Tag Archives: crash out

Friday 18th February 2022 – I WAS IN …

storm beach rue du nord baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… two minds this afternoon … errr … weather to go out for my afternoon walk.

The local weather office had produced a map today showing predicted windspeeds and Granville just happened to be at the junction of two wind bands – 100-110 kmh and 110-120 kmh – between 15:00 and 17:00, just round about when I usually go out for my walk.

But nevertheless at my usual time of 15:45 I set off out and while the sea looked quite turbulent, as you can see in the photo, the wind was actually something of a damp squib. We’ve had much stronger winds than this in the recent past without any drama at all.

Never mind Storm Eunice, it was more like Storm Useless. 110kph might look inpressive but a few weeks ago we had gusts of 140kph so we are used to it.

For a change, last night wasn’t all that turbulent – or, at least, not as turbulent as it has been. It was probably due to the fact that when it was bedtime I wasn’t in the least tired and it ended up being 01:30 when I finally crawled into bed.

As a result, things wre not all that easy when the alarm went off at 07:30, although I did manage to beat the second alarm.

There wasn’t all that much time for me to go on anything like as many nocturnal voyages as I seem to be doing just recently. I had to go to pay a fine at the police station last night. I hadn’t been given the formal notice to pay but I’d been given the decision. I knew that there was something else happening at the police station that was likely very much to have me arrested but my idea was to have everything over and finished as quickly as possible. I turned up at the police station but the entrance hall there was under all kinds of renovation so I had to walk through all this work, everything like that. I eventually ended up at a temporary desk and handed over the paper. The policeman started to go through the list to see what he had of cases but couldn’t find my case. I saw a name that I thought was mine so I said that i’d seen it so he turned back a couple of pages but it wasn’t and that annoyed him. I thought that if I carried on like this the kind of outcome isn’t going to be any good whatsoever so in the end I decided that i’d keep quiet and let him find it himself and see what happens. There was much more to it than this but I can’t remember that bit now.

After the medication I spent the rest of the day transcribing dictaphone notes and updating a few previous journal entries. What started off as being 41 dictaphone sound files is now down to 22.

There were several voyages involving members of my family, which is regrettable, but also a few featuring people like Zero, which always cheers me up. But we’ve not had a voyage featuring Castor for quite some time and that’s disappointing.

There were also several breaks today, firstly for breakfast and secondly for lunch. And I do have to say that my fruit bread is absolutely excellent. This is a really impressive fruit loaf.

There was also a rather unfortunate break when I fell asleep. But that’s not really a surprise these days, is it?

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As I mentioned earlier, I did manage to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

As usual I went over to the wall overlooking the beach to see what was happening down below. And apart from the waves that were coming in with the kind of force that I haven’t seen for a while, there were actually several people down on the beach.

That was quite surprising because of the weather, but then again apart from the wind it wasn’t actually a bad day. Warm for the time of the year and fairly sunny.

storm le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022When I went round the corner where the Monument to the Resistance is situated, I had a really good view of how the storm was raging in the bay.

The waves down there were quite impressive, smashing over the rocks on which Le Loup, the light that guards the entrance to the harbour, is situated.

And judging by the tree on the right, Bob Dylan wouldn’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows around here, would he.

Not that it’s any surprise, but there was no-one out at the end of the headland today admiring the view. Only me of course, and I was glad when I turned the corner and had the wind blowing into my back instead of into my face.

man and van on ramp port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022No change of occupancy in the chantier naval or the ferry terminal today so I had a look around elsewhere.

It was the van on the boat-launching ramp underneath the fish processing plant that caught me eye. I wondered what it was doing there because the incoming tide would make short work of it.

However there was a man standing on the silt down there having a good look around. But at what I really don’t know. However it is round about the time of year when they dredge the harbour so I wonder if he’s eyeing up the job.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Further on down the path towards the inner harbour I noticed that Normandy Trader is still in port.

She came in on the evenign tide last night as I mentioned, and she should have gone out on the morning tide after laoding up (you can see the swimming pool on board) but a message went round earlier in the day that “due to abnormal weather conditions” she won’t be going out until things calm down.

What I did was to send a message to the crew to invite them round for a coffee but they didn’t reply. I suppose that they were quite comfortable on board.

Incidentally, you’ll notice the small “upper deck” behind the wheelhouse. That’s how we know that she’s Normandy Trader and not her sister Normandy Warrior.

philcathane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Also in the inner harbour is a trawler that we haven’t seen for a while.

She’s Philcathane of course, and moored up against the harbour wall just like almost every other fishing boat. It loks as if none of the fishing boats have gone out today and that’s not a surprise in this weather.

Outside the building I noticed one of my neighbours struggling taking her rubbish over to the bins so I gave her a hand. We had a little chat about next-to-nothing and then I came back in for my coffee, clutching my new credit card in my hand.

So “Spend Spend Spend” hey?

After the coffee I finished off what I was doing and then went for tea. Veggie balls, pasta and veg in a vegan cheese sauce and it really was nice. It might only be simple food that I cook but it really is delicious

So tomorrow if Caliburn is still there and hasn’t been blown away I’ll be going to the shops. I wonder how things would work if I fitted him with sails.

Sunday 13th February 2022 – I DON’T EVER …

… want to have to do that again! NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET has got nothing on this!

But anyway, last night I was in bed by 22:00 with the alarm set for 05:00 and hoping to have a good sleep.

But that was some hope because I was off on my travels during the night and I must have gone so far that I really don’t know how I had any sleep at all.

At some point I was with a girl who has featured on several occasions in the past, usually with her brother who was a friend of mine and who both lived on a farm, but tonight she was with another girl – I don’t know who she was but I know that I know her. We were tidying up a pile of stuff, just generally chatting. The farmer’s daughter had to go out for something that just left me and this girl. The conversation turned round to that girl and me. I said that I don’t want anything to happen to her because I’m rather fond of her. This girl was rather surprised so I said “yes but I thought that most people knew that”. She asked if our farmer’s daughter knew that and I replied “of course she did”. “What did she do?”. “Nothing” I replied. “She had her own life to live etc”. I explained that we’d been out once or twice. She asked “what was she doing?” I said “it was just like this”. “Any snogging?” she asked. I replied “no unfortunately”. “Why on earth not?”. “I didn’t want to drive her away”. She wanted to know if she was married with kids. I replied that she was and had 2 kids. The conversation just drifted around like that. I thought that the farmer’s daughter would only be gone for a few minutes but it must have been ages that we were having this chat.

And before anyone grasps the wrong end of the stick, the fact that she is a farmer’s daughter has nothing whatever to do with Deep Purple.

Finally I was in the Army last night, looking through a pile of files and lists. No matter how hard I looked, all I could find were details of an assignment to the Entertainment Unit. They were all put in an envelope ready to be sent off to some kind of competition or show or something. There were all people there, including Jimmy Clitheroe but I couldn’t find anything in these service records and service history at all. This was really annoying. In the end there was a sergeant there who was responsible for the paperwork. I asked him and he pointed to these envelopes and said “but it’s all there”. I shouted that it wasn’t. I said that all it was was these application forms for this concert thing. I picked them up and dropped them in the bin. I told him precisely and in no uncertain terms exactly what I wanted. He started to go through the filing cabinet trying to find all this information.

Wherever did I find the time to go to sleep?

It didn’t take me long to tidy up and I decided not to make any sandwiches because I only get into trouble when I eat them and I’ll be home in time for a late lunch. So at 05:30 I had already handed in the key and was well off down the road.

martelarenplein leuven belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022As I approached the railway station I went to have a look at the Martelarenplein.

We’ve seen this now every month for the last I don’t know how many years and and I have to say that for the last half-dozen or so months there seems to be very little, if any improvement.

Just like every building project in Belgium, they are really taking their time with this and at the rate that they are going, I reckon that I’ll be finished long before they are here.

05:50 when I arrived at the railway station so I had 19 minutes to wait in the freezing cold and wind before my train came in.

class AM96 electric multiple unit gare de leuven railway station belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022The train this morning is the 06:09 from Landen to De Panne via Brussels Airport and the City Centre.

Today it’s one of the AM96 electric multiple units. Fairly modern, quite clean and comfortable and I’m quite happy to be aboard one of these.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have mentioned their unique features before. When a train is made up of two trainsets, the rubber ring makes an airtight seal around the join and the drivers’ cabs swivel round out of the way so that you can walk from one trainset to the next.

We arrived at Bruxelles-Midi at 06:49, 28 minutes before my train to Lille. And this was when disaster stuck. There on the sign was “07:17 to Strasbourg via Lille cancelled”.

That was certainly a tragedy. With it being a weekend, the 07:47 direct to Paris doesn’t run either so that was that.

At the ticket office they proposed the following itinerary –

  • 08:17 to Lille Europe arriving 08:51
  • 10:42 from Lille Flandre to Paris Gare du Nord arriving 11:48
  • 12:59 Paris St Lazare to Lison arriving 15:31
  • 15:52 Lison to Granville arriving 16:43


Only three hours later than usual.

But if anyone thinks that I’m going to be waiting for almost two hours on a draughty, freezing cold railway station in Lille they are mistaken. I have another plan. But in the meantime I went to buy some food from Carrefour. I have a feeling that I might need it at this rate.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4525 PBA gare du midi brussels belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022Wherever I go, it has to start with the 08:17 to Montpelier via Lille

It’s one of the PBA (Paris Brussels Amsterdam) TGV Reseau 38000 trainsets and when I boarded it I could see exactly why my train had been cancelled. Two trainloads of people were “squeezed” into this one and it was still empty. I don’t suppose that they considered it worth their while to run the earlier one if it only had half the number on board that this one had.

There are a couple of small seats stuck in a corner by the baggage racks so I grabbed one of those and settled down while the train shot off into the void.

When it reached Lille Europe, I stayed on board. Next stop is Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and from there is a Reseau Express Regional (RER) D train that goes into the city centre and out to Orly. I can alight at Denfert-Rochereau which is 5 stops and 40 minutes away, and then it’s 3 stops on the traditional metro to Gare Montparnasse.

The chances are that with a good run I could still catch my 10:59 train to Granville.

So at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport I hurtled off the train and up to the RER platforms on the level above to find “No RER Service today to Paris”.

That’s all I needed.

Plan C involved legging it right across Terminal 2 (which is enormous) to the other side and the express buses that go to the Stade de France RER station. That’s on RER line D so I need to change at Chatelet. I would lose 5 minutes but who knows?

Strangely enough, whenever I’m at Terminal 2, I ALWAYS SEEM TO BE REQUIRED TO RUN.

airport express coach stade de france paris france Eric Hall photo February 2022at Gate 2F I leapt on board a waiting coach and we shot off round and round the ragged rock until we finally found the exit that took us out onto the motorway and into northern Paris.

And there we hit a pile of roadworks and a long queue of traffic and I watched the time on my fitbit melt slowly away as we tried to jostle our way into the only lane that was moving.

We eventually made it to the Stade de France railway station. My train was to leave Montparnasse at 10:59 and as I alighted from the bus it was 10:59 precisely.

Never mind, it was a good try. At least, with all of the running around that I had to do I must have lost a good few kilos.

train RER D gare de stade de france paris france Eric Hall photo February 2022Now that I’m here I may as well push on.

Down on the platform I waited for the train to come in. The next stop is the Gare du Nord anyway and that gives me plenty of opportunity to work out something else. There has to be a Plan D somewhere.

At the Gare du Nord I didn’t even come up into the daylight. Here is RER line E and the terminus of that is at Gare St Lazare (well, near enough anyway) so I may as well see what gives there.

printemps department store rue caumartin paris france Eric Hall photo February 2022Where the RER station emerges into the street is right at the back of the Printemps Department Store.

Round at the front is the Boulevard Haussman where you find the headquarters of SPECTRE and several other extremely exclusive premises. But as you might expect, I’m not going that way. I’m going in the opposite direction.

There may be a considerable amount of time to spare but I’m not going to go for a look around in Printemps. It’s the kind of place where people like us need a credit account in order to simply look in the window.

gare st lazare paris france Eric Hall photo February 2022When I was here last I didn’t have too much time to take a photo of the Gare St Lazare so here we are. We can see the clocks that we saw last time outside the building but from a different perspective.

And here, I had my only slice of luck today.

When I arrived I noticed that there was a train to Caen at 11:59, one hour earlier than the one to Cherbourg on which they had booked me. Now if there would be a train from Caen to Rennes that connects with it, I will be à la maison and sec as they say around here.

