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Thursday 2nd June 2022 – WELL THAT WAS A …

folk club nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022 … complete waste of time, that was.

Someone had told me about a folk club that takes place at a bar in the countryside about 25 miles away but its meetings usually coincide when I’m in Leuven. With not going to Leuven this month, I decided that I’d go along this evening and see what happens.

And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’ve been working out a little basic acoustic set so I can contribute something to the evening.

But when I arrived, no-one said “hello” and no-one spoke to me. I tried to engage a few people in conversation but they just cut me dead.

No-one asked me if I wanted to sing or to play an instrument but people who came in after me and who were clearly “known” to the organisers were dragged up onto the stage to do something.

In the past I’ve been ignored by a far better class of person than anyone whom I’d be likely to meet at an event like this so after an hour I paid for my coffee and headed for home, thinking that there are many more things that I can be doing that would be far more exciting than sitting around like Piffy on a rock hoping that someone might condescend to talk to me.

But at least I can forget about the acoustic guitar now and concentrate on the bass for the next 4 weeks. There aren’t any more incestuous events like this one to attend for a while.

What puzzles me though is that usually, people only start to ignore me once they know me and find out about me. It’s quite rare for me to be ignored before someone has even found out anything about me. My reputation must be spreading wider than I realise.

Anyway, today, this is the first time for quite a while, I haven’t crashed out during the day at all. And actually, I didn’t go anywhere during the night either. I wonder if by any chance the two events are connected.

But it certainly was something of a tempestuous night. If only it had been one where I had managed to sleep all the way through I would have felt so much better. But beggars can’t be choosers.

After the medication I had a play around with this music list that I’d been sent and thanks to Grahame who solved the mystery of the “H” chord things seemed to work much easier. But there are one or two songs that I don’t recognise at all and I can’t find anything that might resemble them either, so this is going to be a long job.

But then I had another couple of runs through the acoustic list to see how that was doing. But I’m having problems remembering the chord sequences. Two things happen when you reach my age – the first is that you forget absolutely everything. As for the second thing – I can’t remember what that is.

Before lunch I spend an hour writing about “Food” for my Welsh revision. I need to keep that going.

After lunch I had to complete my tax return. Half the stuff was missing and I had to resort to a few ingenious downloads. And then the printer ran out of ink and I had to hunt down a spare ink cartridge

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022When I’d finally collected everything together I headed off to town to post it off.

First place to stop was at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to make sure that the NIKON D500 was working and to see what was happening in the port.

And the answer was “nothing”. There wasn’t even one fishing boat moored at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon.

PLenty of vehicles around at the fish processing plant though. It looks as if they are expecting a good catch this afternoon.

cabin cruiser catamaran chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022With having the big Nikon I could have a much better view of the chantier naval fron here than I ordinarily would with the NIKON 1 J5.

And the big luxury cabin cruiser that we’ve seen for the last few days has a companion in there this afternoon. There’s a catamaran moored in there now receiving attention.

The tide is quite far out this afternoon so there wasn’t anything loitering around in the bay or just outside the harbour so I headed off down into town towards the Post Office to post my tax return and the Bank to pay in my pension cheque for the last couple of months.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022The other day I mentioned that Victor Hugo, one of the Channel Island ferries, had been tied up in port for as long as I could remember even though the ferry service officially restarted about a month ago.

It goes without saying that having committed that to print, she’s no longer there this afternoon. In fact, I heard that she arrived in St Helier round about the time that I was staring at her empty berth.

Down in the town I had to wait a while in a queue at the Post Office and then I was only just in time to make the bank to pay in my cheque. So “spend! spend! spend!” hey?

marquee port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022The climb back up the hill was real agony and I’m wondering if my blood count has collapsed. I remember being this ill trying to chop down a tree just before I was carried off to hospital.

On one of my pauses for breath I had a look across the port and noticed this marquee. I haven’t see that before, so I wonder what’s going on that requires a marquee like that. I haven’t seen anything in the local newspaper about it.

But whatever it might be, it’s going to be pretty impressive with a marquee like that.

As for the boats, we can make out the dark blue and white Charles Marie and behind her, the little Courrier des Iles.

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While we’re on the subject of boats … “well, one of us is” – edMarité is back in port.

She’s been away for several days on a voyage. I don’t know where though because I’m not really all that interested. I love the ship of course but it’s her personnel that get on my wick.

Anything you want to know, go down and ask them and they drudgingly stop chatting amongst themselves long enough to say “it’s all on the internet” and then carry on ignoring you.

In fact, that seems to be the way of the world right now. Customer service has gone right out of the window and “it’s all on the internet”. No-one wants to help you any more.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022The rest of the climb up the hill was agony but even so I went to see what was going on down on the beach.

It was trying to rain so there weren’t too many people down there at all. There was just this couple, as far as I could see.

Back here I had a coffee and then learnt all about “Food” for my Welsh revision. They I printed off a few of the songs that I’ve added to my playlist just recently and collected my things together.

A brief stop to buy some diesel and then we drove out to Nicorps – and then drove back.

So that was that. Not a very good day but if you want to find a prince you have to kiss a lot of frogs. I think that I shall just have to accept the fact that I’m not a “people” person and I’m far better off as a hermit. Maybe I should go back to live in the Auvergne.

Friday 18th March 2022 – AFTER ALL …

filming at civic rooms place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… the excitement of yesterday, there’s been even more today.

Unfortunately not quite of the same calibre, but nevertheless it beats the monotony. Especially when they lay down a red carpet at the Communal Rooms at the back of my apartment and set up a film camera to film whatever was going to make use of it.

Whatever or whoever it was, though, I’m not able to say. I had to go out to the Post Office before it closed and so I missed it.

If we’re lucky, there will be something in the newspapers tomorrow, but I’m not all that hopeful. There wasn’t a word about what the Dassault Falcon was doing yesterday.

fire brigade rue des juifs burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022At that wasn’t everything either.

This afternoon it looked as if it was the local Fire Brigade’s annual outing. There they were, complete with vehicles, standing around and chatting, looking up at the ruins of the houses that were devastated in the fire.

While we’re on the subject of “devastated” … “well, one of us is” – ed … I was pretty devastated this morning.

It ended up being a much later night than I was expecting or hoping, and when the alarm went off at 07:30 I switched it off and … err .. went back to sleep. But it wasn’t as bad as yesterday. I managed to make it out of bed a good few minutes before the second alarm.

Not all that much on the dictaphone through the night either. I must have had something of a decent sleep. I was out somewhere last night on the road that runs between Newcastle and Shrewsbury. I don’t know where I’d been but I ended up down some kind of side road somewhere. I stopped and I’d had a piece of cake and a coffee, standing in the middle of this farm track drinking it and eating the cake while the farmer was driving around in his tractor somewhere. Something had gone wrong but I can’t remember what it was. I looked at the time and I thought “God! I only have 20 minutes to get to work!”. I thought that I’d never reach work on time at all from here because I’m on foot. I put down my mug and plate down in the middle of this track and walked down to the main road thinking that I’d hitch a lift. I walked back towards the road junction that would take me to Crewe which was 4 miles away. First of all a bunch of school kids went past, then an old Austin A40 Somerset followed by an old BMC lorry. I then found myself in this village As I walked through this village I thought that I’d never seen such a village. I didn’t know that there was a village like this on this road and I know it so well. By now I was in Caliburn and. There was some road work in the town centre. Everything was being dug up. There were rocks being cut up with a disc cutter. They were even dynamiting small small rocks. I was just driving over everything, machinery, the lot in Caliburn. Some guy was even putting his feet against the glass windows to stop them vibrating when the dynamite went off.. There was this really sharp U-bend by an expensive estate agent’s. I thought that things were becoming really bad. Some woman went past and said “you’re going to be terribly late for work. It’s 2 days running for me that I’ve had to call in with car problems”. I was back in Caliburn again and came across an auto-electrician. I drove into his workshop. I had to straighten a carpet. A guy came over so I asked him to go to listen to the starter while I turned the engine so he could see if there was a problem with the starter.

Later on I was out near Tarporley in a small village … “Tiverton;” – ed. I bumped into a girl whom I knew but I can’t remember who she was. She had curly ginger hair and I don’t know a girl like that in real life. She was telling me about a family whom I knew who lived by the traffic lights at the Rising Sun. She was saying that they’d all cashed in their chips, sold up and moved on. I asked if she knew where they had gone. She told me of a couple of them but there was one whom she didn’t know. She mentioned his name and I knew the name. He’d gone to Toronto. She said “yes, I remember now. He’s bought a racehorse”. I looked surprised and asked “what’s he doing with a racehorse?”. She didn’t actually know. In the end she said something like “if you’re going to take a chance on buying an unknown racehorse for £1:00 or something you’d buy it from a member of your own family rather than from a complete stranger” but she couldn’t see the purpose of this racehorse. I asked her if it was identical to any others that he owned because there’s always the old “run a slower identical horse in a few races to build up a bad reputation then switch the real one in for an important race once the other one has a bad name”. She said “no, it’s not at all like (she mentioned the name of another horse)” so I thought that perhaps it might be an identical horse or something where in this case this one might be slower. I was about to ask her the question when the alarm went off.

After the medication and transcribing the dictaphone notes, I spent most of the rest of the morning working on the photos from the High Arctic in August 2019. We’re now back on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR after our little walk around Qikiqtarjuaq.

That was where Dennis Minty and I bumped into a local Royal Canadian Mounted Police “Mountie” who gave us a lift in his pickup up to the top of a mountain on the island where we took some superb photos which you will see in due course.

After lunch I had a letter to write. It’s the reply to one that’s been hanging around here for quite a few months and someone somewhere is probably wondering if I’ve died.

“Snail mail” has all but died out for personal purposes but I still have the odd (and I use the term advisedly) technophobe friend who writes letters. Unfortunately, just like me, she has had a hand injury and so I have a great deal of difficulty reading her writing just like people have difficulty in reading mine, and it’s not easy to decipher it.

But anyway, it was eventually ready and in a mad fit of enthusiasm which has sprung up from heaven alone knows where, I actually set off to post it.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to check the camera and see what was happening down below.

As you can see, the tide is right out at the moment. It’ll be a while before it’s back in today. But there doesn’t seem to be anyone taking advantage of it and going for a bit of the peche à pied.

And if there’s anything going on at the Ile de Chausey this afternoon, they aren’t doing it aboard the Joly France ferries.

There’s one moored up over there at the ferry terminal in the NAABSA (Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground) position, and the other two are moored up in the inner harbour along with Chausiaise

charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As well as the Ile de Chausey boats in the inner harbour, there’s plenty of other stuff too.

One of the boats here is Charles Marie. We’ve been keeping an eye on her over the last couple of weeks while she was being serviced in the chantier naval but now she must be ready for the sea.

There was a trawler parked in the chantier naval where she was, but I couldn’t see who she was. I’ll go for a wander out that way tomorrow and find out more about her.

And by the looks of things, La Granvillaise wasn’t there either. She must have gone back into the water but she isn’t around in the harbour so I wonder where she’s gone.

There are tons of the containers in which they stack the sacks of shellfish over there on the quayside. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many.

road works abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Dodging the pompiers who were having their meeting on the pavement, I carried on down the hill to the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

The freight was still there but what caught my eye was the lorry and the digger over there on the track of the old abandoned railway.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw them working on the far end of that track in the town centre. They seem to have made rapid progress.

Down in the town I made rapid progress to the Post Office to post my letter. And then I went off to the Credit Agricole. I’ve received a cheque in respect of my Belgian State Pension but I dont now why. Anyway it has to be paid in to my account.

Now what can I do with €60:45? Spend! Spend! Spend! I suppose.

road works abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Walking back into the town centre on my way home I had a quick peek down where the old abandoned railway ran to see how they were doing.

And by the looks of things, they don’t seem to be doing a great deal. They have a compactor down there (which was more than they had on the 1800 miles of the TRANS LABRADOR HIGHWAY IN 2010 but the road surface doesn’t look much different than it did before they started.

And I’m half-expecting one of those boys to end up like an Austin Powers henchman if he isn’t careful. I suppose that the other boy there would refer to his friend as his “flatmate”.

I’ll get my coat.

So having dome my tasks for the day I set off up the hill for home, feeling rather pleased that I’d actually finished a couple of tasks.

Maybe it is these pills that are giving me energy, I dunno, but sometimes I really think that they could give you absolutely anything, tell you what the imaginary effects will be, and then you psyche yourself up to believe them.

kite surfers people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went back inside I went to see what was happening down on the beach outside my building.

Today was a really glorious May day today, really warm, but with a strong wind. And so while there were no Nazguls about, there were a couple of people down there kitesurfing. And having a really good time doing it by the looks of things.

Plenty of people walking around on the beach too having a good time. I don’t know where they have all come from.

One of my neighbours was outside the building too, soaking up the rays. he and I had a good chat before I came in for a coffee.

