular day.

This morning I hauled myself out of bed fairly early, just after the first alarm, despite my rather late night.

And after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was really surprised to find that I’d been anywhere because it had been a bad night with several raging attacks of cramp that didn’t ease off even when I went for a walk around.

This was the worst series of attacks that I’d had and they were horrible. Painful and horrible.

aeroplane 55-OJ place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut returning to our moutons as they say around here, while you admire aeroplane 55-OJ, I was somewhere on the outskirts of London last night, living by the side of this big main road that was a 2×2 lane with the carriageway nearest me higher than the other. Crossing over there was quite difficult because it was so busy. One night I’d finished my tea and I had the remains on the plate so I thought that I would take then to the dustbin. I had to walk along the pavement, across the road on a zebra crossing, down a set of steps and across the other road. Luckily there was no traffic and I reached the dustbins to put my stuff away. I’d been counting my steps – so many steps across the road, so many steps across the central reservation and so on. There was a lot of traffic waiting at a junction on the other side of the by-pass and I had to walk my way round. I thought that I recognised one of them. It turned out to be a black boy from the City of London on a bicycle who had been wanted by the police for a murder but released. At that moment a police car pulled up and someone started to talk to the policeman saying something like “it’s happened again but I definitely saw something white which was either something white once 100 times or something white twice 50 times”. I immediately thought of this boy. What had he been up to?

After that I went for a good hot shower which made me feel so much better, and then I stripped the bed and changed the bedding, the first time since I can’t remember when. The bedding, my fleece jacket and a few other bits and pieces went into the washing machine and I set it off on its cycle again.

Meanwhile Caliburn and I went to the shops. At NOZ I found a guide book on Iceland, which will come in handy when I write up my notes and if I ever return to the island. There were also some frozen vegan veggie balls, so I bought three packets of those.

LeClerc’s was an expensive shop this morning, even if I did forget the coffee. They had vegan burgers on special offer, and also some special vegan burgers made of sweet potatoes, a new variety with an introductory offer and I wouldn’t want to miss those. I’m building up rather a large supply of burgers now, more than I can probably tackle so I need to start to make my way into that supply some time soon.

Back here I put the veggie balls in the freezer along with the falafel, the other vegan veggie balls, the vegan sausage rolls and whatever else I have picked up in NOZ over the last while. The freezer is now bursting at the seams.

Having done that I made myself some hot chocolate. And despite now having some more cocoa powder I made it with real chocolate. I even bought a pack of 5 slabs of pure chocolate so that I can do this again for the next while.

And then back in here I sat down and promptly crashed out.

The football had already started when I awoke so I watched the rest of the game. TNS v Bala Town and even though TNS went down to 10 me, with a defender rather harshly sent off, they were always too good for Bala Town.

They won rather comfortably 2-0 but it didn’t do them very much good because Connah’s Quay Nomads beat Penybont and that meant that the Nomads were crowned champions for this season. The 4-1 victory that the Nomads had over TNS a couple of weeks ago proved to be so decisive.

Despite their championship win, the Nomads are rather short on consistency and rather short of strength in depth. If they intend to make progress in European competition and retain their championship, they need to recruit half a dozen good players this close season and move on a few of the fringe players who haven’t contributed enough to the team whenever they have come on to play.

It’s the same with Bala Town. They have a good, solid side but apart from Chris Venables and Henry Jones, they don’t have any players capable of pushing the club up to the next level. And the rest of the League are just also-rans with just the odd star dotted about here and there.

But one thing is quite interesting, and it just goes to show how much the Welsh Premier League has progressed over the last few years is that when an ex-Football League came to play with a Welsh Premier League club it made headline news that reverberated around the pyramid for months.

These days there are ex-Football League players in every club, several players who play International football for their country and a couple of players who were in Wales’ successful Euro 2016 squad. And things can only get better when we see the money that these clubs earn by being successful in Europe.

All of that took me up to the time to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst stop was to go down to the end of the car park and look over the wall down onto the beach to see what was going on down there this afternoon. So dodging the powered hang-glider and other aircraft, I headed in that direction.

There were crowds of people down there this afternoon, which was only to be expected seeing as the holiday season is well under way. The town was heaving with people this morning as I drove out to the supermarket so it was no surprise to see the beach so packed.

We’re at the period of lowest tide too so I imagine that many of them down there are scavenging for seafood. And I hope that they will share their catch with their friends because you mustn’t be selfish with your shellfish.

aeroplane 35-MA place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier I posted a photo of an unidentified aeroplane that flew overhead while I was walking across the car park.

As I walked back, I was overflown again by an aeroplane that was pretty much identical to one of the unidentified ones. And this time I could see the registration quite clearly on the port wing.

Not that it did me any good because the number on the wing is 35-MA and that is not a number that I can find in the series of registration numbers that I have. And so I’m not able to tell you anything about it, unfortunately. There’s certainly no flight plan or trace of it on the flight radar.

citroen sm maserati place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I didn’t make it off the car park and off down the path because I was detained by this absolutely gorgeous machine parked here.

It’s been a while since we’ve featured an old car on these pages and to break our barren spell with a vehicle as rare or extraordinary as this is quite exceptional. In case you don’t know what it it, it’s basically a Citroen DS or ID, with the model designation “SM”.

The “S” of course stands for “Sport” but the “M” stands for “Maserati” because the earlier models of the series were powered by the same engine that was in the Maserati Merak and the later ones were powered by the engine out of the Maserati Biturbo.

citroen sm maserati place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe model was made between 1970 and 1975, but only about 13,000 models were made.

In 1974 there were just 294 examples sold and in 1975 a mere 115 so with the rationalisation of the French motor industry in the mid-70s, the poor sales resulted in the model being discontinued. What did for the model was the fact that the tax band in which the vehicle fell was so high that few people could afford to run them.

Nevertheless, if I had to choose a French vehicle of this era to keep as my own, there wouldn’t be any question about it. I would have one of these in a heartbeat. One of these would rival the Maserati Quattroporte in my list of top-10 vehicles.

citroen u23 place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was something else of interest parked up here at the end of the car park.

We’ve seen this vehicle before a few months ago. It’s a Citroen U23 lorry, a type of lorry that was launched in 1936 and was seen everywhere all over France. There are even A FEW EARLY ONES KNOCKING ABOUT ON THE ROADS today. They were also very popular with the French Army in World War II and quite a few were incorporated into the German army after the fall of France.

The earlier models looked very much like a Citroen Traction Avant but the bodywork evolved over the next 30 or so years before the model was abandoned in 1964. This is one of the last redesign of the model, undertaken in the late 1950s.

On that note I finally set off along the path above the cliffs, amongst the madding crowds wearing facemasks to a greater or lesser extent. There was nothing out to sea but as I approached the lighthouse a storm rolled in quite quickly and it began to rain. And so I didn’t wish to hang around for very long outside.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other side of the headland in the rain I looked down on the chantier navale from the viewpoint overlooking the port.

It looks quite strange right now with nothing in there up on blocks down there. It’s not very often that we can see the place looking quite like this without any boats of any description in there. It’s restricted by the fact that the portable boat lift only has a rating of about 95 tonnes, and so that rules out some of the boats that are based in the harbour.

There’s a dry dock here, the Cale de Radoub, in which larger boats could be placed and where they could be repaired but even though that was declared an Ancient Monument in 2008, it’s been out of use since 1978 and will cost several millions to put into working order so that it could be used again.

marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the boats that requites an annual inspection is Marité, the old Newfoundland fishing boat that’s based here and which takes passengers out every now and again.

She had to sail to Lorient for her annual overhaul a few days ago as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. She must have come back on the tide last night. I was lucky enough to catch her coming home last year but I missed her this year.

Back here I made myself a mug of hot coffee and sat down to make a start on doing some work. But instead, I crashed out yet again. This is becoming far too much of a habit these days and I’m becoming rather fed up of all of this. I could understand it if I’d done any heavy exercise but even a walk around the block these days is finishing me off.

After I came round and recovered my equilibrium, I spent an hour or so playing the bass. I have to learn the songs on this song list and there’s no time like the present. I ned to exert myself one way or another.

Tea tonight was a burger with pasta and vegetables followed by chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce, which is just as delicious as it was when I made it. And chatting to a few people on the internet later, I posted them my recipe so that they can make it.

Now I’m off to bed, a lot later than usual but it doesn’t matter all that much because I’m having a lie-in tomorrow. And as long as it’s not 13:30 like it was last Saturday, I won’t mind too much.

Friday 14th May 2021 – I DON’T KNOW …

people on lawn pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… what on earth was going on this afternoon but I’ve never ever seen so many people wandering around on the paths this afternoon.

All of the car parks were full of cars and all of the paths and the lawn and everywhere else were heaving with people. There must have been something going on this afternoon somewhere in the vicinity to attract crowds like this and I wish that I knew just what it was because it must have been exciting.

What else that was exciting today was the fact that I managed to rise up from the dead just after the first alarm despite my rather late night last night. It wasn’t just a late night either but I spent much of the night wracked by an endless series of attacks of cramp that disrupted just about everything.

At some point I managed to drift off to sleep because there was something on the dictaphone. I was in an old Wild West railway town last night but I can’t remember anything about why I was there or what I was doing. I awoke at 05:20 with a really bad attack of cramp again that had me out of bed in agony for a while.

Anyway, I didn’t have a very good morning after all of that last night. It was rather slow as I carried on with the photos from Wyoming in 2019. Not even a coffee could perk me up and I didn’t do very much at all. I can’t have too many days like this.

After lunch, to my dismay I crashed out. And what was different about that today was that usually I feel myself drifting away and I can usually fight it for so long before I drop off, but today I didn’t even realise that I’d been asleep until I awoke and I’m rather bewildered about that.

The rest of the afternoon has been spent learning some new songs on the bass guitar. A week or two ago someone created a new Group on Social Media for this region and invited me to join. And so I did, and posted a brief bio on there, like you do. And as a result, someone else on there sent me his playlist.

There’s not all that much on there that appeals to me but you have to start somewhere, I suppose.

There was the usual break for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst stop was the wall at the end of the car park. I mustn’t forget to go over there and look down onto the beach.

And while over the last few days it’s been pretty quiet down there, today it was heaving with people. And I don’t know why because the weather wasn’t anything like as good as it has been earlier in the week. It was rather cool, overcast and windy. Not at all like the kind of May Day that we have sometimes that drags out the crowds in their hundreds.

Anyway, that’s enough of that for the moment. I set off on my walk around the headland. And today it wasn’t quite as easy as it has been because of the vehicles and the crowds. It really took me by surprise to see so many cars and people out and about this afternoon.

people fishing from cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were a few people out and about on the sea too.

Just off the shore was this little cabin cruiser with a handful of men on there fishing with rod and line. But as you might expect, true to form, while I was watching them they didn’t manage to catch anything and I’m wondering if they ever will

None of the commercial fishing boats in the vicinity though. In case you missed the news, there was a meeting of the European Union earlier in the week in which banking relations between the UK and the EU were discussed. An agreement was almost reached but at the last moment France vetoed it.

As a result, Jersey has hastily postponed the implementation of its new fishing regulations until the end of June in the hope that the French will reconsider their veto.

With nothing going on out at sea that I could see, I went on my way around the headland and down the path on the other side on the cliffs overlooking the port.

chausiais ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe tide is quite far out today so there wasn’t anything going on in there. All we have today is Chausiais, the little freighter that goes over to the Ile de Chausey with the freight for the island, moored up at the ferry terminal.

None of the two Joly France boats – the passenger ferries for the island – though. They have both gone out to the island with passengers so there must have been hundreds of people in town today for some reason that I don’t understand.

There was nothing going on in the chantier navale today, still no boats of any description in there, so I carried on home.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a pile of freight on the quayside. That had gone. Apparently with the easing of tension, Normandy Trader was able to come in on the morning tide today, drop off a load, load up with the objects on the quayside and clear off on the same tide.

f-gbai Robin DR.400-108B pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was planning on taking a photo of the bare quayside by the loading bay I was overflown by a light aeroplane on its way to the airport over by Donville les Bains.