Sure enough, the train arrives in Caen at 13:58 and at 14:10 there’s a train departing for Rennes so I sallied forth into the ticket office with right and a certificate of cancellation on my side.

Bombardier Regio 2N 56670 caen normandy france Eric Hall photo February 2022Just by way of a change I met a very pleasant and helpful SNCF ticket agent who took one look at all of my paperwork (Government officials on the mainland LOVE paperwork and rubber stamps) and issued me with a ticket for the earlier train.

It’s one of the really comfortable and quick Bombardier Regio 2N electric double-deckers. I was in the front coach upstairs with about 2 other people so I could settle down with my bread rolls and have a crafty nibble.

When the ticket collector came round I showed him my original ticket and gave him all of the rest of the paperwork that I had and he hardly bothered to check them. I went back to eating my bread rolls and listening to Hawkwind again.

And I still think that the violin solo on STEPPENWOLF is one of the best that has ever been recorded.

Bombardier B82650 84555 gec alstom regiolis gare de granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And here I am at Granville. My train is the Bombardier B825 on the left.

When I arrived at Caen it was already in and raring to go. It was quite full too and there are no luggage facilities, seeing as it’s a cross-country train. But I struggled aboard and eventually found somewhere for my suitcase and me.

There is no electricity on board these trains so I didn’t switch on the laptop. All the way to Granville I listened to COLOSSEUM LIVE on the telephone.

As I explained a while ago, I usually encounter interesting young ladies in peculiar situations whenever I listen to this album, such as in the High Arctic in 2018 and again a year later on the same ship in the same seat in the same place when I had two of the strangest encounters that I have ever had in modern times.

Today though, I’ve already had so many strange encounters, one way or another, that I probably wouldn’t have noticed another one by this time.

It’s no surprise that I dozed off for 10 minutes on the way home. And I immediately went off on a little wander. I was with another taxi driver and we were talking to a third. He had had the right to an engine in compensation for something but his wife at the time was now living with yet a fourth taxi driver and he had received this engine. He had fitted it into his car, “the T-reg”. I was surprised that after all of these years he was now back on the road but the reply was yes, it’s called “Creamony Cars” or something like that

Here at Granville on the right is the train that I should have caught. It beat me here (assuming that it was on time) by about 2 hours. And I don’t suppose that that was too bad because there was a moment when I was standing in front of the sign at the RER station at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport that I thought that I would never arrive at all.

The walk through the town was a nightmare. Even going down the hill was agony.

harbour gates closing port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Climbing back up the hill up to my rock was even worse and it took me an age.

During one of my rather too frequent pauses during my climb I looked down at the harbour to see what was happening and I was lucky enough to see the red warning light flashing and the gates slowly closing.

So whoever might have been in the harbour loading up has now long gone and I won’t know who they are.

It was like Ice Station Zebra in here too when I arrived but ask me if I care. I made a coffee and collapsed into my chair.

No pizza tonight. I was too late to take some dough out of the freezer and it wouldn’t defrost so I had potatoes, veg and vegan sausage with vegan cheese sauce. It was lovely too.

Tomorrow is usually when I set an alarm for 06:00 and spend the day working on the radio but if anyone thinks that I’m doing that then they are mistaken. I’m going to bed and going to sleep until I awaken and hard luck on anyone who expects me to do anything. I’ve had a harrowing day.

Mind you, that could all change if TOTGA, Castor and/or Zero invite me to come with them for a midnight ramble. Imagine my sharing a room with Zero the other night and she not being there!

Tuesday 1st February 2022 – REGULAR READERS …

chausiaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw Chausiaise loading up at the loading bay in the port, and then go and tie up.

This afternoon, while I was out on my post-prandial perambulation around the perimeter, I noticed Chausiaise right out there in the Baie de Granville about eight or nine miles offshore.

What caught my eye about this was that she wasn’t in the normal shipping lane that she would use to travel to and from the Ile de Chausey, her usual route, but in fact she was in the shipping lane that the boats use when they are travelling to and from the Channel Islands.

A quick look at the shipping register showed that she had in fact been in the port of St Helier this morning.

When she first came here a couple of years ago, I REMEMBER SPECULATING that there might be more to her presence in the port than mere trips back and towards Chausey. It looks as if there is some kind of substance in that.

Mind you, I was lucky that I actually managed to see her today because the way I was feeling this afternoon, I may well have ended up in bed and not gone anywhere at all.

fire engine porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Part of the reason for this was that I ended up having a rather late night, despite what I might have said yesterday.

As I was closing everything down last night, I went into the living room where I noticed that down at the Porte St Jean we had a fire engine with its blue lights flashing.

One or two other smaller vehicles with blue lights were loitering around too but it was very difficult to say what they were doing. I might ordinarily have been tempted to have gone out for a wander to see but I was ready for bed and it would have been rather an interesting sight had I done so.

At least I didn’t wake up at 04:00 or something silly like that. I managed to stay asleep (or thereabouts) until the alarm went off and then it was quite a struggle to rise up and leave my stinking pit.

Things didn’t improve as the morning went on either and I couldn’t concentrate on my Welsh lesson either. It ended up as being something of a disaster today. I didn’t fall asleep but it would be wrong to suggest that I was awake.

And not only that, I was freezing cold again. Despite the thermometer in the dining room showing some kind of reasonable temperature, I was sitting on an electric heater and I still wasn’t warm.

After lunch I came back in here and … errr … fell asleep. And that was how I was until it was time for me to go for my afternoon walk. I really don’t know how I managed to wake up in time for going out.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Nevertheless, out I went and staggered off down to the end of the car park to look over the wall onto the beach.

Despite how miserable the weather was, as you can tell from this photograph, there were a couple of people down on the beach. And there was plenty of beach for them to be down there on this afternoon too.

Very few people up here on the path though. All the way around the circuit I didn’t count more than half a dozen people. I imagine that they had far more sense then to be out here this afternoon. At least it was warmer than it ought to have been.

While I was looking down on the beach I was also looking around out at sea. And that was when I saw Chausiaise in the distance.

chausiaise trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022By the time that I’d walked down to the end of the headland by the lighthouse she had made some progress in towards the coast.

She wasn’t the only boat out there either this afternoon. I noticed later on when I was looking at the first photo of Chausiaise that there was a trawler hiding away in the gloom, and there were several others too out here in the bay.

Consequently I waited until she approached another vessel out there and then took another photo of her. Things were quite busy out there at sea this afternoon and it’s about time that we saw some more seagoing stuff.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There wasn’t anyone sitting down on the bench at the headland this afternoon and that was a shame because everyone was missing quite a show.

Not only were they missing the boats massing out in the bay, they were missing another beautiful sunset.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … this is one of the things that I like about this time of the year – the really nice sunsets in the bay. We’ve seen a few of those over the last few days.

And that was quite a storm that was brewing across the bay obscuring the Brittany coast.

ch932880 calean baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Just now I mentioned something about the boats massing out there in the baie de Mont St Michel.

It will be quite a while before the harbour gates open but even so there were several boats hanging around waiting for the tide to come in.

This one is called Calean, I think. It’s very difficult to read her name or her registration number at this distance but everything seems to correspond with who she is.

The others were even farther out to sea so I left them alone and headed off down the path towards the port to see what was happening there.

ch907879 arc en ciel chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And we have a new vessel in the chantier naval today.

Le Roc A La Mauve III is still there over in the far corner out of shot but Arc en Ciel – “Rainbow” – has come to join her.

Behind her on top of the silt you can see the mooring chains in the inner harbour. There are small buoys tied to the chains that float up to the surface when the tide comes in, so the boatmen know where to fish with their boathooks to pick up a chain so that they can tie their boats to it.

Back here I regrettably fell asleep again but eventually I came round enough to listen to the dictaphone notes. I was back in the UK last night and there had been a revolt by the Army, or, at least, part of the army. It had led from a misunderstanding about a training exercise and hed lef to fighting and bloodshed amongst units of the Regular Army. Eventually control had been regained and those engaged in the rebellion, such as it was, had been rounded up. Some of the fighting had really been vicious. The Queen was involved in it somewhere, being threatened, and was out of the Public eye for 3.5 weeks. They thought that either the strain had been too much for her or she’d been injured or had had a health crisis triggered by it. It was a training exercise gone wrong rather than a deliberate act of rebellion. Eventually they rounded everyone up suppressed it but it was really nasty while it was going on.

Later on I was down in London. I can’t remember which car I had. I think it was the blue estate. There was something going on with some people, market traders of something, and they were looking for as much help as they could get. I volunteered but they kept on coming out with all kinds of weird suggestions as to why I shouldn’t help them, the Cortina estate was too good, but it wasn’t. It was another one of my vehicles where nothing really worked on it except that it kept going, it needed “that type of insurance”, “that type of cover” etc. They were coming up with minute details of legislation which I thought for a market trader was completely ridiculous. I’d never yet met a London market trader who had stuck to the letter of the law so rigidly. I kept on coming up with counter-arguments but they weren’t interested in them at all. I had the impression very quickly that they were just not interested in my helping them no matter what I offered to do. I kept up the pretence of arguing with them simply to annoy them and get on their nerves because it was annoying me and getting on my nerves the fact that they weren’t interested in accepting any help from me.

So none of my favourite companions last night. I think that they must all be as exhausted as I am after the last couple of weeks.

Tea was a taco roll with the remainder of yesterday’s stuffing – a quick tea because there was football on the internet. Aberystwyth Town third from bottom were playing Haverfordwest, second from bottom, in what was Aberystwyth’s 1000th game in the League – the first team to reach that milestone.

Haverfordwest were actually the better team as far as skill went but Aberystwyth play with a spirit that is only mayched by maybe Caernarfon Town. I’ve seen Aber play several times this season and I’ve said … “and on several occasions too” – ed … that all they needed were a few breaks.

And they certainly got those this evening. They punished a Haverfordwest mistake to go one up and then scored a second out of nothing from another defensive mistake that led to all kinds of panic in the Haverfordwest defence and the giving away of a penalty.

Two-nil was something of an exaggeration but having seen them lose games when the rub of the green has gone against them, it’s high time that they had some luck.

So now I’m going to bed. It’s been another bad day today and I really ought to be doing my best to pul myself round. let’s see how I do tomorrow. Things surely can’t become any worse.

Monday 31st January 2022 – WHAT THE H*LL …

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… happened to me this morning?

While you admire a few photos that I took of the sunset this afternoon that illuminated the Baie de Mont St Michel, I’ll surprise you all by telling you that not only was my radio programme finished by 09:15, I was actually listening to it running through.

and that includes having to rewrite and redictate about a third of it because I wasn’t satisfied with what I’d done. And then it needed some further editing too because after I’d re-edited the speech parts that i’d redone, I’d forgotten to shunt the rest of it down the line.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And if you are wondering how come I managed to do it so quickly and so comprehensively, you’ll be even more surprised when I tell you that at 04:34 I was sitting at my desk in here starting work.

Whatever happened during the night I really don’t know but I had something like a reasonable sleep for a few hours and that was that. And it was absolutely impossible for me to go back to sleep.

There wasn’t any point in lying in bed trying and failing to sleep and waiting for the alarm to go off at 06:00 so I arose from the dead and started work.

The earlier I start, the earlier I finish.

But as far as the radio programme went, today was the first time that I’ve actually felt that a series of speeches and introductions went well. I must be improving, which I suppose that I ought to seeing as this was programme 148 that I was preparing.

If I’ve not learnt anything in all this time then there’s something seriously wrong.

After breakfast and after having listened to the programme I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been and, more importantly, who had come with me. There was a whole pile of stuff going on last night about someone who walked out of my life last summer, about how someone was trying to make her husband reduce the price of the house that he had for sale and if necessary sell it to them yard by yard so that they could keep under their budget. She asked them to quite honestly prepare some kind of statement about how their personal wealth had increased and so on over the last 12 months. She was walking home with Phil Lynott and saying how much he contributed towards her childhood. There was tonnes of other stuff as well and she finished by saying that as of the end of the month or the end of the week their address would be “The Turfs” but she didn’t actually say where, “presumably for a very good reason” said the cynic inside me. I dunno about this but there was tons of stuff and I missed most of it

And later Nerina was back again last night after our row on Thursday (was it on Thursday? At least, that’s what I said during the night). We were having a chat about things trying to organise ourselves. We came to the conclusion that we’d been using the car far too much. We thought about the idea of trying to do things differently. We were becoming more organised in the kitchen etc but again the question of the car turned up. I said “how about going somewhere on the bikes?”. Nerina had a bike and I had the bike of Marianne’s. They both needed som adjustment but I said that we could do that and spend some days out on our bikes and see where we went from there. She was coming up with a few reasons why we couldn’t do that but none of those seemed to relate to the point that we would try to see what we could do about the bikes. We could have a go at it. I had the impression that she wasn’t all that keen on the idea of cycling but it seemed to me that if we were to stop using the car to go to work or something it was the obvious answer. Spending half a day trying to organise it to see if it would work would be a good plan. Anyway she was off making something with 3 apples and I was washing up in the kitchen and this conversation was going on and on. I was trying to persuade her to at least have a try about doing it.