Later on, I had another session on the guitar. I seem to have rekindled my enthusiasm, having done very little since I fell into this depression several months ago. I quite enjoyed it too, although i’m dismayed at how much of my technique I’ve lost.

Tea was a quick falafel from out of the freezer with pasta and veg because there was football on the internet. Y Bala v Penybont in the first of the Welsh Cup Semi-finals.

And for a match then ended 0-0, this was probably one of the best and most exciting that I’ve seen in a long while. Both teams have star players but they managed to checkmate each other at every turn as the game roared from end to end for the whole 90 minutes. It’s a shame that there aren’t more games like this.

So bedtime now. I’m shopping tomorrow and then I’m going to try to do some exciting stuff. What, I’m not quite sure yet.

Who knows? I might do something wild, like take more rubbish out to the bins.

Wednesday 5th January 2022 – REGULAR READERS …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 12th October 2021 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… today, no-one bothered me at all. I had quite a calm day today wthout having to deal with reams of phone calls, people having fits of hysteria an dall that kind of nonsense.

Last night’s sleep wasn’t as good as it might have been either. It was another one of these nights when I was tossing and turning around in bed.

Tons of stuff on the dictaphone too.

I was the owner of a helicopter last night and something had happened that meant that I was in a lot of financial difficulties over it. Some big company was trying to squeeze me out and had been serving writs and summonses on me that I’d been fighting off, not receiving and refusing to receive and so on. eventually I had to go somewhere in my helicopter and ran out of fuel and had to put down on the North European coast somewhere. So I had to land and somehow found my way back to my base but there was no food to eat or anything like that. There was a girl and a guy eating some stuff so I went to fetch their plates to wash them up but they hadn’t finished. They were playing some kind of game with a couple of cats.

There was something about a girl probably 13 or 14 driving around in an America sports car, probably in his 20s. She was clowning around in the car as if she owned it. They were just driving around like they used to do in the old days and generally showing herself off to everyone in this car.

I was in Shavington last night and they had organised a football team and it was playing friendlies. The first match that they played, they lost 2-0 and were getting ready on Sunday to play another match. They were discussing the teams, who was playing and who wasn’t, what position. I was thinking that it was a shame that they hadn’t done this a few years ago. Then a group of us headed back to the house. I was bringing back some things that I’d discovered in an old cellar. We bumped into a woman and her daughter. The daughter was on a scooter and were chatting away. The woman with me (I don’t know who it was) said “when we get back to the house I’d better get a cardboard box to put this girl’s present in. She was in fact 21 even though she only looked 13 or something. To descend into the cellar was a complicated thing. We had to move a metal grille with a pile of paper on it so this woman could go down there and get a box. half of the stuff on top of this box fell down and it was all generally confusing.

Later on my mother was going berserk about some photos that had been taken of the surrounding buildings. I had a close look at it but some of them I didn’t recognise although it was my camera. It looked to me as if someone else had been taking the photos so I was rather annoyed about this. as I tried to look my mother told me to stop wasting my time and not to bother looking through them because that was her decision anyway so I went for a walk. It turned out to be in Sandbach. I had a walk round, initially to have a look at these buildings but I don’t know what happened. I was eventually caught up in the kids coming out from school. The girls from the Grammar School were wearing big cloaks and just red tartan-coloured knickers, that’s all that they were wearing. Of course they were flirting around with a few boys, that sort of thing while they were doing it.

There was a lie-in until 07:30, which seems to be the start time these days, I had my medication, checked my mails and messages and then started to revise my Welsh ready for my lesson.

That started at 11:00 and went on until 01:30 without any problems although I made one or two simple errors that were rather embarrassing.

After lunch I had some correspondence to deal with and then I set out for town.

sailing school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down on the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury, there’s a good view looking out over the harbour.

This afternoon, the sailing schools were out having fun this afternoon. It was a little cool and windy, but a nice sunny day so I suppose that it was the ideal kind of weather for them to be afloat out there.

Down in the harbour itself there wasn’t very much happening at all. everything seemed to be exactly as it was when we saw it yesterday afternoon.

dumper depositing sand in skip boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There was however something goin on down at the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

A dumper had turned up with a load of sand and was busy tipping it onto a container that has turned up today.

When the dumper left, I followed its course and I can now tell you that this compound and the associated machinery are here in connection with the work that we saw the other day in the Rue Cambernon.

At least, that was where it was heading when I lost sight of it.

dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further down the hill I came to the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

There’s something having been going on down there because the dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie has shuffled round a little and all of the pipes seem to have moved somewhat.

The number of pipes doesn’t seem to have diminished any, though. I wonder when they are going to start doing something with them. The dredger has been here for a couple of weeks and someone must be paying a rental for that.

First stop was at the Health Centre. My doctor had told me that a new cardiac specialist had set up shop there so I went to try and blag an appointment with him, taking with me the letter that my doctor had given me.

Unfortunately the receptionist was rather intransigent but I did manage to coax the doctor’s phone number from her.

Next stop was at the bank. I’d had my cheque for the last three months of my state pension from Belgium, and it needed to be paid in. Now, where can I go with €90:18?

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I only worked for about 11 months in the Belgian State Pension Scheme, back in 2005/06.

Final port of call was at the Post Office. I’ve had the estimate for the repair of the NIKON 1 J5 and it’s less that I was expecting. I needed to authorise the work and, more importantly, to pay the bill.

The way back home up the hill passed much more easily that it has done of late and I’ve no idea why that is either. It wasn’t anything like the struggle that it was a couple of weeks ago, although it’s still a long way short of how it was 18 months ago.

buddy m port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Back at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour we could see that Buddy M, the trawler from Cork, is still there.

She’s been here a few weeks now having her overhaul, and I’ve noticed over the last couple of days that there has been a white van parked by her. maybe that can belongs to the mechanics.

From there I carried on up the hill, rather more easily, heading for my apartment and a cup of coffee. I felt that I had earned it this afternoon.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Outside the apartment there was one of my neighbours so I went over and had a chat, grabbing a photograph of a Birdman of Alcatraz on my way.

Shortly afterwards, another neighbour came over and then a third, ans we were gossiping away like a bunch of old women for about half an hour.

Most of the topic centred around the garden outside the building. There’s been a proposal for the occupiers of the building to do something with it, like plant flowers and the like. Not that it affects me in any way as I won’t be taking part, but I can’t be unsociable all my life..

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Once everyone drifted away from the conversation I walked over to the wall at the end of the car park to look down onto the beach.

And pleasant day thatit was, there wasn’t anyone down there at all, even though there was plenty of beach to be on right now. Even the Birdmen of Alcatraz had folded up their wings and departed.

There were a few boats out there in the bay, but they were even farther out that usual so taking a photo would have been pretty much a waste of time.

people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021But one thing that I did notice was a couple of people out on the rocks further around the beach.

They had piled up some of their clothing down there and had gone for a little paddle in the water. I hope that they were enjoying it.

Back in the apartment I made a coffee and then sat down to telephone the heart specialist. After much debate and discussion they eventually managed to fit me in on Monday 25th October – at 08:00.

That’s going to be some appointment, at that time of the morning.

Tea was pasta and veggie balls again in spicy tomato sauce – more spicy that normal because I dropped the tabasco sauce into the mix. But apart from that it was nice.

Now I’m off to bed, later than I would have liked, because I’m up at 06:00 tomorrow. I’m off to Leuven on the 08:45 train for a long day’s travel and I’m no good if I’m half asleep.

Friday 1st October 2021 – I’VE HAD AN EXCITING …

… day today. So much so that I’ve hardly done a thing of what I’m supposed to be doing.

It wasn’t very exciting at first though. The first job that I had to tackle was to get my entry from last night on line.

For some reason, access to my web host timed out last night every time I tried to access it, and in the end I gave it up as a bad job and went to bed.

The night was better than some that I’ve had just recently although I wasn’t too happy about being wide-awake at 06:40.

Nevertheless I waiting until the alarm went off, had my medication and then came in here to tackle a few tasks.

The web-host was still timing out and even clearing the cache and cookies on the (four!) different browsers that I use didn’t make things any better.

However I do have another browser that I don’t use too often, and for a variety of reasons too, but its big advantage (which at times is a big disadvantage) is that it automatically erases your browser history, cache and cookies and everything else on closedown.

On trying that, it worked perfectly (given its limitations) and I was able to upload the journal entry.

Then I had a rather onerous task to perform. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I was having some kind of issues about an insurance policy that I believed that I had and that other people disagreed.

Searching around in the apartment (and thank heavens that I have most of my papers filed neatly) I found exactly what I was looking for, so I sat down and wrote two letters.

Incendiary letters – the type that blister the paint off the walls of the office where they are opened – are two-a-penny around here, but the two I wrote today will probably beat most of those. And they were written in French too.

They will certainly provoke a reaction, although whether it will be the reaction that I want remains to be seen.

Writing those took much longer that it ought to have done because Rosemary rang me – not once but twice. She’s having difficulty dealing with a French administrative issue but because I can’t go into the site, I was unable to help her.

As a result, it was lunchtime by the time that I’d finished .

After lunch I had a shower (and my weight is now down to the lowest that it’s been for a good seven or eight months) and then headed off towards town.

baie de mont st michel joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down on the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne I stopped to have a look down into the harbour.

From here, I could see that they are up to their antics with the crane again. Parked up, fully extended like that, at the worst possible angle for it to be. All of the weight on the arm pressing down on the hydraulic seals. They won’t last for long.

Down there underneath the crane moored at the ferry terminal is one of the Joly France boats. The older one of the two with the larger upper deck superstructure and windows in “landscape” format.

dredger chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was here, I had a look down towards the chantier naval to see what was happening in there today.

No boats as yet, but there’s a much better view of the dredger that arrived here at the end of last week. And it’s definitely a dredger too, I reckon. We can see the grab quite clearly, and the pipework that discharges the waste water that the grab might pick up.

But when is she going to go into the water? And more importantly, where? They must have some task lined up for her now that she’s here, and I wonder what it’s going to be.

Time will tell.

belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021So from there I wandered off down the hill towards town.

For a change, moored up underneath the crane is Belle France – the new ferry for the Ile de Chausey that arrived here in the summer. She won’t be loading, of course, so I imagine that she’s just parked there waiting for a more permanent mooring.

Into town, I went to the Post Office and posted my letters. Recorded delivery with registered receipt. I’m taking no chances. Mind you, I did include the bill for the postage and my time when I wrote the letters.

Whether the recipients will pay me, I really have no idea and I doubt it very much, but at least it’s a menacing gesture.

The walk up to the physiotherapist wasn’t quite as exhausting as it has been. He put me for 20 minutes on this tilting platform thing and we went through several exercises to strengthen my knees.

Finally, he put me on this cross trainer thing and I managed to push my personal best up to 3:05 which is pretty good. Even more surprisingly, when I had a second go after catching my breath, I was so busy talking that I went well over 2 minutes without even noticing.

After he threw me out, I headed for home via the steps down to the Parc Du Val Es Fleurs.

soil parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There wasn’t a weird collection of signs at the bottom of the steps this afternoon.

Instead of the signs, we now have a huge pile or two of soil now deposited at the end of the car park where they had set up their little compound, with the signs hidden somewhere behind it.

It looks as if the renovations are progressing quite rapidly. That pile of earth wasn’t there last week, and this week, some of it has been removed already and presumably scattered about somewhere over the course of the work

digger on abandoned railway line parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And as for this beast here, I wonder if he’s the machine that moved it.

He was sitting on the abandoned railway line a short distance down from where everything was happening looking as if he was waiting for a signal from someone to go and do something else.

There was a driver in it and the engine was ticking over too, so he was clearly up to some kind of work.

But I didn’t wait to see. I continued on my way down past the Primary School to the corner of the Rue du Boscq.

parc des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down at the end of the road on the corner by the Rue du Boscq I asked myself if this is where the big pile of soil is going.

After all, they seem to have just about everything else here – piles of gravel, piles of sand, and that looks like soil down there right by the yellow digger.

At the moment this all looks like quite a mess but then it wasn’t actually very pretty here before the work started. It was a rather sad place. And so I’m looking forward to see how it develops over the next few months.

It has to be an improvement on how it used to be.

new roadway construction rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The reverse angle shot from where I was taking the previous photo already shows signs of dramatic improvement.

Over the past few weeks we’ve seen the Rue du Boscq in all kinds of different states but right now we can actually see signs of progress. The stones are all down by the looks of things and there’s just a little bit of building up to be done before they add the tarmac.

Last time I photographed this, with the grader and the compacter here, I made some kind of remark about the Trans-Labrador Highway. If this had been Labrador, all of the construction crews would have been long-gone by now and they would be running heavy lorries on it already.

filling road markers with water rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down at the far end of the roadworks there’s quite a bit of excitement going on right now.

They are obviously expecting a storm here this weekend, because being carried on that digger is a pallet tank of 1,000 litres of water and the guy in the red fluorescent jacket is opening the tap and filling the red and white road markers with water, presumably to weigh them down.