It’s one of our regulars, F-GBAI, the Robin DR 400-108B that belongs to the Aero Club de Granville. It’s not unfortunately filed a flight plan so I can’t tell you where it’s been but it’s probably just been for a run around the area by a student pilot or a licensed pilot keeping up his hours.

But anyway, it totally distracted me and I forgot to photograph the quayside. I really ought to concentrate more on what I’m supposed to be doing.

Back here I had my hot mug of coffee and then had a look at this playlist that I’d been sent. And spent the rest of the afternoon having a play through it. Some of the stuff I already knew, some of it I could work out easily enough and some of it is pretty darn complicated

Tea was taco rolls with the left-over stuffing from the stuffed pepper yesterday, followed by some of my chocolate sponge and the best chocolate sauce that I’ve ever made. I had made my morning hot chocolate with real chocolate in a bain marie so there was some cocoa powder left, and I’d bought cornflour and sugar yesterday from LIDL

So now it’s bedtime. Once again it’s later than I was expecting. Tomorrow I’m going shopping, something that I know that I don’t usually do when I’m off to Leuven a couple of days later but I’ve not been to LeClerc for several weeks and I’m running low on milk, cocoa powder, olives and a few other bits and pieces that I normally use.

Friday 30th April 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… slightly better day today. Not very much, but something of an improvement. Mind you, not that things could have been much worse than they were.

And they probably would have been even better had I not had several attacks of cramp during the night, a couple of which dragged me out of bed.

But anyway, I made it up and out of bed just after the first alarm again. And after the medication I listened to the dictaphone. There was some kind of TV programme during the night featuring me. It was like a festival of all my old vehicles. They had managed to collect a whole pile of old vehicles that I used to own and they were all being filmed arriving at this venue where we were supposed to be having this party. The thing that surprised me was that out of all of these old vehicles turning up, they hadn’t managed to go and get Caliburn. I was really surprised by it. I mentioned something like “it’s a shame that I don’t have a boat, isn’t it?”. They said “you do have a boat and it’s on the canal over there” and they were pointing to the canal on Henhull Bridge. I said “God, do I have a boat as well?”. There was something about me getting a boat for going over the sea. And that was one of the times when I awoke with an attack of cramp.

In between all of the wicked attacks of cramp I was visiting a girl, someone like my friend Sue, and I ended up spending the night there, separate beds. I was really tired so by the time that I got up it was quite late in the morning. I went to ‘phone my boss to tell him that I was not going to be in work that day but first of all she had to move an animal out of the bedroom with its pet snail so that I could use the ‘phone in there. But every time I tried to dial I kept on getting a wrong number. In the end I went to dial up on my mobile ‘phone. There was something about the animals she had, a cat and a mouse and a dog and I was training them to eat bits of chocolate that I used to do with my cats, giving them a bit equal and having them sit and wait until I gave the word and this was surprisingly successful. This girl had never seen anything quite like it at all. I went to ‘phone him and ask for Friday off as well and make a few days of it out here with this girl but every time I went to phone I couldn’t get through. This auto-dialler was dialling the first number that I put in that was wrong.

At that point, I went off back to sleep again, leaving the dictaphone running. And my apologies to Percy Penguin (who doesn’t feature in these pages as often as she deserves) for doubting her word when she complained that I snored in bed when I was asleep (not that I ever did too much sleeping if I was with Percy Penguin).

Transcribing that was about all that I managed to do this morning. Not even a mug of coffee was sufficient to galvanise me into action and after I’d had my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread, I actually crashed out again.

Not for as long as on the two previous days, but it may as well have been, for all the good that it did me from a working point of view.

After lunch I made something of a desultory start on editing my photos from August 2019. Doing anything is better than doing nothing, of course.

Not that I did too many but right now I’m emulating thousands of pioneers on the Trails West to Oregon and California during the Gold Rush years of the late 1840s and 1850s by “nooning” at Cottonwood Creek near modern-day Guernsey in Wyoming. It was an eerie feeling sitting there eating my sandwiches on the same spot where the Donner party had once eaten their lunch just four months before they began to eat each other.

There was the usual pause for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach near fish trap rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual I went over to the end of the car park to look over the wall down onto the beach to see who was about down there.

Just a few people walking around down there today and I’ve no idea why because the weather wasn’t unpleasant at all. There are a couple of people walking around on the beach who caught my eye. Not because of their white jackets, but because they were walking past the medieval fish trap.

You can see that it’s doing its job retaining the water that’s come in with the tide. When it was working correctly back in the olden days the water would slowly filter out leaving the fish behind. And then the fishwives would wade in and pull out the fish with their hands.

And they would probably have much more luck than the modern-day fisherman with his rod and line. Who says that modern methods are more efficient?

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

It was the first thing that I noticed when I walked around the corner and onto the path that leads down to the car park. The tide was not yet right out so there was still plenty of water in the bay. We’ve seen HOW EMPTY THE BAY CAN BE when we are at very low tide.

For a change there weren’t too many cars on the car park. Just three, in fact, this afternoon, and none of them were of any interest. It wasn’t very busy at all so I walked off quietly down to the end of the car park and the end of the headland.

people on lower footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere may not have been anyone about on the cliffs where I’d just been walking or on the car park, but the lower footpath today was heaving with people. There was even someone making an attempt to cycle around it on a mountain bike.

Even more surprisingly, there were no fishermen today on the rocks. It’s too much to suppose that they have given it up as a bad job and gone to the fishmonger’s.

And that reminds me of the story about the mermaid who appeared on the rocks down there. Someone asked what her vital statistics were and the reply was “36 – 24 – €3:60 per kilo”.

On that note, I walked off along the path on top of the cliffs on top of the other side of the headland. I forgot to notice if there were any fishing boats out there working this afternoon.

digger with tractors and trailers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the viewpoint I could see the digger and the tractors and trailers working away at the end of the harbour wall down in the tidal harbour.

It looks as if they have finished digging away at the mountain of sand that had built up at the harbour entrance and were now digging away at a kind of trench further inside the harbour. It’s going to be interesting in a couple of days time to see what they are doing right now.

Incidentally, digging away at the mountain of sand apparently isn’t anything new. It’s a regular task that they undertake every five or so years to keep the passage free.

You can see that the tide is still a fair way up. The waste pipe that they are laying from the pleasure port is still part-submerged in water and the two white diggers haven’t made it out there as yet.

fishing boat out of water chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom this viewpoint I can see down into the chantier navale

There is no change in occupancy there today – Aztec Lady and the smaller trawler are still parked up on blocks down there and that’s your lot. But there’s something else in there too that looks as if it’s just been hauled out of the water. We can tell that by the amount of water down there behind that little fishing boat.

She’s been dropped onto the trailer by the portable boat lift and is about to be whisked away by the pick-up. That’s presumably the driver inside the cabin making the boat secure before they leave. And I was ready to leave too, and have another mug of coffee.

fishing boat grounded out port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBefore I did, I walked past the quay at the fish processing plant.

And there today we have another fishing boat left to go around on the mud as the tide goes out. That’s becoming quite a habit right now.

Back here I made myself a coffee and then carried on with my photographs, such as I was able, and despite another little relaxation for half an hour, and then I had a play on the guitars. And despite how I was feeling, I enjoyed every minute of it too. And I wished that I felt better than I do.

Tea tonight was nothing special. A burger with rice and vegetables with onion gravy followed by apple crumble with the left-over custard from yesterday.

But now I have the opportunity for an early night. After last night, I’m going to have another one of those pills that they prescribe me to have a good night’s sleep. We’ll see how this one works in the hope that I can have a better night’s sleep than I did.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 4th April 2021 – THIS IS …

crowds place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… the kind of thing that is annoying me right now, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Hordes of people milling around on the car park outside my apartment building, masks and social distancing optional of course. I really don’t understand it.

What I don’t understand even more is that with France supposed to be closing down in quarantine as of midnight last night, the SNCF ran a pile of extra trains on Friday and Saturday to bring all of the holidaymakers and second home-owners down to the coast. And that surely defeats the whole point of the quarantine and people staying where they live.

Now of course, they are going to be spreading the virus about like wildfire. No wonder the Government can’t bring it under control.

This morning, I was spending much of the time trying to bring my cramp under control. I was hit by a particularly bad attack or two during the night.

And by 07:40 I was wide awake, but no chance of me leaving my bed at that time of the morning. 10:00 is much more like it these days when I’m having a Day of Rest.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’ve been during the night. I was in Eastern Europe somewhere having a bad attack of cramps. In the middle of all of these I got up to go for a walk around. I ended up in a cafe. It was pretty late, about 04:00 in the morning and I was sitting there trying to ease off these cramps. I went into the toilets to take out my thermos flask and pour myself a coffee. There were these guys hanging around there. One of them opened the door and invited me to come in. I said “no thanks. I’m just going to get my coffee”. I put my coffee mug on the side there and went to pour my coffee out of the flask but this guy just went and sat on the table thing and knocked my coffee mug everywhere. I thought “this is a waste of time” and went back into the café part and sat down. The waiter came over and said something basically along the lines of “you can’t drink your own stuff in here” so I said “I’d better have a coffee the. You can fetch me a coffee”. There was then a dispute about where I could sit. The table I had chosen was for residents only and the waiter saying “I’m only serving this part. I’m not serving the rest of the café”. He and the manager then had a dispute about that. In the end I asked “can I sit here or can’t I?”.

At that point I had another bad attack of cramp that awoke me and meant I had to get up and walk around a little.

Later on I had another really bad attack of cramp and ended up walking around the apartment for 10 minutes to get it to ease off but some time during the night I was asleep. I remember vaguely something about 4 old Lambretta scooters, pale yellow with the 2 individual seats, being parked up each in one corner of a yard somewhere. What that was about I really have no idea but that was what was going through my head. One parked in each corner with the rear wheel parked in the apex and the front wheel pointing in towards the centre.

Later still there was a funeral taking place in the family and I ended up discussing all of the arrangements with one of my sisters. We were getting things ready and I had a load of frozen vegetables that I was trying to make something with. We talked about asparagus and I had some jars of asparagus tips (which I actually do) so I went over to her and said “how about we have these with garlic butter to dip in”? She said “it all depends if they are very small and how many other people would be coming”. My brother turned up as well and he joined in the conversation. I had another thought about the food that I wanted to mention to her as well but when it came to tell her I couldn’t think of it. It slipped right out of my head. Of course that was rather embarrassing. The discussion continued and she said “you know that you are going to be a great uncle again. There’s a new girl being born to one of her kids in the family. I said “no” and I turned to my brother and said “you remember that little girl that I used to bounce up and down on my knee a few years ago? She’s having a baby in May – at 14”!

There was more to it than this too but as you are probably eating your meal right now, I’ll spare you the gory details.

Part of what was left of today I spent working on the photographs from August 2019. I’m still on my way to Fort Phil Kearny but actually at the moment I’m at a wayside fuel station and café at a place called Spotted Horse in Northern Wyoming where I’m admiring some abandoned vehicles.

Half an hour earlier I’d passed through the small town of Recluse. It is something of a ghost town with a population of 7, and every one of them came out to watch me as I drove through. It was like a scene from THE SHINING.

There was a break for lunch of course. Porridge and a couple of toasted hot cross buns, all of which went down a treat. These hot cross buns are delicious.

After lunch I made a start on the baking for the next week. I made a pile of dough for some pizza bases for the next few weeks and also half a load of dough because for pudding next week I fancy some more of that jam roly-poly that I made a few weeks ago.

While I was at it, I had a drink of my home-made ginger beer which was absolutely delicious, and I also fed the sourdough and the ginger beer mother solution.

Leaving the two lots of dough to fester, I headed off for my afternoon walk around the headland, a few minutes later than usual.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown on the beach there were plenty of people wandering around in the afternoon. Some of them were picnicking down there on the rocks too.

It was a really nice afternoon today and it would have been even better had the wind dropped because it was yet another day when we were being beaten about by a mini-gale. And aren’t I fed up of those this last few months.

Regardless of the weather though, there weren’t any people actually in the water. The weather wasn’t anything like as nice as that, although regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen plenty of people in the water just recently despite the wintry conditions.

girl painting people playing boules or petanque place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom there I set off along the path. But as I passed by, my attention was drawn to this rather large group of people.