Following that I went and had a really good shower and clean-up to prepare for my trip to the physiotherapist, and then I … errr … fell asleep.

It was therefore a rather late lunch and then I headed out for my appointment.

le loup baie de mont st michel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022At the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury I stopped to make sure that the NIKON 1 J5 was working.

The weather today was grey and windy – very windy in fact – and there was more than just a hint of rain in the air as you can tell from the rainstorm that’s out there just offshore from the Pointe de Carolles. We can’t see very much out there in the distance this afternoon.

The tide was well out as you can see. The inner harbour is pretty much dry and Le Loup was slowly rising up out of the waves, just about to be buzzed by a long-distance seagull.

spirit of conrad black mamba charles marie anakena belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, there is quite a full house down there in the harbour.

From left to right insofar as I can identify them, we have Spirit of Conrad with an unidentified yacht next to her. Then the yacht with “154” on her hull is, I think, Black Mamba moored alongside Charles Marie.

to their right is Anakena, then a couple of unidentified fishing boats and finally the new Belle France. But no Aztec Lady. It looks as if she’s headed off to the Arctic already.

As for Anakena, her owners were talking about Greenland not so long ago so I sent them a message to ask about their trips. However, as you might expect, they never replied.

The next person who complains about a recession with get a smack in the mouth.

loading building material chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was walking down the hill towards the port, I could see that the big crane in the loading bay was busy working.

My first thought was that one of the Jersey freighters was in port this afternoon, but in fact it’s Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs out to the Ile de Chausey, that’s receiving attention.

It looks as if she’s preparing for a run out to the island, but I can’t think what they will be doing with all of that building equipment on the island.

But that was enough excitement for now. I have an appointment and I’ll be late if I’m not careful. I need to get a move on.

installing kiddies roundabout Place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It’s coming up to school half-term, as this photo will tell us.

Carnaval is cancelled yet again this year but we are having the kiddies’ roundabout at least, to keep the brats entertained.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there was some dispute about the roundabout that usually comes here – it was oversize and obstructing the pavement so there was some talk of revoking its licence or making it go somewhere else.

The owner intended to lodge an appeal against any decision that the council might make, but it looks as if some kind of compromise has been reached because he’s setting up in his usual place, just across the road from the Mairie.

The walk up the hill was agony. I made it up without stopping but I knew all about every inch of the way. And I spent most of my session doing kinetic exercises

My neighbour was there too and he offered me a lift home, but I decided to walk.

street lights trees rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way home I went via the back of the town centre to see what was happening at the Rue du Boscq.

If you look closely, you’ll see that we now have some trees planted all the way down on the right-hand side of the concrete walkway. But it still doesn’t look like it does on the artist’s impression, but then again these things never do. They only produce these drawings to hoodwink the gullible public.

As for the grey columns, they look as if they might be streetlights. And I’ll probably get to find out next week when I wander off to Leuven – unless it’s light at that time of the morning. They days are lengthening rapidly.

new brickwork rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022A few weeks ago I posted a photo of the new bricks that they had put on top of the wall on the Rue des Juifs after they had finished pointing it.

At the time I remember remarking that they’ll be back quite soon to point the brickwork and I’d forgotten all about them until this afternoon.

Well, anyway, they have been back and they have actually repointed one of the gaps. But they haven’t bothered with the rest. It’s true that we don’t have any really cold weather like they might elsewhere, but if they don’t point the bricks quite soon and the frost gets in, then it would have been a waste of time sticking the brickwork on top.

les bouchots de chausey tiberiade coelacanthe marite skyjack port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022In a few weeks time Marité will be going for her annual inspection prior to the start of the tourist season at Easter.

It looks like they are carrying out a few repairs to her masts and rigging, and they’ve even involved a skyjack in the repair procedure.

Over in the background to the left, the boat that I couldn’t identify yesterday is Les Bouchots de Chausey and to the right we have the two big trawlers Coelacanthe and Tiberiade.

In the background on the quayside there are a couple of people working on some fishing nets. As they say, “there’s a time for fishing, and a time for mending the nets”.

chausiaise joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On our way out to the physiotherapist’s, we saw the big crane loading up Chausiaise with a pile of building material.

The harbour gates are still closed so she won’t be going anywhere right now, but she’s moved away from the loading bay and she’s now moored up alongside one of the Joly France ferries that go to the Ile de Chausey.

She’s the newer one of the two sisters, as we can tell by the fact that she had a much smaller upper-deck superstructure. The older one is presumably moored out at the ferry terminal, where she has been for several days now.

lifeboat helicopter baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Excuse the blurred photo here but I had to take it in rather a hurry and the NIKON 1 J5 isn’t as reactive as the bigger Nikons.

Out there in the bay I’d noticed the lifeboat, the Notre Dame de Cap Lihou, out there in the bay heading off out to sea. And as I watched, the air-sea rescue helicopter flew by overhead, went out to the lifeboat and did a couple of laps around.

Once they had co-ordinated themselves, off they set out to sea, followed by a couple of seagulls. Whatever is going on out there, doubtless there will be some kind of report in the local paper if it’s anything important.

It’s a shame that the photo didn’t turn out very well.

belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was busy dealing with the helicopter and the lifeboat, another boat roared into life down in the harbour.

It looks as if it’s the turn of Belle France to go for a little wander around. But she can’t be going far because right now the harbour gates are closed so the best that she could do is a quick lap around the inner harbour.

However, I had a quick lap of my own to make so I didn’t want to hang around to see what she was up to. I was tired, cold and fed up and needed a hot coffee to warm me up so I headed on up the hill towards home sweet home.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But not before I’d seen what was going on down on the beach this afternoon.

It wasn’t easy to take this shot either because there was a howling gale blowing out here and I was having trouble trying to keep my feet. So whether or not there was any beach for anyone to be on, I didn’t actually expect to see anyone on it so I wasn’t disappointed.

Back here I made myself a coffee and came in here to carry on with my work. And when I awoke, the coffee was still there, untouched, and stone-cold. It doesn’t stay warm if it’s left for almost two hours.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper, and having had a hot chocolate and written my notes I’m off to bed.

Writing my notes was not easy because despite all of the sleep that I’ve had today I’m still quite exhausted. I’ve been struggling to keep awake.

It’s my Welsh lesson tomorrow and I want to be on form, and so I need to have a better night’s sleep tonight than I did last night. I must admit that I’m ready for it, but then again, so I was yesterday and look how that turned out.

Saturday 29th January – YESTERDAY, I REMEMBER …

… wondering who would be waiting for me when I went to sleep last night.

Much to my surprise, and yours too probably, because things don’t normally happen like this, it was none other than Zero.

She hung around for a while, but nothing like long enough, and eventually evaporated into the night.

What’s surprising about that is that usually when I’m transcribing the dictaphone notes I have some kind of very vague recollection in the back of my mind of what went on and typing it out brings it back. But I have no memory whatever of her being there, except what was on the dictaphone.

So that was rather a waste of a visit, wasn’t it? Her being there and me having no recollection of it.

vegan food with eggs and milk noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022This is something else that’s quite surprising.

It was in Noz and advertised as a vegan pancake mix. I was tempted to try it until I noticed the instructions.

You probably have too, if you’ve clicked on the image to see it full-size. To make it, you need to stir in “eggs and milk”. Some vegan food product, isn’t it?

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m not an ethical vegan (although I may as well be these days) but a vegan for health reasons. My pancreas failed 30-odd years ago so I can’t digest animal fats.

I was given a choice of four ways of controlling it –

  • taking daily injections to stimulate it (but I’d lose my professional driving licences like my HGV licence, my PSV licence, my taxi licence and all of that, and that was my living in those days)
  • by a transplant (but back in those days it was very much in its infancy and the success rate wasn’t very high)
  • do nothing (and risk an attack and possible death)
  • by diet, cutting out animal fats completely.

The choice was pretty much obvious, so I need to be very careful about what I eat.

And eating stuff that needs eggs and milk is not part of the plan obviously.

Today wasn’t actually part of anyone’s plan because it’s been awful. And I thought that with the last week or so, I was over all of this.

Leaving the bed wasn’t all that difficult even if it was something of s short night compared to what it should have been, and neither was the medication and the shower that I had afterwards.

Then Caliburn and I hit the streets for a tour of the shops – the first time since early December that w’ve had a complete tour.

Noz had piles of things, including that alcohol-free beer that I like, so I stocked up with quite a pile of stuff. No rolling pin to replace the one that I broke ages ago and have been struggling with ever since, no cake tin and no pizza plate either (I’m fed up of my pizza overflowing my plate).

micro creche near noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Centrakor – and the first time that I’ve been in there for an age – came up with a good heavy-duty rolling pin but nothing else.

But while I was there I went for a closer look at the building that they’ve been erecting at the back of Noz and Centrakor. It now seems to be complete, and it looks as i it’s going to be some kind of crèche.

And a crèche is not something that happens between two cars in Knightsbridge either.

At Leclerc the fuel tanker doing a delivery was just coupling up to leave after doing a refuelling. That meant that there was no-one there and my timing was perfect because as it pulled away I pulled on right behind and had the first load of diesel.

First time I’ve fuelled up since April last year by the way. I’m going nowhere these days, am I? In many senses of the word..

At Leclerc I ended up with one of those expensive 7-inch cake tins that I mentioned last time. If I’m going to be baking cake I need the correct tin rather than trying to make do with an oversize pyrex bowl

Lots of other stuff too, and so in the end it was a rather expensive morning out. But at least the pantry is full for the next while and I’ll be able to eat.

Back here I put away the frozen stuff (they had some of those breaded soya fillets in Noz and I managed to squeeze them into the freezer somehow), made a coffee, came back in here and … errr … crashed out.

Properly crashed out too. I was gone for ages and ended up with a late lunch.

Back here afterwards I felt like nothing on earth. I tried to have a go at coupling up the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing, on the grounds that doing something – anything – is better than doing nothing at all, but I ended up right out of it yet again. It was an awful afternoon.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022As a result of the foregoing it was rather later than usual when I went out for my afternoon walk. Mind you, I was lucky that I went out at all because I don’t recall ever feeling less like it.

First stop was the beach of course so I dragged myself with a considerable amount of reluctance over to the wall at the end of the car park.

Not much beach, which is no real surprise because I’m about 45 minutes later than usual, and I couldn’t see anyone down there today. But once again, it was fairly warm for the time of year (although I’m back to being absolutely freezing again) so I was surprised that the place looked so empty.

Not many people about at all this afternoon.

ile de chausey storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022This quite possibly might have something to do with it.

Out in the bay there was a rainstorm brewing and judging by the direction in which the wind was blowing, it was heading my way.

Not that there was much wind to worry about this afternoon. We seem to be in the middle of a quiet spell from that point of view, in sharp contrast to what we had several weeks ago.

And we did have some rain too. When I went out to the shops this morning it was raining. So it looks as if the clouds have gone back out to sea to fetch some more.

There were a few more people wandering around up by the lighthouse so I kept well clear – I don’t want to catch what they all seem to have – and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland.

There wasn’t anything going on just offshore, or in the outer harbour or the chantier naval either so I carried on.

crane philcathane la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The big crane is still over there, along with la Grande Ancre, Philcathane and another boat that I can’t identify.

However I can tell you more about the machine that the crane came to lift. It was an electrically-powered piling rig and weighed in at 50 tonnes.

It was Normandy Trader that took her away – she apparently has engines that are 100hp more powerful than her sister Normandy Warrior.

Back here I had a coffee, managed not to fall asleep, and then finished off the music for Monday. Then I turned my attention to the dictaphone.