Of course, for an extremely complicated job like that, there had to be a supervisor, doesn’t there?

There was qute an interesting storm in the Avenue de la Libération when I walked past. There was a vehicle dropping off a passenger in the Place Marechal Foch right on the corner, not caring less that there were three or four vehicles waiting to turn into the square behind the.

As the next in the queue was a large lorry, he was too wide to pass in the inside lane and consequently the traffic was backed up right the way through the town centre as this one person leisurely took its time.

trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The walk back up the hill towards home was a little easier than it has been of late.

There were only a couple of times where I had to stop for my breath. One of those was at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour. The gates were now open and this trawler was setting out for the fishing grounds, rather later than the others.

She must be one of the lucky 50% of the local fleet that has been given a permit by the Channel Islands authorities. Whether the remaining 31 temporary permits will be finalised or whether they will join the ranks of the 75 who have been rejected remains to be seen.

marité chausiaise joly france belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was there catching my breath, I noticed that there had been a change in position of some of the boats.

On our way out, Belle France was moored over there underneath the crane, but now her place has been taken by Chausiaise.

Belle France is now moored down here next to one of the Joly France boats. This is the newer one of the two as we can tell by the small upper deck superstructure.

Also in the photo is of course Marité. She’s in port rather than being out on an excursion, which is probably logical now that the summer season has come to an end.

trawler returning to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I walked further on up the hill, I noticed that there was something rather strange going on.

The trawler that we had seen earlier setting out to sea was now on her way back to port, like you do if you have forgotten your butties or your overcoat.

But instead of coming back into the harbour, she did a rather dramatic left-hand U-turn and headed off back out to sea, brushing along the harbour wall. And I’ve no idea what that was all about either.

workmen's compound boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And here’s something else about which I have no idea at all.

A few days ago I posted a photo of a workmen’s compound that had sprung up in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers, something that looked as if it might have some kind of connection to the electricity supply.

Although I have yet to see anyone working around there, we now seem to have acquired a large lorry and a digger, so it looks as if we are about to see some trench-digging beginning some time fairly soon.

That’s something else for us to monitor in the forthcoming weeks.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021On the way back home, I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to look down on the beach.

Actually, there wasn’t all that much beach for people to be on this afternoon, and that’s probably why there weren’t all that many people on it. In fact I didn’t see a soul.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, one of the things that I had intended to do this afternoon was to go and have a look at the builders’ compound that has sprung up in the Place d’Armes.

Instead however I fell in with one of the guys from the radio, we had quite a chat and I’m afraid that it totally slipped my mind. There’s always tomorrow.

Back here, I had a couple of things to do – including playing the guitar for the first time since for about ever. These days it’s very hard for me to summon up any enthusiasm.

Tea tonight was a baked potato, some veggie balls and the left-over pasta mix from last night. And I’m convinced that spicy food left to marinade for 24 hours improves its flavour considerably.

And then we had the football. Y Fflint v Y Bala.

Flint at one time were leading the league and with a front line of veteran striker Michael Wilde who is enjoying a resurgence wince his move, and Jack Kenny who I have always admired, it was no real surprise.

However they have gone off the boil just recently and were up against a Bala side that has always been a good, if inconsistent side that is enjoying a bit of a good run right now.

Most of the football was played in the Flint half and it was easy to see why – Bala were certainly the more skilful side.

However Flint caught them on the break with a good cross over to Michael Wilde to head home, and he almost had a second 5 minutes later when a powerful run, shrugging off four defenders, saw his shot strike the inside of the post but rebound to safety.

A couple of substitutions for Bala did the trick though. They wore down the opposition and scored twice later in the game to pull off a deserved victory.

Mind you, it ought not to have been. Bala scored one of their goals from a throw-in which absolutely everyone watching on the internet and in the ground except the linesman and the referee considered that it should have been awarded to Flint.

And where did I go last night? Mustn’t forget that. In fact I must have forgotten it because I remember almost nothing about this except that that there was some kind of special offer for families going for a 4-week speaking course in Welsh that was being offered as a taster. There was some issue about driving licences in these communities but that’s really all that I can remember.

So I’ll go off to bed and hope for a more memorable voyage during the night.

Tuesday 15th June 2021 – SUMER IS ACUMEN IN.

big wheel place albert godal Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLhude sing cucu and all of that stuff.

You can always tell when summer is about to arrive in Granville because the Big Wheel puts in an appearance. It must have sneaked in under the cover of darkness and there they are on the Place Albert Godal sticking it up. By the time that I come back from Leuven on Saturday afternoon (God willing) it might even be working.

But I’ve been working today – and working quite hard too, would you believe. Although it was a real struggle, I managed to be out of bed by 06:00 all the same although I would have given all that I own to have been back in bed tucked up in the warmth.

And “back in the warmth” would have been appropriate because there was a cold, clammy mist outside this morning when I awoke. It didn’t look very sunny at all and there would be no chance whatever of seeing TITTAN 1 or any of its siblings.

After the medication I sorted out the dictaphone notes for the last couple of days. They are up to date now and I can turn my attention to last night’s activity. I was out behind the Iron Curtain on a coach tour as a passenger. Everyone was getting ready to go off on an excursion. I hadn’t heard about this so I wondered what was happening. I asked one of the organisers who was rather brusque with me. He told me that they were just going to visit a church and maybe going on to a show or something. I knew where this church was so I said that I’d follow them on. We were told that things were strange in this town because of different rules and regulations. For example, we’d find lots of doors open, or I did when I walked through it, but no-one was there answering it. Films that were going, when you went to watch them they would freeze and when you’d turn your back they would move again. It turned out that because of Covid no-one was allowed to stay in anyone else’s house. They were worried that people meeting each other in a night club or a cinema or somewhere like that would end up pairing off for the night. The authorities wanted to prevent that from happening. It sounded strange to me. All round this city was ringed with these forest ridges where you could go. There would be loads of people about. The place was like a ghost town and there was no-one about at all because of this.

Following that I worked on my Welsh revision and I’m glad that I did because there was a lot that I didn’t know..

And then grabbing my slice of cake and a mug of hot chocolate I went for my lesson. And surprisingly it went quite well although, shame as it is to say it, I fell asleep three times. Not flat out but I could feel myself going off and managed to stop myself just in time.

The results of our exam won’t be known for another 6 weeks, so we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed for longer than I was expecting.

And while we’re on the subject of tests, my Covid test came back negative.

After lunch I had a huge pile of correspondence and printing to do, as well as my tax return. I’ve no idea what i’m supposed to be doing with that. I just date it and sign it, attach a load of papers from various people and let them deal with it. If they need any more info, they can write and ask for it.

gardeners sheltering from the heat rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was stifling hot when I set out for the town.

And I wasn’t the only one who was feeling the heat. There are some gardeners around the town dealing with the vegetation and they clearly decided that the only protection is flight. They’ve pulled their lorry up underneath a tree and they were all sitting on the wall in the shade.

Not for me though. I pushed on to the estate agent’s and gave them the certificate of insurance for my apartment. They didn’t think that it was the correct one but they’ll sort it out.

And I cursed my bad luck as well. They had a storage garage to let that would have been ideal for me to rent and dump all of this stuff out of Caliburn but I’d missed it by a whisker. It was now let.

Next stop is the Post Office. I’m just a whisker away from having a Carte Vitale, the card that opens the dorrs to the French Social Security system. I didn’t think I’d qualify but I applied all the same. And surprisingly, I had the paperwork back asking for my photo, a copy of my carte d’identité and a specimen signature.

So who knows?

Third stop was at the bank. They pay my Belgian pension 6-monthly by cheque and I don’t know why, but anyway the cheques came the other day and I need to pay them in. Now where can I go with €230?

unsafe scaffolding rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way up to the Tax Office (there are 41 steps up to the Eglise St Paul and I felt every one of them) I came across this interesting arrangement.

The scaffolding legs that are on the floor don’t go all the way up to the top. It’s just a few 2-metre lengths and the rest of the height of the scaffolding is somehow wedged up against the lengths on the floor.

No matter how hard I looked, I couldn’t see how it was rendered safe. That’s the kind of thing that looks totally unsafe to me. But there’s probably a very simple answer to this even if I couldn’t see it so don’t take this insecurity for granted. It probably makes perfect sense to those who go up it.

beach Boulevard des Amiraux Granvillais Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving deposited my papers in the letter box, I headed down to the beach. A different one today – the one by the Boulevard des Amiraux Granvillais with its tidal pool.

And there were quite a few people taking in the sun down there today. And I’m not surprised because it was a really scorching afternoon.

One person down there enjoying the weather was our friend the itinerant who used o hang around up here in the past. He was in an expansive mood and we spent a good 45 minutes chatting before, in the words of the News Of The Screws reporter “I made my excuses and left”. I had plenty of things to do right now and standing there talking wasn’t getting them done.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I left I noticed a Bird Man of Alcatraz on his way towards the end of the headland, but rather more likely on a direct collision course with the spire of the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

As I awaited the inevitable calamity, he did a U-turn and steered himself out of the way and headed back from whence he came. And I cursed my bad luck. It’s really not my day, is it?

To console myself, I went off and treated myself to an ice-cream. It was that kind of day. And my favourite ice-cream stall was actually closed, which was a surprise to me. But the one next door wasn’t. And it really did taste delicious. I shall have to go there again.

zero waste shop mademoiselle vrac Rue Georges Clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe old pharmacy in the Rue Georges Clemenceau closed down a while ago and it’s now been reoccupied.

It’s going to be one of those weigh-and-save places, rather like the BULK BARN places that we know from Canada, but I bet that it will be much more upmarket than that and we’ll be hard-pressed to find any bargains.

You would think that with the absence of packaging, the produce would be cheaper but that’s rarely the case.

Back here, my Inuit friend Heidinguaq was on-line so we had a little chat. It’s nice to see her after than nocturnal visit that she paid me the other day. I asked if she would be coming to Europe some time soon. She hoped so so I said that we’d meet up and I’d bring my bass.

STRAWBERRY MOOSE will come too. Those two have a special affinity after their meeting in Uummannaq when we called in there with THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR

The guitar practice was slow but sure, and then I had veggie balls and pasta for tea, followed by apple pie and home made custard.

Now I’m off to bed. I’m going to Leuven tomorrow and I have nothing whatsoever ready. It’s one of those days.

Tuesday 18th May 2021 – I REMEMBER HEARING …

… a story about a destroyer in World War II. It was ordered to join a convoy that was sailing into a battle zone where there were a couple of U-boat wolfpacks. The destroyer signalled “mechanical problems prevent joining convoy” and the convoy commodore signals back “this is not the time for destroyers to be breaking down”.

And this is not the time for me to be breaking down either. The day before I have a long tiring journey to Leuven and I have had a dreadful afternoon. Crashed out on the chair in the office for 2.5 hours, missing guitar practice, missing absolutely everything.

There was even the mug of coffee from after my afternoon walk, half-drunk and freezing cold, as I discovered when I awoke.

This is absolutely no good at all and if I can’t pull myself together soon I’m going to have a real struggle on my hands.

It wasn’t as if I had had a late night last night either. I was in bed by 23:00 And had a decent almost-uninterrupted sleep all the way through until the alarm went off at 06:00. And then, I leapt out of bed with alacrity. Well, almost, but you know what I mean.

After the medication I came along to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. And surprise! Surprise! Having complained the other day about the absence of congenial company on my nocturnal rambles, Zero put in a welcome appearance.

I’d been working at the house of a former friend of mine and it was time for me to go home. They very kindly made me breakfast which I had and then I got up. While I was organising my things his wife asked “Eric do you have any washing that needs doing?”. I thought “my clothes are a bit dirty” but I asked if it would be ok and she said yes so I went to the van to fetch some clean ones – there are always clean clothes in the van. Zero was there and where I’d been sitting was some kind of hair clasp or something. I looked around again and she was sitting there having breakfast. I said to her “have you seen your hair holder, your thing?”. She replied “yes thanks” I said “it’s there with your doll”. She said “yes” and carried on eating. There was something else on the settee so I went over to it and asked if anyone had put anything there about these pearls that they had in a necklace that was there but how nice it was” and Helen Whatshername from the Open University, Scots girl, joined it and really told me off for noticing them which I thought was a strange thing to do.

There was much more to it than this but it deteriorated rapidly after than and as you are probably eating your tea or something right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

Most of the rest of the first part of the morning was spent revising my Welsh and working through the notes for the forthcoming lesson, although I did take 20 minutes off to go for a shower and a good clean-up.

Armed with a mug of hot chocolate (made properly with real chocolate) and a slice of my sourdough fruit bread, I went for my lesson and it passed quite quickly and for a change I didn’t have too much trouble.