Sitting on the wall on the top of the cliff was a girl in a purple anorak. She was either sketching or painting the scene in front of her – I couldn’t quite see exactly what it was.

As for the men, they were playing either boules or petanque, I couldn’t see what. But as you can see, face masks are completely optional, as is social distancing. This is the kind of behaviour that is spreading the disease like wildfire and I wonder how many people are going to have to be infected or die before they finally get the message.

My route continued along the top of the cliffs on my way to the end of the headland. And near the end of the path I was accosted by four guys on bikes who asked me to take their group photograph on the top overlooking the sea.

That’s not a problem for me, as long as it makes people happy.

floating object pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days ago I mentioned that I had seen something like a plastic 25-litre oil drum bobbing up and down offshore at the Pointe du Roc.

hen I was down at the end of the headland today, there was the object bobbing up and down again. It certainly wasn’t there yesterday or any other day except for the day when I mentioned it. And so I’ve concluded that it’s been brought there specifically and it must obviously be tethered to stop it floating away.

It must therefore probably be a marker for a lobster pot, even if it is of a very ambiguous colour and very close to the foot of the cliffs. And that is a little surprising for me. I’m have expected the marker buoy to be a bright yellow or orange or something so that people could see it easily and steer clear.

speedboat le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s a speedboat roaring past le Loup out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Surprisingly, despite the beautiful sunny weather and the fact that it’s a Bank Holiday Sunday, there was almost nothing whatever going on out at sea. Apart from this speedboat and another one that was following it across from the Ile de Chausey where this one had apparently come from, there was nothing else whatever out there on the sea anywhere that I could see.

What I was expecting to see were hordes of yachts and other water traffic out there this afternoon. The tide was well up this afternoon as we have already seen, and there wouldn’t be any other reason to prevent all of the pleasure boats putting out to sea.

chausiais ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, there must be at least one boat out at sea somewhere this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw Chausiais and one of the two Joly France ferry boats that run the ferry service over to the Ile de Chausey moored up over there at the ferry terminal.

Today though, the Joly France boat has gone and there’s only Chausiais. Joly France must be taking a load of tourists out to spread the disease amongst all of the local inhabitants of the island which will go down really well seeing as there is no medical service over there

And if you look in the harbour, you’ll see the mooring boys bobbing up and down and with the sea being so clear, you can see the mooring chains to which they are attached. It’s a few more of those that they will be adding in the harbour when the diggers come back and they finally get round to carry on with the work.

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner F-HRBD baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, as I walk along the footpath on top of the cliffs on the south side of the headland I’m being overflown by a pretty big aeroplane coming from the east.

She’s actually a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner registration number F-HRBD registered to Air France. She’s flying over my head at a height of 34,000 on her way to Bogota in Columbia with Flight code AF428 /AFR428 , having taken off from Paris Charles de Gaulle about half an hour previously. She is currently on bearing 261°

Surprisingly, there was nothing else happening anywhere else in the harbour so I turned my attention to heading off home. There was all of my dough busily festering away and awaiting my attention when I return.

Airbus A320-251N G-UZHB english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I didn’t make it all the way back home straight away as I was overflown by yet another large aircraft heading north-eastwards.

Playing about with my image-editing software I managed to make out that she is in Easyjet livery and that means that she must be Flight Code U22036/EZY48ZM, having taken off at 12:15 from Tenerife on her way to Luton Airport.

She’s an Airbus A320-251N, registration G-UZHB and she’s going past me at a height of 38,025 feet.

When she’d gone out of range I went inside to make myself a drink and to attack the dough. I rolled out the dough for the roly-poly, coated it with a thick layer of strawberry jam and rolled it.

With the pizza dough, I split it into 3, rolled two in oil, wrapped them in baking paper, put them in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer. The third part I rolled out and put it into the pizza tray that I had greased, and folded the edges back in.

For the next hour or so I carried on with the photos and then I went back into the kitchen.

With the oven on and heating up, I cut the roly-poly into 2 and put the parts onto a greased baking tray. Then I bunged the baking tray into the oven when it was hot.

Meantime I prepared the pizza and when the roly-poly was cooked I put the pizza in and let that cook away for the next half an hour or so while I did the mountain of washing up that had accumulated. You’ve no idea how much washing up I can accumulate when I’m baking.

vegan pizza jam roly poly place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen the pizza was cooked I attacked it with gusto. And it was really delicious too. But as for the roly-poly, I’ll have to tell you all tomorrow what that was like because the pizza was quite filling and I had no room left for pudding.

Now, I’ve written up my notes and I’m ready for bed. I’ve not had a hard day by any means but I’m still pretty tired. I’ve no plans for an alarm tomorrow seeing as it’s a Bank Holiday so I’m going to have a lie-in, if the cramp lets me.

Maybe I’ll feel better if I have had a couple of decent lie-ins. I Can certainly do with a couple, and I’ll fit the radio work around the rest of the day, breaking the habits of a lifetime for once.

Thursday 25th March 2021 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… night that was!

demolition st pieters hospital brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric Hall… while you admire the photos of the roadworks and demolitions that we have been following over the last few years, I’ll tell you all about it.

And if you want to know more about the photos as you pass by them, click on the image aside and a new window will open up with an enlarged photo and a caption.

But I spent most if not all of the night battling with cramp. I’ve had some bad nights just recently with cramp, and some worse nights too, but none were as bad as last night’s attacks.

demolition st pieters hospital brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallIn fact, even when it started to grow light I was still awake in agony having already hopped around the rom to free everything off at least half a dozen times

When the alarm went off I was in no condition to leave the bed and in fact i totally ignored all of the alarms. Instead, I stayed in bed until about 08:20 and it’s been a while since I’ve done that in the week.

But at least I managed to drift off to sleep at some point and I even managed to go off on my travels. And that reminds me – if you missed last night’s voyages they are on-line now too

sint Jacobsplein leuven belgium Eric HallGreenock Morton were playing in a football match last night and were attacking the opponents’ goal. The team that they were playing had a couple of old Morton players in it like Gregor Buchanan. They were attacking the goal and they should have scored three or four in this one particular movement. They were trying to force the ball over the line. One of the Morton players even managed to lift it over the bar from standing on the goal line, there were that many bodies in the way and he had to get the ball over them. Interesting though was that all of the players were just like wraiths, something that made me wonder if the opponents were not in fact Wraith Rovers, just a ghostly outline rather than actual real players whom I could see. I remember shouting encouragement from the terraces but funnily enough I was the only person doing it and it sounded terribly embarrassing

biezenstraat leuven belgium Eric HallLater on there was a roundabout that had been built by Crewe and on this roundabout heading towards the town was my former friend from Stoke on Trent on a motorbike carrying a 5-gallon container of diesel. I was going the other way on a motorbike. Behind him on my old Honda Melody was Zero. She was only about 10 but she was riding this Honda Melody. I pulled up alongside the guy and we started to have a bit of a chat. The girl said “look here!” and she went off on this motor bike, did a couple of sliding turns, came back and slid to a halt. The bike toppled over and she got off and came to sit in between the two of us, telling us all about riding her motor bike. I asked “have you been taking Strawberry Moose out for a ride?”. she replied “yes”. The guy was saying that she’d held him tight while driving. She replied “ohh no! He’s been for a ride with me properly on it”.

And that brought back many happy memories of when I was living with Laurence and 8 year-old Roxanne 20-odd years ago and I taught Roxanne to ride the Melody

Sint-Hubertusstraat Leuven belgium Eric HallComing downstairs was something of a stagger.

My knee was certainly better but it wasn’t that good and I still couldn’t put too much weight on it and I needed to grip onto something to haul myself up into a standing position.

But I did eventually reach the ground floor and I attacked the dictaphone to see where I’d been during last night and the night before. And to my surprise, I had travelled quite far as you have probably noticed if you’ve read all of my notes.

monseigneur vanwaeyenberghlaan leuven belgium Eric HallLater on, I took my courage in both hands and limped off down to the supermarket.

The Delhaize rather than the Carrefour because it was closer and I wasn’t up to going the extra distance. But I did what shopping I needed to do and staggered back.

Despite my injury and despite the load that I was carrying I made it back without too much of a problem, and then made myself some toast for a rather late breakfast.

There was time for a shower and some clothes washing, and then I headed off to the hospital.

It was a depressing walk down to the town because I really wasn’t feeling like it but I did it all the same.

photographer taking photos grote markt leuven belgique Eric HallAs I passed through the Grote Markt I stumbled upon a young photgrapher doing her stuff.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, another one of the regular features on these pages is photographers taking photos. There’s usually one or two appearing every now and again.

Having seen that, I carried on with my walk past all of the building work that has been going on over the last couple of years that is progressing rather too slowly for my liking.

new pipework near the herestraat leuven belgium Eric HallUp at the hospital there was yet more excitement.

It was not easy to see what they were doing but they had a digger out there digging a trench along by the lagoon over there and they have a great long length of large-diameter rubber pipe that I imagine that they will drop into the trench when they have done it.

But as to its purpose, I’ve no idea. And the guys were too far away to ask.

At the hospital I had a Covid-test and then they could treat me for my illness. The wired me up and plugged me in and gave me my intravenous drip.

The doctor came to see me and I told her about my “incident” yesterday and all of the cramps that I’ve been having.

As for the fall, there is no damage and all of the muscles and ligaments are working fine. As for the cramps, she doesn’t think that they are cramps but what her translation from the Flemish was “wandering leg” – she didn’t know its precise English translation and I didn’t understand the Flemish.

Anyway, she’s prescribed me a pill that will ease the cramps and help me have a decent sleep. It takes a while to work so I won’t see the results for a couple of weeks.

Kaatje came to see me too and we had quite a chat. She told me about her holiday plans for a cycling tour with her friends. When she came into my room I was listening to COLOSSEUM LIVE – one of the top five live albums ever and which always brings back memories of the High Arctic and THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR

She asked me about it and I told her that it dated from 1973. “I wasn’t even born then” she replied. I keep on forgetting how old I am, although the events of yesterday and today have aged me by 20 years.

The doctor came back with my test results – blood count down to 8.9 which is no great surprise is it? And then I cleared off to pick up my medication.

herestraat leuven belgium Eric HallOutside the hospital there was a bright blue sky but some really filthy dark black clouds.

This was creating some really strange lighting effects so I took a photo of it. Unfortunately the camera was not able to reproduce the effect which is rather a disappointment so you’ll just have to imagine it.

But at least, the photo from this angle gives you an idea of how far out of town the hospital is and how far I have to walk to come here. As an aside, having gone to the shops this morning as well I’m now on 191% of my daily total according to my fitbit and that’s impressive for someone with a damaged knee.

monseigneur vanwaeyenberghlaan leuven belgium Eric HallOver the last couple of years we’ve been watching the slow rebuilding of the Monseignur Van Waeyenberghlaan and you have already seen the work that they have been doing.

The upper end of the avenue is now complete and the traffic is now able to circulate around there too part of the way down.

People on foot are able to circulate down there too so I continued on my way down the avenue and back towards town. In an hour’s time I would be meeting Alison for a chat and a coffee.

demolition kapucijnenvoer leuven belgium Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen the demolition of St Pieter’s Hospital, and I posted two new photos earlier.

The demolition work has also been taking place around the back so I went to see how they were doing with that little lot.

Whatever it is that they were demolishing, they have now demolished it and the rebuilding has started. That looks as if it might be a subterranean car park down there and to the left there’s a piledriver that will be sinking the foundations of whatever will be going on top.

Alison and I had a good chat and a little wander around and then we went back to the car park underneath the Ladeuzeplein.

crowds monseigneur ladeuzeplein leuven belgium Eric HallBelgium temporarily relaxed its Covid restrictions a couple of days ago but now they are retightening them again.

There were plenty of people out and about making most of the warm weather and the end of the relaxed restrictions and they were having a little party on the Ladeuzeplein.

Just for a change, it seemed that social distancing was being respected. In fact we saw several stewards who were presumably enforcing them. And as we watched, a police car pulled onto the square and drove around to make its presence felt.

university library monseigneur ladeuzeplein leuven Eric HallThere was a really fine night tonight and I’m not surprised that so many people were out there.