Zero, of course, I have already mentioned. But later I was with a woman and her daughter last night, aged about 6 or 7 like Laurence and Roxanne. We’d gone to visit IKEA – they’d never been before. We had to park on the car park and that was an art in itself as it was extremely busy. Then I had to go and change my clothes because I was in some kind of oily wotk clothes. My office was on the top floor so I rang up to say that I would send someone up to say that I was coming up for some clothes but no-one had any clothes ready for me or anything. There was a huge row about that to start with which didn’t make the rest of the day go well. When we’d all been to the bathroom we went into IKEA, the 3 of us. The little girl had a play on the kiddies’ playground and we bumped into one of my friends from Montréal and had a chat, then carried on wandering around. Then we stopped for coffee. For some reason we didn’t take our coffee together. I had a machine that they had to listen to music so I went to sit somewhere else. The other 2 were sitting somewhere else so I went to join them but the music was disturbing everyone there so I had to turn off the music. The little girl was sulking and said “I’d be happier staying in Crewe” to which her mother said “of course you wouldn’t”. To cheer her up we went and found the kiddies’ toy things and she had a play around on those again. There was lots more to it than this but I can’t remember it now or anything else which is a shame.

Later on I stepped right back into this dream where I was earlier after I’d gone back to sleep. We ended up back in a room. I’d been out somewhere. My brother and 2 other people were there. After about 10 minutes I suddenly thought “where’s this woman and her daughter (and by now, it was my friend from Montréal who was the mother)? They’ve wandered off somewhere”. I thought that I was supposed to be with them so I rang her up on her ‘phone. She said that she was at some exhibition of money-making. I siad “oh, I’d better come and join you”. She replied “it’s only going to be on until 15:00”. She gave me the address . I replied “I don’t know how long it will be until I reach you but I’ll be there”. The other 2 didn’t want to go for some reason and it was just my brother who came with me. I started to look on a map to find this address and I suddenly realised that it was right in the vicinity of where we were standing. I had a very good idea of where it is, Rue des Deux Canals so we shot off outside. There was all kinds of stuff. It was difficult to cross the road because there were all lorries and cars. We went off down one road and came to a turning. I had to stop to check the phone to find the correct address but I couldn’t find the map. While I was doing that my brother said “Reg has been sent to prison again”. I asjed “what for this time?”. “Because he refused to climb over a wall and tie up his boat” and started to read details of the indictment to me while I was busy trying to find this street. It was all becoming a really confusing mess – even more so with my family becoming involved yet again.

There was some more too but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap. I’d bought a couple of those nice burgers that I like and I had a few baps left over. That was quite a nice tea again and I do have to say that it might be simple food but I do eat well.

Bed-time now, and a lie-in tomorrow as it’s Sunday. I deserve it too because despite feelig better than I did, it’s not been an easy week.

In fact I’m not having a very easy time and I don’t know what to do about that. As Bob Dylan sang in TANGLED UP IN BLUE, “the only thing I knew for sure was to keep on keeping on”.

But I’m not doing that all that well these days.

But “I wondered if she’s changed at all – if her hair was still red”. Now who does that remind me of? And will she be meeting me again tonight?

Tuesday 25th January 2022 – DAY EIGHT …

… of my self-imposed exile and I actually set foot outside the building this afternoon, for the first time in over a week.

My Covid test result has come back and, as I expected (well, as I knew, really) it was negative so tomorrow I’m going to restart my physiotherapy sessions.

My plan is to take Caliburn, and for several reasons too –

  1. with not having been out for exercise for over a week, I’m not sure how I’m going to manage the climb up the hill and back again.
  2. with everything floating around and my still not feeling 100%, I don’t want to pick up something while I’m out and about in town.
  3. with having been stuck inside for 10 days and not having done any shopping for a week before, supplies are running low so a trip to Lidl with Caliburn is in order.

And so I went outside to make sure that Caliburn will start, having been idle for almost three weeks and with the temperatures hovering around zero. And sure enough, he fired up fairly easily.

While we’re on the subject of zero … “well, one of us is” – ed … I spent much of the night in the company of Zero. And several other people too but it was she who figured the most in all of my lengthy travels.

For some of the time, she was with one of my sisters. They had moved into a house and shared a bedroom, with posters and everything like that all over the bedroom door and wall. I’d been working in the area so I popped in to see how they were doing.

Later on, I dropped straight back into the dream at some point near or nearabouts, with the three of us travelling on a train somewhere.

Later still, there was a reality TV programme about a young girl who I reckoned was Zero, who would choose her boyfriend. The choice had narrowed down to 2. 2 guys turned up, 1 of whom looked like the young dynamic type and the other looked like a slightly older, shy person. It goes without saying that she chose the 1st one. The guy who was 2nd was extremely bitter and disappointed about all of this but I explained to his that he had come a darn sight farther in this competition than almost anyone else and what wouldn’t I have given to change places with him and been up there on the stage at that particular moment when Zero was on the point of making a choice? The conversation drifted around to talk about general life and happiness etc and I can’t remember very much about where it went after this. It was certainly one of those things that if you set your goals too high you’ll fail and you’ll always be unhappy. Success is measured by the level of expectation and I have several examples of this that have occurred during my life. I gave him a few examples but I can’t remember what they mean now.

Still plenty to go at yet. There was 1 of these guys again with a baby or very small child who was about to board a tram. He pointed to one of the trams and said “it’s nice to see some Bristol artwork these days” and went off and boarded his tram.

And then we had 2 girls who had been friends for years. There was a huge pile of glass bottles stored in the garage of one of them. They loaded them into the boot of the 2nd one’s car to take to the recycling plant but half an hour later she was back with the bottles. Her friend asked why and she replied saying “(the name of the other girl’s partner) he’s round there with her at the moment and didn’t want to enter up them”. The other girl went somewhat ashen and said “yes, it was the same with Hugh. They don’t stay faithful for two long”. They began to put the bottles back into the space where the woman had been tidying up after they had gone. Just then her boyfriend or husband came back. He saw what was going on and probably got the message straight away. They started to have an argument which on the girl’s part was more sadness than anything else. By this time I was there and I don’t know why. The girl was talking to me saying “this is where all our money goes”. He was saying “don’t you show him that! Don’t you show him that!” but she showed it to me all the same and said “look where the red circles are”. It was all about guitars that he’d bought and music that he’d bought, everything like that with just 2 or 3 gigs where he’d made a bit of money. The conversation turned round to things like people growing up and taking responsibility, being adult, something that of course never ever happened to me, and it gradually petered out on that kind of discussion.

And finally I was visiting the university and a friend had come over from North America and was staying in the University for 10 days or something. I’d gone to see my niece and her husband, so had he actually come over from North America? I dunno. But I’d gone off to see him and he asked me to stay for a few days so I did, and shared his room. He also had another room-mate and 3 of us in there was rather cramped. We had a very bad night’s sleep the 1st night and the 2nd night his room-mate moved out to go to stay with friends. He and I shared the room but I had another bad night waking up every 5 minutes. In the end he awoke and said that he had things to do so I said that I’d catch him up. It turned out that he had to take a bus to the main university building and the refectory there. I told him “leave some kind of indication where you might be and I’ll catch you up”. He went and I gathered my wash things together and went to find a shower but couldn’t find one. I found some urinals but that was about it. I thought “I’m going to have to go back and take my shower in his room”. I remembered that there was somewhere where food could be obtained so I thought that I’d have a quick look. I couldn’t find it but I found a place where half a dozen old cars had been dumped. Someone was taking some spares off one of them. On the way back to his place there was some kind of dispute between some boys and a couple of girls and a couple of older students from the University had involved themselves in it and were arguing with these boys. I broke into a run, to my own amazement, and ran for miles all the way round the University campus and up these side streets thinking to myself that this is really good with me running like this but I’m never going to meet my friend now because I want to organise myself, go to the bathroom, have a shower, find something to eat and this will take me most of the morning. I wonder where he’ll be by the time that I’m ready to go on the bus and go to the main building to meet him. But I was so happy running that I didn’t really want to stop

There was even more too as it happens, but as you are probably eating a meal or something right now, I’ll spare you the gory details. But is it any wonder that I’m so exhausted these days with all of the mileage that I’m putting in during the night instead of sleeping?

When the alarm went off I arose quite quickly and went off to take my medication, and then to check my mails and messages. Having done that, I sat down and revised my Welsh from last week and prepared for today’s lesson.

There was a new pupil this week as well so some time was spent in introductions, and the lesson itself passed quite uneventfully, and quickly too.

There was some soup left – not much – but there were a couple of frozen potatoes in the freezer that needed eating so I tipped them in as well.

After lunch I started to transcribe the dictaphone notes and it’s no surprise that it took me almost all afternoon (apart from going out to play with Caliburn), although I might have had then done sooner had I not … errr … closed my eyes for quite a while. Much longer than I would have expected or would have hoped for.

But there was a pile of mail in my letter box, all of which were for my next series of appointments at the hospital. And instead of being at 13:30 they are for 11:10 which puts paid to my lie-in to recover from my journey.

With something of a start, I noticed the time. 20:05. Tea thus ended up being out of a tin because there was a football match kicking off at 20:45. Cardiff Metro v Barry.

Both teams at the wrong end of the table and it wasn’t difficult to see why because whatever skill there was only occurred in brief flashes. Cardiff Metro have only a small and diminishing pool of players from which to pick, but Barry seem to have gone backwards this season.

Surprisingly, the Met won 2-0. And surprisingly because at one stage they were really lucky to have nil and I reckoned that it would stay like that if they carried on playing until the next matches on Saturday evening. However one goal from a defensive error and a second from a breakaway down the field in the final minutes as Barry were pushing everyone up for an equaliser sums it all up really.

This isn’t Barry’s season, is it?

Right now I’m off to bed, and to see where I’ll end up during the night. If Zero is as tired out as I am after everything that went on during the night, she won’t be joining me, but TOTGA has had a couple of days off and Castor has been away for a week or so so who knows? I might end up with yet more pleasant companions.

But knowing my luck, I’ll get my family again.

Monday 24th January 2022 – DAY SEVEN …

… of my self-imposed confinement and I had my first human face-to-face interaction for over a week.

Round about 08:00 I telephoned the nurse to tell him of my health issues and advise him not to come, but he told me that he was quite used to dealing with people in ill-health and it didn’t bother him at all that I was not feeling very healthy.

And so he came round and gave me my injection, and he had brought with him a Covid-testing apparatus. He reckoned that if I’m feeling unwell I ought to have a test. I’ll find out the result tomorrow.

He also brought me some good news. I’m now officially certified as 100% unwell and so most of my medical interventions are now reimbursed at 100% by the French Government. I’m not sure if that’s a good thig or a bad thing.

As for the night that I had, that was a bad thing and no mistake. Nit really very much pain to bother me but it was something of a restless night and I took ages to go off to sleep.

Restless was the word too. We were out taxi-driving last night. My father was out doing a job from somewhere but I don’t know where he’d gone. I was around the house doing something else. I could hear him come back and was talking about someone called Morris. I couldn’t hear everything. It seems that Morris was spending so much of his time looking after other people that he didn’t have the time to look after himself and had lost his pub. I couldn’t think who ha was talking about. He came in and said “I’ve just been talking to a friend of yours”. I replied “I don’t know who that was”. He said “I didn’t know which car to take but there was one just outside the house with a plate on it so I took that”. I had a look and it was a brown Mk IV that he had taken which was OK. There was another job from the immediate neighbourhood so he’d left the car down there for some reason and come back here on foot. The impression that I had was that he was wanting me to go with him to do this job, not that I could think why it needs 2 of us but he was quite keen on me going for some reason. I prepared to go and we went outside and it was Gainsborough Road. There was some talk about the untidy garden that was there and I was becoming fed up of all of these people complaining so I had a mind to find a great big scaffolding and erect it all around the house so that it looked as if there was work being done and leave it sitting like that for a while because it was making me totally fed up

I started to dictate this without the dictaphone in my hand again. I was back hime in Gainsborough Road. Someone had pulled up with a pile of stuff for me and the blonde girl who was there, whoever she was, and I went out to unload their car and stock up my kitchen with everything. Later on I had a newspaper round to go and do. It was going to be fairly easy because with everyone cancelling and so on there was only 1 delivery to make. I prepared to go and thought that if I go quickly I’ll be back before Nina comes back. She didn’t come back yesterday afternoon so I wondered where she’d got to but that was up to her. I had everything together but I couldn’t find my keys for the motor bike. I hunted high and low in the house and found all these loads of different keys, different key rings and everything like that but not one for the motorbike. Plenty for cars that were no longer here but none for a car that was here either. I was starting to panic because I was going to be late to deliver this paper and I may well miss Nina at this rate or she might even arrive before I’ve gone out.

last night there was some kind of dream about a tropical island that a few of us were to visit for some reason. I can’t remember who and I can’t remember anything that actually happened when we arrived there unfortunately.