Well, I did, but not with the lesson. My laptop hung up in the middle and in the end I had to go and fetch the other laptop and fix it up. It would be nice if I could make the mike function on this big machine work, but that’s a job for again, I reckon, when I upgrade the hard drives.

We finished quite late, as usual and I had some work to do and a letter to write so it was something of a latte lunch today. and then I could go off into town.

boats in port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the street I could look out over the harbour and see what was going on down there this afternoon.

The tide is in so there were plenty of boats bobbing up and down in the harbour right now. And just outside the harbour the sailing school was in full swing with the little boats being led out to sea by the pilot boat. And I haven’t forgotten that I have to contact the sailing school one of these days to find out about when I can go sailing.

But not right now. I have things to do in town so I headed off down the street. I cast my eye on the pointing on the wall at the head of the Rampe du Monte à Regret and noticed that they hadn’t advanced any further than when I last noticed.

And the workmen and apprentices weren’t there either. They don’t seem to be all that keen on completing the job, which is a bit of a shame. I could have had this job finished all on my own right now.

bar ephemere place pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever there is plenty of action on the Place Pleville where all of the layabouts play boules instead of doing an honest day’s work.

Summer is definitely acumen in and lhude sing seagull because the bar ephemere, the temporary bar, has arrived. It’s an old shipping container that has been transformed into a temporary bar and by the looks of things it’s just been dropped off in its usual temporary summer home.

You can see the owners talking out the benches and tables from the inside of the container and setting them up ready to receive their clients.

The post office was my next port of call where I dropped off the letter that I needed to send and then wandered off to the bank for my appointment.

And I didn’t understand why they had called me in for a chat because there wasn’t anything that needed doing or needed signing. It seemed to me that the bank clerk just wanted a chat.

He got that, all right, and I managed to deal with a little issue here and there that needed doing, although they don’t seem all that interested in pushing on to the next level which is a bit of a surprise. That’s the problem with these little provincial banks and it’s one of the reasons why I keep my accounts open in Brussels.

Next stop was the public library where at long last I was able to find a map of the town in the early 1950s. Although the tacot, or “rattletrap”, the old narrow-gauge railway network had been ripped up by then, there was still evidence of the earthworks so I could at least trace its course, but only to the town boundary.

It seems that I shall have to cast my net wider if I’m to find out more about it.

articles on quayside awaiting transport port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving left the library I wandered off down to the port to see what was happening down there these days with all of the changes going on.

And there is some activity going on in the loading bay as supplies of wood and so on and a couple of tractors are now parked up. It looks as if Normandy Trader or Thora, the two little Jersey freighters, are expected in the port soon enough to take them away.

But there is still no news on what is happening with the shellfish of the Jersey Seafarers’ Co-operative. That looks as if it’s well and truly blocked from being landed here in the port.

When Normandy Trader came into port the other day – minus the shellfish – she was met with a couple of jeers and catcalls but that was about it. I imagine that had she come in with the shellfish, the reception would have been a darn sight warmer.

seats on granville jersey ferry covered up port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThese are the seats on board Granviile, the newer of the two boats that (in theory at least) provide the ferry service from here to Jersey. As you can see, they are all covered up to protect them from deterioration from the sun.

There was some kind of fitter on board doing something so I engaged him in conversation. Apart from a period of about a week last summer, they haven’t run out since March last year at the start of the pandemic. I asked the fitter if there were any plans to restart the ferry soon and he replied “maybe at the start of July. We’ll have to see”.

They know about as much as I do about the future of the ferry service from here. I hope that they set it up and are allowed to start running again. It’s good for the town of course to bring people here from abroad. They spend their money here and provide employment, and you can’t have too much of any of that.

spirit of conrad black mamba port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust a little further along the quayside Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which I went down the Brittany coast last summer, is moored. She has Black Mamba tied up behind her and an unidentified boat that I didn’t recognise tied up at her side.

Pierre, her owner, was there and we had a chat. He has 3 trips organised all the way down the coast as far as Ouessant and my ears pricked up at that. I made further enquiries but it turns out that the first trip is going on Friday when I am in Leuven, the second clashes with my Welsh exam, and the third one clashes with my next trip to Leuven.

Not much luck there for me, so I asked him to keep me in mind for his next series of trips. I’m keen to get away for a week or two and a trip on a yacht will do me a world of good, I reckon.

victor hugo black mamba aztec lady anakena port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that I was hoping to do was to speak to the owners of Anakena to find out more about the boat and what her plans are for the future.

She’s moored here of course, where she has been for well over a year (apart from her sojourn in the chantier navale recently) and with Aztec Lady to keep her company. She was on her way to the Far North when she was held up in here when everywhere closed their ports to visitors and I was hoping to find out when – and where – she’ll be going.

However, rather like the Marie Celeste, she was completely deserted. There was no-one about at all so that was rather a pointless visit. She’ll be in good company here with Victor Hugo and Granville, the two Channel Island ferries in the background keeping her company as well.

And so I crossed over the top of the closed harbour gates to the other side and climbed up the steps to the top road, the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

fishing boat l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd there’s yet another fishing boat left at the quayside at the Fish Processing Plant to settle in the silt as the tide goes out.

She’s L’Omerta, one of the larger fishing boats that collects the shellfish. And I’m interested in whatever story there might be in her name. L’Omerta isn’t just Silence in Italian, it’s the name of the Oath of Silence that members of the Mafia take when they are recruited into the Society.

And another thing that interests me, as regular readers of this rubbish might recall, is why the boats are left to go high and dry at the fish processing plant instead of being moored in the main harbour or moored somewhere else out of the way.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that I needed to do of course was to go and check on the beach near the Rue du Nord to see how things were going down there.

And so when I arrived back at my building I went down to the end of the car park to look over the wall.

It had been a warm day today, the first really warm day that we had had, so it was hardly a surprise to see people actually settling down to soak up the sun. A day like today has been a long time coming.

A couple of my neighbours were up there on the car park talking so I joined in and had an exchange of pleasantries while I was about it. I’m not the sociable type as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but I can’t ignore my neighbours too much.

fishing boat english channel baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was also a fishing boat out there too, trawling away in the Baie de Granville in the gap between the Pointe du Roc and the Ile de Chausey. They are a lot more active in the local area these days, given the situation further out in the bay.

Back here in the apartment I made myself a mug of coffee and brought it in here to do some work, but the next thing that I remember is that it was 19:20. and it was another one of these occasions when I didn’t even remember going to sleep.

Anyway, girding up my loins, I made myself pasta and veg with a burger, one of the pile that I need to finish off. There a couple of dozen or so of those in the fridge that I’m going to have to eat sometime, not to mention the pile that are in the freezer.

When I come back from Leuven I’m going to have to go through everything and see what I have and what I need to make to keep the supplies going.

But not right now. I’m going off to bed. I’ve had a hard day and a bad evening and I’m off to Leuven in the morning. I haven’t even printed my rail tickets yet and I have to do that pretty quickly

Thursday 14th January 2021 – JUST FOR A …

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… change, I managed to beat the third alarm again this morning.

Well, to be honest, I didn’t. When it started up I was still in bed but I was on the point of hauling myself out of my stinking pit at that moment, and I was out of bed like a ferret up a trouser leg.

Mind you, to be perfectly honest I would have given all that I had to have been able to go back to bed and back to sleep because I didn’t feel like it at all today. It wasn’t a good start to the day at all.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe orange kefir has calmed down enough to drink now, so I took my medication with that this morning. And it is delicious, I do have to say that. It’s a good batch.

And then I came back in here to check the dictaphone. That was one of the things that I promised yesterday that I would do first thing. And indeed there were several files recorded on there so I sat down to have a listen and to transcribe them.

There was one for yesterday and one for the day before and they are now on-line where they ought to be. But don’t worry – there was nothing exciting which is a shame. And no interesting companions, which is even worse.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall The ones from today weren’t any more exciting either.

We started off on a ferry – one of these boats with cabins. I’d designed a pile of furniture and fitted it into these rooms – cabins the previous year. Some kind of incident had taken place between me and a girl. This year I had to design the same cabins and a similar kind of furniture but the measurements were completely different. When everything was laid out in the room it looked fine, OK, but the measurements were different. People crowded in to see what was happening. The guy in charge asked me what I thought about it so I told him. He told me what he thought, that it was very good, that sort of thing but when I mentioned “of course the measurements aren’t the same, are they? I’d like to know why there is the difference. He made a remark about “all the youngsters of today, they aren’t the same as in the past”. I could see that that was some kind of barbed comment. We were making all kinds of barbed comments about this and he even had some kind of winch thing to compress the furniture to see if it would fit any better.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHe then asked if I would be interested in taking the cabin. Of course I was going to hold out for the old measurements, the stuff that I had designed for last year but my partner said something about “we’ll take the bed It’s a lovely diesel-powered bed”, all of this but I was trying to get whoever it was to keep quiet about this because I wanted to solve this problem first but this was knowingly aiding this other guy in dealing with this year’s issues and not the issues that I wanted dealing with last year about this girl – that was it (what was? Which girl?). There had been a disco on board and he was posting all the photos of the New Year’s disco. For some reason I hadn’t gone – whether I hadn’t been invited I don’t know but I’d been scanning these photos to see whether this girl was on there but I couldn’t see her on there so I was wondering whether she had gone or not.

And I wish that I knew who she was.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on, there was a question of winning an Audi car in a competition but I had undone the wrong tin and got the wrong food in this so I’d put the stuff somewhere like under the bed or under the pillow in the hope that no-one would notice it and we’d carry on that I might qualify to win this car. I’m not sure if anyone had noticed but a TV presenter had started to make all kinds of cracks about Covid as if he knew that I had some kind of guilty secret about it and he was grinding the axe in me, making me suffer instead of minding these Series 19 Brush locomotives which was what I wanted to do in the first place.

And I don’t know what all that was about either, to be honest.

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on, I had a shower and a general clean-up, then grabbing my shopping bag, I headed out into the street for my Thursday shop at LIDL.

And if you thought that the weather had been bad just recently, it had absolutely nothing on what was going on this morning. One glance at the rough seas engulfing that trawler out there would give you a clue as to what the weather was doing.

We’ve had winds, and we’ve had more winds, but this morning’s winds were more than we have had for quite a while.

trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt first, I wasn’t sure what the ship was that I had seen, so I waited for it to pull into the harbour.

Now that I can see it closer up, I can recognise it as one that’s been in the harbour before, but I can’t think of her name right now. And in the background is the new trawler Le Pearl.

You’ll notice the red light illuminated at the harbour gate too. It started to flash just as our trawler came in and once it was safely in, the gates closed right behind it. Perfect timing, I would say.

Calling at the Post Office to post a letter, I pushed on along my way out of town.

There were a few things of interest that I bought in LIDL but I’m not going to say too much about them right now as it’s something for the future. But I bought my fruit and so on and then headed for home.

On the way back, I stopped off to try out their new cheque paying-in machine. All straightforward and easy once you know what to do.

bad parking rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that pathetic parking takes up a lot of room o these pages – so much so that you are probably as fed up of reading about it as I am of writing about it.

But sometimes, something happens that leaps out at you and you can’t pass it by – like this little incident here. On the left of where this delivery van is parked is a special parking bay reserved for deliveries and it happens to be empty right now. But our hero has parked alongside the loading bay, in the street, right next to a bollard, something that prevents anyone behind him from driving past

You really can’t make up things like this.

heavy industrial equipment place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnyway, I pushed on up the road, not feeling anything like it at all, until I reached my building.

And here, I had something of a surprise. We have visitors in the square. A few huge earth-moving machines are parked up in the car park of the building across the road. It looks as if we are going to be having some major work done somewhere in the vicinity in the very near future.

No doubt we shall find out more about this in the near future.

Back here, I didn’t even have time to unload the shopping before I sat down and promptly dozed off. These walks, loaded up with shopping, are killing me at the moment but I need to do it. But eventually I recovered and was able to drink my cold chocolate and eat my slice of fruit sourdough.

At lunch I used the last of my bread so I need to make another loaf pretty soon, and then I came in here to carry on with the arrears of work. I’m still at the Chateau Gaillard but we’ve reached the period of the Religious Wars right now, so not very much to do.

person in water in wet suit place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was of course the afternoon walk. And even though by now it was raining, I was determined to go out and stretch my legs even more.

But not quite like this person is doing right now. In this wind you are not going to get me anywhere near the water’s edge, not even dressed in what appears to be a wetsuit. He’s a braver man than I am, Gunga Din.

Instead, I wandered off along the footpath on top of the cliffs, battling against the raging storm and the rain.

sunset baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAcross the lawn and across the car park by the lighthouse and then down to the headland to catch the full force of the gale.

The weather was comparatively clear today, and for once you could see the Brittany coast and just about make out the church of Cancale on the cliffs across the bay. There was another nice sunset – although it’s not really a sunset right now – out there in the middle of the bay with the rays of sun shining through the gaps in the clouds and illuminating the water.