The moon that was shining up above the University Library was particularly splendid. It was just the kind of thing that was crying out for a photograph so I obliged, even if the NIKON 1 J5 is not the most ideal camera for this kind of thing.

We picked up Alison’s car and she drove us back here to my little place. With not having had a coffee while we were out, I made one here and we had a nice long chat. And then I accompanied her to her car.

After she left I wrote up my notes of the day’s activities and now I’m off to bed. I’ll try one of these new pills to see where they gat me. No alarm in the morning – I’m going to have a nice lie-in. I always feel a little groggy after my treatment and the rest does me good.

Friday 5th March 2021 – I’VE HAD ONE …

… of those days where I seem to have been in great demand.

All of the afternoon has been spent talking to different people either on the telephone – first Terry, then Ingrid, then Rosemary and then Liz, one after the other from not long after lunch until all the way through to teatime and I even missed my guitar practice.

It all makes up for the night that I had last night where about 5 minutes after going to bed I had one of the worst attacks of cramp that I have ever had. I was out of bed four or five times trying to ease everything off, something that wasn’t easy for at one stage I had cramp in all four of my limbs at once.

Most of the night was spent not in sleep but in agony, although I must have gone off to sleep at one stage because I remember going on a voyage. We’d been to Dublin for a day out and we were on our way back on the train, a multiple-unit and there was a chance to get out and go to walk around a little village for an hour and then get back on the following train. Our train pulled into this station and we alighted, and I’m not sure what happened and I was ordering the configuration of it, but instead of ending up with 4 carriages I ended up with 45 so I went to delete some. I ended up back with 4 carriages but I’d lost the power car. We had to wait anyway for the next train to come and when that pulled up I explained to the driver what I’d done. He quite simply put his card into the slot and tapped out a couple of things and we ended up back with a power car so we could move off.

Despite everything I was up again quite smartly after the first alarm and after the medication I kneaded the two loads of dough that I had prepared before going to bed last night – one of the sourdough with fruit and the second with the wholemeal bread.

Most of the morning was spent going through the hard drive to remove another pile of duplicated files from the back-up drive. Another 19GB of rubbish bit the dust this morning. Of course, the further you go into this, the slower it becomes, but I’ll get there.

home made bread sourdough fruit loaf place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomewhere in the middle of all of this I broke off to put the bread in the oven and then again round about 10:30 when the oven had switched itself off

The wholemeal bread was cooked to perfection but the sourdough was another failure – a soggy mass of whatever without a trace of having risen at all. My sourdough doesn’t seem to be working at all.

But nevertheless, as a nice moist fruitcake it was something of a success from that point of view and with my hot chocolate it tasted quite nice and made a very good breakfast. But I really need to improve my sourdough technique if I’m to get anywhere with it.

Later on in the morning I crashed out for about an hour on the office chair. Not much of a surprise after the night that I’d had but it was still very annoying and I wasn’t very happy. Especially as it took much longer than usual to come round.

After lunch I fed the sourdough and the ginger beer mother solution and then I had my stream of phone conversations.

But one thing leads to another and these calls didn’t stop me working. While I’d been tidying up the other day I’d found a headset that must have come with a mobile telephone. While I was talking to Ingrid and Rosemary I plugged the headset into the telephone which meant that my hands were free and during the conversations I edited almost 60 photos and I wish that I’d thought about this before.

Now we’re on board a zodiac on our way back to THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR after having visited Brattahlid.

beach rue du nord Granville donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn between everything I went for my afternoon walk around the headland.

But first I went over to the sea wall to see what was going on. Later than usual but even so the tide was quite far in and there weren’t all that many people down there walking around. And that was something of a surprise because for once just recently there was very little wind and there was plenty of sun.

The view along the coast past Donville and into the area was extremely clear today but there was plenty of haze out at sea. The Ile de Chausey was clear enough today, but I couldn’t see as far as the island of Jersey.

There weren’t all that many people walking around today either so I had the path pretty much to myself today.

le loup baie de mont st michel kairon plage Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I walked round onto the lawn near the lighthouse I had a reall good view of Le Loup, the light that’s on top of the rocks just outside the harbour entrance.

You can see the usual high tide mark on the light – the line just below the lower of the two red rings. Of course at the Grande Marée the tide is higher than that.

In the background across the bay the town of Kairon-Plage is standing out quite nicely in the sunshine. And on the right-hand side of the photo just below the skyline is that mystery tower that we saw in a photo the other day and which one of these days I’ll take myself off out to see exactly what it is.

seafarers' monument pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw the workman painting the lettering on the seafarers’ memorial at the Pointe du Roc

While I was out there this afternoon I went to have a look to see what kind of job he’s done. And it’s not turned out quite too badly at all and we can actually read what’s written on the memorial now without straining ourselves.

From there I walked along the path down to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour. There weren’t any more changed of inhabitant in the chantier navale. Still the four boats that were there yesterday and no others. No sign of spirit of Conrad as yet.

naabsa trawler refrigerated lorry fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s a change of boat at the Fish Processing Plant.

The big trawler that was moored there in a NAABSA position has now gone back out to sea but there’s one of the smaller shellfish boats now settled down in the silt.

And they seem to be expecting a bumper load of shellfish and aquatic life today. As I watched, one refrigerated lorry pulled away and another one was manoeuvring around ready to reverse into position. A third lorry as already there in the course of being loaded up.

Back here I had my coffee and cake and then carried on with my series of phone calls.

When I finished I went to tea. With plenty of potatoes around here I made some chips in the microwave along with some beans and a burger, followed by more jam tart.

Now I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed. Despite my long sleep at lunchtime I’m exhausted and can’t wait to go to sleep. I’m surprised that i’ve kept going this long.

But shopping tomorrow, more football and then a day of rest on Sunday. And I think that after this week, i’ve earned it too.

Wednesday 24th February 2021 – HAVE YOU EVER …

deserted gare du nord paris France Eric Hall… seen the Gare du Nord looking as empty as this in the middle of the working day when there has been no rail strike?

It’s absolutely unimaginable, isn’t it? Normally it would be heaving with people and it would be difficult to move about but at least in France, even though they don’t seem to have quite got to grips with this virus, people are coping with all of this “working from home” stuff.

While Paris-Montparnasse wasn’t quite so quiet, mainly because three trains all arrived at once, the Metro was quiet too. Plenty of room on my train across Paris too.

It’s all boding well for the future if people can adapt as quickly as this o the new way of doing things.

It’s my birthday today of course (so happy birthday to me) and the last thing that I wanted to be doing today was to have to travel by train to Leuven.

In fact there’s only one thing that I would rather do less than that, and that is to actually be having my treatment. And had I not changed my day of treatment from Wednesday to Thursday that is exactly what I would have been doing.

Mind you, I was lucky to actually make the station today. I had a wicked attack of cramp in the middle of the night that had me hopping around the bedroom in agony. And as a result I wasn’t in much of a mood to haul myself out of bed this morning. I’ve had days when I’ve been much more lively than this.

First thing to do was to make my flask of coffee and the second thing to do was to make my sandwiches and sort out the stuff that I need to take with me. The rubbish went out as well and I even managed to have a shower.

Finally, there was about 30 minutes spare so I had a whizz around the apartment tidying up the place and it actually looks respectable now.

It’s late February so I went out prepared for the Arctic weather, and so as you can imagine, we were having a heatwave and I was sweltering.

thora port de Granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday when we were out on our afternoon walk we saw Thora, one of the little Channel Island freighters, anchored in the port.

When I went out this morning, she was still in there tied up in the loading bay at the quayside in front of Marité. It’s quite surprising to see her still here. These days, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there has been quite a rapid turn-round in the port. They’ve been having the freighters in and out on the same tide at times and that’s good going.

But I can’t stand here musing. I’m running a little later than usual and I have a train to catch.

window stickers winnibelle bar rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther on down the Rue des Juifs, I went past Winnibelle’s, the little bar there.

All of the bars and restaurants are closed right now, something that is hitting the local commerce quite hard but it’s a necessity given the way that things are right now. But there’s some kind of campaign going on and I’m not sure what it is, but many places, bars and restaurants, have some weird stickers in the window, all of which seem to have been doe by the same hand

This has been intriguing me for a while, having seen so many of them over the last few weeks

The town was pretty quiet this morning. There weren’t too many people around at all. I suppose with it being School holidays, everyone was having a lie in.

84583 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I was walking up the hill to the station, I saw my train pull in to the platform. Another one of the GEC Alstom Regiolis units that work the line.

It’s the usual train that I catch, the 09:00 to Paris. They’ve reinstated most of the trains but only to a certain degree. Instead of a double-unit, it’s just a single unit of 6 cars and although it was busy, it wasn’t packed and I didn’t have a neighbour. I spent all of the journey updating the directories on the laptop that I brought with me, the one that I repaired over the weekend.

And to my surprise, I was so busy that I forgot to crash out. That’s a new experience on a train to Paris for me.

TGV Reseau 226 gare du nord paris France Eric HallA deserted metro and a train pulling up just as I stepped on the platform whizzed me off from Paris Montparnasse to Paris Gare du Nord and I was there in no time.

When the train pulled in we all queued up to go aboard but unfortunately there were “issues”. It seemed that someone had left behind their luggage and that involved a visit from the Security Services. They are quite strict on this kind of thing on the French Railways. Any abandoned lucggage results in the Army being called in.

After about 10 minutes, the barrier was opened and we were allowed on. It seems that whoever it was who had left behind his luggage had gone back to claim it just before the Bomb Squad blew it into smithereens.

TGV Reseau 217 gare du nord paris France Eric HallThis was a double unit and I was going to be in the front half of the train.

Both units were of the nice and comfortable TGV Duplex Reseau types, double-decker trains. I was in the upstairs part. This one wasn’t all that full either adnd once again I had no neighbour.

But I did have a visitor though. Some girl was walking down the corridor when the train lurched about on a set of points. She ended up sitting on my lap. It must have been my lucky day, that’s all I can say.

The train pulled into Lille Flanders on time and then I had a nice little stroll in the sun through the town to Lille Europe to catch the train that comes from the South of France to Brussels.

tgv POS 4412 gare de lille europe France Eric HallWhen I arrived at Lille Europe I had about 15 minutes to wait before my train to Brussels put in an appearance.

And this was a surprise today. The train that pulled in was one that I haven’t seen before. It’s one of the TGV POS units – and the inittials do not stand for what you think they might. They are actually the Paris-Ostfrankreich-Süddeutschland – “Paris-Eastern France-South Germany” units that were built to run through from Paris on the Eastern lines into Central Europe.

One of these units, 4402, set a new maximum speed record of 574.8 km/h on 3rd April 2007.

They are now being withdrawn from that service and they are now popping up all over the place.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4525 gare de lille europe France Eric HallInterestingly, it wasn’t coupled up to another unit of the same type. And it’s very rare to see different types of TGV coupled together

The one that was being pulled along behind was one of the tri-volt Reseau 38000 units that we usually seem to have. They are rather old and tired and of course this was my unit. Despite everything, they are quite comfortable and there’s room for me to spread out and do some work on the laptop again, especially as once again I didn’t have a neighbour.

After I’d alighted from the train at Brussels-Midi, I had an errand to perform. Last time I was here, I’d handed in a form to the Belgian Pensions Service just across the road but they sent it back as it wasn’t completed correctly. I’d completed it and now I had to take it back.

Here’s hoping that it’s complete correctly this time.

push me pull you gare du midi brussels belgium Eric HallOne thing about the line from Brussels to Leuven is that there are 4 express trains every hour as well as plenty of local stopping trains.

There are expresses to Hasselt or Genk or Welkenraedt but the one that I caught was the 15:52 to Eupen. It was one of the push-me-pull-you units with the driver in a cabin at the front but with the locomotive pushing it from behind. I’m not sure how stable that kind of configuration would be at high speed and I’m surprised that they allow it on Intercity trains.

This train was quite empty too and never mind a seat to myself, I almost had a whole carriage to myself. This “working from home” is definitely having an effect on the number of people travelling on the trains.

unloading disabled passenger from train gare de leuven railway station belgium Eric HallWhen the train pulled into the station at Leuven, we were treated to a little bit of excitement.