The train pulled into the station and I boarded with this little girl who was with me. Someone was already sitting in my place so I went to sit upstairs on the top row. But then there was something missing about my clothes so I had to go back down where I used to sit, pick them up from there and bring them back to where I was sitting now. Then there was something else that I needed so I went to go down to fetch it. Someone else asked me to fetch something as well but I thought that this is going to keep on happening and it’ll be a complete nightmare so why don’t I go and sit downstairs near where I’m supposed to be and where everything is within reach

Despite being in isolation I’d gone into hospital to watch a film. It was a small room with about a dozen of us. I knew one or two of the people, including a little girl (I seem to be featuring a lot of little girls in my voyages just recently), from a language class. I was in a hospital nightgown thing and I’d walked all the way from my house to this hospital all the way through the town in my nightgown. When it had finished on the way back, I had a think. There’s a quicker was to go home than going through the town so I decided to go that way. For some unknown reason I ended up with a couple of people who gave me a lift. When we turned into South St there was a huge traffic queue. I was sitting there reading a book so I didn’t really notice it but the guy left the car for a look around. he came back and we waited and waited, then I left the car to stretch my legs and go to have a look. I reached the corner of Catherine Street when suddenly this queue finished and everyone moved off. I couldn’t remember which vehicle I’d been in and my bag with all of my possessions was in it and it drove away. I thought “how am I going to get all of my stuff back now?”.

At some point the question of a new house turned up. I was looking at a new house in Audlem. There was a good deal going on one so I had something of an interest in it. I told the estate agent. On the way home I walked back through the village to find out exactly where this house was. I threw my bag which I somehow had onto the property but it became stuck on the roof of the house next door. There was no-one in and no ladder around so I thought “I’m not going to have that back for a while am I?”. I had a look inside the windows and the rooms were really tiny. I thought that this isn’t going to be much use for me with these tiny rooms. Then I was thinking that seeing as I’m in Audlem it’s only a hop and a skip over the border into Shropshire so why don’t I look around Market Drayton or somewhere like that for a house where I’d be in a different County and make a new start?

Not quite the same as GOING TO CALIFORNIA is it though?.

Yes, I think that Cheshire was glad to see the back of me when I left to live on the mainland.

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed, staggered off into the kitchen for my medication and then came back in here to check my messages.

Nothing exciting had happened overnight so I occupied myself with the radio programme that needed doing. Even though there were several breaks for drinks, ‘phone calls and the like, it was up and running by 10:35

It could have been ready earlier than that but firstly I wasn’t as motivated as I might have been and secondly, for some unaccountable reason, I ended up 10 seconds short. A mathematical error somewhere, I suppose.

While I was listening to the results and to the radio programme that I was sending off to be broadcast this coming weekend, I carried on amending the journal entries where I’d left off the photos and the details of the nocturnal journeys for the month of January. They are now up-to-date but there are a couple that need doing for December.

There was also a break to go and have a shower and to tidy myself up ready for the nurse.

After he had gone, I made a very late lunch. Soup with vermicelli and some nice fresh bread from yesterday. And being fed up of the bread not lasting, I cut the loaf in half and stuck one half into the freezer to see how it goes when it’s defrosted in a couple of days time.

With lunch out of the way I finished off listening to the radio programmes and updating the journal but to my dismay I fell asleep again. And for a good hour and a half too.

While I was away with the fairies I really was away too. There was a group of builders working on a building at the back of where I was. It was a new-build with brick and they had done some astonishing things while I’d been watching, like standing on window-ledges on the outside of the property several floors up with no safety harness while they worked on the exterior of the building. When I looked again there were two of them, one kneeling on the window-ledge, the other one standing with his legs either side of the first, again several floors up with no safety equipment. They were now rendering the exterior of the building with cement, using a large plastic sheet to give some kind of decorative effect and this was giving me heart failure watching them work like this.

When I finally awoke it took me a good few minutes to gather myself together – in fact I was all for going straight to bed at that point. It was definitely two steps backwards today.

When I’d recovered I made myself a strong coffee but I somehow couldn’t bring myself round to do much work. Transcribing the dictaphone notes was about as much as I could manage – although there were more than just a few of those to deal with.

Tea was a vegan burger with rice and vegetables and now I’m going to bed. Once more, I’m thoroughly exhausted and I’ve no idea why. I have my Welsh class tomorrow so I’m hoping that I’ll feel so much better than I did last Tuesday.

Friday 21st January 2022 – DAY FOUR …

… of my self-enforced confinement is almost over.

And while yesterday was one step forward, today has actually been two steps backward, and that’s really disappointing.

Not going to bed until about 02:35 might explain some of it, but I cheated and switched off the alarm. Consequently it was about 10:00 when I finally surfaced.

It sounds as if it might have been a reasonable amount of sleep (for a change) but when I listened to the dictaphone, it was anything but. I was with TOTGA last night, so it’s not surprising that things were turbulent. We were walking around the town and streets of Crewe, the north side, collecting money for what was supposed to be the TV licence people although I wasn’t convinced that it was. We’d already collected some but then there was the pub to go to – The Royal Scot – and then a pile of houses around there. I suggested going to the Royal Scot first but she suggested that we do the private houses. I didn’t necessarily agree with it but it wasn’t anything for me to particularly worry about. However it turned into one of these arguments that you have, something about nothing. We carried on walking but as we we were walking past the brook in Underwood Lane a woman came out from behind there moaning and grumbling about the TV licence collectors and how the security staff at Tesco have no courage. Another woman on the other side of the road on the green bank there was mowing the grass with a mini-tractor. She told her basically to stop complaining etc. The two of them had an argument which led to the one on the tractor saying “I’m going to have a camp site anyway” to which both TOTGA and I thought was a great idea. The bad-tempered woman didn’t seem to appreciate that there were two other people siding with this woman. It was quite funny thought how this argument between the two of us sprang up out of nothing and I still can’t understand why we ended up arguing about it when it wasn’t really of any importance anyway.

There was another dream that involved TOTGA but I can’t remember much of it, which is quite obviously a shame. Fancy not remembering an encounter with her. We were both on some kind of island but we weren’t supposed to know about each other being here either. Eventually we met up and there was some talk about some other people who weren’t very nice people. We had to go to see them so I shrugged my shoulders and the two of us set off. But there was much more to it than that but I just can’t remember now.

Later on there were quite a few of us on an island. One of the girls, I don’t know who, said that she had seen someone. We all thought that it sounded like Trotsky or Lenin or someone like that. She then described this person and it turned out in fact to be him so we all huddled together while we thought of a plan. In the meantime there were some Christmas decorations but they were out. Feeling around, it seemed that when I had rolled over at some time I’d pulled the wires apart so I was groping around in the dark trying to find these two wires so that I could put them together again.

I’d been at some kind of festivity that had been cancelled. A town had dropped out of it so someone asked me on the radio if I thought that Granville would take its place. I replied that as far as I could see Granville wouldn’t take the place of anyone and wasn’t going to do anything.

Down this path … “which path?” – ed … I walked and I could see a kind of round circle that was lit up and going round and round. I suddenly realised that it must be our headquarters. People came out of the shadows where they had been hiding to welcome us but I awoke just as it was starting to become exciting.

It took me all that was left of the morning to type out that. And I was quite exhausted typing it too. It must have been breath-taking when it was all going on for “real”.

But that wasn’t all that I had to do either. I noticed from yesterday’s entry that two paragraphs had been somehow missed off. And so I had to add them in as well.

As I was late arising, I hadn’t bothered with breakfast so I had a typical Sunday brunch at 13:00 – porridge, toast and strong black coffee, in the hope that the coffee would revive me and there would be less pain in my jaw with the porridge.

The pain was reduced, but not gone completely, and the coffee didn’t work at all. I spent the whole afternoon either writing up the dictaphone notes from previous days or else flat out on the chair fast asleep. And when I awoke I was seriously contemplating crawling into bed and pulling the covers over me because I was absolutely freezing.

That’s one thing that I’ve noticed this week – how cold I’ve been. I’m here right now fully dressed, with a dressing gown on top and the heating going flat out.

Tea was a rather rushed meal out of the freezer because there was football on the internet – TNS v Connah’s Quay. The season has restarted after the Covid break. TNS won at a canter, as you might expect, especially when Connah’s handed them all three goals on a plate. And two goals disallowed too for good measure.

The commentator asked a guest at half time “what do you think Craig Harrison (the Connah’s Quay manager) ought to be doing now?”. The immediate thought that went through my mind was “to persuade Oliver Byrne (the Connah’s Quay keeper) to come off his line”. He’s one of the best shot-stoppers in the league but he won’t come out for crosses. One of the goals and the two disallowed goals could have been prevented if he had come out for crosses instead of staying back on his line.

But now anyway I’m off to bed. Here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow when I can finish the dictaphone notes and then crack on with something else. But I’m really not feeling at all like it right now.

And if you think that I’m spending far too much time moaning instead of doing anything, another purpose of these notes is to record my state of health and how I’m feeling about it. It’s quite important that I keep an eye on myself and that I’m able to look back on it in the future and see how it evolved.

Although right now, I don’t see too much of a future.

Thursday 20th January 2022 – DAY THREE …

… of my enforced confinement was very much like Day Two; with very little of any kind of note happening at all.

And seeing as I’m not going anywhere, doing anything or seeing anyone is hardly any surprise.

Although I just about beat the alarm to my feet this morning, it was a dreadfully slow start. But there was a reason for that. I’m suffering from a lack of football and my thirst was satiated last night instead of going to bed early.

It’s the Scottish Cup at the weekend and Greenock Morton, a team in which I have an interest since I wrote a newspaper article about the club and its controversial chairman 20 years ago, have drawn Premier League opposition.

In the past, Morton have had four major acts of giant-killing and last night someone strung together a video of the highlights of those four matches and broadcast them on the internet. So I stayed up to watch them – videocam recordings of old 405-line transmissions in the good old days of steam-driven television.

And worth is just to watch ANDY RITCHIE’S MARVELLOUS GOAL that dumped Aberdeen, Alex Ferguson and all, out of the Scottish Cup.

Anyway, having struggled out of bed and having taken my medicine, I came back in here to see how things were with the dictaphone. There was something on there from last night – and about 20 things from the previous few nights. And you can tell how lightly I’m sleeping these days with the volume of stuff that’s on there. This is no deep, profound sleep that I’m having.

But never mind the dictaphone for the moment. I had other things that needed my attention.

As it happens, I’m a member of an organisation that is fighting to defend the SNCF from the onslaught of privatisation that the right wing of the political spectrum is fighting to impose on the rest of the country. And I happened to post a couple of messages relating to a couple of things that related directly to me.

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “hooray” – ed … the organiser of the campaign asked me for dates and times. And that meant going through about 18 months’ worth of blog entries. They were relatively unimportant, minor things so I hadn’t tagged them and that explains the time that it took.

Perhaps I ought to mention in passing that my journal is tagged and indexed. I keep it as a diary and as a reminder because my memory is hopeless, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. I can sing any number of lyrics of songs from the 1960s and 70s totally word-perfect, but ask me what I was wanting when I walked into the kitchen 5 minutes ago …

It also serves other purposes too, as I have probably mentioned in the past.

Then I could turn my attention to where I’d been during the night. As it happened, Nerina and I had another one of our arguments. This time she had a friend with her and it was pretty permanent so she stormed off, leaving me with the business and the dry-cleaner’s to run. All the people wanted assurance that I’d still be open at 09:00 on a Wednesday. I replied “of course”. Then I realised that it was going to be difficult because there was going to be a bus run that I normally did but I didn’t return until 10:00 so I could see that I had about 2 days to organise a pile of changes to make sure that everyone else was happy and that they could have their dry-cleaning when they wanted but it wasn’t going to be easy.