It’s a shame that the weather was so bad, but then again we wouldn’t have had the effect if the weather had been different.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe weather might indeed have been bad, but it wasn’t bad enough to put off these two people here down below where I’m standing.

As usual, there is always someone somewhere doing the peche à pied – the scavenging amongst the rocks for the shellfish. This are is quite famous for its shellfish, as you have probably gathered from the number of boats that go out from here and the number of people that we see on occasion when there’s a huge tidal coefficient.

There are always people going around armed with their gratter and bucket.

joker fishing boat trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom there I wandered off along the path on top of the cliffs on the other side of the headland.

This path takes me to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale and I always like to look down to see what’s going on there. And we have a change of occupant as well today. The yacht that has been there for ever is still there, as are the trawler and Joker, the blue and white shellfish boat.

But there’s a nw visitor in there today – the little silver and grey shellfish boat that has come to join in the fun.

unloading heavy equipment place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving admired the boats back at the chantier navale I headed off for home, to find myself confronted by yet more machinery.

This low-loader has just dropped off a little mini-digger. And seeing that there were a few guys hanging around I went to ask them what was going on.

There’s a street near here called the Rue St Michel and for the last 2 weeks it’s been covered with all kinds of multi-coloured hieroglyphics. It seems that some of those markings indicate a gas pipe, and these guys have come to dig it up and replace it.

Back here I carried on with my arrears and then broke off for my hour on the guitars, which I didn’t enjoy because I discovered that I seem to have lost my voice today, something that will please my neighbours mightily.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy the time that I went out for my evening walk the rain had stopped and we were treated to just the hurricane-force winds that made it difficult to run.

But at least the sea was enjoying the weather. You’ve already seen several photos that I’ve taken showing the waves coming crashing over the sea wall at the Plat Gousset with such incredible force. And I have to admit that I enjoyed the view as well – in fact I stayed there for a good few minutes watching them.

But I can’t stay there for ever. I ran off across the Square Maurice Marland in the direction of home.

gas pipe fitting repairing rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way home, I go past a little alley that leads down to the Rue t Michel, a dead-end street of old stone houses in the old Medieval town.

In the past I’ve wandered down it a couple of times but I’ve never taken a photo of what’s going on because it’s usually too dark. But tonight, taking my time, I managed to take a rather respectable photo of the end of the street. You can see all of the fencing that they are presumably going to put around the hole that they dig.

You can also see the crazy markings on the surface too but unfortunately, you can’t see the mini-digger, because that’s right behind where I’m standing.

trawler fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe little alleyway continues on to the old Medieval walls and so I went that way for a change.

From there I walked along the walls to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour where there is the really good view over the Fish Processing Plant. Quite a few of the fishing boats are still out fishing so the plant is open with people working there, a refrigerated lorry in the loading bay and a couple of vans on the car park.

And there’s a trawler moored up there too unloading even as we speak

trawler fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut some of the trawlers are already in, moored up at the quayside. And I’m not really sure if they are parking up or preparing to go out, with their lights ablaze like that.

Braving the wind and rain, I ran on home for my tea. With the leftover stuffing from Tuesday, I added a small tin of kidney beans and made myself taco rolls with rice, followed by another wedge of jam pie with soya coconut sauce.

Tons of stuff to write out again today so t’s going to be another late night by the looks of things. And what with an early start, I’ll end up looking and feeling like death. At least I don’t have to go anywhere tomorrow.

Thursday 14th May 2020 – THAT WAS A …

… better day today!

For a start, I actually made it out of bed before the third alarm. And after yesterday’s disaster, that was really some kind of progress.

And I was off on a voyage as well during the night. Not quite as graphic as the previous night’s, which is a good thing, I suppose. There were three of us wandering around central London last night, me and two girls. I know these two girls and I just can’t think who they are. It was the time of a vampire attack on the city and we’d been doing something, fighting off these vampires and a fourth member of our party, an elderly gentleman dressed in Victorian suit and top hat was helping but he was taken ill on one occasion. So I went over to see him although it wasn’t me – but it was me in the dream if you know what I mean – and I undid his shirt. I found that he had a bandage wrapped round his chest so I had to undo the bandage. He snarled and snapped at me and I realised that he was a vampire. Someone had pushed a stake through his heart at one time. I grabbed these two girls and I stuck a cross in his way or his hand or something and we ran off. Somehow we became separated and I ended up with one of these girls and she ended up going home. I escorted her home and we came back out. We were on this street, something like rue St Catherine Est (near the CHUM) in Montreal. Down at the bottom of a hill was a church and that was where I’d arranged to meat this other girl. We were late so I said to this girl who was with me “stay here” and I ran on down to see the other. There she was outside this building and she was curling up, settling down on the floor going to sleep to wait for us on the pavement. I grabbed hold of her “God, don’t do that!”. She asked “where’s the other girl?”. “I’ve left her on a street cornerto come and fetch you. Now we have to go and fetch her back”. We were loaded up with valuables (…like the camera…) but we couldn’t find anywhere to put them. There were all these boxes where you could leave stuff but there was no key. We had to scratch around for a key or a lock or something – we didn’t have one. Time was getting on and in the end I thought “God just put the stuff in there. If someone pinches it, too bad”. The door didn’t close, the camera strap was dangling out right by a fire, everything like that. We ran back up the hill and as we ran back up we were really afraid of what we would see – whether the vampire had hold of this girl again. Should I have left a cross in her hand or wrapped garlic around her neck or something? I started to have all of these weird ideas about what was going to happen and what I should have done.

After breakfast I assembled the radio project as far as I could and checked the timing. Knock off 30 seconds from what was left out of the hour, and that was the length of track for which I was looking.

A shower was next, and a shave and general clean-up. And of that 300 grammes of weight that I had lost at the last weigh-in, I’d put 400 grammes back.

workmen rue st jean medieval city walls granville manche normandy france eric hallIt’s Thursday today, and so that means shopping of course. But once again, I didn’t go very far before I stopped.

One of the penalties of living in a medieval walled city is that quite often the old gates are too low for lorries and the like and regular readers of this rubbish will have seen plenty of examples of trans-shipment

There’s more work taking place within the walls, I imagine, and they can’t pass the lorry and the trailer here through the gateway. They are going to have to unload all of this, I imagine, and take it through as best as they can.

joly france baie de mont st michel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallWe’ve seen all of the ferries – the two for the Channel Islands and the two for the Ile de Chausey, parked up during the confinement.

But today it looks as if things have eased off. Joly France, one of the passenger ferries that goes out to the Ile de Chausey, was just heading off out of the harbour and by the looks of things, she has a good complement of passengers.

Here’s hoping that none of them are infected because the virus would spread like wildfire out on the island.

First stop was the Post Office to post of Rosemary’s Christmas present. I know that it’s May but she was away from home until the day of the lockdown and as she came home, the Post Office closed.

We had to queue outside and were allowed in three by three.

At the Bank, where I went to pay in a cheque and to change a standing order, it was even worse. Facemasks compulsory (luckily I had taken with me the one that I was given by a neighbour the other week), oOnly one person in at a time and so the queue was down the street.

The counter clerk was very scrupulous about cleaning off the perspex window and all of that, and then handled all of my paperwork and bank card, which made the scrupulous cleaning of the perspex screen rather superfluous.

At LIDL I spent more than intended, but a large part of that was spent on a folding rucksack. It’s a reasonable size but folds up into a large pocket and it’s just the job for when I go on excursions.

The apple pie is on its last slice too but they had on special offer some frozen red fruits – €1:79 for a 750 gramme bag. So I bought a bag and I’ll make a pie with that tomorrow.

floating pontoon out to outer harbour granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back I bought a dejeunette from La Mie Caline for lunch, but was once more interrupted walking up the Rue des Juifs.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen them floating the new pontoons across the harbour by pushing them with a motor boat, but this one is actually being pushed out of the inner harbour.

We’ve also seen the mounting brackets that they installed at the ferry terminal. It looks as if, now that Joly France has gone off on her travels, that they are going to install the new pontoons.

Back here I wrote the text for the final track, uploaded it to the computer, edited it and assembled the final track. I was over time by 5 seconds but a quick edit of some speech soon dealt with that.

After lunch, while I listened to my handiwork, I had a look at the template issue for one of my websites – the issue that I mentioned the other day.

And it should be no surprise to anyone that I resolved the issue in less than 10 seconds. In fact, I’d been thinking about this problem here and there and I had a very good idea of what I had done. And I was right.

It will also be no surprise to anyone that I also had a little doze for a few minutes here and there.

Once I’d recovered my composure I set about installing the new hi-fi. And I rather think that I’ve over-egged the pudding somewhat.

It was necessary to drill a couple of holes in the furniture and then perform a complicated rewiring job which meant practically dismantling the computer and a few other things too.

It led to something of a tidy-up too (and putting away a pile of papers) and then I connected everything up. And as I said, I’ve over-egged the pudding somewhat because this system is somewhat overwhelming.

But the quality is phenomenal nevertheless and I’m as impressed with this as I was with my galvanised steel dustbin.

Somewhat later that anticipated, I went out for my afternoon walk.

On the way out with the hi-fi box I bumped into a woman from the Mairie who was handing out the free washable face masks that the commune had ordered for their inhabitants. I asked her for an innuendo so she gave me one.

“Corona virus?” I enquired.
“No” she replied. “The school next door starts back up next week. We don’t want you frightening the kids”.

trawler english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hall

The hurricane was still blowing and it was a struggle to walk around the walls. But I wasn’t struggling half as much as some people. The trawler out there in the English Channel near the Ile de Chausey was really making heavy weather of the journey home.

You can tell by the whitecaps on the tops of the waves that far out (that’s probably about 10 kilometres out) just how wild the wind is right now.

windsurfer people on beach donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd the trawler wasn’t the only one out there in the wind.

Never mind the story about the beaches being closed and so on, we have a windsurfer out there enjoying the storm. And I suppose that he parachuted in from the air too.

But there must be a good handful of people out there on that beach between Donville les Bains and Bréhal Plage and I have no idea why they are there and what they are doing.

There was still half an hour left to enjoy the music before the hour on the guitar, which was spent mainly playing around with two Dire Straits tracks – “Sultans of Swing” and “Tunnel of Love”. Despite all of the time that I’ve spent working out “Telegraph Road”, i reckon that right now it’s beyond what I’m really capable of doing.

Tea was a nice stuffed pepper followed by the last of that delicious apple pie that I made, so tomorrow is going to be a baking day, I reckon.

car caravan parking rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBack outside in the teeth of the gale and my run up the hill which was agonising tonight.

And at the caravanette park in the rue du Roc we have yet more grockles who haven’t quite grasped what all of this virus thing is about. I’ve seen the local police on their patrols and I reckon that they ought to be doing something about this.

But anyway having recovered my breath I ran on down to the clifftop to see what I could see out to sea.

And the answer to that was “nothing at all”.

sunlight relection beach st pair sur mer granville manche normandy france eric hallAround the corner to the south side of the headland and I noticed something glistening on the beach over across the bay at St Pair Sur Mer.

Being of a curious bent … “errr … quite” – ed … I took a photo of it to crop and blow up back here. And what I can see is that it seems to be the sun’s reflection on the window there reflecting into a tidal pool on the beach.

It’s quite amazing what you can pick up with a good zoom lens.

floating pontoon ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallEarlier on today we noticed that they were pushing a floating pontoon out of the harbour.

At the time I speculated that they might be finally going to fit them to the mounting brackets that they fitted to the harbour wall over at the ferry terminal.

And sure enough, there they are in position. But I’m intrigued to see what is going to happen when the tide goes out because it dries out over there. And what happens to the pontoons then will be interesting.

floating pontoons port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallDespite the howling gale I struggled on with my run down the Boulevard Vaufleury and I was pretty done in when I finally reached my marker.

Back down to the viewpoint over the harbour to see what they had been up to down there. And it looks as if some of the floating pontoons down there (we’d seen three rows yesterday) have gone.

The missing ones are probably those that they installed at the ferry terminal.

My next run took me round to the viewpoint in the rue du Nord but there was nothing going on over there so I turned round and ran back home as best as I could in the wind.

So now I’ve finished this, I’m ready for bed. This was a better day today and I felt a bit more like myself. Here’s hoping for an even better day tomorrow.

Friday 6th March 2020 – SPEND! SPEND! SPEND!

Yes, I’ve had some good fortune today, and as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any. But that’s another story of course, the sea approaches to Kugluktuk not excepted.

In fact, I should really have started this entry yesterday because that was when it all kicked off. Only in my confused state – something that is a regular occurrence these days – I forgot to mention it.

So yesterday I had a letter from the Belgian Old-Age Pension Authorities. After only about a year or so since I made my application, they have finally agreed to grant me an old-age pension in respect of my time spent working for General Electric and for that other strange American company where I met Alison.

So, as of 1st March 2019, I am richer by the princely sum of … errr … €29:47 per month. Yes, I can really go wild with that, can’t I?