On the platform was a porter with a wheelchair ramp and when the train came to a stop the porter used the ramp to allow a woman on a mobility scooter to descend.

But I was more intrigued to see the porter’s little magic wand. He had something like a Darth Vader light stick only it was flashing an orange light. He stuck it on the side of the carriage over his head where the guard at the rear could see it.

It seems to me that it’s some kind of warning signal to indicate that there’s an important operation going on and that the guard shouldn’t give the “right away” signal to the drier until the operation is complete.

sncb class 18 electric locomotive gare de leuven railway station belgium Eric HallOnce the porter had finished, the train pulled away from the station.

It was being pushed by one of the Class 18 electric locomotives, the mainstream motive power these days of the Belgian passenger service.

When it had gone I walked from the railway station to my lodgings in the Dekenstraat. I’m in my “old faithful” room C7, one of the big duplex apartments. That’s one thig about being a regular customer here – I book the cheapest room possible and they give me an upgrade if there’s one available.

But then, even one of the very basic rooms is comfortable enough from my point of view.

Having recovered from my journey I set out to go to the shops for supplies.

house under repair dekenstraat leuven belgium Eric HallFor the last few months we’ve been looking at the rebuilding of this house on the corner of the Dekenstraat just down the road.

And if they carry on working at this rate, they might actually finish it by the end of the Century. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … it’s pretty dismal, the speed at which people seem to work these days.

Belgium changed its car registration system 10 years ago and began to issue 7-character plates instead of 6-character. They put a “1” in front of the numbers and today, I saw the first “2” Plate. They’d gone through a complete range in 10 years.

At Carrefour I stocked up with food for the next few days, and found later that I’d forgotten my vegan mayonnaise and strawberry jam. That’s not very good. But they had some nice vegan burgers. I had one with my pasta and it was delicious.

So now it’s bedtime, and I’m ready for it too. But I can’t go off without mentioning that I had a “Happy Birthday” message from my Customer Service Agent at the Bank. What’s that all about? Do I owe them some money or something?

Thursday 11th February 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… really busy day today and accomplished quite a lot.

And when was the last time you heard me say something like that?

Once more I managed to beat the 3rd alarm, although not by much. And that was a surprise because even though I was in bed early, I’d had a really bad night.

Several bad attacks of cramp in my right leg, a couple of which obliged me to stand up to relieve the pressure. They were really painful and I was in agony for a good part of the night, something that I didn’t enjoy one little bit.

After breakfast I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been. because despite the difficulties that I’d had, I had managed to wander off on my travels, cramp and all.

I had some stuff to leave around and I didn’t want to leave it in my car while I was away for a week so i thought that I’d go to the hotel where I’d been staying or where I would stay on my way back on 12th. I drove my beige MkIV Cortina there, parked it in a temporary parking place on the street and walked round to the hotel, leaving my luggage in the car for a moment. When I arrived there was a Shearings coach tour ready to depart. I could hear them calling my name asking whether I’d be going. Instead I carried on and there were hordes of people because it looked as if there was another coach tour actually starting from there. Everyone was hanging around there at the front of the hotel and I thought that I’d be hours trying to get through this queue into reception. Suddenly 2 coaches pulled up for this coach tour so everyone surged forward into the hotel and I surged in as well. People were complaining that I’d pushed in but I arrived at the reception desk. There I was going to buy some sweets but when I saw the prices I changed my mind. I made up some story about me going on a coach tour and didn’t want my possessions to get damp in the car so she agreed to take my suitcase until 12th when I returned. I went out of the hotel and started to go back the way I’d come. She said “no, there’s a quicker way. Go down this street here, turn left and left again”. The was she said it was so confusing so she said “follow me”. She took me down the first bit and there, there was someone with a collection of old military vehicles behind a hedge, a couple of jeeps and a couple of Jeepnis from the Philippines. Round the bend there was someone else. She said “this is always the person of last resort if you need something urgently”. It was a guy who repaired all kinds of things. he had all kinds of old cars and all bits and pieces parked up in his drive. She kept on taking me down all these footpaths and I was getting so confused. I thought that we would end up miles away from my car and I won’t have a clue where my car is. It was only a 15 minute parking space and what happens if I’ve been towed away because I’ve been so long? But I followed her anyway as she seemed to know where she was going

So fighting off huge attacks of cramp that had brought me out of bed on a couple of occasions I carried on walking down here to find the BASF factory and I’ve no idea why. I was told that it was just near the overbridge but it certainly wasn’t around here. I was going to walk some way to find it and no-one seemed to be interested in telling me where it was. And I’ve no idea what that second part was about either.

But talking about Shearings … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ve had to tell Satan to get well and truly behind me this afternoon. Someone’s offered me a 1997 Volvo B10M coach with a Plaxton Paramount body in good running order but needs tidying – for just £1500.

When I worked for Shearings I had years of fun driving those around Europe when I couldn’t lay my hands on a Van-Hool bodied one and they were really nice to drive. I loved Volvo coaches. And so it’s a good job that there’s a lockdown and we aren’t allowed to travel anywhere, especially to the UK, because it saves me from myself.

But what a bargain that is! The thing is that at the moment with companies (including Shearings) going bankrupt, there’s loads of good second-hand stuff on the market that the liquidators are desperate to move so they are slashing prices. This means that everyone is upgrading and modernising their fleets and so there’s all this good old stuff about that is worthless.

Next task was to make some dough for my loaf. Another 500 grammes of wholemeal bread and having bought a pile of sunflower seeds the other day, I forgot to add them in. But I fed the sourdough and the ginger beer while I was at it.

With half an hour free, I attacked the photos from Greenland and made some good progress and then I went for my shower.

By now, the dough had risen sufficiently so I shaped it and put it in its mould and headed out for the shops, with my two pairs of trousers on because it was absolutely taters again outside and the cold wind didn’t help.

At LIDL I didn’t spend very much. There wasn’t anything special that I needed – just a few bits and pieces.

demolition of house rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way home from LIDL I had to take a diversion from my usual return route.

There had been a few notices knocking around telling us about a new block of flats that they are going to build in the Rue St Paul and I was wondering where that might be. But this here seems to be the answer because the road was closed off while a bunch of workmen were busy knocking down this old cafe on the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo.

For a couple of minutes I watched them in action but it was really far too cold to hang about for long, so I pushed off along the footpath that seems to be the pedestrian diversion at the back of the Community Centre and headed back into town that way.

covidius horriblis place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall
The town centre is all decorated again, which is very nice to see.

As you might expect and as I have probably said before … “here and there” – ed … there’s no Carnaval this year. That’s hardly surprising given all of what’s going on. But it hasn’t stopped the Carnaval Committee doing their best to decorate the town to make up for it, and here’s a statue of Covidius Horriblis that might otherwise in a good year (does anyone remember those) have been mounted on a decorated lorry.

Of course, it’s a sad and sorry state of affairs but I’m convinced that we really need a lockdown much more severe than we have had to date in order to neutralise this virus. It’s no good just some people taking the utmost precautions if they are at risk of catching it from totally reckless people as soon as they go out

Talking of which, be prepared for a surge in cases being reported from here next week. The Government’s mobile testing unit is here on Saturday and everyone is invited. I’m not going though. I’m not mixing with a load of potentially ill people if I can possibly help it.

pointing rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn up the Rue des Juifs I went with my shopping, to inspect the work that’s been going on repairing the wall and repointing the wall at the Rampe du Monte a Regret.

And disappointing as it is to say it, they haven’t really made any progress at all since we last looked. The (lack of) speed at which workmen work these days is quite depressing. They should be doing much better than this.

It’s quite true that pointing (and roofing, because the roofers haven’t been on the roof of the College Malraux for the last couple of days) isn’t a job that you can do very well in a snowstorm, but it does beg the question “why on earth did they start the job in the middle of winter in the first place?”.

trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I pushed on … “pushed off” – ed … up the Rue des Juifs, I noticed some movement in the inner harbour. One of the trawlers was setting out from her berth at the quayside.

The gates were closed and the lights were on red so I imagined that she was manoeuvring into position ready to leap out of the port like a ferret up a trouser leg as soon as the gates would open. But the tide was well out – no chance of them opening in the very near future.

What she did was to go off and tie up at the quayside behind the fish processing plant where someone was waiting with a van. She must be taking on supplies ready for her next trip out.

trans-shipping product rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the disadvantages of living in a medieval walled city is that the roads are narrow and the gateways aren’t very high at all.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen on several occasions all kinds of large vehicles parked up by the gate in the Rue St Jean while the driver has to offload his charge into a car and trailer or an electric wheelbarrow or something similar in order to pass underneath the gateway.

And here’s someone else having a similar issue with his delivery. But there was nothing around onto which he could offload and he actually carried his parcels through the gate and into the town.

Back here in the apartment the bread had risen to perfection in the time that I had been out, so I switched on the oven and bunged it in.

While it was cooking I made myself some hot chocolate and a slice of sourdough fruit-bread and then came in here where I rather unfortunately fell asleep for half an hour.

But later, having recovered my composure, I dismantled two of the laptops here that have failed hard drives. One of the little portable Acers – the one in which I upgraded the memory and the big one with 8GB of memory that gave up 3 days after the guarantee ran out and which prompted me to buy the big desktop machine.

Both the hard drives are easily accessible, which is good news and on browsing the internet I came across a couple of Samsung 1TB Solid-State Drives at just €89:00 each. They are now winging their way in this direction along with a new battery for the little Acer and also a new SATA caddy – you need an external caddy for this job because you have to download the BIOS programs from the machine’s manufacturers into the new disk to make it start to work.

Why I’m interested in doing this is because I’m trying to lighten the load of what I have to carry around with me. The little Acers are quite light and while this one is older than the one that I used from 2014 to 2019 and which handed in its hat in North Dakota, everything in it is accessible so I upgraded the memory in it quite significantly and so it was a quick little machine, even if it was only running Windows 7.

As for the big machine, that actually came with 8GB of memory so it was quite rapid. No point in it sitting around doing nothing when it can (hopefully) be fixed quickly, easily and cheaply.

home baked bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now the bread was baked so I took it out of the oven.

It looked pretty good considering everything, and it tasted even better, and I know that because I had a slice for lunch with the remains of the bread from last time.

After lunch and having recovered from a post-prandial nap, I carried on with my Oradour notes and I’ve made my way all through the Court cases and onto the final paragraphs. So with a good couple of days on it, it should at long last be finished and I can crack on.

But it won’t be tomorrow morning though. I am required to do some work on a radio programme for someone.

trawlers english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe mustn’t forget the afternoon walk of course.

And we were in luck with the fishing vessels coming back towards port because I managed to take a snap of two of them out in the English Channel heading for home.

And later on as I walked around the headland there were half a dozen others hanging around outside the harbour entrance. The tide is still quite far out and there isn’t enough sea at the Fish Processing Plant for them to come in and unload. It can’t be long though because there wouldn’t be so many out there waiting for Godot when they could be spending the time out there increasing their catch.

snow lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut let’s turn our attention back to where we are at the moment, namely the north side of the headland.

This is pretty much in the shade here and so the sun, such as there is, hasn’t had an opportunity to do very much melting right now and so unless the weather warms up, that snow will be here for a little while.

Not many people out there today either and that’s not much of a surprise. I had on two pairs of trousers so my legs weren’t cold, but that’s about all that wasn’t. I shall be going to the Sports Shop on Saturday morning if I remember for a new woolly hat for my woolly head.

And also a decent pair of warm tactile gloves. My last pair are in the pocket of my blue Adventure Canada jacket, which is hanging up on a peg in a hotel room in Calgary.

lys noir chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith nothing doing out on the Baie de Mont St Michel, I continued on around the other side of the headland to see what is going on in the chantier navale

And we seem to have had a tactical substitution here on one of the sets of blocks. The fishing vessel that was here for a while has now disappeared, presumably back into the water and has been replaced by Lys Noir, one of the charter yachts that plies for hire out of the port.

With no business right now (and now idea when business might restart) they would be quite right in using this dead period to overhaul the boat and make it ready just in case something positive might happen soon.

fixing street lights rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat was enough for me. I decided to head on home before I froze to death. But not before I had a good look to see what they were doing down in the Rue des Juifs.