After lunch (I remembered today) I carried on with the entries from yesterday and was actually planning on doing a lot more but I rather sadly fell asleep. And to my surprise, I was off on my travels there too. I was with my brother and someone else. I can’t remember why now but I had some work to do so I set myself up in a room in some kid of village hall place to do it and they wandered off. However I couldn’t settle and when someone came in – a big ugly-looking man rather like Jack Elam, I lost my concentration completely. I went out for a walk to settle myself down. There, I bumped into my brother and the other person. They were angry that I wasn’t working so I invented a story that I was looking for a torch. The third person said that he had one and went to fetch it and they accompanied me back to where I was working while I tried to invent a story as to why I needed the torch. When we arrived back where I was, my brother bumped into this strange man and let out a gasp of surprise and shock which awoke me.

Later on I went for tea. I’m not feeling very hungry right now but I have to go through the motions. There was some stuffing left over from Monday’s pepper so I had a taco roll with some rice.

Rosemary rang me up while I was eating so I called her back and we had a chat. But not for long because my throat gave out.

But the question of food was rather interesting. Last time that I was ill like this was when I was in Minnesota in July 2019 (in the days when we could travel) and I lost 10kg in weight. If I can lose even half of that during this bout of illness I’ll be happy with that and I’ll have gained something.

So now I’m off to bed – at … errr … 02:05. Just as I was thinking of going to bed earlier, Help Yourself came onto the playlist, followed by Quicksilver Messenger Service with the magnificent John Cipollina, Roxy Blue (a vastly underrated band who could have been another Aerosmith or Bon Jovi and whose lead guitarist is now a dentist), followed by Kate Bush. And that’s enough to keep anyone awake, for all kind sof different reasons.

But now that Kansas has come round, I’ll clear off to bed because we’ll end up next with Lone Star (another vastly underrated band featuring Paul “Tonka” Chapman, later of UFO and Jon Sloman, later of Uriah Heep) and I’ll be here all night.

See you in the morning.

Wednesday 19th January 2022 – DAY TWO …

… of my enforced isolation passed quite uneventfully today.

And I’m glad that I decided to stay in because the news in the local rag was quite discouraging. 60 pupils of “a local High School” (and they didn’t say which one, but there is one just across the car park from here) who went on a ski trip last week have all come back testing positive for Covid.

Consequently, when I do decide to go back out to reconnect with the real world, it will be in the evening after everyone else has gone to bed, as I did 2 years ago at the start of the pandemic.

And going back out might be sooner than I imagine because I’ve felt much better today and if I can keep up the improvement, I might even return to normal by the end of next week, but that’s some long hope, isn’t it?

After going to bed last night just after 20:30, I was awake again at 04:40 and spend the next few hours drifting in and out of sleep until the alarm went off at 07:30.

After the medication I came back in here to gather my wits a little and make a start of some work, but I’ve no idea why, after all of the sleep that I had during the night, I dozed off to sleep again.

By breakfast-time I was awake again, and after my coffee and cake (and if I’m not careful I’ll run out of Christmas cake by the weekend) I slowly tried to wind myself up to do some work. And as it happened I made a start on the sencond run-through of some of the radio interviews.

But only a start. I’d rather not dwell too much on all of that. I was definitely not feeling myself today.

One thing that surprised me was that I remembered to ring up the physiotherapist to say that I won’t be coming today. I’ve no idea what it is that I’ve caught but I’m sure that they don’t want it.

As the afternoon wore on, I gradually pulled myself round, and I’m feeling better than I was this time yesterday – although that’s not saying very much at all. Mind you, I did realise round about 16:00 that I hadn’t had any lunch. I must be ill if I’m off my food.

Mustn’t forget the dictaphone either. Tons of stuff on there. It really must have been a disturbed night last night. We started off by me being given custody of a baby that a girl had had and of which I was the father so I had to collect her from school. We knew that this girl was unstable so we set a kind of trap in this hotel room where I was staying, me and three other people because we were sure that she’d try to come in. Sure enough a man appeared at the hotel at about 02:00. He hid inside a cardboard box and gradually inched it across forward into the hotel lift, went up to the 11th floor, left the lift and came back downstairs to the 10th floor. He burst into my room, but it was in fact the girl. She found one of the people sleeping on the floor but the other one stayed hidden under the bed and didn’t move out. She started to become violent so we were violent back so she just stood there and let us be violent to her. It didn’t seem to affect her in the slightest. We were hitting her with chains but she was just standing there. We were wondering how on earth we were going to get this girl organised. We couldn’t set fire to her clothes because the hotel smoke alarm would go off etc. The more we hit her, the more she just stood there and took it so in the end we were very close to giving it up as a bad job

There was a hot air balloon called “The Olga” that was to take off. There were people around there taking photos. I was taking some. Someone asked of there had been any other photos taken in the past. I didn’t have any. The balloon inflated and set off. Suddenly I remembered that I did have a photo of a balloon called “Olga” so I went to have a look. Sure enough, there it was but it was a different balloon in a totally different situation so it was clearly not the correct balloon which was disappointing.

I was also with someone last night but I can’t remember who. We ended up back in Gainsborough Road. I went in with this other person whose father came from Crewe but she came from Abergele. We went in, and my mother was there with some other woman. Se was doing her bes salesman role explaining about my house, everything. It really did look nice the way that it had all been finished off. In the end she said to me “why don’t you take this woman upstairs and so her around?”. I had to point out that first of all I had no idea what we were doing there anyway when there were tenants in there, to show this woman around upstairs, but I went upstairs. There was a kid asleep in the small bedroom and stuff all over the floor. There was another kid sitting on a bed in another room. I noticed that my fitted wardrobes had been demolished. There was a man in the bathroom so I explained the bathroom to the lady and told her about the central heating, so on. We went downstairs and Joanie and Malcolm turned up with their new baby. She’d brought lots of jars of coffee, stuff like that and I wondered what the hell was going on in my house, people just walking in like this even though there were tenants living in there who obviously can’t have been very impressed.

There was some kind of dispute in Portsmouth about rerouting a bus route. It had taken up 2 parking spaces and led to a confrontation. They were saying that there was no other way to reroute these buses but there was in fact a road but where the bus would end up stopping was by a place frequented by a couple of gangs so the bus company didn’t want to stop there. I happened to be down in Portsmouth at the time, in a vehicle with a trailer on it. When we came to the bank that the buses would have to drive up – it was a dirt track – we couldn’t get the vehicle with its trailer up there. We uncoupled the trailer and drove the vehicle up, then we pushed the trailer up. But one of the guys was standing there looking at me while I was pushing this trailer and not lending a hand at all. We coupled up the vehicle and drove off down this dirt track. At the end was a fuel station so we stopped for fuel. I was with Nerina by this time. She was pointing out some beautiful parts of the town that she could see. I said “it’s not like that at all, really. There are a few nice bits but the rest of it is just mundane”. She replied “you could come here and have your hospital treatment if you like”. I told her that I was happy with Leuven. She saw some other buildings that looked nice but I said that they were industrial ones. We had to go to see someone. We were on our way to him. It seemed to me that she was doing everything she could to slow down our arrival there. he had a couple of daughters who were also concerned in what we were doing. She said “we can see them after 20:00, can’t we, on our way home? And these other people we have to see, we can see them later too”. I had a feeling that the rate we were going on meant that we would never ever get to see anyone. It was just dragging on and on and on, this journey.

Finally, I’d been in Spain. I had been in France and I was flying down to Spain but somehow I’d ended up with a car to hire. A black Alfa Romeo saloon. In it I had all my affairs, everything. When I parked it in this street I was busy doing something and when I looked round, the car had gone. I had a look around but couldn’t see it anywhere. eventually I found a public telephone box by a Formula 1 hotel so I phoned the police. I dialled 11 (as in 112) but someone immediately answered. It was a private person and she couldn’t help me at all. A guy standing nearby who had heard what I waid told me that the number for the police was 22 so I dialled them and explained as best as I could what had happened. They left me hanging on the line for ages and ages and ages. A policeman at his desk nearby wondered what I was doing so I explained it to him. He said there’s nothing much we can do, is there? If the car’s gone, it’s gone”. I said “yes, but no-one has even taken the registration number, the details, my details, all this kind of thing. I thought that at least someone would have come down and taken the information”.

Tea tonight was pasta and veg in a vegan cheese sauce. I fancied something light that would fill me and would be easy to digest. And now I’m preparing myself to go to bed.

But before I do, I saw a video about the snowfall that they have just had in Ottawa, so I sent a message to my family and friends who live there.

But of course there is one person there to whom I would like to send a message to see if she’s OK but it’s probably not good idea to go raking around in the ashes of a fire that was extinguished rather dramatically all that time ago. But as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m a big believer in the sixth sense and so if I send the message via the power of thought backed by sufficient force of character. I’m convinced that she’ll receive it.

Keep the faith!

Tuesday 18th January 2022 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

… today that I haven’t done for months, if not for years and has brought back all of the bad memories of my time in that hostel in Leuven where I stayed for a while in 2016.

And that is that I went back to bed this afternoon and crashed out.

The day started off badly when either the alarms didn’t go off or I slept through them. And if the kids on their way to school hadn’t decided to make a noise outside my bedroom window I probably would still be in there now.

08:48 was late enough to leave my bed and I had to rush around and revise my Welsh ready for the lesson. And all the time wishing that I was back in bed.

The lesson was awful – I was totally out of everything and struggling to keep going.

When we finished I made my sandwiches and there wasn’t any improvement. But my jaw started to ache really painfully.

Back in my bedroom, I sat down to start work but for half an hour or so I couldn’t do anything. That was why I toddled off to bed. And there I lay until 18:45.

When I awoke I had a fever and a very sore throat that felt as if it was swollen. And I was aching just about everywhere too. A glass of hot blackcurrant with honey and lemon eased my throat a little for a while but the sore throat slowly returned.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too from during the night. This was something to do with a railway. Parts of it were being dug up and replaced by high-speed tracks so the line had gone from being one of the slowest to the fastest overnight. Someone was urging us on to be careful, of course to celebrate what was happening at the railway but it was just confusing for us where they had updated and where they hadn’t

At some point during the night someone had come up with a “Lord Of The Rings” gazetteer or encyclopaedia listing all of the characters, the number of times that they had appeared in the books, and very interesting personal remarks about them

This is the same one as earlier, about the book “Who’s Who In Lord of the Rings” or whatever. I seemed to have stepped right back into this dream where I had left off earlier. I had the book at home and was trying to read it but I was being distracted by all of this, by other people wanting to get their hands on it

I was at work last night and I started out by tidying my desk putting everything where I thought it ought to be. I managed to end up with a totally clear desk, everything put neatly, all the outstanding work put in files all ready to be worked on. I was thinking that i’d never ever had a desk like thins in my whole life. Someone else was busy tidying up as well. She was sorting out her music and ended up with a sampler of some group but it wouldn’t actually fit anywhere where it was supposed to. She was asking around about how she could get it to fit somewhere. I was thinking that the only other answer was to leave out another track of some other group but that really wasn’t the kind of answer that she was looking for. Then there was something about children. There was a pile of children that had to be sorted out as well. This was proving to be extremely difficult but I lost track of everything there. Later on there was a stream in some kind of situation with a couple of stone tablets in it. These stone tablets were electrified so if you were walking up and down this stream you had to jump over the tablets, making sure that you jumped well clear so that you didn’t end up in the water around them which was likely to be electrified as well

Right now I’m going to try to make some soup to see if I can eat it, and then I’m going back to bed. I’ve decided to place myself in quarantine for a week just in case I picked up something unwelcome on my voyage around Paris, so I won’t be going anywhere for a while.

Using a bit of the energy that remained I’ve done a quick inventory and I have enough food in here to keep going after a fashion for a while, and I even found an ancient leek and potato soup that I salvaged, defrosted and added a pile of vermicelli, and managed to eat it. It saved me making anything anyway.

Now with another mug of hot blackcurrant and lemon, I’m going to bed. Let’s see how I feel tomorrow.

Monday 10th January 2022 – NOT VERY MANY …

… photographs today. And you’ll find out why as you read on. It’s not been a very good day today. Not at all.

It started off quite well though. When the alarm went off at 06:00 this morning I was actually out of bed quite rapidly for a change. And after the medication and checking the mails and messages, I attacked the radio programme that I intended to do.

And despite a couple of breaks for coffee and for breakfast, It was all finished and up and running by 10:37. And it would have been finished even quicker had the final track that I had chosen been properly formatted.

In the end I had to re-record it and re-format it and that took a while. And had I thought on, I would have re-recorded the whole album because if one track is badly formatted, it follows that all of the others are too.

When I’d finished the programme and listened to it (and to the one that will be sent off later for broadcast this weekend) I went and had a shower and washed a load of clothes ready for my voyage to Leuven on Wednesday.