But it’s not actually the sum of money that is important. It’s what goes with it that matters. I haven’t yet looked closely into it but there are things like free eye care, free dental treatment and the like. I’m not quite sure what, but believe me, I shall be looking closely into it over the course of the next few days.

And that’s not all. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I had to go to the Bank today to pick up this blasted form. Three weeks since I handed it in, just for a simple stamp to be stamped upon it, and it took until today for it to be completed.

The guy to whom I spoke – he was as bewildered as I was as to why no-one there could have done it on the spot. he suggested that, the next time, I speak to him directly when I need something like this.

But then the subject turned round to the question of my money there. Not that there’s a great deal, but even so, he reckons that I could be doing so much better with it. And he worked out a little plan.

“You have your contents insurance with us” he said “but if you had other insurances, you’d get an even better deal”.
“But I do!” I insisted. “I have my motor insurance, my legal protection insurance (yes, I had a very mis-spent youth and who knows what’s bubbling away somewhere?) and the insurance on Virlet with you”
“No you don’t” he retorted.
“Yes I do” I insisted. “Have a look at my July outgoings”
And so he did. And there were my three annual payments
“But these are with the Credit Agricole Centre-France” he said. “That’s a different organisation”
Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the fun and games we had when I moved here and tried to have my bank accounts set up and transferred over. I thought, that after much ado about nothing and all of the time that it took, the situation had been resolved. But apparently not.

Anyway, he picked up the ‘phone and did it all on the spot so that at long last, all of my banking details are under the same roof in France.

“And I have some good news for you” he said. “This is a cheaper area for insurance than the Puy-De-Dome. You’ll be saving on your insurances with us.”

So he’s going to look at them more closely and get back to me with some revised propositions. And, hopefully, some money back too.

This morning I was ever so close to beating the alarms. I failed by a matter of seconds and that was very sad news.

But still, an early start (just about) and after the medication, I looked at the dictaphone. Strawberry Moose starred in last night’s entertainment. he was out somewhere and there was a football match going on with all different people, women and girls just kicking around playing. He was on the sidelines cheering and they were talking about him. Someone was saying, some woman saying that she’d been out for 30 years but had had to go back to work and was working as a typist and was taking Strawberry Moose with her to do some kind of reporting. I said “he’s going to be extremely busy then because tomorrow he’s going to the swimming baths and he has another football match to go to tomorrow afternoon”. I was busy trying to fit a dressing-up costume on him but his paws were too big to go through the sleeve holes and so on. This was another one with a lot lore to it than this but I can’t remember it now.

So that was the best that I could do during the night, and I went for breakfast instead.

Once breakfast was out of the way I had a look at a few digital tracks. No problems with any of them this morning although a couple of them ended up being far longer than I was expecting, and one of them many more tracks than there ought to be. I wonder if this is a “lost studio master” with the discarded tracks left on it. Who knows?

gravel lorry port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAll of that took me up to about 11:30, believe it or not, and then it was time to go out for my dejeunette.

And one part of me wished that I hadn’t because I’ve never seen a rainstorm like it. I was drenched before I’d gone 100 yards. But another part of me was pleased that I went because I caught a gravel lorry just finishing tipping its load on the quayside and then reversing into a gravel bay to turn round.

And you can tell about the rain from just looking at the photo.

concrete drainage channels parking rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy walk took me down past the car park that they are fitting out on the quayside on the rue du Port.

And I believe that I made some kind of sarcastic comment about the roller-coaster concrete track that they had laid in the middle of it.

But it’s quite clear now why they have done it like that, and I’m off to eat some humble pie instead. They’ve fitted some concrete guttering on the concrete strip that they laid, and the dips now have drainage grids installed in them.

So they are obviously like a roller-coaster in order to channel away the water. So I’ll shut up.

Having picked up my bread at La Mie Caline I came back here and as there was still plenty of time before lunch I finished off the editing of the sound file for Project 030.

For lunch I had more of the mushroom, leek and potato soup and it’s even more delicious. Tomorrow will be the last load and then I’ll be back on the hummus butties. Must take some hummus out of the freezer.

after lunch I went down into town for my appointment with the Credit Agricole, as I mentioned earlier.

toffee apples candy floss stall granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back, I decided to go for a little walk around to see what was happening.

The fete foraine – the funfair – has cleared off as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. But not all of it has gone. The candu floss and toffee apple stall is still here.

Does that mean that it’s going to stay here for the summer? That will be quite interesting if it does. It will all add to life’s great pageant down here on the coast for the season.

pile of gravel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut here’s exciting, isn’t it?

There’s certainly something going on here because the pile of gravel by the conveyor is getting bigger and bigger so there’s clearly something about to happen.

And I’m afraid that curiosity got the better of me when I returned home. I had a look at the shipping AIS map and, sure enough, the bulk carrier Neptune that comes in here sometimes for the gravel in in the English Channel and it’s heading in this direction.

Of course, it’s too early to say what it’s doing and where it’s going, but it’s optimistic.

pontoon port de granville granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the installation of these three large grey pillars in the harbour and my theory about that they are for.

And it looks as if I’m right on that score too, because down there they are installing some pontoons heading our perpendicularly to the quayside and anchored to the posts.

Incidentally, I had a look to see how the pontoons are fastened to the mounting brackets. They are on rollers in grooves so that they will float up and down as the water level changes.

Unless they have a puncture, which is always possible I suppose.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy walk took me back around the long way in order to clock up the percentages on the fitbit.

And look who’s coming into harbour right now! It’s our old friend Thora coming in from Jersey on the afternoon tide. So hello to Thora.

As for me, I made it back and cracked on with the Project 030. I joined it all up and found a final track to finish it off, and then dictated the notes for it.

Just for a change, I ended up being four seconds short so I had to dictate a little extra to let into the proceedings. But that’s now all done and dusted and it doesn’t sound too bad.

What makes a difference is that there’s less talking from me.

Tea tonight was a burger and pasta in tomato sauce followed by apple crumble and the last of the Alpro Soya Dessert (note to buy some more).

And while I was eating, I was musing over my breakfast. Home-made muesli (well, home-mixed, should I say because the individual items were brought in), home-made apple and pear purée and home-made apple and pear cordial.

That’s all pretty impressive stuff, I have to say.

rue du nord place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallFor my evening walk I took the little NIKON 1 J5 with me, fitted with the f1.8 50mm lens.

You can see the image that I took with it tonight. That’s darkened four stops on the Exposure Compensation function. Still far too bright. And far too blurred.

What I’ll have to do is to set the camera to shutter priority and use a faster speed to eliminate the blurring, and then give it all some further thought.

Despite the howling gale I managed my two runs, although the first was not where I usually go. The wind blew me out of there.

The football was weird. TNS sprinted into a 2-goal lead in minutes and never ever looked like they were in trouble. Barry Town were pretty poor and the possession – 62%-38% and the corners 8-2 tell their own story.

And if it could speak, the Barry Town woodwork would have a few things to say. It’s no exaggeration that TNS could have had half a dozen against a very poor Barry Town side by half-time.

But football is a funny game, as we all know. After about 55 minutes the Barry Town right-back floated in a speculative cross to the TNS penalty area from the right wing. Everyone, including the TNS goalkeeper Paul Harrison, stood and watched as it floated aimless into the area and be picked up by the slightest breeze that drifted it onto the far post and rebounded into the net.

Deep into injury time Barry Town won their second corner of the game. The high cross was headed by a Barry Town attacker towards the outstretched arms of Paul Harrison,, only for it to hit one of his own players and take a wicked deflection into the net.

So probably the most astonishing 2-2 draw that i’ve ever seen. And I bet that the crowd is still shaking its head over this result because I know that I am.

Shopping tomorrow, and if I’m early, I’m going on a little expedition. “Spend, spend, spend!” as I said earlier.

Wednesday 5th March 2020 – YOU’RE PROBABLY SITTING …

night time long exposure granville manche normandy france eric hall… there wondering why on earth I’m posting a dreadful photo like this in my journal tonight – and giving it pride of place as well.

The fact is that I’m totally surprised by this too.

This evening I went out with just the NIKON 1 J5 to see what damage I could do with it in the dark.

Adn dark it was too – about one-third moon and you could hardly see anything at all out there. Mind you the howling gale was telling us a story all of its own with the sound of the waves pounding down into the surf.

So, I tried to focus. Nothing whatever enough light for it to find a focal point so I set it to “automatic exposure”, focused on a street light an equivalent distance away, swivelled round in the direction that I wanted to face, and pressed the shutter more in hope than expectation.

And frankly I wasn’t expecting anything at all, so no-one was more surprised than me to produce an image as bright as this one.

The automatic settings were f1.74, ISO6400 at 3 seconds exposure, and it’s produced an image as bright as this. That’s impressive.

Of course, I’m going to need a tripod if ever I do it again, and then I’ll have the issue of focusing on a dummy point and then swivelling the camera around.

But I could use the exposure compensation mechanism to darken the image somewhat and speed up the exposure time. But it isn’t half interesting nevertheless.

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile you admire the storm that has been raging all day and the waves that it’s been producing, let me tell you something about my day, because it’s been another disappointment.

Once more, I failed to beat the alarms and it was 06:30 when I finally pulled myself together and left the bed.

After the medication, I had a look on the dictaphone to see where I’d been. As well as the notes from yesterday afternoon, which I’ll add in in early course, there were a couple of files from during the night that needed attention.

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was something going on in the street like a gardening club meeting. A couple of people were turning up and going again. I was there with a young girl who might have been Percy Penguin, I dunno but she didn’t hang around long. I was waiting for something and there was another guy there. A girl came up and she got out of a car and started to kick this medicine ball around. I ended up playing football with her and this medicine ball. She was kicking it up the hill towards me and of course the ball was rolling back down the hill again. I was running after it to kick it back to her but I couldn’t get a kick on it at all because it was rolling back down the hill quicker than I could catch up with it. This went on for a while and then gradually people started to turn up. There was a young girl there who was with another man. apparently she’d been someone’s servant or maid before she’d settled down with this guy. They were handing out these old clothes that had been really tatty but someone had sewn up so they weren’t as tatty as they were before. They were passing these around to whoever they belonged to but I always seemed to be in the way, standing in the wrong place when someone was passing round an item of clothing

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAfter breakfast I had a look at some more digital sound files.

Just for a change they were quite straightforward and, more to the point, quite long. One of them ended up with no fewer than 17 tracks, several of which I had no idea existed.

Such it was that I had to break off near the end and go for my shower..

cement mixer hopper rue st jean medieval city walls granville manche normandy france eric hallOnce I’d had a good clean-up, I braved the hurricane and went out to do the shopping.

Not that I managed to go very far though before I came to a grinding halt. One of the issues about living in a medieval walled city with really narrow streets is that heavy vehicles like this cement mixer can’t go in.

You have to invent a work-around, or Système D as they say in France, like a little fork-lift truck type of thing and a cement hopper.

And you’ll notice the plastic sheet on the floor to prevent cement or concrete sticking to the road surface.

digger moving gravel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallYesterday, we noticed the pile of gravel that had appeared in the port near the conveyors.

This morning, the big digger was out there and he seemed to be moving more gravel across from the bins to the centre of the port apron. The pile is certainly growing.

This can surely mean that we are at long last about to have a gravel boat coming in some time in the near future – the first one that I will have seen in 9 months.

Here’s hoping that i’m not going to be disappointed.

pontoon in new position in port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut here’s a surprise. The big floating pontoon is in a different position.

Does this mean that they will be installing a new walkway pontoon there as well? That’s going to restrict the movement of the boats like Marité that congregate down there in that corner.

For a change I went to the new Bio shop, La Vie Claire, near the Stade Louis Dior in the avenue des Matignon. Josée had bought me a book on making drinks from a product called Kefir so I went there to see if they had any.

They had both lots, the fruit Kefir for making soft drinks and also a pseudo-dairy Kefir for making yoghurt from vegetable milk like soya milk or almond milk. I bought one of each and I’ll be having a play with them in early course.

At LIDL I didn’t spent all that much, except that I did buy a pair of wellingtons. I don’t have a pair and there have been a couple of occasions when I wished that I had.

Not only that, in a week or so I’ll be scampering about in a pile of rock pools so a pair of wellingtons will come in handy.

helicopter granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back I was interrupted by a noise coming from above.

Someone has had his chopper out again and I was wondering if it is the same red and yellow and one that we see wandering around. But it’s a different one that I haven’t noticed previously.

By the way, if you are wondering about the images, the fact is that Brain of Britain forgot to change the lens over this morning and on the little NIKON 1 J5 there’s still the f1.8 50mm lens that I’ve been using at night. It doesn’t “do” distance of course.

Having picked up my dejeunette at La Mie Caline, I headed for home. But we’d had a moment’s amusement in there. Some young woman in front of me was complaining that her colleagues had left her alone in her office for the day. Boththe guy behind the counter and I said at the same moment that we’d go round and give her a hand, to which she laughed.