Earlier on in the day I’d noticed this cherry-picker out around the town with the guys doing some work. It looks as if they are checking the street lights to see which ones are out and to replace the dud light bulbs if necessary.

But that’s a pretty pointless exercise if you ask me because with no-one out and about at night, why do you need the street lights? And in any case, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I almost went base over apex in the dark on my way to the railway station because the street lights had been extinguished.

When I finished my notes on Oradour sur Glane I had my hour on the guitar and it was quite enjoyable. And I’ve noticed that my bass playing seems to have moved up to another level which has pleased me immensely. At one stage I was playing a lead guitar solo on the bass to Neil Young’s “Like A Hurricane” and Tom Petty’s “Mary jane’s Last Dance”.

And my singing seems to be improving too – not actually singing in tune because that’s way beyond the realms of possibility but the fact that I can keep on singing while I’m playing more complicated stuff on the bass.

But at the moment, I’m going all of this on the Gibson EB3. I really ought to be playing it on the 5-string fretless that I bought for my birthday last year, but that’s a complicated machine and there are limits to what I can try to do at any one time.

Tea was a Madras Curry out of the freezer followed by rice pudding. And now I’m off to bed. Flat out tired, I am and that isn’t a surprise given everything that has happened today. And I made 100% of my target today according to the fitbit. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that, considering the lockdown.

No wonder I’m exhausted.

Thursday 16th July 2020 – TODAY WAS …

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall… not much better than the last couple of days. In fact in some respects it was worse because I missed the third alarm yet again.

So while you admire the photos of tonigh’s sunset, I’ll tell you that I only missed the alarm by 5 or so minutes, but a miss is as good as a mile, as we all know. What didn’t help was that all through the night I was awoken by some wicked attacks of cramp that really had me in pain. I could have done without those, right enough.

After the medication I checked the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallYes I’m not too sure about very much of last night’s dream at all except that I was in Belgium and I’d been out somewhere. I’d ended up on the frontier with France right on the point of a headland by the sea. There was a river that divided the two countries and you could see everything that was happening in France and I took a few photos. Then I went back to tell everyone where I’s been but people weren’t all that concerned or interested in what I was doing.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallA little later on I was playing football, playing central defence. I’d gone into a kind of forward attacking role to play the ball but I’d made a bit of a mess of it and the ball had got behind me with three attackers so I was running back after it but I just blew up – ran out of steam completely and could hardly move while I was chasing the ball and chasing these players
After another attack of cramp I went back to sleep and found myself on the playing field at the back of where we used to live in Shavington. There was the upper football pitch and the lower football pitch and I was on the upper one. everyone else was on the lower one and no-one was coming along to play with me so in the end I went down to join the others. But there were many more than 11-a-side there so I reckoned that one team ought to wear chasubles (I’m dreaming in French again) so that we would know who is on which team.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving disposed of all of that I turned my attention to the photos from July 2019. Another 50 or so bit the dust today which is good news, although I haven’t advanced very far. Right now we are in a fleet of zodiacs zooming around Kangerluluk Fjord on the east coast of Greenland. At this rate I’m never going to get to the North-West Passage, never mind New Brunswick.

It was shopping today too so I had a shower and a weigh-in. And my weight is still under my first target weight which is good news, I suppose.

And nice and clean, I changed the bedding and did a machine-load of washing. It’s all clean and nice-smelling right now which is good. I like the conditioner that I bought the other week.

film crew foyer des jeunes travailleurs place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallSo off into town I set, having a quick chat with a neighbour as I left.

But I didn’t get very far. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there’s a film being made here just now. The seem to have transformed the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs into some kind of Government office and it was all floodlit this morning.

They must be filming something right at this moment, I reckon. And for that reason we are not allowed to approach the site.

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy route into town continued. And as I looked over the wall here I could see that down in the harbour “Old Faithful” is nack.

Chausiais must have moved pretty smartly this morning from the mooring underneath the crane because Normandy Traders, one of the little freighters from Jersey, is now in port.

The gates havent long been open so I imagine she sneaked in on the morning tide to drop off a load of shellfish from the Jersey Seafood Co-operative and pick up a load of material.

moving house place godal granville  manche normandy france eric hallOn I pushed to the Rampe du Monte Regret where I pictured a bizarre kind of house removal.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in Brussels we had portable lifts for all of this, but here apparently not. They were hauling up the stuff by hand with a couple of ropes.

That must have been hard work but it’s not a new experience for me. When I was younger I did all kinds of furniture removals like this, but that was in the days before Health and Safety regulations were in force.

Making my way into town, I called at the Post Office and sent off my letter – the one that I had written yesterday. Then I walked on to LIDL.

It beats me really why I went because I didn’t want to buy very much at all – and for a good reason too as regular readers of this rubbish will find out in a couple of days.

weedkillling with hot water rue de la houle granville manche normandy france eric hallIn the end, the grand total of €6:12 or something like that was what I spent.

On the way back down the Rue de la House I encountered this trange phenomenon – some people spraying the streets. That intrigued me greatly so I went to make further enquiries.

On the side of their little vehicle was a little sticker “weedkiller with boiling water”. So that’s what they are doing them. Pouring boiling water on the weeds.

How effective is that? I asked myself. It’s better for the environment than Agent Orange, that’s for sure. But does it really work that well?

On the way back I called at the vegetable shop and bought two (yes, two) carrots. For tea tonight and tomorrow. I won’t be needing any more for a while after that.

loading normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd so I headed on home up the Rue des Juifs.

Normandy Trader was still there being worked on. They were loading her up quite rapidly so it looks as if they are pushing to have her out of the harbour and on her way as soon as the gates open this afternoon

Back here I carried on with the photos for a while and then I had something else to do. There are a couple of cunning plans running round my head right now, one or two of which I have put in motion already.

One of the people approached actually replied (and another one did later this evening too) so I decided to push my luck and see if fortune would carry me onwards. That meant replying to the mail with a certain amount of jen ne sais quoi and seeing where we go with this.

But it’s not for right now, although it makes sense to push along while it’s fresh in people’s minds.

After lunch I started on my two courses. Firstly the song-writing course. And by the time that I knocked off I’d done the first week.
It didn’t teach me anything new but that’s not a problem. There is plenty of time and I have great hopes for this.

joly france baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter I’d finished I went for my afternoon walk around the walls.

The tourist season is well under way as we can imagine right now. Joly France is keeping quite busy, taking day-trippers on a couple of laps around the bay as she waits for the tides to turn so she can go back to the Ile de Chausey and pick up those whom she dumped on there earlier.

They do a lot of work in the tourist season, do the two Joly France boats. This is the older one, with the smaller windows, the larger upper deck and without the step in the stern.

boats people fishing baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThis is the kind of thing that makes me wish that I’d been out here 10 minutes earlier.

There is a huge load of small boats moored just off the headland as if there is a shoal of sea-bass in the vicinity. It seems to me that anyone who can hold a rod in his hand is out there trying his luck at catching supper.

I learnt the following day that it was in fact a shoal of mackerel that had appeared off the headland

And what confusion it must have caused to everyone when Joly France came round the corner at a rapid rate of knots. Scattered them like ninepins, I reckon.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallCarrying on my walk around the walls, I came to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

The tide is rushing in right at this moment and the massed crowds of grockles have now retreated up to the sea wall to keep their feet out of the sea.

The tide isn’t a particularly high tide today – a coefficient in the 40s – so they might be lucky and stay dry. But it would be interesting to see the outcome of all of this if the tide does comme in higher than they are expecting.

hang glider bombed by seagull plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd not just on land or in the sea was it busy.

It goes without saying that there was plenty going on in the air this afternoon too. The Birdmen of Alcatraz are out there in force swooping around like a bunch of vultures.

The seagull here is taking a great deal of exception to this particular birdman. It spent a good 10 minutes or so buzzing him, presumably to get him to clear off. Unfortunately I didn’t have tile to stay and see how it ended but my money was on the seagull.

kids jumping from diving platform plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd not just boats out on the sea either. There were plenty of swimmers there too.

The diving platform was crowded with people too and others in the sea swimming out that way to take part in the sports. This young boy here showed us quuite an acrobatic somersault into the water.

He received a good 4.9 for artistic impression from the bystanders but he lost a few points on the technical merit. His entry into the water could have been better.

kids jumping from diving platform granville manche normandy france eric hallBut at least he entered the water quite rapidly. This young boy here was not quite so keen.

The onlookers on the cliff were urging him on, chanting “sautez, sautez” but he didn’t budge. A couple of the people on the platform were also counting him down to enter the water too.

Eventually the young boy in the previous photo pushed his way to the front and leapt in. This seemed to galvanise the other one here into action and he leapt in immediately afterwards, to a loud cheer and round of applause from the onlookers.

loading boats onto thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRound I went to the Square Maurice Marland I went to check on my baby seagull but he seems to have definitively gone now.

Something else that has gone is Normandy Trader. She must have cleared off the moment that the harbour gates opened because there at the loading bay in her place in Thora, the other Jersey freighter.

You might recall seeing in an earlier photo some shrink-wrapped boats on the back of a lorry at the side of the quay. They are now being loaded into Thora ready to go to the Channel Islands.

And Marité is back in port too after her adventures just recently.

market place cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving spent a few minutes looking at the loading, I carried on with my walk.

And there are changes in the Place Cambernon too today. It looks as if a little market of sorts has sprung up in the square. Only a couple of stalls but it’s a start, I suppose. We could do with more like this in the neighbourhood

There is the pizza van of course. That’s here on Thursdays too so it looks like that’s the day for everyone to come to the old town just here. I wonder if the market will expand over time. I hope so.

film crew foyer des jeunes travailleurs place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back I was walking along the elevated section of the walls when I noticed that the filming at the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs had finished.

They were packing up the equipment so I took a photo to show you what was going on.

Back here I started the other course – “building an interactive website”. And unfortunately and depressingly, i crashed out yet again. Another good hour or so on the chair, well away with the fairies.

As a result I didn’t do half as much as I liked, so I’ll have to push on tomorrow as it’s going to be rather a busy day for me

There was the hour on the guitars, followed by tea. A lentil and potato curry out of the freezer followed by apple crumble.

joly france lifeboat port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAfterwards I went out for my run. And I don’t know why because my heart isn’t in it right now.

It’s knowing that I had a collapse in health a couple of weeks ago on the Spirit of Conrad that’s done it. I can feel the difference right now and it isn’t very nice.

But anyway I made it a good way up the hill before I shuddered to a halt, and then walked the remaining 100 metres to the corner. From there I ran on down past the itinerant to the clifftop.

There were a few people around but nothing at all happening so I walked across the lawn to the other side and then ran on down the next leg of my run.

From that rest point I could see that there was something going on at the ferry terminal. Joly France is there of course but the lifeboat is tied up next to it.

It beats me why it would be there. The only thing that I can think of is that it’s been out on a job and missed the tide for going back into the port de plaisance where it lives.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThe next stage to the viewpoint in the rue du Nord I have to do in two legs these days. The strain is definitely getting to me these days, that’s for sure.

At the viewpoint I watched the sun go down, and you have already seen the photos of that. But once more there were the crowds on the beach enjoying the good weather (it was a really nice evening).

Having seen the sun go down, I ran on back to the apartment to write up my notes. And now they are done I’m going to put away last week’s washing that I took off the clothes airer and then go to bed.

It will be a long day tomorrow so I want to be on form for it. I hope that I don’t have another attack of the cramps like last night.

Thursday 11th June 2020 -I WAS TREATED …

normandy trader thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… to a delightful little nautical danse macabre this morning down in the port.

Normandy Trader had come in on the morning tide – in fact she was waiting outside the harbour for the gates to open earlier – and was tied up at the unloading point while the workers on the crane were busy unloading her.

And into the harbour, full steam ahead, came Thora. She almost came to a dead stop when she saw Normandy Trader moored just there. Being too far over to moor up at the side, she had to go into a delightful 360° outside turn in order to get herself into position to moor in a temporary unloading place.

Mind you, while we’re on the subject of a berth being occupied, mine was occupied for rather longer than intended this morning.