After lunch the nurse came round and gave me my injection of Aranesp following which I sorted out my papers ready for my walk up to the physiotherapist.

jade 3 loading with crane port de Granville harbour Manche harbour Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way down the hill into town I noticed that there was something happening down at the inner harbour.

If I am correct, the trawler down there is Jade III and there is somethign going on for which she needs the services of one of the dockside cranes.

It can’t be the nets because they are usually loaded from the rear, with the boats stern-on to the quayside, as we have seen on many occasions down there in the past. But this crane is being used on the side of the boat.

This afternoon I was rather late setting out for my appointment so I couldn’t loiter around. I had to push on quite rapidly. But I made it there in time.

And this is where my problems began. In the middle of an exercise my knee gave out again, just as it did that time in Paris, and I fell to the floor quite heavily. I didn’t have the strength to pull myself up, but luckily I was by the wall-bars so I could grab hold of something to help me to my feet.

But at least my physiotherapist had a really good view of what happened. She’s no longer in any doubt about the issues that I’m having. But it’s not boding well for my trip to Leuven on Wednesday.

Luckily, one of my neighbours was there at the same time as me, and he too was a witness to my little incident. He was here in his car so he offered to drive me home which was very kind of him.

Back here I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed outside for a wander around – and fell down the stairs as my knee gave way again. And so I didn’t go very far.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Nevertheless I struggled on across the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

It was rather later than usual, with having had to hang around somewhat for a lift, and so the tide was coming in quite rapidly. And there was no-one down there on the beach at all. The place was deserted.

The weather wasn’t actually all that bad. Although there was some rain in the air being blown around by the wind, it was quite warm for the time of year. In fact, this weather is unseasonably-warm. I don’t think that I’ve ever known a winter quite as mild as this one so far.

chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There had been some kind of activity at the chantier naval that I’d noticed earlier so I went for a closer look with the 70-300mm LENS

Gerlean is still there of course, but over on the right the skyjack has put in an appearance from out of the shed where it usually lives. It doesn’t look as if there’s any reason for it to have been brought outside – they usually only need it when they are working on one of the large trawlers.

But even more interestingly, they have a couple of vans with people in attendance over at the portable boat lift. It’s not been back in commission for a month yet but it’s already been under repair once and it looks as if it’s under repair yet again.

ch640361 nais ch638749 pescadore port de Granville harbour  Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, back in the inner harbour, most of the fishing boats that we had seen in there the other day now seem to have gone out to sea.

There’s Pescadore, the blue and black trawler that we saw in the chantier naval the other day, down there, and also one of the inshore shell-fishing boats too.

Luckily I could read her registration number from up here and now that I know where to access the index of French-registered fishing boats, I can tell you that she’s called Nais.

What with the leg giving me issues right now, I didn’t go any farther. I turned round and headed for home, with something of an undignified scramble up the stairs to my apartment.

Back here I made a coffee and came back in here to sit down, where I crashed out definitively. And to such an extent that I was seriously thinking of going back to bed at one point I felt so dreadful. And it’s been such a long time since I’ve felt even remotely like that. When I awoke, my coffee was stone-cold.

And once I recovered I had a listen to the dictaphone. I was staying last night in some weird hotel run by some Indians somewhere. He had only prepared part of my bill but I had to leave although I’d be back later. He hadn’t finished working out how much my evening meal was. I went out but when I returned he told me that Nina had been to see me. She’d turned up not long after I’d gone. There obviously wasn’t much that I could do about that. I waited for him to finish this bil for the meal. It was totally astronomical. He’d done things like because I was the only person there eating at that time he’d charged me the hourly rate of the 3 servers and the cook, that kind of thing. I had to pay their wages for an hour or so. Instead of paying something like £7 or £8 it was £70 or £80. I thought that it was absolutely astonishing. But whatever it was, he was busy explaining why he’d added this in, why he’d added that in and he never reached to point of telling me how much it was. No matter how much I asked him about this bill he still wouldn’t tell me how much it was. It was dragging on and on and on. I wanted him to get to the total but he was too busy with all of these explanations to tell me anything about how much I was going to have to pay at the end.

Tea tonight was taco rolls and rice with veg using the stuffing left over from Saturday. Tomorrow night’s tea will of course be a curry made of everything loitering in the fridge that needs to be eaten before I go off to Leuven.

That is, of course, if I go. With Covid being out of control it depends if there will be a train. And even if there is a train, it depends if I’m in any kind of state to travel there.

This is not going to be a good week for me to travel.

Saturday 8th January 2022 – THE LEAST SAID …

… about today, the better because it’s been one of those days that’s best forgotten.

In fact, it all went wrong before it even started, if you know what I mean. The alarm went off as usual at 07:30 and the next thing that I remember, it was 08:03. Yes, for the first time in ages, I’d gone back to sleep after the alarm. Definitely getting back into old habits.

So it was rather a rush this morning to have my medication and then have a shower and clean-up before dashing out to the shops.

Well, to Lidl anyway.

09:11 I’d set out, and at 09:58 I was back in the house. Mind you, it was hardly a surprise because there was nothing whatever going on anywhere. It was a wet, grey, dark, depressing morning, the ideal day to match my mood.

Back here I dictated the dictaphone notes from last night. And I was rather puzzled by one sound-file that ran for 57 minutes. “That must have been some voyage” I mused, only to find that it was 00:34 of me talking and the remaining 56:26 of me snoring. I’d drifted off back to sleep with the machine still running.

And apologies to Percy Penguin. She used to complain about me snoring during the night and I always denied it. Well …

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … apartment we’d come back on a ferry from somewhere in Europe. When we readhed the pier where we could disembark there were thousand upon thousand of us. We had to walk the length of this pier to reach the ferry terminal. Formerly there had been a train service between the ferry and the terminal. You could still see the railway station and the lines and an odd steam-train or two were going past crowded with people. We walked, and reached a T-junction where we had to turn left and ended up in the ferry terminal, suitcases, everything, hordes and thousands of people. I don’t know where it went from this but a little later there was an announcement on the radio that thousands of people were still stranded at the ferry terminal after 2 days. It looked as if we’d been there and there was no way for us to move on at the moment. Someone said something that he had arranged for a nurse to come to look after the disabled people so that their carers could have rest. It was all just total and utter chaos.

Also last night I was with one of my friends from Montreal for a while. We arranged to meet at some other time. She was living in Russia at the time so she suggested we meet and what I thought was today. I asked her where we would meet – I assumed that it would be half-way between the two -and she mentioned the name of a hotel somewhere in Kiev. I had a look on a map on the internet and found the hotel. It wasn’t too far from the railway station and in fact I’d driven past there once with her and she’d pointed it out to me. I wanted to know what time we were meeting so I rang her on her mobile number but had a recorded message something like “please don’t wake my dad, please don’t wake my dad”. I wondered what was happening because that was a long way to go, all the way to Kiev on the train from Brussels and not be met or not be picked up by anyone. I wanted some kind of more definite arrangements but she wasn’t answering her ‘phone.

As well as that I was out in Caliburn last night looking for the place where he would be MoT’d. It was a strange drive in some kind of strange village or town and then out into the countryside where I kept on being surrounded by sheep and i’m not really sure about that.

And just for a change I managed to save the text file without deleting it.

What else I’ve been doing today is to finish off that sound file that I had to re-edit. It wasn’t as easy as it might have been either because there was a lot of “bleeding over” between the channels so I had to be careful how I edited it and some of the stuff that I would have liked to have kept ended up having to go.

But at least it sounds more like something that it ought to do.

Going out for my afternoon walk wasn’t as easy as it ought to have been either.

When I went into the living room to gather up my stuff as I would usually do at the usual time, it was raining like rain that I had never seen and was as black as the ace of spades outside. There was no possibility of going for a walk in any of that.

rainstorm underneath door place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022About half an hour later it eased off so I decided to make a run – well, perhaps a crawl – for it.

And this is what has happened in the building. The rain has come down with so much force and with the wind being so strong, it’s blown all of the water underneath the front door and we’ve had a mini-flood on the ground floor.

Luckily though it’s not made it into any of the apartments down there, but now we know why there’s a kind-of step at the front door of the apartments down there if this is the kind of thing that happens on a regular basis.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Once I’d finally negotiated the entrance to the building I could go outside and see what was going on.

As I expected, the answer was “nothing at all”. There wasn’t a soul down on the beach which is no surprise given the weather that we had just had. Mind you, it was probably drier to actually go and sit in the sea.

With nothing else of any kind of note whatever happening, I pushed off towards the headland. The quicker I start, the quicker I finish.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was out there looking down onto the beach, I was also having a look around out at sea.

Not that I could see very much out there. It was rather like yesterday in that respect. There was another rainstorm circulating out there in the bay that was making life interesting for that small boat that was racing away from it towards the mainland.

Seeing the rainstorm was the cue for me to put my skates on. The wind was blowing it in my direction. I’d been caught in that downpour yesterday and I didn’t fancy another one. The sooner I return home the better

sunset brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However, as I walked on down the path, all on my tod, the sun suddenly and rather dramatically came out over the Brittany coast.

It looked pretty good in this photo but it became even better a little later when the heavy, dark cloud had moved completely away and was shining over the sea.

But I wasn’t to be lulled into a false sense of security by any of this. There might be sunshine over there but there was none of that here and the rainstorm was coming closer and closer.

The rain falls down upon the just
and on the unjust fella
but mostly on the just because
the unjust steals the just’s umbrella

french flag seafarers memorial pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022A little earlier, I’d mentioned the wind.

In fact, the wind was blowing quite strongly, although not as strongly as it had done when we had had the rainstorm. And you can see what damage the wind has been doing, because it’s shredded the French flag that flies above the monument to the departed seafarers.

And as you might expect, there was no-one else apart from me admiring it. Not even anyone down on the bench by the cabanon vauban, and that’s not a surprise to anyone at all.

waves harbour wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022So with nothing happening in the bay, I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

There was quite a wind and a turbulent sea but with the tide being well-out there were no waves breaking on the sea today. However, over on the wall that protects the port de plaisance we had some waves breaking there.

That’s the first time that I recall seeing the waves there. The wind must be blowing on the correct direction for that to happen. It’s probably quite a rare phenomenon.

Meanwhile, in other news, there was still Gerlean and Joly France in the chantier naval and the ferry terminal, but you are probably fed up of seeing them.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022In the inner port, we had most of the trawlers tied up. They haven’t gone out today.

They must be having a weekend off, or else the weather is too turbulent for even them to put out to sea this afternoon.

And so I made it back home where I was finally able to have my hot coffee. And then I sat down to pair of the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday but to my shame I fell asleep in the middle of doing it.

Not just for 5 or 10 minutes either but for well over an hour. A really deep sleep as well, the type that I haven’t had for several months. And that depressed me more than just about anything else.

When I awoke, the storm was back. And in spades too. A howling gale with driving rain. I’m glad that I went out when I did otherwise I would never have made it.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice, and now I’m off to bed. Although I’m not sure how I’ll sleep with the wind blowing tin cans around outside and the fact that I had such a good sleep this afternoon.

But it’s Sunday tomorrow and I’m having a lie-in. Rather like the CATALOGUE PRINCESS, APPRENTICE SEDUCTRESS, I seem to be spending most of my time praying “for endless Sundays” instead of performing ” to scattered shadows on the shattered cobbled aisles” of the streets of the old walled city at the back here.

Anyway, more of the same tomorrow.

Tuesday 4th January 2022 – IT LOOKS AS IF …

lorry trailer minidigger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… the work in the Rue st Michel might be finished

While I was on my way back from my afternoon walk I noticed the lorry parked up at the Porte St Jean. It was busy pulling a trailer on which was loaded the mini-digger and various other bits and pieces that I’d seen down at the Rue St Michel.

And then it drove off with the trailer behind it and disappeared down the road. I went back home for my coffee and a rest.

And I’m not sure why I needed a rest because for a change, I’d had one of the best nights’ sleep that I’ve had for ages. Although I couldn’t summon up the energy to go to bed anything like as early as I was hoping, I was out like a light and didn’t awaken until the alarm went off at 07:30.

Definitely the Sleep Of The Dead last night.