Ohh yes, I can still chase after the women at my age. I just can’t remember why.

Back here, I had a major disappointment to deal with. I have a project in mind, an important one, and I have set my heart on doing it. I’ve already set steps in motion in this respect but the disappointing news is that due to this stupid virus thing going around, it’s been put on hold and may be cancelled.

That will be devastating news for me.

After lunch (some more of that delicious soup) I started off another batch of purée and then made a start on finishing off the notes that I’d begun to write yesterday.

crack in concrete path to war memorial pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was the usual break for my afternoon walk of course.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I mentioned yesterday about the path that they spent a couple of weeks laying and then dug up to replace with a different path. Today I had another closer look at the new patch and you can see that they’ll be having to dig this one up and replacing it very soon.

As you can see, it’s cracking already, due to insufficient foundations, I reckon. I don’t suppose that, given the record of this Council, that they expected it to be down this long before there was a change of plan.

trawler baie de mont st michel storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut the winds were thoroughly and totally wicked. I was being blown about all over the place and even had to chase after my hat on one occasion.

The fishing boat out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel was making really heavy weather of trying to get into port and I’m not at all surprised.

It’s been a really long time since I’ve been buffeted about so much in a wind like this. At times it was impossible to advance and I really was being blown backwards as I tried to advance.

moving pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd I’m sure that you have been wondering, just as I have been, how the big floating pontoon has been moving across the harbour.

This afternoon I was lucky enough to catch it in motion. And it’s being pushed, so it seems, by that boat with the outboard motor.

It’s certainly one of the strangest sights that I’ve ever seen – and, believe me, I’ve seen quite a few strange sights in my lifetime. There’s not as much friction in water as there is on land, but it still must take a lot of effort to move the pontoon.

Back at the apartment I organised the purée.

8 small apples and four small pears, peeled, cored and diced into small cubes. Put into a large pan with some desiccated coconut and cinnamon, with a very small amount of water and lemon juice. All stirred up and stirred well in.

It had been brought to the boil and left to simmer on a very low heat. All in all it had been on there for an hour or so.

apple pear puree place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallThe liquid was drained off and put in a glass jar to drink at breakfast, diluted as necessary. The solids were put into the whizzer and whizzed around until they made a purée.

Two large glass jars were steamed in the microwave (a little water put in them and they were heated for a minute) and the tops boiled in water. The purée was then ladled into them, the lids put on and they were left to cool.

Once they have cooled and created a vacuum they can go in the fridge. I’ll start on the first jar tomorrow and see how it is. But the sampling was delicious.

At long last I could dictate the notes that I’d written – but first I had to fight off a wave of sleep, not very successfully I’m afraid. But at least it’s all dictated and I’ve even started to edit it and clean it up.

For tea tonight there was a pile of mushrooms to be finished off that hadn’t found their way into the soup the other day. And so I cut a potato into squares and cooked it with spiced in the microwave while I organised some onion, garlic and the mushrooms with half a stock cube and more spices in the frying pan.

It ended up all being mixed together and stuck in the microwave on a low heat while I cooked some rice and veg. And wasn’t it all delicious, especially when chased down by apple crumble and soya coconut dessert stuff

night plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallOut for my walk tonight, and I’ve already shown you the astonishing photo of the waves.

The wind was wicked and at my favourite running spot it was totally impossible to move. I ended up having to run on another stretch that was well sheltered.

That took me to the cliffs overlooking the Place Marechal Foch and the Plat Gousset where I decided to have a little fun with the settings with the camera.

night plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallIt wasn’t easy to work out what I was supposed to be doing, but I did notice that I hadn’t set the exposure compensation correctly.

Back here I had to edit out some red and blue colour and darken the image three stops, but even so, they haven’t come out too badly. Of course, now that the tide’s not in, they’ve left the lights on along the promenade. They couldn’t do that when it’s needed, when the tide is in and the waves are crashing down along the prom.

Anyway, I carried on with my walk and managed my second run too.

So now it’s bedtime. I’m having (I hope) an uninterrupted day tomorrow – except that the blasted bank has phoned me and I have to go to pick up my document after lunch

One thing that I want to do is to finish off this radio project. I should have done it by Wednesday night but I’m just falling behind.

I must organise myself better.

Tuesday 3rd March 2020 – THERE ARE MANY THINGS …

… in this life that I don’t understand.

And one of the most bizarre things that I don’t understand is why the SNCF (the French national railway network) has suddenly decided that it can no longer book me through to Brussels using a (French) TGV train, but an independent ticketing agency can do so, at a price that is cheaper than that which I normally pay – and even more so when you consider that I don’t receive my Senior Citizens’ discount or my Fidelity Bonus.

Yes, I tried again this morning to book my trip with the SNCF for the 18th but it didn’t work out at all, just as yesterday. I had intended, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, to go up to the railway station and book it there, but I reckoned that I’d try the booking agency that I sometimes use.

And sure enough, here we are.

This morning was something of a disaster – quite in keeping with modern times. I missed the alarms and ended up in bed until 07:30. This is starting to become extremely depressing as far as I am concerned.

What is even worse is that round about 17:00 I crashed out again. Yes, right good and proper too. Dead to the world in a deep sleep for about 20 minutes and I remember thinking just how bad that is. I’m not doing at all as well as I would like in this respect.

But anyway, back to this morning.

After the medication I had a look at the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. Anyway, last night we were out recording the Carnival procession and there were lots of things happening there. We were having to make some edited highlights. One bit that sticks in my mind out of many many others was where something came along to join the procession out of a car park so we filmed the approach to the car park which was clear, then filmed this object adjoining to car park and superimposed the two to make it look as if the object was emerging from the car park. That was what we filmed and people weren’t very happy about how we did that but we really couldn’t see any other way of doing what we were trying to do.
Later on during the night I was back with the football, just as I was a couple of nights ago. This was pretty much relegation form for Crewe Alexandra who hadn’t won a game for weeks and were struggling. They had been gripped by this lack of confidence and loss of points and gone downhill. They weren’t playing too well and weren’t keeping possession and other teams were rapidly getting good results against them. Someone left Crewe Alexandra and became the manager of Rochdale, someone called Hogg, Graeme Hogg, I dunno. We were all musing – what of Crewe for a forward because while Crewe were bad, now they had even less idea and out of the transfer window you couldn’t bring anyone in at the moment. It was just generally bad news for lower-league football with all of this going on and blocked this and blocked that and players wanting to be somewhere else and didn’t want to have to work and so on.

And I’ve absolutely no idea where all of this football stuff just recently has come from. Something’s going on somewhere and I wish I knew what it was.

After breakfast I had a crack at splitting up a few more digital sound files and that seemed to go pretty smoothly although there were several distractions of one sort or another – such as a few mails to write, rail tickets to book, that kind of thing.

fishing boat trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThat took me up to about midday – time to go and fetch my dejeunette from La Mie Caline.

Armed with the NIKON D3000 for a change, I set off to see what I can see. And straight away I realised that I had forgotten how to work it. Still, I managed to pick out an image of a fishing boat out in the English Channel

And straight away, I noticed a difference in the quality of the image compared with that of the big NIKON D500. I hope that it gets well soon.

new pontoon pillars rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFor my walk, I went the long way around, all the way round the headland and down into town along the rue du Port.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall me mentioning yesterday the piling that was going on in the harbour with the piledriver ramming another pillar into the sea bed inside the harbour.

That was one of the things that I wanted to see and sure enough, here they are, having had a really good go at it over the last day or so.

What’s worrying me is that now that I know what they are, I recall having seen four or five of this objects over on the far side of the port. If they are going to install all of those, it’s going to restrict the movement around the port quite considerably for the larger boats.

men working on scaffolding port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will also have seen with me a pile of scaffolding being erected on the quayside by a crane.

This was then lowered into the harbour itself and anchored to the quayside.

So today, we can see a couple of workmen on there having a good play around with something or other. I’ve no idea what but I suspect that they are drilling the quayside just there in order to mount another one of these pontoon supports.

This is another thing that I’ll need to check in the future.

rocavi 2 shellfish port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut not today though, because the harbour gates were open and so I couldn’t cross over the top.

Instead, I wandered around to the other side of the fish processing plant to watch the new fishing boat, Rocavi II come into port.

What interested me the most was the catch. The plastic boxes in the stern were full of shellfish of some kind or other and it looked to be a very impressive catch.

Mind you, they wouldn’t have spent the money on a new boat had they not been confident about the profits that they would bring in.

men working concrete strip parking rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving been frustrated in my attempts to cross to the other side of the port, I walked instead along the rue du Port and into town that way.

That took me past where they are refurbishing the old car park here, and they seem to be making some kind of rapid progress.

What they are doing is laying some kind of concrete channel which can’t be for drainage looking at how irregular it is. It must be for some other purpose and I suppose that the secret will unfold as time goes on.

Having picked up my bread I set off back for home but on the way back fell in with one of my colleagues from the radio who had also been a victim of that debâcle the other Sunday.

She told me her story, which paralleled mine pretty much but which ended up in a completely different and much more unpleasant way and I can understand why she was so upset about the whole affair.

Still, our chat went on for ages and was very interesting. I’d already had a few plans of my own for the future and she was quite keen on leaping aboard.

After a rather late lunch I made a start on the notes of the radio project on which I’m working.

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was the usual interruption while I went for my afternoon walk around the headland.

Although the wind has died down considerably from how it has been just recently over the last couple of days, there is still plenty of force remaining in the sea.

Even though the tide was now well out, the waves were crashing into the sea wall and sending a pile of spray everywhere. Just imagine what this must be like at high tide.

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallI had the NIKON D3000 with me again, and as you can see, the quality is nothing like as good as the quality of the big NIKON D500.

That is of course hardly surprising, seeing as it only cost me a quarter of the price but it’s the best that I have right now. And it’s still able to pull in a pic of the waves, even though I can’t manage to produce the same speed without compromising the ISO settings.

Still, I managed with this camera for about 5 years so a couple of weeks won’t make very much difference one way or another.

digger loading metal piles into skip lorry ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was out there walking along the clifftop, I was distracted by a load of noise coming from across the harbour.

Right away on the far side was a skip lorry with a pile of skips. And the digger that seems to spend a lot of time over there was messing about with something or other but I couldn’t quite see what it was.

And so accordingly I resolved to loiter in the vicinity for a while in the hope that something might develop, while I admired the lifting cab on the digger. I’d not noticed that before.

digger loading metal piles into skip lorry ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallSure enough, it didn’t take long for something to happen over there.

Now, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we went over there a couple of weeks ago when we saw a pile of cast iron pillars that they had ripped out of the harbour.

The digger seems to be fitted with a grabber and what it’s doing is picking up the pillars and dropping them into a skip on the back of the lorry, presumably to take away for melting down and recasting.

So now we know.

men working concrete strip parking rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFrom up here on the clifftop there’s a good view down into the old car park that they are refurbishing.

With the zoom lens I can take a good pic of it from up here and have a better idea of what they are doing, although I do have to admit that i’m still none-the-wiser.

On that note I came home, where I had a phone call. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on 14th February (one of the many reasons why I keep this blog is so that I can keep a note of what I do and when i do it) I went into the Credit Agricole to have a form signed, and the issues that arose out of that simple request.

The form still hasn’t been returned so I sent them a mail this morning to express my displeasure. They rang me back later this afternoon to tell me that they had no trace of my form

As I suspected, signing a form and putting a stamp on it is far too difficult for them. Remember that I went there on 14th June last year and it took three employees to deal with that simple request.

Anyway, they’ve gone off to have a think about the issue and, one hopes, contact me sometime in the not-too-distant future to tell me that they have somehow managed to lose the form completely.

It’s hardly surprising that after all of that, I had a good old crash-out as deeply as I did. So deeply in fact that I was well away with the fairies for quite some time. I had a dream about a Mark X Jag like the green one that I used to have, which was in some lock-up garages at the back of Catherine Street although it wasn’t really Catherine Street. I’d bought the vehicle from a guy who had had it in a garage there. I was trying to get in touch with him to find if I could take over the garage but no-one knew. In the end I spoke to a woman whose house backed onto the garage who knew him. I was asking her the questions and she said “oh he brought it here in a caravan-type of thing, this was where he kept it” and so on. When I said about keeping on the garage she ummed and ahhed and didn’t really know the answer

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap with potatoes and veg, followed by the last of the apple crumble. I know that I should have been baking but the freezer is full to the brim and there’s no room for anything at all in there until I empty some stuff out.

And even so, that’s going to be problematic because I’m running low on peas and I’ll have to buy a packet of those. So where i’m going to put them is anyone’s guess.

place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallOut on my walk this evening I took the NIKON D3000 with men but fitted with the low-light 50mm f1.8 lens.

As a test pic, I took a photo of the Place d’Armes right outside here to see how it would turn out. And having been used to working with ISO as low down as ISO6400 without the slightest hiccup, ISO 3200 on the old Nikon is a real battle.