Never mind the third alarm – it was 06:30 when I finally crawled out of bed again.

No breakfast once more so I came back here to listen to the dictaphone. We were on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour again and we reached the Far North of Iceland although it was much more bleak and much more cold and much more icy than the Far North of Iceland – it could easily have been the far North of Greenland. There was some kind of settlement there which was pretty much abandoned – there weren’t many people living there. There was one building made of wood and the whole front had been washed away by a high tide in a storm. We typed something into a search engine about this place and it came up with a couple of shots of the boat that we were using to ferry ourselves back and to to the ship and also the World War II 4-engined bomber that had crashed somewhere in the vicinity. Of course I was really keen to go ahead and find out where this plane was but that was when I awoke, with a massive attack of cramp that knocked me right for 6.

So how did this end? I’ve no idea because after I’d eased the cramp off and went back to sleep I missed the restart and that was that.

Looking back on things, I’ve spent so much time during the night on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour that I shudder to think what the bill would be if ever Adventure Canada find out and decide to send me a bill for my stays.

Next job was to finish off the Tax Return and type a letter to the Tax people to explain my particular circumstances. A shower, and a weigh-in, and then off to LIDL

traffic lights porte st jean granville manche normandy france eric hallNot that I got very far.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the roadworks that we saw yesterday in the rue Notre Dame. All of the traffic is having to travel down the rue St Jean and as we have seen on many occasions, it’s pretty narrow.

As a consequence they have installed temporary traffic lights now at the Porte St Jean. I shall have to go for a wander and see how far they stretch down the street.

normandy trader baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOff I continued on my travels, but I didn’t get very far.

Around the headland came our friend Normandy Trader. As she approached the port entrance I prepared myself ready to take a photo of her entering port, but she came to a shuddering halt just outside the harbour.

Of course, what has happened is that the tide isn’t quite in far enough and the gates are closed. She’ll have to wait until they open but for some reason she’s decided to wait outside.

kiddies play area open air bar place godal granville manche normandy france eric hallAt last I could push on down the road and down the Rampe du Monte Regret.

And there seem to have been a few changes there too. Everyone is preparing for the summer and as there’s no Nuit des Soudeurs this year, it looks as if they are installing a kiddies’ open air play area of some description with a little casual café.

People won’t be travelling on holiday this year of course so we’ve seen all kinds of preparations being undertaken to make sure that people enjoy their holidays at home.

delivering beach cabins place general de gaulle granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd on that subject, I’ve no idea what’s going on here.

These look pretty much to me like the beach cabins that we’ve seen them installing on the Plat Gousset just now, but I’m wondering what on earth they are doing unloading in the middle of the town centre here in the Place General de Gaulle.

All will be revealed in due course, I imagine. I see that the route of my Sunday perambulation is already panning itself out without me having to sit and think about it.

Up at LIDL I spent a lot of money but without anything substantial to show for it. A pile of bin liners was one thing, but the principal expenditure was on olive oil. I always cook with olive oil and I’m getting rather low, and today they had two-litre bottles at a ludicrous price. So one of them found its way into my shopping bag.

On the way back I went to the Tax Office to deliver my letter. It’s closed one day a week and regular readers of this rubbish will recall, having followed my exploits around the world often enough, which day of the week it’s going to be.

So I slipped it into the letterbox and headed back towards home.

Thursday is the day for a little treat. Calling at La Mie Caline, I picked up my dejeunette for lunch. I know that I bake my own bread these days but it’s still nice to have something different.

roofing place marechal foch granville manche normandy france eric hallPushing on I went via the Rue Paul Poirier to see if I could see the roofing works in thr Place Marechal Foch from a different angle.

And from here, there’s a completely different perspective on what they are doing up there. It’s quite a big roof, that much is evident, and it must have been something of an effort to put the scaffolding up in the gap between the two wings.

But on the fork-lift trucks they have a hod of slates so they are clearly pressing on with the job and it won’t be long before they will finish it.

normandy trader unloading port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallUp the hill in the rue des Juifs, I could see Normandy Trader at her berth.

They are cracking on with the unloading and with Thora awaiting her turn they aren’t going to be long in turning her round ready to leave port.

So I pushed on back home to sort out the shopping. There wasn’t any more excitement on the way back which was a shame.

Having gathered up my strength I went to have a look at Week 3 of my Accountancy course. There are actually 38 modules in this week’s session which makes this “four hours of study per week” look a bit ridiculous.

But by the time that 15:30 came round, I’d done 21 of them, and that was despite a stop for lunch.

At 15:30 though, just as I was planning to leave for my afternoon walk, Rosemary called me up. We ended up having a lengthy chat – to such an extent that it was after 17:00 when I was ready to go for my afternoon perambulation.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd just for a change, it was pouring down outside. and I can’t say that we didn’t need it. All of the grass here is scorched dark brown and needs a really good soaking.

Dressed in my raincoat I was fine and I could watch in comfort yet another nautical danse macabre as a fishing boat sailed into the bay just here, performed an exquisite U-turn and sailed back out again.

If you look at the photo, you can see its wake quite clearly. But the point of it quite clearly beats me.

fisherman peche à pied pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThe weather might be bad for some people but others are taking full advantage of it right now.

Here’s someone down there dressed in the right gear and fishing off the rocks. I’m not quite sure what he might catch down there, apart from pleurisy, but it did remind me of the old guy who once told me that having sex these days was very much like fishing.
“Why is that?” I asked
“Well” he replied, “these days you get your rod out and you never know what you are going to catch”

fishing boats trawler chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn that note I strolled off around the headland and down along the path on the other side of the promontory.

That route takes me above the chantier navale where I can look down and see what’s going on down there. And today we have another occupant. A large fishing boat has come in to join the others.

And only just come in too by the looks of things. The crew are still down there with her giving her a good hose down. Not that she’ll need much in this weather.

repairing roof rue du port granville manche normandy france eric hallA rhythmic tapping from further down the Boulevard Vaufleury told me that the roofing work down below in the rue du Port was still going on.

Not that I would want to be working on a roof in weather like this, but the answer to that is that with no roof on the building in a rainstorm you are going to get wet anyway so it doesn’t make much difference.

Talking of getting wet, standing here watching the workers on the roof was having that effect on me so I came on back home. There was my hour on the guitars to occupy my time.

After the session on the guitar I would normally go for tea but I wasn’t feeling hungry at all so I caught up with a few little bits and pieces, only to develop a raging hunger round about 20:30.

What’s going on here?

Anyway it was far too late to worry about food now with so much to do – like going for a run.

A few biscuits filled a little hole and then I set off into the rain again. Up the hill a little easier than it has been just now, which reminded me that my climb up the hill to LIDL had passed without the slightest hint of drama.

Having recovered my breath I ran on down to the clifftop past the itinerant who was sheltering under a plastic sheet. And that’s what I don’t understand. All of the World War II bunkers of the Atlantic Wall and the couple of stone buildings from the 18th Century fortress in which he could be sheltering, all of which are out of the rain and all a mere cockstride from here, and he’s sheltering under a plastic sheet under a hedge.

trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was nothing much happening out to sea so I carried on walking around the headland to the other side of the promontory.

It must be getting close to gate-opening time, I reckon, because the fishing boats were starting to head for the port. 105 minutes before High Tide, so I’ve been told, that the gates open and it’s not so very far off that right now.

But no seagulls hanging around the boats tonight. Probably the rainstorm is proving to be too much for them too and they’ve gone off to seek shelter elsewhere.

baie de mont st michel fishing boats queueing outside port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe next stage of my run takes me down past the chantier navale and down to the end of the path where I always stop for breath.

And I was right about the harbour gates being on the point of opening because just look at all of the fishing boats here. And that’s not by any means all of them either. There were another three or four out of shot behind the harbour wall, not to mention those still out at sea.

But the gate didn’t open while I was there so I carried on with my run.

boats new pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAll the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury, around the corner and up to the second pedestrian crossing. But once more I ended up a good 20 oe so metres beyond it.

Back down at the harbour I had a look at to see what was going, accompanied by someone else who was taking a few photos of the place. What caught my eye were the couple of little boats that were moored against the new pontoons in the shadow of the larger boats.

But what I was trying to understand was why they would want a ladder at the end of the pontoon going down into the water. That’s another mystery to me.

young boy fishing peche à pied plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThe fifth stage of my run takes me now all the way to the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord where we usually see the sunset. But not this evening of course. Not in this weather.

No picnickers out there either tonight which is no surprise either, but we did have some more fishermen doing their stuff. One of them was a young boy whom I watched scrambling over the rocks until he foud a good position to cast his line.

Once he’s put his hook in the water I ran on back home to write up my notes.

So later than I anticipated I’m off to bed now. No idea who I’ll be meeting during the night but I hope that it’s someone interesting and exciting. After all, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any.

Tomorrow I’m going to finally get to grips with my music course and spend the day learning blues piano. It’s free so I may as well make the most of it.

Monday 6th April 2020 – OHHH NOT ANOTHER …

… bad day today!

And I was so careful too about going to bed at a reasonable time too.

But as for sleep, I was awake for most of the night with a really bad attack of cramp that persisted for hours. At one stage I was hopping around the bedroom trying to find some way of easing it off.

It goes without saying that I missed the alarms this morning. 07:40 when I awoke. And nothing on the dictaphone either. It can’t have been much of a night.

After the meds then I made a start on chopping up digital audio files. One or two of those were straightforward but the others certainly weren’t and took quite a bit of effort.

There were a few interruptions too. Breakfast was one of them of course, and then we had an impromptu telephone conference call for the radio, about our Grande Marée Virtuelle

And if you want to know what that is all about, you need to listen to THE RADIO at 17:00 European Time, 16:00 UK Time and 11:00 Toronto time on Wednesday this week.

Anyway, it took an age, all told, to finish off this batch of files. And all the time, the pile is diminishing. And even more interestingly, this pile isn’t as big as it might look because there are several albums there that I won’t be recording. In fact I’m not quite sure how come I have them – there are albums here that I never ever remember buying and some that I wouldn’t ever have bought at all.

With no time to go for bread, I used a couple more taco rolls with salad, and this seems to be working quite well. So much so that if things worsen here and the lockdown continues, I might thing of this as a long-term temporary solution.

This afternoon, I decided on a new tack. Rather than mess about with different lots of dictation all over the place, I chose the music for another couple of radio broadcasts.

One of the is all joined up and edited and I’ll do the other tomorrow morning, and then write out all of the text, for those two as well as the missing bits for the previous two. I’ll do all of the dictation then at one go.

That took me all the way up to guitar-practising time and having been listening to “Carry On” by Crosby Stills and Nash, I had a play around with that. And it’s easy to play it simply, but a darned sight more difficult to play it properly.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with more rice pudding for dessert. And it really is one of the best that I’ve made and I wish I knew what it was that I’ve done differently.

night falling english channel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallJust for a change I was late going out for my evening walk. But I had a good run in a couple of stages all the way up to the end of the Pointe du Roc.

The sun had long-since disappeared but there was a glorious reddish tinge in the sky over on the horizon somewhere in the general direction of the Brittany coast.

It was far too good to miss out on a photograph of course, although the guy in the Coastguard station gave me a weird look.

And the flock of birds that fle across the camera as I was taking the photo was interesting too

night falling st pair sur mer jullouville granville manche normandy france eric hallLast night I’d taken a photo of the Pointe de Carolles in the dusk, so tonight I reckoned that I would move the camera around a little.

So tonight we have the new road that goes into town with, to the left of the harboure entrance light, the town of Jullouville and then to the left of that, the town of St Pair Sur Mer with, if we believe what we are told, all of the Parisians who have fled the city to the coast and have brought the virus with them.

And from here I had another run along the top of the wall overlooking the harbour and the chantier navale

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd we have more excitement in there tonight.

We’ve seen for the last week or so the two large trawler-type fishing vessels that have been up on blocks down there. It seems that today, they have acquired a new neighbour. We’re seeing a third one in there now to keep them company.

Social distancing, of course, as you can see.

Two more lengths of run (making 5 in total) saw me back at the apartment and writing up my notes for the day. I’ll go to bed in a minute

Sunday 29th December 2019 – I’M NOT SURE …

… whether it was a good idea or not for me to set an alarm this morning. Because I might have needed it, and then again I might not.