There had been plenty of time to go off for a wander around during. I was at a party last night, getting my cat ready to stay with someone. I was rolling up some paper into a ball for it to play with. I was talking to one of these young bespectacled boys who know everything. We were talking about the moon. he asked if we could see it from where I was standing. At first I couldn’t, and then I saw it through the trees. He said that there was a planet just to the right of it so why don’t we go outside and look at it?. I thought that I’d take my camera with me as well. He said something about something that was on it. As we were preparing to go 2 of my friends turned up. They said basically “you don’t want to go out and look at that thing. It’s dangerous, horrible. I said that I don’t understand that because this thing, whatever it is, is a natural phenomenon and grows on the moon. It’s nothing man-made and nothing dangerous to which they said “okay, yes, we’ll take your word for it” so I started to prepare myself to go outside to have a look at the moon and this planet that was right close to it.

There was something to do with aeroplanes last night. I can hardly remember anything about it now but it was to do with some kind of Curtiss high-wing monoplane of World War I and I ended up flying a modern equivalent with an enclosed cockpit. When I returned home I ended up having to go for a shower.

There was something about Sir Lancelot Spratt in there as well from the “Doctor In The House” series but I can’t remember very much about that either except that it concerned medical students being drunk as in one of the old radio episodes.

So no attractive, interesting or exciting young ladies again last night. Those two nights a few days ago have really knocked me out of my stride.

After the medication I sat down to prepare for my Welsh lesson, and to my surprise, also to fight offf a wave of sleep. But anyway, I prepared enough of the appropriate chapter so that the lesson passed without any drama.

After lunch I came back in here and spent a while fighting off sleep again and doing a few bits and pieces here and there when I could.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022When it came to the time for me to go out for my afternoon walk, I wasn’t feeling at all like it and had the strong wind been blowing the other way to send me back into the apartment I would have gone in quite happily.

But instead I made my way down to the end of the car park to look out over the beach. Plenty of beach there today and even more surprisingly, there were quite a few people down there.

They were running around on the beach heading out towards the water, although what they were going to do when they arrived there was anyone’s guess. So I left them to it and pushed off down the path, all on my own, which is just as well with 271,686 cases of infection today.

rainstorm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The wind was one of the strongest that we have had for a few weeks and for a change it was blowing from east to west.

And that was quite lucky because out at sea in the Baie de Granville there was a heavy rainstorm that was obscuring the Ile de Chausey, but the wind was blowing it away from me and out to sea. In fact, you could see plenty of puddles around on the path from earlier in the day.

No fishing boats out there that I could see either. They must be either in port or else far out at sea this afternoon, hiding in the rain squall.

So anyway I pushed off rather rapidly just in case the direction of the wind changed. And rather like the skink when the wind changed, “it’ll all come back to me now”.

peche a pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Nothing whatever happening down at the end of the headland this afternoon, or down on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

There was however plenty of action out on the rocks. Although the tide wasn’t as far out as it might be, there were still plenty of people out there at the peche à pied.

And we’ve already had all of the discussion about what pied they might be peching for, following the discovery of an old boot with the remains of a human foot in it not so long ago, so I’ll spare you any further discussion.

There was nothing else going on so I headed off down the path.

lorry with building material chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was walking down the path towards the port I saw an articulated lorry loaded with building material heading along the road.

It’s very, very rare to see such a lorry heading to the old walled town so I watched it for a minute or so, when it turned into the chantier naval, not without a great deal of difficulty.

“What’s going to be happening in there?” I asked myself, because I couldn’t see anything that would require a load like that, but the lorry simply did a u-turn, left the chantier naval and headed back into town again.

It looks as if he was looking for somewhere else and had taken the wrong turning. Maybe he’s loaded up with stuff that’s supposed to be going to Jersey on one of the small freighters.

pescadore la bavolette 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On arriving at the chantier naval I could see that there has been yet more activity down there since I last visited.

La Bavolette II is still down there up on the blocks along with Gerlean who hasn’t moved for a week or so, but we now have a new arrival. Although I can’t see her name or her registration number, her colour scheme suggests to me that she is in fact Pescadore who we have seen in there quite often.

And it’s good to see the chantier naval back working again. It was very quiet while the portable boat lift was under repair.

Nothing much else happening down in the outer port with the tide being well out, so I wandered off towards home and my coffee.

lorry porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Rue st Jean I came across the lorry that I mentioned earlier.

And seeing it loaded up ready for moving off gave me the idea that tomorrow on my way to the doctor’s, if I remember I’ll go that way and look at what they have been doing and what the finished result will be.

Back home I had my coffee and then came back in here. And to my shame, I crashed out good and proper, just as I used to do a few months ago and which I thought that I’d passed through.

How disappointed am I that I’ve slipped back into my old habits just as I thought that I was improving.

Tea was some veggie balls with steamed veg with vegan cheese sauce and it was totally delicious. I really enjoyed that meal.

But right now I’m off to bed. I’m not tired, having had a really good sleep this afternoon, but I have to show willing. It’s high time that I cracked on with some work.

Monday 6th December 2021 – THE PECHE À PIED

jullouville baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… has taken on a whole new significance today, judging by the news that’s currently doing the rounds.

A couple of people who were over there at Jullouville looking among the rocks for crabs came across an old boot instead. And in it were the remains of a human foot.

There are of course all kinds of wrecks out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel – fishing boats, aircraft, pleasure craft and so on – and many people have been lost there, especially during the fighting in June and July 1944.

What has quite possibly happened is that Storm Arwen has disturbed an old wreck that still has human remains on board and the boot has floated free.

But it seems that from now on, when one is mentioning the peche à pied one will have to specify to which pied one is actually referring.

This morning at 06:00 when the alarm went off I had a struggle to take to my feet. But once the medication had been taken and the mails and messages checked, I cracked on with the two radio programmes that I needed to prepare, with the aid of a mug of strong coffee.

It took me much longer than I reckoned too, knocking off as finished at 13:15, but that was having had quite a chat on the internet with Liz who was on line.

What else didn’t help was that I couldn’t find a suitable ending-track for my Christmas programme. In the end I had to find one that would do, stretch out the speech that went with it and lengthen a few pauses and in the end it fitted quite nicely.

As for the other radio programme on which I was working went together quite happily

After lunch I had a quick clean-up and then headed off to the physiotherapist.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Outside it was grey and miserable and threatening rain.

On the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard des Terreneuviers I could look down on the fish processing plant. There weren’t any boats down there of course – the tide is well-out right now – but there is a refrigerated lorry and several freezer vans parked down there.

There must be plenty of fishing boats out at sea right now and they will be due back on the early evening tide, when the vehicles down there will take away the catch.

Yesterday while we were out on our travels we noticed that there were no longer any boats moored up at the ferry terminal in the tidal harbour.

joly france belle france chausiaise victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021They have all now come into the inner harbour so that would seem to indicate that they have no plans to go to sea in the immediate future.

The three that are moored together in the foreground are the brand-new Belle France nearest the quayside, with the newer of the two Joly France ferries, the one with the smaller upper-deck superstructure next to her. On the outside is the little freighter Chausiaise.

Over at the back on the right are the two Channel island ferries – Victor Hugo on the outside and Granville on the inside moored against the quayside.

repointing wall Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Further on down the road I had a look at what was going on with the pointing at the Rampe du Monte à Regret.

They seem to be making good progress with it, but my attention was drawn to the two guys on the scaffold – the one in the red jacket and the other in the fluorescent jacket.

Judging by the way that they are standing around doing very little and pretending to inspect the work, they look very much like site managers to me.

With the steps being closed off I had to walk down the Rue des Juifs and go through the town that way to my appointment

Today she had me do five minutes on the cross trainer and the rest of the time was spent doing kinetic exercises. And I’m dismayed at how much I seem to have been affected by whatever it is that is going on with my body right now.

Much of my co-ordination and balance has gone completely and I don’t have the power in my knees to stand up from a sitting position without using my hands.

Anyway, after half an hour she threw me out and judging by the state of the pavement I’d just missed a torrential downpour..

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2112/21120044.html”>christmas decorations rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021On the way up to the physiotherapist I’d noticed that the decorations in the Rue Couraye have … errr … evolved.

We now have candy-striped pillars placed over all of the bollards on the edge of the kerb. They have signs on them indicating the nature of the shops alongside.

Dark though it was right now, the Christmas lights weren’t yet illuminated. I can see that i’m going to have to come down later in the evening one night and see how they look, in the hope that they are better than they have been in previous years.

For some reason, I don’t seem to have the same enthusiasm that I had in previous years.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Halfway up the Rue des Juifs I stopped at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

Not because I was out of breath and not because of anything that was going on in the port either but there was another beautiful sunset out there in the Baie de Granville. This was far too good to miss. It really was quite impressive.

Before I set out earlier I put a can of energy drink into my bag with the idea that if I needed it I could drink it on the way home but I totally forgot about it. I might not be feeling enthusiastic but at least I’m feeling a little more fit than I was three months ago.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Before going back into my building I went over to have a look down onto the beach.

There’s plenty of beach down there just now, but there wasn’t anyone down there on it. That’s not really a surprise because it was quite windy, going dark and threatening rain.

Back in the apartment I had a nice hot coffee and then transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night. I’d had quite a busy night by the looks of things. and there was plenty to transcribe.

There were quite a few entries from the last few days too but you’ll have to wait for tomorrow to read those.

Anyway, last night I was at the cinema. I’d gone to see some rock concert or other that was taking place there. I mentioned to someone that I was going and he said that his younger sister was going as well. I turned up at this cinema and took a seat. When I looked round, there was a young girl there waving at me. I said “hello”. I thought to myself “is this that girl?” because when I looked around again there was another girl waving at me who looked pretty much identical. I couldn’t work out who was who and I couldn’t remember her name. As usual I was tying myself up in a knot about “should I go and sit next to her and so on? What if it was the wrong girl?”. The usual kind of confused state that I find myself in at times. Then the lights went out and we had the immediate “get your hand off my leg” comment that used to go around the cinemas in Crewe in those days when the lights went off, which always of course caused a lot of laughter. When I looked around though, both the girls had disappeared off somewhere. Here was yet another situation that I’d let slip through my fingers because I was being far too indecisive. The story of my life, isn’t it?

And I wish that I knew who the girl was too. Although seeing as I let her slip through my fingers like that, maybe it’s better that I don’t know, to avoid any disappointment.

Later on I was going out that night and I needed a new jacket to wear to make myself look smart (it’ll take more than a jacket to do that of course) so I went off to a shop that I normally use. I’d had a look round on the upper floors at a few different kinds of things but no jackets. I’d taken off my jacket and hung it on a peg while I was doing that. I then went downstairs to look at the men’s clothing. There were lots of other interesting things down there as well. When I arrived downstairs there was only the men’s clothing section open. The rest was all closed off as if they were remodelling the shop. They were busy hanging clothes onto hooks from behind the blanking-off thing that they were doing. There was a TV there with a load of men there watching the TV. I thought that they had probably been dumped by their wives who had then gone off to do the shopping somewhere else. Before I could look for a jacket I awoke.

Later still Nerina and I had had an argument in Germany somewhere on holiday and she had stormed off. I was walking the streets – it was 00:30 – wondering whether I should go back to the hotel room. As I was walking down the street a car pulled up. A man got out with a little girl about 7 or 8. She walked past me and said “here’s your computer mouse. I got on my bed and it fell off so I put it on the floor and here it is”. I took my computer mouse and was still wondering what to do. Somewhere somehow it turned out that Nerina had gone and my car had gone as well. I was stranded in Germany. I ended up with something like a Bella estate that I had managed to find. I was with that car and with Linda from Portugal (and here’s someone from a very distant past making her debut in my nocturnal rambles) but I’m not sure at all about where this bit with the Bella estate fitted in. I was in Stoke on Trent by this time

Finally I was having to negotiate my passage through the country that had formerly ruled the place where I live. I suspected that it wasn’t going to be easy. We set off and reached the border. I’d built some kind of big snowball or snowman and behind it were hiding several other men. I was discussing with them the plan that we’d go as far as the border and maybe go across. There would be a lot of bloodshed. They asked “what after that?”. I replied “I don’t know after that”.

The early start and the exercise at the physiotherapist’s had worn me out today and what with my early start on Sunday, I ended up drifting away for 20 minutes or so. That was rather a disappointment because I’ve been trying to avoid that for the last couple of months.

Tea was taco rolls with the left-over stuffing from Saturday evening lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans. And it’s even more delicious after marinading for a couple of days.

But now I’m off to bed. It’s early but I’m exhausted and I have my Welsh lesson tomorrow. There can’t be many left now before we break for Christmas. With my cookery lesson on Friday I have plenty of notes to review tomorrow so I need to be at my best.