The lens works well enough in the poor street lighting put the image is far too grainy for my liking. One of these days I’ll try a decent graphics editor and see whether or not I can digitally improve these images.

donville les bains rue du nord granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd the camera doesn’t have anything like the control that the big NIKON D500 has.

Try as I might, I couldn’t achieve a decent well-balanced image of the lights out at Donville-les-Bains and that was rather disappointing.

Instead, I went for my two runs and managed them comparatively comfortably. On the second one, I even made it right to the top of the ramp and it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to do that.

place marechal foch granville manche normandy france eric hallBut in between the two runs I had a pause at the top of the cliff overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

With a reasonable amount of light I could wind back the ISO to a more reasonable level and the photo didn’t come out too badly at all.

To such an extent that I’m wondering why I haven’t made much more use of the 50mm lens on the big Nikon during the nights when I’ve been out on a stroll. I shall have to look into that.

On that note, I’m off to bed. I’m disappointed in my performance over the last couple of days and I have to do better. I can start by trying to catch up with my beauty sleep. I need as much of that as I can get.

Thursday 31st October 2019 – I DIDN’T …

… manage to get out for my evening walk/run tonight.

Just for a change I’d managed to be ready quite early so that I could make the most of it, when Rosemary rang. One hour and 35 minutes we were on the phone and so that was really that. I can’t go for a walk at 22:00

And so, all in all, it was a good job that I’d had my long walk up to LIDL today.

Not this morning though because I was doing other things this morning. Like sleeping. I didn’t leave the bed until about 09:30 this morning.

And it wasn’t my fault either. There I was planning to go to bed and have a nice early night last night, and just as I was about to switch off the computer, then Hawkwind Live Chronicles came onto the playlist.

The best album I’ve heard for a long time too so I stayed awake to listen to it. All 1 hour and 25 minutes of it.

And as that ended, then Ocean by Eloy came on. The second-best album I’ve heard in a while. So I stayed up and listened to that.

What with one thing and another, it was eventually 03:05 when I switched off the computer and went to bed.

Mind you, it wasn’t completely wasted time because I’d done some work updating the web pages during that time.

A late start meant that everything else, like my shower, was late too. And before I hit the streets I had to organise the rail tickets for Belgium and print them all off so that I had them to hand.

First stop in town was at the bank. I needed to pay for what I purchased yesterday and as the money is going abroad it needed to be done quickly and, more importantly, correctly. Hence the bank.

Second stop was at the railway station. I know that I’m trying to go paperless these days but I would feel a lot better with the tickets actually in my hand, so I printed them off at the machine there.

Finally I made it t LIDL but I didn’t buy all that much. However they did have a range of vegan blackcurrant sorbet so in a gesture of solidarity I bought one. What I didn’t buy though was garlic! Sold out! And that’s a shock for me because a kitchen without any garlic isn’t a kitchen at all.

On the way back to the apartment I took a diversion via the docks to see the new boat. And she’s not a new boat at all but our old friend Aztec Lady back from her summer season at Svalbard I must remember one of these days to find out more about her voyages.

After lunch I tackled a job that I have been putting off for a week or so – and that was to freeze the carrots. Only just in time too because they were on the turn. But they are all peeled, diced, blanched and in the freezer.

And what was left (there were too many for the saucepan) I made a carrot and coconut soup, I was rather too extravagant with the powdered ginger and it’s rather overwhelmed it. Still, it’s in now and you can’t take it out.

While that was going on, I had a go at tidying the freezer. And there is tons of stuff in there. Enough pies to sink a ship for a start, and a second set of four frozen aubergine and kidney bean whatsits that I had forgotten that I had made. So for the next two months it’s pie one night and kidney bean and aubergine whatsit on another before I even start thinking about the rest of the meals.

Last night before going to bed I’d checked Caliburn’s battery. 14.0 volts and the “fully charged” light was on, so I had unplugged it. This morning when I checked it, it was showing 12.9 volts (which is good) and this afternoon, 6 hours later, it was still showing 12.9, so it’s not losing any significant charge. I coupled it up to Caliburn and he fired up immediately into life, so at least I can take him for his controle technique on Tuesday and be back on four wheels by the end of the week.

Having done that, I went for my afternoon walk. And on returning I found that somehow I have contrived to manage to lose my fitbit. And that’s before the new bracelet has arrived too, for which I pad a shed-load of money. No idea where I lost it either. It’s probably fallen out of my pocket while I was walking around, in which case it’s probably gone for good.

These days I seem to be making far too much of a habit of losing all my possessions. I’m not sure what’s going on but I definitely seem to be breaking up.

Back at the apartment I had a little doze for 10 minutes and regular readers of this rubbish will be the first to remark that this is the first time in about a week that I’ve crashed out. That’s definitely progress of some kind.

But once back on my feet I tackled a few of these marathon dictaphone entries. Five of them in fact and that might sound reasonable, but the mega 20-minute one is next on the list and I need to be on form for that. So that’s a job for tomorrow morning, I reckon.

Tea, was as promised, the burger on a bap. delicious it was too, even though it was interrupted by two young girls trick-or-treating. Luckily I have a sweetie-jar here so I was able to hand out some goodies. They aren’t getting their hands on my grapes though. That’s the one good thing that I’ve found about going out for small amounts of shopping several times per week – tha it means that I can buy several loads of grapes.

As I’d used the last of the coconut soya cream in the carrot soup, I went for the blackcurrant sorbet to go on my fruit salad, only to find that I’d forgotten to put it in the freezer. “That was an expensive way to get a storage container” I mused, but it hadn’t actually defrosted too far.

So Rosemary on the phone, and now bed-time. No guitar today, and no web-site amendment either. I’m falling behind again and I need to get on top of things. It’s too late for an early night too.

I really must get myself organised.

Friday 14th June 2019 – HOW MANY …

… employees of the Credit Agricole Bank does it take to sign a form and put a rubber stamp on it?

The answer is “at least three” – and if the girl who finally dealt with me went to see a colleague or two when she disappeared with my form, it might even be more than that.

Yes, I’ve been out and about today, haven’t I? I need to push on and exercise myself, and as there was a letter to post (my hospital bill), a blood test result to pick up, and a form for the bank to sign, this afternoon seemed like as good a time as any.

Today started off quite surprisingly.

Despite the issues of yesterday I was awake at 04:10 and couldn’t go back to sleep at all. By 05:40 I had given it up as a bad job and was up and about.

To my surprise, the alarm didn’t go off. We had had another upgrade during the night that had switched off the phone. I really must do something about that.

And I’ve been a very busy boy too. I’ve started to transcribe the … gulp … 78 voice files off the dictaphone. I need to catch up on that, and catch up quickly if I’m to be up-to-date before I go away.

Another thing too is that I steam-cleaned the fridge. In an effort to tidy up and clean up, and with the ice box iced up, that was a good place to start. It took a good while but now it looks like it’s supposed to.

A few items went to that great dustbin in the sky and now there is tons of room in there. Well, maybe not tons, but plenty of room all the same.

And that took it out of me a little and I had a little … errr … relax for about 15 minutes.

After lunch I had a shower (the first “proper” shower for a while) and then attended to the accounts. That led to my walk up town.

fuel lorry refuelling trawlers port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThere wasn’t all that much excitement out there this afternoon.

Down on the docks we had a fuel lorry lined up ready to refuel one of the trawlers, and that was about that.

First stop was the laboratory for my blood test results from Wednesday. Some of the results are right off the scale, but bad as they might be, none are quite as wild as the “vitesse de sedimentation”.

That should be less than 9, and my figure is 123. I’ll have to see what the doctor has to say about that.

Then to the bank and the pantomime in there. It’s do do with my Belgian pension, and I bet that they are spending more on the admin of it than they will on the monthly payments.

But I did have some luck there;

There’s a special offer there right now on Savings Accounts, and for once I just about fall into the correct category. So I took advantage.

At the Post Office I posted off my payment to the hospital and then staggered up the hill back home. You’ve no idea how unfit I’ve become after two or three weeks without much exercise.

The knee was aching rather a lot by the time that I returned but as Rosemary rang me up for a long chat, I sat with my leg up on a chair for an hour and twenty-four minutes and that eased it off.

While I was tidying up the fridge I threw away some horribly out-of-date stuff but I found some lentil-and-carrot-burgers on the point of expiry, so I had one of those with some pasta, vegetables and tomato sauce.

This evening I had a chat with Liz and now I’m off for an early night. I’m surprised that I’ve kept going for as long as I have and so a good sleep will do me good after my walk.

Thursday 25th April 2019 – THAT WAS A …

… really difficult today today.

What went wrong was the fact that having had a long sleep during the afternoon, I wasn’t all that tired when I went to bed.

Nevertheless I went to sleep pretty quickly and even managed to go on something of a nocturnal ramble. But I’ll spare you the details because you are probably eating your tea right now.

However, I awoke at about 01:30 and that was that. I lay awake tossing and turning until the alarm went off at 06:00.

Just for a change I was up early this morning and after the usual performance and a shower, I set the washing machine off doing a load of washing.

fibre optic cable rue des juifs granville manche normandy franceOnce that was on its way I went into town. But I didn’t get very far before I had to stop.

A few weeks ago I photographed them digging up the pavement in the rue des Juifs for the fibre-optic cable. But they had filled in the trenches and sealed it all over a good while ago.

But today, the fibre-optic people were there digging it all up again. I asked why but the guy to whom I spoke just shrugged his shoulders

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy franceDown at the quayside in the harbour Normandy Trader was there unloading.

I imagine that she had come in on the morning tide,and having missed to opportunity to photograph Thora yesterday, I took a quick photo of here while I was going into town.

After all, the speed in which these ships are turning round these days, she may well not be here by the time that I return.

And so I continued on my way to the Mairie for the Certificate that I needed. But there was no-one there to sign it so I had to go back later.

Next stop was the bank to change the standing order for my rent. The rental goes up at the beginning of next month so I had to do that.

Third stop was the railway station to pick up my tickets for my next trip to Leuven in May. I’m spinning my appointments out now to every 5 weeks so as to fit into a new revised plan.

Just then Rosemary telephoned me. So instead of going to LIDL (I don’t really need anything) I headed for home.

normandy trader leaving port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd I was almost right about Normandy Trader.

She had by now left her berth, and I just managed to catch her stern disappearing out of the harbour. Another quick turnround.

And I need to make the most of my sightings of her and of Thora and quite possibly the gravel boats too.

There’s no Customs Post here in Granville so when Brexit inevitably happens, these ships will need to go to a port that has a customs post – like St Malo. No wonder everyone here is so upset.

Rosemary and I had a really good chat for quite a considerable time as usual, and we put the world to rights while we were on the line. Ingrid came onto the internet too and we we had a chat too;

That took me nicely up to lunchtime, which was taken inside because by now the weather had broken and we were having a storm.

Once the weather eased off I went back into town, only to find that the Mairie here doesn’t issue the Certificates. They seem to think that it’s something that only applies to small communes where the mayor knows personally all of his inhabitants.

Anyway, I left them fighting with the prefecture over the issue and came home, being caught in yet another rainstorm;

I had a few things to do, but by 17:30 I was off with the fairies. Back in bed for a good 100 minutes fast asleep.

Tea was a stuffed pepper followed by rice pudding, and then my walk around the headland. Away on the horizon I noticed something moving so the horizon out in the English Channel so I photographed it.

bretagne brittany ferries st malo english channel franceI was right about one thing – that it was indeed a huge ship.

No idea which one though because it was too far out, but I thought that it might be Pont Aven, the Brittany Ferries flagship heading to St Malo.

However, when I looked on live ships database later on in the evening, the recorded position at the time I took the photo seemed to correspond with the known position of Bretagne.

She’s one of the oldest ferries working the Channel, having been launched in 1989, and has a gross tonnage of about 24500 tonnes.

She’s actually living on borrowed time, having been taken out of service in 2016, but the contract for her replacement was cancelled and so she’s back on duty for now.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceMy perambulations took me round the Pointe du Roc and along the path at the top looking over the chantier navale.

There have been a few changes there today. The old trawler that’s been undergoing major reconstruction down at the bottom of the yard has now been brought up to the top end and put on chocs here. It’s weather protection has been removed too.

It’s been joined by another trawler too, the big pink and blue one on the left. No idea what they are doing with that one.

sunset ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceBut I couldn’t go back into my building without taking a photo of probably the most beautiful sunset that I have ever seen.

It’s not very often that I produce a remarkable photograph but this one actually worked in spades. The sun was just peeking through the heavy clouds and was illuminating the buildings on the Ile de Chausey just like the spotlights might do on a stage set.

It’s really come out well and I’m very proud of this very dramatic photo.

So I’ll try for an early night tonight. I’m not going anywhere tomorrow, but I still have plenty of things that need doing. it’s going to be a long day.