Hoping around on my toes at 04:00 trying to ease out a bad attack of cramp (how come these attacks have started up again just recently), awake again at 07:00, and finally and definitely, about 2 minutes before the alarm at 08:30.

No medication this morning. I don’t have time to wait for it to work. Instead I had breakfast and then made a start on the dictaphone notes from during the night.

I was with a group of people last night – we were on board a ship (yet again). I’d gone out once already during the night to see what was happening and there wasn’t very much so I had to go out of my cabin again so I decided that what I would do was to go and have a look outside again to see what the weather was doing while I was on the point of doing this other job. There was a guy standing by the door outside – I thought he was smoking a cigarette or something so I went out to say hello and he said “have you thought about that thing that we can be doing, because if you aren’t going to do it straight away I can get down to start work on my car”. I had the impression that I was supposed to be helping him work on a motorcycle but I don’t remember much about it and of course there isn’t all that much we can do on board a ship in that respect. Anyway I thought “well, yes, I’m willing to help out anyone any time” and I awoke at that point
At another time during the night there was something going on about people having a party. They’d booked a table at a night club, a table for 8 but the table was at the back. They enquired why and were told “some of these big tables have a habit of being a bit rowdy and pushing their way to the front and it disrupts the other people so we like to keep them where they are”. But this guy whose party it was was organising something and the other people were to come and a lot of them were saying that she couldn’t stay very late and he was qute disappointed about this. He said “as long as you come for the first drink that’w what’s really important. Come and have the first drink with me”. Then he said he had to go and there was some issue too about the date. It was the 1st of January and the date ticket that was sat in the date holder think on the table or in the notebook was too long and protruded out of the holder so it needed to be trimmed. But he hadn’t thought about doing that so I asked him where he wanted it on the table. He said that it was upstairs so he’d better go upstairs and get it. And that was when I awoke.
And somewhere along the line there was something about fitting a pinch bolt in the gearbox drive of a vehicle that I owned so I’d gone down to the garage in Centreville to do that. Darren and I dunno maybe Jody were there. They got a pinch bolt out and got the tools and everything then they both climbed under the vehicle and I thought that I was going to do that but they climbed under there anyway. I had to move so that they could get under. They put the pinch bolt in but it was slightly too long and they could get it in with a real bit of difficulty but there was about an inch too much that wasn’t needed on the pinch bolt. So they looked at each other and said “well should we cut this inch off then?” And that’s all that I remember of that bit.
There had been another thing too but when I awoke I had the most awful cramp – so much so that I had to stand up to ease the leg. And by the time that the cramp had gone, so had any memory of the dream

After that I checked over my equipment and then Laurent appeared at the door so we shot off to Donville les Bains.

bain des manchot or penguin or some such donville les bains granville manche normandy franceToday is the Bain des Manchots, the “bathing of the Giant Penguins”.

Every village for miles around loses its fou for the day and they all assembles on the beach ready to take the plunge.

Our task today was to come to the Bain des Manchots in order to interview some of the bathers and the organisers.

There were plenty of manchots around on the beach too and we interviewed a couple of them to find out why they had come all this way for a swim when they could have stayed at home and gone for a swim back there.

bain des manchot or penguin or some such donville les bains granville manche normandy franceAs well as manchots there were dozens of Father Christmases out there too, all taking a break from delivering the presents and recharging their batteries ready for the start of the new year.

And it wouldn’t take much of an effort for them either if they are used to the weather at the North Pole. Although the air temperature is a mere 4°C, someone has measured the water temperature and it’s between 9°C and 10°C.

And that’s positively tropical.

bain des manchot or penguin or some such donville les bains granville manche normandy franceAnd for mainly that reason, the organisers reckoned that they had a record number of entries.

Certificates were awarded to those who “took the plunge” and they reckoned that as far as they could tell, they issued 300 or so certificates.

That’s a far cry from when they started 10 or so years ago and just 20 people made it into the water.

bain des manchot or penguin or some such donville les bains granville manche normandy franceThe secret of going into the water in this weather is really quite simple.

For people who are in any way timid or unsure of themselves, the key is to be at the front, first in line. Once the whistle blows, there’s no turning back and the force of the crowd behind you pushes you into the water.

Being last in, you see all of the others wincing as they enter the water, and that can dampen anyone’s ardour.

People didn’t stay in for long – 15 minutes was, I reckon, the longest.

We interviewed a few of them, including a girl aged about 6 who we reckon was the youngest participant, when they came out.

No-one was really suffering although one or two people were looking really uncomfortable. Each to his own though. Some people are more susceptible to the cold than others.

Laurent brought me home and he came up here for a coffee and a chat for a while. It’s a good job that I’d cleaned up and tidied up everywhere over the last couple of days

sea shells rue du port granville manche normandy franceAfter he had left, it was lunchtime so I walked back into town for my dejeunette.

Down on the rue du Port near to the fish processing plant, my eyes were drawn to this beautiful piece of street art. Someone had clearly taken some time to compose this oeuvre here on the pavement.

It’s far more representative of art than many of the works exhibited in many galleries these days.

victor hugo aztec lady charles marie port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe tide was out so the harbour gates were closed so I could walk across the pathway on top, over to the other side of the harbour.

Victor Hugo is there this afternoon, as are Aztec Lady and Charles Marie.

But there’s no sign of Granville, the more modern of the two Channel Island ferries. I’m pretty certain that she was here last night, so it looks as if she’s had another early morning run out to St Helier.

market place general de gaulle granville manche normandy franceI picked up my dejeunette from la Mie Caline and then went for a look around the town.

The Christmas market, such as it is, is still going on in the place Générale de Gaulle and will be for another day or two.

Mind you, it’s not what I would call a Christmas market. I’m more used to the ones in Germany where it’s freezing cold and there are hundreds of stalls and thousands of people.

Here today, there were about half a dozen stalls and more stalls than people.

bad parking Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne granville manche normandy franceIt doesn’t seem to be possible these days to go for a day without my making some kind of remark about some of the pathetic parking that we see around the town.

Here’s today’s example. A huge space in the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne, big enough to park a bus in, and yet the driver (and I use the word loosely) has somehow managed to end up with two wheels on the pavement.

That’s bad enough in itself but what is worse is that he’s simply left the vehicle there and made no attempt whatever to park it correctly.

Back in the apartment I had a very late lunch and then something of a vegetation (after all, it IS Sunday) before going out for my afternoon walk.

taking photographs preteen girl pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceCrowds of people around but not much else going on.

However there was some guy wandering around with a couple of girls aged about 10 and 12 and he was posing them in all kinds of artistic settings on the clifftop and then taking photographs of them.

I enjoy taking photos of people taking photos, but this one hasn’t worked so well as I ended up with the low evening sun right in the camera lens and I didn’t have the time to change the camera settings.

Back here I had a listen to our dictaphone recordings of the morning’s adventures and then sent them off to Laurent. He’s going to listen to them and tel me where and what to cut out, and dictate some more “questions” that I can insert in, to break up some of the “monologues” that we recorded where our interviewees were carried away with themselves.

Tea was a vegan pizza as usual, and it was delicious, as was the Christmas cake that followed it down.

While I was eating it, I was watching a Saint episode on the DVD player. Loads of famous people had bit parts in these series before they became famous and it’s always interesting to see who I can pick out.

One voice stood out a mile and I recognised it as soon a I first heard it. I had to wait unti the end to confirm it, and I was right. None other than Lois Maxwell, who later went on to fame and fortune as Miss Moneypenny in the “James Bond” films.

trawlers port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAfter tea I went for my walk around the walls.

No-one around so I could have my run around my little track and I made it up to the top of the first ramp tonight. While I was pausing for breath I could see some fishing boats unloading at the fish processing plant.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy franceAs I came back to the apartment I noticed that I was on 93% of my daily activity.

And so i continued my walk and went to see what was out at sea. Sure enough, the lights were telling me that another long line of fishing boats were on their way back to the fish processing plant.

A quick rough head-count told me that there were about 7 of them at least. There may well have been more.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy franceAlthough these photos might seem blurred you need to remember that it’s pitch black out here so I’m on a very slow speed, the camera is hand-held in the wind, and the boat is about 5 miles offshore.

In the circumstances I’m not too disappointed.

Back here it’s late, I’ve just finished my journal and now it’s time for bed. I won’t have much sleep tonight but I’m looking forward to what I might have. It’s been a long day today.

And a Sunday too!

bain des manchot or penguin or some such donville les bains granville manche normandy france
bain des manchot or penguin or some such donville les bains granville manche normandy france

bain des manchot or penguin or some such donville les bains granville manche normandy france
bain des manchot or penguin or some such donville les bains granville manche normandy france

bain des manchot or penguin or some such donville les bains granville manche normandy france
bain des manchot or penguin or some such donville les bains granville manche normandy france

Wednesday 16th October 2019 – SO HERE I ALL AM …

… not exactly sitting in a rainbow but sitting in one of the departure lounges of the worst airport in the world, with the rudest staff I have ever met. I hate this place with a passion that cannot be measured on any scale that is known to Mankind but here I am. I’ve decided that it’s time that I was moving on before I put down roots.

And roots indeed. The last time that I slept in my own bed was on 26th June – that’s 16 weeks or so ago and while I’m not going home just yet I ought to be getting a little closer to it.

A lot of water has passed underneath the bridge since 26th June, that’s for sure.

Talking of passing water, I had another bad night last night. A whole succession of cramps in the calves and shins and it kept me awake for an eternity. I took advantage of the wakefulness by going down the corridor, but I would much rather have had a decent sleep instead.

I suppose that I must have dropped off at one point though. Or maybe more because there are several recordings on the dictaphone that I don’t remember making. Anyway, at about 07:15 I was wide-enough awake to push on with things.

No breakfast though. I repacked the suitcase and bunged another pile of stuff into it (and it registered 19.7 kilos at the airport’s weigh-in machine so I’m clearly getting back to normal) so that the backpack is at least manageable.

At 10:30 I set off for a walk, leaving my baggage behind for a moment. All the way up to the top of the town where I met Josee. I had done a little research in the area and discovered a little Lebanese restaurant in the basement of the shopping precinct so I took her there for a meal. And it turned out that she was well-known to the proprietor.

Later on, I had a leisurely stroll around the town and visited a few buildings that I had seen on my travels in the past. The big one near rue Sherbrooke that I had seen on several occasions is in fact the former hostel for the Deaf and Dumb of the city.

Eventually I rescued my suitcase and by 17:00 I was on the 747 bus to the airport. And it was then that I realised that I had left behind my raincoat and my aniseed balls. The objects and items that I have abandoned behind me on my travels could have filled another suitcase.

It was a good idea to go early to the airport because the traffic was horrendous. It’s a working day of course so we had the rush hour to deal with and there were queues everywhere. Our bus even lost a mirror against a lamp-post trying to squeeze past a queue of traffic turning right.

The departure check-in wasn’t open yet so I had a sandwich at Subway and then handed back my card for the USA. I won’t be going there for another while unless something quite dramatic happens.

Security is always extremely stressful here so I don’t propose to talk too much about it, even though I’ve had much worse passes through airport control than this. Now I’m sitting quietly waiting for my flight to be called.

But before I go, let’s talk about music. For no reason at all a track suddenly popped into my head out of nowhere. It’s Green Day’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams and regardless of how apposite the lyrics might be vis-a-vis my own personal circumstances and how I have lived my life, then just as Colosseum Live reminds me of almost every late and lonely night that I have ever spent on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour, this particular track reminds me of just one particular night that was later than most and which I didn’t ever want to end.

I wonder if it means anything to anyone else.

That brings me round to the music that I am listening to now. Tom Petty has come round on the playlist and I have Into The Great Wide Open going full-blast.

Not a good idea right now of course. Far From it, in fact.
I heard you singing to no one
I saw you dancing all alone
One day you belonged to me
Next day I just wouldn’t know
One day all the rules will bend
And you and I will meet again

“One day all the rules will bend and you and I will meet again”. Nothing is more certain than that. You just have to believe.

“How could I get so close to you, and still feel so far away?”

Quite!